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    • THE VIDEO CAPTURE BIBLE Written by g00z REVISED: 5.19.2002
    • The Video Capture Bible INTRODUCTION The purpose of this guide Legal Stuff The “don’t sue me” clause I’ve written this primarily not due to a lack of adequate guides around (Check www.divx-digest.com -- there are at least 30 I am not your mother. I don’t even know who you are. If you Cap guides on there!), but because I think a lot of cappers are mess anything up, fry your computer, loose your term paper, missing the point of the craft. That point is, above all else, slip in the bathroom on a wet spot, I’m not goddamn respon- quality. There are so many bad, lazy, shifty encodes floating sible. In other words, by reading this guide you agree you around IRC it makes my stomach churn. Nothing is more dis- can’t sue me. Grow up lawsuit types. The world isn’t respon- appointing than waiting all night for your DCC to complete sible for you being an idiot. to find the episode you’ve gotten is total crap and completely unwatchable. I’ve written this in hopes that people that are Fair Use VS the MPAA hatred for consumer control currently capping can get some pointers on how to improve their encodes, and for new encoders to get off on the right A lot of guides start off saying “Don’t capture/encode any- foot and avoid common pitfalls involved in capturing and thing you do not legally own” or something along those encoding. Also this guide should be an entertaining read. lines. Let me make something clear: there is *NO* difference I think I’m a pretty funny and quasi-intelligent guy. I make between caping an episode with your computer than there is myself laugh. I hope you have fun reading this. mom time recording her soap opera’s while she’s not home. The MPAA would like you to believe you are a criminal unless This guide is meant to be as detailed and understandable as you pay them every time you even *THINK* about any of their possible. There are screen shots of every step intellectual property. The only thing that is “Illegal” is when you need to take, in-depth explanations of each step, and you give copies of your captured material to random dudes FAQ’s in case you get stuck. on IRC, USENET, etc. Even this is technically disputable as fair use in my opinion. Does the FBI think that Mary-Jane-So and Video capture is an art -- it is not a science. There is no So should go to jail if she lends her buddy Jennifer-So and “Right way” to do it. Wonderful encodes can be done using So a copy of the latest episode of Days of our lives she time completely different methods. Much like painting, there is recorded because Jennifer missed the show? Common. This no wrong or right way, but simply an aesthetic that must be pure crap. There is little difference between lending a friend used to judge what the encoder was trying to accomplish. a VHS tape and sending somebody an episode on IRC. The But remember one thing: If it doesn’t look as good as the MPAA has done a good job at criminalizeing what should source material or better, it’s done wrong. That is your only be, for all intensive purposes, legal. But since I have to say guideline to follow. Do no harm. it, don’t indiscriminately distribute your caps. I should also mention I am not a lawyer, so all of this is just my opinion This guide is the way I do things. There are other methods but anyway. they won’t be covered here. This is just what I have found to work the best as a speed/quality trade off, and is also depen- dent upon my particular setup (Hardware wise). A lot of this Copyright (Or lack there-of) knowledge comes from pure experimentation, trial and error, and good old fashion common sense. I’ve also gotten a lot This guide isn’t copyrighted. Go nuts and distribute this thing of help from the countless guides out there (I’ve read them everywhere. Make 2 Million copies. Send it as chain mail to all, I assure you) as well as the biggest guide to rock my world your friends and enemies. Sell it on Canal street next to the (And the most useful in my opinion):JWA’s Capture Guide. Vietnamese bootleg videos. But by no means take credit for it. Don’t change the By name. If you do, I’ll hunt you down and kill you. I’ll cut you to pieces and feed you to live perha- nas. I’ll put you out of business like Enron. I’ll creep into your house and shoot poison arrows into your neck. I’ll tell all your friends you like the Extreme Ghostbusters and thought the 3D version of Voltron was “Cool”. In other words, don’t do it. Oh one more thing -- You can quote me or use parts of this guide for whatever twisted purposes you may have as long as you give me credit like a normal curtious human being. PAGE 2
    • The Video Capture Bible THE DIGITAL ARCHAEOLOGISTS MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS What we are doing here is more important than you can pos- Before we start there are a couple things we need to check: sibly imagine. Sure it’s fun and gives you pride at what you’ve created, but most importantly here we are preserving the 1. You have used a computer for more than 2 days. past. Many of the shows and cartoons we’ve come to know 2. Processor is at least 600 MHz or better. and love are on the verge of complete extinction, dinosaur 3. Have a capture card (Duh) style. 4. Your capture card has VFW drivers (More on this later) 5. You have a lot of free Hard Drive space Due to the severely screwed up copyright laws in America, 6. You have “DMA” enabled on your Hard Drive. and other parts of the world, most copyrighted materials 7. You are running some version of Windows. don’t release control into the public domain for over 150 8. You have a brain and can follow simple instructions. years. Thanks Sonny Bono. Thanks Disney. Glad your god- 9. Deductive reasoning is a plus too. damn mouse is still a “protected” work of art. Wouldn’t it be awesome if some Austrian guy owned the copyright to all the great works of art from the 15th century. That would rock if we had to pay 50 bucks to look at the Mona Lisa, or listen to a symphony by Beethoven. The problem with this whole copyright thing is what hap- pens when a controlling parent company looses interest in a copyrighted item, or worse yet goes out of business. Take Heckle and Jeckle for example (Fantastic and witty cartoon that came from Terrytoons studios and aired on CBS/Viacom in the early 70’s). No airings, or videotapes of this cartoon have seen the light of day since 1984. I’m not kidding. All the original reels of this have been sitting in a vault in Viacom wold headquarters collecting dust and slowly deteriorating from film rot for nearly 20 years. Viacom doesn’t give a damn. So, since Viacom’s copyright doesn’t expire for oh say, another 100 years, and they don’t care that people want to see this cartoon again, these original works will most likely be dam- aged beyond view ability within the 100 years it will take to legally obtain a copy of these films. This is where we step in. We get our hands on the best source material we can find. We make digital copies of these shows. We spread them to IRC, USENET, FTP sites, Kazza. We make sure it’s immortalized. We make sure in 100 years there will be SOMEBODY on the planet that has a copy. Don’t take this lightly. We are seriously saving history from being forgotten. And you know what they say about history. Those that don’t know history are doomed to repeat it. PAGE 3
    • The Video Capture Bible SOFTWARE & CODECS Divx 3.11 Alpha http://www.divx-digest.com/software/divxcodec.html Needed Tools: This is what started it all. While in a legal gray area (This codec You don’t need to be a millionaire. Hell, you don’t need 50 is actually a stolen Microsoft implementation of Mpeg-4), It’s Cents. All you need is a decent net connect and these FREE still the most popular format for encoding video for distri- applications an codecs. Pay software sucks -- really. For some bution on the net. It’s small size, reasonable CPU overhead, weird reason, some of the best tools I use are totally free. and high quality make it a prime choice for compressing your Why can’t Abode seem to make Aftereffects (A $900 software video files. It really is the MP3 format of video. MPAA presi- package) as burley and fast as VirtualDub? I don’t know.. But dent Jack Valenti wakes up in a cold sweat screaming every I’m not complaining. After Effects and Premiere are for suck- night because of it. ers. There is a legal version (All “From Scratch” code) known as Divx 4.0/Divx 5.0 (Under the name Project Mayo as well). These new versions are quite legal and open, and pack more VirtualDub features (Better control and multi-pass VBR encoding). The http://virtualdub.sourceforge.net/ reason I choose to use Divx 3.11 Alpha instead is because 3.11 is more wide spread, has less CPU overhead, doesn’t inter- The swiss army-knife of video tools. Avery Lee is pure genius fere with other versions of Divx (4.0 and 5.0 will “Overwrite” and has created the best dream tool for any serious capper, older versions of the codec making things screwball at times), ripper, or video hobbyist. Besides being a completely amaz- and comes free of “Ad Support”. The 5.0 Version has a “Pro” ing application, it’s free and it’s GPL’ed so you can poke release that comes with ads. This scares me as I think in the around the source or modify things if you want. With this future these new versions of Divx will come with spy ware application you can capture video (Custom sizes - segmented and all kinds of crap. Better stick the old standby. If it ain’t avi control), edit (Chop, Join, without the need to re-com- broke, don’t fix it is my motto. press), clean (Around 200 filters created for this application), and compress. Ten goddamn stars. Huffyuv AVIUtil http://math.berkeley.edu/~benrg/huffyuv.html http://ruriruri.zone.ne.jp/AVIUtil/ If you want to capture with the best possible quality possi- Think of AVIUtil is a bizzaro world version of VirtualDub. It ble, but don’t want the disk access/space overhead of cap- has most of the same features as VirtualDub does, but as an ping directly to raw YUV2, this is the answer. Basically, this added bonus it seems to handle automatic inverse telecine is a “Lossless” codec that stores data using a compression with grace and intelligence. I wouldn’t recommend doing method similar to the ZIP file format. It’s fast as hell (Little to everything in AVIUtil, but you could if you wanted to. A little no CPU overhead), makes your files 1/2 the size they would slower than VirtualDub, but a god send when it comes time be with YUV2, and it’s GPL’ed. You can cap without using to de-interlace your video and shift the frame rate back down this, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Anyone serious about cap- to the original format (More on this later.) Oh yah.. It’s free ping uses this and you should too. too. PAGE 4
    • The Video Capture Bible Optional Tools: Good Reference Sites: ATI MMC 6.3 http://www.pcphotovideo.com/favorite.htm http://www.vcdhelp.com/ An all around good place to be. Especially if you want more Got an ATI Card like an All-In-Wonder Pro? Go download this information on SVCD, what DVD players currently support the NOW. ATI’s new drivers for all of it’s products (Known as the SVCD and VCD formats, as well as some decent cap guides MMC 7.1 Release) are WDM drivers, while this older release of their own.. You should have this put in your favorites/ (No longer available from ATI) uses both WDM and VFW driv- bookmarked or you are going to hell. ers. What does this mean? It means that without the older driver that has VFW support, you won’t be able to capture in VirtualDub, and thus be cursed to use ATI’s software with less http://www.divx-digest.com/ features and a clunky interface. ATI, in typical corporate fash- The mother of all sites concerning Divx, DVD ripping, and also ion, has screwed all the users of it’s hardware and has totally some decent cap guides. Nicki Page’s tutorials are well writ- removed this old driver set from existence.. Lucky for us with ten and can be a lot of help if you have questions. A good ATI cards, some very cool guy has posted the old drivers on section with links to every piece of software you ever need is his site for those of us that don’t want to be stuck using ATI’s on this site as well. horrible capture application. http://sauron.mordor.net/dgraft/ Virtualdub Filters Once again, Donald Grafts home page. If you have to ask http://sauron.mordor.net/dgraft/ why, then you are a total n00b. Besides the wonderful and adequate filters that come with VirtualDub, Donald Graft has an impressive set of useful fil- ters on his site, as well as links to a bunch of other sites that have great filters on them as well. Such filters like the Cartoon Tool, VHS Cleaner, and many others make great additions to your filter library. TMPGenc http://www.tmpgenc.net/e_main.html Are you hardcore? Do you have future vision? Want to do caps that will stand the test of time? Then don’t fool around with just making Divx versions of your caps - Go SVCD! The wave of the future is here. The Mpeg-2 Format (Same that is used for DVD’s, HDTV Digital Streams, Digital Cable, and Digital Satellite Streams) is not only a recognized standard (As opposed to Divx and other weird implementations of Mpeg-4), but unlike Divx this format will play natively on many Home DVD players. When I do caps, I make a Divx ver- sion (For distribution on IRC and Usenet), and a SVCD version for myself and archival purposes. SVCD can look just as good as DVD if you know what your doing, and a typical 44 Minute Episode will take up only one CD. If your serious about cap- ping and want to think about the future, you should make SVCD versions of all your caps, so in say 3 years when Divx is no longer important, and our internet connections are all 10 Mb Down, you’ll be ready with perfect copies of your videos. TMPGenc is the best tool for making SVCD’s and VCD’s. It’s free. It’s amazing. Go get it. PAGE 5
    • The Video Capture Bible METHODS AND MADNESS Divx Avi (Choose your variety) The Target Codec Question Pros: Small size (about 5-10 Megs per minute). Very watchable So what’s the best “final” format to encode your caps as? The quality. Somewhat good compatibility (Most people have best format IMHO is SVCD. SVCD (Really just MPEG-2) is the divx installed now if they are into TV via the net). Not too bad most open, best looking, most compatible, most bang for the on the CPU. De facto standard for IRC releases these days.. buck format you can choose. The stuff looks as good as it can Also popular with the DVD ripping kiddies. with little artifacts or distortion of source. But seeing as how most of the world isn’t ready for SVCD, Divx will do nicely for Cons: now. Divx is small, lightweight, and looks pretty darn good Legally gray (For the 3.11 release, this codec is illegal. Micro- when done right. soft sues school districts. They can put this codec down any- time they feel like it). Quality varies from encoder to encoder. For those that want the lowdown of all the big formats out New version while legal has the ability to become proprietary there and why to use them or loose them, here is my take on at any time. Not compatible with ANY DVD players, and some them all (In order of quality): OS’s don’t play them so well (Divx on anything but a windows machine can be sketchy at best -- ask any Mac or Linux user). Raw YUV2 Avi: Pros: VCD (Or Mpeg-1) Lossless Quality. Pros: Cons: Decent size (about 10 Megs per minute). Highest compatibil- Huge -- I’m Talking 1 Gig a minute huge. Unacceptable. ity rate of ANY format (There are no computers and very few DVD players that can’t handle this format). Watchable qual- ity. Huffyuv Avi: Cons: Pros: Can’t go beyond a rez of 388x248 -- so some quality in image Lossless Quality. 1/2 the size of raw YUV2 definition is lost. A little bit to big for the bang per buck factor. Cons: Still way big. About 300 Megs per minute of video. Sorry, try again. ASF/WMF/Microsoft’s idea of the future of video. Pros: SVCD (Or MPEG-2): Looks “alright” and can be very small size wise. Pros: Cons: Near to perfect quality. Decent size (About 20 Megs per Dude, it’s Microsoft -- Duh. Screwball seek time (Try sliding minute). Good compatibility (Any computer with a software the seek bar -- takes 2 minutes for the video and audio to re- DVD player can play these, as well as quite a few consumer synch). Proprietary. Can’t be played on anything but a win- DVD players). Good for archiving. In the near future, all dows machine. Just plain evil when it comes down to it. releases on the NET will be SVCD -- take a look at usenet where 50% of all posts are now SVCD’s Quicktime (AKA Sorenson) Cons: Still a little too big for you typical ‘net guy with a halfway Pros: decent net connect. Confusing to most people that don’t Good Image quality with a small file size. understand that you can’t just open it up with media player like normal .mpg’s. Cons: Proprietary. Screwed up player. Player nags you about get- ting the pro version every 2 seconds. Doesn’t full screen cor- rectly. Ugly interface. PAGE 6
    • The Video Capture Bible Real Media Pros: None. Cons: Please, delete all your RM files. Stop distributing files in this format. At the end of this tutorial I go off on a rant about how bad this format is in all things holy and human. Worst look- ing format you could possibly choose.. I think Intel Indeo or Cinapack looks better than this joke of a codec. PAGE 7
    • The Video Capture Bible The Target Resolution Question agree that it is better to shoot for 4:3 as you are more likely to watch a Divx file on your monitor than you would your televi- So what’s the best final resolution? Much of the answer sion if you are in a country that uses the PAL standard. depends on the final file format used, as most formats are locked into specific resolutions. For instance all SVCD’s are Now lets talk a little bit about your source material. Are you 480x480, and all VCD’s are typically 352x288 (Or 352x240 for capturing from Cable/Antenna, VHS or Digital Satellite? All NTSC). We’ll skip the other formats and just ask this question of these sources have their own limitations that must be con- for Divx, since that is what this guide mainly covers as well sidered. Now keep in mind, analog video signals don’t quite as being the one format that is unincumbered by size restric- follow the standard set of rules here, in that there really is no tions for the most part. such thing as “Resolution” in the typical width by height fash- ion we have been pondering here. Analog video signals are a First off, there are specific sizes that a Divx AVI should be at. little weird and it involves some serious science and math to Those sizes are: properly describe the nature of a signals size, so we will skip all that math and just present the “rough numbers” that each 720x480, 640x480, 608x456, 572x432, 512x384, 480x360, source has: 384x288, 352x264, 320x240, 160x120 You will notice that all of these sizes have one important VHS: thing in common, and that is that all of these numbers are divisible by 16 -- In other words, you can take any of the num- Anywhere around 320x240 -- Basically depending on the bers here, divide them by 16, and have no remainder (Or with recording speed, head alignment, and many other factors the floating point math, all numbers are integers). The reason signals resolution can very. As a safe bet, assume the best this is important has to do with the way that Divx, or MPEG-4, and think of VHS in terms of 320x240. compresses video data. Divx uses a block matrix of 16x16 pixels to store its data. If you have ever seen an over com- pressed Divx file, and notice that it gets “blocky” at times, Cable/Antenna (Broadcast Video) you will see that these blocks are exactly 16 pixels wide by 16 pixels high. I could go into detail about why MPEG-4 works 480x360 this way, but suffice it to say that your resolution MUST be divisible by 16! Digital Satellite/Digital Cable & DVD Another important item regarding size is that you must also account for is the aspect ratio you wish to use. Aspect Ratio From 720x480 to 640x480. is simply a fancy way for describing the ratio between the width and height in a rectangle. There are all sorts of stan- dard aspect ratios used in video. For example, in theaters the Now, as stated earlier, our real goal here is to do no harm, aspect ratio is much wider than it is tall (As in “Wide-screen”) and try to get our resulting digital transcription to look as and thusly when you watch a movie on a television you get good, if not better than our source. So depending on source, black bars on the top and bottom (Called Letter boxing) so your final file should be at least 320x240 for VHS, 480x360 the image doesn’t get stretched and distorted since your TV for Broadcast Video, and 640x480 for Digital Satellite. This is is not even remotely as wide as a theater screen. Since our because if you are scaling down from the original signal size, obvious final target is either a computer monitor or a televi- your resulting product won’t be as sharp and detailed as the sion screen, we must find out what the aspect ratio for that original. is. As you can see from your resolution settings, the lowest setting is 640x480, and from there you can derive the aspect Now there is one last thing to consider here.. That is the CPU ratio of 4:3. As a side note, American television sets share this usage and compression. While it seems the most logical to aspect ratio, while most European televisions do not. Most simply have all your resulting encodes at 720x480 or bigger, European countries use a different standard known as PAL this is not practical for two reasons. (The American standard is known as NTSC) that uses a slightly taller aspect ratio. So the real question is do you want to use 4:3, or is your target a PAL television set? Most people would PAGE 8
    • The Video Capture Bible Number one is that the bigger the resolution is, the harder a CPU has to work to render the video from the compressed file. Keep in mind that your CPU is already doing a lot of work -- It’s reading the file from the disc, decompressing the MPEG-4 and MP3 streams, sending data to the audio card, etc. While you may have a 40000 Ghz super duper new Pen- tium 8 chip, you must keep in mind you are also doing this for others and other folk may not be as fortunate as you to put 3 Grand down on a new computer.. Most likely they fall into the middle range (At this time, most likely a 500 MHz computer or so). From my experience, a 500 MHz machine can barely keep up with 640x480, and anything higher than that it will start to choke and drop frames. Number two is compression. Keep in mind that the bigger a video file is, the more data that must be compressed to keep the file at a reasonable size -- so there is a tradeoff between resolution, file size, and amount of compression. In most instances, 2 files of the same file size, with one being 640x480 and the other being 480x360, the 480x360 file will look better than the larger version simply because there is less data to compress, thus less compression artifacts and loss of clarity due to over compressed video. This is a common mistake among folks who rip DVD’s -- I keep seeing these DVD rips done at 720x480 (The native DVD resolution) that fit on one CD. Let me tell you, these rips look very bad. While it may seem like the best thing to do to get the maximum resolution the DVD has to offer, the resulting over compression makes the rip look way worse than one done at a smaller resolution. After weighing in all these factors and much experimenting with different resolutions, I can say without a doubt in my mind your target resolution should be.... (drum roll please) 480x360 This resolution has the best tradeoff between CPU usage, compression, and clarity for all source materials. It’s the middle of the road and it’s where you want to be. Keep in mind, if you are capturing from a VHS tape that isn’t in such hot shape this could be overkill. You may be better off making the target resolution only 320x240 as your adding nothing but compression artifacts since VHS’s resolution is no bigger than this anyway. PAGE 9
    • The Video Capture Bible The target frame rate question Another thing to consider here is that the amount of com- pression artifacts is relational to the FPS -- and this is pure Now we get into the most misunderstood part of video cap- logic here. If a video is 23.976 FPS, every second of video has turing and encoding. So many people have zero concept of 23.976 frames in it; If a video is 29.97 FPS, every second of FPS that it’s simply staggering. It isn’t without reason how- video has 29.97 frames in it. This means that the higher the ever, as there is a little bit of voodoo involved in the subject. frame rate, the more frames Divx has to compress, and thus the less quality in each resulting frame. So the wise choice is First thing is first -- NO ANALOG VIDEO SOURCE ON THE to go with a lower frame rate to achieve better compression. PLANET IS HIGHER THAN 30 FPS! If you are capturing at 60 FPS, your stuff won’t look any better than it does at 30 FPS. Now, you understand that you need to capture at 29.97 FPS As a matter of fact it will most likely look worse than 30 FPS (NTSC) and your resulting file should have a frame rate of since you would be dropping crazy frames from pushing your 23.976, but how do you get from point A to point B? The hardware way too hard. answer is a process known as an Inverse Telecine. This pro- cess basically combines half frames of interlaced video to Second thing is second -- YOU MUST CAPTURE AT YOUR create a progressive video stream that is at a lower frame rate SOURCE VIDEO’S FRAME RATE! This means that if you are (Since you’ve combined the half frames you have less frames capturing an NTSC source (American/Japanese TV) your FPS in the end). A lot of programs have the ability to do this with must be 29.97 and if you are capturing a PAL source (Most different results. From my experience the program that han- European countries) your FPS must be 25. If you capture at dles this the best is AVIUtil. Virtualdub can do this as well, but a higher rate or a lower rate than your source, you will get I’ve never gotten good results. video that looks choppy and staggering. This is my number one pet peave, so don’t take this lightly. There is nothing worse that encodes that aren’t the correct FPS. They are just painful to watch.. I delete encodes with the wrong FPS at first viewing. Third thing is Third -- Most, if not all, video that airs on televi- sion was shot on reel film -- who’s frame rate (For NTSC) is 23.976. Now if you are smart you should be asking yourself, “I thought you said all NTSC video is 29.97 But it’s shot at 23.976? What the hell? How does the frame rate go from 23.976 tp 20.97??” This is where the mystical stuff comes into play. Video that is projected is known as “Progressive” video. This is also the same format that your computer monitor displays video -- in a nice logical fashion -- one frame after another. Now, Television on the other hand, and the signal that is fed into it is known as “Interlaced” video and it some serious voodoo. Essentially, a television displays half frames where it only draws half of the vertical lines in the first pass, then the other half of the lines in the second pass. It’s much more complicated than this, but it is an adequate description for our purposes. So how does video that was originally progres- sive get changed into a interlaced source? Through a process known as a Telecine (The word itself describes the process). Half frames are stuck in-between full frames so the television can draw them, and consequently, raises the frame rate, and that is where you get your conversion from 23.976 to 29.97. This is a terrible description, but this is all you really need to know about the process. PAGE 10
    • The Video Capture Bible The Target Bitrate question In a nut shell, we will need to capture the video at a size as large or larger than our target 480x360, run filters over it to Now that we have decided on using Divx at 480x360 and clean up the video as well as de-interlace and change the 23.976 FPS, what bitrate should we use for Divx. The answer frame rate via an inverse telecine. To do this, it is best to cap- to this question is purely aesthetic -- For the most part, your ture this video LOSSLESSLY, because if we capture the video bitrate should be the lowest you can use (For a small file size) in a compressed state, we will have to compress the video with little to no compression artifacts so you keep in line with again after processing that will lead to compression artifacts the “Do no Harm” motto. This is purely subjective, but in my and all kinds of other nasties. Another reason we want to experience a bitrate of about 900 will yield decent results -- capture it losslessly is because compressing video on the fly there is hardly any visible compression artifacts, and the file eats up all kinds of CPU, and our CPU is already trying it’s best size isn’t too monstrous. A video about 22 minutes long will to keep up with capturing the video in the first place. We be about 175 Megs if you have a good clean source. Some can’t make the processor work harder than it can, so it’s best people may think this is a little large, but let me assure you, to capture video without compression so the CPU can keep connections get faster every day so you may as well shoot for up and not drop frames. Dropping frames is bad. Very, very the future instead of the here and now. After all, what’s the bad. point in over compressing something so it looks bad if in 10 months you will want to re-encoded your stuff because your Now, it should be noted not everyone has a 200 Gig hardrive. pipe is fatter? Might as well go for the gold I say. Also, I didn’t And furthermore, not everyone’s HD is fast enough to keep come at this bitrate arbitrarily -- You will notice that if each 22 up with capturing raw video. Raw video takes up A LOT of minute episode is 175 Megs, you will snugly fit 4 episodes on space per each second. So we need a good in-between from one CD, or 2 episode if they are 44 minutes long. Sounds a capturing completely raw (YUV2) to capturing compressed whole lot like 2 Hour SP speed VHS to me. (DIVX). This is where Huffyuv comes into play. It is a lossless compressor (No quality loss), it’s the fastest thing around (Low CPU usage), and it makes files about 1/2 the size of raw YUV2 (Perfect for saving space and taking it easier on slower Wrapping everything up in a neat package hardrives). So we know our target specs: Once you have captured your file, you can then do all your processing and create the final product. As an added bonus Divx 3.11 AVI (900 bitrate) File @ 480x360, 23.976 FPS for caturing raw, you can make more than one version of the same cap (A SVCD version, A high-bandwidth Divx version, as Now to get from capturing to our final product we should well as a smaller low-bandwidth version for the bandwidth remember a few things: challenged). 1. We have to capture at 29.97 FPS and somehow get to 23.976 FPS 2. We will need to “De-Interlace” the video (When you cap- ture at a resolution higher than 320x240 the video will be interlaced) 3. We will want to clean up the video a little bit -- Broadcast video is laden with static that will inhibit the compression process and VHS video has lots of tape squelches and discol- oration. PAGE 11
    • The Video Capture Bible The Step By Step Guide AKA the Capture Bible Now that you understand what we want to accompish, and understand what we need to do to get the best results, lets go to work! CHECKING YOUR SYSTEM First, let’s check to make sure you can actually capture video with my video capture tool of choice, VirtualDub. Open up your Control Panel and go to Multimedia Properties. Inside you will see a “Devices” tab the shows you all the Multimedia Device drivers on your system. Make sure you have a device inside the “Video Capture Devices” section. If you don’t, you either don’t have a capture card correctly installed, or your capture card does not come with VFW drivers. If the second is the case, then you will be forced to capture video with whatever capture utility came with your capture card. This is bad ju-ju, because most capture applications bundled with hardware suck very very badly. You may not be able to select Huffyuv as your codec. You may not be able to capture at a decent resolution. You might even be unable to capture to AVI (But instead only to MPEG or MPEG-2) PAGE 12
    • The Video Capture Bible CAPTURING THE VIDEO Assuming all is well so far, go ahead and open up VirtualDub -- your new best friend. The first time you run VirtualDub it might complain about having “Hacked Illegal” video codecs on your machine (Divx 3.11). Ignore this -- it means nothing -- it’s just a legal thing Avery had to do since Microsoft has been a real pain in the ass to him in the past. From the file menu, select Capture AVI and cross your fingers. If all is well you will see a source video frame appear and a new set of options at your disposal as illustrated below: PAGE 13
    • The Video Capture Bible From here, first check to make sure your audio is set up cor- rectly. You can easily check this by selecting the volume meter from the Audio pull down that will display a neat little meter for the incoming audio signal. If none of the meters are moving, your audio input is not selected correctly. To remedy this, double-click the little speaker in the bottom right hand corner of the screen (Win- dows Mixer) and re-select your audio input as shown below: PAGE 14
    • The Video Capture Bible Once your audio is correctly set-up, next go to the video Also here you can set your Brightness/Contrast/Color/Tint -- menu. It’s best leave these settings at their default, but some sig- nals may require a little help. My cable for instance (Since I’m using a 75 Ohm Coax connection) is a little desaturated and dull, so I bump up my contrast, color, and shift the tint a little towards the blue spectrum. Use your best judgment here and remember, DO NO HARM. If you are connecting with a 75 Ohm coax cable, you can set your channel and video type here as well. Once you have everything set the way you want it, click OK to move on. Next, select your video compression. As stated earlier, we want the best possible source to process upon, so choose Huffyuv. If you are having problems with high-CPU usage or dropped frames, try configuring Huffyuv to use a faster com- pression algorithm. From here, first select the “Source” for your video. You should get a dialog box similar to this: Once you have your compression set, move on to the actual video format. As seen in the screen shot below, choose your width and height, and leave the data format on YUV2 -- This data format is needed for Huffyuv to work correctly. From here you can select your connector (Cable/75 Ohm Coax, Composite, or S-Video). A little explanation on the whole connector thing: The quality of video you get per connector is as follows: S-Video (Best), Composite (Good), and Cable (Worse). Many don’t have the luxury of an S-video connection to their VCR/ Cable Box/Digital Satellite Receiver. A few others (like myself) can’t use a composite connector. So basically, whatever is the best connector you can use, use that. PAGE 15
    • The Video Capture Bible On the dimensions issue: We want to capture at a format that is as good if not better than our final output (480x360). You can see here I cap at 480x480. I do this for two reasons. Number one, I also make SVCD out of my caps, and as 480x480 is the resolution of an SVCD, it’s a logical choice. Number two is that capturing at 480 pixels tall will give better de-interlacing results -- something we will cover later on. From the Capture menu, we want to check two things here: One is Enable multi segment capture. The video we will be capturing here is HUGE -- 44 minutes of video will easily consume about 18 Gigs of drive space. But there is one hitch here -- Windows, being a Microsoft product after all, has a built in limitation with file sizes -- It can not make files larger than 4 Gigs. As our video will be about 18 gigs, this presents a serious problem, but one that Vir- tualDub fortunately solves for us. With this option selected, every time the video file reaches the 4 Gig limit, VirtualDub will create a new video file and continue capturing on the fly. Another thing we need to do to allow for multi-segment capturing is set up “Spill Drives’. In here we set up our primary capture drive (Mine is “D”) and a secondary drive in case the first one is filled up (My “C” Drive). Also we fill in the maximum size for AVI files in the bottom most field. I set mine to 1900, so my files are easier to manage and I have less audio synch problems as well. The second thing we want to check is “Auto increment filename after capture”. This means the every time you begin to capture video, VirtualDub will name it’s capture file “Capture” and then a number that starts at Zero and increments every time a capture takes place. This assure that no capture files will be overwritten with new ones. PAGE 16
    • The Video Capture Bible The last bit of setting you need to make here are the most important: Audio Format and Frame Rate. Click the boxes on the bottom right of VirtualDub to set these to our desired settings: 44K/15Bit/Stereo for the audio, and 29.97 FPS for the frame rate. Now, to make sure the next time we open up VirtualDub to capture something, we want to make sure VD remembers all of our settings so we don’t have to go through all of this again. To do this, open up the Capture Preferences and check all the boxes that Say “Save” next to them. After words, hit OK and VD will remember all of the previous settings we have entered into it. PAGE 17
    • The Video Capture Bible We are all set, so let’s capture! To begin capturing in VirtualDub you can either select “Capture Video” from the drop down menu, or more elegantly press “F6” to begin. Once the capture starts, your information pane on the left should look something like the panel to the right: There is some important information here you should be aware of: 1. Time Left/Disk Space Free - Make sure you have enough time and space to do your cap! If not, it’s time for a new hard drive. 2. CPU Usage - Make sure this stays bellow 100% -- if it gets stuck on 100% you will start dropping frames. If your CPU usage is too high, you can either capture at a smaller size (320x240), or you may be able to fiddle with some settings in your com- puter to make sure things are running smoothly. 3. Frames Dropped - It’s quite ordinary to drop a few frames here and there. Don’t panic if you see that a frame is dropped. However, if you are dropping A LOT of frames (More than one frame per second gets dropped) you should stop capturing and per- haps lower the size of your video to compensate. It’s a bad trade off, but the alterna- tive is to get a faster hard drive or faster CPU, and that costs money. You can also play with the size and number of IO buffers so that you don’t drop any frames. Also in VirtualDub, you can switch between overlay and preview mode, which may help to keep from dropping frames. When done capturing the video, press Escape to stop capturing. Everything is good, and you just captured your first high-quality video! PAGE 18
    • The Video Capture Bible PERFORMING THE INVERSE-TELECINE AND DE-INTERLACING If all has gone well and you could capture video at 480x480, you now need to change the frame rate back to it’s original 23.976, and also de-interlace the video to turn it back into a progressive video stream. If you couldn’t capture at a resolution higher than 320 Pixels tall, you can skip this section as your video has been made naturally progressive due to only capturing half of the vertical resolution. Open up AVIUtil and load your first video segment. You will need to repeat this cycle for each segment that VirtualDub created while capturing unless you set up a batch job, or append all the sections together and compress the file as it re-renders. For the sake of being brief, I’ll cover the method of doing this for each segment you have captured. PAGE 19
    • The Video Capture Bible First, go to Setting and choose “Frame rate Conversion”. In the sub menu here you want to select 24fps <- 30fps (4/5) and 30->24FPS invoke auto- matic inverse telecine. Don’t let the numbers here fool you -- it really means 23.976 FPS from 29.97 FPS, but for the sake of saving space in the menu it is rounded up to 24FPS and 30FPS. PAGE 20
    • The Video Capture Bible Next from the Settings menu select “De interlace” and in the sub menu choose “Auto- matic inverse telecine” in the first half. This will blend your half frames (Known as “fields”) into whole frames that coincide with the frame rate change you set up one step back. Now take a look at the preview pane -- Your video that looked jaggy with interlacing artifacts should be clean as a wistle now, looking like normal video. You may have to slide the seek bar around in the AVIUtil to get it to re-render the preview. Next, you can chop out the bits of the file you don’t need. This includes VHS leaders, commercials, station identifications, etc. To do this move the seek bar to the start point of the bit you want to cut out. The click the second to farthest right button on the bottom right of AVIUtil to select your start point. Then move the seek bar to the end of the bit you want to cut out and click the button in the very bottom right hand of AVIUtil to set the end point. Now you should see your area to be deleted highlighted in blue and can proceed to delete it by selecting Edit-->Delete selection range. PAGE 21
    • The Video Capture Bible After your happy with your edits go to render out the file. Do this by going to File-->Save AVI. This will bring up the following dialog box (To the right) Here you need to choose a filename (Some- thing logical), set your video codec (Huffyuv again) and click save. If you are totally cramped for drive space, you can get away with com- pressing it as a Divx file (with a very high bitrate like 3000), but if you want to do the best job you can, it is best to stick with Huffyuv to make sure the source stays as clean as possible. Once rendering, AVIUtil will display informa- tion similar to this in the title bar: This tells you how much longer it will take to render the file, and what frame its on (out of how many frames there are total). When done, we can move on to step two, now that we have a our captured video that has been de-interlaced and had it’s frame rate changed back to 23.976. PAGE 22
    • The Video Capture Bible CLEANING THE VIDEO AND PREPARING FOR ENCODING Next thing we want to do is remove any extra noise or signal degradation from our source video so it will look better, and also compress better. The more noise in a source video, the more Divx will have to compress -- and thus more artifacts and a worse looking encode. Open up VirtualDub once again, and from there open up the first video segment. Since we are on our last leg of the process, we can merge all of our parts together in VirtualDub to make one big final video stream. To do this, go to File-->Append Video. This will allow you to consecutively tack on all the segments of video to create one single video file out of all of your parts. Continue appending segments until you have them all loaded. Next, go to the Video menu and make sure “Full processing mode” is selected. VirtualDub has 4 Different options for processing video: 1. Direct stream copy -- This is used for doing simple edits (Like deleting com- mercials) and for only editing the audio portion of a AVI. It just makes an exact copy of the video stream and does not re-compress it. This is the fastest. 2. Fast Re compress -- VirtualDub will re-compress the video stream to the format you have selected in compression, but does it in “Fast” mode. This yields less quality, but processes much faster than Normal Re compress mode. 3. Normal Re compress -- Same as Fast Re compress, except it will take it’s time compressing the video to yield the best results. 4. Full processing mode -- Any time you are using filters, changing the color depth/frame rate you must use this option. This makes VirtualDub process the video and then re-compress the effected stream. Set up your filters From the Video menu, select “Filters”. From here, the filter dialog box will appear where you can add filters, configure them, and select cropping options. Click the ADD button to add our first filter: PAGE 23
    • The Video Capture Bible Choose “temporal smoother” from your menu and double click it to configure the filter. The Temporal smoother is what will clean up the bulk of your noise, jitter, and VHS de saturation bands. What this filter does is quite intelligent -- It reads frames ahead of the current frame, and compares a group of frames to each other. Then, it looks for small changes in the image and replaces these small changes with a com- bination of all the frames. What this does is remove static by discovering that the static is, and bits that are not a part of the original video. It sounds like magic, but it really works well. One word of warning about this filter is that if it is set too high, it will start to blend video frames together resulting in ghosting and other undesir- able effects. I usually set this filter some- what in the middle. Any higher than this Next choose “Static Noise Reduction” (By Steve Don) from the and it will start to look bad. filter menu and configure it. Static Noise Reduction is a somewhat optional step. If your video signal was clean enough you shouldn’t need to use this. From my experience, however, sometimes it’s necessary to clean your video a little bit more than the Temporal Smoother does. If you were capping from an S-video source or a digital satellite source you shouldn’t need to do this. Another thing to keep in mind is that this filter will slow down your render time, so if your impatient or have a slower computer you can skip this step to save yourself some time. However, if you want the best looking encode you can do, you should run this filter to make your encode look the best it can. I usually set this filter at about 12. The lower the number, the less cleaning will take place, and the higher setting, the more blurred your video will before. Remember the Do no harm motto here. PAGE 24
    • The Video Capture Bible From here on out, you have to make a decision. If you want to only make a Divx version of your cap, you can skip ahead to re sizing and compressing the final video -- but if you wish to make another version of your cap (Such as a SVCD) it’s better to just process the video and compress it/resize it to a Divx file later in a separate step. Now assuming you want to just process the video to make multiple versions of your cap, you should configure your video compression (From the video menu) to use Divx Low Motion at a very high bitrate. We do this so our final one part AVI is small enough that it doesn’t go over the maximum file size in windows (4 Gigs) and set the bitrate high so no com- pression artifacting occurs for our cleaned video. I usually set my bitrate for this step at about 3000 or so. After selecting our compression method, go to File-->Save as AVI to render out our file. Choose a filename, click save, and watch the render go (Slowly). The VirtualDub Status window will tell you the time elapsed, total estimated time to completion of the render, as well as the projected size and video rendering rate. The video ren- dering rate is how fast VirtualDub is processing the video. On my modest 700 MHz computer with all of these filters set up, my rendering rate is about 3.7 FPS here. Don’t confuse this with your file frame rate (23.976) -- this is just how fast Virtu- alDub is processing the video. Once done, we can move on to the last step. PAGE 25
    • The Video Capture Bible RE SIZING AND COMPRESSING THE FINAL PRODUCT Close and re-open Virtual Dub to clear out the filter list (If you didn’t skip ahead to this point) and open up your cleaned 1-file AVI you have just created and open the filter dialog box again. From here, we select “resize” from the filter menu and configure it. Our source video file is 480x480 and may have black borders or VHS noise at the bottom. Here is where we fix all of that: Set your new width to “480” and your new height to “360”. Then, select “Precise bilinear” from the filter mode. You will see there are a lot of options here, but Precise bilinear will give the best results for the type of re sizing we will be doing here. Basically, “Nearest Neighbor” is the fastest resize, but it looks very jaggy and isn’t anti-aliased cor- rectly. “Bicubic” is the best option for making the video size larger, and “Bilinear” is the best option for shrinking an image size. Since we are scaling down from 480 to 360, Bilinear is the option we want, and we want to use “Precise” to make the results as good as they can be. Back in the filter dialog, select your resize filter in the filter list and click the “Crop” button to set up cropping options. You want to remove any unnecessary image information such as black bars and VHS end frame noise. Here is a typical setting I use: You will see that the cropping configuration takes place before the re sizing does -- In other words, it crops the video, then will resize it, so no matter what your cropping options were, your final video will be 480x360 -- The size we’ve been wanting all along. PAGE 26
    • The Video Capture Bible NOTE: If you skipped ahead from the last section and just wanted Then we select our audio compression (MPEG Layer-3) from to make a single divx file from your cap, you will need to move the compression menu. I usually compress my audio to 96 your resize filter to the top of the filter processing list to make sure kBit/s @ 44k Stereo. You can compress it more (64) if you it processes first before the other filters (Temporal Smoother/ want to save space, or if your an audiophile you can go with a Static Noise Reduction). This will make the temporal smoother higher bitrate (192/160). Personally, I can’t tell much of a dif- do less work (Since their is less image to clean) and will make ference from 96 to 192 when it comes to television audio. It your render go a little faster. pretty much sounds how it sounds -- but I will leave this up to you. Now take a look at your output video. It should look some- thing like this: NOTE: Sometimes your MPEG Layer-3 codec won’t show up cor- rectly in the compression menu. This is either because you don’t Clean, hardly any static, correct aspect ratio and size, and no have a MP3 compressor installed on your system, or some other interlacing artifacts. compressor screwed up the Radium codec. If this is the case you can use Divx :-) Audio, although the results won’t be as good. Next, select Divx as your compression codec and set it at about 900 kps (As decided earlier in the guide). Now save out your final video and let it render. The very last thing we need to do is compress our audio track. That’s it! You should now have a wonderful looking encode. In so far, our audio track has been raw uncompressed PCM That wasn’t so bad, was it? data. To get the file much smaller, we need to change this to the ever so popular MP3 format. We do this by first selecting “Full Processing Mode” from the Audio menu: PAGE 27
    • The Video Capture Bible MAKING AN SVCD OUT OF YOUR CAP If you wish to make an SVCD out of your cap (As I do) here is a brief description on the easiest way to do this. Start TMPGenc, and load your video file (The 480x480 version that you created before you resized and compressed the divx version) - Do this by clicking the browse button next to the Video Source pane at the bottom of TMPGenc. Don’t worry about the audio source portion, TMPGenc will fill that in for you: The click load on the bottom right hand corner to load up the SVCD template. Open up the SuperVideoCD (NTSCFilm).mcf in TMPGenc’s “template” directory. This will set everything correctly for an SVCD encode of your capture. Now, all you need to do is Hit “Start” to render the SVCD. It’s that easy. If you have a bunch of caps you want to convert to SVCD’s, you can add this to a batch job by hitting “Control-M” and adding it to the Job Control List. PAGE 28
    • The Video Capture Bible THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A GOOD ENCODE AND A BAD ENCODE Now just to make sure we are clear on why we go through all the work to do a simple video encode, I’m going to demonstrate the differences between a bad encode, and a good one (Using my methods). Below is Exhibit “A” (The Bad Encode) and Exhibit “B” (The good encode). Both encodes are the same file size (About 80 Megs) and the same length (About 11 Minutes). Both are frames from a smurfs episode to simplify things a bit. Exhibit A: The Bad Encode Exhibit B: The Good Encode The Bad Encode: 1. Inadequate Video Size This encodes’ video size is 320x240. As you can see, a lot of fine details are lost because of this small size that makes the video blurry, pixelated when full screened, and makes most of the text unreadable. While it can make for a smaller file size if done cor- rectly, it makes the video looks worse than standard VHS for the most part. 2. Too much noise and VHS banding There is a lot of static and junk noise in this frame that makes the overall video look very bad, especially when full screened. If the author had simply run a temporal smoother over the captured file, it could have been much clearer and clean looking. 3. Discoloration/Wrong Hue If you compare A to B, you will see that A is overly green amd color shifted. I assure you, the actual source video for this had a much more brown tone as seen in Exhibit B PAGE 29
    • The Video Capture Bible 4. Overcompression/Artifacting The bad encodes source suffers (Though not as badly as I have seen in other encodes) from compression artifacts that make the video a little blocky and noisy. This looks a lot like an over compressed JPG you would see on a web page. The Good Encode: 1. Good Video Size This encodes size allows for all the fine details to shine through. You can even read the tiny text on the bottom of the Title Card! This is the most desirable and makes all the glory of the original shine through. 2. Low noise, Clean Image All the shapes and colors here are nice and sold and the lines are well defined. 3. Correct Hue and Saturation The colors are vibrant and correctly adjusted, as true to the source 5. Good Balance of compression vs. Size. The kicker to this whole comparison is the fact the Both A and B are the exact same size! That’s right. Same size, same length, but encode B looks 10 Times better than encode A. Amazing. PAGE 30
    • The Video Capture Bible GENERAL FAQ Q: I don’t have a lot of harddrive space. Is it OK if I capture straight Q: to Divx? Your guide is stupid and so are you. That’s too much work. A: A: Yes and No. If you capture straight to Divx, you will need a That’s not a question. It doesn’t justify an answer. faster CPU to process the video on the fly. Secondly, your video source will look worse (Especially when compressing on the fly). Keep in mind that if you want to do the best cap Q: you can, you really should capture to Huffyuv or raw YUV2. My video card doesn’t have VFW drivers, only WDM drivers. What Some people capture to a codec known as MJPEG that seems do I do!? to compress fast, and doesn’t use up much drive space. The downside to this method is that the video will look worse A: than Huffyuv, and there are no free versions of MJPEG that I Either get a different capture card (I would recommend a know of. So you’ll need to throw down some money if you cheap Hauppage), Wait for VirtualDub to support WDM driv- want to go this route. ers (Avery, are you listening?) or use a different capture pro- gram, like the one that came with your capture card. There are gobs and gobs of different capture applications out these, Q: but most of the good ones use VFW, so your selection will be Umm, where the hell is VirtualDub storing my video captures??? pretty limited. VirtualDub is just what I happen to use and feel is the best for the job, although some people swear by A: AVI I/O (A pay application, BTW). Do what you need to do to If you haven’t configured the location for your captures in Vir- capture the video. If you can only capture at 320x240, that is tualDub, the default setting is to store the capture files in the unfortunate, but you need to do what you need to do. root of your capture drive, in other words C: (Or D:) under the name “CAPTURE.AVI”. Q: I can’t seem to capture at 480x480 or bigger without dropping a whole bunch of frames. Is there anything I can do? Q: Shouldn’t I capture my Audio at 48K/96K, etc? Isn’t that better A: than 44K? Well, there is a lot you can do, but none of it is guaranteed to help you out. First, you can make sure DMA is selected for A: your capturing hardrive. Secondly, you can fiddle about with Well, that is certainly your prerogative. But keep in mind that the IO buffer sizes in VirtualDub to try to help out. If all else most people’s soundcards can’t play audio at a higher sample fails, capture at a somewhat smaller size, upgrade your CPU, rate than 44K (At least correctly). Also, were talking about or upgrade your harddrive. an audio signal that was most likely broadcasted/recorded at like 32K max, so what you are capturing is quite wasteful. It’s much like capping at 60 FPS -- it’s a total waste of space/ time. Q: I can’t get multi-segment capture to work correctly. What am I doing wrong? A: Make SURE you have your spill drive settings correct. This means having a drive set up in the dialog, as well as “Maxi- mum Avi Size” set correctly (Less than 4 Gigs). PAGE 31
    • The Video Capture Bible Q: Q: Can’t I join all my files together in AVIUtil or set up a batch job to What about watermarks/logos/into screens? How do I do that? make the process of inverse telecine a little less tedious? I want people to know I did the encode! A: A: You can join all your segements together in AVIUtil, but if you You can easily make a watermark/logo in photoshop and are saving out your video as Huffyuv, keep in mind this file overlay into your video using various VirtualDub filters out will be bigger than the 4 Gig barrier in windows. If you are there, but let me make this clear: Logos/Watermarks suck. compressing it to a high bitrate Divx file here, you can do this Nobody likes them. Nobody cares that WeedTV did the no problem and save yourself some trouble down the road. encode for the most part, and they are just annoying. I don’t use them, and you shouldn’t either. Just tack on your handle Concerning batch jobs in AVIUtil, I haven’t gotten this to work to the filename (Such as “Show - Episode XXX - Title [YOUR right. Perhaps I have a buggy version of AVIUtil or just plain HANDLE].avi). A lot of ungrateful folks remove your name don’t know what I’m doing, but I haven’t figured this out yet. from the filename once they have downloaded the file, so if You’re welcome to play with it though.. Just be prepared to your worried you can always make an intro screen. Just make waste some time. it short, sweet, and above all else, please don’t make it annoy- ing. Mixing a Korn/Dr.Dre song with an episode of say, My Little Pony is pretty retarded if you ask me. Keep it classy kids. Q: Don’t abuse your photoshop filters or limited knowledge of After doing the inverse-telecine, my video looks jerky. What’s the 3D Studio max. deal? As far as REMOVING logos/watermarks from video (Like the A: Cartoon Network logo) it is possible through the use of the In some rare instances, the source was NOT shot originally at VirtualDub filter “Logo Away”. I’ve had varying degrees of 23.976 FPS, and most likely shot at either 29.97 FPS (Home success with this. A lot depends on if the logo is transparent Movies/Video Camera) or 15 FPS (Some cartoons -- But very or not. Unfortunately the cartoon network logo is solid, so rare). If this is the case, just skip the AVIUtil part and go the best you can do is but a black box over it. Since this does straight to VirtualDub. From there you can either try out the little good, you may as well leave it in. It’s not a big deal. De interlace filter in VirtualDub (Sometimes looks OK, other times looks bad) or just drop the resolution to 320x240 to take out the interlaced lines at the cost of clarity. Q: Your guide was very helpful. Is there anything I can do to show my thanks? Q: Man. It takes a looooong time to process my video in Virtual- A: Dub.. Is all this necessary? Sure. Find me on IRC and send me your caps. Or better yet, post them to Usenet. A: If you don’t have the patience to do it right, you really shouldn’t be doing it all. But if you really want to make a cap, but don’t have the CPU power and have to wait 2 days to pro- cess 22 minutes of video, just skip the Static Noise Reduction and as a last resort go straight to the resize/recompress. PAGE 32
    • The Video Capture Bible EPILOUGE Then, divx was born.. There was much rejoicing. Video actu- ally looked pretty much like normal TV now, and furthermore The Story of Real Media the files were small.. Why, almost as small as Real Media, except you could play it with any player you liked, the over- Once upon a time, when the web was new as the morning, head was less, and the coup-de-grais was that now with fatter there was a company with the unimaginative name “Real internet connects, a 33 Meg file for a 22 minute show looked Networks”. They made a proprietary video codec that made stupid. video files very small for distribution on the internet. They gave out free copies of their player and a free version of their Also meanwhile.... encoder. At the time, the only other option of bandwidth- light video was Apples Quicktime, witch wasn’t that great. Linux guys, wanting the new G3 fancy implementation of People rejoiced. They encoded southpark episodes in this Real Media began to get impatient waiting for their Linux format and put them on their web pages. People down- version.. now the other shoe was on the wrong foot so to loaded this stuff in droves. They played nice with everybody speak.. Their Linux player didn’t play the new format, and and tried to portray themselves as a real friend to the net Real wasn’t doing anything about it.. Now they, and all of community.. They even made a Linux version of their player humanity began to see the error of their ways by trusting one -- a move at the time that was unheard of. Their was much controlling companies proprietary format to dictate media rejoicing. on the web. Then the dark times came. The net grew up. People began Darker times approached. to get fatter connections. They turned in their 28k modems for T1’s are their new internet jobs. Microsoft came out with Real, realizing that people wouldn’t download the new ver- their own competing product known at the time as the ASF sion of their players that had even more spy ware, crap, cook- format (Later to be known as WMF when some smart fellows ies, ads, because they would just keep their older versions, figured out how to hack their precious file format). Real soon made a second deal with the devil. This time the devil con- realized it couldn’t make money off of their server software vinced them that their software should “Auto-Expire” after 60 alone (Duh). days, so people would be forced to download the new ver- sion and couldn’t continue using the old copies. Meanwhile Real then met the Devil in the desert. Except, he didn’t refer in a joint effort, they had lawyers removing all older copies of to himself by his true name, but instead choose the handle the real player software off the web to prevent any clever folk “Comet Cursor”. The devil said to Real Networks, “Hey, you from opting-out of all the ads, spy ware, and shit. can make money off of your real player if you bundle your software with me.. I’ll make money stealing peoples demo- The rejoicing continued, but this time for Divx. graphic information and spying on them, pay you a cut of the money, and no one will be the wiser! Oh yah, if you join me Time passes now and we see the new version of Real Player. now, you will have a throne in my kingdom.” (Or something.. The Format still sucks. and the player sucks even worse. haven’t read the bible in a while) Anyone with less than a 2 Ghz computer can’t run the soft- ware. Dial home devices are built into new builds that send (Getting melodramatic yet?) information Real Networks as soon as a computer boots.. Not just smart start center is running in the system tray anymore.. Low and behold, shaking hands with the devil is a bad thing. Now there are 7 different applications devoted to real run- Consumers got pissed. Did real wise up? ning in the windows task manager at boot up. They continued to bundle all kinds of pointless crap with their Real starts loosing lots of money.. The Dot-Com bubble bursts. product.. meanwhile..... Layoffs.. Desperate times... Recession. Some smart hackers said “Hey.. this new ASF format of Micro- softs.. it uses an MPEG-4 interpretation that isn’t too damn bad.. If we just took the codec and put it in an AVI, got rid of this weak ASF format, this could make net distribution of video kick ass! It will be the next MP3 for the love of Achil- les!” PAGE 33
    • The Video Capture Bible Date: 2003 - Location: Unknown. A fan of digital video takes a CD out of his collection with southpark episodes in Real Media.. He puts the disk into his computer and tries to play it. His Real Player has passed expi- ration date and needs a new version.. The fan now goes to Real’s site.. It’s down. Real has been out of business for 3 months now. He then searches the web to find another appli- cation that can play Real Video files. He finds none. He then searches for a utility to convert Real Video to his new favor- ite format, SVCD.. He finds one! But alas, it requires the real player to work, because Real Video is a propriety format.. who’s copyright, thanks to Disney and Sony Bono, doesn’t expire for 150 years. The moral of this real life fairy tale? Real Video is for Sucks. PAGE 34