I volunteered to digitize a set of old VHS tapes for ADF. I’d say “recently” but it took much more effort than I expected. Resources I thought I had access to disappeared, and hardware failures and quirks were the order of the day.
In the end I wound up using a DVC-100 I picked up at a garage sale along with mencoder. To save people time in the future, here’s what I had to do to make it work under Ubuntu 12.04.
First off, it turned out I needed to set up a loopback device in a ~/.asoundrc to get good audio capture while doing this.
The loopback device looks like this – this can be placed in your .asoundrc as the whole contents of the file:
Then I had to work out an mencoder commandline. This is what I found to work; some of the encoder parameters can be changed of course, particularly the bitrate. I was surprised that the input audio rate had to be dictated to mencoder – I would have expected autodetection.
mencoder tv:// -tv driver=v4l2:device=/dev/video0:input=0:norm=ntsc:alsa:audiorate=48000:adevice=copy:forceaudio:immediatemode=0 -of mpeg -mpegopts format=dvd -ofps 30000/1001 -vf scale=720:480,harddup -ovc lavc -oac lavc -lavcopts acodec=ac3:abitrate=192:keyint=25:vcodec=mpeg2video:vbitrate=4000:aspect=4/3 -o druidismnew.mpg
This can be previewed by using mplayer in lieu of mencoder and removing all of the output aspects.
In the long run I used ffmpeg to trim things down using the -t option after previewing the clips. I did find that using -ss to trim off the front was a problem; apparently dvdauthor expects that the video stream appears first. I was unable to come up with a solution for this, and in the end I re-recorded the one clip where trimming at the start was required.
ffmpeg -i infile.mpg -target ntsc-dvd -t [duration] -acodec copy -vcodec copy
I hope this helps someone else, since it was quite a bit of digging on my part, and that after the failure of several other options to do it on a shoestring.