Shandrew (shandrew) wrote,

Video capture on your Mac, for under $10!

Short version:
1. Buy the EasyCAP DC60 (NOT the DC60+)
2. Install the open source EasyCapViewer, reboot
3. Plug the EasyCAP directly into your USB port, connect the EasyCAP to your video source
4. Connect audio source to your Mac's audio input with a two-RCA to 3.5mm cable
4. Run EasyCapViewer, configure video to use the either S-Video or input 1, and audio to use audio input
5. Press play. If it doesn't work the first time, press play again.

Long version:
I've always wanted a video capture solution that could take analog video (S-video or composite) and dump it to my Mac. There have certainly been many options out there, but I didn't want to spend much on something which would inevitably be a time-waster. Previously when i needed to do this I borrowed a firewire-equipped camcorder, but that's a hassle and a big box to have around. Dedicated analog video to firewire converters run around $100 and analog video to USB boxes tend to be Windows-only.

If I recall correctly, Amazon suggested the EasyCAP DC60 to me once when I was searching for a cheap video input device. I was fascinated by the $9 price and it had over a hundred reviews spanning the entire range. One of the reviews said that the device worked on the Mac using some free/open-source software. Buy!

I got the EasyCAP today. Connecting it is well...easy. Do not use the included USB extension cable (mine appeared to not work). Connect your video source to the EasyCAP. Hook up the audio to your audio input instead of going through the EasyCAP.

The EasyCapViewer software is a bit rough around the edges, but functional. After installing, I had to reboot for it to work (not completely sure why). It lets you select the video input and audio source, and shows you the video in a window. You can adjust the aspect ratio to match the source. You can capture into motion JPEG and mpeg-4. I would recommend the "half frame rate" and "record to RAM" options.

Now you can transfer all of those clips you've been saving on your DVR to your computer and send them to youtube so someone searching for "panda toaster" gets to watch your video. $9 well spent.
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