capturing tv footage for editing in final cut
February 24, 2005 6:41 PM   Subscribe

I wish to capture some footage from television, edit it in final cut pro, and output it in as high a resolution as possible.

At this point, I'm leaning towards using a pvr card such as wintv150, but these cards all output mpeg2, which does not seem to be able to be opened in final cut. so my question is two parts, 1) what's the cheapest and easiest way to achieve my objective and 2) is there a way to convert mpeg2 to .mov with minimal loss of data.
posted by puppy kuddles to Computers & Internet (10 answers total)
Cheap/Easy/High Res? You may want to go the DV route; either routing the TV signal through a DV camcorder to your computer, or using a DV breakout box such as those made by Canopus. Check eBay; a buddy of mine got one for somewhere in the $100-150 range. DV's resolution is (I believe) 720x480 so you'd be doing OK there.
posted by jtron at 7:04 PM on February 24, 2005

Do you have a decent video camera? I've had good luck with making the camera act as a VCR and bringing the camera's output to Final Cut Pro. Sorry, seems like a simple suggestion, but it works.
posted by geoff. at 7:06 PM on February 24, 2005

There is no way to convert mpeg2 to .mov without minimal loss of data because the definition of mpeg2 is to compress the hell out of footage.

1 hr of mpeg2 video is usually around 2GB of storage.

1 hr of DV video is usually around 13GB of storage.

Guess which one will be better quality.

Listen to those guys above me.
posted by jeremias at 7:26 PM on February 24, 2005

Yeah, the best quality way is to use either a DV bridge or a DV camera. A DV bridge (and many cameras) will send a DV data stream over firewire in real time. Other cameras will record the DV data, which you then play back.

The roundtrip loss from going to DV and back (even with editing) is pretty negligible. MPEG-2 might look good in playback, but after editing the compression artefacts aren't so well hidden.
posted by cillit bang at 7:29 PM on February 24, 2005

Hope you've got some spare cash.

That'll capture DV for you from analog sources. But it's ain't cheap.

You could use it to capture directly into final cut, full uncompressed.

for that money, maybe you can find a decent 1 ccd dvcam, though.
posted by shmegegge at 11:23 PM on February 24, 2005

MPEG-2 should work fine. If your recording from digital cable or satellite the source footage is probably mpeg-2 anyway, and it will open in most current version editors.
posted by ryanissuper at 12:12 AM on February 25, 2005

Mpeg-2 will NOT work fine. It's a lossy format where you're missing information between I frames. So much for quality. If you're determined to do this....

DNxDV (and MPEGstreamclip, I think) are two freeware MPEG-2 to DV converters.

Go to versiontracker, type in MPEG and you'll find a bunch of choices.

The bonus of the PVR you have a PVR.

Worst choice (but cheapest hardware wise)-
Pinnacle makes a box called a Dazzle - that will permit you to bring in analog (your cable box) signals and turn it into DV to edit in FCP.

The canopus box is a good choice (as jtron mentioned)

Wanna go hardcore? Get a Blackmagic or AJA HD board and convert the incoming HD feed. That'll be about $1-2k in cards + another bunch in SCSI drives
posted by filmgeek at 3:11 AM on February 25, 2005

I'm sorry, but getting a comprehensive array of options and a mini-endorsement for higher picture quality over inexpensive lossy compression from someone named filmgeek is too perfect. That gets my vote for best answer.
posted by shmegegge at 4:01 AM on February 25, 2005

I've seen a Canopus ADVC-300 plugged into a Mac pull analog video from any RCA/S-Video source without a hitch. I've seen a lot of other setups fail.
posted by airguitar at 6:09 AM on February 25, 2005

If you just want to use your video for broadcast, MPEG-2 will work fine. I use BeyondTV with a PVR-250 to record local newscast for use in political commercials. They look great on television. DV is a much less compressed format, but you would have to be a "film geek" to tell the difference.

The bonus with a pvr is that you won't have to be there to press the record button.
posted by ryanissuper at 12:18 PM on February 25, 2005

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