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Capturing MPEG-2 live from analog...

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  • Capturing MPEG-2 live from analog...

    I apologize for posting in ADVC forum, but I did not see a section for the MVR and Firecoder products. I do own the ADVC 300, but I need hardware to capture the signal directly to an MPEG-2 file (and MPEG-4 would be a nice option). From what I can tell, the MPEGPro products offer this, but does the Firecoder card also offer this?

  • #2
    The ADVC-300 outpus a DV stream, but software can transcode that in realtime to MPEG2 -- even Ulead's consumer products allow you to do that.

    I would not recommend it, but it is doable.


    • #3
      I'm not sure software-only capturing is going to do the job. I need high-quality MPEGs. I'll give software a shot, but really I am just wanting to know if the Firecoder or something similar will allow me to capture live from analog, a high-quality MPEG-2 file.


      • #4
        FireCoder doesn't have analog input...


        • #5
          You have two choices:

          1. Get FireCoder and pair it with your ADVC to capture to MPEG-2/MPEG-4

          2. Get EDIUS NX Express and cut out the "middle man" (ADVC)

          The MPEGPRO products are EOL, so you might have some trouble getting one of those. The only other solutions are the MVRDxxxx boards, but really, it's cheaper and better for you to go with one of the above.


          • #6
            Thanks Kenneally,

            Can you please confirm that I could capture a live video stream to an MPEG-2 file directly. The VCR -> ADVC 300 -> FireCoder combination would allow me to do this? The reason I need to confirm is I have been told by one of your resellers that it does not. I wanted to double-check with you though.

            Thanks for the reply. I appreciate it.


            • #7
              Ah. I double checked my docs on FireCoder - while it has FireWire connectivity, it can't capture directly to MPEG-2 from DV.

              Essentially, the port is on the board for DV/HDV ingest, and then you use the accompanying software to have the board encode that captured material into MPEG-2/MPEG-4.

              So yes, the reseller was more awake than I was, when I first posted.


              • #8
                Hello Kenneally,

                it's strange: I asked my reseller and he showed me the Firecoder actually can do live capture directly from DV to Mpeg-2.

                I can't remember how... I bought it already and tried to figure it out, but unfortunately one problem remains: When I use the Ultracoder, everything seems fine (I can load an already captured DV file and convert it to Mpeg-2, it takes exactly as long as the running time of the source).
                However, if I try to start "Mpeg Craft" or the "to mpeg" Tool, I just get an error message "Canopus H/W not found" :(.
                I even deinstalled the Firecoder physically (!) and reinstalled it, but the problem remains. Can you tell me how I can properly install the Firecoder??

                Also, the are two last questions that have been on my mind for a long time:
                1.) How exactly is the resulting mpeg-2 quality compared to procoder?
                When doing the tests with my short DV files, I think I saw a small difference between the source DV (which contained VHS material captured with ADVC-300) and the 8000 kbps - file created by Firecoder... but I do wonder if that's just the absolute normal difference between DV (approx. 1:5 compression) and Mpeg-2 (approx. 1:15 compression in this case) or if it could be better. The image seemed slightly softer to me.

                2.) I've heard the Firecoder can't do PCM sound. When buying it, I thought "no problem, I'll just capture the music VHS tapes with the Canopus 300 in DV and the rest with the Firecoder in Mpeg-2".
                However, I changed my mind. To be honest I can't stand compressed sound and while people think I'm crazy, I would claim I hear the difference between AC-3 384 kb/s and PCM sound.
                Thus I'd prefer to capture all videos with PCM sound - with ac3, it would just be an unnecessary loss of quality.
                Thus, my question: With Firecoder, is there any way to capture with PCM sound - maybe with an additional software?

                Thank you very much...


                • #9
                  Hm, I solved the installation problem myself (an update helped) - Firecoder works now.

                  However, my questions 1.) und 2.) remain - can anybody help? Thank you!


                  • #10
                    1. File-based compression like ProCoder (where is it not an on-the-fly capture/compress) always has the potential to be better quality, since the encoder can analyze the entire video stream to do multi-pass encoding, allocate bits, etc.
                      Essentially, when the entire video is available to "look at" the encoder can do a better job. Of course this is not always the case as different encoders are built differently, just like there are many cars that are all cars, but some are better than others.
                    2. I don't think there's a way, since the video and audio go "through" the hardware encoder to get to the system. Maybe the encoder can pass the audio as PCM, but that would require that the software allow you to enable that configuration (if it is possible).


                    • #11
                      1. But assuming I'm using CBR in Procoder anyway, there isn't such an advantage of software and it probably isn't too much difference, right?

                      2. Does anybody know if there is a software from Canopus or another company that can create mpeg-2 files with PCM sound and is compatible with Firecoder? Thank you...


                      • #12
                        1) True, at that point you're relying only on the quality of the encoder. However, that said, a software encoder "has all the time in the world" to analyze the heck out of a frame and figure out how to fit it into the result, whereas a hardware encoder only has a fixed amount of time that each frame must be encoded in (otherwise it wouldn't be real-time).
                        Also, software encoders have the potential of running faster than real-time, whereas hardware encoders run at a set speed all the time.

                        2) You mean software that can actually use/access the Firecoder hardware? EDIUS can use it for accelerated MPEG-2 output from the timeline, but not as a general capture device.


                        • #13
                          Hm ok thanks... so I'm afraid there won't be a way to capture PCM with Firecoder. :(

                          Originally posted by GrassValley_BH View Post
                          Also, software encoders have the potential of running faster than real-time, whereas hardware encoders run at a set speed all the time.
                          By the way, actually Firecoder can run faster than real time... but I'd prefer it could do PCM instead.