Advice: VHS to Mac w EyeTV200..Best format to convert to after capturing

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by asencif, May 4, 2006.

  1. asencif macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2005
    #1
    Hi Guys...Thought I get some advice from video experts here. I have been capturing tapes from VHS to a Mac using EyeTV 200. Works great so far, however I want to preserve the quality which leads me to ask which format is best to convert it to. The Tapes were recorded in 680 x 480 and will be put into iMovie HD later on. I know there is a feature for DV format which is ideal for iMovie, however it increases the size to 720 x 480 and stretches it a bit where you can see the scrolling left to right bar at the bottom.

    I tried Mpeg 4 format, but obviously this was a no go as the compression deteriorated that quality tremendously. After all we are talking home video footage on a VHS tape to Mac. So what format do you guys advice I go with? Can I do DV format and keep the 680 x 480 that it was recorded on? Any other suggestions?

    One last thing...I did convert it to .mov QT format which looked ok, but not exactly like the original recording. A bit dark.
     
  2. Arnaud macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 24, 2005
    Location:
    The Moon
    #2
    Hi,

    I'm not a video expert, but I ran into the same kind of issues recently, with an EyeTV 200 and videos from a S-VHS source, and I tried several options.

    The file (in the library) is saved under Mpeg-2 format, which you cannot use for edition unless you own the Apple Codec (available on the Apple Store, for $20.00 or something). I don't know much more about that one, so please inform yourself before buying it...
    You can see the Mpeg-2 file with VLC though.

    However, as I planned to edit them with iMovie HD, I used the iMovie HD option from EyeTV, which will record it as DV in a iMovie HD package. This advice was given by the helpdesk from El Gato. The result is ok to me, especially when you have to use iMovie HD and then iDVD, altough I get some weird phantom effect on the final compression - but I'm afraid it's a matter of frame rate more than resolution.

    I'm not sure about what you refer to when you mention the scrolling bar etc, but it's advised to set the ratio in the display to 4:3 or whatever you use, instead of "automatic". Otherwise, you might get black bars after a little while.

    Little inconvenient of iMovie HD: backing-up your file costs something like 13Gb, as the whole DV file is contained. (However, for multiple back-ups, it might be possible to delete the DV file from the package, but you'd need a copy of the same DV file to reinsert when opening the file again. I haven't tried yet, but I plan to, as I have several different movies on the same original DV file: keeping two with the original DV file might be enough for security, while additional iMovie files would contain only the other (little) files ?)
    Obvious answer to my last comment is: "use Final Cut (Express)". That would solve some of the HDD size issue, but I just don't plan to put that much money in the software. Additionally, iMovie HD is really great for simple edition, while FCE might be just a tad too complex.
     
  3. Arnaud macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 24, 2005
    Location:
    The Moon
    #3
    Addendum

    I reconsidered your question, and some more comments might be useful.

    "iMovie HD" works for HD as well as non-HD formats, it seems that "HD" is in the name to underline the option and to sound cooler... From iMovie's help:
    The same with the "iMovie HD" option from the saving window of EyeTV: it will still be a standard movie if the source was not HD.

    Additionally, regarding the change of resolution: if you plan to use the result on a DVD, you will anyway have to leave the 640*480 to reach the PAL or NTSC resolution, which is defined in iMovie HD, so you can as well do it from EyeTV.
     
  4. asencif thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2005
    #4
    Thanks for all the info. I saw that despite the size, DV format is the best option to maintain quality and use with iMovie HD. On thing is that since the videos are old and at 640 x 480 when they are made to DV format by Eye TV they are put in a 720 x 480 frame it seems so you kind of see black bars all around the video. It's a bit annoying and there's no option to convert to DV at 640 x 480 at 4:3 standard format. So that's why I was compressing them to an mpeg-4 .mov QT file, however it does lose a bit of quality and looks of when brought back into iMovie. To me a straight conversion to DV from EyeTV looks like a faster and better process overall, however there is that size issue somewhat. Quality is great though.
     
  5. Arnaud macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 24, 2005
    Location:
    The Moon
    #5
    Then be really careful about what I already mentioned: when you play the video in EyeTV, set the display format to "4:3", and then export to iMovie HD. Otherwise, it is highly possible that the "automatic" choice of format sets it wrong. I had similar problems previously, with big black bars, and not anymore since.

    I'm not sure, but I think iMovie anyway converts back an Mpeg-4 movie to a DV movie in the file package. Can somebody confirm that ? If that's correct, then you anyway get a heavy iMovie file, even after importing an Mpeg-4 file.
     
  6. asencif thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2005
    #6
    Actually you are right, however that would mean compressing a recording to Mpeg-4 then importing to iMovie where it converts the video to DV. Quality not as great because you have a step where you compress the video first.

    I just found something interesting....When exporting a recording on EyeTV to a QT movie and selecting DV/DVPRO at High setting it keeps the 640 x 480 with the excellent DV quality. From there it's a sinch to put into iMovie. So to me there the preset settings are a bit off with the iMovie export option. Of course this would apply to old 640 x 480 footage mostly. It looks very good regardless though.
     
  7. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2005
    Location:
    UK
    #7
    How long (approximately) does it take to go from Eye TV to a DVD, for say 1 hour of TV?

    I have an iMac G5 2Ghz and with FFMPEGX I can convert Video formats at approximately real time (depending on the resolution).
     
  8. Tastannin macrumors 6502

    Tastannin

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2003
    Location:
    UT
    #8
    I have an EyeTV and I've set it to record in MPEG2 format which is what DVD's use. So once a show is recorded, I just send it over to Toast which takes 5 min or less to multiplex and burn the show at 8x on a G5 1.6 single processor with Pioneer DVR-109. No encoding needed unless you want nice menus, yadda, yadda, yadda. Any editing out of commercials, I just do inside EyeTV. If I want to save something and make it purty, I just change the recording format to DV and send it over to iMovie/iDVD. For the most part, I stick with EyeTV/Toast because that preserves the closed captioning, whereas iMovie/iDVD strip it.
     
  9. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2005
    Location:
    UK
    #9
    Cheers that's really useful.:)
     

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