Recording a VHS into a video file on Linux

I intend to transfer family films from VHS to DVD. Let me start with the raw recording.

I own an old “saa7134”-based PCI capture card (Pinnacle PCTV Stereo). Although it is working with Linux, it is hardly easy to use; I tend to get lost frames, and sync problems.

I finally found one application that just worked: vlc.

VLC: V4L record settings In the “Media” (first) menu, I choose “Convert / Record…” (Ctrl+R). Then I go to the last tab, named “Capture device”. There, I choose the right video device, and type default in the audio field, as I rely on PulseAudio to select the audio recording device. For the video standard, I have the best results by simply leaving the field to “Undefined”.

Then I need to open the “Advanced options…”, where two settings need to be changed: the “Input”, which I set to 1 (for S-Video, 0 meaning TV), and “Frame rate”, which I set to 25 for SECAM (or PAL).

That’s enough. I press the “OK” button on the options, then the “Convert / Record” button on the main panel. This leads me to the next panel, where I choose the file to record to, and the recording format. I had a very satisfying result with the “MPEG-2 (TS)” format, customized to use the “MPEG-PS” container, “MPEG-2” video, and “MPEG Audio” with a sample rate of 48000 and bit rate of 128kb/s. These formats are well-suited to the DVD target.

On this second panel, I also check the “Deinterlace” checkbox. Then I start the recording.

There only remains to click the square, the meaning of which is “stop”, to stop the recording.

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