Quantcast Best workflow for VHS capture? - digitalFAQ Forum
  #1  
11-08-2020, 05:02 AM
RobustReviews RobustReviews is offline
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Hello all,


I have started transfer a lot of VHS for clients, I just wondered what others may think is my best approach here, and that I have equipment capable of getting good captures?

- VHS Machines a rack of Panasonic AG-7650/AG-7750 players with hardware TBC's built in.
- Canopus AVDC-300 Firewire Capture unit

I am capturing to VirtualDub at the moment but the results are grainy, well very grainy (not present on source, checked with CRT) and there's a ton of digital noise I'm having to deal with in post.

What could be wrong with my capture set-up here? I would have thought that this would have yeided good results, just wondered what the most basic workflow should be here and where I am going wrong?

Kind Regards,
RR
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  #2  
11-08-2020, 11:46 AM
lingyi lingyi is offline
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STOP! STOP! STOP!

You're doing a severe disservice to your clients. Especially as you're doing the work and asking for advice later.

Read and thoroughly digest these articles by lordsmurf:

http://www.digitalfaq.com/editorials...g-workflow.htm

VCR Buying Guide (S-VHS, D-VHS, Professional) for restoring video

If you have any conscience, you would redo all your clients videos for FREE because of the disservice you've done them.
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  #3  
11-08-2020, 03:01 PM
RobustReviews RobustReviews is offline
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!

Simmer down son, heavens that seems somewhat of an over-reaction to 'what's the best workflow?'

Do you know what I have charged, or indeed what paid work I have done?
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  #4  
11-08-2020, 04:20 PM
traal traal is offline
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If you're getting grain in VirtualDub but not on CRT from the same VCR using the same cables, it would seem to point to your capture card. BTW, if you plan to do any kind of corrections after capture, it's best to start with a lossless 4:2:2 capture, something your AVDC-300 is not capable of.
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11-08-2020, 05:51 PM
dpalomaki dpalomaki is offline
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There are many threads that discuss the various options and approaches for VHS capture. The ADVC-300 is not a favored device, especially if you plan to do any restoration of the images. Most workflows discussed here strive for the best possible result, with time and effort a secondary consideration.

Depending on your CRT and what is driving it, CTR's can be very forgiving of noise/warts in a video stream. Modern HD displays, TV sets, and computer monitors are very unforgiving.

If you are doing this is a business you need to evaluate your business model, charge/rates, and income expectations. The work flow you select will have to fit within your budget and be structured to give you a product that is acceptable to your clients without sending you to the poor house. Some work flows can be very labor intensive (video clean-up and restoration, cuts editing of "footage" and sweetening sound) and others can approach set-and-come-back 110 minutes later. (e.g., a simple dump to DVD or file). And some tapes will require a lot more work than others, and some will be hopeless, especially home made recordings.

So a question is how much actual hands-on time on your part (or an employee's) are you planning to devote to each nominal 2-hour long VHS tape. Start to delivery to the client?
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  #6  
11-08-2020, 09:15 PM
latreche34 latreche34 is offline
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What are the customers going to do with outdated DV files? Get serious and get some professional gear, An analog to SDI capture device coupled with SDI to USB3 adapter, Save the lossless files to HDD and encode from there to h.264 for your clients.
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  #7  
11-08-2020, 10:04 PM
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I don't like where this thread is headed. I need to weigh in here...

Quote:
Originally Posted by RobustReviews View Post
I have started transfer a lot of VHS for clients
Out of curiosity, what line of business are you in?

Quote:
I just wondered what others may think is my best approach here, and that I have equipment capable of getting good captures?
- VHS Machines a rack of Panasonic AG-7650/AG-7750 players with hardware TBC's built in.
That model VCR may be minimally acceptable, but mostly because of the line TBC. It has lots of negatives, and will contribute to the grainy aspect.

Quote:
- Canopus AVDC-300 Firewire Capture unit
I am capturing to VirtualDub at the moment but the results are grainy, well very grainy (not present on source, checked with CRT) and there's a ton of digital noise I'm having to deal with in post.
The biggest problem here is that Canopus card. And the 300 model ironically worse than the 100/110 (since it was more expensive).

- For PAL, 4:2:0, it's passably decent. Not great, decent.
- For NTSC, the 4:1:1 color of DV is crushing to quality. It throws out 50%+ of color data, and alters the tint and hues and contrast. It cooks the colors.

Beyond that DV is blocky, and has mosquito noise (digital grain).

DV is the tech of the 1990s, design for use with Pentuim II and III computers. Most people do not realize it's so old. And I don't mean legacy -- I mean old, outdated, damned-near useless.

What could be wrong with my capture set-up here?

Quote:
I would have thought that this would have yeided good results, just wondered what the most basic workflow should be here and where I am going wrong?
It gave you better results than a crummy VCR and crummy capture card. But being better was arguably still not quality.

Quote:
Kind Regards,
RR
Are you in Europe?

Quote:
Originally Posted by lingyi View Post
STOP! STOP! STOP!
You're doing a severe disservice to your clients.
Especially as you're doing the work and asking for advice later.
If you have any conscience, you would redo all your clients videos for FREE because of the disservice you've done them.
Huh-uh! Be gentler.

Notice I save the "disservice to clients" comments for stubborn users -- which I've not yet seen from our OP.

Quote:
Yes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RobustReviews View Post
Simmer down son
Foghorn Leghorn!

Quote:
Originally Posted by traal View Post
If you're getting grain in VirtualDub but not on CRT from the same VCR using the same cables, it would seem to point to your capture card. BTW, if you plan to do any kind of corrections after capture, it's best to start with a lossless 4:2:2 capture, something your AVDC-300 is not capable of.
That's precisely it. Good observation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dpalomaki View Post
There are many threads that discuss the various options and approaches for VHS capture. The ADVC-300 is not a favored device, especially if you plan to do any restoration of the images. Most workflows discussed here strive for the best possible result, with time and effort a secondary consideration.
Depending on your CRT and what is driving it, CTR's can be very forgiving of noise/warts in a video stream. Modern HD displays, TV sets, and computer monitors are very unforgiving.
Another great post, very accurate.

Quote:
If you are doing this is a business you need to evaluate your business model, charge/rates, and income expectations. The work flow you select will have to fit within your budget and be structured to give you a product that is acceptable to your clients without sending you to the poor house
Clarification needed.
- For a software workflow, yes.
- For a hardware workflow, no. Consumer analog conversion (VHS,etc) has a recipe. Follow it. Attempting to deviate causes quality hits, sometimes massively so. If you follow advice from 20 yearas go (ADVC), or idiots on Youtube ($5 HDMI adapter), you will do a lousy job not even up to hobby standards.

... and I think you meant software, but wanted to emphasize it.

Read my article about pro vs. hobby conversion, as linked by @lingyi

Quote:
Originally Posted by latreche34 View Post
What are the customers going to do with outdated DV files? Get serious and get some professional gear, An analog to SDI capture device coupled with SDI to USB3 adapter, Save the lossless files to HDD and encode from there to h.264 for your clients.
Be gentle.

And I don't really agree with those assessments.

Yes, DV files are outdated. But H.264 files are equally not ideal for many reasons (mostly because it's compressed).

But H.264 also harder to work with:
- interlaced H.264 can't be watched on most devices, it does not deinterlace on playback
- deinterlaced is lossy (motion data lost), thus not archival -- yet fine as additional copy given to clients
- most editors expect HD H.264, not SD, especially consumer/freeware, and also often fail to understand interlaced H.264
- lossless/ProRes422 is archival, the client/person can do whatever they want once delivered (deinterlace, convert copy to H.264, whatever -- and still retain archival lossless master for later, and later will come)

So lossless + MP4/MKV (H.264) is fine. At minimum, the lossless.

And SDI? Have you ever wondered why I don't like SDI? It's a closed-loop system. TBC+capture is married. It can be limiting when devices don't cooperate. It's why I'm equally not a huge fan of the best JVC LSI DVD recorder combo decks (even if we ignore DVD-Video MPEG). Thankfully, that JVC can be used as just VCR, or just DVD recorder, and allow other hardware (ie open loop). But the SDI converters will often be paperweights in those situations, must acquire separate TBC and capture card. BTW, I see lots of crappy documentary conversions that come from SDI workflows. It can work, and well, but you will run into limitations with some sources. When doing this professionally, potentially lots of limitations, due to varied sources.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RobustReviews View Post
Hello all,
And welcome.

We're normally more friendly around these parts ... right guys/gals? (eh-hem)

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  #8  
11-08-2020, 10:45 PM
lingyi lingyi is offline
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My apologies to you lordsmurf. My butt is rightfully black and BLUE!
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  #9  
11-08-2020, 11:31 PM
latreche34 latreche34 is offline
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SDI is just a digital port, what it carries is no different from any other capture card, just a lossless AVI 4:2:2 at 720x576 for PAL and 720x480 for NTSC files, With the exception of 24bit for audio instead of 16 bit for consumer gear, The reason most SDI capture devices are built in full frame TBC is to avoid multiple conversions from analog to digital and vise versa that an external TBC does which lead to slight change in luma and chroma levels, I've used consumer gear and could not tolerate their problems, Though my 500-USB card produces stunning results almost as good as my SDI device, but the frame TBC inside the SDI device eliminates all problems.

For customers lossless files are not ideal although they can have a copy if they wanted to, It is more practical to give them h.264 at 4:2:2 with decent bitrate which neither DV nor MPEG-2 can achieve.
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  #10  
11-08-2020, 11:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by latreche34 View Post
SDI is just a digital port, what it carries is no different from any other capture card
True, SDI is another port, like USB or others. It's just data.

Quote:
external TBC does which lead to slight change in luma and chroma levels
It just really depends on the exact TBC. Even the SDI integrated isn't immune.

Quote:
I've used consumer gear and could not tolerate their problems
I don't suggest consumer gear. There are non-SDI pro options.

Quote:
Though my 500-USB card produces stunning results almost as good as my SDI device, but the frame TBC inside the SDI device eliminates all problems.
Glad to hear it's working for you.

My only point was that it's closed-loop, and that comes with consequences, especially when you work with many varied sources. More ideal is swappable devices in a workflow. Everything that combos something else has room for issues. Even something as basic as VCR+TBC (line) can in actuality cause issues (though the issues are far less than non-TBC decks, and not common). It's really about how the marriage is, and if it allows clean divorce when needed.

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  #11  
11-09-2020, 12:12 AM
Hushpower Hushpower is offline
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Latreche,
Quote:
Get serious and get some professional gear, An analog to SDI capture device coupled with SDI to USB3 adapter
What actual brand and gear model are you using?

Is your "USB-500" the VC-500?

Thanks!
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  #12  
11-09-2020, 09:09 AM
RobustReviews RobustReviews is offline
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Out of curiosity, what negatives to the AG-7x50's have,specifications suggest they're very high quality units, especially routinely serviced and very low-hours like mine are?

I'm genuinely unsure why they have a 'lot of negatives'?
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  #13  
11-09-2020, 10:23 AM
hodgey hodgey is online now
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They are high-quality units and probably give a pretty good result provided they are in good condition. Being professional/broadcast decks they are SP only though, so you would need something else for LP and SLP tapes. They also lack automatic tracking which can be a bit impractical when you have tapes where the tracking may vary between recordings. Lastly they feature linear stereo, which means there are two linear audio heads instead of one which can give some level differences between left/right audio on normal tapes (though it's nice in the case it's a tape recorded in one of the few consumer linear stereo decks, or a commercial tape where the hi-fi audio has degraded too much as they often feature linear stereo as well.)

On the plus side, it has a very solid and stable tape transport (with directly powered reel servos instead of driven by the capstan motor via a belt like on most decks), advanced digital video processing, and even video level and y/c delay control on the front panel.
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11-09-2020, 11:15 AM
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At minimum, the reasons stated by hodgey.

But those pro decks were mostly made for recording, not really playback, certainly not playback of tapes made on other machines (consumer tapes, either retail or homemade).

The units due have stable transports, but that's really about it, in terms of currently useful.

They do tend to err on the side of noisy/grainy more than not.

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  #15  
11-09-2020, 12:10 PM
latreche34 latreche34 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hushpower View Post
Latreche,

What actual brand and gear model are you using?

Is your "USB-500" the VC-500?

Thanks!
No, USB-500 is made by Pinnacle, On Win10 they require the crossbar switcher because the latest driver was in 2012 for Win 7. With an SDI device this is not an issue because SDI to USB adapters are still being made and they can work with any platform, MS, Apple ...etc (SDI is a pro standard and will be here for generations), Such adapters can connect to any SDI device even from 1989 the date the standard was established.
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  #16  
11-09-2020, 05:20 PM
Hushpower Hushpower is offline
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Thanks Latreche, what actual SDI gear models are you using? I'm interested but there are many different models out there.
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  #17  
11-09-2020, 11:39 PM
latreche34 latreche34 is offline
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I've been using the BE75, Though such devices are hard to come by, Just keep an eye on ebay.
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11-10-2020, 05:31 PM
RobustReviews RobustReviews is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
At minimum, the reasons stated by hodgey.

But those pro decks were mostly made for recording, not really playback, certainly not playback of tapes made on other machines (consumer tapes, either retail or homemade).

The units due have stable transports, but that's really about it, in terms of currently useful.

They do tend to err on the side of noisy/grainy more than not.
Even though half of the models. I mentioned have no record function?
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  #19  
11-10-2020, 06:52 PM
dpalomaki dpalomaki is offline
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At issue may well be the ability of a VCR/VCP to cope with poor recordings and the degree of internal signal processing (e.g., noise reduction, automatic gain control, automatic color correction) before output.

Most professional gear has better internal signal-to-noise than consumer gear, and is often designed around professional source material which is normally better controlled than home recordings. Thus a noisy output may more accurately reflect what is actually recorded/read off the tape before any cleanup done by the VCR's electronics.

Of course old machines are subject to the ravages of aging, some more so than others. And some vintages of Pana were more so than others.

As to SDI, I've not tried it but Ive seen some recommendatioss for the Black Magic Design $195 "Mini Converter Analog to SDI." (It is not an up-scaler.) They say it is much better than the BM Intensity series. Has anyone here tried it?
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11-10-2020, 07:09 PM
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Even consumer panasonics are often a bit on the grainy/sharp side, so that may be normal. The mentioned VCRs have a bunch of adjustments for the digital noise reduction on the front, so maybe it can help to play around with that if you haven't already (if it's set to edit mode it will be extra grainy). Grain/noise can be exaggerated a bit by the DV compression in the AVDC as well.
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