Capturing Video and Converting to H.264 using ffmpeg

8-millimeter video tapes seem to slowly fade to oblivion. In order to save old family videos recorded in this format, I’ve decided to digitize them.

After a quick try with vlc, I’ve understood that it wasn’t the right tool for the task. It crashed with a cryptic error message every time I’ve tried to encode H.264 video, and it seemed that it best suited for real time encoding. Doing real time encoding, is sub-optimal as I can’t reach high quality encoding is a reasonable bit rate.

So I looked for another tool and recalled ffmpeg. While ffmpeg provided everything I looked: high quality video encoding using H.264 and stability, it wasn’t an easy start. ffmpeg’s defaults are notoriously ill-chosen. After hours of going through man pages, I’ve managed to capture and convert video tapes into high quality (encoded) digital video.

Basically the process involved capturing the raw video into a temporary file and then preform a two-pass encoding using H.264.
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