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Top level HOWTOs Dvgrab HOWTOs

This is the dvgrab handbook.

The basic command line format is:

dvgrab [options] filename

The filename parameter specifies the base part of the actual file name. Usually dvgrab adds a counter or timestamp and the .avi extension.



Whenever a new recording is detected, a new file will be created. This is useful for splitting long video sequences into several smaller ones. If this option is used together with the --frames option, then a split is performed when the frame count is exceeded.

The default is no autosplit.

--card number

If you have more than one IEEE1394 card, then this option lets you select the correct interface card.

Default is 0, which is the first card found.

--channel number

Selects the iso channel used for transmitting the video data. Default is 63, the channel most camcorders are using.

--every number

Saves only every nth frame. This is useful for monitoring applications or if you want to create an overview of a whole cassette tape. To record only one frame per second, use --every 25 (or --every 30, if you are using NTSC).

Default is 1; that is, saving every frame.

--format [dv1 | dv2 | raw | test]

The output file will be saved in one of the file formats. The default is the dv1 AVI file format.

dv1 and dv2 are two flavors of the AVI file format. The dv1 format is slightly smaller in size than the dv2 format, but some applications can only read dv2 format files, which contain preprocessed audio tracks.

The raw format contains just the plain video frames without any additional information. Useful for some Linux software. Files in this format can also be played with Windows QuickTime when renamed to file.dv .

The test format is used only for testing purposes. It contains all data packets sent from the camcorder and can be used as input to dvgrab with the --testmode option.

--frames number

dvgrab will record this many number of frames per file. One second of PAL data contains 25 frames and one second of NTSC data contains approx. 30 frames.

The default value is practically infinite; note however that there is a file size limit of 1 GByte for the AVI file format. dvgrab will create a new file if the size is slightly less than 1 GByte.


Prints a short help screen.


dvgrab will read the video data from a file created previously with the --format test option. Useful during development for regression testing.


Puts the date and time of recording into the file name.


Prints the version information.

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