Thanks for helping to rescue me from the same nightmare that you were having!
Using your clues, I made this tutorial for doing Linux video capture with VLC player and ArtistX Linux live DVD.
What you need:
Linux ArtistX live DVD. You don't need to install Linux to your hard drive. Just run it from your DVD drive.
I tried several other Linux live CDs and live DVDs, but ArtistX was the only one that I was successful with.
Linux ArtistX DVD can be downloaded from here(3.8 GB):http://artistx.org/blog/download/
VLC media player 2.05 or later version (which is already installed in ArtistX).
A composite video cable, an RCA stereo audio cable, connected from the output connectors of your VCR to the input connectors of your computer.
If you are using a Linux distribution (not ArtistX) which does not already have ivtv-utils installed,
you will need to install ivtv-utils using your Linux package manager. v4l2-ctl is part of ivtv-utils.
In the package manager of some Linux distributions, ivtv-utils may simply be called ivtv.
Your computer needs to have one of the video capture cards which are supported by the ivtv drivers.
Here's the list of supported video capture cards:http://ivtvdriver.org/index.php/Supported_hardware
The hardware I used was:
HP Media PC, 2 GB of RAM, Haupauge WinTV PVR-150 video capture card.
1. Insert the Linux ArtistX live DVD into your DVD-ROM drive and boot your computer.
If your computer is not set up to boot to your DVD-ROM drive, then you will need to change the settings in your computer's BIOS/Setup program.
In my computer, the ArtistX DVD was not able to boot from my DVD writer drive, for some unknown reason,
but it did boot successfully from the DVD-ROM drive.
2. After Linux opens, check to see if your video capture card has been detected by Linux:
Select Applications, System tools, Preferences, Video4Linux control panel.
3. Set the default video input of your video capture card, and set the default audio input of your video capture card.
I did not see any user-friendly GUI to do this, so I needed to use the v4l2-ctl terminal program.
(Terminal = console = command line. These words have approximately the same meaning.
V4l2 means Video for(4) Linux version 2. That is a lower case letter L between the 4 and the 2 in v4l2-ctl, not the number 1.)
Open a Linux terminal program: Select Applications, System Tools, XTerm (or UXterm).
Type v4l2-ctl --all (Then press ENTER on your computer keyboard). This displays the available information about your video capture card.
Here are the commands that you need to list all of the video and audio inputs of your video capture card,
or to display the current video and audio inputs of your video capture card,
or to set the video and audio inputs to the integer number which represents that input.
(The listed video inputs, for example may be Tuner 0, S-Video 1, Composite 2.
The listed audio inputs may be Tuner 0, Line In 1 1, Line In 2 2. Write down this information for your convenient reference.)
v4l2-ctl --all display all information available about your video capture card
v4l2-ctl --list-inputs display the list of all video inputs of your video capture card
v4l2-ctl --list-audio-inputs display the list of all audio inputs of your video capture card
v4l2-ctl --get-input display the current video input of your video capture card
v4l2-ctl --set-input=<num> set the video input to <num>
(For example, type v4l2-ctl --set-input=2 then press ENTER to set your video input to Composite video.)
v4l2-ctl --get-audio-input display the current audio input of your video capture card
v4l2-ctl --set-audio-input=<num> set the audio input to <num>
(For example, type v4l2-ctl --set-audio-input=2 then press ENTER to set your audio input to Line In 2.)
v4l2-ctl -h or v4l2-ctl --help display the v4l2-ctl help message
clear clears the console
Here is the list of the command switches which are available for the V4l2-ctl program: http://ivtvdriver.org/index.php/V4l2-ctlhttp://ivtvdriver.org/index.php/V4l2-ctl_%28Examples%29
4. a) Open VLC Player: Select Applications, Video, Capture/Play/Streaming/TV, VLC Media Player.
b) Display VLC player's advanced controls: Select View, Advanced controls.
c) Set the save directory for your captured video file in preferences:
Select Tools, Preferences, Input&Codecs, Beside "Record directory or file name", select Browse...
Browse to the directory where you wish to save your video file.
(Assigning a name to the recorded video file is not necessary, because VLC player will automatically
assign a name for you which you can change later.) Click "Save" to save this new preference.
d) Select Media, Open Capture Device... Then under the "Capture Device" tab, select PVR as the capture mode. Select Play.
With your VCR cassette playing and your computer speakers turned on, you should see and hear your VCR video being played in VLC player.
5. Click on the red circle record button to start recording. Click on the red circle record button again to stop recording.
Find your captured video file in the directory that you had selected in your VLC preferences in step 4 above.
(While VLC player is recording, the record button will appear slightly darker.)
A few additional notes:
To change the desktop screen resolution of your monitor:
In the bottom left corner, select Applications, System tools, System settings, Displays.
To shut down (or restart or suspend) ArtistX:
Click on the bottom right icon, then Shut Down... (or Restart... or Suspend...)
30 minutes of captured mpeg2 video = about 1.5 to 2 GB.
In addition to being able to do video capture, the Linux ArtistX DVD is a treasure trove of free software
which will hopefully help to cheer you up after the headache of trying to figure out how to do video capture in Linux.
I hope that this tutorial was helpful!