VHS to DVD

Have many questions - I currently have Pinnacle Studio with capture device connected to computer via USB. I am trying to convert VHS tapes to DVD’s via VCR and/or analog (not digital) video camera. So far I’m not really happy with the quality - very grainy. Not having a prblem with dropped frames though. I’ve been capturing in AVI format, importing into Windows Movie maker (doing some minor editing like cutting out a few scenes, but that’s about it) and then burning to DVD via ConvertxtoDVD.

I’ve heard about firewire connection being better than USB and don’t have it on my PC but would be willing to get a card if this would give better quality. Have also read about capture through DV mini camcorder, but I don’t have one (may be able to borrow one though). Also may be able to borrow a friend’s DVD recorder as another option, although will it allow me to edit the DVD without loss of quality?

What do you think would be the best option to give the best quality DVD in the end? Thanks for any help!!

If you want the best possible quality( just like recorded on cammy) then capture via firewire as DV-AVI uncompressed…Then use an editing app that doesn’t [I]re-encode[/I] and import the edited file in ConvertxtoDVD or similar app…You will lose some quality when converting, however starting with the highest quality source will at least get you the best [I]possible[/I] results…

What kind (brand and model) of firewire card would you suggest and the best place to get it? I have a Dell Dimension 1100, 2.53 ghz, 1 gm ram, 80g hd. Is this firewire 800? I went to Staples yesterday and the guy told me they don’t sell firewire anymore and that 2.0 USB is much faster ???

How would you suggest capturing with firewire? With capture device or camcorder?

Also what editing app would you recommend that doesn’t reencode? Any free ones? Thanks for the help!!

If you have pinnacle studio, why aren’t you using it to edit your avi video. It is a pretty good editor too.

I would recommend getting an ADS firewire card, but others will do a great job. The idiot at Staples doesn’t know what he is talking about. Firewire is still the preferred capture mode. It isn’t just the raw speed of the transfer, it is the stability of the transfer that is important.

If you are capturing as AVI, then you shouldn’t have to worry about re-encoding when you edit. You edit first, then encode. As for the quality, when you encode, are you making sure that the pinnacle studio settings for encoding, are set to BEST quality?

In Pinnacle Studio I don’t see where I can capture “uncompressed.” It gives me an option to capture either AVI or MPEG 1/2. Under compression it says “DV.” 720 x 480. Those are only settings. I have been using options “AVI” and “DV compression.” There is no option for “no compression.” Is that what I’m supposed to be using? These settings are “best” quality per Studio default.

Also I haven’t been using Pinnacle Studio to edit because ConvertxtoDVD won’t let me bring in a Studio project (.stx file), whereas with Movie Maker I can import the AVI file, edit it and then convert it to a file format (.wmv) that ConvertxtoDVD will accept and burn. Am I doing this wrong or is there another way? I’m kind of confused about this whole encoding process and exactly where it happens (i.e. during capture or in ConvertxtoDVD). Sorry for sounding stupid.

As for the ADS fireware card, do I need 400 or 800? Specific model? (there are a lot out there) Cheapest place to get it? I want to get this ordered. Thanks again for all your help guys!

First, it depends on how much time and money you want to invest in learning the tools to get quality transfers:

  1. VHS player (get one of the older Pioneer/Toshiba machines), you can some of the best for $500 or more on ebay.
  2. add a TBC to your setup
  3. I would save as mpg2. AVI means a lot of things (well it only means that you have a “wrapper” but under that wrapper you can find a lot of things).
  4. Avisynth. Download and learn it. check the scripts and forget about Windows media maker.

[QUOTE=swolfer;2249849]In Pinnacle Studio I don’t see where I can capture “uncompressed.” It gives me an option to capture either AVI or MPEG 1/2. Under compression it says “DV.” 720 x 480. Those are only settings. I have been using options “AVI” and “DV compression.” There is no option for “no compression.” Is that what I’m supposed to be using? These settings are “best” quality per Studio default.

Also I haven’t been using Pinnacle Studio to edit because ConvertxtoDVD won’t let me bring in a Studio project (.stx file), whereas with Movie Maker I can import the AVI file, edit it and then convert it to a file format (.wmv) that ConvertxtoDVD will accept and burn. Am I doing this wrong or is there another way? I’m kind of confused about this whole encoding process and exactly where it happens (i.e. during capture or in ConvertxtoDVD). Sorry for sounding stupid.

As for the ADS fireware card, do I need 400 or 800? Specific model? (there are a lot out there) Cheapest place to get it? I want to get this ordered. Thanks again for all your help guys![/QUOTE]

A majority of us capture as dv-avi. It is the most recommended capture setting, if you intend on doing any editing. You should not have any problems capturing, editing, and authoring, all within pinnacle studio. When you get to the authoring or encoding mode there should be a setting to either select BEST quality, or to enter a bitrate. If you have the option for bitrate, you want to select between 8000 and 9000 as your bitrate…

a 400 firewire card is plenty, but if you can get an 800 for around the same price, by all means get the 800. There are a lot of us out here who still use firewire 400.

I have in the past used Pinnacle Studio to edit, encode and burn but it takes about eight hours compared to one hour for ConvertxtoDVD, so I’ve been using that. That’s the reason for importing the AVI file into Movie Maker and then using ConvertxtoDVD. I haven’t found a way to import a Pinnacle Studio project file (.stx) into ConvertxtoDVD.

Regarding the firewire card I see a few different ones from ADS:
PYRO1394 PCI Express
PYRO PCI 64R2
PYRO 1394DV Cardbus
PYRO1394b PCI
PYRO 1394b PCIe

Which one do I need to get? Thanks!

If all you’re using WMM is to do simple editing (i.e. cutting and saving new .avi or wmv then don’t…If I’m not mistaken WMM re-encodes everything and it’s buggy…I don’t use Pinnacle Studio, so can’t comment on the SW, however I’ve read some user-reviews/comments, and frankly I wouldn’t touch it for the $ it costs…There are alternatives…
http://www.videohelp.com/tools/sections/video-editors-mpg-dvd
http://forum.videohelp.com/topic357763.html

Having said that, capturing whether it’s DV-AVI or Mpeg1/2, you’re eventually going to convert/author to DVD structure…
Try Avidemux and import your video clip(s)…If all you’re doing is simple cutting,then it will not re-encode, if you set both Video and Audio to ‘Copy’ and set ‘Format’ output to match input format(e.g. AVI->AVI…Just make sure that when saving you include the file extension as in, [B]Yourfile.avi[/B] …
When done import the new avi file into ConvertxtoDVD, if that is your choice of converters…
As far as which firewire card? Do some research(as in all cases)before buying…Maybe someone that uses any of those posted will chime in…I have a cheapo card from newegg that works good for my needs, and use WinDV for transferring to PC…

Hope it helps…Good luck!

Will do. Thank you for your help!