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  #1  
12-16-2020, 05:56 PM
Kaos-Industries Kaos-Industries is offline
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I have the responsibility of digitising some old VHS home videos my dad filmed a few decades ago, and need to purchase a VCR to do so (I've decided on a 30 USB capture card from Amazon, which is already expensive for me but is the cheapest one with the least amount of worrying reviews). Being a systems admin and amateur coder I'm fairly technically adept, but being born in the late 90s, I don't know a massive amount about VHS and VCRs, and my research brought me to this forum, specifically this thread, where someone claimed:

Quote:
Originally Posted by sanlyn
Not only would it be good idea [to invest in an S-VHS VCR], but it's practically an essential requirement. Want to use a cheap VCR? Your "highest quality" requirement just bit the dust. Good output begins with a quality capture. No quality capture, no quality output. Period. For vcr's We never never never recommend eBay or similar auction sites. You find good VCR's in our marketplace forum. A recommended source for rebuilt high-end VCRs and other rebuilt goods is Tom Grant's shop.

Recommended VCRs for NTSC and PAL are listed here: VCR Buying Guide (S-VHS, D-VHS, Professional) for restoring video

Which of those VCR line you should consider depends on your analog tape library. Are most of them retail tapes and tapes recorded at high 2-hour speed? All of the listed brands will do them justice. Are they slow-speed recordings, 4 to 6 or 8 hours??? I'm afraid Panasonic is your only choice. Slow-sped tapes look like crap on a JVC.

Read more: Best way for highest quality video from VHS, VHS-C, MiniDV?
The problem is, money is very tight, and I don't want to spend more on this than I have to. On the other hand, I do want to get the best quality possible out of these VHS tapes, because they will only be digitised once (I'm in a rush to do so because I want to avoid letting them get more any degraded than they likely already are). So I'd like to know - is it really necessary to invest in an S-VHS VCR to avoid sacrificing on the quality of my family home videos? Will a PAL VHS from eBay not do the job?

Thank you in advance, I'd appreciate the help on a topic I'm way in over my head on.
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  #2  
12-16-2020, 06:21 PM
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30 is insanely cheap. Quality capture cards were routinely in the $300+ range in the 2000s, and fell into the $100-150 range in more recent years. Those sub-$50 cards are almost always Chinese junk cards with all sorts of issues, ranging from exposure to AGC on quality, and often with driver issues and poor quality software (use VirtualDub, not whatever junk it came with).

If you want any sort of quality from your conversions, without issues, then yes, you want a S-VHS deck with line TBC. A beater deck is in the under-$200 range, while better maintained decks are often in the $300-400 range, while refurb'd-like-new decks are in the $500+ range. In UK, decks are wee bit less costly, but not by much. Beaters are still under 150-200, while a quality deck imported is about 400€ after VAT (VCRshop.nl, but he does also sell some models on eBay sometimes).

But again ... buy it, use it, resell it. This gear holds value.

A workflow is VCR > TBC > capture card
You must have some form of TBC, it's not optional. You can try to scrimp by with an ES10/15 unit, for under 100. It's minimalist, and not actually a TBC. But if funds matter more than quality, it's probably the only avenue if really pinching pennies.

Remember this forum has a marketplace. Sometimes members have PAL gear in there. Sometimes I have both NTSC and PAL, though I rarely have PAL decks available. You're not limited to eBay, which has become a video dumping ground more than not (but UK is a wee bit better here, not as many scummy sellers).

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  #3  
12-17-2020, 02:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
30 is insanely cheap. Quality capture cards were routinely in the $300+ range in the 2000s, and fell into the $100-150 range in more recent years. Those sub-$50 cards are almost always Chinese junk cards with all sorts of issues, ranging from exposure to AGC on quality, and often with driver issues and poor quality software (use VirtualDub, not whatever junk it came with).

If you want any sort of quality from your conversions, without issues, then yes, you want a S-VHS deck with line TBC. A beater deck is in the under-$200 range, while better maintained decks are often in the $300-400 range, while refurb'd-like-new decks are in the $500+ range. In UK, decks are wee bit less costly, but not by much. Beaters are still under 150-200, while a quality deck imported is about 400€ after VAT (VCRshop.nl, but he does also sell some models on eBay sometimes).

But again ... buy it, use it, resell it. This gear holds value.

A workflow is VCR > TBC > capture card
You must have some form of TBC, it's not optional. You can try to scrimp by with an ES10/15 unit, for under 100. It's minimalist, and not actually a TBC. But if funds matter more than quality, it's probably the only avenue if really pinching pennies.

Remember this forum has a marketplace. Sometimes members have PAL gear in there. Sometimes I have both NTSC and PAL, though I rarely have PAL decks available. You're not limited to eBay, which has become a video dumping ground more than not (but UK is a wee bit better here, not as many scummy sellers).
The problem is that being broke, it's out of the question for me to buy such a unit in the first place, whether I'm able to sell it on later or not, and I don't want to risk the tapes degrading any further until (if) I can afford such a unit.

Do all your points still apply even if I were to be capturing to DV and using command-line FFmpeg to do the deinterlacing and other transformations?

Last edited by Kaos-Industries; 12-17-2020 at 02:18 PM.
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  #4  
12-17-2020, 03:33 PM
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DV is digital, not analog, the "capture" is a transfer.

Using a DV camera for analog conversions doesn't work well, or at all. DV cameras might have some line TBC functionality, but it's weak. And then it lacks a frame sync. You'll further reduce color quality, as 4:2:0 (PAL) or 4:1:1 (NTSC, far worse).

Don't use ffmpeg for deinterlace. Use QTGMC via Avisynth (or GUI Hybrid encoder).

The most budget route you can go is certain Dazzle cards (<$50), the ES10/15 recorder for TBC(ish) passthrough (<$150), and a decent VCR, preferably a non-TBC JVC model (<$150). Adjust $USD to GBP. Anything less will significantly lose quality, and make the project honestly pointless to DIY, as it will both have lower quality and be a PITA/pain to do (lots of problems).

You can attempt to use an POS VHS VCR with the ES10/15, but results will be worse.
But the ES10/15 is not optional.
And a good capture card is not optional. What did you get?

The extreme barebones approach you're suggesting is like showing up to paint a house ... but you have a kid's finger paint kit. Yes, it's paint, but that's not going to work. Way wrong pedigree of tools and supplies.

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  #5  
12-17-2020, 06:17 PM
dpalomaki dpalomaki is offline
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A question is what is the project scope and your budget, both time and money, that you are willing to spend up front recognizing that you may recover a substantial portion when the job is done. What final cost can you afford (e.g., I can spend $500 now as long as I can get $450 back within 3 months, and I can spend 10 hours week working on the project involving 25 VHS tapes.)

"Best possible" is a qualitative, often subjective, measure driven by when the evaluator decides there is no further worthwhile gain to be had. "Best possible" is also limited by cost and available time. When constraints of budget, time, and skills (including learning curve) are factored you start to look for the "best attainable" within those constraints. The other factor is meeting or exceeding the expectatons of the ultimate customer/consumer of the effort.

The various threads and recommendations on this site provide a guide to getting to the "best possible." They also provide some insight to the compromises forced by using lesser equipment, software, and methods.

In some cases, especially for a small number of tapes, it maybe more practical to "hire it out" to a reputable service provided.
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  #6  
12-17-2020, 07:02 PM
mjb2019 mjb2019 is offline
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The proposal of using budget gear and a bare-minimum workflow, i.e. playing 30-year-old tapes probably recorded in SLP/EP mode, through the composite output of cheap VCR, feeding directly to a cheap capture card (which possibly only outputs lossy-compressed video) ... this is pretty close to the maximum-risk scenario for video capture. The results will never get above mediocre. It might not even give you a video you can play at all. Feel free to try it and see, though.

For deinterlacing, if QTGMC's presets don't work well for a given clip, then dialing in more advanced settings will be an ordeal with a steep learning curve. So when I'm not using AviSynth, I use FFmpeg with yadif and mcdeint together:
Code:
yadif=mode=3:parity=0,mcdeint=mode=medium:qp=10
(adjust parity value as needed if the field order is wrong). This will be better than yadif alone, but probably not as good as the best you could get with QTGMC. On your home videos, though, how good does it really have to be?

Last edited by lordsmurf; 12-17-2020 at 07:10 PM. Reason: Snark isn't helpful. -LS
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  #7  
12-17-2020, 07:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjb2019 View Post
For deinterlacing, if QTGMC's presets don't work well for a given clip, then dialing in more advanced settings will be an ordeal with a steep learning curve. So when I'm not using AviSynth, I use FFmpeg with yadif and mcdeint together:
Code:
yadif=mode=3:parity=0,mcdeint=mode=medium:qp=10
(adjust parity value as needed if the field order is wrong). This will be better than yadif alone, but probably not as good as the best you could get with QTGMC.
Discussing deinterlace is getting too far ahead in the conversation. Capturing is Step 1, and deinterlace is more like Step 5 of the process.

That said, QTGMC(preset="faster") is fine, better quality than Yadif, speed comparable.

Quote:
On your home videos, though, how good does it really have to be?
How old are you? Serious question.

Some of us want our home movies to be as high of a quality as possible. It's family history. People in the videos long ago passed, and this is our only connection to them. We choke up watching them. We don't want these videos to look and sound like crap for ourselves, nor for our siblings, nieces/nephews, and kids.

If you're young, this likely hasn't hit you yet. People are largely still there.

Memories of childhood, college, younger adulthood, etc -- those days are gone. If you're young, the memories are fresh. But memories fade with age. Our photos and videos aid our memories. The stories we tell to family.

So please stop with all the "it's only home movies" rhetoric.

You know what doesn't matter? 99%+ of retail/"Hollywood" movies.

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12-18-2020, 03:50 AM
mjb2019 mjb2019 is offline
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Fair enough on deinterlacing being step zillion, but he asked. On that note, to the OP: It's worth the time & effort to get to learn AviSynth scripting and getting it into your workflow. It is free, and there are so many things it offers which are comparable to, or far exceed in capability & usability, what is possible with just FFmpeg filters or VirtualDub plugins. QTGMC is just the tip of the iceberg. If you use FFmpeg at all, it'll be just to invoke AviSynth and feed the output to a codec for transcoding.

As for the ad hominem, lordsmurf, I'm old enough to have plenty of the cherished memories you speak of...and also old enough to realize that tech-savvy, detail-oriented perfectionists, myself included, are prone to spend a whole lot of money, time and effort chasing an elusive, ever-moving target of perfection, finding it harder and harder to ever be satisfied with the results, the more we learn and the more experience we get. We've had our magnifying glass out for so many years that we've become ridiculously sensitive to things that don't even register subconsciously to most people, and long ago stopped seeing the forest for the trees.

Some of us (again, myself included, but in the past) take it to an extreme, where we:
  • can't enjoy the content when we detect the slightest flaw;
  • don't want other people to enjoy it either;
  • begrudge that people are even capable of appreciating & enjoying something that is, to us, low quality;
  • use education as an excuse to lecture, criticize, and otherwise rain on someone's parade on these matters;
  • are only satisfied when everyone agrees with us about what quality is acceptable; and
  • treat moderate opinions of where to draw the line as counterarguments to be rebutted point by point.
Some of us eventually see what heels we have made of ourselves...maybe it was pointed out to us at some point by someone whose opinion we care about... So now we try to catch ourselves before we get to that point, and we try to rein in our perfectionism and critical voice just a little bit. We try to not let perfect be the enemy of the good. In other words, I've been down this road in my own life & career and found that being uncompromising ultimately created more problems than it solved. But I also have put a lot of therapy time into being more easygoing, figuring out how to be happy with the gains achieved by meeting people halfway, and letting the really like-minded folk come to me for advice.

Re: home movies, I just disagree, based on my experience. "How perfect does it really need to be?" is a very valid question to ask. Precious as it is, the audience for the bulk of anyone's camcorder movie content is very small, and the subject matter is relatively undemanding, shaky camera work aside. So what to you or me is an enormous, extremely noticeable difference in quality just barely even registers for casual viewers who are only looking at these videos once in a great while. And there is no extracting blood from a stone; the source tapes quite often are just not that good to begin with.

I just digitized 100 hours of home video for another family, and produced much better results than they ever could on their own, and they were ecstatic to just see it at all. I could've put half as much work into it, or sent it to a pro with a much better rig than I have, and the family would feel exactly the same way about it that they do now. They wouldn't notice or care about the differences.

I do care and that's why I worked as hard as I did on it. And I would have loved to have had the money for better gear and to have put another 6 months of research & work into tweaking every clip to perfection, but I worked within my budgets and made a realistic assessment of what was actually necessary, and scaled back my efforts accordingly. I still managed to way overdeliver, far exceeding their expectations on every level, despite the result being only so-so to my ever-more critical eyes. So I have no real regrets and do not feel people with similar budgets should be dissuaded from doing the same.
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12-18-2020, 08:42 AM
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If I may throw my two cents in, I think there's room for both viewpoints*. Also I think a small setup can bootstrap a setup LordSmurf has been advocating once you find out what's really on those tapes. Regardless you can even store the tapes in a cool dry place (vertically I'm told) until more funds become available to you.

*For example, watching my mom again from her 8mm analog tapes elicited emotions of missing her in my life; while other members in the family would be more ambivalent or maybe not feel anything at all, so I guess it depends.
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  #10  
12-18-2020, 04:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjb2019 View Post
Some of us (again, myself included, but in the past) take it to an extreme, where we:
I just really think you're confused here.

There are 3 tiers of conversion work:

__

#1 - The "I don't give a crap" model
--- which is what you're suggesting here (even if unintentionally)

The "just get it over with" mentality. This is what transfer mills do (low-quality conversion companies), as well as relatives/kids/friends tasked with projects. The content is meaningless to them. It could look amazing, or barely viewable, zero care.

"Good enough" is an excuse for low quality.

The output simply has too many distractable issues to be an enjoyable watching experience for the majority of people.

__

#2 - The "best effort" model
-- often blending time, budget, and knowledge.

This has many sub-variations, almost entirely based on what hardware is used. But due diligence is required to get good hardware, create a good workflow.

This is the model I support.

The keyword is "effort". Some reading, some testing, some budgeting. And you're good to go.

__

#3 - The "OCD" model

This is what you claim that you are, or were.

This is people that expect a format from the 80s-90s to look like modern HD. Perfect colors, no noises, no grain, etc. Nothing aside from perfection.

They never get anything done, because of constant over-perfection.

The video is already good, but the person simply MUST perfectly white balance EVERY SCENE in the video, remove 1 bad frame, etc. This is a level of insanity that even most professionals avoid, and hate clients that expect this impossible output.

__

The blend

While one should strive for "best effort", sometimes OCD or the careless model are needed.

For example, I have a short 10-minute family video. I'm putting in the ridiculous effort to make it perfect. That's probably a 1-off type project. That video really mattered to me. The capture was the easy part, it's all the Avisynth that's driving me nuts.

And then if you need a quick preview version, a quick careless run can be done. The actual quality capture can be done later. (But note that this has risks. Some tapes only have 1 more good play in them before self-destructing. Be extremely careful.)

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12-18-2020, 08:05 PM
dpalomaki dpalomaki is offline
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It boils down to balancing the constraints:

- Budget, both immediate outplay and long term net cost
- Time:
- How much time will it take to implement a setup.
- how much time one can invest including learning curve and and then performing.
- any deadline to get the job done.
- Skill, can one learn to do it (some people never learned to set the time on their VCR).
- Expectation, what does the ultimate consumer want (many did not care if the VCR flashed 12:00).
- Is there a point when it becomes too late - the boat was missed, the customer died.
- Is this a labor of love, to put bread on the table, a hobby, or an accommodation to others.

If the ultimate consumer is 90+ year olds in failing health wanting to view their vacation tapes one more time, getting it done quickly may trump spending time for fine polishing the product. Each case has to be judged on its own.

And always remember that content is king.

I once wanted to "date" the cheerleader captain but never did. I found out I couldn't afforded her. But the secretary of the French club worked out just fine. Moral - set ones sights on what is realistically attainable. Don't try tuneup a VCR of you don't know the difference between azimuth and Asimov. If you can't do it, hire it out to someone who can before you mess it up beyond recovery.
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12-19-2020, 12:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dpalomaki View Post
I once wanted to "date" the cheerleader
set ones sights on what is realistically attainable.
You didn't miss anything.

I'd say that it's not even about being attainable, but what's good for you. Not cheapest, or some idea of "best", but rather what best fits your needs (ie, and/or the project needs). And again, that's always the balanced approach. Proceed with care, due diligence, don't overlook problems that ARE problems.

I found cheerleaders to be erratic perfectionists that are never pleased. You're miserable. And it doesn't stop at high school, or college, or even decades afterwards. PITA. Don't make your video project equally miserable.

That balanced model allows a wide berth in budgets.

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12-19-2020, 06:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
You didn't miss anything.
...
I heard the guy who did ended up with the gift that keeps on giving - and a standing prescription for Acyclovir.
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12-19-2020, 05:53 PM
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Thanks to all for the input, I'm inclined to agree with those who say it's about priorities and pragmatism. From my own experience and experience of dabbling in many different fields, when it comes to certain topics that we're experts on, our threshold for quality tends to be a lot higher than the average consumer in that field. A regular consumer using regular hardware to listen to their music doesn't pick up on 10% of the things that an audiophile does, for example. I know for a fact that my mum would prefer being able to watch her wedding video, videos of us as kids, etc. over nothing at all, and I also think it's likely that she - and maybe not even I - would notice half the problems that the experts on this forum would, having never been exposed to that quality of VHS captures. You-don't-miss-what-you've-never-known sort of thing.

I've been doing some more research and come across the Diamond VC500 One Touch Video Capture (for USB), which is only a little more expensive than the card I was going to go with and apparently is the best budget capture card around with very good reviews from people on video forums. Would that be a decent middle ground between my initial position and bankrupting myself?

Here is the card I was going to go with:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Capture-Con...r_1_4?dchild=1
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12-19-2020, 07:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaos-Industries View Post
...(I'm in a rush to do so because I want to avoid letting them get more any degraded than they likely already are).
One of the things some transfer companies try to scare people with is the claim their videos are degrading badly right now and need to be transferred now or they will be "lost forever". Usually that's not the case although if there's any doubt, it's worth skilfully examining sample tapes.

Stored well the tapes will normally last many years and the most likely time they will be "damaged forever" is when they are finally removed from storage and played on a VCR which really does damage them forever. So dont be hasty to play the tapes on a machine unless it's known to be in excellent condition and, as the old Hippocratic oath says, will "do no harm" to the original recordings.

Last edited by timtape; 12-19-2020 at 08:06 PM.
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12-19-2020, 08:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaos-Industries View Post
I also think it's likely that she - and maybe not even I - would notice half the problems that the experts on this forum would,
- You'll notice wiggle. The picture looks "alive" from movements where movements should not exist. Non-video people easily notice this defect. This is what a line TBC corrects.
- You'll notice a loss of audio sync, as caused by dropped frames.
- You'll notice color bleeding, color smearing.
- You'll probably notice chroma noise, aka the red/blue amoeba dancing all over the picture.

This is what I refer to. You don't need to be a "videophile" to see these obvious issues.

BTW, I think "audiophiles" and "videophiles" are mostly nuts, either making a big deal about a minor issue, or outright imagining problems that don't exist (ie, CD vs. vinyl).

Quote:
I've been doing some more research and come across the Diamond VC500
It has AGC issues. That means you video randomly gets brighter and darker for no reason. You'll notice this as well.

BTW, this is why I put capture cards in the marketplace. I'm the "easy button" for you, all mystery and unknowns removed, you're just getting verified good gear.

Quote:
Originally Posted by timtape View Post
One of the things some transfer companies try to scare people with is the claim their videos are degrading badly right now and need to be transferred now or they will be "lost forever". Usually that's not the case although if there's any doubt, it's worth skilfully examining sample tapes.
Very true.

I hate that BS myth, and it's been around for almost 20 years now.

Parts of the myth have come true over time. Because, well, time! The tapes have aged some more decades. What you're seeing now is certain tapes from certain eras have started to degraded. BASF from the early 80s have not held up well in the late 2010s and now in the 2020s. I'm finding that these are "one and done", you only have ONE chance to capture it. What happens is oxide starts to fleck off, tiny pieces, but enough to damage the visuals with lots of dropouts. The 2nd/etc plays of the tape have tiny mosquitos all over the screen. In due time, the oxide will outright shed, total tape loss.

Others beyond BASF may be affected, but I've not see any in a large sampling. Most failing tapes were not stored correctly.

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12-19-2020, 09:39 PM
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It takes maybe a few weeks longer to assemble a decent capture system compared to a catch-as-catch-can poor system. The time difference is not significant in the deterioration process of reasonable tape stock, especially if currently stored under comfortable (for humans) conditions of moderate temperatures and humidity. Repeated playing will likely cause more deterioration of old recordings, especially if marginal tape stock was used. FWIW I have home recordings made in 1979 that look and play about as good as I recall they they did then, used RCA branded tape.and what may have been an RCA CC002 camera.

As you run tests on your system be sure to use unimportant (or less important) recordings first until you get to a system/work flow with which you are satisfied. That preserves the tape that may be good for only one pass for the money run.

Keep in mind that VHS is a legacy format, it died around 15 years ago, and the gear you find these days is mainly old, used, worn, and often of uncertain provenance. It is an electro-mechanical system with tight tolerances yet built to meet a competitive price point, and analog to boot. Thus there is a wide range of performance from same make/model gear found in the wild. Your safest bet is to buy from known reputable sources
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12-19-2020, 11:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post

Very true.

I hate that BS myth, and it's been around for almost 20 years now.

Parts of the myth have come true over time. Because, well, time! The tapes have aged some more decades. What you're seeing now is certain tapes from certain eras have started to degraded. BASF from the early 80s have not held up well in the late 2010s and now in the 2020s. I'm finding that these are "one and done", you only have ONE chance to capture it. What happens is oxide starts to fleck off, tiny pieces, but enough to damage the visuals with lots of dropouts. The 2nd/etc plays of the tape have tiny mosquitos all over the screen. In due time, the oxide will outright shed, total tape loss.

Others beyond BASF may be affected, but I've not see any in a large sampling. Most failing tapes were not stored correctly.
Thanks LS. I havent come across the BASF early 80's tape you mentioned. Being more an audio guy I have access to a current list of 1/4" reel to reel tape types describing the known problems and possible fixes but havent come across much re VCR tapes. Do you or anyone else here know of such a list?

Thanks, Tim.
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  #19  
12-20-2020, 05:56 PM
Kaos-Industries Kaos-Industries is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dpalomaki View Post
It takes maybe a few weeks longer to assemble a decent capture system compared to a catch-as-catch-can poor system.
This assumes that searching for the technology is the bottleneck. In my case, where my bottleneck is funds, getting to the point where I have enough disposable income/savings to shell out for a mid-range system will take me at least a year, probably more.

Still, my rush was both having the motivation to do this in the midst of a pandemic with not much else going on, and the belief that they're degrading every day they're left there. Learning that this is a myth and that storing them properly should keep them around a while does change things, and maybe I can afford the time to save up for a more decent system.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lordsmurf
- You'll notice wiggle. The picture looks "alive" from movements where movements should not exist. Non-video people easily notice this defect. This is what a line TBC corrects.
- You'll notice a loss of audio sync, as caused by dropped frames.
- You'll notice color bleeding, color smearing.
- You'll probably notice chroma noise, aka the red/blue amoeba dancing all over the picture.

This is what I refer to. You don't need to be a "videophile" to see these obvious issues.

BTW, I think "audiophiles" and "videophiles" are mostly nuts, either making a big deal about a minor issue, or outright imagining problems that don't exist (ie, CD vs. vinyl).
Let me reframe then - what hardware would be recommended if I wanted to create lossless captures free of all of the major problems above and had managed to save up around 300 for the purpose (which in itself will take me a while, and I can't justify spending much more than that for capturing VHS), minus an ES-15 which I'll probably be using for passthrough as a TBC. Checking eBay, the vast majority of ES10s/15s seem to be going for around 30, so that leaves roughly 270 between an S-VHS unit and a capture card (which needs to work on Windows 10).

Also I noticed that somewhere above you recommended an S-VHS units without built-in TBC - why is this?

Last edited by Kaos-Industries; 12-20-2020 at 06:21 PM.
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  #20  
12-20-2020, 07:03 PM
dpalomaki dpalomaki is offline
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S-VHS machines (even if without TBC) are recommended over VHS (without TBC) for a number of reasons.

In general S-VHS have better electronics; e.g., wider bandwidth and lower nose levels than VHS machines.

The VHS signal on tape is recorded in what amounts to a s-video mode, with separate frequency spaces for luma and color information. (This applies to both VHS and S-VHS recordings) The typical VHS VCR mashes these signals back together for output via the composite (yellow) terminal in slightly overlapping frequency space, only to have to separate it again upon capture. This entails extra processing and signal separation that typically adds noise and distortion and cuts resolution that is avoided with s-video. S-video output is mainly found on S-VHS and Hi8 machines. This playback benefit applies to both S-VHS and plain old VHS recordings.

Keep in mind that this is all old stuff, legacy gear and aged recordings. You final results will depend on the condition of the gear you are using, the display you are using, and the condition of the recording - both the original recording and source material - on tape when it was new as well as the results of any aging processes. Also, smaller screens and CRT displays can hide many image defects.

The trained eye can usually spot differences, but many folks would need a side-by-side (A/B comparison) screen to see the differences if one starts with a good recording and machine.

Last edited by dpalomaki; 12-20-2020 at 07:31 PM.
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