AVI, They Are Certainly Kidding, Right?

Thread Starter

MrAl

Joined Jun 17, 2014
7,815
I was experimenting with capturing some video recently using a standard program like Amcap to read the USB port that has a capture device (like a web cam). The only output format is AVI.
Now with this format the disk space usage is about 10 megabytes per second of video. That equates to about 36 gigabytes per hour.
Are they kidding when they say this is the most universal format? Who would want to use that much space especially for a security camera? A security camera often has to run 24/7 and that means in just 24 hours it would use 864 gigabytes.
But let's say it's half that, 432 gigabytes. For 24 hours that means in 2 or 3 days it would use up a whole terabyte of disk space.

There must be a better way which is also commonplace. I cant be the only one on earth that thinks this is way bad.
 

scorbin1

Joined Dec 24, 2019
38
AVI is just a container. The storage space required depends on the codec the device is using to encode the audio and video, framerate, resolution, etc.. What codecs is Amcap capable of utilizing within the avi container? Perhaps there's another codec available with better compression. You could potentially store H.265 encoded video in an avi and the compression is actually quite good. Considerably better than H.264 in my experience at least. Although H.264 is more widely used I do believe.

Also just a note... I hear hvec codecs are expected to make a rise in popularity in the near future. It's supposed to have some really good compression and very high resolution capabilities.
 

Thread Starter

MrAl

Joined Jun 17, 2014
7,815
What happens if you compress the AVI data using one of several standard algorithms.
I could probably do that but it would not be able to be done in real time.
That means that somehow i would have to be able to stop the capture, then restart again, keeping track of the files.
Maybe that would work.

But i may have to contact the developer of AMCAP anyway as there are other problems coming up.
First i will try some of the suggestions offered by Bertus.
 

Thread Starter

MrAl

Joined Jun 17, 2014
7,815
AVI is just a container. The storage space required depends on the codec the device is using to encode the audio and video, framerate, resolution, etc.. What codecs is Amcap capable of utilizing within the avi container? Perhaps there's another codec available with better compression. You could potentially store H.265 encoded video in an avi and the compression is actually quite good. Considerably better than H.264 in my experience at least. Although H.264 is more widely used I do believe.

Also just a note... I hear hvec codecs are expected to make a rise in popularity in the near future. It's supposed to have some really good compression and very high resolution capabilities.
That might be nice but i am not sure if there is a way to install another codec with this problem.
I am going to look into this once i try a few other programs like those suggested by Bertus in that post.
 

Thread Starter

MrAl

Joined Jun 17, 2014
7,815
Hello again,

I tried the Softonic version. Here are a few pros and cons.

Pros:
1. It works.
2. It works pretty good. Only crashed when i tried to switch to a source that was not connected to the computer anymore. That's not a problem though.
3. Can capture frame by frame a presentable intervals. Keeps overall directory size much smaller than a full speed video.

Cons:
1. Cant seem to go to a full window view of the video. The interface is full of controls so the video only takes up one quarter of the area of the full window size, it displays in the lower right hand corner of the window. That's a bit of a problem especially when you want to go full screen because you cant get the video size any bigger than one quarter area of your monitor screen.
2. Can not change the Jpeg quality factor. This is a bit of a problem because they are using a hard coded quality factor of 100 percent on frame by frame capture. That means each file comes out to about 450k bytes when with a lower quality factor (and sill good image) you can get it down to 23k bytes with a regular file converter program using a lower quality factor.
3. When you exit the program and start it up again, the default save to directory goes back to something under your User/UserName directory instead of the one you chose before closing the program. I little bothersome but i guess not too bad.

Overall the program works pretty good which is a lot more than i can say for VLC which i have used for years for viewing video files only but i thought all along that it was a general purpose video program that did everything. In fact, the program works nearly perfect.
It's too bad though that the usefulness is hampered by not being able to change the frame capture Jpeg quality as that would keep disk space usage very low, and the inability to fill the entire window with the video means you have to have all these controls showing all the time you have the program running if you want to view the video in real time which is very often needed.
So a few tweeks and i think it would be perfect.

If i had to rate it i guess i would give it 4 out of 5 stars, down by 1 star because some simple tweeks would make it a extremely useful program rather than just useful for some things only. For example, if you are recording and dont need to see real time video then i think you can minimize the window and that gets rid of having to see all those controls on the desktop.

Workarounds:
1. There is a workaround for the Jpeg quality bu tit involves a real time converter. Not impossible though but would have to run in the background taking up some CPU time and disk access time.
2. Dont think there is any workaround for the video size. There appears to be no way to trunk the video from the program into another video program that fills up the whole window with the video.
 

andrewmm

Joined Feb 25, 2011
574
The format the camera outputs, the format the data is stored in, and the size of the picture are all totally independent.
My home monitor system shows full screen video, and stores months worth on terabyte drives, and shows good quality on full screen. Its just down to the software you select,

As said above, AVI is just the container that the video packets are sent from the camera to the PC in, just like data sent over Ethernet is in packets, so it is in AVI. For a security camera, you do not save the AVI format data.

Also, security software, has the ability to only record when it detects a movement in a pre define area of the image.

Amongst many, try this

https://www.ispyconnect.com

https://listoffreeware.com/list-of-best-free-cctv-security-surveillance-software/
 

Thread Starter

MrAl

Joined Jun 17, 2014
7,815
The format the camera outputs, the format the data is stored in, and the size of the picture are all totally independent.
My home monitor system shows full screen video, and stores months worth on terabyte drives, and shows good quality on full screen. Its just down to the software you select,

As said above, AVI is just the container that the video packets are sent from the camera to the PC in, just like data sent over Ethernet is in packets, so it is in AVI. For a security camera, you do not save the AVI format data.

Also, security software, has the ability to only record when it detects a movement in a pre define area of the image.

Amongst many, try this

https://www.ispyconnect.com

https://listoffreeware.com/list-of-best-free-cctv-security-surveillance-software/
Hi,

Thanks for the links.

Now does that ispy program allow local access i dont need remote access?
I just need to see it on the monitor and record with a limit on the disk take up rate.
 
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