How to Capture Analog Video to PCs Using a Capture Card

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This article will focus on how to capture video from an analog video source to a Windows XP computer using an external Video Capture device. We will show you how, using a standard VCR as the source, ADS Tech’s DVDXPress as the capture device and Pinnacle Studio Plus 9 as the capture software. This how-to would work with any other combination of capture hardware using a USB 2.0 cable, capture software or analog source (such as 8mm, Hi8 or a VHS-C camcorder).

Here's How to Capture Video

  1. First, set up your video capture hardware by plugging in the USB 2.0 cable to the device and connecting it to the port on your PC. Power on the capture device by plugging it into an electrical outlet.

  2. Next, turn on your PC. The capture device should be recognized by the PC.

  3. Connect the source by plugging in the source device’s video and audio out cables into the video and audio inputs on the capture device. For a VHS VCR, connect the RCA video (yellow cable) output and RCA audio (white and red cables) outputs to the RCA inputs on the DVD XPress Capture device.

  4. Start your video capture software. Double-click the icon on your desktop or go to Start > Programs > Pinnacle Studio Plus 9 (or the name of the program you're using) to run the software.

  5. You need to configure the capture software to tell it what format to encode the video to. If you plan on recording to CD, you would pick MPEG-1, for DVD pick MPEG-2. Click the Settings button and then click the Capture Format tab. Change the preset to MPEG and quality setting to high (for DVD).

  6. To capture your video, click the start capture button and a dialog box pops up for a file name. Enter a file name and click the Start Capture button.

  7. Once your video is captured to your hard drive it can then be imported into a video editing software application for editing or recorded to CD or DVD using CD/DVD Recording software and a CD/DVD writer.

The video you capture will only be as good as the source it came from. If the tapes are worn, the captured footage will reflect that. Try and store your old tapes in a cool, dry place.

Before recording, "pack" your videotape by fast-forwarding to the end of the tape and then rewinding back to the beginning before playing. This will allow for smooth playback while capturing the video.

If your source device has S-Video output, make sure you use that instead of composite (RCA) video output. S-Video delivers a much higher picture quality than composite video.

If you want to capture lots of video to burn to DVD, make sure you have a large hard drive, or better yet, use a separate hard drive for storing video.

What You Need

  • A Computer
  • A Video Capture Device
  • Video Capture Software
  • If you want to edit your video, you will need Video Editing Software
  • If you want to record your video to DVD you will need DVD Recording software
  • You will need a DVD Burner to physically record the DVD