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VHS Video editing on early PowerPC macs.


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Hi i am video enthusiast and old lover of old computers. I have lots of Macs from 68k to G5. I want to try video editing on early 604 machines. I have PowerCenter (clone) 120 Mhz, 80 MB RAM and video card TwinTurbo 128+ WITH MPEG MODULE and Composite VIDEO IN. It is possible to do some VHS video editing on it?

Edited by TheMrKocour
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3 hours ago, TheMrKocour said:

TwinTurbo 128+ WITH MPEG MODULE and Composite VIDEO IN.

If it's also got composite out (or if your Mac has the composite out) you can do the workflow desccibed by olePigeon. If it doesn't have composite out, you might have to seek an alternative to get it back onto VHS tape.

 

I also had my first non-linear editing experience this way, only on a AIO G3 with a Wings card back in high school.

 

 

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In general, yes this is possible. This is a pretty good era of system to be looking at to do it.

 

In practice: It became practical with the PCI era PowerMacs, so your PowerCenter should be able to do this, provided you've installed a fast enough scsi disk or scsi/ide/sata interface and a good disk, and that you have video input and if necessary output functionality. 

 

The thing I'd check is to make sure that your video card is what you think it is. Not that it's not possible, just that I don't happen to have heard of a Twin Turbo with analog in or out. (I mean, it doesn't really matter what it is if it works and the drivers are installed.)

 

ATi had a couple graphics cards with video in and out, though and if it's one of those, you should be good to go. Premiere, Avid Cinema, or Apple Video Player can capture video, and then you can use whatever software you want to edit it (FCP and iMovie required G3 processor if I remember correctly, so it'll probably be something older than that.)

 

The biggest gotcha I can think of is going to be the 120MHz CPU, I don't know how well that'll handle different compression levels. Higher compression will be harder on the CPU but easier on the disk, lower compression will be easier on the CPU but harder on the disk.

 

 

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For what it's worth, I did some video editing on my PowerMacintosh 7500/100 with Adobe Premiere.  Also I am pretty sure I did that before I upgraded to a 604 processor.  So, if a 601 can do it, I'm sure a 604 should be able to do so as well.  I can't recall the the video capture/output card I used though, but it did S-VHS and VHS.  Pretty sure I used S-VHS in and VHS out.

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19 minutes ago, dcr said:

For what it's worth, I did some video editing on my PowerMacintosh 7500/100 with Adobe Premiere.

If you happen to remember the details: What length were the clips you captured, what storage upgrades, if any, did you have, and what settings did you use?

 

For capture:

The main limitation on a 601/100 or a 604/120 would be the compression of video as it's being captured. Again, it depends on the compression and quality and size you capture on. You can backport DV files from a g3 Mac and edit them on a NuBus 601 machine.

 

At the time, the Mac magazine recommendation was an 8500 with an upgraded disk and the full complement of video RAM. The Avid Cinema card often seen in 6400/6500 was available for the 8500 as well, and that card if I remember correctly did compression, that might be worth looking into as well, though I don't know if that card would do anything for sync issues as mentioned by Unknown_K.

 

7 minutes ago, Unknown_K said:

but anything long will have sound sync issues

I noticed a bit of that on my Beige G3, with a couple minute clip captured directly off a Nintendo. Do we know why that is?

 

An easy work-around that I happen to have is to use a settop DVD recorder to record and then handbrake that footage in and then downconvert it (if I wanted to do a lot of old standard def video game recording or digital conversions).

 

Generally, video got way easier in 1999 when the blue-and-white PowerMac G3s and later the firewire slot-load iMac G3s launched. 

 

2 minutes ago, TheMrKocour said:

Found photo of my TwinTurbo with MPEG Module

That's really neat, I'd never known that existed. (Granted, it's not that hard to miss stuff like that.) MPEG add-ons for graphics cards from the time tended to mean "DVD playback" but that's pretty clearly a composite jack there.

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Its just the way the streams (audio and video) are processed that a few millionth of a second difference between them starts to be noticeable after a while. Any decent setup has a time based correction input (or one built in) to keep the streams in sync (basically a reference stream).

 

MPEG cards and add-on boards (for both Mac and PC) were only a thing for a couple years until CPUs got fast enough to decode MPEG in real time. Encoding MPEG took a while longer.

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53 minutes ago, Cory5412 said:

If you happen to remember the details: What length were the clips you captured, what storage upgrades, if any, did you have, and what settings did you use?

Length: I don't remember for certain.  I think they were short clips.  Probably nothing more than a couple minutes.  I think a minute of video/audio took like 70-80MB or thereabouts and since the hard drive was 1GB, I wouldn't have been able to capture very long clips.

 

Storage: I had an internal hard drive that I think was 1GB or it might have been 500MB.  Also had an external that was 1GB.  I am reasonably sure I used the internal drive for capture because it would have been faster than the external.  So, if the internal was 500MB, that would mean the clips would have been relatively short indeed.

 

Settings: No idea.  What ever would have been S-VHS or VHS quality.  I think.  That's a good question.  I thought I did 640x480, but a search of my hard drive (which does not have all of my old stuff accessible yet), finds only a 160x120 clip from back then.  (Which was about 15 seconds long.)  But I am 90% certain I did something that I output to a VHS tape and watched it on a TV.

 

1 hour ago, Cory5412 said:

The main limitation on a 601/100 or a 604/120 would be the compression of video as it's being captured.

I'm thinking maybe the PCI card handled that end of it?

 

 

And now I am trying to remember what all I did.  I know I definitely did not do a lot of video editing.  The main project I wanted to do back then would have been an hour or two in length, and there would have been no way I could have done that with what I had.  But I remember doing some things in Adobe Premiere and I liked Premiere and made sure I got the CS3 version when I got my MacBook Pro.  (Of course, I can no longer use the CS3 version because of Adobe . . .)

 

Bottom line is that I didn't do any large projects and I cannot fully remember exactly what I did, but I know I did something because I definitely remember using Premiere (version 4 or 5, I think) on that machine to edit video.

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Mmmmm, if it was a separate add-on board and not the built-in video input on the 7500, that would explain it. (Come to think of it, the Avid Cinema card I mentioned for the 6400 and 8500 might have worked or been advertised as being for the 7500/7600 as well.)

 

That all makes sense, the one thing I wonder is if it wouldn't have been 320x240 instead.

 

Incidentally, regarding capturing, one option Premiere had in the 68k era was to use a digitally controlled deck to capture a few frames of a/v at once at fairly high quality and then stitch those things together.

 

A thing I learned related to that when I got my second 840av is that video capture on 68k is mostly a lie - at least on the 840av, and at least with the stock hardware. You can only do fairly low resolutions and you can only do a couple seconds at a time before it runs out of memory. You'll get more out of it with max memory as well, but I don't know off hand how much.

 

A thing I never did, but would be interested in trying, is computer-controlled capture on a vintage Mac. Deck control is one of the advantages of Firewire and in the event of missed frames, Final Cut can rewind and recapture, and by my recollection that works well, I just haven't ever done it with analog. (Sony had a later analog/firewire DV adapter that had LANC control for use with their own gear, the idea there being you might be moving vid8/hi8 or other taps to your computer, but I also never used that setup.)

 

 

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I also had a SCSI device that I think I used on my PowerBook 180c that captured video.  I don't remember the quality or much about it.  I only remember that one time we had a customer who had an image he wanted to use on his print job and the image was, if I recall correctly, on a slide.  Our scanner at the time could not do slides.  So the only way to capture the image was to hook up a slide projector to project the image on the dining room wall, then film that with my video camera which was connected to the SCSI device so we could capture a single frame so the image could be used.

 

I don't remember if the image turned out well or not.

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55 minutes ago, Cory5412 said:

A thing I learned related to that when I got my second 840av is that video capture on 68k is mostly a lie - at least on the 840av, and at least with the stock hardware. You can only do fairly low resolutions and you can only do a couple seconds at a time before it runs out of memory. You'll get more out of it with max memory as well, but I don't know off hand how much.

 

A thing I never did, but would be interested in trying, is computer-controlled capture on a vintage Mac. Deck control is one of the advantages of Firewire and in the event of missed frames, Final Cut can rewind and recapture, and by my recollection that works well, I just haven't ever done it with analog. (Sony had a later analog/firewire DV adapter that had LANC control for use with their own gear, the idea there being you might be moving vid8/hi8 or other taps to your computer, but I also never used that setup.)

 

 

Not sure what your problem was with running out of memory on the 840av. You are limited to the max capture resolution of the hardware (not much different then what the 8500 can do) and the speed you can dump the captured video (and quality) to the hard drive. Stock 840av drives would not be up to keeping up with a video stream if you had it set to max rez and color depth. There is a reason people purchased RAID arrays and SCSI cards.

 

Any major editing suite will pretty much stop capture if you drop frames, and they also use RS422 to the decks (if they have it ) plus timecode to set up captures at the correct point without getting out of your chair.

 

Speaking of DV/VID8 a local guy I snag hardware from has a side hobby of grabbing vintage concert video people grabbed with handheld cameras and digitizing it. He has some high end gear and a couple DV decks for playback and he told me all DV recorders were junk from the day they came out and he has to make multiple passes sometimes to get a perfect grab without glitches. Could just be the tapes did not age well but he hates the format.

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11 hours ago, Unknown_K said:

Not sure what your problem was with running out of memory on the 840av

It's exactly as you say: in 1993 terms you're talking about 15 grand in hardware before video capture was a reality on the mac. In modern terms, it's not 15 grand but it's still a bunch of specialized equipment that you have to find and then find documentation for or experiment with.

 

SGI could do it in a little less, but not that much less.

 

It was much more reasonable on both sides by 1996-7 or so, and it was "imminently doable" for $2000 by 1999. Most of that has to do with better compression technologies combined with better hardware existing up front. (i.e. the stock disk on a blue-and-white G3 is much faster than the stock disk on a Quadra 840av or even a PowerMac 7500). Lots of PowerMac 8000 and 9000 configurations shipped with AV disk options as well, and they had the second/faster internal SCSI channel, and of course faster CPUs to do better compression up front.

 

RS232 or 422 control is a technique you can use to get away with it. The 840av has no problems grabbing, like, ten seconds worth of frames (worth noting: mine had 24, not 128 megs of RAM, at the time) at basically full quality, although in reality you would have worked with 320x240, which would make things a little easier too, so you'd start, capture the frames you could, and the computer would work on getting everything ready to get the next group of frames.

 

That would involve a pretty high end deck though, which would track for the 840 which itself was like a $5000 computer, give or take, but wouldn't track for the LC/Performa 630 (which were sold pretty explicitly on the idea of home multimedia authoring) or even a 6200 or 7500. (Though, video in on the 6100/7100/7500/7600 was mostly sold as a business-focused thing, for, like, video conferencing rather than as a multimedia authoring thing, in both of those cases the multimedia authoring computer was from the 8-series, not that it wasn't possible, just that Apple didn't market them that way or as noted by dcr configure them that way.)

 

Anyway - without support hardware like that on either side (or just moving to a much newer machine) you have to temper your expectations of what's reasonable or possible.

 

11 hours ago, Unknown_K said:

He has some high end gear and a couple DV decks for playback and he told me all DV recorders were junk from the day they came out and he has to make multiple passes sometimes to get a perfect grab without glitches. Could just be the tapes did not age well but he hates the format.

I used DV when it was under ten years old on pretty ho-hum hardware and this wasn't my experience, as far as I can remember.

 

The people I know who have DV stuff now talk about how poorly the tapes aged and so I suspect that's really it. DV will have this kind of problem harder than, say, any VHS or beta/betacam or non-digital 8-based format will because of, well, its digital nature.

 

(Granted: it could be it had this problem in 2004 too and I never noticed because the glitches being described aren't noticeable at a glance, but I'm guessing it's due to the format and the hardware aging being made worse by things being digital.)

 

Incidentally, DVD seems to have aged better, as a format, despite being almost exclusively consumer-oriented. I got a mini-DVD-R/RW handycam from a thrift store some time last year and plugged it in and puttered around with it and the video imported with handbrake pretty much as well as it is possible for it to have done. 

 

Another option for DV cameras is to record directly to hard disk-based recorders, via firewire, which was a thing that you could buy in the era, as a sort of prelude to video cameras with hard disks and flash memory card slots built in.

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I used to do video production in late 90s - 2000s but greatly decline in late 2000s.

 

Started off with Power Mac 7600/200 then later 8600/200 with dual CPU, then later Beige G3 Mini Tower, moved to firewire and used Canopus ADVC110 via firewire - much better quality than Apple's video. I still have that today and I still convert from VHS to DV via firewire and playback in Plex I use G4 MDD 1.42 for that today.

 

Cheers

AP

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5 hours ago, AlpineRaven said:

Canopus ADVC110 via firewire

I think I have that same model.  I have used it on a MacBook Pro (2.2 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo) to convert from VHS to .mov files.

 

I converted seven VHS tapes of mine before I realized I didn't have the video capture set at the highest quality video settings.  It's been twelve years and I still haven't found the time to redo those seven tapes.

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