2005.07.14

I would have called this Analog Video How To but I don’t really consider it a very comprehensive How To… It’s really just a description of my set-up.

I don’t have a digital video camera for the stuff I do on tinkernet, I use an old JVC VHS camcorder I picked up around 2000 or so. It records to little VHS tapes that hold 30 minutes of video. I rarely shoot more than 5 or 10 minutes for most stuff I do, and edit it down to less than 2 minutes for the final product anyway.

Griffin iMic and XLR8 InterView USB Video Capture Device

Besides the camera, I use two devices, a Griffin iMic USB audio adapter and an XLR8 InterView USB video capture device. These convert the analog signals from the camera into digital files on the computer. You’ll need to plug them into the USB ports on the computer. I’d try to plug the XLR8 InterView right into the computer instead of a hub, as you may see better performance. (If your computer has a sound input port either built-in or on a card, you probably won’t need the iMic, but I do for my Quicksilver – yes, I use a Mac.)

JVC Analog Video Camcorder

The image above shows the camera with two cables, the video cable has an RCA connector on each side. This one connects to the XLR8 InterView to carry the video.

The other cable needs to have an RCA connector on one end, and a small audio connector on the other, as it will connect to the Griffin iMic to carry the audio signal. (You can probably use an RCA cable with a small adapter on the end, ask your local A/V geek at Radio Shack.)

Once it’s all connected, you launch the USBVision Capture (well, that’s what the OS X app is called) and start to play the tape, and you can capture the video (and audio) to your computer. It’ll create a movie file, which you can then convert to another format using the USBVision Exporter application. (Both of these apps came with the XLR8 InterView, they can pretty much do what QuickTime Pro can as far as saving and converting formats.)

Typically I will capture the video, then convert it to a DV Stream file, which will make it huge, but will allow you to import it into iMovie where you can edit until you have a masterpiece worthy of the presenting to the videoblogging Yahoo! Group. ;)

I’m not going to get into the editing or encoding or compressing part of creating your final video, as the folks at Freevlog cover that much better than I can…

If you have any questions on this setup, or suggestions as to how to do it better or what not, let me know. I pretty much figured all this out by digging around the wonderful web, and a lot of testing and trial and error. Good Luck! Make some video!

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