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Video Capture Card

Posted on 2000-03-29
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Last Modified: 2010-12-01
I recently became interested in purchasing a video capture card, but I know almost nothing about them. What are the good brands? What are the things I should look for?

Most cards can capture video at only 30 FPS; should I look for one that can do 60 FPS? Do I need a VCR in order to record from TV? What would be a good price? Where should I shop for one, in general computer stores like CompUSA and Fry's or on the web?

I would appreciate several recommendations please.
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Question by:armor_king
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Expert Comment

by:compmania
ID: 2667440
I believe the V3 3500 does a great job doing capturing.
You will not need a VCR.
Fry's would be my choice, it is good to search the web and compare prices.
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Expert Comment

by:sdewerth
ID: 2667579
You do not need a video capture card that captures any higher than 30 fps.  A typical movie is projected at 30fps.  It seems to be a rather popular belief that more is better in this category.  However, what would be the point a a 60pfs capture of something that is only projecting at 30fps..two of the same frame back to back?  What you really need to look for is a capture card that will capture the resolution you are looking for at the speed you are looking for.  Typically, most of the consumer cards might only capture a 320 x 240 image at 30fps.  If you need a full screen image at 800 x 600, you are going to get some blockiness as pixels are blocked to make up for the extra resolution.  To get a good quality professional capture that will do the higher resolutions, look at at least 500 dolars or higher(into the thousands).  It really depends on your intended use.  I have a WinTv by Hauppage and it suits me fine, but I won't be producing any Oscar quality home movies.

Scot
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Author Comment

by:armor_king
ID: 2668427
Actually, sdewerth, one of the biggest uses I have planned for my video capture card is recording movies for a PlayStation video game.  That particular game runs at 60 fps, so in this case, it would apply.  You make a good argument about most movies running at 30 fps or less, though.  I remember hearing somewhere that movies are recorded at only 24 fps, or was that only animated movies?
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Expert Comment

by:mitrakis
ID: 2668841
I'm using a Winnov Videum AV PCI.
Very good grabber.
It's possible to install more than one card into your PC without any conflicts.
This way you can record/view several video signals simultaneously (most grabbers are unable to do so due to driver restrictions).
Furthermore, it has three video inputs on board:
- s-video
- composite
- MXC (video and audio combined in "one" cable)

You can use hardware compression as well.
This is something the Hauppauge card isn't capable of (uses software compressors/codecs).

And yes, you're right concerning movie fps.
You're watching TV at approx. 25fps; quite enough :)

Have a look at http://www.winnov.com for further details on the suggested grabber card.

Best regards
-Stavi-
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Accepted Solution

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lgrover earned 100 total points
ID: 2670439
There is no need to capture at faster than 30FPS.  Movies are generally recorded at 24FPS, broadcast video is recorded at 30FPS and time-lapse is <10FPS.  The best capture cards generally capture full-motion (30FPS) video at 640x480 resolution.  If you want video of even higher quality, you can opt for a digital camcorder for home movies or a digital VCR (mini-DV) for recording digital video.  Expect to pay at least $1500 for the camcorder or $3500 for the DVCR.  For something more reasonable, go to ebay.com or auctionwatch.com and search for "video capture."  MOst of what you will find are standard consumer <$250 models that will not offer near broadcast quality.  For better quality, opt for the Hollywood 2 at about $999 new or <$500 used on auction sites.  For true broadcast quality video, you will need a professional card like the Targa line.  These sell for about $1500+ USED.  For personal use, a consumer or mid-range card is sufficient.  If you are only interested in recording TV broadcasts, buy a TV tuner with digital VCR software.  This will generally run $50-$200 and can record video of fairly high quality.  Be aware, however, that 30 minutes of full motion, near broadcast quality, MPEG video takes up a LOT of hard disk space.  Hope this helps.

Lenny
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