Monday, November 19, 2012

Experience With S-Video to USB Encoders?

It turns out that Corel's Corel VideoStudio Pro X5 does work just fine with a digital video input.  It may be that I need to replace the ADS Tech Xpress DX2 box that tries to convert from composite or S-video to USB.  Unfortunately, because my experience with this sort of thing has been so bad, I am reluctant to spend much money on something that may not work, or may not work for long.

I have seen it suggested that buying a digital video camera with either S-Video or composite inputs is another solution.  Such cameras can take the analog input and write in its own media format for later replay.  Anyone have experience with such cameras in this mode?

UPDATE: Found a discussion on the Corel forum that I suspect explains the problem (even though it refers to the X2 version):
Here's the latest..I've been communicating with Corel email and finally phone calls. The latest tech I talked to said that I need two computers, one to capture, one to edit. He said that my two versions of VS , 9 SE and X2 will have contention. He basically said since I upgraded from 9 SE to X2, I no longer can capture on that computer. As long as X2 is installed, I cannot capture with 9 SE or CapWiz, both of which came bundled with the ADSTECH DVDXpressDX2 external device. And trying to capture with X2 is a no go. It previews just fine. In the preview window I get video and audio. Then when I start the actual record, X2 locks up with an unexpected error.
Since I have two PCs, and I only occasionally need to capture from an analog device, this may be the answer: install the old version, Ulead VisualStudio 9 SE and use that to capture from the ADS Tech Xpress DX2.  Use the new version of VideoStudio Pro X5 to do editing.  Yes, it is a bit clumsy, but like I said, I only occasionally need to capture from an analog device.  In addition, capture is slow, and gobbles resources like crazy.  It is best to do that on a machine that I am trying to do anything else on at the same time.

UPDATE 2: It turns out that the CapWiz program (a very simple video capture only program) that comes on the same disc as Ulead VideoStudio 9 works just fine on the same PC as Corel VideoStudio Pro X5.  I can capture using CapWiz from my VCR to MPEG-2, then import that into VS Pro X5.  The thing that is a bit quirky is that when I do so, VS Pro X5 seems to duplicate (with a slight delay) the audio portion of the video into the voice audio track, producing a bizarre echo.  But I can turn off the voice audio track for those situations, and solve the problem.  I guess that I am about ready to spend the money to buy the license for VS Pro X5.

UPDATE 3: It turns out that I was able to get Ulead VisualStudio 9 SE and the ADS Tech Xpress DX2 box working on the older laptop by removing the current QuickTime version first.  I can now capture analog there from VisualStudio 9 just fine.  I wonder if that might be the case on my other PC too -- but I am not sure that I really want to try it.  There are some nice features to the new version.  At least I can still do video capture on one box why working on the other.


  1. I used this KXWorld DVD Maker device for capturing S-Video in and it worked well. The price is pretty cheap. As usual in this price range the included software is junk, but the hardware functions well. I didn't use it all that much, just to transfer some ancient family gatherings from tape to DVD, but when I did use it it worked well.

  2. I've got a DVD recorder that takes in composite/RCA input. The VOB files can then be copied to a computer a converted to another format (I use MediaCoder, a free/ad-supported program).

    The DVD recorder won't record Macrovision protected VHS tapes, but ones recorded from television will most likely work (in my experience anyway).

    I may be getting a USB capture device in a week or two. I have to see how well it works with my system because it is a gamble as you've said.

  3. The DVD recorder won't record Macrovision protected VHS tapes

    A time base corrector will take a faulty video signal (which is what VHS Macrovison is), tear it down and reconstruct it, probably generally improving it in the process. They're not too expensive on eBay the last time I checked (a few years ago), since everyone is getting rid of theirs.

  4. It would have to be really cheap to tempt me. My primary goal is to convert home video tapes. I do respect copyright, in spite of Righthaven's crooks, and if I needed a backup copy of a commercial production, I would buy a DVD.

  5. I did a number of video conversions, VCR to Sony DCR to iMovie on my Mac laptop. Once I sorted out which button to push when, the process became fairly routine.


  6. I've attempted a couple of conversions of VHS to digital (from my small personal library).

    I used a rather generic video-in card on my desktop computer. After making sure that Linux had a driver for the hardware. (I think it's a BTTV chipset.)

    When I wanted to create a copy, I connected the VCR to the CO-AX or RCA input on the car. I then entered "cat /dev/videoX > ~/video/VID_FILE_NAME " on the command line, and pressed play on the VCR. Afterwards, I had to use video-editors to trim the beginning and end of the file, and use a conversion/mastering tool to create the digital video.

    But the capture was the simplest part.

    However, I suspect that you aren't running Linux for this project...and I have zero experience with using the video-input card on Windows.

  7. follow up on my last comment.

    The learning curve for Linux is steep. (Especially for the kernel-and-module tweaking which may be necessary to use USB video capture devices.)

    Sometimes I forget how steep that learning curve is, even for someone with many years of experience working with computers.

  8. I don't find Linux to be a steep learning curve, so much as that many of the open source programs either do not work very reliably, or tend to have problems with specific device drivers. Windows is better on this, largely because it is more of a "we're doing this to get rich, not to be nice" and that incentivizes making sure that stuff works.