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  #1  
12-14-2010, 03:05 AM
CaseyM CaseyM is offline
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Hi all,

I am looking for a new or second hand S-VHS/D-VHS/Professional VCR, preferably as listed on the VCR Buying Guide: http://www.digitalfaq.com/forum/show...uide-1567.html

I have hundreds of old family VHSC tapes which we need to convert to DVD before they get too old and worn out.

I am about to buy a Canopus ADVC-300 converter and I am looking for the best quality VCR I can find to match it.

Alternatively does anybody know any good online stores/auctions which may have them available (I have been looking for days to no avail).

Any help is greatly appreciated.

Cheers,
Casey.
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  #2  
12-14-2010, 03:13 AM
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I believe deter still has some available.
See Panasonic AG-1980 S VHS Professional Desktop Editor, for sale

(direct link: http://www.digitalFAQ.com/forum/show...1980-2591.html)

As far as "stores" that sell VCRs -- you won't find any. These VCRs are almost all discontinued as of 5 or so years ago, some models already a decade discontinued, and everything is now going to be bought second-hand from existing owners. Some machines were abused for a decade or more, while others are in pristine condition (as mine are, which aren't for sale -- or as deter's claim to be, which ARE for sale!)

If anybody else has a JVC or Panasonic for sale, they're encouraged to reply to this thread.


On a related note...

Honestly, the Canopus ADVC-300 converter is overpriced and makes bold claims that really don't show up in the actual results you get from the box. It's just a DV converter -- nothing special. Yes, it works, and if you want DV compression then that's certainly one you can buy. The ADVC-110 isn't much different, and costs less. The filters found on the 300 tend to be abusive to quality, so many owners end up just turning them off -- and that's what you pay the premium for, on 300 vs 100/110 models! For the amount of money required for ADVC-300 boxes, you could almost build a dedicated computer built around an ATI All In Wonder card. Other options include ATI USB2 600 sticks. It really depends on your project goals and current hardware, as to what should be used.

There are existing threads on this topic in our Capturing and Workflow subforums.
If you have related questions, open new threads/posts in those areas of the site. We'll leave this thread for the buying question.

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  #3  
12-14-2010, 03:21 AM
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FYI:

Best price on Canopus ADVC-300 (from a reliable store) appears to be B&H for $399.95 + free shipping:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...3167/KBID/4166
Amazon is $408

Or best price on Canopus ADVC-110 (from a reliable store) appears to be Amazon for $219.95 + free shipping:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...SIN=B00030ATTO

If you're wanting the ADVC convert (which does a fine job of DV conversion).

Thought that may help you out.

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  #4  
12-14-2010, 03:26 AM
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Hmmm.... wait. Just took a peek at your profile. You're in Australia? Is that correct. If so, you'll want the PAL version VCRs, so deter isn't an option (NTSC gear). The most likely palce to acquire good PAL gear is UK or Germany, from either eBay.co.uk or eBay.de -- possibly Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.de (maybe even Amazon.fr), in their marketplaces, if there are any.

The prices on the ADVC gear, however, may still be the best pricing, even if it does come from an overseas (for you) store.
Also compare to Videoguys.com.au: http://videoguys.com.au

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  #5  
12-14-2010, 03:44 AM
CaseyM CaseyM is offline
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Thanks, I appreciate your help! I will certainly check out Deter's offer.

As for the Canopus ADVC-300, I have done a good few days of research and thought I had gotten to the bottom of everything I need to know ... obviously I am not quite there yet!

Back to the forums I go...
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  #6  
12-14-2010, 03:54 AM
CaseyM CaseyM is offline
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Or I won't check out Deter's offer. Just saw your subsequent posts. I wasn't aware of PAL Vs NTSC, but I am now! I wish there was one clear and easy answer for converting old VHS tapes to DVD... There seems to be so much conflicting evidence on the web. I'll look in some of the places you mentioned.

Cheers
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  #7  
12-16-2010, 11:05 AM
juhok juhok is offline
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Few remarks. These are just my personal experiences and opinions from the PAL land.

I use blackmagic broadcast cards myself but BM has cheaper offerings like this one: http://www.blackmagic-design.com/products/intensity/ Half the price of Canopus(which is utter crap IMHO). You propably need framesync/TBC with Intensity, while Canopus is not so picky.

I have JVC D-VHS and S-VHS's and frankly, I don't see what's so great about the D-VHS. It has same problems as all JVC's - prone to jitter and ugly looking noise leftover from internal noise reduction. I have half a dozen JVC decks, some new, some old, all serviced and calibrated. I receive client tapes weekly. Of these tapes atleast half have some problems with JVC decks. They work flawlessy with Panasonic models. Panasonic (FS200 for example) has more noise, especially more chroma noise. After modern motion compensated noise reduction it looks great tho - in my opinion better than JVC. Bad thing about Pana's is the oversharpened picture which needs tuning down. Maybe NTSC JVC's work better for some reason?

If you don't want to learn avisynth/etc noise reduction (it's quite complicated) and your tapes happen to be the kind that works great with JVC, go for it. It's a gamble. That said, I might have some JVC's for sale. Shipping to Australia is bit of a problem tho. If you're interested I'll check it out after christmas.
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  #8  
12-16-2010, 11:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by juhok View Post
Maybe NTSC JVC's work better for some reason?
This has been my observation, too, comparing a PAL JVC HR-S7965 to a NTSC JVC HRS-7800. The NTSC 7800, 7900 and SR-V10 (and possibly V101) all appear to use the same internals and transports, but I don't know that the PAL 7965 and SR-V10E are the same. The 7965 is based on the 8965, which are direct PAL lineage to the NTSC 9600-9900 models. And those NTSC 9000's aren't the same as the 7000's -- not exactly. So there's a chance the SR-V10E and HR-Sxxxx lines have different parts. I've not dismantled the machines or memorized service manuals, however, to compare in that much depth.

Tape jitter issues are usually related the player VCR's alignment, as well as the condition and recording alignment on the original VCR that made the tape. You also need to remember to turn calibration off, as it causes jitter. The "B.E.S.T." (what a silly name!) is something I tend to turn off, too, as I've seen it cause jitter. My main PAL deck is a JVC, because it provides much cleaner signals than PAL Panasonic models.

Such variations in experience.

Good luck finding a machine.

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Last edited by lordsmurf; 12-16-2010 at 11:56 AM. Reason: fixed a model number
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  #9  
12-16-2010, 11:53 AM
juhok juhok is offline
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Good tip about turning off the B.E.S.T.

I have to try that with some of my problem tapes archived for this purpose alone.

Being a technician (not a good nor practicing one) myself I find Panasonic mechanism better. It's stable, sturdy, "un-wobly". Even with TBC turned off most tapes play without noticeable timebase errors where JVC has horrible distortions at times.

My JVC players are from different generations, different mechanisms and serviced by different places/people so it's propably some deeper JVC issue that's at play. And ofcouse JVC can give fantastic clean and jitter free picture with some tapes. It's a matter of luck. But if I had to use only them, I couldn't do my work.

I'll report back about the B.E.S.T. when I have time to try it. It might be relevant to the OP too so this isn't too offtopic.
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  #10  
12-16-2010, 06:16 PM
CaseyM CaseyM is offline
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Well it's funny that you guys are now mentioning the differences between JVC PAL/NTSC & Panasonic PAL/NTSC. A store over at eBay is recommending the,

PANASONIC NV-HS950:
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.d...#ht_3702wt_905

He says it's the best one there, particularly because it is in such good nick, barely used, which is obviously a bonus. But otherwise there is also these available,

JVC HR-S6700:
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.d...#ht_2500wt_905

JVC HR-S7500:
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.d...#ht_2477wt_905

JVC SR-V10:
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/JVC-SR-V10-PRO...#ht_2729wt_905

Would you guys say the Panasonic NV-HS950 is a good buy?

Also, juhok, did you say with a black magic intensity I would need to buy an external TBC? Or is the one on the VCR enough?

Thanks for your comments
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  #11  
12-16-2010, 06:54 PM
juhok juhok is offline
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I just recently got NV-HS950 and haven't had it serviced so I haven't used it much yet. From the little use it got it seems to have the same oversharpened image that FS200 has, taken to the next level. Beyond the sharpening image quality seem to be fine. It's heavy built and mechanics seem sturdy. I was really amazed about how much it weight. About those claims in eBay, take everything with a grain of salt. That store is there to sell, and my general opinion is that even if people don't always get what they pay for they have no means of knowing it if there's nothing to compare against. I've bought dozens of deck off eBay from private and professional sellers and no matter what they say, it's a gamble. I've propably lost over 1000 in crap.

I have nothing on those JVC's you linked. I got the D-VHS, 9000 series stuff and 8960 (and D-theater NTSC one for NTSC stuff).

TBC's inside VHS decks don't help with framedrops in capture devices. You need frame sync inbetween (often they are labeled as TBCs confusingly). I think this site has very good articles / posts about this matter by more knowledgeable people than me so I say no more
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  #12  
12-16-2010, 07:02 PM
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If you have mostly SP (2-hour) mode tapes, get the JVC SR-V10.
If you have mostly LP, EP/SLP mode tapes (over 2 hours), get the Panasonic NV-HS950.

For sure read the TBC sticky: http://www.digitalFAQ.com/forum/show...base-2251.html
It's a must-read for all things capturing/restoring.

Ask juhok states, never believe a salesman. Regardless of how nice they seem, their primary goal is sales. I'm not here to sell you anything. (Although we do suggest site $5-10 donations and/or $20 Premium Memberships ... but that's chickenfeed compared to the profits made selling a VCR or software, etc.) eBay is full of hucksters, so it's always a gamble, regardless of promises. But it's still one of the only viable places to find a good VCR, assuming there's none available at this site's marketplace forum (which there's not any PAL VCRs right now, sadly). A few other forums have BST areas, too, but I checked just now, and no PAL decks there either. Just pick one of the two available, based on the SP vs LP/etc I started with, and cross your fingers that it's as good a condition as stated. And you'll be fine. That's one issue solved, and you can move on to the next part of your project.

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  #13  
12-19-2010, 01:11 PM
juhok juhok is offline
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Oops I made a mistake. I have Hs-1000, not HS-950. I don't think there's a lot of difference tho(?).
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  #14  
12-21-2010, 11:28 AM
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As a further note for PAL video work, the Canopus ADVC-110 box should be fine, as it uses 4:2:0 colorspace. It's NTSC video where DV compression gets nasty, with its 4:1:1 color space compression that can leave colors looking odd.

The original anti-Canopus comments being made here were seemingly made while NTSC was the assumed format. When it changes to PAL, so do the comments for/against the device.

Your choice of card is fine. Just get that VCR from somewhere.

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  #15  
12-21-2010, 04:34 PM
juhok juhok is offline
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My comments about Canopus were bases on PAL versions, I've used three different kinds, including 110 and 300 models. I don't want to refute Canopus completely and calling it "crap" was a bit harsh in my part. It's easy to use and produces files that work anywhere without any extra tweaking around.

Easy of use aside, I think it's very outdated and does not deliver for the high price tag. For less money better products are available. Blackmagic Intensity/Shuttle for example produce lossless 4:2:2 10bit files (lower colorspaces available) and it's pretty straight forward to capture directly to DV format if that's wanted (VirtualDub works with it etc). edit: And they support HD/HDMI/etc stuff which is a nice bonus if ever needed.

A few years ago I compared Canopus ADVC-300 against my ex-bt878 based capture device. Here's a comparison of a same frame in Avisynth's histogram/luma mode.Of course in normal viewing difference is not so noticeable but this adds up in post processing. IIRC DV files produced from lossless files using better DV codecs didn't yield results this bad. I did some other testing, including some proc-amp control tests. I don't have any notes anymore but they did some nasty stuff to the image. If I get a hold of Canopus gear I can make better comparisons and new thread about it.

I would push even more for these BM products but I'm afraid they are more picky about input signal quality and need the frame sync inbetween. With most tapes I can't do nothing with VHS with my Decklink card without frame sync.

If this comes out too much like FUD I don't mind if this post is moved elsewhere as after writing all this I'm not quite sure if this is helpfull or not


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  #16  
12-22-2010, 04:37 AM
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Actually, my comments were directed at post #2 from admin...
... when it was assumed to be NTSC source, and had not yet become a conversation of PAL video.

Quote:
and calling it "crap" was a bit harsh in my part
Sometimes people confuse a mediocre comment for a endorsement, so calling it "crap" is probably not entirely out of line. Canopus marketing, as well as Canopus "fanboys" online, overly embellish on what it actually does. As has been pointed out in this forum before, things like "audio lock" are names given to nothing, and written up as a "feature" of the device. Sorry, but I have to disagree -- audio sync is not a "feature", it's an expectation of any transfer device. There's also the 5:1 DV compression and the high cost. So in that context, calling it "crap" is probably justified.

It works, yes. But don't believe the hype. The hype is the "crap".

Quote:
I think it's very outdated and does not deliver for the high price tag
It was a great device -- when we all used Pentium III or Mac G3 computers, in 1999. Yet the price has not adjusted itself much in the past decade. I can find better devices for $35 -- and those are recording in uncompressed, lossless HuffYUV or even MPEG-2.

Quote:
using better DV codecs
Matrox is better.

Quote:
but I'm afraid they are more picky about input signal quality and need the frame sync inbetween
Pretty much any digitizer needs stability from the incoming signal, especially from analog input. And it's device agnostic -- even the magical Canopus ADVC boxes work best when the input is first run into a TBC, or through some other outside synchronizer (certain DVD recorders, as pass-through devices, for example).

Quote:
too much like FUD ... not quite sure if this is helpfull
To me, it's preaching to the choir. For others, it should be a good insight. Your sample image, for example -- excellent sample of DV vs non-DV capture compression. Even I-frame MPEG-2 at high bitrates tends to look better than captured DV.

You're not selling anything here, so it's really not FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt, for motives of marketing, politics, propaganda). If anything, I think Canopus is the one giving out FUD, with their "audio lock" (which more often causes problems) and "no drivers or software applications to install" (which is misleading, because you still need something to capture -- and the OS has to recognize the device; i.e., not in Linux!).

I will cut them some slack, however. Since Canopus became Grass Valley, a lot of the product BS'ing has disappeared. Grass Valley is a respected broadcast gear provider, and was looking to expand into more small-pro/consumer hardware and software. I have a feeling that the fluffy marketing didn't sit well with them. And a lot of Canopus products were discontinued. It's mostly the DV boxes that remain. I don't know about the staff, but the Canopus product line was mostly gutted, trimmed down to a handful of offerings.

We could put up pages of praise that "Canopus is best" with Amazon affiliate links (~$200/device = ~$8 per sale), but we'd rather turn people on to better methods, for less cost. Clearly not any FUD on our end, either. At least not that I can see.

Good conversation. I hope it's helping CaseyM.

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  #17  
12-22-2010, 08:35 AM
juhok juhok is offline
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This discussion inspired me to try NV-HS1000 a bit more and have to take back my comment on oversharpened image too.

It's not nearly as sharpened on default setting as FS-200 is. When I ran quick "does it work" testing when I got it I happened to use a tape that was very grainy and didn't bring the best out of this unit. Now after comparing more tapes I think this is my new favorite over FS-200 and all JVC's. I like it so much I re-transferred my personal tapes with it

I could make direct comparison at some point in there future - if time permits.
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