View Full Version : Video basics...

03-14-2002, 11:46 PM
OK, I'm trying to adhere to the KISS method, but I might be making things harder for myself than need be.

I've got an old 8500/200 which has AV I/O on the back. I've installed Adobe Premiere 5.1, and can't seem to get it to see any video input. There were no extensions loaded with Premiere that I'm aware of. Will it just "recognize" the AV I/O that's built in? Or do I need some extension, or something all together different?

My intent is to record some old videos I've got (elvis costello, duran duran, etc) and record them onto CD-R using Toast Deluxe 4.0 for playback on a DVD that's CD-V capable. Anyone see any problem in my concept?


03-22-2002, 10:23 PM
I'm not positive that those ports are input. They may be output. I'd check the apple site for the definitive answer.

03-23-2002, 01:22 AM
Will Apple Video Player "see" the card? Will it allow you to select input port data? Will it play Video In? If you can use it with AVP then the card is likely OK...Or try another software video app like BTV ( www.bensoftware.com (http://www.bensoftware.com) ) or Strata or ATi Video Player (if you have Ati Hardware). Again if these other apps will do it then it might be that something is wrong with AP5 or it is configured incorrectly or...

03-23-2002, 01:38 AM
This question was cross-posted. DJ TEMPO already fixed the problem (see http://www.macgurus.com/ubb/Forum27/HTML/000047.html ) - the A/V module wasn't connected to the mobo.

03-23-2002, 09:27 AM
Yep, the AV card wasn't plugged in. But there's another query for everyone...

I want to convert old VHS videos to CD-V. What hardware/software combo should I consider in order to get a video signal into the Mac that's worthy of archiving in a digital format? The stuff I end up with using the built in AV card looks rather grainy.

Also, the files I have gotten recorded are HUGE! A 3 minute video takes up like 900MB. How is that supposed to translate down to getting 60 or so minutes on a 650MB CD? And when you do transfer to CD-V, is the quality just awful? I've got a DVD player that will play CD-V's, but I"m was hoping/expeting to get DVD quality video. I suspect a lot of my quality quandries are due to the lower quality of the built-in AV conversion. But can anyone shed any light on this?


03-23-2002, 12:04 PM
Garbage in, garbage out. Welcome to the frustration of low-end digital video. Source footage on VHS is simply crappy; that's why all video editing studios that use tape use Betamax; it stores a lot more data.

Starting with Hi-8 or Digital 8 would give you much better quality. Obviously it's impossible to change your source format, but I'm sure down the road you will still be editing video.

And, yes, raw video files are enormous.
At a capture size of 320 x 240 pixels (quarter screen), that's 76,800 pixels per frame.

16 bits (2 bytes) of color data per pixel (for 32,000 colors) gives you 153,600 bytes of data per frame.

Divide by 1024 bytes per kilobyte = 150K per frame. TV video takes 30 fps, movies are at 24, so multiply 150K/frame times 24 fps = 3,600K/second; 3 and a half MBs.

Multiply that by 180s for a three-minute piece, and viola! 648,000K, or 648MB of uncompressed video. (TV-quality would have made it 810MB.)

Playing with raw video takes 1) less processing and 2) mammoth storage. It's a tradeoff. To be able to play with "real" length video, most video professionals use PCI cards (VideoVision, Fuse, etc.) that perform compression on the fly, before it hits the disk. MPEG video at high quality settings provides good-looking video at a decent storage cost. That's how you fit stuff on CDs.

Depending on your resources, you can probably use your Premiere to compress each chunk of 2-3-minute video to MPEG, then play with it. Or you could drop $3000 for a Cheetah or two and a video capture card.

Like I said, it's a bummer.

03-23-2002, 02:11 PM
Thanks Mac.

Any suggestions for a decent video capture card? I've also got an old Nubus 9150/120 that might be able to do the job, although I don't know if it's fast enough. Question is: what hardware (old is fine, "decent" quality is what I'm after) should I consider? I'm not trying to be "cutting edge", I just want to get some old tapes into a digital format.


03-24-2002, 01:00 AM
I've got a suggestion (but I'd like to hear others opinions of it as well because I'm no so sure that it would work) that would cost around $400 but would give you good capture quality (of course as mactheripper mentions it can't be better than your source material). First, get a PCI Firewire card for your 8500. In addition, you'll need an analog to Firewire DV converter (Dazzle sells one (http://www.dazzle.com/products/hw_bridge.html) for $300, Sony has a unit too, and Formac sells a $400 unit (http://www.formac.com/html/shopformac.html?cid=shop_products_studio) with built-in TV/FM tuner). These converters would basically take the analog input out of your VCR, convert the source into DV format (a decently compressed format), and feed the fullscreen DV stream into your Mac's Firewire port. My only reservation is that I don't know if 3rd party Firewire PCI cards would work in the whole scheme of things. Maybe someone versed in 3rd party Firewire can shed some light into this scenario.

03-24-2002, 04:07 AM
Sounds good. Maybe a little more than I was looking to spend, but it's workable. Also, the Firewire card would allow me to hook up a firewire drive. I've got a SCSI-3 Jackhammer card, but I think there's like a 10x difference in transfer rates. Right?

Any other input (from anyone) would be appreciated.


03-24-2002, 11:35 AM
iccafsn (does that stand for something, btw?) makes a good suggestion. FireWire would work, and 3rd party cards have worked fine in that generation of machines before. I'm close to getting one for my 9500.

Here's another reason not to buy an older, cheaper video digitizing PCI card: the FireWire-based digitizers would work on a new, high-end Mac, so if you trade in your machine, the only wasted $$$ is for the FW card; much cheaper than the old PCI digitizer + new video stuff.

Also, you may want to post the question of FW versus old PCI video gear in the "For Videophiles Only" forum. We tend to discourage unnecessary cross-posting, especially among the "New Users", "upgrade or buy", and "Top 10" forums, but in this case, I think the experts in that one probably have some better advice for you than me.

If you do decide to go that way, please start the new thread, post a final post in this thread with a link to it, and close the thread, so people who search the forums have an easier time finding your info. THX.

03-25-2002, 04:10 AM
This is totally unrelated to the topic at hand, but since mactheripper asked...

my screen name is an acronym that stands for I Can't Choose A F***ing Screen Name. I chose it out during an amazingly frustrating attempt to set up an AOL Instant Messenger account - ironically, I've been able to use that acronym with practically all new accounts I've opened since then.

03-25-2002, 11:10 AM

Firewire runs at a Max speed of 50MB a sec and UW scsi at a Max speed of 40MB a sec....not a whole lot of difference.

03-25-2002, 11:32 AM
I thought Firewire went to like 400Mb/sec?


03-25-2002, 01:05 PM

400 Mb/sec = 400/8 MB/sec = 50 MB/sec k

03-25-2002, 03:53 PM
I had noted the upper case "B". Hence, my lower case "b". Wasn't sure if we were all on the same page.

So, for all the hype you hear in the media about FireWire, it's really not all that much faster than SCSI-4?


03-26-2002, 02:59 AM
Another cheaper suggestion:

Because you mention the 9150/120, get a Radius Video Vision Studio card and I/O wand for it. The VVS system cost about $3000 back when it was new and provides the on-the-fly compression that the others were discussing. Most of the work is done on the card. They're old, discontinued (Radius is dead) and unsupported, but reports are that the work great for analog video capture.

You'll need to run something like OS 7.5.5 or OS 7.6.1 and you can't use a G3 upgrade while using the VVS but it should do the trick.

You can probably pick one up on Ebay for under $200 if not under $100.

There's a web site (don't have the URL handy) called RadiusMUG or some such that has a lot of useful information on the VVS.

If you get a complete VVS package it comes with a single full length NuBus card with a daughter card attached, a cable and I/O port wand (not sure what it's called officially, but you need the I/O thingy; the card's not much good without it) and Premiere 4.1 as well as some other bells and whistles.

There was also a PCI VVS.

Ah, here's the URL: http://www.wwug.com/forums/radius/

[This message has been edited by trag (edited 26 March 2002).]

03-26-2002, 03:19 AM

Congrats. You win the prize. Exactly the solution I was seeking. I got my Digidesign ProToos 442 system for a couple hundred.