Video Capture and Editing

Home Up

Under Construction

bullet

Tips for capturing and editing video with a computer and free software:

bullet

Visit www.Doom9.org and www.dvdrhelp.com for lots of info, guides, and downloads.

bullet

Idea:  To create compressed DVD, SVCD, VCD, or MP4 (DivX) video from captured video.  For example, put a full 2 hours of high-quality video onto one 4.7GB DVD disk.  Or, put 5 hours of low-quality DVD video onto one 4.7GB DVD disk.  Or, put 1/2 hour of medium-quality video on one CD that will play in a DVD player (SVCD).  Or, put 1 hour of low-quality video onto a CD (VCD).  Or, put one hour of high-quality video onto a CD for computer playback (MP4/DivX).  Or, create video files that you can play on your PDA (MP4/DivX).

bullet

Warning:  This can get really complicated!  You need a lot of free time!

bullet

Hardware:  To create high quality output, you will need a hardware encoder. 

bullet

Option #1, Digital Camcorder:  Some high-end digital video cameras have video input and Firewire or USB2 output, allowing you to capture in high quality from any video source directly to your computer.  Of course, you may only be interested in editing your own video and don't need the video input.

bullet

Option #2, MPEG2 Capture Box (or card?):  I'm currently using the Adaptec VideOh! USB2 external capture box (mostly because it was cheap).  It works very well, although there are some limitations imposed by the software that it comes with (which is why I'm writing this page!).  Don't try to use video capture cards for long captures!  The problem with all the ones I've tried is that they use the sound card for capturing the audio, which always leads to audio-visual synchronization problems.  Also, the audio quality doesn't seem too good (at least with my ATI All-in-Wonder).  The files will play just fine from the hard drive, but they are tough to edit (although turning them first into DVD mpeg with TMPGENC before editing seems to work).  Also, most capture cards are software encoders, meaning that they use the computer's CPU to encode.  This seems to always lead to dropped frames, even with fast computers.  I think that the dropped frames is the root cause of most AV sync problems.

bullet

Note:  The MPEG2 files created from video capture seem to all have the sound encoded as LPCM (linear pulse-code modulation), which is basically uncompressed audio.  LPCM audio is great for quality, but eats up a lot of space (you can only get about 1.3 hours on a DVD in high-quality).  Also, most of the simple video editing programs that come with your camcorder or MPEG2 capture device only work with LPCM audio (another reason I'm writing this page).

bullet

Software:  I usually work with only free software, not because I'm cheap (OK, it's because I'm cheap)

bullet

TMPGENC:  This is a wonderful program for creating DVD-ready MPEG files (also SVCD, VCD).  Unfortunately, it does not work with LPCM audio directly, but there is a work-around.  It uses a Panasonic MPEG encoder with a 30-day trial period.  See other sites for more info on the 30-day trial :).  Note:  If you want to make SVCD or VCD you will need CD burning software.  I mostly use Nero for this, although there are freeware alternatives.

bullet

DVD2AVI:  This is the work-around program for allowing TMPGENC (and other programs) to work with the LPCM MPEG files.  It creates a ".d2v" video project file and a ".wav" audio file that TMPGENC can work with.  The ".d2v" file is called a "wrapper" or a "frame-server" because it is not a "real" video file, it merely points to frames from the MPEG file from which it was derived.  (So don't delete the MPEG file or the ".d2v" file won't work!)  

bullet

SpruceUp or MovieFactory:  Programs for authoring DVDs from the DVD-ready MPEG files that TMPGENC creates.  The problem with most of the authoring software that comes with capture devices is that they only work with LPCM audio, limiting the length of video that you can put on the DVD.  I'm currently looking for other software that might work better...  Maybe DVDAuthor or IFOEdit but these look harder to use.  Note:  Although these programs can burn DVDs, I usually use Nero to do the actual burning.

bullet

IFOEdit:  I use this program in this process for only one reason!  That is to make a DVD that skips the initial menu and starts playing the video immediately.  This is especially nice for the second disk of a 2-disk movie.

bullet

NOTE:  If you're creating DVD, SVCD, or VCD you only need the software above.  The software below is ".avi" creation.

bullet

DivX:  This is a great MP4 codec (coder/decoder) that creates ".avi" files from video.  With it installed, you can store an entire 2 hour movie onto two 700MB CDs in high quality!  Or, you can save 2 hours of video onto about 300MB at reduced quality for playback on PDAs, for example.  Required for playback of DivX videos.

bullet

VirtualDub:  This is an excellent video editing program that takes ".avi" or MPEG input and saves as ".avi".  Usually, I use this to convert a video from MPEG to DivX.  This program can also re-compress the audio and rotate the video, very useful for creating files to play on a PDA.  You need a work-around to work on LPCM encoded MPEG video.  Note:  If the video you captures was from a film (i.e., you are backing up VHS movie that was from a progressive 24fps source that was telecined to be interlaced 30fps.) you can inverse-telecine with VirtualDub and restore the 24fps progressive video.  This is a good idea if you plan on viewing the video on a computer.

bullet

VFAPI:  This is the work-around program that allows VirtualDub (and other programs) to work with the ".d2v" file created by DVD2AVI.  It only takes a couple seconds.  You just open the ".d2v" file and it creates a ".avi" file that VirtualDub can open.  You then tell VirtualDub to use the audio from the same ".wav" file that DVD2AVI created.  This ".avi" file is again a wrapper or frame-server for VirtualDub (and other programs).

bullet

PocketMVP:  This player is required to view DivX ".avi" videos on your PDA.  It works really well.  I have a fast PDA (Genio E550g, 400MHz) and can get nearly fullscreen video at 24fps and fullscreen video at 15fps.

bullet

How to get 3-1/2 hours of OK quality capture on 1 DVD (by compressing the audio to MP2)

bulletCreate a custom profile with video bitrate=2650, set the file split size to > 6.5GB
bulletused DVD2AVI to extract audio
bulletCompress audio to MP2 with TooLame at 384kbps  (toolame.exe -f -b384 filename.wav )
bulletExtract video to a .m2v file using TMPGENC's demultiplex utility (not "simple" demux) using "MPEG Tools"
bulletUse IFOEDIT's DVD Author function and give it the .m2v and .mp2 files created earlier.
bulletUse NERO to burn the files in the video folder (or use the IFOEDIT image utility (seperate executable) to create a disk image and then use DVD Decrypter to burn the image).