Question about a product called "Instant DVD Maker"

I personally have found that when I go from a VHS tape to VCD, the quality is fairly poor. SVCD looks good enough to be watchable, and really isn’t that much different.

Sailor, if you check out VirtualDub, it should be able to use your capture device, and it’s codex to let you capture to MPEG1.

I also use an ATI AIW card, and while the capture works good, the sound level problem is driving me crazy. The sound level coming into the capture card is too high, and overdrives the capture. So it comes out sounding like someone talking loudly into a microphone held close to their mouth. Irritating at best.

x-ray. You can get by with a very inexpensive card, but from what I’ve seen, those require a bit more know-how to use. I have a co-worker that has a Dazzle, and it’s very easy for her to use. So it you’re looking at the easiest way to get the video into the computer, I’d recomend something like that. Nothing fancy to play with, just video in. And keep in mind, that if you really wanted to record off of tv, just run your cable through the vcr that you’ll have hooked up, and change the vcr channel to whatever you want to record.

Hodge, I would not go for an external USB “card” so the Hauppage seems like a better bet.

My card uses a codec called “PCLEPIM1”. This is from the info of a clip I recorded: 320 x 240, 24 Bits, 4234 Frames, 15.001 Frames/Sec, 315 KB/Sec, PCLEPIM1. How can I get it to use MPEG1?

Atrael, Does the card have an analog audio cable to go to the audio card input? In that case lowering the level should be no problem.

I’ll look into VirtualDubya. :wink: it can read (not write) MPEG-1 :frowning:

Darn, sorry sailor…I can’t believe that none of the software listed at can work for you. Although I tend to use the software that came with my card, so I haven’t really looked around much.

As for the audio level problem, it captures the sound from left/right cables, beforeit goes into the sound card, so I cannot adjust it using the “line in” function of my sound card. What I need to get is a line mixer that will let me physically adjust the levels before they go into the capture card…but the only one I’ve found is $75 and I just don’t want to shell that out right now.

Atrael, I am not sure I understand. If you have access to the analog audio signal in a cable, you can just insert a couple of resistors as a voltage divider.

Regarding my card I’d like to record directly to MPEG-1, not record and then convert because I imagine that would mean loss of quality.

Ahhh…ok, while this isn’t perfect, what you can do it capture using VirtualDub in .avi format, then convert to MPEG1/2 with DVD2SVCD. This will give you a file that you can put on a VCD, or SVCD. Also, maybe check out some of the other capture utilities at and see if one of them might work for you better. I know that I’ve spend months playing with this stuff on and off, but once you get it all set up, and working to how you want it, the process is fairly smooth after that.

*On preview - Since you don’t want to re-convert, try NanoDVR 2 or FreeVCR, both listed on that capture page. They both capture direct to MPEG1/2, and FreeVCR is a freeware program.

As for the audio, sure I could…except that I have no idea what you are talking about…:slight_smile:

Virtual dub only works with certain ATI cards & only then if you can find the drivers for them. Just get a cheap cd writer, they come with Nero, then at get Nero Vision, its free, lets you make vcd’s all in one step.

Yep, that’s a proprietary Pinnacle codec called RTMpeg. Regardless of the name, it’s an AVI codec that can only be used within Pinnacle products.

Not necessarily. If you capture a high resolution AVI then re-compress to VCD/SVCD resolution using de-noise, de-interlacing filters you can improve the picture quality drastically. However, this is a labour intensive process involving a lot of trial and error to get satisfactory results.

Try out Atrael’s suggestions above and you might also try WinVCR, as well.

Strange, every AIW card I’ve used has always passed audio through the sound card.


My set up has the audio and video coming into the ATI “crossbar”, which sends all the data to the capture card. While I’m not positive, I do know that there is an audio out from that capture card that I have to hook up to my comps sound card “line in” jack. So I’m assuming that since I can’t adjust the sound levels via the windows adjustments, it must be capturing the sound at the card, before the sound card line in. If that makes sense.

Of course, you’re right in that your audio outputs connect to inputs on your AIW. However, this audio is then passed on to your audio card. Your Windows Volume Control should definitely control your line in levels. Keep in mind that you have to set to set your line in recording level and not just the playback level.

Yep, tried that…like I said, after messing with this thing for months, the only conclusion that I can come to is that the sound capture is done right off AIW input ports, so there is no way of adjusting it. While messing with the line in level will make a very very small difference in the audio, it’s noplace close to where it would have to be in order to be usable. There is a trouble ticket on the AIW website about it, but no clue as to how long it’ll take them to fix it. This is the page that has the information. I’m fairly sure that it’s the problem that I’m having, but I still think it’s because the levels are too high.

Sounds like a faulty card or bad drivers to me. AIW cards have no independent audio capture capability so the problem does not lie there. Is it too late to exchange it?

Anways, sorry to x-ray for the lengthy hijack.

Atrael, I downloaded AVI2VCD and tested it with some files I had captured and the result is pretty good. The reason I wanted to capture directly to MPEG was my concern that the video woul lose quality with the double encoding but the result is pretty good and so, I find it does what I want. The resulting MPEG file is about half the size of the original AVI file which is good in itself, but the main reason I wanted to encode in MPEG is so the files are compatible with everybody because until now if I sent you a video file I had to send you the codec. Wel, I finally might get around to pulling out the old VCR and the old X rated tapes of my girlfriend at the time _.

Going back to cards, my Pinnacle works well enough for being dirt cheap but I find the luminance varies too much depending on the signal. Other than that it works reasonably well.

Sorry I can’t help more with the sound problem.

Thanks for all the info folks, much appreciated. I think I’ll go for either Dazzle or Haupage. Hodge said the Haupage is buggy with third party capture programs. Will I need a third party capture program? Won’t the Haupage come with everything I need?

OK, one more question regarding which product to buy. Since the Dazzle doesn’t have a TV tuner, will I not be able to record TV programs directly from TV to computer? I’m assuming If I don’t need to tape them on my VCR first the quality will be better.

The Dazzle won’t record programs directly from TV. To capure from your VCR, you will connect the VCR to the Dazzle using RCA cable or S-video.

If you want to capture from TV with the Dazzel, you could connect your cable/antenna to your VCR, then run RCA cables from the VCR to the Dazzel. You would use the VCR controls to set the channel.

I’m assuming the latter choice will result in higher quality video?

The Dazzle won’t record programs directly from TV. To capure from your VCR, you will connect the VCR to the Dazzle using RCA cable or S-video.

If you want to capture from TV with the Dazzel, you could connect your cable/antenna to your VCR, then run RCA cables from the VCR to the Dazzel. You would use the VCR controls to set the channel.


I dont think Cable TV signals are good enough that it matters. Besides, routhing the video through as few devices as possible will probably get the best quality.

I am planning on buying one of these on friday. If they are in stock and I get one I’ll post what I think of it.

While I d onot know the dazzle especifically, unless you are saving some substantial dough or have some other good reason, I would recommend getting a card with tuner as you can then see TV on your monitor without depending on the VCR’s tuner.

I would be very surprised of any card you buy does not come with all the software you need to record but you may find out things like the obscure codec thing which I found out in my case. Then you just get whatever additional software you need to finish what you want.

As I said, my Pinnacle card uses that obscure codec, It also comes with some video editing video which I have just used for the first time and, to my surprise, saves with yet a different codec: Indeo R3.2. And I have some other video editing software and it saves in yet a different codec format. In the end I am just using AVI2MPG and that works well enough for me.

I have to thank you for starting this thread as it made me get on to doing my own recording which I had been intending on doing for a long time.