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VHS to VCD

Posted on 2001-06-06
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Last Modified: 2010-04-06
I need help with settings to copy my VHS video tape, to get it small enough so I can burn it as a VCD, and still have a good picture. cd-r is 700 megs.

I have Win98 SE, 800mhz Athalon, 256 RAM, 30 gig HD with about 20 gigs free, ATI all in wonder 128 - 16meg, MGI video wav2 edit program, Virtual Dub.

I've been reading several "how to's", but now I think I've got myself confused. I was able to capture small videos with the ati program just fine till now I find out about the file size limit for avi's (that sux!)
My video tape is 2.5 hours, I can capture it 25fps 352 x 480 mpeg1 and it's about 4 gig, tried to resize it to 352 x 240 with virtual dub and got an error mesage about IO not set right. didn't understand so I used MGI program (came with ati card) it resized it but it's still over 2 gigs, it also changed to 30 fps mpeg1, can't really adjust settings on this program too much. (virtual dub has so many fine tuning adjustments I don't understand half of them)
I captured straight to Virtual dub - avi, but when it finished the audio did not line up to the video, and there is a check beside "Sync to audio" I would think that is what that means.
what's the best way to do this?
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Question by:wanda101797
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by:TheRedGuy
ID: 6158948
Do you really need to capture the whole 2.5 hours in one go? Are there not natural breaks in the VHS tape which you can capture separately, i.e. scene changes etc.? If there are this may be a good approach to take. And, if there are many such scene changes my advice would be to capture each one as uncompressed AVI, then use MGI VideoWave to 'join' them all together. That way you can apply transitions between the scenes (fade in/out etc.). Finally, publish to the format of your choice with Video Wave....
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by:MarcG
ID: 6159039
you can even when capturing to mpeg1 change the output filesize , in avi it is done with setting the compression level of the codec and with mpeg you can set how much bits per second the mpeg shall have, the less bits the less space, it also affects quality of your movie but you have to try.
When capturing to avi there should be an option to fix sound to frames, set it to 1 frame, so each frame is fixed to the sound and there should not be any jumps(this is something like setting keyframes for video). I guess sync to audio means something different, is there no online help for this ?
For VCD the video has to be mpeg (mpeg 1 for VCD mpeg 2 for super VCD), so if you don't have a programm that burns VCDs and converts the avi 'on the fly' you can give avi2vcd a chance, didn't try it myself still but maybe later today i will.
here is the link
http://www.e-divx.de/download/encoders/avi_2vcd_ver1_3_1__e-divx__.zip
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by:wanda101797
ID: 6160068
Redguy,
yes, there are brakes, that's a pretty good idea.
what settings should I use to get the best picture?
I read somewhere, to keep the quality good, the capture size should 352 x 480, ...480 so you get both fields(or both something) then resize it with virtual dub using the resize precise bicubic filter. ...on the ATI settings there is a video capture setting - either: one field, both fields, or interlaced, if I pick Both fields do I still need to capture it 480 high?
do you have the all in wonder and mgi?

Marc,
how should the compression level of the codec be set?
I'm looking at virtual dub 1.4d, - video > compression >
it doesn't like my ATI 's in the list except the AVI YVU9 format codec. there are a bunch in the list but I don't know which one to use. the ones that don't say mpeg4 are; Cinapac codec by radius, indeo video 5.06, intel indeo(r)video r-3.2, intel indeo video 4.4, Microsoft H 261, & 263, microsoft rle, MS video 1.

I see audio/video interleave option: (I didn't set this)
says Enabled, audio block placment; preload 500 ms of audio before video starts. interleave audio every 1 frame.
delay audio 0 ms
Is this right?
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by:TheRedGuy
ID: 6160258
wanda,

352x480 means 352 wide and 480 tall. Ordinarily, you should be capturing with a width greater than the height (common w/h ratios are 1.333, i.e. 320 by 240, or 1.222 i.e. 352 by 288). To capture interlaced video with VirtualDub's interface requires the height to be at least 480 (as I recall). This would require a width of 1-and-a-bit times that amount. ATI presumably offers a list of common dimensions for the capture (I have a Haupagge card so can't say for sure) - be sure you select one that has a minimum height of 480. Be aware thought that extra size requires more disk space to capture the video to!!!

As MarcG points out, you can actually compress the video during the capture process. Personally, I never do this because I almost always want to edit the video once the capture has finished and therefore end up having to re-compress it again when I'm done. This leads to loss of quality. However, with 2.5 hours to capture you will not have enough disk space to store this in one (or several)uncompressed files.

My advice is this:
Capture a scene from your VHS tape as uncompressed AVI.
Edit it however you see fit.
Save it as MPEG-1 (using MGI Video Wave).
Repeat for the next scene.

You should not run out of disk space this way because you are working with one piece of footage at a time and compressing it before moving on to the next scene. At the end of this you will have a bunch of MPEG-1 files. These can be spliced together without having to re-compress the individual files with an MPEG-joining app. There are several around. I-FilmEdit from Cinax is good.

Good luck!

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by:wanda101797
ID: 6160472
do I want it to be Interlaced?

if I capture it in chunks like that, after I save it all as mpeg1, will it be small enough to fit on a cd-r?
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by:TheRedGuy
ID: 6161064
No, I don't think you do in this case. Any improvements that you might gain from capturing interlaced video would be more than offset by the compression required to fit 2.5 hours onto a single CD, I would think. Experiment with a 10 minute section and play around with different compression settings. That way you can extrapolate how much you can fit onto a CD and at what compression settings.....
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by:wanda101797
ID: 6161357
On the ATI capture program I have 3 choices;
one field, both fields, or interlaced.

both fields then?

if I choose both fields, do I still need to have the height 480?

30 fps?
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by:TheRedGuy
ID: 6161791
fps will depend on the whether the video tape is in PAL or NTSC format. See here for more info

http://www.dvd-video.co.uk/technical/framerates.htm

re interlacing, this is from the VirtualDub glossary in the Help file:

>>
interlacing

Mixing parts of successive images to improve resolution without increasing necessary bandwidth.  For instance, both NTSC and PAL transmit only half the total scanlines in each field.  The scanlines from one field alternate with the scanlines from the next, so the picture has twice the vertical resolution.  Unfortunately, this means at any one time the frame can have part of one image interleaved with part of another, which leads to big headaches when processing the video with a computer.
<<

This is why you need to have a minimum height of 480 for this. One field would have scan lines 1,3,5,7 etc while the other has 2,4,6,8. When interlaced, you get the combined set of lines and hence more detail at that larger size, i.e. scanlines 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8 etc. Actually, that is a very simplistic take on interlacing - each field is infact 1/60th of a second apart....

My advice is to capture at 320x240 and accept that you will get only one of the two fields. I think you are going to struggle to get 2.5 hours onto a single CD at a reasonable level of quality so you will have to trade off somewhere. Reducing the dimensions of the video is a good place to start - at 320x240 you should still get reasonable playback quality in full-screen mode (provided of course you don't have to compress the file too much).

I repeat my suggestion to experiment for yourself with compression settings on, say, a ten-minute capture and extrapolate the results from that. It will take a long time to compress 2.5 hours and you don't want to have to do it several times!!
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by:MarcG
ID: 6162677
audio interleaving should be set to 1 frame , that's what i meant, codec i would chose indeo 5.x (maybe try to look for a newer version than 5.06) or try div-x codec http://www.e-divx.de/download/codecs/DivX311a_is2__e-divx__.zip it has very good qualitiy and very good compression (normal movie (1,5 hours) practically DVD quality about 700 MB).
Setting compression, you want to make a VCD ? So you can set the either set the compression level to a certain percent level or better is to set it to a certain bandwidth, so if you want to play it with a VCD player and this player can only read with 4x speed 600 kB/s will be enough. (setting a certain bandwidth also will give better results than setting percent level). If you don't have too much moving in your video you can also set the key frames setting a bit higher so keyframes are set less often. A Key frame is a full picture while delta frames (the frames between key frames) contain just the changes, thus taking less space to store. But if there are too many changes between key frames it will look not very good. Also you can skip a video only from one key frame to another, so if you set your key frames to set them all 2 seconds you can only jump to full 2 seconds, I mean 0,2,4,6, 8 etc, so you could not jump to second 9 for example.

2.5 hours on a CD ... maybe you should just cut it in 2 parts Take a look for a good place at about half time (scence change, like you can see it on TV all the time) to stop the movie there. Burn this part to a VCD and the second to another. Like this you have more options with quality. You can also make something like 'Please insert CD 2' at the end of part one, whatever you like ...
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by:wanda101797
ID: 6164563
RedGuy,
I'm assuming this vhs tape is NTSC, it's a wedding, my friend hired a company to video tape it, it's been edited with some sort of program, they added some photos like a slide show and I see transitions.

Marc,
If I compress with divx codec, how will I get it to mpeg1 for vcd?

what program can I use to adjust the bandwidth?
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by:TheRedGuy
ID: 6164644
The bandwidth is determined by the data-rate of the MPEG-1 stream. If you compress it to 600K/sec then you have effectively set the bandwidth to that amount.

I don't hink MarcG is suggesting to capture it to divx and then publish to MPEG-1. I think he is suggesting to just publish it to a divx AVI file and burn that to a CD (or two!).
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by:wanda101797
ID: 6164924
if my mpeg1 video looks good at 320 x 240 on my computer, is that what it will look like when played on a VCD player to a TV?

if not, is there a way I can tell what it will look like?
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by:wanda101797
ID: 6165385
I've captured the avi 320 x 240, one field, 15 fps, for a one minute video, size is 24 meg.

I tried that file on 4 different mpeg encoders and the smallest it will go to mpeg1 for VCD is 10 megs. (@600/kps)
looks good viewed at 352 x 240, but viewing at 200% does not look good.

it needs to be about 4 megs to fit on one CD-R, or 8 to fit on 2.

how can I make it smaller?
please see my comment above too.
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by:MarcG
ID: 6166626
15 fps is not too good for a movie but if you will not notice, maybe show it to somebody different just to let him/her check the quality of 15 fps.
One way to reduce the size is the compression like said above, and by the way i meant data-rate when saying bandwidth just couldn't remember the correct word ;) you set this in codec properties. You may also just try to set compression to , let's say, 25% and then take a look at it.
you can also reduce the color depth of the captured video 8 bit is maybe too few (256 colors) but 16 bit (65536 colors) should be ok. Set this where you set the capture resolution.

to convert div-x to vcd you can use the program i told you before (avi_2vcd) but then you don't need to capture it with div-x, 'cause vcd has it own compression (mpeg1 for standard vcd) and the advantages of div-x (small size) will no longer work for it.

You said you had it taped by a professional, so why do you now want to 'retape' it ? Can't you just spread the tape ? Or just make a best of on VCD. Because 2.5 hours are quite much to fit on a cd(when having acceptable quality).

And about tv output. normally it should even look better on a tv, 'cause the resolution of a tv set is much worse than the one of a computer monitor, so even if it looks a bit bad on a computer screen it might look ok on a tv.
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by:MarcG
ID: 6166638
about viewing it at 200%, just imagine, you have only 15 frames a second at 100% speed, when showing it in 2 times speed (200%) you wil only see about 7.5 frames in the same time.
It is not like from analog tape where you can see double frame rate when winding the tape at 200%. Computer is just leaving out some frames.
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by:wanda101797
ID: 6167895
Just so I understand,... If it looks good on my computer at 352 x 240 it will look good played on a TV. ?

I mean I enlarged the window size of the video (while viewing the finished mpeg1) to 200%, and it did not look very good, could see blocks and is blured.
I am thinking, that is what the TV is going to do.... enlarge the video, so I was trying to see what it might look like.
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by:MarcG
ID: 6168334
no, tv set does not have a bigger resolution, it has even a smaller than any normal pc is running nowadays.
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by:wanda101797
ID: 6168953
Is there any way to view this vcd on my computer that will give me an idea of what quality it will be on a TV?

I was told it was possible to capture a 2 hour vhs and change it to vcd, and it would fit on one cd-r, and would be vhs quality.  Is that not true?

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MarcG earned 200 total points
ID: 6169403
I don't know, but i never heard of a 2 hours vcd (but that doesn't have to mean too much). Anyway, VCD is mpeg1, you can try with compression and datarate, maybe reduce sound quality (forgot about that, can greatly decrease filesize too, going from 16 bit to 8 bit will half the space needed for sound) but I don't know if the quality will still be acceptable.
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by:TheRedGuy
ID: 6172245
wanda,

take a look here:

http://www.vcdhelper.com/

tons of info....
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by:wanda101797
ID: 6172494
yeah, that's a great place, I was just there last night  and found out that you can only get about an hour (max) of vcd video on a cd-r, less if you want a little quality.

Well you both helped me here, who wants the points?
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by:MarcG
ID: 6172896
you can split the point, go to community support for help with it
http://www.experts-exchange.com/jsp/qList.jsp?ta=commspt
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by:MarcG
ID: 6172906
about your queation how to see the quality it will have on a tv ... you have to connect your computer to a tv to see the quality there, even the lowest possible reolution in windows (640x480) is more than a tv has (about 352x288 for PAL, NTSC is not too much difference) and anyway, the quality of a picture on a computer screen is anyway better than on a tv set, even when just watching normal TV on a comp screen, some years ago I had a Phillips monitor and a tv-tuner to connect to that monitor so i could watch tv there.
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by:wanda101797
ID: 6186666
redguy,
I'll post another "?" just for you unless you don't want the points. let me know.
Thanks
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by:TheRedGuy
ID: 6188841
If you're offering, I'm accepting, thanks.....

:-)
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by:wanda101797
ID: 6189012
OK.

If anybody has a video problem and paid pionts to see this question, go here and read this forum for help.
http://www.vcdhelp.com/phpBB/index.php
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