Video capturing from different video sources (Sun, SGI, etc)

Jim Leonard trixter at
Wed Nov 5 17:02:47 CST 2008

JP Hindin wrote:
> If I had some LCD panels which spoke SGI I would simply sit a DV cam in
> front of the LCD and record it - the quality should be acceptable - but I
> don't (LCD since CRTs would have flicker, of course, when recorded). Plus,
> I'd quite like to source video from Suns and other machinery.

LCDs don't flicker.  CRTs don't either, as long as you can match your 
camera's shutter speed with the refresh rate of the CRT.  While most 
consumer cams only have speeds of 1/60th, 1/100th, and some "sports" 
settings, more professional cameras have completely variable shutters 
where you can literally dial a 1/56th or 1/72nd shutter.

> I imagine there really -isn't- a catch-all solution, but I'd love to have
> the thoughts of the Geek Masses. I've never done video capture before in
> any form, and have little experience with working with video at all to be
> honest, so anything would help.

Your best bet is a scan converter.  For a prior video project (capturing 
pure 24-bit RGB from Amigas, no composite or Y/C as they weren't 
high-quality enough), I had to do a lot of research to find 
broadcast-quality scan converters that did what I wanted (ie. accept the 
15KHz horizontal from the Amiga RGB port; most only do 31KHz and higher) 
and then watch ebay for an old model I could afford.  From that point 
on, it was just a matter of finding a 25-pin D-shell (Amiga) to 15-pin 
VGA adapter, then using a VGA cable that split out to R, G, B, Hsync, 
Vsync on five BNC connectors, which went into the scan converter.  The 
output of the scan converter was whatever I wanted:  PAL or NTSC; YCrCb 
component or s-video or composite (ick) or VGA; etc.

These are SGIs -- don't they have some sort of native video output, 
given their nature?
Jim Leonard (trixter at  
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