Quantcast Is the AVT-8710 TBC my problem? - digitalFAQ Forum
  #1  
09-23-2020, 06:51 PM
motivus motivus is offline
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Hello analog video capture-o-philes!
I have the following hardware setup to transfer Video8 and Hi8 analog video to my 2019 Mac Pro:
  • Sony EV-C200 Hi8 deck (audio via RCA composite; video via S-Video cable)
  • AVT-8710 TBC (S-Video in & out)
  • Blackmagic Design Intensity Shuttle / Thunderbolt (audio direct from deck; S-Video from TBC)
  • A Thunderbolt-to-USB-C adapter (bc my new Mac Pro doesn't have Thunderbolt)
The Intensity Shuttle is configured using Blackmagic's Desktop Video Setup and capture is done using Blackmagic Media Express.

I've had experience transferring footage across 7 tapes, a mix of Video8 and Hi8. What I've observed is that sometimes I can transfer MINUTES of footage without incident. Sometimes I'm dealing with lots of tearing and freeze-framing of a previous frame as the transfer continues. Sometimes I'm able to work my way through those problem sections, usually by stopping and starting the tape. It's as if the TBC works well at first but then develops sync problems as time goes on. I do not believe I have a problem with the tapes themselves because I am able to get clean transfers, just not reliably... so I suspect my AVT-8710.

Can someone tell me if I could solve this problem with a better TBC? And, if so, would you kindly recommend one? I have read previous posts but it's easy to get confused with this legacy world of legacy equipment where not all TBCs are designed to be used for analog tape transfer. I am definitely willing to spend the $$ to overcome this problem!
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  #2  
09-24-2020, 04:06 PM
Formica Formica is offline
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Is the AVT-8710 a black or green model?
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  #3  
09-24-2020, 04:13 PM
hodgey hodgey is offline
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This sounds like the effect you get with the black/bad AVToolbox TBCs. I would suggest either getting a sony camcorder with tbc, or a panasonic DVR like the ES10.
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  #4  
09-24-2020, 04:25 PM
motivus motivus is offline
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@Formica, it's a black AVT-8710. Is the green model an earlier incarnation of the same product from AV Tool? Or is the green a Cypress, which I understand is the original design / manufacturer?

I should say that this black 8710 was rock-solid through most of a 1993 tape that I have. But it's definitely having trouble with my father's first 1991 tape. The thing that's confusing me is that I got a better transfer when using composite video. Now, going through again with S-Video, I'm having terrible issues. BUT.. those same S-Video cables gave me solid results with the 1993 tape.

I've got to believe it's the TBC because I've nursed the transfer in places before and have been able to get clean transfers over much of all the tapes I have. Just sometimes it's more painstaking than other times... which leads me to suspect a better designed TBC could solve that problem.

Thanks @hodgey. I will definitely invest in another deck / camera with built in TBC. As for the Panasonic DVR, that sounds like a digital model. I will look it up here in the forum. I guess it handles Video8 and Hi8 too.
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  #5  
09-24-2020, 06:05 PM
Formica Formica is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by motivus View Post
@Formica, it's a black AVT-8710. Is the green model an earlier incarnation of the same product from AV Tool? Or is the green a Cypress, which I understand is the original design / manufacturer?

I should say that this black 8710 was rock-solid through most of a 1993 tape that I have. But it's definitely having trouble with my father's first 1991 tape. The thing that's confusing me is that I got a better transfer when using composite video. Now, going through again with S-Video, I'm having terrible issues. BUT.. those same S-Video cables gave me solid results with the 1993 tape.

I've got to believe it's the TBC because I've nursed the transfer in places before and have been able to get clean transfers over much of all the tapes I have. Just sometimes it's more painstaking than other times... which leads me to suspect a better designed TBC could solve that problem.
Yeah, the black ATVs were built with a known bad chipset that is more likely to create worse results than improve sny transfer.
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  #6  
09-24-2020, 07:38 PM
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Blackmagic has known problems with SD sources. BM makes HD cards that "also do SD", but do so badly. Those cards were not made for consumer analog sources like VHS and Hi8/Video8. So the BM cards is not helping matters.

Then you have a known-bad black AVT-8710. It actually creates the errors that a TBC is supposed to fix. Ironic, huh?

The ES10 is not a TBC. It has a frame sync, and a sort-of line TBC aka TBC(ish), but it can still allow signal problems to pass. Then you nowh ave ES10 side effects to deal with, namely posterization and aggressive NR (always on, even when "off"). The BM card probably still will not like the signal.

Any tape where you think the black AVT-8710 was fine is still suspect. Odds dictate you just missed the errors.

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  #7  
09-24-2020, 08:12 PM
motivus motivus is offline
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@lordsmurf, thank you. RE BMD, yeah, I wondered about that. But given the fact that I've had enough "good" results to feel some confidence in my hardware, I've wound up scrutinizing the (black) AVT-8710. Nonetheless, at this stage I'm willing to examine every stage in my workflow.

I hear you when you say "any tape where you think the black 8710 was fine is still suspect." Perhaps I will find that the import is even better with, say, a green 8710. It's one of those things where I won't know until I know.

Thanks for clarifying on the ES10. I will rule that out.
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  #8  
09-24-2020, 08:33 PM
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The ES10 is mostly favored for anti-tearing passthrough ability. In order to get a more TBC-like experience, about 99% as effective, you must pair the ES10/15 with the DVK/5000 units. But you're still getting ES10/15 flaws and imperfections. It's a decent "good quality" budget setup, but it's not "high quality". Sometimes I suggest this, sometimes not. I don't get the feeling that you'd be satisfied with it, so this time is a "not".

Yes, you don't know what you don't know -- then when you learn, and know, you may be aghast at what you see. That black AVT-8710 has an error in buffering, either in RAM or FPGA, and frames randomly stick. So unless you watch the video -- realtime, watch it closely -- you have no idea. Simply scrubbing the timeline easily misses these problems.

Mac is tough to capture with, few options, not a good capture OS. For now, you can stick with it, but be vigilant and detailed with proofing everything post-capture.

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  #9  
09-24-2020, 08:43 PM
motivus motivus is offline
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@lordsmurf: I'm still quite new (and therefore late) to this world of analog-to-digital tape transfer, so it is very helpful to get an expert opinion about my particular (cobbled together) setup. Thanks for the insights. I can tell you one thing: I am absolutely committed to obtaining the absolute best result possible. So, it's only up from here!

Interesting re. your opinion of Mac OS. At its base is Unix, so I partly don't understand why that would be the case. But then perhaps it's just the blizzard of apps available for the Win platform.
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  #10  
09-24-2020, 09:06 PM
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When it came to video, then-CEO Steve Jobs was narrowminded about video. He wanted a DV-centric workflow only, which was terrible quality. And he was very unfriendly towards DVD writer tech. Adobe was dumped, FCP was born. That idea that "Mac is for creative people" was ridiculously untrue for video, and all the hardware and software was therefore developed in Windows.

Linux isn't much better. A handful of cards work, some video software, but that's it. Nothing great for capturing or restoration especially.

It is what it is.

I have a Mac Mini. And learned on Apple computers in the 80s. So I'm not anti-Mac.

Everything tends to be OS locked. Be it Windows XP/7, OS X 10.6 to 10.14, certain Ubuntu, etc.

Video capture options have gotten worse in the past 10 years, not better. It's often poorly performing HD options, or cheap Chinese junk that doesn't work well or look good. So this why many of us maintain offline legacy system (mostly XP,7) for capture only.

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  #11  
09-24-2020, 10:37 PM
Formica Formica is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by motivus View Post
Interesting re. your opinion of Mac OS. At its base is Unix, so I partly don't understand why that would be the case. But then perhaps it's just the blizzard of apps available for the Win platform.
I am currently working with the MacOS, using an older 2008 MacPro along with two devices:
1) a Matrox MX02 Mini and PCIe capture card, which doesn't work past Yosemite; and
2) an AJA IO LA capture device that delivers digital files through Firewire, which works best in Snow Leopard.

Starting with a Panasonic AG-1980P, I also have a number of recommended, but not gold-plated, TBC options in the chain. LordSmurf's "TBC-ish" arrangment, (ES10 + Datavideo DVK-100). However, I have nothing to show for it yet, as I am still figuring out the technology required.

You'll find a good thread on the AJA devices here:

VHS capture with a Mac mini and AJA Io LA?

However, as the folks here will tell you, the Windows path to digitization has been well explored.
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  #12  
09-25-2020, 06:28 PM
motivus motivus is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Formica View Post
I am currently working with the MacOS, using an older 2008 MacPro along with two devices:
1) a Matrox MX02 Mini and PCIe capture card, which doesn't work past Yosemite; and
2) an AJA IO LA capture device that delivers digital files through Firewire, which works best in Snow Leopard.

<snip>

You'll find a good thread on the AJA devices here:

VHS capture with a Mac mini and AJA Io LA?
Thanks. I will check out AJA and see if they have any plans to update to the current MacOS.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Formica View Post
I am currently working with the MacOS, using an older 2008 MacPro along with two devices:
1) a Matrox MX02 Mini and PCIe capture card, which doesn't work past Yosemite; and
2) an AJA IO LA capture device that delivers digital files through Firewire, which works best in Snow Leopard.
@formica, would you mind identifying the relevant product line on AJA's website? I just scanned through all their products but didn't spot anything seemingly relevant to SD capture.

Quote:
Originally Posted by motivus View Post
...
I've had experience transferring footage across 7 tapes, a mix of Video8 and Hi8. What I've observed is that sometimes I can transfer MINUTES of footage without incident. Sometimes I'm dealing with lots of tearing and freeze-framing of a previous frame as the transfer continues. Sometimes I'm able to work my way through those problem sections, usually by stopping and starting the tape. It's as if the TBC works well at first but then develops sync problems as time goes on. I do not believe I have a problem with the tapes themselves because I am able to get clean transfers, just not reliably... so I suspect my AVT-8710.
...
Here's some sample captured footage from a 1991 Hi8 tape (Canon Hi8 Metal-P). It shows the somewhat routine stutter / jitter... as well as a more serious dropping of frames, I believe. This clip doesn't show the ghosting effect, where a previous frame gets frozen over the top of the continuing capture. This is what my AVT-8710 doesn't seem to handle well.

Perhaps someone can confirm that this result is due to the 8710. Further confirmation that a better TBC would eliminate this jitter / ghosting would be great!


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  #13  
09-25-2020, 09:49 PM
Formica Formica is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by motivus View Post
@formica, would you mind identifying the relevant product line on AJA's website? I just scanned through all their products but didn't spot anything seemingly relevant to SD capture.
This is the thing. I am working with old OSes and equipment because AJA and Matrox aren't much interested in analog video at this point. The best days of their equipment with those functions are long behind them --newer equipment will not work as well.
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  #14  
09-26-2020, 02:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by motivus View Post
Thanks. I will check out AJA and see if they have any plans to update to the current MacOS.
Quote:
Originally Posted by motivus View Post
@formica, would you mind identifying the relevant product line on AJA's website? I just scanned through all their products but didn't spot anything seemingly relevant to SD capture.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Formica View Post
This is the thing. I am working with old OSes and equipment because AJA and Matrox aren't much interested in analog video at this point. The best days of their equipment with those functions are long behind them --newer equipment will not work as well.
Aja and Matrox made both good and "bad" gear. (The "bad" is because it's not really bad, but fussy and limited.) In the early 2000s, I was quite fond of Matrox, and in the late 2000s interested in Aja. But that all faded by the 2010s. We're now in the 2020s.

Quote:
Originally Posted by motivus View Post
Here's some sample captured footage from a 1991 Hi8 tape (Canon Hi8 Metal-P). It shows the somewhat routine stutter / jitter... as well as a more serious dropping of frames, I believe. This clip doesn't show the ghosting effect, where a previous frame gets frozen over the top of the continuing capture. This is what my AVT-8710 doesn't seem to handle well.
Perhaps someone can confirm that this result is due to the 8710. Further confirmation that a better TBC would eliminate this jitter / ghosting would be great!
I think that's a compounded error.

I've not a fan of Hi8 VCRs. In general, Hi8 cameras work much better, especially certain models with line TBC. The decks were not owned by consumers, or hobbyist/prosumer, and had many miles put on them. The decks just were great, even without the use. I don't believe the model you have even has a line TBC.

Consumer cameras are a double-edged sword. Most times, the adult owner used the camera few dozen times, usually to record kids sports and school activities, and vacations -- and then it sat in a case in a closet for the past 15-25 years. However, some cameras were handled by kids, complete with boogers and peanut butter sandwiches. Or teens by swimming pools (oops! better not tell mom!), or college kids on a beach (sand!). So you really have to pay close attention when getting these. Video8 is out, Hi8 post-2000 models are my preference, and then D8 cameras are not often handled by kiddies. Yet cameras are a safer bet than the VCRs. (This does NOT apply to VHS-C, only Video8/Hi8/D8 and DV.)

The flawed AVT-8710 would have barfed on good footage, but it's going berserk on bad footage. The frame shaking, freezing, and test pattern is 99% the bad AVT-8710.

The tapes has obvious tearing, which a line TBC shold handle in a good Hi8 camera. I've actually never seen tearing in a Hi8 signal, so that's either a really crappy deck, or unusually badly-recorded tapes (misaligned camera at recording time).

That tape snow before/after the test pattern is possibly the VCR having fits. It could be a bad spot on the tape, or the deck just misbehaving. I'd bet on the latter.

With a good deck, and good TBC, and good capture card, the line-corrected signal then passes to frame TBC to stabilize the signal (not the image), and then allow flawless digital ingest/capture.

This is likely why you see what you see, and how/why gear is causing it.

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  #15  
09-26-2020, 09:10 PM
motivus motivus is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
I think that's a compounded error.
Yeah, that was a special clip where the test pattern actually showed. Over the course of 3 Hi8 and 4 Video8 tapes, that's the only snippet where that happens. On one attempt over that same sequence it stopped displaying the picture altogether, so I think you're right. Deck problems.

So, aside from that clip, the problems I'm seeing are the jitter, tearing, and ghosting. I feel that a much better TBC will DRAMATICALLY improve my results with the current setup.

The Sony EV-C200 deck I bought on eBay *seems* to be new. All the accessories were in their original unopened plastic. Including the batteries for the remote. And the original sticker is still on the front. So it *looks* new and it sounds new too.

Yes, I have seen your post about Video8/Hi8 capture with all the cameras listed. My Uncle has a Sony and my Father a Canon and I can easily use each of theirs... though my Father's camera may need to be serviced. I wasn't sure about putting Sony-recorded Video8 tapes in a Canon Hi8 camera for capture, however.

I'm not sure what wiggle room I have with the capture card on my Mac-based setup with latest OS. Don't know that I have a better option than the BMD Intensity Shuttle / Thunderbolt and Media Express.
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  #16  
09-26-2020, 09:22 PM
Formica Formica is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by motivus View Post
Don't know that I have a better option than the BMD Intensity Shuttle / Thunderbolt and Media Express.
The older PCs you would use to capture in Windows 7 are pretty cheap. I'm committed to wokring with an old Mac, but you don't have to be.
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  #17  
09-27-2020, 07:35 AM
motivus motivus is offline
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Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
The tapes has obvious tearing, which a line TBC shold handle in a good Hi8 camera. I've actually never seen tearing in a Hi8 signal, so that's either a really crappy deck, or unusually badly-recorded tapes (misaligned camera at recording time).

That tape snow before/after the test pattern is possibly the VCR having fits. It could be a bad spot on the tape, or the deck just misbehaving. I'd bet on the latter.

With a good deck, and good TBC, and good capture card, the line-corrected signal then passes to frame TBC to stabilize the signal (not the image), and then allow flawless digital ingest/capture.

This is likely why you see what you see, and how/why gear is causing it.
Thanks @lordsmurf. As I mentioned previously, IIRC, I have some tapes where the transfer using this setup is "solid" and others that are a bit better than what I shared. If the deck was crappy I don't think I'd be sitting here satisfied with some of the capture I've already gotten. This transfer experience overall is what has led me to focus on the TBC element.

This is not to say that I'm not scrutinizing -- and happy to hear expert assessment -- of every component in my setup. I am taking into account everything you've shared (@formica too) on this and other posts. But it continues to seem that getting a better TBC is my next step.

I'm sitting on a small mountain of Video8 and Hi8 tapes, and I haven't even reached out to my Aunt re. her VHS tapes.
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  #18  
09-27-2020, 07:36 AM
motivus motivus is offline
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The older PCs you would use to capture in Windows 7 are pretty cheap. I'm committed to wokring with an old Mac, but you don't have to be.
The thought of setting up an old Win platform is so absolutely unappealing that I'm going to need days if not weeks of time to stew over that prospect! haha
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09-27-2020, 10:32 AM
Formica Formica is offline
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The thought of setting up an old Win platform is so absolutely unappealing that I'm going to need days if not weeks of time to stew over that prospect! haha
Why else do you think I'm working with old Apple equipment?!
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  #20  
09-27-2020, 04:19 PM
cbehr91 cbehr91 is offline
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I may be one of the few members here with both a Hi8 VCR (EV-S7000) and a camcorder (TRV85). I agree with Lordsmurf that the camcorder is better. I can post some samples later.
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