9 Replies Latest reply on Nov 1, 2008 2:15 PM by Eddie Lotter

    Capture Device Advice

    Level 1
      I did a forum search but to no avail and of course, this may not be the best forum for this to be asked but I do so anyhow knowing there are some enlightened souls here who could likely offer me advice.

      I'm having trouble keeping my camcorders (Canon ZR Series) up and running in regards to capturing. They work great otherwise, for what we are using them for, but the firewire ports are constantly shorting on us. The repairs are becoming too costly to keep up with as we're having to spend more than the camera is even worth to try and get them working again.

      I know there are other options to use for connectivity which would allow us to bypass the firewire connection altogether. Granteed, I'd lose the digital quality but at this point efficiency reigns supreme over quality. I'm looking for recommendations on a couple of things:

      1) I've found plenty of easy fixes, such as the Diamond Capture Device and a few other "one touch" solutions that exist. The problem I've had with Diamond (actually ordered some and then returned them) is that the video being captured was in a much smaller resolution and the image literally had to be stretched to take up the entire screen. Is this normal? Is there a way to capture in analog but not lose extra resolution/generation in doing so? I felt like I was losing twice as much quality as I should have been by stretching the video out.

      2) How much am I losing in visual quality by using an component or S-video?

      I need a cost-effective solution until I can order new camcorders which wont be until next fall.

      Thanks for reading!
        • 1. Re: Capture Device Advice
          Harm Millaard Level 7
          Canopus ADVC-110 is worth to have a look at. You lose quality but less than you had with stretching.
          • 2. Re: Capture Device Advice
            Level 1
            Have you tried dedicating one camera just to capturing and not hooking it up and unhooking all the time? Maybe this will help the firewire ports. Or get an inexpensive DVCam/MiniDV deck and use that for capturing all of the time. That is how I do it. Analog to digital is a pain.
            • 3. Re: Capture Device Advice
              Level 1
              Thanks for the tip on the Canopus product. I may order a few of those!

              So, there's no compression? Just a generation loss? I'm a bit confused what I'm sacraficing with that product. Could you elaborate for me please?

              Robert, I really cannot leave a dediated camcorder because I used a computer lab that is shared by other classes throughout the day. Besides, I'd like it to be something students could grab from me and use on whatever work station they have a project saved to.

              Keep the advice coming! Great news so far about the Canopus product.
              • 4. Re: Capture Device Advice
                Harm Millaard Level 7
                > So, there's no compression? Just a generation loss? I'm a bit confused what I'm sacraficing with that product. Could you elaborate for me please?

                It sends the video/audio data over firewire to the PC. If you use firewire in it is a simple pass through, if you use analog in, the analog stream is converted to DV and sent on to the PC. So no loss with firewire, slight loss with analog in, assuming a good analog signal.
                • 5. Re: Capture Device Advice
                  Level 1
                  Thanks Harm.

                  I will need to pass the units around as I wont have enough for each student or even when they are working in pairs. Therefore, I wont be able to hard line it into the computer full-time. Since my problem all along has been the firewire ports on the camcorders, I will likely have to use the analog capture.

                  Just seems weird that it is priced at $255 while other units that do analog capture are $40. I guess it pays off though niehter having to lose much quality nor having to stretch the captured video.

                  Is my thinking correct here? Thanks again.
                  • 6. Re: Capture Device Advice
                    Harm Millaard Level 7
                    Just remember that PP ONLY allows for firewire capture. So analog signals need to be converted to DV on the fly, which is what you pay for. A $ 40 analog capture solution does not work with PP, so you need an other capturing program and still need to convert that material to MS DV AVI type2 for use in PP.
                    • 7. Re: Capture Device Advice
                      Eddie Lotter Level 4
                      >PP ONLY allows for firewire capture

                      Under Windows, PPro also support RS-232 and RS-422 serial devices.


                      Cheers
                      Eddie

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                      • 8. Re: Capture Device Advice
                        Harm Millaard Level 7
                        Technically correct, but not relevant for Canon ZR series. I wonder if more than 5% of all the people here have equipment to handle 232 or 422 streams and I assume that if they have that kind of equipment they would not come here often with questions, given the level of professionalism.
                        • 9. Re: Capture Device Advice
                          Eddie Lotter Level 4

                          In the years I have been here I have never seen a post about capturing using a serial connection. ;)

                          However, it is important to keep the record straight.


                          Cheers
                          Eddie

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