Betamax blues

Hi guys

A while ago I got a Betamax Video recorder to digitize some old family video footage I filmed on Betamax years ago, I managed to digitize them ok using an old Hauppaupe PCI video capture card and xawtv, I’m trying to do the same again with another video I’ve found The problem is although I can tune into the video and record no problem I can’t get audio yet I must have got it before because I have previously done this.

Initially xawtv was throwing up an error along the lines of no oss device found but I seemed to have solved that by installing oospd from synaptic so now it will go through the motions of recording but all I get is an empty .wav file.

I my memory serves me right the last time I did this it never streamed the sound but it did record it but this time I’m getting neither,

any help or suggestions would be welcome

Many thanks in advance


I’ll wait and see if SeZo responds … he’s the genius when it comes to this stuff :slight_smile:

I don’t think this is gonna be fixable,

since my last post things have went horribly wrong, during an attempt to record a video clip xawtv froze while I was trying different sound settings then I lost all my sound settings in Pulseaudio even a reboot wouldn’t bring them back, I couldn’t figure out any way to fix it so I restored a snapshot with thimeshift from the previous day, that sorted the sound settings but now xawtv will not offer analogue tv as an option I only have svideo and composite, additionally I’m getting weird behaviour such boot up blacking out, my log out menu popping up on the screen randomly, weird keyboard behaviour and other strange stuff going on, I have 2 versions of Peppermint 6 on my HDD and it’s doing the same weird things in both systems, I’ve since removed the card and everything appears to be fine again so it looks like the card has screwed up, the only other thing I can think of trying is plugging the to a different pci slot but I’m not really hopefull

I have 2 other devices Hauppauge UK | WinTV-HVR-900 Product Description & but so far I’ve been unable to get either of them working but maybe with the help of the good folks here one of them could be made to work,

Many thanks


Your best bet is waiting for SeZo … he’s good with this stuff, I’ve never really messed with video digitising (even on Windows).

If he doesn’t turn up, I’m willing to give it a shot but I’ll be as much in the dark as you, probably more so as I have no way of testing.

Your best bet is waiting for SeZo .. he's good with this stuff, I've never really messed with video digitising (even on Windows).

If he doesn’t turn up, I’m willing to give it a shot but I’ll be as much in the dark as you, probably more so as I have no way of testing.

I understand Mark, I suppose digitizing is really quite simple it’s configuring the hardware that’s the difficult part especially in Linux which seems to be poor with driver support and decent utilities to do this sort of thing .

As much as it pains me to say it it may be easier to just do this in Windows I have the original installation CD for one of the capture devices so that option is still open to me but I’d prefer to do it in Linux I’ll wait to see what Sezo has to say

Many thanks


Sure, there are times you have to concede defeat in that the hardware manufacturers couldn’t be bothered to support Linux with their drivers/software … and just use Windows (or go without).

In the same way as there are things you can’t do in Windows, such as a LiveUSB that’ll work on pretty much all hardware … there are things each are better at.

But I know which I’d choose for “everyday” computing :wink:

Have been out of this for a while so I am a bit rusty.
Have you tried the Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-900 instructions from here?

Hi Sezo

Yes I did look at that but I thought it looked a bit involved , I already have the Windows driver disc and there’s a file named hcw88bda.sys on the disc maybe that would do ?

as it is I have it working ok in Windows, but if you don’t think it would be a drama and didn’t mind helping me I’d be happy to get it working in Linux

Many thanks


If it is working under windows then I would stick with that. I assume you will need this for a short period only.
Alternatively you could look at the previous attempt to get it going here

Thanks Sezo

Yeah you’re right, this is not something I intend doing again if I can avoid it, so probably just as well to just do it in Windows,

I did this a while ago in Linux and got exceptionally good video quality but the audio was dreadful which is why I’m doing it again, the problem I now have doing it in Windows is the opposite where the audio is good but the video quality is shit, so I’ve now got a good quality video file and a good quality sound file but the problem now is when I try to match them in Openshot they must be running at slightly different speeds which means the audio is running progressively further out of sync the further the video is played,

seems I can’t win :frowning:

Anyway thanks for your help


doesn’t avidemux let you stretch/shorten the audio run time to fit … I’m sure I saw a tutorial for this online somewhere

On the audio you could change the tempo in Audacity.
First find out how much it gets out of sync at the end of the track.
In Avidemux change the offset so audio is in sync at the end of the video.
then in Audacity open audio track to edit:
Effect->Change Tempo…
Adjust the Length(Seconds) to the length you need to (lengthen or shorten).
Then recombine Video and Audio in Avidemux
You may have to play with it to get it right.
More here

Thanks Sezo

After some trial and error I managed to get the audio synced by adjusting the tempo in Audacity as you suggested a 4.7% reduction in tempo increased the audio length by 1min 35secs bringing it into perfect sync.

Just one question
when I first digitized the film clip the file size was massive as I remember it worked out at around 1gb/minute after rendering it in Openshot (mp4 (h264) ) the file size was reduced to 2.6gb which still seems a bit oversized for a 30 min video clip considering a full length movie isnt as big ie I have Titanic (3 hours) as a Matroska which is only 1.9gb with perfect picture quality, so is there a better compression or should I just leave it as it is.

Many thanks for your help


That is good news.
Regarding the reduction of file size, you could try ffmpeg (change mkv to mp4 if required):
Using Constant Rate Factor (CRF)

ffmpeg -i input.mp4 -c:v libx264 -preset slow -crf 22 -c:a copy output.mkv


ffmpeg -i input.mp4 -c:v libx264 -preset veryslow -crf 22 -c:a copy output.mkv

Alternatively try qscale

ffmpeg -i input.mp4 -c:v libx264 -qscale:v 6 -c:a copy output.mkv

Change the -qscale:v 6 to lower value to get higher bit rate (file size) or to higher value to get lower bit rate (file size)
A change of 6 will double or halve the resulting bit rate.

SeZo is “the man” when it comes to this stuff :slight_smile:

Sorry SeZo I know you hate it when I say things like that … but that doesn’t stop it from being true :wink: