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:


Fixing My Apple Equipment – MacBook Pro and iPhone

September 28, 2018

I’ve used Apple computers and phones since I got out of high school and, despite the escalating price tags, I don’t see that changing anytime soon. That’s why, when my MacBook Pro died this week, I began intensely researching technical information and the costs of replacing one. Now I’m quite confident in fixing my Apple equipment at home.

Early-2013 MacBook Pro Woes

I initially thought the battery, which had been screaming “Service me” for a few months, had finally packed in. Then I travelled to Stratford to get it replaced and, despite my appointment and being ‘in-stock’ on the website, they didn’t have the battery that fit my model. So I immediately decided that I would try to fix it myself, ordered the battery and did some reading up.

Replacing the battery wasn’t easy. The hardest part was separating the battery from the case due to the glue keeping it in place. I got some strong fishing line and powered through, following steps online. Once it was closed up, I hit the power button and my laptop jumped back to life. A fantastic feeling. However, this happiness quickly wore off when I discovered the power adaptor wasn’t charging the new battery. And the power bar continued depleting.

Here's me fixing my Apple equipment - MacBook Pro battery and fishing wire

After checking on the Magsafe power adapter (working fine with another laptop), I diagnosed the DC-in port as the source of the problem. I bought a new port and set about breaking down my laptop into several pieces. Scary but also fun.

It took a while, but eventually it was replaced and everything was back together and.. Success! What a feeling!

Confidence Building iPhone 6S Battery Replacement

With my newfound skills (and two precision toolkits I bought from Amazon), I decided to have a crack at my iPhone battery. It would constantly and prematurely deplete in battery-life. About halfway through this procedure I had second thoughts and suddenly had visions of locking myself into a never-ending iPhone contract cycle. But I stuck to the task at hand and finished the job. Now I have a phone that won’t drop from 90% to 19% in the blink of an eye, for a fraction of the cost of taking it to a shop.

Opened iPhone 6S body when I was fixing my Apple equipment

Anyway, good fun and now I can get some work done! I’m looking forward to my next project now that my equipment is functioning. I’m not intimidated by fixing my Apple equipment in the future either.