Seeking Professional Help: Advice on Capturing, Editing, and Converting DV to m4v

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by jon31rm, Jan 16, 2010.

  1. jon31rm macrumors member

    Apr 15, 2007
    I've got a bunch of old VHS tapes (recorded basketball games from cable) that I would like to capture in the highest quality possible, edit out the commercials, and then convert the video to m4v to be playable on the Apple TV.

    I purchased the Canopus ADVC-55 after reading that it captures in a higher quality than other (read: less expensive) devices.

    I've captured a few DV videos using iMovie (not sure if it's the best option, it's just the only program I've found so far that captures DV). It freezes quite often, maybe the 4+ hour video files have something to do with that. And the time it takes to process the video and thumbnails (which I have no use for) after capturing seems ridiculous. On top of that, publishing to iTunes seems to take forever as well. Making the entire process (not including capturing and editing the video itself) take 6-8 hours, not including time lost from program crashes. I'm running this on the latest 2.8 Ghz MBP with 4 gb ram.

    I was hoping someone with a little more experience could help explain what I need to know and possibly what program I should be using to get the results I'm looking for.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  2. evil_santa macrumors 6502a


    Sep 23, 2003
    London, England
    i would say don't take the tapes in as full length, if part of your process is taking out the commercials , take in the tapes in 1/2 hr chunks or 1hr at most.

    I dont use imovie so cant help you with that , but can you turn off the thumb nails?

    converting to mp4 will take some time for a 4hr file
  3. skruggie macrumors member

    Dec 11, 2005
    This is exactly what my workflow is to capture vhs to play in itunes.

    I import with a Canopus about an hour at a time, save it as a dv file and then encode it with visual hub in mp4 format.

    You can also encode it straight in imovie, but I have found the quality to come out better by using Visual Hub.

    Also, you should not be using Imovie 9 for this - you are losing quality on the video during the transfer as it doesn't handle dv the same way that Imovie HD 6 does. I don't know the specific technical reasons for this, but if you go to the imovie forum on apple's website you can get lots of information about this.

    I also agree that 4 hours at a time is way too much in way of footage, you should break it down to an hour at a time.
  4. spice weasel macrumors 65816

    Jul 25, 2003
    +1. This is what I have done when capturing old VHS with my Canopus, except that I use HandBrake instead of VisualHub. You can also clean up the interlacing if you like when you encode to mp4.
  5. jon31rm thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 15, 2007
    So you guys would use iMovie HD 6 to capture?

    I would like to edit out the commercials (simple cutting, no fancy effects) prior to converting to m4v, to save some converting time at least. The final product should be no longer than 2 hours (but source material can be anywhere from 3-4). What's the best program to use for this?

    If I can get a DV file that's trimmed down the way I need it to be, Handbrake would be my first option since I'm already familiar with it.
  6. skruggie macrumors member

    Dec 11, 2005
    Yes, this is correct.

    After you have made the changes necessary to the files in imovie, what I would do is save the project as a DV file and export it outside of imovie, and then use Visual Hub to convert it to an mp4 file.

    Does Handbrake covert DV files? I wasn't aware that you could do that, I thought it only worked with VOB files from dvds.
  7. jon31rm thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 15, 2007
    I didn't even think to try to use Handbrake, but I just tried it and it does indeed convert DV files.

    Something else I noticed... iMovie (and Quicktime) apparently deinterlace DV files automatically, and don't offer an option to turn it off. The original DV file is interlaced, but in an odd way looks slightly better with lines running through it than the blurry mess that iMovie makes of it.
  8. skruggie macrumors member

    Dec 11, 2005
    I think that is the reason that it is recommended to use the old version of iMovie, because of the deinterlacing issue. I was reading on the apple support forums that it basically ruins the DV transfer.
  9. jon31rm thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 15, 2007
    Well iMovie HD 6 looks great, but I can't seem to import from the Canopus.

    It's connected via firewire 800 (no 400 ports on the new MBP :mad:).

    Nevermind, apparently it just took loading iMovie with it already connected.

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