Tools of the Trade

So, over the past few days. I have learned a lot about video capturing and editing. It is pretty hard to do searching on this matter online if you are a newbie because so many companies are trying to get your dollar. Luckily, there is a lot of free and Free software you can find. Here are the primary tools that I have been using.

1. InterVideo Capturing Software – This isn’t Free software by any stretch and it kind of sucks, but it is designed for my Gamebridge USB capturing device and it does the job. I used this to capture my grandaddy’s 8mm analog video into an mpg.
2. DVD Decrypter – This program will easily rip and decrypt DVD movies onto your hard drive. This is usually listed as a prerequisite for format conversion. I assume that is because it is quicker to access the hard drive than DVD-ROM.
3. AutoGK – This is wrapper for Gordian Knot which allows for mostly painless conversion of DVDs or MPGs to XviD or DivX AVIs (I swear that I just realized that XviD was DivX backwards by the way). I say mostly painless because while the audio would play in Windows Media Player on my PC when I was done, it would not play in some of the other tools I needed to use. I think this was a misconfiguration on my part based on another misconfiguration in another piece of software that made me think AutoGK was corrupting audio before. I’ll tell you how I fixed this below.
4. VirtualDub – This piece of software is very useful throughout the process. It has some powerful filters and could be used in its own right as a video editor, but I mostly use it for support tasks because its full processing mode, to my knowledge, can only output uncompressed AVI files which are enormous (a few minutes could be over a gigabyte). It is very useful for replacing audio though because it has the ability to do a direct copy of the bytes of the video while processing a WAV of audio as the background. I used that ability to fix the audio on the broken files. I mostly used this program to search through the video for splice points since it actually is a GUI.
5. AoA Audio Extractor – This is a free audio extractor that could handle the audio that would not play on those clips AutoGK produced. I ripped that audio to WAV and then used VirtualDub to resync it.
6. AviSynth – Hands down, this has to be the coolest program of the bunch. AviSynth is basically a scripting scripting language, or rather it is a scripting language for writing movie scripts (ok, well it is actually movie editing, but a scripting scripting language sounded too cool to pass up). You literally can handwrite scripts which access one or more source files (I know AVI and MPG are supported, maybe more are?) and then perform a variety of transformations on them at runtime to produce the AVI on the fly. This has the remarkable advantage of only requiring space to store the source video until you are done editing. There are two downsides. The first is that you have to rely on a related (or unrelated) utility to find out the basic information about the file easier, but there are plenty of utilities to do that. The second is that, apparently, to splice together two movies, they must be in the same format, but I understand why this limitation is in place.
7. avs2avi – I haven’t used this yet, but it seems that the idea is that it will convert the output of the AVS run to a normal AVI.
8. Avi2Dvd – This program can be very annoying from time to time and it is very slow, but it allows you to create an DVD from an AVI file. I may end up skipping it for this in favor of something that can create spiffier menus.
9. Nero Express – My DVD image burner of choice, non-Free, but it was free to me (legally even!).

If you have any questions, feel free to ask me or look up tutorials on VideoHelp.

Edit: I did not end up using avs2avi after I had some weird problems getting it to work. I instead realized that VirtualDub could do avs2avi with full processing mode. From that enormous avi, I processed it with AutoGK to make a smaller xvid encoded avi which I will then burn to DVD.