video capture part two: getting it working
The answer to the AVI capture limit was simple: move to Windows 2000 and NTFS, and capture until my hard drive ran out of space. This was good, in that it worked fine, plus the move to MPEG files rather than AVI meant that there wasn’t really a limit anyway. The O/S was far, far better than Win98 in terms of stability, and the Task Manager that could be invoked by a simple CTRL+ALT+DEL was a delight: I could bring the system down to the bare minimum of executing tasks in a moment.
The only slight problem was that the quality of the MPEG-2 captures I was getting wasn’t as good as I’d hoped for. Sure, it blew the MPEG-1 stuff away, especially on motion scenes as the macroblocks were that much smaller, but it still didn’t make me go: Wow !
In order to get the best quality I could, I then started to capture with VirtualDub and the HuffyUV codec with conversion to SVCD via the rather handy TMPGEnc program. Back when I started doing this the software was struggling into Beta 12 (I think I found it a little earlier) and an English translation was a separate patch to the original software. After much searching I ended up with a DVD player too: a Pioneer 525 simply because it would playback CD, CD-R, CD-RW, VCD, SVCD, oh, and DVD too.
Now I was getting somewhere – the interlaced playback, and the generously blurry nature of a TV set rather than a monitor meant that the stuff I could put onto SVCD (via Nero, a superb CD writing program) was getting distinctly watchable.