Playing video from a VCR

Hi guys

This is something I’ve been trying to do for a while which is to digitize some old video footage of my daughters when they were children, I managed to do it succesfully with VHS (unfortunately I had to do it in Windows) but this time I’m working with Betamax and because the Betamax recorder only has RF output I can’t use the same USB grabber I used with the VHS recorder (which has a choice of scart and composite output)
and I can’t find drivers for the other capture cards cards I have that can take RF cable

I tried this some time ago using a Betamax machine with the help of Mark & SeZo and as I remember we managed to get a picture but we couldn’t get it to capture but at this stage I’m only interested in viewing the tapes so I can find the footage I’m looking for, I know it’s on one or two tapes in amongst a box of around 30 other tapes

I have a choice of 3 capture devices

Hauppauge WinTV-40205 (USB)
Hauppauge WinTV-HVR 900 (USB)
a pci card listed as

02:02.0 Multimedia video controller: Brooktree Corporation Bt848 Video Capture (rev 12)

I’ve tried various programs including VLC, TVtime, Cheese & xawtv

is there any advice anyone can offer that might get any one of these applications to tune in to any of the capture devices i listed

Many thanks

Graeme

I take it that you do not have an analog TV to check the VCR output (and channel)?

I take it that you do not have an analog TV to check the VCR output (and channel)?

No I don’t have one handy but I could get a hold of one in the next few days if I had to

to be honest I don’t know if the VCR works I bought it from Ebay but it was the only one listed where the seller guaranteed it was working and I paid good money for it,

it certainly looks a good machine, I’ve been tryiong it with various tapes and test signal but I’m getting nothing

Graeme

I was hoping that you may have the analog TV and able to prove that the Betamax is working before trying to play with it on the PC.

Have you ran through this thread?

I’m with SeZo … there’s no point in trying to figure this out unless you KNOW the VCR is actually reading the tapes and outputting a viable signal

Connect it to an analog TV and see if you can tune in the TV to the VCR and watch a tape

Yeah you’re both absolutely right I agree

I’ll try to get a hold of a TV tomorrow I know where i can get one

Sorry I wasted your time I’ll post back with the results hopefully tomorrow

Thanks for the help so far

Graeme

Ok I got a TV which at first wouldn’t tune in either, however I slightly adjusted the RF output screw at the rear of the VCR and and in tuned in perfectly, I’ve also got it to tune in to xawtv and showing a decent picture but no sound, I also tried a test record and the only way it would record was if I set it to record without sound

initially it refused to record with this error


oss: open /dev/dsp: No such file or directory

so I created the missing directory then got these messages

oss: can't use format 8bit mono
oss: can't use format 16bit mono (LE)
oss: can't use format 16bit stereo (LE)

but it did record if I set it for no audio

So I’m happy with that meantime as it will let me view the tapes to see if I can find the footage I’m looking for,

Hopefully if I find them I’ll post back and see if we can get it to record with audio

many thanks

Graeme

Here’s the errors I was getting with each sound setting.

If you created a directory at /dev/dsp … delete it.

Then run:

sudo apt-get install osspd osspd-pulseaudio osspd-alsa

that should create the /dev/dsp device node as a proxy for pulseaudio and alsa

Now see if xawtv will work with audio

OSS Proxy Daemon is a Linux userland OSS sound device (/dev/[a]dsp and /dev/mixer) implementation using CUSE. Currently it supports forwarding OSS sound streams to PulseAudio and ALSA.

Actually emulating the OSS devices makes for a more robust emulation compared
to OSS wrappers using LD_PRELOAD, like aoss and padsp. It also works better
when running foreign-architecture applications or using old libc versions for
compatibility reasons.

Thanks for that Mark

I followed your instructions but I’m still not getting sound from either the sound card or the capture card but I am now able to record without any error messages and although there’s still no sound I am getting background hiss that I wasn’t getting before on the recording (sound during playback is just silent) so I don’t think we’re far away.

That said the lack of sound could be down to the tape I tried it with so I’ll try it with a few more tapes first and post back

At this stage I’m still searching through the tapes, I haven’t found what I’m looking for yet but even on fast picture search it takes a while to go through a 3 hour video tape and there’s more tapes than I thought there were

Many thanks

Graeme

But it no longer gives the OSS warnings ?


even on fast picture search it takes a while to go through a 3 hour video tape

Heh … yeah, even a non picture rewind took forever if whoever had watched the tape previously hadn’t rewound it … yet we marvelled at the technology (when it worked/didn’t eat the tape) :slight_smile:

But it no longer gives the OSS warnings ?

No warnings at all :slight_smile:

But what I don’t understand is if these applications are required to perform a function that’s built in why is it not bundled in the xawtv package ?

Graeme

xawtv is quite old … back when Linux used OSS, why bundle a whole sound system with the software, when you can use the system one.

Problem is … OSS is no longer the Linux sound system, and xawtv hasn’t been updated.

Do you get audio when you play a tape through the TV ?

xawtv is quite old .. back when Linux used OSS, why bundle a whole sound system with the software, when you can use the system one.

Since my post I read up a bit on xawtv and discovered it’s no longer developed so I thought it had something to do with that, thanks for the explanation

Do you get audio when you play a tape through the TV ?

I was hoping you weren’t gonna ask that but kinda thought it was gonna be your next question.

Once I confirmed I got a picture with the TV I disconnected it and put it in the attic and I honestly can’t remember if it played sound or not but I do remember getting the buzzing noise with the test signal but to answer your question with any certainty I’ll have to bring it back down and hook it up again,

In the meantime I’ll continue searching through the tapes because if I don’t find the tapes I’m looking for it will be a pointless exercise anyway :slight_smile:

Graeme

I’m not sure if this means anything but I’m getting a lot of activity in Pulseaudio under the input tab but nothing under the output tab

I’m taking that to mean it’s getting a sound signal from the VCR but I could be wrong

Graeme

I wonder what would happen if you now started xawtv with:

padsp xawtv

probably won’t make a difference, but you never know.

I tried starting with

padsp xawtv

but it made no difference

I tried it in VLC and although I’m getting a picture it’s nowhere as good as it is with xawtv and there’s still no sound, but the odd thing is in both VLC & xawtv when I set them to record the recording tab in Pulseaudio starts to show activity as if it’s recording sound but on playback I just get hissing.

So I think your right I’m gonna need to hook up the TV again and confirm the VCR it’s playing sound clearly ??

One other question,
where should I have the headphones plugged into, the soundcard or the capture card ?

Thanks for your help

Graeme

Good question … I’d assume you’d have an internal or external patch lead between the capture card and the soundcard, so for testing I’d guess the capture card.

did that make any sense ?

You must assume I’m just taking stabs in the dark here … this aint really something I’ve any experience of, and though I have an old capture card lying around I have no source to test it with.

is there anything to do with the TV/Capture card in PulseAudio’s “Input” tab ?

or possibly

alsamixer

?

You could try to establish where the VCR input audio is located:
This should list all capture devices

arecord -l 

This should return the devices like this:

**** List of CAPTURE Hardware Devices **** [b]card 0[/b]: Intel [HDA Intel], [b]device 0[/b]: AD1984 Analog [AD1984 Analog]
Now try recording 10 seconds from each capture device (adjust hw:card,device):
arecord  -D hw:0,0 -d 10  /tmp/test.wav

You may need to substitute hw: with plughw:
Then play it with:

aplay /tmp/test.wav
I'd assume you'd have an internal or external patch lead between the capture card and the soundcard, so for testing I'd guess the capture card.

It was in my mind to try it sooner but the fact I wasn’t getting anything from the headphones plugged into the capture card made me think it wouldn’t make any difference, anyway I plugged a patch lead between capture card (line out) to sound card (line in) earlier this evening and it made no difference

You must assume I'm just taking stabs in the dark here .. this aint really something I've any experience of, and though I have an old capture card lying around I have no source to test it with.

It seems this is not an easy thing to do if possible at all but I understand you’re trying your best Mark and that’s all I can ask, besides, your stabs in the dark have got to be a lot more accurate than mine :slight_smile:

is there anything to do with the TV/Capture card in PulseAudio's "Input" tab ?

No, it just lists Built in Audio Analogue Stereo, and the ports are

Front Microphone (unplugged)
Rear Microphone (unplugged)
Line in (unplugged)

I’ve tried them all but it’s currently set for Line in

Alsamixer shows no tv/capture card

Many thanks

Graeme

Hi SeZo

graeme@Linux1 ~ $ arecord -l 
**** List of CAPTURE Hardware Devices ****
card 0: Intel [HDA Intel], device 0: ALC888 Analog [ALC888 Analog]
  Subdevices: 0/1
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0
card 0: Intel [HDA Intel], device 2: ALC888 Alt Analog [ALC888 Alt Analog]
  Subdevices: 1/1
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0
graeme@Linux1 ~ $ 

Looking at that output unless I’m misunderstanding it I don’t see my capture card listed, so in view of that is it still worthwhile carrying out your next instruction ?

Many thanks

Graeme