Joe posted with regards to a piece of technology known as the Elgato EyeTV about a year ago, and something that he wrote in that post caught my eye – that being “it could be helpful for VHS to DVD transfers (or something along those lines).” I have been doing a number of large scale conversions of archival or otherwise unavailable VHS material at the Film Study Center, and have been capturing the material into DV format, and following with a compression into both .mov (with the H.264 (x264) codec) and mpeg2 streams (for DVD video). This process is time consuming, but not overly so. I tested the EyeTV software/hardware combo a few days ago to see if the ability to capture straight into mpeg2 video would expedite the process of at least the DVD compression. I found the following:
1. The process can be expedited, but not to a huge extent, for some reason iDVD still took a substantial amount of time in authoring the DVD (perhaps this was an error on my part, but I tried it more than one time).
2. The process can be expedited, but the editing capabilites within the EyeTV software are limited, and at times a bit clunky to use. If I only needed to trim a bit off the front and end, they are fine – but sometimes there are internal breaks in the video that require a number of trims and cuts and I think this might prove frustrating to do in the EyeTV software. Importing into iMovie would result in a DV conversion, cancelling the benefit of using the EyeTV for capture, and probably taking more time than if I had used iMovie from the start!
3. The interface for the EyeTV software is very nice, and is easy to use as a general video capture tool.
4. There is a wizard in the program for VHS to DVD conversion, but I found this to be near useless unless you are simply making a 1:1 copy, no menus, no chapters, no frills. If you want a copy of your VHS that will just play when you put it into a DVD player, the wizard is for you. However, I usually put chapters and menus in, per the request of many faculty members so this tool is not particularly useful.
5. The interface for a conversion to .mov files is the typical Apple compressor interface, and the compression takes a similar amount of time.
So I might take the EyeTV down to FSC and give it a try on one capture to see if there is any difference in the worktime, but I suspect that the limitations present might cancel any benefits.