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  #1  
04-08-2013, 07:40 PM
tomswift tomswift is offline
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Recently a "myth" has been bothering me---and I don't see it having been addressed here.

A lot of people when they have questions concerning something in this day and age will turn to Wikipedia to do their research, and will not look at a book or even try to see if they can back up the claims that are made on Wikipedia.

Currently on Wikipedia, under the S-VHS and Betamax entries people can see this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wikipedia [url
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betamax#Comparison_to_other_video_formats][/url]

Resolution based on the quality with a standard Kell factor of 0.7:[citation needed]

350480 (250 lines per picture height): Umatic, Betamax, VHS, Video8
420480 (300 lines per picture height): Super Betamax, Betacam (professional)
460480 (330 lines per picture height): Analog Broadcast
590480 (420 lines per picture height): LaserDisc, Super VHS, Hi8
700480 (500 lines per picture height): Extended Definition Betamax

[24][not in citation given]

Digital formats Quality based on the resolution with a standard Kell factor of 0.7:[citation needed]

352240 (240 lines per picture height): Video CD
480480 (330 lines per picture height): SVCD
720480 (504 lines per picture height): 4:3 DVD, Anamorphic Widescreen DVD, DV, miniDV, Digital8
720360 (504 lines per picture height): Letterbox Widescreen DVD
1280720 (896 lines per picture height): AVCHD-lite (720p)
14401080 (1008 lines per picture height): miniDV (high-def variant)
19201080 (1344 lines per picture height): (1080i/p) AVCHD, Blu-ray, HD DVD

[25][not in citation given]
This is from the Betamax page---pretty interesting isn't it. I've seen someone delete it on numerous occasions, because of the fact that just about everywhere in it you see citation needed or not in citation given. The main site that is used by whoever put this information on Wikipedia (and keeps reinstating it) is this one: http://www.high-techproductions.com/formats.htm

For a while now I've been trying to find out just where on earth these "values" have come from. That High Tech Productions page certainly doesn't say how they arrived at their figures, or even where they got them from, and yet that's what Wikipedia seems to rely on. And besides Wikipedia, I've seen other sites (mostly government related---similar to what kpmedia reported in this article from a few years ago) report the same figures, and yet not present any proof.

Let's look at a few things:

Quote:
Digital formats Quality based on the resolution with a standard Kell factor of 0.7
The "Kell Factor"...I've seen this used from all things relating to pregnancy to video. But for video it seems stem from opinions originated by three RCA engineers back in 1933 (their last names were Kell, Bedford and Trainer). According to PC World, this is the definition for the "Kell Factor" in terms of video:

Quote:
Originally Posted by [URL="http://www.pcmag.com/encyclopedia/term/57542/kell-factor"
PCMag.com[/URL]]
Definition of:Kell factor

A subjective number of lines of resolution that can be visually perceived in a video display system, expressed as a percentage of the total number of lines of resolution. In 1933, RCA engineers Kell, Bedford and Trainer determined that the effective resolution of their electronic video system was 64% (0.64) of the total scan lines. As the electronics became more capable and generated more scan lines, Kell and Bedford increased the factor to 85% in 1940.
"A subjective number of lines..." Subjective being the word, since that means that there is no scientific basis to the fact, just opinion. This is just like when weather forecasters broadcast, mostly in the summer, what the Humidex value is going to be. Now there is no way for them to scientifically say that with the humidity that it is going to be X degrees, instead weather forecasters use the Humidex value to say that it will subjectively feel like X, while the actual temperature will be lower. And it's interesting to note that with what PCMag.com says, only 7 years after they brought out their theory, they increased the amount by more than 20%.

Quote:
Resolution based on the quality with a standard Kell factor of 0.7:[citation needed]

350480 (250 lines per picture height): Umatic, Betamax, VHS, Video8
420480 (300 lines per picture height): Super Betamax, Betacam (professional)
460480 (330 lines per picture height): Analog Broadcast
590480 (420 lines per picture height): LaserDisc, Super VHS, Hi8
700480 (500 lines per picture height): Extended Definition Betamax
Sorry, but I've got to question where exactly Wikipedia got these figures. VHS, Betamax & Video8 all at 250 lines???? Betamax and Video8 I can believe, but VHS? I managed to find a physical copy (instead of the Google books version, and only for $5) of VCR Troubleshooting & Repair, Third Edition by Gregory R. Capelo & Robert C. Brenner, on page 132 Capelo and Brenner have a table showing Frequency and Resolution Specifications for Various Consumer Formats, and one of the columns is called Luminance Resolution Format (MHz) (which they give no explanation as to how they arrived at these figures in the text; they do give explanations for the other 3 columns, but nothing is stated about this 4th column, the Kell Factor isn't even mentioned) which lists VHS as having 240 MHz, while 8mm (Video8) is at 270 MHz and Hi8 is at 430 MHz, with S-VHS being at 400 MHz. And here is the interesting thing: all this means is that when you are looking at these resolution measurements, you are only looking at how good the video will look when it is black & white!

But, even then, from what I can tell, everyone is speculating as to how much Linear Resolution each format can produce. I've read that up to and including 1981, all the manufacturers released how many lines of resolution their machines could produce, however that was apparently stopped in 1982 by Sony, possible because the Betacam format was actually inferior to the Umatic and other video formats that were out at that time, even though, visible, Betacam appeared to be superior, and Sony knew that if they released how many "Lines of Resolution" their New Betacam system recorded and played back, they would never be able to convince professionals that their system was superior in color reproduction, when, in fact, it was actually inferior.

I've checked other textbooks on the subject, whether it be actual VCR Repair books or books on the broadcasting field, and this is very interesting, even with Capelo and Brenner's book in later chapter when they are talking about Line Resolution : whenever Line Resolution is mentioned, aside from the bandwidth signal in MHz, no other information is given relating to the resolution of the video. I even remember seeing an instruction manual for a GOVideo DVD/VCR Combo 2004-release-year unit stating that in that unit both the output and input resolution was 202 lines.

So how many lines of resolution can each format hold? There seems to be wide speculation every where you look on the internet. Even the digital formats we don't know. With Digital most people think that when they hear 720 by 480, that is the resolution. In fact that is not the resolution, just the pixel count of the X (vertical) and Y(horizontal) axis of the video. 480 is the Vertical Pixel count, while 720 is the horizontal pixel count. When you multiply those 2 numbers together, you are left with a figure of 345,600 pixels that make up the full 720 by 480 picture.

Now then when we look at the Canon GL1 (Mini-DV, prosumer-level) which was released in the late 1990's (sometime between 1997 and 2000). Canon states that the camera could capture 270,000 pixels, with 250,000 effective pixels being recorded to tape, which is only a 7% loss (not to mention but in brochures from the time period Canon claimed that the GL1 could stand up next to camera's that could capture 410,000 pixels). Compare that to the Sony DCR-TRV950 (Mini-DV, released between 2000 and 2002, consumer-level) where it could record 690,000 pixels to the tape. With both camera's being Standard Def camera's, it is clear that the DCR-TRV950 records more information than what is needed for Standard Def NTSC Digital (even for PAL SD, which is 414,720 pixels in a 720 by 576 frame). (Both the Sony and Canon websites have these facts up for the respective camera's.)

It is very likely that the reason that most textbooks do not cover lines of resolution is due to the fact that manufacturers are always coming up with ways on how to improve the quality of the recording on the tape/disk, and thus the figures are constantly changing, while still being compatible with existing technology, plus with the Kell system being highly speculative, and to say that any such system, analog or digital, is only capable of handling X number of lines of resolution is total incorrect.
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  #2  
04-08-2013, 09:28 PM
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The Wikipedia pixel equivalency is what's messed up. It uses Kell to calculate pixels, and that's just dumb. VHS, for example, is anywhere from 200 to 240 lines of resolution, depending on recording mode, VCR quality, tape quality, and several other things. That, in turn, is the pixel count. Something that "250 lines" is the same as 250x480. That's why, for example, 352x480 can capture almost all consumer formats, as well as broadcasts. It's a soft format by modern standards.

The one that's different, however, is DVD. When it approaches 500 lines of detail, it becomes a situation where the palette (720) exceeds the content (~500). That's sort of what you're alluding too. TVs and other content top out around there. Part of that is due to 4:2:0 reduced chroma, which makes the picture less sharp. Again, as you alluded to above.

It really reminds me of Blu-ray, which is NOT "1080p" more often than not. Sure, the palette is, but the content isn't.

You also measure detail horizontally -- left to right. Where is says 'lines per picture height" is therefore also stupid. You don't measure it vertically (top to bottom). All video is the same height for NTSC or PAL. It's "x486" (or equivalent) for NTSC. It's rounded to 480 for technical reason (multiple of 8).

Wikipedia is full of wrong information, put there by people with zero qualifications.

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  #3  
04-08-2013, 10:32 PM
msgohan msgohan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
Something that "250 lines" is the same as 250x480.
I don't think that's the case, as a result of the aspect ratio and non-square pixels.

"Lines per picture height" is a technical term from the analog world. I haven't gotten around to actually reading this book yet, but Charles Poynton explains it. My eyes glaze over at most of the equations.
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  #4  
04-08-2013, 10:35 PM
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Pixel shape doesn't matter. Regardless, there's 250 "units" from left to right -- it doesn't matter if these are "lines" or "pixels".
Trying to force the inclusion of Kell in calculations is what screw everything up.

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04-09-2013, 04:32 AM
tomswift tomswift is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
The Wikipedia pixel equivalency is what's messed up. It uses Kell to calculate pixels, and that's just dumb. VHS, for example, is anywhere from 200 to 240 lines of resolution, depending on recording mode, VCR quality, tape quality, and several other things. That, in turn, is the pixel count. Something that "250 lines" is the same as 250x480. That's why, for example, 352x480 can capture almost all consumer formats, as well as broadcasts. It's a soft format by modern standards.

The one that's different, however, is DVD. When it approaches 500 lines of detail, it becomes a situation where the palette (720) exceeds the content (~500). That's sort of what you're alluding too. TVs and other content top out around there. Part of that is due to 4:2:0 reduced chroma, which makes the picture less sharp. Again, as you alluded to above.

It really reminds me of Blu-ray, which is NOT "1080p" more often than not. Sure, the palette is, but the content isn't.

You also measure detail horizontally -- left to right. Where is says 'lines per picture height" is therefore also stupid. You don't measure it vertically (top to bottom). All video is the same height for NTSC or PAL. It's "x486" (or equivalent) for NTSC. It's rounded to 480 for technical reason (multiple of 8).

Wikipedia is full of wrong information, put there by people with zero qualifications.
Wikipedia definitely is, but then it gets copied so many times that people just using web research seem to think that that is the correct information.

And with the analog world the amount of resolution partly comes from how many amps of energy are required to reproduce the detail.

But there is also the question of where people are getting these figures. This is why I even pointed out that most textbooks avoid the issue of how many lines each format has, since I certainly haven't been able to figure out the equations or even how they are taking the high and low peaks of a signal and turning them into these "Lines Of Resolution". But with the different analog machines, if the Capelo book is anything to go on, each machine has two different sets of resolution: one for when it's just playing a video with only Luminance Resolution (black & white video, which I can definitely see with VHS) and a second for Luminance & Chroma Resolution, not to mention how the various video signals play a role as well (composite vs. component).
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  #6  
04-09-2013, 11:04 AM
msgohan msgohan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kpmedia View Post
Regardless, there's 250 "units" from left to right -- it doesn't matter if these are "lines" or "pixels".
Horizontal resolution: Pixels or lines
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  #7  
04-09-2013, 01:03 PM
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I like Broadcast Engineering, and have had a subscription for years, but every now and again there's an article that is odd.

This one is just repeating dogma, and there's zero thought into anything. It got the vertical part right, but the Kell wrong. There is no Kell. It's a wibbly-wobbly theory that ranges anywhere from 0.6 to 0.9 -- ie, no real concrete numbers -- and gets used in the resolution math and nothing else. Nyquist theory is another one.

However, I think it arrives at the same conclusion. TV broadcasts are about ~335x480 resolution, which is correct.

But if you did this with other formats, the math wouldn't work right, and give you odd resolutions. It's really just coincidence that it output the right numbers. It reminds me of some of the weird stuff I would do in math class, bewildering the teacher, yet correctly showing all or partial work. It's really just voodoo with numbers, more than anything else. Math is just as much an art as it is a science, and can be fudged as needed. Ask any accountant.

I've looked at video almost daily for 15+ years. The idea that VHS, for example, is 350x480 is baloney. Some egghead needs to get away from math books and actually look at some videos. Because there's no way it's right at 352x480.

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04-09-2013, 04:15 PM
StanleyClassic1 StanleyClassic1 is offline
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Thank you lordsmurf (and staff post)!
Your post have given me great help and answers; I will soon be reading more of the post @ digital.com
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04-10-2013, 09:33 PM
tomswift tomswift is offline
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Not to mention, but when I was researching the old Sony TRV950, I found an old flyer on the Sony site that claimed (in brackets next to the pixel count) that the camera could record 530 lines onto the Mini-DV tape. I'll have to post the link here when I'm not using an iPad.

Here's that link: http://www.docs.sony.com/release/specs/DCRTRV950_sp.pdf


Attached Files
File Type: pdf DCRTRV950_sp.pdf (285.1 KB, 2 downloads)
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  #10  
04-15-2013, 09:53 AM
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The "lines of resolution" refer to the highest resolvable horizontal detail on the EIA Test Chart.

http://www.bealecorner.com/trv900/respat/
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04-15-2013, 02:21 PM
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Even with the chart it is a subjective conclusion. If you read in that link, the author says that it looks to him as if the camera's are at the different resolution levels. But to someone else they might see a different resolution.

But even going by what's on that page for Mini-DV, you can see that Mini-DV can produce a far clearer picture than what is being reported on Wikipedia and a bunch of other websites. And that's only with consumer-level tech...that web page doesn't do any comparisons between prosumer or professional level.
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04-16-2013, 11:17 PM
msgohan msgohan is offline
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Surely MiniDV and DVD can both reproduce 720 vertical lines (horizontal pixels)? I can create an image of alternating black and white lines and pass that through via Firewire to tape or burn it to a disc, then play it on a fixed-pixel panel with no optics or Kell factors or Nyquist getting in my way.
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04-16-2013, 11:53 PM
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NTSC DV is 4:1:1
PAL DV is 4:2:0
DVD is 4:2:0

That matters. The resolution is reduced because the chroma signal is reduced.
Furthermore, there are limitations in the optics and processing.
While the theoretical limit might be 720, in actuality its going to be much lower.

Theory vs. practice is something we often teach here at this site.

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04-17-2013, 12:39 PM
msgohan msgohan is offline
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Of course I'm only talking about luma resolution. As with TVL which is measured with black and white lines.

Here is a practical example of 240 px being insufficient for plain old VHS. Even 352 loses brightness in the finest details if you really zoom in, thanks to the averaging of the scaler.

Capture with histogram:


352x486:


240x486:


Code:
V1 = ImageSource("titanic4-msgohan-jvc.png").Crop(0,0,-260,-0)
Interleave(V1,V1.LanczosResize(352,486).LanczosResize(720,486),V1.LanczosResize(240,486).LanczosResize(720,486))
AssumeFPS(2)
(I tried attaching the capture + histogram PNG but it got converted to JPG)


Attached Images
File Type: png titanic0001.png (443.2 KB, 132 downloads)
File Type: png titanic0002.png (418.2 KB, 130 downloads)
File Type: png titanic0000.png (478.0 KB, 3 downloads)
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04-17-2013, 05:17 PM
tomswift tomswift is offline
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Even just watching stuff on VHS, I always preferred how the old black and white movies looked a lot crisper than the colored VHS tapes, even on SP mode. Movies like Dick Tracy Detective (which, if you get the Astral Media VHS version, that is the highest quality version I ever found, since the movie is PD, but Astral transferred it from a pretty good print, onto VHS in Hi-Fi SP, most likely on at the most a 4-head recorder, possible a 6), It's A Wonderful Life and Miracle On 34th Street (1947) always seemed to bring out the best in VHS because they were only using the luminance channel.

-- merged --

This is more of an update, but I have managed to do a comparison of some stuff that I shot around town on Mini-DV, and I transferred it to Betamax (both Regular and Super) and VHS, and I can't get over how much better even a Mini-DV to Betamax (on Regular BIII recording mode) dub looks 5 times better than a Mini-DV to VHS dub on SP (even using a S-VHS deck to go to regular VHS). I just don't see how people can say that regular Betamax and VHS are in the same league in terms of resolution. Even a recording on Betamax in its worst mode (Regular BIII) is better than a VHS recording on its best mode.

I will say that there was some loss during the dub, but I think that's mostly because I was going from a digital component to an analog composite recording, and I can see why, in various Internet blogs, people kept their Beta machines and transferred their Video8 and Hi8 recordings to it for backup in the 90's and 2000's.
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  #16  
05-25-2013, 06:49 AM
volksjager volksjager is offline
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what decks and brand tapes are you using?

Hi8 is hands down better than VHS

the biggest problem with Betas is the lack of really good decks
only a couple have S-Video and they command stupid prices and none have TBC's
and as all Sony products they are overcomplicated and overengineered
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  #17  
05-25-2013, 12:35 PM
tomswift tomswift is offline
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I'm using a SL-HF900 (right now I can't afford a machine like the ED decks). Aside from a new Copyright (MisterBetamax's brand) I've been testing with a variety of Scotch, Maxell, Fuji and Sony tapes that are about 30 years old (I bought them from a guy on the net, but even though I've done the ff/rw, I think I've got some major clogs on the heads or ACE unit, and no chamois cloths, and no electronics store in Pembroke has any: all they have a stupid dry VHS tapes, and I did buy a Copyright Beta cleaning tape, and that's not clearing the issue, since some tapes are playing but others don't even register a timecode, even though I can see video in ff and rw.)

But, you know, I've been looking up the luminance resolutions for Beta and Super Beta vs. Video8 and Hi8 in the VHS Troubleshooting & Repair book, and I've noticed that Super Betamax and Video8 have the same or very similar (I don't have the book in front of me right now, but I remember the luminance only deviates by no more than 0.5 MHz).
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05-25-2013, 12:43 PM
volksjager volksjager is offline
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cleaning tapes generally suck - they just smear dirt around
old dodgy tapes can really crap up your deck

i make my own chamois cleaning sticks.

go to Wal-Mart or an auto parts store and get a large chamois - for like $10

then just cut it into strips and tape onto Popsicle sticks
1 chamois makes alot of cleaning sticks

Last edited by volksjager; 05-25-2013 at 12:54 PM.
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05-25-2013, 01:01 PM
tomswift tomswift is offline
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From what I've read on Beta's, the Super's (and even the ED's if you can find them) are the best for transfers, but their heads and ACE's get clogged so easily, even after doing the ff/rw. But, right now my machine's still under warranty from Mister Betamax (since I just got the machine back on Thursday) so I'm gonna have him take another look. But once it's ou of warranty, I'm gonna have to learn how to correctly clean and fix the machine myself, since as far as as I can tell there is no on in Canada who still fixes Beta's, and shipping to and from the US for this machine is expensive, although whenever I get another Beta, I'll have MrBetamax go over it first, since I don't want the machines eating customers tapes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tomswift View Post
But, you know, I've been looking up the luminance resolutions for Beta and Super Beta vs. Video8 and Hi8 in the VHS Troubleshooting & Repair book, and I've noticed that Super Betamax and Video8 have the same or very similar (I don't have the book in front of me right now, but I remember the luminance only deviates by no more than 0.5 MHz).
I just found it in the Capelo/Brenner VCR Troubleshooting & repair Third Edition on page 234.

Regular Beta has a luminence deviation of 3.5 Mhz to 4.8 Mhz; color under is 688 khz. Super Beta is 4.4 to 5.6 Mhz with a color under of 688khz.

Video8 has a luminence deviation of 4.2Mhz and 5.4 Mhz; color under is 743khz. Hi8 is 5.7 Mhz to 7.7 Mhz, with a color under of 743khz.

By comparison S-VHS has a deviation of 5.4Mhz to 7.0 Mhz and a color under of 629khz.
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05-25-2013, 02:37 PM
volksjager volksjager is offline
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might be a good idea to pick up a lesser beta to try questionable tapes in before putting in your good deck.

the old Sanyo and Toshiba Betas are cheap and usually much more robust than Sonys (although the Sonys have better picture quality)
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