Which budget video capture card?
Hi there video guru's
I am looking to purchase a video capture card to capture video from a VCR. I wish to capture the video and convert it to MPEG1, put it onto a VCD which will be shown at a boat show on a wide screen tv - thus I would like decent quality. The images I want to capture were recorded from TV. Whilst I would like the images to be the best quality possible I have a limited budget. I already use PYRO DV for DV work and wondered if the ADS USB Instant Video would satisfy my needs? I have also read that better quality comes from using a PCI card. I have spent four hours now on the web and have reached information overload. I would be most grateful if someone could explain the differences between USB and PCI capture and what frame rate I should be looking for, pointing me in the right direction so I can choose the best card for my money (£50-£100 $80-$200)
Many Thanks for your help
Because a PCI card is connceted right to the motherboard it has the higest data transfer rate rather than USB 1.0. USB 2.0 can transfer about as quick as Firewire, but firewire has been around much longer and is a standard connection for video (camera's have built in firewire connection). The faster a connection is the more pixels/quality it can capture, therfore a PCI card will give you better quality over a USB connection. Even though you are putting the video on a VCD witch is not the greatest quality you should capture the video at the best quality you can (preferably 720 x 480 fully uncompressed) and then compress it to VCD as you will get the best quality VCD you can. If you capture compressed and then go to compress it again to VCD your video won't look very good. Also it depends upon the length of your video, if it is a long video you will have to compress it more in order to fit it on 1 CD but if it is a short clip you will be able to keep more quality. If you are on a limited budget and have a camcorder I would recommend hooking your camera up to your VCR and record the footage to your camera using RCA cables (The quality will still be very very good!). Then connect your camera to your computer using Firewire and capture Full frames uncompressed. Do your edit and then compress it just enough to fit on the VCD. This should work just as good, if not better than any capture card and will save you money. You can even put the money in the future into a DVD burner and then next year you won't have to worry too much about the quality.
Good Luck and if you have any other questions please feel free to ask!