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I'm a bit torn on the subject now, since I've come to realize that no direct capture will be great quality (even s-video just doesn't seem to cut it). The best I've been able to achieve quality-wise is capturing from an emulator. Even with 5 or 6 skipped frames, it still looks worlds better on my end than trying to capture from an external source with s-video.
I disagree. As long as it's not a hi-def console like the 360 or PS3 or a hi-res PC, then S-video provides an accurate representation of the actual quality of the console or computer, since you're recording its direct output. Emulation captures, while naturally clean, are also clinically clean, and are not an accurate representation of real world output. That's why measures are taken to provide a faux "dirty" signal option for Atari 2600 and Apple II emulators, because the pure "signal" of the emulation actually doesn't provide an accurate representation of the visuals. In other words, programmers of the day didn't take into account "pure" signals, but what the system actually did on era-specific TV's and monitors. To me, that's a very interesting variable. It's like when I use my 15khz arcade monitor with an arcade VGA card on my MAME cabinet. It's a far more accurate representation of what the actual arcade machine is like than a regular PC and monitor. It's subtle at times, but it's there. That to me is the point. So my vote is always for accuracy over perfection.
It's also an interesting dilemma for the documentary. If I capture from a 1970's home Pong machine over RF, it will provide a slightly "noisy" capture, but it will be a true representation of what you actually saw at the time. If we used emulation, we'd get crystal clear perfection, and, frankly, it might be a bit confusing to the unitiated, i.e., they might think that even in the 70's output signals were as crystal clear as they are today. If anything, we'll be doing a disservice if we're not able to show improvements in all ways over time. I think it will make for a better film.
Bill Loguidice, Managing Director | Armchair Arcade, Inc.
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