Today I spend a few hours trying out how to best record a few things I had on a VCR tape. The recordings where made in NTSC but the playback would be on a PAL VCR player. The following command uses a Video4Linux2 capture card to record and uses the normal audio card to record the audio. Change the "input=2" to the composite or s-video input in your configuration. The avi that is created is uncompressed and will grow really big.
mencoder tv:// -tv input=2:driver=v4l2:device=/dev/video0:normid=12:input=2:alsa:adevice=hw.0:audiorate=48000:amode=1 -ovc copa -oac copy -o output.avi