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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a Sharp VL-AH161U camcorder. I have a eVGA GF4 card on my computer that has VIVO capabilities. I am well aware on how to record the videos on my computer and how to edit them for online viewing, but I always seem to have trouble making a good VCD.


I connect my video cam via the composite video input, and the audio via my Santa Cruz audio input. Two software I useis Cyberlinks PowerDirector Pro and Ulead VideoStudio. I use PowerDirector Pro for grabbing the video because it gives me a much better quality than Ulead when recording from my video cam.


I have the option of recording at 640x480 or800x600. I usually choose 800x600 because that would obviously seem better. Never tried 640x480, but I read on one of these topics that for HDTV to a RPTV, 640x480 works better. So I'm wondering if I should try that.


Secondly, how should I compress my file from avi in order to make a good VCD? Should I use MPEG2, straight AVI, or WMV?


I am using Nero 5 (not Express) to create my VCD, and play them back on my Pioneer DV440 DVD player. Any tips? Thank you.
 

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audioqueso: VCD is 320x240 resolution only. A "good vcd" is a relative term at best and an oxymoron at worst.


Depending on the quality of your Hi8 camcorder, you're likely going to be sacrificing a portion of horizontal resolution present in your tapes when converting to VCD. Regardless of the quality of your camcorder, you will be sacrificing half of vertical resolution when convertion to VCD.


NTSC is 480 (visible) lines. So, recording at anything higher that 640x480 or 720x480 (for DVD) is pointless. Recording at 800x600 would blur your video due to non-integer scaling, and will likely slow down processing also, resulting in dropped frames, showing as an occasional choppiness.


vcd is MPEG1 - not anything else.


You should connect your camcorder to the capture card via an S-Video cable (the shorter the better). It's a 4-pin connector (plus a plastic alignment pin), with a metal ring around it.


I recommend that you take a look at the web site vcdhelp.com (they've recently gotten renamed but you should be redirected) for guides and tools. Also don't shy from searching this forum - this question has been answered.


If your footage is important, by all means capture it using a good capture card (such as ATI All In Wonder Radeon 9000 or later - anything with a Rage Theater 200 chip and its 10-bit video capture and Video Shader processing units). Once captured, make a DVD-R. If you cannot afford that equipment, by all means hold on to your Hi8 tapes until the time that you can afford doing it right. But keep in mind that you'd be doing the work again at that time, and it's a lot of work, digitizing and making VCD's or DVD's.


Hope this helps.


Alec
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Alec
vcd is MPEG1 - not anything else.
It's easy to forget that with Nero, as it does the conversion for you for many formats, but it really doesn't do all that good a job at it. Better to capture directly to MPEG-1 for VCD or MPEG-2 for DVD, or perhaps capture at MPEG-2 and convert to MPEG-1 for VCD now, and save the files for DVD later when you get the burner. BTW, Toshiba 2x burners are going for about $175 nowadays, so unless you are really strapped, it's not a big cost outlay.
 

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When encoding mpeg1 for VCD the software and settings make a lot of difference. I use tmpgenc and play with the settings a bit depending on the source , it produces a visibly better result than any all in one recording software i have used (powervcr , ulead ,nero).

Of course you can always take the svcd route which is a lot better but some DVD players may not like the results.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'm not sure how to make a SVCD.

What are the requirements for a SVCD?
 

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SVCD mpeg 2, 480 x 480, varible bit rate of 2500?

offline mpeg2 encoding is the cheapest and in most cases the more feature rich.

Requirements capture card, a fast codec (mjpeg ie picvideo), software which allows 480 x 480 captures, mpeg 2 encoder tmpgenc (cheap, with excellent results), at least p3 500+, good size harddrive 6-8 gb/hr and lots of time.

3 step procedure:


1. video ---> capture card ---> software/fast codec ---> large video file(s)


2. Large file(s) ---> tmpgenc ---> small mpeg 2 file (long process)


3. Mpeg 2 file ---> Nero ---> CD/DVD


see www.vcdhelp.com it a great resource for vcd,svcd, xvcd...
 

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Hello :)


I would capture at 640x480 and not at a higher resolution. In fact if you are doing NOTHING more than making a VCD then you should capture at VCD resolution which is 352x240 though it will not hurt at all to capture at 640x480 to start with.


Once you are done doing all your editing etc. simply feed your avi file into TMPGEnc Pro. This program can be downloaded for free and will work for up to 30 days before you have to pay on-line and "unlock" it with a registration number.


Start the WIZARD and select VCD setting for NTSC (not NTSC FILM). Load your avi file for video and if it also has audio mixed into it then that will automatically be recognized. Click 'NEXT' twice which will bring you to the bitrate setting screen. Here click on 'EXPERT' and change MOTION SEARCH PRECISION to HIGHEST (SLOWEST). Then go ahead and let it do it's magic. If the file is bigger than what can fit on a standard CD then TMPGEnc has a section for cutting it down into 2 or files.


So really the only thing you ever have to change is the MOTION SEARCH PRECISION option and this must be done each time when using the WIZARD mode (which I highly recommend you use). There is one other option you need to change though but this only ever has to be done once. Across the top of TMPGEnc Pro you have FILE - OPTION - HELP and under OPTION you have ENVIRONMENTAL SETTINGS and under that is a tab for the audio (AUDIO ENGINE). Leave everything as it is but change the Sampling Frequency Converter from LOW QUALITY (HIGH SPEED) to HIGH QUALITY (SLOW SPEED). Do this once and it should be set each time you use the program.


When the program is done you will have a VCD compliant mpg 1 file. As for making the final VCD I have tried many programs but nothing seems to work better for me than Ulead's Movie Factory 2. You can make some simple but nice menus very easily which comes in handy if you want to put more than one file on the VCD. For instance I do a lot of TV capture and I find that once a "30" minute TV episode is edited to be commericial free that I can usually fit 3 episodes on a VCD so the fact that MF2 can make a nice looking menu easily and quickly is a big bonus. As for burning I also have MF2 make me a VCD image file first which I then burn to a CD-R using MF2. You can have MF2 burn directly to a CD-R but I find it seems to work better if you let it make the image file first. I did try NERO but unless my VCD only had a single mpg1 file on it my DVD player would never properly access the other episodes or files but using MF2 the final VCD works on both of my DVD players one of which is very testy about how a VCD or DVD-R is made etc. so that tells me that MF2 is doing something correctly that NERO wasn't doing. Also it doens't help you at all that Nero is constantly being upgraded (buggy program if you ask me) and has 1 bazillion options. You don't need all that to make a VCD disc.


Buying MF2 and TMPGEnc should set you back a total of around $100 or so but TRUST me it will be worth it if you will be doing many VCD projects. Plus, if you get a DVD-R burner, you will still find yourself using both programs as well since both programs supports both VCD and DVD creation.


- John "FulciLives" Coleman


P.S.

Please note that MANY if not MOST DVD players support VCD and if you use MF2 to create and burn your CD-R then you should have little to NO compatiblity problems. However, I only do animation these days on VCD because the quality of VCD is not very good and there is little you can do to tweak it. The limited detail of animation seems well suited to VCD but live action stuff, especially with a lot of camera movement or movement within the image, suffers big time in terms of quality. It's just the nature of the format. Someone suggested using the SVCD standard but ... the SVCD standard is not very standard. Very few DVD players officially support SVCD and the SVCD spec is "open" which allows a lot of variables in regard to bitrate settings etc. which tends to create a lot of compatibility problems upon playback. So basically either accept the "quality" of VCD or get yourself a DVD burner. I would stay away from the SVCD format unless you intend to do a lot of testing to get it to work correctly with your stand alone DVD player (burning samples at different bitrates etc. to find what works best etc.). As far as giving the SVCD to other people to play ... you are playing Russian Roulete using a gun with only one empty chamber. In other words your odds are not good that other people will be able to play back your SVCD discs. I guess I should mention that allthough there is a big problem with SVCD playback on stand alone DVD players ... for whatever reasons ... computer CD-ROM and DVD-ROM units seem to play them back with little to no problems. Go figure that one out!


One last thing ... check out www.dvdrhelp.com for more info on making a VCD, SVCD, DVD-R etc. Along the left hand side there is a section called TOOLS where you can find download links for the programs such as TMPGEnc and I think you can even download a working trail version of Ulead's Movie Factory 2
 
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