old-video-camera.jpgWhat is Video Capture?
Vid-e-o  - [vid-ee-oh] – Noun – the visible part of a television transmission.
Cap-ture  – [kap-cher] – Verb – to represent or record in lasting form

With the accelerated growth of technology, video capture has become a part of everyday life. In the 1970s, you could have purchased a Panasonic VCR for the low price of only $5,000 – New! Today, you can purchase a VCR from several dozen manufactorers for less than $60.00. If you think that was expensive, how about in the early 1960s? While the first hippies were gathering in the San Francisco Bay area, Ampex offered the first home video system in the Neiman Marcus Christmas Catalog and it came with a huge camera, TV monitor, special furniture and a 100 pound Ampex VR-1500 video recorder. And you could have owned all of this fablous equipment for only $30,000! But wait– there’s more! An Ampex engineer would come out to your home and even set it up for you. What a deal!

Now we have DVD players, Digital Video Recorders (DVR) and camera cellular phones that record still and video images. Then there’s home and office survelience cameras. The list continues to grow. But with so many types of video recording devices, how can we save those treasured images so they aren’t damaged, lost or simply faded away?

Tools Needed

  • You need your video and the device that will play your video. Also keep in mind that the device that you are using MUST have a video and audio output. The majority of camcorders, VCRs and TVs made within the last 10 years have these features as standard. It is a possibility that you may have to purchase an adapter, but after you do so, it should be smooth sailing.


  • Next you must purchase your video capturing device. If you are comfortable with opening your computer, try purchasing an internal video capture card. These cards can range in price from about $10 to over $400 – depending on the features. Many video capture cards can also function as a TV/FM Tuner with remote, a DVR or work with your digital security monitoring system. There are also many different types of software that can accompany the hardware and that will also affect the price.

    If you’re not comfortable with opening your PC, there are many standalone or external video capture devices. They can range in price from $30 to over $2,000. The prices for these external devices are dependent on the features of the hardware and software.


  • Next you need a PC with POWER! Who wants to wait for hours while your video is rendering so that you can burn it to Video CD or DVD? With the recent advances in central processing units (CPU), you can work with almost any PC manufactured within the past 5 years and get the job done. We recommend that you have at least an 800Mhz CPU, 256MB of RAM, DVD Burner and at minimum a 30 GB hard drive. For optimal performance, we recommend that you look at one of the new Intel Core 2 Duo processor or AMD Athlon 64 XD Dual-Core Processors, 512MB of RAM, DVD Burner and at least 80GB of hard drive storage. Rule of thumb – one hour of digital video could take up to 13GB of hard drive space. That’s not including the space you need to edit the video. If you are not comfortable with opening your computer to upgrade or add an additional hard drive, there are external hard drives on the market that connect via USB or Firewire and range in storage size from 40GB to over 1TB – Terabyte (1,000GB).


  • Don’t forget your monitor, no one wants to work on a 15” monitor so if you don’t own at least a 17” monitor, you should truly consider upgrading to a 17” monitor or larger.
  • logitech-z-5300e-thx-certified-51-280-watt-speaker-system.jpgLast but not least – speakers! These are not the 1920s, so unless you like silent movies, make sure you have speakers.
  • How does Video Capture Work?
    With so many ways to record motion video and still images, we need to be able to preserve them for years to come. This process works by capturing analog images from film or video source such as 8mm, Beta, VHS, VHS-C, Hi-8, MiniDV or Digital 8 and converting the video to digital data on your computer, editing it and finally recording it to Video CD or DVD. This process may sound difficult but it can be very easy and fun.

    First, you must choose what type of device will allow you to capture your video and transfer the images to your PC. There are several devices on the market ranging from Video Capture cards that are inserted into your PC’s expansion slot and standalone devices that capture the images and transfer them to your PC via USB or IEEE 1394 Firewire. Both types of devices essentially operate in the same fashion. You connect your video camera, VCR, or TV output cables to the input connection to either the internal video capture card or external video capture standalone device. Once connected, each video capture device has its own software that will record the video and audio from your video camera, VCR or other video device and save it to your computer’s hard drive. Remember, you are recording in real time, so a one-hour video will take one hour to record. Once you have recorded all of your video to your computer’s hard drive, now the fun begins.

    Many video capture devices come with some sort of editing software. The software can sometime be very limited in functions. Fortunately, there are dozens of aftermarket video editing software products available for purchase for semi-professional and professional video features. A few of these software titles are Adobe Premiere Elements v2.0, Pinnacle Studio Plus v10.5 and Avid Xpress Pro v4. These aftermarket software packages allow you to perform professional video editing enhancements such as 2D and 3D OpenGL based effects, Real-time audio dissolves and punch-ins, Subtitles, Credits, Chroma Key (green or blue screen), add royalty-free music to compliment your visual creation and many other options. You can have professional video that looks and sounds professional using the hardware and software available today and tomorrow.

    After you done all of your editing, it’s time to burn you movie to disk. You can choose either Video CD or DVD formats. For the best movie quality, we recommend that you record to DVD media and do not record over 2 hours of video per DVD disc. You do have the option of recording up to 8 hours of video, however your video will look more like VHS and our goal is to move away from bulky VHS cassettes and to digital high-quality DVDs. Recording to a CD is also an option, unfortunately it will give you a significantly less quality video and only 72-74 minutes of video per disc.

    With the technological advances today of video capture and authoring devices, you no longer have to be a part of the rich and elite to have home movies that last a lifetime. For as little as a few hundred dollars, you can create you own home movie studio and record, direct, edit and produce you own home movies.

    You have the knowledge, now get the tools and capture those special moments to video!

    It’s a wrap!

    Related Links