Standalone video capture?
June 16, 2006 12:07 PM   Subscribe

Does this exist: A Standalone video capture solution?

I work for a marketing company that also does public relations. Whenever a client of ours has a media hit, we make a recording on a VCR. Then, another staff member converts this to WMV or AVI through his computer and a capture card.

What we're looking for is a standalone box that will accept a cassette tape and capture the video (preferably at higher than 1x) and then store it on a built-in hard drive. This unit could then be networked or plugged in via USB to download the digitized video.

If this doesn't exist, any suggestions on how we can speed up the process for video capture? It's taking up more and more of our staff's time.

posted by fvox13 to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
Best answer: Lots of DV camcorders have a "DV Bridge" mode. You just plug the video source into the camcorder, and then from there into the computer. The camcorder encodes the video into DV, and the computer saves it as a file on the disc.
posted by fake at 12:16 PM on June 16, 2006

Best answer: Maybe you should cut out the VCR and run something like SageTV, or BeyondTV on a PC with a couple of tuner cards.

From there your co-worker can edit the captured MPEG2 clip down and encode it as a WMV or AVI.
posted by Good Brain at 12:31 PM on June 16, 2006

Response by poster: It sounds like the "standalone box" we're looking for is another PC....

Thanks so far. If anyone thinks of another possible solution, we'd be grateful.
posted by fvox13 at 12:45 PM on June 16, 2006

Second the reccomendation for a MiniDV deck or camera -- not only can you capture direct to PC via firewire with no quality loss, you'll get better recording quality than VHS, and as an additional bonus, you can make as many copies of the resulting tape as needed, with zero quality loss.
posted by Alterscape at 12:52 PM on June 16, 2006

You want a TV tuner card of some sort. Record with it, and you've made a digital file that you can just edit and compress. It does the analog -> digital step for you, instead of you digitizing a VHS tape.
posted by Steve3 at 1:09 PM on June 16, 2006

Best answer: Try the Neuros MPEG4 recorder? Hook it up to your live video source or to the video out of your VCR, slap in a CF or SD card, and hit record. No PC required.
posted by xiojason at 3:19 PM on June 16, 2006

You're not going to be able to pull from tape at greater than realtime.

So, why bother. Why not capture using a Tivo or some other sort of RT media center. Absolutely bypass the tape.

The only downside with Tivo is that it uses a DRM mpeg-2 that needs to be stripped away (although there are good/easy enough tools for it.)

But I'd assume any of the low cost capture cards/media centers will do exactly what you one in less steps.
posted by filmgeek at 6:38 PM on June 16, 2006

Do you have to use the VCR? Replace it with the Neuros (or similar) and you have video ready to go instantly.
posted by cillit bang at 8:00 PM on June 16, 2006

Best answer: At my office we use a Digital Rapids system to capture from DigiBeta, or just about any other sort of video.
posted by MattS at 3:42 PM on June 17, 2006

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