Importing video from a mini-tape camera

Hi folks. I am completely new to Shotcut and have very little experience with the software. After having read a little regarding importing camera footage, I gave it an attempt yesterday on a sporting tape my son had recorded several years ago. After plugging in the camera, selecting “File” then “Open Other…”, Shotcut recognises the camera as an “Audio/Video Device” in the Video Input box, as a Web-Camera. I highlighted Web-Camera and pressed OK.

All good to this point. I press “Play” on the camera, then “Capture File” on Shotcut. I give the file a name and a location to save, and the software saves an MP4 file. Again, all good. I can go to the saved location, click the MP4 and it plays accordingly.

So I thought this was perfect. I rewound the 2 minutes of the 45 minute tape I had successfully captured, went through the same procedure and came back 45 minutes later when the tape had finished playing on the camera, This time there was an icon in my location having the name of my saved file. When I went to play this file, there is only an MP4 container, containing no data or codec of any kind. The 1.04Gb box is totally empty.

The tape in the camera is made-up of many individual clips, that appear to be seamless when playing, and I can only think this may be the reason it does not work. But there is nothing at all in the MP4 container. Can anyone explain what is happening, or not happening please.

I was thinking of capturing each clip individually but this is almost impossible as there is no way of telling when Shotcut fails. The viewing screen in Shotcut is disabled when importing and it is only the camera screen that shows the footage on the playing tape.

Help. And thank you.

Did you click Stop Capture within Shotcut? You must do that to properly close and write the file because as you said it has a decent size but no info about the codecs. You cannot play the mp4 while it is still not finalized. Something like mpeg2 transport stream on the other hand can.

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Hmmm. 99% sure I did, as that was part of the instructions given when I was reading about the process online. But I’m not CERTAIN !

I’ll be back in a little over 45 minutes…

Thank you

( … but I’m pretty sure I did “Stop Capture”. ) We’ll know soon enough…

Unfortunately no luck. I was watching when the tape ended playing and clicked “Stop Capture” within 10 seconds of the tape ending.

When I did this, a Shotcut notification in blue text appeared in the vicinity of the “Stop Capture”’ “Reset” and “Advanced” buttons that stated “Failed to open Test1” (Test1 being the file name I gave to the import) This blue text was only visible for about 5 seconds, then faded to gone…

Again, the saved file (?) is an MP4 container named Test1 containing absolutely zero data or codec.

Any ideas?

Thank you again.

I made a 45 minute test on Windows 11 with a webcam using the export defaults to make MP4, and it worked for me. Maybe it runs into a problem at the end of the tape because the input video signal terminates or changes. For that matter, for what you are describing, it is possible some things in the middle of the tape have signal interruptions when stopping and starting recording. Shotcut is not primarily a capture tool, and it is more of a lightly tested after thought. I suggest to try another tool. Windows 10 and 11 have a camera app that can be used to record from video input. Also, OBS Studio is a very popular tool for capture, recording, and streaming.

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Thank you for the reply and the suggestions. I’ll have a look at Camera in Windows 10, but it is something I have not yet used. I’ll give it ago.

I tried a 5 minute capture with Shotcut but that too failed, producing only the MP4 container. I think my problem may relate to stop/starting of the camera capture, but when watching through the camera monitor, it appears to be seamless. I don’t know.

Some time ago, I digitised mini tapes by recording through a DVD player/tuner unit, burning to disc, then transferring those files to the computer. It was a convoluted way to do it but it was successful. I am trying to get all my footage to a point where I can select files and get into Shotcut to start editing.

Then I’ll be back to the Forum, probably regularly!

Again, thank you for your help and advice.


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