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Old 10-25-2004, 06:02 AM   #1
tireseas
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Media query : Video Capture cards


I am very new to this whole media avenue and am wanting to embark on my new voyage of adventure and discovery by investing in a video capture card. My query is therefore three-fold:

1. On the standard Slack 10 kernel 2.4.26, what video capture card provides the ability to (a) record from a camcorder onto the HDD and (b) enables video editing? Also, is there any particular Linux/Slack-friendly software that will be required? If so, where is this obtainable from?

2. What software enables video editing? Does the Gimp enable one to edit video, for example? Is there any reasonable introductory documentation on video editing available for download or purchase?

3. Miscellaneous department:
3.1. What formats are videos captured in, or is this determined by the user at time of capture?
3.2. My understanding is that the mechanics of this process are connecting my camcorder to my PC via the connectors that comes with the video capture card. Do I then press 'play' on the camcorder and 'record' on the video capture program??
3.3. I understand that, even despite compression, video will take up a lot of space on my drive. Does anyone have any recommendations for getting around this problem? I was thinking that I'd simply burn it onto CD and be done with it, but I suppose that I could load a second dedicated HDD.
3.4. Can I anticipate that I will experience a huge drain on my memory? The current module is 556MB? Will this be sufficient?
3.5. Anything else someone in my position should know/be aware of before embarking on this journey?

Many thanks all.

Andy
 
Old 10-25-2004, 06:28 AM   #2
acid_kewpie
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1) this is both kernel and application independent. your question doesn't really make sense, as if any tv card works (more specifically with the v4l interface, which is effectively 99% of them) then any additional application will work with it. it's like buying a haupopage card for windows and using the bundled software. it's up to you to find your capture software of choice, there's plenty to choose from nowadays.

2) loads, cinerella and cinepaint are "biggies" but it all depends what you want to get out of it. personally i just use mplayer to encode from tv card direct to divx.

3)
1. your call. there are dozens of possible formats
2. yeah
3. depends on the format you choose. a powerful enough system can happily go straight to highly compressed divx. capture itself is not an intensive task
4. module?? it's always nice to have a few gig to throw around. depends what you want to capture really. back to divx again, most full length movies can happily fit into 700mb.
 
Old 10-25-2004, 06:43 AM   #3
bubbacola367
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Wow! A ton of questions!! There are two formats widely accepted - TV-Tuner Cards with the BT8x8 Chip (Think Win-TV), and the IEEE1394 - Firewire. The choice would depend on your Camcorder and/or personal preference. Firewire is for Digital Devices and TV-Tuner Cards are for Analog Devices. You of course could get just a plain Capture Card l- but having the ability to watch TV on your computer as well as record it, makes TV-Cards my favorite, plus of course you can hook up a VCR to the inputs, analog DVD player - and most have even a Radio Tuner! - cost $29 - $35 thereabouts.

Not a lot of choices for Video editing I am afraid and/or capturing for that matter. In the Linux world there really is only one program that works correctly - MainActor for Linux by WWW.MainConcept.Com.
Within Slackware the program does not recognize my TV-Tuner Card - that is the latest version does not - 5.2, but does recognize FireWire devices (or so it has a Window asking for input of such as I do not have a Firewire device). However its previous version 3.5 perfectly recognizes the TV-Tuner Card.. which you can get through Tucows.

Version 5.2 within Windows does recognize the Tv-Tuner Card. so I have a feel for what it can do - it will capture on the fly in MPEG 1/2, and a host of other formats, MPEG being the choice by far howver as it quickly can be burned to DVD and played through any DVD-player on the TV. Version 3.5 will capture only in Raw AVI or Compressed MJPEG AVI. This technically is the preferred way to capture as it is Crystal Clear, but you must convert it into MPEG if you wish a small size. However, for just down and dirty quick capture, you can set the quality down to about 20% of original and in Half-Screen Mode (320x240) the resulting file size will be about 7megs per minute of video - very comparable to any other codec.

Having a second hard drive is always nice to have - I have run two hard drives for years, even when HD's were small, but technically not needed if you wish to store items to CD-R/RW and/or DVD-R/RW. As far as memory/system requirements - anything at least a P3 and above, 733Mhz and above, 256 Megabytes Memory and above will work fine.

If you are new to Linux (I am not exactly new, but I come and go so this time around I am new again - first version being Slackware 4 - with Slackware 10 really working OK now) I would suggest you first learn how to use your devices within Windows and then migrate over to Linux as you do not want to be learning three different things at once. If you have an integrated SoundCard on your MotherBoard for example and then use a TV-Tuner Card - the latest Sound System might not work correctly, being called ALSA - but the old drivers do being called OSS, so you would wonder why you did not have sound for just one thing. Simple enough to fix, but learn how to use your equipment first in an evironment where everything works without tinkering with the Operating System and then coming over to Linux will be fun.

Hope this helps a bit!

CYA
 
Old 10-25-2004, 07:22 AM   #4
theYinYeti
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Quote:
Tuner Cards with the BT8x8 Chip (Think Win-TV)
Don't take offence, but this kind of advice must stop spreading.

Of course, you can buy a second-hand TV-card with one of the very-well-supported bt8x8 chipsets. Unfortunately, almost no card is sold with such a chipset, nowadays.

Most modern low-price TV cards (among which are newer WinTV and PCTV) are based on the saa7134 chipset, or a Connexant chipset the name of which I don't remember.

All I can tell is that I can watch (and now record) TV with my saa7134-based "PCTV Stereo", though I suffer sometimes from sound switching off only 2 or 3 seconds after selecting a new channel... but it *may* be because of bad antenna signal.

BTW, as far as I know, the PVR250 and PVR350 still are among the best supported, for higher quality cards.

Good luck in your choice.

Yves.
 
Old 10-25-2004, 11:24 AM   #5
tireseas
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Thanks for all your responses. If I am understanding the gist of all of this, is that the choice of hardware would be determined more by personal choice and price than by what is specifically compatible with linux, is this correct?

A further question: is a video capture card the same as a TV card?

Cheers all

Andy
 
Old 10-26-2004, 02:33 AM   #6
theYinYeti
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No, it's not the same. Most TV cards (all?) also have minimal capture capabilities, in that they have a video input, and often also a s-video input.

On the one hand, real capture cards don't provide TV input. On the other hand, they can have several inputs of each kind, and most of the time, they have built-in IEEE1394 (firewire) inputs.

High-end TV cards and capture cards can hardware-encode video in real-time to mpeg.

Yves.
 
Old 10-26-2004, 08:33 AM   #7
tireseas
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Thanks for the clarification Yves.

Now to really demonstrate how obtuse I can be :

The responses here have tended to emphasise TV cards by and large. Given that I am not all that bothered about capturing TV (I barely watch it on the box, far less wanting to do so on my PC), and am far more interested in going for better video capture (sans firewire), what would be a reliable, Linux-friendly card to source out? If it makes any difference, I would be looking to purchase in the UK.

Thanks for your continued patience all .

Andy
 
Old 11-01-2004, 10:36 PM   #8
bubbacola367
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A firewire card is basically just a port for your computer so it can attach firewire capable devices to it - primarily Digital Cameras. PCI versions can be found for $20 and up. They in themselves do little, as they just allow you to bring the video in - you still need something to handle the incoming signal. ATI used to sell an All-in-Wonder that had a Firewire port - model number 8500DV I believe. If you go the firewire route you will need video editing software capable of capturing it. In the Linux world - MainConcept 5.2 does this. TV-capture cards have little to do with TV capture. Sure you can set up the Card to watch and record TV on your computer - but my card has an S-video connector as well as a Composite-video connector. I hook up the analog camcorder to the card and select the source of the signal and my video is displayed on the computer screen. I then can proceed to capture that format in any fashion I desire that my computer is capable of. Within Windows I am capable of encoding MPEG-2 streams using the hardware on the card, but there is no software within Linux to do this, so I need to use an AVI capture and then convert it to MPEG-2. The card I use is still available for sale if you look around for it and does have the BT8x8 chip as well as a FM radio Tuner and MPEG-2 encoder built-in. In the states the price runs about $35.00 for it and I think you probably could find it somewhere - it is called a KWorld MPEG-TV Station/PCI. Hi8 Analog Tape Capture is extremely superior to Digital in my humble opinion as it has a film quality to it. Digital just seems so flat and lifeless to me, like watching TV versus a Movie, but if you believe Digital superior, then look for a firewire card and get the software to go with it. Best let you go. Good luck!!
 
Old 11-02-2004, 01:06 PM   #9
tireseas
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bubbacola367 - thanks for your contribution to this thread. As I am wanting to capture camcorder Hi8 film, this seems like a great route to investigate further. I was chatting with a retailer who has suggested that I'd need to upgrade my system - needing more RAM, and a better video card (He's suggesting the nVidia MX4000) but also mentioned the Studio AV/DV v.9 from Pinnacle as a capture card. This is all Greek to me never having ventured down this path before.

Cheers

Andy
 
  


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