I resolved to build a stand-alone computer system to capture VHS/Hi8 tapes about five months ago. I spent considerable time researching and reading all your comments on this and other forums as a guide to help me in this project and relate for your edification my seemingly never ending hours of frustrations getting everything to work! With the hundreds of hours I have spent in this project, I also wanted to post my results as a way of saying thank you to all you folks who spent their time helping others.
My computer setup: ASUS P4PE Motherboard w/Intel 845 chip and 2.4GHz Intel uP, 512MB, Nvidia GeForce MX440 w/128M video memory, Toshiba SD-M1712 DVD-ROM and SD-5002 DVD-R/-RW, WD 120GB 7.2KRPM UDMA100 HD, and KEL TU124 “Super case” rated for 3GHz Intel uP with 350W power supply.
Important note: Capture unit dictates the choice of motherboard. MB’s with Nvidia graphic chips are known to cause many problems for video capturing. To avoid this and video/audio sync problems, main capture unit is Canopus AVDC-100. Their website has list of “friendly and unfriendly motherboards” that relate to AVDC-100 compatibility. All DVD drives, MB, Graphics board updated with latest firmware and/or drivers. DMA set on primary and secondary channels e.g. HD and DVD drives. All DVD burning done at 1X speed (for now).
“System” Software: 1) WIN2000 SP4. 2) Enditall2 – required shutting down all interfering background processes. 3) O&O Defrag – win2000 defrag almost useless; this and other defrag programs should include “paging file” defrag and other options for performance. 4) Registry First Aid – or any other good registry cleaning program- important to clean up registry messes particularly from pinnacle software that constantly leaves behind and causing program crashes (more on this later). 5) Nero info tool V2.07 – a “must have” to see your system configuration all on one compact screen! 6) Nero CD\DVD speed V2.10 – This and kprobe are programs to check your burned DVDs. This is a must have greater than Nero info tool (more on this later).
Video Software: U Lead VideoStudio 6, the horrible Instant CD/DVD, and the
tolerable Studio Version 8.10.4.
My Experience: When it was all done, most of my problems turned out to be the (recommended) bad Ritek G03 media I purchased from shop4tech.com that was causing the freezing and skipping particularly at the 3.2 – 3.6GB part of the DVD. It wasn’t until I use the Nero CD/DVD speed program to confirm the many coasters I made and compared the results with successfully working DVDs mostly Princo and Verbatim. Do note the speed program results vary on the DVD drive used: The error message “Tracking Servo Failure” is most likely due to the drive, not the DVD; whereas the error “L-EC Uncorrectable Error” seems to indicate problem with the DVD media. In this case I switched from my Compaq DVD-115V1.12 drive from my win98 computer to my Toshiba drives on the win2000 computer and some of the previous servo error messages didn’t appear allowing the program to either finish or generate the uncorrectable error verifying the bad media. As a final check, the DVD’s are tested on my Magnavox MDV 450 DVD player.
The capture/edit/render/burn software was another source of problems. I started with the Ulead program, but I couldn’t get it to burn my DVD at the 1X speed; it constantly, despite updates, continued to burn at 2X. I then made my fateful decision to try Instant CD/DVD since I could go from capture to generating nice looking disc labels. This is where enditall2, O&O defrag program and Registry First Aid (as well as reinstalling the OS with different service packs) came into play. Errors messages like “pexpress.com has generated errors…” and others would shut down the program e.g. crash losing hours of editing work. What was madding was, after a fresh OS and Instant CD/DVD install; I could successfully complete two to three DVDs before problems started again. And this pattern continued until I said the hell with it and set aside this project for a while. It was only recently I started using the Nero Tools and discovered my software problems I was having been, in part, covering up the bad media I was using. I am now using Pinnacle’s Studio8 with the latest patch and I am having some success in making DVD’s that work. The program is still not stable, but is tolerable.
Parting comment: You can generate coasters if your power supply does not have sufficient margin to cover the power drops cause by electrical appliances turning on in your house/apartment. I witness this when observing my DVD light (indicating burn in progress), a small power droop causing a momentary small but noticeable dimming of my light above my computer. At that instant, the DVD light went out telling me the burning process stopped and another coaster generated!