[TriLUG] Video capture and burn (to DVD)
maxpublic05 at maxwellspangler.com
Sat Oct 29 20:01:32 EDT 2005
On Sat, 29 Oct 2005, Roy Vestal wrote:
> I want to be able to capture either the S-Video or RCA out of my camcorder
> and burn to DVD. I'm not really wanting to get into "Pro" stuff, but I want
> really good quality.
> The fun part is I need this to work on a laptop if possible. I have a dual
What kind of camcorder do you have? Is it mini-DV or an older analog camera?
If it is a mini DV camera then you're in very good shape. If you don't have a
mini-DV camera, read on to below.
Mini DV cameras store their sound and video on the tapes as digitized
information. All you need to do in order to get that information onto your PC
is connect a firewire/IEEE-1394 cable between your host computer and your mini
DV camera and press play. Using software for linux called 'kino' you'll be
able to capture that data perfectly and then export it to a variety of formats
including mpeg1, mpeg2, mpeg4/divx and DVD .vob files.
If you care to do this on a laptop you can, but be warned that capturing raw
mini DV video will consume a lot of hard drive space very quickly. The data
will be 'pushed' from the camera over the firewire connection to your PC and
there is no way for the PC to tell the camera to pause to let it catch up so
you'll need to make sure you're PC is fast enough to handle this job. A
relatively modern processor and hard drive should be fine -- I can do this
task on my HP Pentium M 1500Mhz laptop (1 gig of ram and a 5400 hard drive.)
If you attempt to run other programs at the same time you may have trouble.
You may encounter some challenges along the way. When I was using a 2.4 based
kernel and an external hard drive I found the bursty i/o of the 2.4 kernel
with external USB drives was insufficient for video capture. A simple upgrade
to a 2.6 kernel (via moving from Fedora 1 to 2 or 3) solved this problem.
If you don't have a mini DV camera there are two easy ways to capture video
with Linux. You can buy a specialized device like the Canopus ADVC-100 or you
can buy a mini DV camera like my Canon ZR200 which has a video-pass through
The Canopus ADVC-100 is literally a black box with inputs on one side and
outputs on the other. Feed it an SVIDEO or RCA video/audio combination on one
side and it digitizes the analog video and audio, packages it into DV format
data and sends it via Firewire/IEEE-1394 to your host computer. The Canopus
is not easily found at retail stores but is EXCELLENT in quality and far
superior to the a/v capture equipment you'll find at Best Buy. It works
*perfectly* with Linux and sound+video quality is excellent. I used an
ADVC-100 to capture programs recorded on my Tivos originally recorded from
DirecTV. Picture quality was *amazing*.
If you don't want to buy a specialized box like the ADVC-100 then you can
purchase a mini DV cam that will let you do the same thing. The Canon ZR200 I
have is a nice example. Plug in its RCA video+audio connections into your
other camcorder, VCR, dvd player or Tivo, etc. Play the video on your old
camcorder and it is fed to the new mini DV camera. The camera will digitize
it, pack it into DV format frames and send them out its Firewire/IEEE-1394
connection to your PC. I use this trick regularly now that I don't have a
Canopus and I do have a mini DV camera.
My experience with video capture on Linux has been a very positive one. I've
encountered a variety of obstacles on the way as will you, but in the end its
a very satisfying feeling to accomplish such a task with standards based
hardware and all free software.
hope this helps :)
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
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