Capturing MiniDV Camcorder Output


I’ve had a HD sitting in a box for a couple years waiting to capture some old home video shot on a Canon HD MiniDV camcorder. Finally got around to the project today.

Camcorder has HDMI output, which I’ve plugged into the HD. Using VLC to capture. Have tried capturing/converting to mpeg2, mp4, and wmv. But the quality of the captured files when played back is horrible. Missing frames, pixilation, etc.

Using a desktop with plenty of horsepower, Windows 10, USB 3.0.

What am I doing wrong? Any ideas?


Just a note: the video PLAYS fine on the camcorder view screen, and in VLC, so I know it’s not a problem with the camcorder. It’s just the converted file that is so crappy.


Hello CaptainDanite,

Could you please share with me the model number of the this camera? What is the resolution this camera is outputting to the AVioHD?

VLC, while it’s a great “does many things” application, it’s best to specify the exact video specifications (resolution, aspect ratio) when capturing video with it to ensure the ingested video isn’t being scaled in an undesirable way. You could alternately try OBS, AMcap or even Windows Camera to see if the quality is as poor in those applications as well.

What may be occurring, is that the camera is outputting a lower resolution while the capture program (VLC) is requesting a much higher resolution (ex. 480p vs 1080p). In this case, the AV.ioHD would rescale the image from the source to match what the capture program is requesting. If the source is a much smaller resolution then requested by VLC, the imagery being captured will indeed look pixelated. This would be very similar to making a lower quality digital image larger; the larger you go, the more pixels you will see.


Camcorder is a Canon HV20. It’s outputting a 1920x1080i stream. I did specify 1920x1080 as the resolution value, and 16:9 as the aspect ratio, but I didn’t specify any other options on the advanced options screen. A single frame (or even a few in a row) of the converted file look all right, but then it hiccups, and I get several frames of pixelated garbage, then a few decent frames, then it hiccups again, etc.

I’m not familiar with the other apps you mentioned, but I will check them out.


Just to clarify a bit further: The Canon HV20 originally output via IEEE1394 Firewire, but it went flaky. Fortunately, the HV20 has an HDMI output. I have 40 or 50 hours of home video I’m trying to convert. I use Sony Vegas 17 (now Magix Vegas, I guess) as my editor. But it won’t recognize the AVio as a capture device. Therefore I’ve been trying to use VLC to capture. I would prefer to capture in mpeg2 (least compression – I believe). But the bottom line is that this home video is almost “priceless” in a way, so I am certainly willing to pay up for an app that I know can do the job.


Hey Ryan, I just realized I do have OBS, and I have used it before (albeit not often). Anyway, I am now successfully playing the video in the VLC app and capturing it with the OBS app. I assume that’s the only way to go about it, because I didn’t see right off hand how to capture the output directly into OBS. If that is possible, I’d appreciate a brief primer on how to do it. In any case, what I am doing is working, and producing a high quality converted file.


You can capture AVio directly into OBS without VLC (strongly advised) as follows:

  1. Open OBS

  2. With a scene selected in the Scenes section at the bottom of the OBS Studio window, click the + sign in the Sources pane, then Video Capture Device ; the Create/Select Source dialog appears.

  3. Give your new source a name (like “ HD”) and click OK .

  4. Set the following options and leave the remaining settings at defaults (see image below):
    Device: <The name of your device, as listed> (e.g. “ HD Video”)
    Resolution/FPS Type: Custom
    Resolution: 1280x720 (or whatever the output resolution of source)
    Use custom audio device: Checked
    Audio Device: <The name of your device, as listed> (e.g. “ HD Audio”)

  5. Click OK