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Video Capture Card

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.
1 Solution
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.
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.

armor_kingAuthor Commented:
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?
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
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.

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