Virtual VCR 2.6.9 (Open Source)

Virtual VCR is a free program for capturing analog audio/video to computers via TV tuners or capture cards. It records in AVI format using the DirectShow algorithm. It therefore works best with WDM-drivers compliant products such as those made by Pinnacle Systems.

The most outstanding feature of this program is its ability to capture in arbitrary, non-standard resolutions. It can record even in weird settings like 836x421 with no degradation of video quality. While this program supports a variety of codecs, the developer of Virtual VCR recommends Pegasus Imaging’s MJPEG compression codec for best results when capturing video.

Despite its small size, this program offers professional quality features at par with commercial programs.  It has a Smart Preview option for previewing video footages at full resolution. Once the record button is pressed, real-time capture data statistics are previewed. Compression ratio, bytes per second speed, number of dropped frames, and other important stats are displayed.

It also allows application of pre-filters before recording. Filters like Audio Scope, Flow Meter, Color Histogram and Video Crop, can be turned on prior to video capture. Analog video footages are often full of imperfections so this program allows pre-filtering to remove video noise before recording commences. Pre-filters also appear on the live Preview window so their effects are immediately ready for review. If they don’t look good, settings can be tweaked quickly.

Automatic and pre-scheduling of video recording is also supported. This can be done through a command line interface or via the Windows OS’ “Scheduled Task” system tool. Lastly, the problem of unsynchronized audio and video is solved via this program’s ability to sync via stream offsetting based on the FilterGraph data. Audio resampling is also automatically applied to keep audio on-sync with video while live recording.