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Old November 21st, 2008, 02:08 PM   #1
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Best Codec for Compressing Home Videos Onto Network

I am planning to digitalize movies shot on mini DV S-VHS and VHS. These will be stored on our home network and the purpose is to view them on our network computers or our home with Mediacenter television. Occasionally I will want to burn these to DVD. I am not planning for Blu-Ray distribution.

I'm considering what codec to use. Mini-DV would work just fine. But 13 GB per hour is too large a file size. I've considered:

1} burning to DVD compliant MPEG. This would decrease the file size almost tenfold and with the proper settings the quality would be quite good. Burning to DVD would be a snap.

2 } burning to MPEG-4. I have not used that codec much but would anticipate smaller file size with equal quality. While I own several analog capture cards, which will create DVD compliant MPEG. My only option without new hardware is to transcode to MPEG-4 after capture. Is there a hardware/software solution that allows capture directly to MPEG-4? I assume reencoding to DVD compliant MPEG-2 would be pretty easy. If DVD creation is desired.

These choices are only based on my experience with basic editing and DVD creation. Would Windows Media format or another codec play a role?

Thanks in advance for any thoughts.

Kevin
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Old November 21st, 2008, 08:13 PM   #2
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burning to MPEG-4.
That's the first component I'd look at. I personally think h.264 offers the most bang for the byte when it comes to good quality and small file size.

If it's imperative that it play inside Windows Media Center, then h.264 will not work. In a world of open standards, MSFT have walled themselves off from h.264 and are clinging desperately to their .wmv format. .wmv will work, but to my old eyes it looks softer than other codecs. Read that as "not as good."

I have a WMC PC in my living room and except for recording the occasional TV show, I don't use WMC for video at all.
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Old November 23rd, 2008, 02:42 PM   #3
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Video Compression for Viewing off of a Network

Thank you so much-this perspective is very helpful and just what was looking for. Yes, I have VLC and a number of other applications that would play them for me.

I'm going to do my own homework, but I'm just curious-are there applications or software/hardware combinations that you like which will-

1) capture over FireWire from my mini DV camera and encode to MP4 in one step?

2) capture analog video and audio and encode into MP4 in one step?

This of course is easy for DVD compliant MPEG 2 I just haven't looked around for the same thing to MP4

thank you in advance
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Old November 23rd, 2008, 05:36 PM   #4
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1) capture over FireWire from my mini DV camera and encode to MP4 in one step?
Not that I know of but you might want to bang around here. There are a ton of guides on how to do different things and lists another ton of very helpful tools.

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Originally Posted by Kevin D Brady View Post
2) capture analog video and audio and encode into MP4 in one step?
You're going to need hardware for this and there was a recent thread about capturing many hundreds of tape that I cannot find where Chris recommended some. I've captured to DV with a VCR, DV camcorder and a computer.

Going straight to MP4 is probably doable, but not with a DV camcorder. You'll probably have to do it with analog hardware and some software capturing tool I haven't found yet.
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Old November 24th, 2008, 02:29 AM   #5
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Quicktime Pro will capture from Firewire directly to MP4/H.264.

NOTE: You will find the resulting movie, when uploaded to the web, does not progressively download. What is the DVcreators.net secret? Simply reopen the movie and save it, and the QT atom will be repositioned at the head of the file where it needs to be to progressively download.

:-)

Although I would recommend capturing in original format and using DV Kitchen to batch encode and upload, your results will be superior.
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Old November 24th, 2008, 05:32 PM   #6
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Thank you!

My personal hierarchy of importance was-from most to least:

1) encoding in real-time-no transcoding as a secondary step-even in batches.
2) small file size at 720 X 480 resolution.
3) best quality given above.

Since that led me to the MP four format. I decided I wanted the encoding process to use MP four settings which would allow the files to play on the iPod.

If I wanted to do a high quality project I could recapture from the original tapes.

I found that virtually all bus cards which encode MP 4 are designed for video surveillance systems which which very reasonably use this codec for digital storage of surveillance video. None seemed suitable, because either design or their price wasn't appropriate.

Hauppaugge makes an interesting hardware encoder, which encodes to MP four. Actually this is a high definition unit which inputs, component video and creates Blu-Ray compatible MPEG-4 files. That's kind of cool because it appears to be the first unit, which will do this at a consumer level but not what I need


Video guys sells this unit-
Videoguys.com -Plextor PX-708A 8x DVD burner, Plextor PX-708UF external DVD burner , Plextor ConvertX MPEG4 & DivX Encoder.
They didn't state that the MPEG-4 files were iPod compliant-so I did not research it more

This company looked interesting, but I didn't see their products in retail outlets
http://www.yuan.com.tw/en/products/t...roductscontent .htm.

Two USB devices turned up which seemed interesting: they both encode analog video to MPEG 4.

One was the Elgato which is mac only but seems to get excellent reviews on multiple pages
Amazon.com: Elgato Turbo.264 - Video H.264 (MP4) Encoder Hardware 10020500: Electronics

The other is the one that I decided to try Smart capture by FastVDO
there is a $99 consumer level unit and a $250 professional unit

Amazon.com: SmartCapture Lite: Electronics

As Josh pointed out my wish to streamline this process to one step per tape is a compromise. I suspect the hardware device I ordered would not do multipass coding and may be limited to some parameters, which I could change or improve if I captured first and then encoded with software.

I had planned to simply capture my mini DV tapes by running the analog output of the camcorder into this device. But I will try Josh's technique with QuickTime Pro, which I do own to capture through FireWire

Thank you for the help
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