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Card with audio sync & CC?

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Card with audio sync & CC?
on Jan 28, 2006 at 4:12:44 am

I'm not sure whether to go with a card or an external (say, FireWire) converter to get the signal from my VCR into the computer. I recently tried (buying!) the ($300!) Canopus ADVC-110, after failing to get over half a dozen PCI & AGP cards to work. I figured that since it converted the signal into FireWire, it would be just like watching my VHS tapes on the TV, only the TV screen would be my monitor's display instead.

Except, it turned out that 'the signal' wasn't really the ENTIRE signal. The converter 'kindly' eliminated a small, but extremely important part of the signal: the closed captioning. Apparently, this is because trying to display it as part of the video can cause extra 'lines' to appear on the top or bottom, and the converter was just 'cleaning' the signal for me.

The problem I had with every single one of the capture cards (there were other problems with each, but this problem was in all) was the lack of audio-to-video synchronization. I tried the Canopus converter because it boasted of a feature it called 'locked audio', and with the huge amount of VHS tapes I have, I simply and literally just cannot afford to spend the time recording clips a few minutes at a time to avoid having the audio timing drift all over the map in relation to the video. I would record 5 minutes, 20 minutes, half an hour, even an hour of video, and at any given moment during the playback, audio could be ahead or behind the video, with these differences exaggerated as the duration of the recording increased. I needed to be able to leave it running for 6, 8 hours at a time, and trust that it would retain synchronization without my having to stand over it and monitor things 24/7, or go back over it later and 'play it by ear' so I could LISTEN and try to simply guess at whether the audio sync was 'good enough' (to fool me).

I am looking for a video capture card that will provide what I consider to be the 3 essential (critical, even) features:
#1 resolution that matches the quality of the VHS recording
#2 PERFECT audio and video synchronization, for at least 1 hour
#3 closed captioning capture
If those three are not available, then, to my mind, there is NO reason to switch to digital yet: I will not GIVE UP, permanently lose, the data that is normally available with VHS and which I could continue to preserve by purchasing new tapes and making copies. I would PREFER to consolidate my hardware and make multiple backups more doable, but if the technology is not yet available, I will wait on it.

I hope that, if not currently available, someone will make it so in the next year with PCI-Express cards. If something like what I describe IS currently available, and with a price tag under $500, please let me know.


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Re: Card with audio sync & CC?
on Jan 31, 2006 at 12:01:40 pm

Hi Regon,

I can sense your pain. This topic of converting VHS tapes into CD or DVD is one of the most asked questions in the digital video world.

I suspect your problem is not with the converter or the capture card. Something must be amiss. Here's a link that teaches you EXACTLY how to convert the VHS to digital format on a PC. Try it out and see if it works.

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