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  #1  
10-04-2020, 09:53 AM
Johnstoneturbo Johnstoneturbo is offline
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I am a retired guy trying to do a better vhs video conversion with family tapes than before.
Originally I used my 2005 Mac with a Canopus 55 with a “normal” VHS player to achieve poor video quality with many stops based on tape glitches.

I have read lately that VHS capture is best with uncompressed looseless or MPEG-2 as too much quality is lost with H.264. Lossy ProRes422 also apparently works. I also realized that a better VCR, such as the JVC HR-S9500U with integrated TBC makes a world of difference in quality and those glitchy start/stops during the process. Many also say PC’s make the best choice to avoid getting defaulted into H.264.

My question is then, with my iMac Pro running Catalina, is there an external capture device that quality results for the VHS analog tapes Or do I need to run Bootcamp for PC software and capture device to achieve high quality results? FCPX is my editing software.

Thank you for your input and support
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  #2  
10-04-2020, 12:11 PM
Formica Formica is offline
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There are a few issues here.

1) Yes, a good VCR with integrated TBC is an important start.
2) The Canopus card you're using performed poorly for me and I sold it quickly.
3) The best capture devices are generally on-board PCI cards that happen to work only with PCs. You can't add cards to an iMac. You could run PC capture software with BootCamp but you couldn't pair the capture with a proper capture card.

Conclusion is that you're better off with an old PC running XT or Windows 7 than trying to get a 2005 iMac to do something it was not designed for.

I am still trying to make a legacy Firewire capture device work for me on an old Mac: the AJA Pro IO. It would theoretically work with your iMac but I have had no luck with it as yet. For the few people who have tried it here, it worked straight off, but not for me.
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10-04-2020, 01:05 PM
Johnstoneturbo Johnstoneturbo is offline
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Thanks, I am now using a 2019 iMac Pro, although your suggestion points toward the PC solution anyway.
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  #4  
10-04-2020, 01:18 PM
Formica Formica is offline
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Once you use a Mac, it's not easy to go back to a PC. But many people have found it is the cheaper alternative to get an old PC box, and an old PC capture card like an AIW: All-In-Wonder (there are guides on the site regarding which card is best). You can then use the capture software that optimizes your capture, instead of trying to fix a sub-optimal capture in BootCamp.

The Mac solutions that actually target analog tape are already old. One of them requires me to use Snow Leopard and another requires Yosemite. Your brand new iMac won't do that--nor should it!
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  #5  
10-04-2020, 01:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnstoneturbo View Post
Originally I used my 2005 Mac with a Canopus 55 with a “normal” VHS player to achieve poor video quality with many stops based on tape glitches.
Poor quality is expected from consumer ("normal") VHS VCRs, or Canopus DV boxes, or both. Canopus is an example of an expensive low-quality device (and HD cards are the other).

Quote:
I have read lately that VHS capture is best with uncompressed looseless or MPEG-2 as too much quality is lost with H.264.
Massive quality loss with H264.
MPEG can be fine, but only if bitrate is good, broadcast/Blu-ray specs, more than DVD.
Lossless best.

Quote:
Lossy ProRes422 also apparently works.
Correct. ProRes422 is not really that lossy, better than MPEG and older specs like MJPEG.

Quote:
I also realized that a better VCR, such as the JVC HR-S9500U with integrated TBC makes a world of difference in quality and those glitchy start/stops during the process. Many also say PC’s make the best choice to avoid getting defaulted into H.264.
Correct.

In addition, some form of external TBC will be required. You can get an actual TBC, or go the budget route of ES10/15+DVK (which has some image quality hits, ES10/15 downsides, but vastly better than the VHS/Canopus quality hits you've seen before).

Quote:
My question is then, with my iMac Pro running Catalina, is there an external capture device that quality results for the VHS analog tapes Or do I need to run Bootcamp for PC software and capture device to achieve high quality results? FCPX is my editing software.
Nothing will work with macOS 10.15. Earlier OS X would work with Videoglide, and give some narrow choices in capture cards (ATI 600 USB, few clones), with 640x480 max res. So Bootcamp it is. Win7 best, Win10 workable (but narrows card choices some).

FCP is fine, good editor. Capture on Windows, edit on Mac, done that myself many times.

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Originally Posted by Formica View Post
Once you use a Mac, it's not easy to go back to a PC.
Why do you say that?
All general-use computers are essentially the same. I move between Windows and Mac and Linux on a regular basis. Each is good at certain tasks, and bad at others. Video is a Windows task.

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  #6  
10-04-2020, 02:46 PM
motivus motivus is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
Why do you say that?
All general-use computers are essentially the same. I move between Windows and Mac and Linux on a regular basis. Each is good at certain tasks, and bad at others. Video is a Windows task.
I think you mean *analog SD video capture* is a Windows task... right? Unless your blanket statement extends further than that and I haven't seen one of those posts yet.
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  #7  
10-04-2020, 02:51 PM
Formica Formica is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
Why do you say that?
All general-use computers are essentially the same. I move between Windows and Mac and Linux on a regular basis. Each is good at certain tasks, and bad at others. Video is a Windows task.
For many of us who are used to operating nothing but a Mac, the Windows experience is painful and buying an old PC feels like a setback. I agree that some tasks are better completed on some platforms, but the operating system for Windows simply feels bad to me.
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  #8  
10-04-2020, 03:15 PM
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lordsmurf lordsmurf is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by motivus View Post
I think you mean *analog SD video capture* is a Windows task... right? Unless your blanket statement extends further than that and I haven't seen one of those posts yet.
Correct.
analog SD video capture = a Windows task

Quote:
Originally Posted by Formica View Post
For many of us who are used to operating nothing but a Mac, the Windows experience is painful and buying an old PC feels like a setback. I agree that some tasks are better completed on some platforms, but the operating system for Windows simply feels bad to me.
This is mostly a preference thing, and a familiarity thing. It does require a difference headspace to move between the OS, but it's mostly about the location of apps and settings. I don't like the default Windows, and always change the themes, and install Classic Shell. I'm really quite neutral on Mac. I prefer the default streamlining of the Xubuntu and Mint menus/taskbars, over both Win and Mac. But I know I can get my Mac and Win in comparable setups if I wanted. But I don't, because the Linux boxes are for different tasks. I mostly use Windows for video.

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  #9  
10-05-2020, 10:47 AM
latreche34 latreche34 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Formica View Post
For many of us who are used to operating nothing but a Mac, the Windows experience is painful and buying an old PC feels like a setback. I agree that some tasks are better completed on some platforms, but the operating system for Windows simply feels bad to me.


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  #10  
10-05-2020, 10:58 AM
Formica Formica is offline
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Costs more, does just about the same — but I like the design of the equipment and operating system.
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