Using Cheap eBay Video Capture USB on MacOS

September 30, 2019

I’ve been wanting to find a cheap, easy and fast way to capture (digitise) footage from my VHS and Hi-8 cameras into MacOS, so I could use them on projects. I found this generic video USB adapter that cost £7 and I’m actually pretty happy with it so far. Maybe there are more reliable or better quality options, but – for the price – this does exactly what I want.

Generic UVC USB Adapter plugged into my laptop for Video Capture USB on MacOS
Video Capture USB on MacOS

At first I spent some time looking for drivers and software (it’s bundled with a CD but I don’t have a disc drive) but eventually found out that it’s plug and play and works fine – I just needed to know how to capture.

Quick Guide to Video Capture USB on MacOS

Turns out you can use Quicktime Player (other software will work too). If you open up QP and then hit Cancel (you don’t want to open other media just now). Then hit File > New Movie Recording.

Screenshot of Quicktime Player Settings for Video Capture USB on MacOS

After that, hit the down-arrow beside the record button and make sure to select USB 2.0 PC CAMERA and USB 2.0 MIC. On my first try I missed the audio and it recorded through my Macbook Pro mic. I spent a while fixing it in Final Cut before realising my error.

Once that’s done, hit the red record button (then play on your camera to capture something pre-recorded. Or go to record mode in your camera to film something live).

Finally, when you’re done recording, hit stop and make sure to save the video.

There’s lots of these available online – on eBay, Amazon, Alibaba and so on. Maybe others work differently, but I read that a lot of them use the same video capture chip.

Come to think of it, I’ve started adding videos to my portfolio and have a video section on my website now, where you can watch some things and also my YouTube channel for older videos, some from when I was at film school.

I’m looking forward to more video making soon and will leave you with the first test I shot. The blue screen is a camera issue that I fixed after this shot but errors and issues are things I love to embrace and work with: