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EverythingIBM
April 11th, 2011, 04:19 PM
Alright, I've always wanted to record video output from my Pentium I computer (it has a typical matrox millennium PCI GPU (VGA): although the lesser mystique cards were seemingly better for 3D graphics...). Anyways, I wanted to record some DOS games and various other footage... what would be the best way about doing this?
I can always install a different video card if needed: quite frankly, it could use something more advanced (it was made before AGP existed).
My friend suggested porting the VGA to S-Video, and then capturing it with that. Not sure how that would work... or the necessary cables/modules needed.

My workstation, which will be recording the input, has two DVI ports (currently occupied), and an S-Video port... 8 USB ports, parallel, two serial, two firewire and all the typical ports you'd expect in a modern computer.

Cheers.

luckybob
April 12th, 2011, 12:32 AM
I'm going to bump this thread. I too want to do the same thing. I was planning on using a s-vga => s-video converter and recording the result on a 2nd computer. Now if there was an easier way, I'm certainly all ears.

I was looking at the products here:
http://www.i-cubeinc.com/epiphan_systems_frame_grabbers.asp

and the ethernet model would be "perfect" for what I want, but the $2000 price tag... I think they have a decimal place off or something... seriously.

RetroHacker_
April 12th, 2011, 04:11 AM
There were several outboard VGA to Svideo/composite converter products out there. They were usually used for connecting a PC to a television set for presentations (before the advent of cheap PC projectors). That would probably be the easiest. They'll only do 640x480 though.

-Ian

lutiana
April 12th, 2011, 04:35 AM
You are looking for a scan converter. It will take the VGA input and allow you to convert it to either S-Vide or RCA which you could feed into a VCR or some other recorder.

If the S-Video on you machine is on the graphics card it is most likely an output so would be useless for this. You'll need some sort of video capture card to do this (not typical on modern machines), which card you get will dictate what kind of scan converter you will need.

Also, keep in mind that S-video and Composite (RCA) signals are practically the same when it comes to quality.

RWallmow
May 13th, 2011, 09:32 AM
Also, keep in mind that S-video and Composite (RCA) signals are practically the same when it comes to quality.True in both are 480i formats, however S-video will give you MUCH less dot-crawl and MUCH less color bleed, because is splits Chrominance from Luminance, where these are combined in Composite. In a VHS or Laserdisc player the source recording is in "composite" domain, so there you WONT get a benefit from S-video over Composite, but from SVHS (which introduced S-Video), DVD, HD-DVD, Bluray, or a PC you will see a noticeable difference between S-video and Composite.

Most VGA "Scan Converters" and most "Video Capture" cards/USB dongles will have both S and Composite, so why not spend the $0.50 more on the s-video cable over the composite cable.

I have a pinnacle DVC-100 USB capture device, it has S and Composite, plus audio capture, and only ran me like $30, Works on Windows 98 up through my current Windows 7-64 system. I use it mostly for converting VHS home movies to DVD, but funny enough I was using it last nigh to capture composite from the CGA card in my Compaq Portable II.

With my DVC-100 and a VGA Scan converter I could capture from any modern PC, just note most CHEAP scan converters will only do 640x480, but if you spend the money some will convert as high as 1024x768 down to s-video/composite, though with ANY scan converter you loose a lot of resolution, so small text will be unreadable. 18 or 20 point font is about minimum readable on most scan converters.

barythrin
May 13th, 2011, 09:47 AM
I've replied to similar but yeah that's sometimes a hard solution since you'll probably need to buy some sort of capture device or converter. AVGN outputs his stuff to his dvd recorder (probably a VCR/DVD combo) and then rips it from the DVD to get his game play footage but that's for consoles that are already outputting to RF/RCA, etc.

Depending on your selection of thrift shops or goodwills there were some capture devices for usb but I'm not sure about their quality (I'm talking legacy hardware 12 years old so the expected quality was also probably lower). There are also some programs to record your video memory I think but I'm not sure those could keep up speed wise.

njroadfan
May 13th, 2011, 01:38 PM
True in both are 480i formats, however S-video will give you MUCH less dot-crawl and MUCH less color bleed, because is splits Chrominance from Luminance, where these are combined in Composite. In a VHS or Laserdisc player the source recording is in "composite" domain, so there you WONT get a benefit from S-video over Composite, but from SVHS (which introduced S-Video), DVD, HD-DVD, Bluray, or a PC you will see a noticeable difference between S-video and Composite.


VHS and Betamax are component formats, chrominance and luminance are stored seperately on the tape using the "color under" method. Laserdisc however is a true composite format.

If you want the best quality capture, RGB capture cards exist. They aren't all that common or cheap though. YPbPr component capture cards are more common now, but you will need a RGB to YPbPr transcoder and possibly have to run the machine at a standard HDTV resolution (720x480 usually). Some capture cards won't handle 640x480 as it isn't a standard in the video world.

A side note about outboard scan converters. In NTSC land, most of the cheapie ones don't output a true NTSC signal with 29.97 frames per second (59.94hz refresh). They just pass the same 60hz clocked signal that the VGA port outputs, which will give most devices fits, particularly video capture cards.

eeguru
May 13th, 2011, 05:16 PM
I'm not sure I would call VHS a component format. It's still 4:2:0 color - YC with decimated chroma resolution. And during most of the VHS era, the recorders had to demodulate the chrome sub-carrier from a composite signal. 'Component Color', to me at least, means 4:4:4 - YUV or RGB with equal bandwidth per color channel. But I think we're getting off topic.

Did any frame grabber software exists for P1 era windows? (eg. Fraps, etc)

luckybob
May 13th, 2011, 08:22 PM
There are a LOT of video cards that have "feature connectors", are there any cards that will use this and capture the video from that? even if all it does is translate the video ram to svideo that would work as a more "elegant" solution. Or is this a bunch of wishful thinking?

twolazy
June 3rd, 2011, 05:22 AM
http://cgi.ebay.com/Signal-Converter-Box-F-PC-Notebook-PC-VGA-TV-S-Video-/180663181579?pt=AU_Laptop_Accessories&hash=item2a105d610b

I own one of these to connect my netbook to tvs... 23 bux ;)

It doesnt list it, but 320x200 and few other modes work also, well dosbox in those resolutions does. Your millage may vary lol.



** edit

Just like to add it uses usb for power, so make sure to have some sort of adapter for usb handy. I suggest a ac to usb adapter for your purposes...
Also, like to suggest using a camcorder with firewire if you have one. That way you dont loose definition recording, or maybe dvd video recorder... *shrugs*

Raven
June 11th, 2011, 01:21 PM
I got a cheap one off of eBay that works nicely, I use it to convert the (S)VGA to composite (it can do svid too) and then put that into a VCR hooked up to my capture card..

Only cost like $20 - was recommended to me by phreakindee (Youtube, also he's on here). It's that uniquely shaped one that's a few inches long.. they're spammed all over eBay new from China.

Mau1wurf1977
July 8th, 2011, 03:21 PM
Would like to share my VGA capturing experiences.

The cheapest option is S-Video hands down.

Now there are two options to being with:


Use a graphics card that has S-Video out
If your card doesn't have S-Video out buy a VGA to S-Video converter box


If your machine has an AGP port, then you can choose from a wide range of cards. ATI and Nvidia have various models with S-Video out.

Note that there are other things to consider: Some cards don't output via VGA if you are using the S-Video out. Some output on both ports.

The BIOS determines if the S-Video output signal is PAL or NTSC. PAL has a higher resolution, but runs at 50Hz, NTSC has a lower resolution but runs at 60Hz. I did some tests and in the end there is hardly any difference, I still lean towards NTSC because of the 60Hz.

In order to record the signal, you need a S-Video capture card. Most TV tuners have such an option, or you can purchase a capture card. The cheapest ones are USB and can capture S-Video or Composite. Avoid composite. S-Video is heaps better!

More expensive cards can capture S-Video, but also Component and/or HDMI.

Another thing to consider is that graphics cards that have S-Video output will give you a better recording compared to using a VGA to S-Video converter box!

I have the same VGA to S-Video box as has been posted here: http://cgi.ebay.com/Signal-Converter-Box-F-PC-Notebook-PC-VGA-TV-S-Video-/180663181579?pt=AU_Laptop_Accessories&hash=item2a105d610b

For the S-Video capturing I bought a Compro USB S-Video capture device. It comes with a Cyberlink package which allows you to record the Video as MPEG2: http://www.comprousa.com/en/product/c200_plus/c200_plus.html

It works in W7 64 bit as well. There are cheap USB capture cards on eBay and I'm sure they works just as well, I just wasn't sure if they came with 64 bit W7 drivers (this was last year), so I went with the Compro.

Here are some recordings:

640 x 480 Duke Nukem 3D off a Geforce MX440 which has a S-Video port:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wza5eXhKF4M

320 x 200 games off a Geforce MX440 which has a S-Video port:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l7Iqufm4BuE

Recording through the VGA to S-Video converter Box in PAL mode (the box has DIP switches to change from PAL to NTSC):


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ui6yk-gAAzc

Recording through the VGA to S-Video converter Box in NTSC mode (the box has DIP switches to change from PAL to NTSC):


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rzvHitzK3kY

Note:

S-Video signals are interlaced! So you need to use a deinterlacer before / while you encode your videos!

Another

NeXT
July 8th, 2011, 10:07 PM
It suprises me that there is nothing like FRAPS or similar that work on older systems. I would of assumed something would of existed.

twolazy
July 9th, 2011, 12:48 PM
Don't forget another method of input, svhs/firewire camcorders. I used to use one years ago as a lossless tv tuner... Bonus being they are cheap as dirt nowadays!

Mau1wurf1977
July 9th, 2011, 04:48 PM
Don't forget another method of input, svhs/firewire camcorders. I used to use one years ago as a lossless tv tuner... Bonus being they are cheap as dirt nowadays!

How would this work? Do these camcorders have VGA input?

twolazy
July 9th, 2011, 04:55 PM
How would this work? Do these camcorders have VGA input?

Not exactly. Well I cant speak for all, but mine has svideo/composite/component. Instead of using a tv tuner or dvd recorder, you can use the camcorder, resulting in much superior video quality, plus a ton less latency to boot! Its just another way to record the demos using a pc, using firewire. I used to record dreamcast demos, just figure I share my knowledge. :thumbsup:

Mau1wurf1977
July 9th, 2011, 10:12 PM
Ah no worries!

I finally got around to taking some footage from my Acer 486 machine. There is a thread on that machine here: http://www.vintage-computer.com/vcforum/showthread.php?24274-Mau1wurf1977-s-first-486-PC-Lot-s-of-pics-Tell-me-what-I-can-do-with-it&daysprune=365

It's a typical OEM machine. Locked down BIOS with few options. It has 4 MB Ram on the mainboard, and it seems it's parity memory (at least that option is enabled in the BIOS).

It didn't come with any L2 Cache, but that's fine. The slower the better :D I have nice Super Socket 7 and Slot 1 gear if I need something faster.

I noticed that when I use the VGA out from the VGA > S-Video converter, the DOS, POST and BIOS images become monocrome after a reboot. Games remain in colour however. I take it's just a cheap VGA splitter in this converter box :D

Anyway here is the video. Shows the BIOS options, the POST and boot, some benchmarks and also some games.

Specs:

486DX-25
4MB onboard RAM
Sound Blaster Pro 2.0
2GB CF card

Quite happy with the quality and you can hook up any machine that has a VGA video card...


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ao6IgHh4wqI

twolazy
July 9th, 2011, 10:54 PM
For your gray scale problems... have you tried using a VESA extension in your config.sys/autoexec.bat? Just an idea... Monkey island is def a good choice btw, one of my favorites!

Jorg
July 10th, 2011, 12:13 AM
Just a tip if anywhere in the process you want to pick up a cheap older PCI capture card from e-bay: many of them, although still working perfectly, do not have drivers for windows XP or above.
I got two nice Hauppage cards, and as I wanted to digitalise my VHS collection all at once, it was not a problem using a dedicated windows 98 system for it - but otherwise it would have been unpractical.

Mau1wurf1977
July 10th, 2011, 12:33 AM
Yes that's smart advice...

Always check the driver situation before you buy something :D

S-Video / Composite capture devices are dirt cheap though. I think they sell for 20 bucks shipped. Also worth knowing is that many TV tuner products can also capture from S-Video / Composite.

The other thing to check are the cables. TV tuners love to come with exotic break-out boxes and various cables. And these cables are ALWAYS missing on eBay...

Looking into the future, I would recommend sticking with PCIe and USB devices. PCI has already disappeared from most socket 1155 boards and this trend will likely continue. USB might even be the best option it seems...

Especially if you want to use a notebook for capturing. I find them better suited, because they are compact and easy to set-up next to whatever machine it is you want to record footage from. With USB 3.0, there are now external capture cards that can record HD from Component or HDMI.

USB devices can be passed through virtual machines quite easily. E.g. W7 comes with this XP Mode (free download) and you can "pass through" USB devices. This way you can use older scanners or other devices that have no W7 (especially 64 bit) drivers.

Manufacturers love to stop giving driver support after a while. Doesn't matter if you bought something cheap or premium.

twolazy
July 10th, 2011, 09:26 AM
Just a tip if anywhere in the process you want to pick up a cheap older PCI capture card from e-bay: many of them, although still working perfectly, do not have drivers for windows XP or above.
I got two nice Hauppage cards, and as I wanted to digitalise my VHS collection all at once, it was not a problem using a dedicated windows 98 system for it - but otherwise it would have been unpractical.

Is your tuner a wintv based model? If so every version has xp drivers here (http://www.nodevice.com/driver/company/hauppauge/Video_Card.html)... . If its an older model, generic BT848x/BT878x drivers here (http://sourceforge.net/projects/btwincap/)should work. :)

Going back to my previous post, If you intend to do alot of demos, still recommend a firewire based camcorder instead of a tuner. Much cleaner motion, no messing with codecs, very little if any latency, and support in win98se to Win7/OsX/Linux etc. As for the video you have now, don't forget to remove the audio track, otherwise you will have the feedback shown in the video above. TMPGenc can easily do that in a matter of seconds if needed. Also, since you have windows, grab some templates for the windows movie maker. Then you can add your own custom intro/endings to your segments. I can help a little with this too if needed.

After watching you play monkey island, I want to do my demo now of the intro song, using different soundcards. Kinda like this one here... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a324ykKV-7Y, but more a sequel using cards that were overlooked. I love to have others involved as well, but I'll save that for a different post lol. The methods i've mentioned using firewire will be what I will be using.

Mau1wurf1977
July 10th, 2011, 02:06 PM
Looking forward to seeing these videos created with a camcorder. Not quite sure why it would look any different though, because the signal limitations are what come with the S-Video standard and have nothing to do with how it's captured. S-Video can only do so much and is interlaced as well. So not sure how a camcorder would help here. But can't wait for the results!

You mentioned you recorded from a dreamcast. I assume it runs at a higher resolution compared to the text and 320 x 200 resolution of a PC. Or did you use the component cables? Because that would indeed give you a better quality!

Monkey Island has been done to death :D It only supports a few sound cards (PC speaker, Adlib, CMS Game Blaster and Roland MT-32).

twolazy
July 10th, 2011, 10:40 PM
You have how I had it connected somewhat right. Dreamcast has svideo/vga out if you use an external breakout box. I then used a vga to component cable (http://www.google.com/products/catalog?q=vga+to+component&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=shop&cid=15866367752407745262&sa=X&ei=Q5oaTrOHBOiOsQL2n73GBw&ved=0CEIQ8wIwAQ) attached to the camcorder. I also did some genesis demo's with svideo. Currently I own a few tv tuners I don't use anymore, I found my Panasonic camcorder does a much better job with a ton less cpu overhead, and a ton less latency. Try playing some auto racing or fast platform games using the pc as a tv, the latency is most noticeable then. I wouldn't say its 0 latency, but compared to my tuner cards its alot better.

Mau1wurf1977
July 10th, 2011, 11:26 PM
vga to component cable

Well there you go!

Component has a much higher quality compared to S-Video. For example the current PS3 and XBox360 also have component cables.

But these cables won't work on a PC. RGB <> YPbPr. It's always in the detail.

Without going into further detail, consoles are built with TVs in mind, PCs aren't. At least not old PCs / old video modes. While HDMI makes it really easy for modern PCs / high resolutions.


and a ton less latency.

Now I get what you mean.

Well that's not the best setup to play / record a game in the first place. Ideally you have some kind of splitter or pass-through setup which allows you to game on your normal display. Just as if no capture device was attached and with no lag / delay whatsoever.

E.g. the Hauppauge Colossus has this feature. Component in from your Xbox, component out into your TV and you game just like without the colossus.

My VGA to S-Video box also has this feature! Works great in games, because you need to speed to play well...

twolazy
July 11th, 2011, 11:20 PM
Playing off a real tv in real-time does have its advantages over pc tuners that's for sure! I invested in a small 4" lcd for playing games off of for my demoing. Like I said earlier, don't forget to invest some time in windows movie maker / adobe premiere etc for a simple opening theme. A small amount of work there goes a long way to having a professional feel.

For example, I'm starting a new msdos gaming channel, here's my basic opening...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYi87wAUl1w

I dunno just trying to think of things overlooked after all this tuner discussion! LOL.

Raven
July 12th, 2011, 02:55 PM
I have a Hauppauge WinTV (8000? I don't recall) PCIe card, and it can do the real-time footage showing just fine. I use it to hook up old systems, including PCs, to my main PC to play in a window without requiring further conversion, while meanwhile enabling me to record footage if I want.