Marvel G400 with tv : LUSENET : Video CD : One Thread

Does anyone else have a Marvel G400 with TV capture card that is making their own Video CDs from VHS tapes? I am going to do a lot of family video conversion and would like some pointers if possible. Any input such as how tos and encoder suggestions would be helpful. I have LSX MPEG encoder already and it looks great. Any others any better? Also What all do I need to do to make VCDs to play on a DVD player (stand alone). And lastly, will VCDs work on 80 minute cds? At least be able to play them on my puter?

Thank you, Buddy Stark

-- Bud Stark (, February 15, 2000



Sounds like you and I are going down the same path. I'm an extreme novice at making Video CD's -- but I've been able to complete a few video CD's using the Matrox Marvel G400. So when reading what I have to say -- just know that there are probably much better ways to make Cd's and that I'm just experimenting. Hey -- please let me know what you discover. Gee -- you can burn many hours fumbling around -- at least I have.

I kinda like the avid cinema software that came packaged with the G400 card. I figured I should give its try since it came with the G400. I went ahead got the Ligos MPEG1 plug-in for Avid Cinema. It works OK - it is just slower than Xing. (I think Xing may be the fastest transcoder out -- but it ain't instant) Price was right for Ligos plug-in. However -- I think the combination is a cheap way around the 2 gig file limitation. In other words -- I can put several gigs of video into avid cinema in 2 gig chunks and then write to a single mpeg1 file using the ligos avid cinema plug-in. I don't think Xing can do this -- it has to be fed in 2 gig or less bites. I left a 60 minute video running through the ligos avid c. plug-in transcoder this morning before I left for work this morning. It should be done when I get back. It certainly takes a long time -- but I don't have to watch!

My computer is not that great -- I recently bought a FIC 503+ motherboard with an AMD K6-III 400 mhz chip to get my old pentium 1 computer fast enough to play with digital video. I even kept my old 72 pin 66 mhz Simm memory chips. I have 80 meg of the slower simm ram. Maybe one of the latest and greatest fast computers would speed things up.

I made a few short test Video Cd's before attempting my present 60 minute test. I used the Adaptec Video Creator 4 -- I'm happy with that. It has a video Cd utility that crosschecks all the Mpeg1 file data to make sure you are up to spec. The resulting Video Cd's play fine in my Pioneer 525 DVD player. They also play fine using the windows media player -- I just open media player, then file, open, choose the .dat file in the mpegav directory of the video cd, and play. No exactly intuitive -- but it works.

One other thing -- I added a separate hard drive just for video. You really need the room for playing with video. I just wipe out the whole drive once I'm finished with a project and start over. I'm using a 27 gig slave drive dedicated to just digital video. I think this will be enough -- more is better with video.

I'm interested to see what you discover. Please don't make any purchases based on anything I've said without checking with someone who knows what they're talking about.

Oh -- I'm convinced that digitizing to avi or related format, then transcoding to mpeg1 results in a superior Video CD. Your investment in time pays dividends in quality. I'm happy with my G400.

-- John W. Sheffield, III (, February 16, 2000.

Great to see some discussion on G400-TV for making VCD. Just bear in mind that VCD Mpeg-1 only uses 352x288 final resolution so capture at 704x576 I have found is a great waste of time and HD space. By keeping to 352x288 you may be able to get away with 1hr video <650Mb.

I use Premier to export AVI @352 out but found 'interlacing' artifacts realting to 704 capture, whereas 352 capture was great.

Please keep info posted as more become available.

p.s. I use the Vitec RT-6 for long capture to avoid AVI=> mpeg-1 loss and rendering time. The quality is not as good but when you got not time the card is fantastic.

-- Frank T (, February 20, 2000.

I have a G200, have been using it for 6 months now, and am pleased with the results. I guess the G400 is an up-and-anted version of the G200 so I can share what I get. If I capture from VHS tape I use half- res 352x480, min. MJPEG compression (4:1). This is assuming a well- recorded first generation VHS tape from a camcorder or a TV program. Full-res 704x480 wastes resources (2Gb>12min40sec only) and quarter- res (352x240, which neatly fits VCD requirements, too bad) capture translates into blockier MPEG after encoding with Panasonic compared with half-res. I only use quarter-res if I capture from sources like D8, DV, or DVD; at this resolution there are no (to me) visible differences between MPEGs captured at higher resolutions. I always use S-video input and have, for one, bought a JVC S-VHS deck for the purpose. There is a thin line between quality of composite and S- video capture especially when the source is second- or third- generation. Some scoff at S-video inputs but they are there in ALL capture cards for a reason. To make your VCDs play on a DVD set-top (assuming they were correctly authored), get only from Pioneer or Philips; all others do not recognize CD-Rs. Yes you can pack as much as an 80-minute CD-R will hold and they will play correctly. This doesn't have to do with VCD authoring as much as whether your CD-R application and CD-R drive support 80min CD-Rs.

-- EMartinez (, February 20, 2000.

Thanks for all of the insights guys. I have spent the last several days trying to even get my computer to work. One thing is for very sure with these Matrox cards is that you MUST have the very latest BIOS and motherboard drivers. I have a FIC 2013 motherboard and I could not do anything with the card until I reformatted and installed all the above mentioned drivers. The card works great however. I only have one small problem now. I cannot get video captured with sound yet. I have a Soundblaster live! value and have it hooked up per instructions, so it has to be some sort of setting I am missing. If anyone has a sb live! value and had the same problems, please let me know. Thanks, Buddy

-- Buddy Stark (, February 20, 2000.

I have the G400/Rainbow runner combo, essentialy it's a 32 meg marvel 400.

I've found that if I want to VCD a TV show, it's better to capture right off the tuner. It's got a built in VCR function, which helps too. It's cleaner and has better sound quality then capturing from VHS. I can go in afterwards and rip the commercials out with premiere and render it to mpeg-1.

Also, it is better to capture full frame, but you have to deinterlace and scale the video back when you render to mpeg-1. If you just capture at VCD resolution you can see the motion problems ("jerkiness" caused by missing video fields) in the final Mpeg.

-- Sean (, February 21, 2000.

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