1. Welcome to the new MacRumors forums. See our announcement and read our FAQ

using G4 PPC to record VHS to DVD

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by MacSkagit, Apr 28, 2008.

  1. macrumors newbie

    My daughters have tasked me with transferring the childhood VHS memories to DVDs for future fun. I have a G4 PPC 733MHz with 640MB RAM and 256KB L2 Cache. What would be the best thing to upgrade to speed up this process, the RAM, the Cache, both?
    Also, since I'm shopping for a DVD burner to use with this, I'm assuming I'd want Firewire? And what speed should I look for-- 18X?

    The last 1hr tape took about 12 hours to record, render, and burn, so I'm hoping there's a faster way.

    Many TIA,
  2. Moderator


    Staff Member

    Is it a Power Mac? An internal (IDE) DVD drive is probably the best option unless you want the drive to be portable. As for faster rendering, you really need a CPU upgrade (Edit: See iGrant's post below for another suggestion), which I believe are still rather expensive.
  3. macrumors regular

    Ahh this is one of the things I would like to do with my soon to be ordered mac pro; gotta immortalize all the high school football highlight tapes. I was wondering what the best process to do this would be thanks for bringing the topic up.
  4. macrumors 6502a



    You DO NOT need a CPU upgrade or a new computer.

    OK, here is what I would recommend doing, this would DRAMATICALLY speed up the process, and its only going to cost about 200 bucks.

    I would first get this:

    This is a great video capture device for the Mac. You can also you this later as a Tivo unit to record TV shows. I would recommend getting the refurb unit for 149.99

    I would then get this:

    This is an internal replacement for your current cdrom drive. MacSales is a wonderful company and they have videos to show you how to install the DVD drive and it only cost 31.99!!!

    Also what model is your Power Mac G4? Is it a Digital Audio or a QuickSilver?

    Email me if you need some extra information or help!

  5. macrumors newbie

    Hey thanks for all the great replies,
    As for the conversion, I've borrowed an analog/digital converter which seems to be doing the job, just takes about 6 hours to convert, then another 6 to render. I'm sure it would all be faster if I had a G5 3GHz something, but I don't mind starting the process and doing something else for the next several hours, then revisiting when it needs attention.
    Just wondered if cache or RAM would significantly help the speed. Don't really want to spend undervalued but still precious US$ on hardware unless it's needed. The DVR drive is definitely needed. Is it faster to have it internal, or external on firewire? I'm thinking the external may be the better investment because then it could be used on any computer in the house, not just the older slave unit.
    ...MacSkagit :apple:
  6. macrumors 65816

    This is really good advice. It's a Quicksilver, btw, since it's only got 256K cache; were it a DA, it'd have 1 MB L3 since it was the high-end model (at 733 MHz).

    It's actually not an expensive option, Nermal, since a CPU upgrade would cost more.

    By the way, you're going to need to add a USB 2.0 card to your computer, which you can get from www.otherworldcomputing.com. This is because the product states it requires USB 2.0. You also might want to add another 512 MB of RAM.. or 1 GB, adding two 512 MB sticks, for a total of 1.5 GB assuming you've got a 512 MB stick and 128 MB in there already (obviously replacing the 128 MB stick).

    I assume that if this is your main machine you're probably(?) running Tiger, but if not, you need it for this option to work... it requires Mac OS 10.4 or later. If you're not running it, I'd recommend upgrading to Tiger, which is a pretty nice step up from Panther, and an enormous leap from Jaguar, assuming this is one of or your main computer. :)

    Edit: Hah, okay.

    An internal drive will run potentially faster than a FW drive (especially FW800), however, if you buy a brand new drive, it will be bottlenecked by the on-board ATA/66 controller. Still will be faster than the FW400, though.

    However, internal vs. external firewire makes no difference, except as you said the ability to link up with any other computer (though you can do so with target disk mode if you physically connect the two computers via FW).

    Adding RAM should speed you up, especially if you're running Tiger and running apps like that... the cache you haven't been able to upgrade without a CPU upgrade since the Power Mac 9600, 12 years ago (and even then, you wouldn't want to, since the slow in-line L2 actually slows down operation when a G3 or G4 upgrade card is present) ;)
  7. macrumors 6502a


    Thanks Firefly2002, I totally forgot about the usb 2.0 Card also for the G4. The EyeTV 200 is a Firewire model and I the newer models run on usb 2.0. I still believe firewire is better than usb hands down but anyways that is a another topic for another day.

    Here is a link to a Mac Usb 2.0 card:
    http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Sonnet Technology/USB2/

    I love Sonnet Technology, I have used them for years, I actually have used this actually USB Card in my Power Mac G4 733Mhz Digital Audio. All you have to do is plug the card in and go, no drivers or anything, it quite literally just works.

  8. macrumors 65816

    I'd consider skipping the computer altogether for the process. Go buy an inexpensive combo DVD-R/VHS set-top deck, pop the VHS tapes into the deck and copy them over to DVD-R at the highest quality setting.

    One step. You're done.

    If you then wanted to mess with the video, pop the DVD-R into your Mac, rip the video from it and do what you want.

    Yes, you'll possibly lose some quality re-ripping the DVD to a quicktime movie if you do further editing but I'll wager that the quality of the original VHS tape is the most significant limiting factor here and you'll be very impressed with the VHS-->DVD transfer that a decent set-top box will give you.
  9. macrumors 6502a


    I would recommend against that. I tried that last summer with several different DVD-R/VCR combos and VCRs hooked up to a DVD recorder and I was never ever impressed with the quality. Plus on top of that about 50% of the DVDs I recorded with the DVD Recorder where not playable even on the DVD recorder.

    Now Moof1904, if you can recommend dvd/vcr recorder that you have used with relative of success that would also be helpful. Like I said I have not used that kind of technology in almost a year now.

  10. macrumors 65816

    That's kind of stupid... FireWire is better, especially on PowerMacs... USB runs better on Intel architecture, but even then only about 1/2 advertised speed... the overhead is literally about 50%, so I only get like 30MBps on my external drive. It sucks. FW on the other hand... well, even FW400 is faster than USB 2, and FW800, forget it. It really should just have both ports.

    I'm actually now thinking that maybe I should do that for old videos. I'd, lol, need to add a USB 2.0 card to my mac, but they're cheap. Though maybe I should just get one for the PC... idk. Actually my sister's about to get a Mac laptop, so I could just use that. Hm.
  11. macrumors 6502a


    Hey Firefly2002 you could just this EyeTV 200 Firewire unit off of ebay:

    That is how I got mine, I used on my Power Mac G4 DA for over 6 months straight without a single problem.

    I totally agree with you on the USB, but I keep running into Mac people that are like "Why does Apple even put Firewire on their Macs, USB is the best and the fastest."

    Let me tell you I really miss the ability to use a firewire cable for iPods. I know the older ones can use it and I love it, but the newer iPods can't use firewire anymore (the last time I checked) and I think that is just plain stupid. I dread having to load videos onto my iPod Touch because it takes FOREVER!

  12. macrumors 6502a

    I've got a Dual 800 Quicksilver (1.5 GB RAM) and have been doing this for years. For capturing the video, I have an old Dazzle Firewire interface. I record into iMovie, then burn to DVD using iDVD. I replaced my internal drive with a DVD burner years ago. it's pretty easy and works great.

    The only part of the process that could be sped up significantly is the MPEG2 rendering, which takes about 3 hours for every hour of video. The capturing is all realtime, so no possibility of speeding that up.

    I can't say which parts of your system would be worth upgrading. I would think RAM would help. I would also think that a CPU upgrade would help, but there does come a point when you have to ask if it's worth upgrading a 6 or 7 year-old computer.

    Unless you never want to edit the footage, DO NOT go directly to DVD. It takes FOREVER to rip a DVD on these old machines. Plus, I like the editing capabilities of iMovie and the menu capabilities of iDVD (not to mention that you might want to break the videos up as different menu selections).

    I will be getting an 8-core MacPro later this year, which will greatly speed up these efforts (really looking forward to that). Good luck.
  13. macrumors 6502a


    Thats why I recommend the EyeTV 200 or the EyeTV 250 plus, both devices capture and then render the video into MPEG2 at the same time using hardware encoding so it does not take up all your CPU to do so when the tape finishes you are ready to burn straight to DVD . . .

  14. macrumors newbie

    Thanks for the advice!
    ...MacSkagit :apple:
  15. macrumors 65816

    Thanks. I might do that.

    Lol. Yeah. USB 2.0 is faster than FW800. Uh-huh. http://barefeats.com/hard69.html

    Even the (2007) MacBook Pros topped out at about 20 MB/s... and the PowerMacs? A blazing 15 MB/s (actually that was the PBs... the G5s were even slower (11MBps), but previous PM G4s had been ~15-17)

    He also notes that the PB got 36 MBps with the same drive... on FW400, and ~30 MBps on the MacBook Pro.

    Soo... recapping, on a Power Mac, USB 2 gets ~25% of its theoretical bandwidth (wow... that's.. sort of astoundingly bad), and FW400 gets about 72% (sometimes more). On the intel-based lappy, they're respectively 33% and 60%. And FW800? Well we all know how that goes. Or... apparently we all don't :eek: Over 60 MBps.

    Hah. I've never owned an iPod... kind of refuse to get one since everyone else has one... but the originals definitely shipped with only a FW port. Then they went to PC ;)
  16. macrumors 68000


    What software are you using? If you had Compressor you could do a fast encode and it would cut the time in half. I recently got rid of my G4 Dual 800 cause I was tired of dealing with the long waits. Now, with this new MacPro, takes real time to digitize the tape, then about 10-19 minutes to do the rest, encode, build, burn, etc. LIGHTENING FAST now.
  17. macrumors 68000


    Dude, you have no idea what you are in for. You are gonna love the machine. Takes like 5-10 min to encode an hour worth of video. It's insane. :D
  18. macrumors newbie

    Older version of elgato's "Video Capture"

    Hello everyone

    I'm looking for an older version of elgato's software "Video Capture" that runs on a os x 10.5 power pc platform. Is there anyone who can provide it? Because I can't find it on the net....

    Many thanks!
  19. macrumors member

    I successfully use the EyeTV 200 Firewire with my PowerBook G4.
  20. macrumors newbie

    Yeah that's nice but I'm really looking for an older version of elgato's "Video Capture"-software! Is there no one who can provide me a version that's running on power pc? Because as I've mentioned the newest version who comes with the USB-device does not support power pc anymore! So I really need this version!


Share This Page