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ThumperStrauss 06-02-2021 08:58 PM

Testing ATI USB 2.0 vs. Diamond VC500, has artifacts?
6 Attachment(s)
My ES-15 hasn't arrived, and I don't have an SVHS with TBC, but I wanted to test the two external USB video capture devices I bought recently. I have some observations to share for people with the same devices, and some questions about the distortions I'm seeing that I need help identifying.

My hardware and software
VCR: JVC HR-3910U (non-TBC unit)
External TBC: None
VHS tape: Memorex
Video material: Copy of a VHS or 8mm camcorder
Wire: Monster Cable S-Video
Capture device: ATI USB 2.0 (gray unit) and Diamond VC500
OS: Windows 10 (and Windows XP SP2 via WMWare Workstation 16 player)
Capture software: VirtualDub 1.9.11
Capture codec: Huffyuv v.2.1.1 - CCESP Patch v0.2.2

My tests
1. JVC HR-3910U to ATI USB 2.0 to Windows XP SP within WMWare (on my Windows 10 HP)
The ATI USB 2.0 capture device doesn't run in Windows 10, so I decided to install WMWare, and install Windows XP inside. I had never done that before, but it was surprising easy. While it captured the video, there were at least three issues, which are listed here and attached below:
  • intermittent thin green lines
  • another effect I don't have a name for
  • something like zebra lines
Also, FWIW, the ATI USB 2.0 captured snow for about four seconds at the start of the video, which the Diamond VC500 captured more-or-less clean video.

2. JVC HR-3910U to Diamond VC500 to Windows XP SP within WMWare (on my Windows 10 HP)
To keep things consistent, I did the next capture in Windows XP, too, but this time with the VC500. I didn't notice any more green lines, but there were those zebra lines issue (sorry if not the correct technical term, I will edit post later when I get the right term).

3. JVC HR-3910U to Diamond VC500 to Windows 10
Finally, I captured the recording again but in Windows 10. There were fewer of those zebra line issues compared to the VC500 capture in Windows XP.

Other comments
The VC500 produced a redder tone than the ATI USB 2.0. On things like skin tone, the ATI USB 2.0 looked more natural. The ATI USB 2.0 gets really hot, as others have said.

I don't know whether my experience with the ATI USB 2.0 was due to it being damaged in some way, or affected by the heat about several hours of capture, or due to the fact I was running Windows XP inside WMWare. The fact that I saw a slight reduction in zebra line issues (sorry if wrong name) when I compared test 2 and test 3 suggests that maybe WMWare adds problems and that I would experience better results if I had added a fourth and fifth test: A dedicated Windows XP computer using both capture devices.

I am awaiting my ES-15 any day now. I will test the capture #3 workflow again, but with the ES-15 in the mix.

Help needed
Can you please let me know what to call the distortion illustrated in ati USB 2.0 - unknown name.png , and the ghost image(?) file, and what I called the zebra lines? I'd like to know what these are called by the community. Finally, is there any technical reason for why the two capture devices captured a problem frame differently in the file Same frame handled differently in ATI 2.0 v Diamond VC500.jpg?

lordsmurf 06-02-2021 10:09 PM

You cannot capture in a VM. What you're seeing ("green lines") are data glitches. I'm surprised that you even saw what you did, as most are pure green or black images.

That's not snow. It's a distorted image. Again, you cannot capture in a VM. It's either data glitching, lack of TBC, or both. Extremely likely both.

The "zebra lines" is simply interlacing on a distorted image. Again, lack of TBC, or data glitches, or both. Extremely likely both.

The VM will also be out of sync. The clock is wonky.

Dropped frames reporting is very suspect, if not blatantly wrong.

The ATI being damaged is also possible, with green lines lines that. Again, data glitching. Those units can overheat badly, and storage over the past 20 years can come into play (ie, some idiot storing it in his hot garage in Arizona, then selling it on eBay as "like new"). Heat destroys the fine solder points and chips.

Chips approach video differently. And while you may think "X is better", it may be only seem to be the case with a tiny error. Overall Y may be better. That ATI USB spanks the VC500, no contest. Theatre chips are far beyond the Conexant crap in the VC500.

You also have a 2nd gen tape (copy of copy), ie a trouble type source. ES10/15 may help, or may make it worse. ES15 is not a TBC, though it can minimally sometimes stand in (but with degraded quality compared to actual TBCs, aside from tearing issues).

msgohan 06-04-2021 01:40 PM

For troubleshooting the data glitches (green/magenta lines), remove the VHS playback variable. Feed in any stable source instead, like a DVD player, cable box, etc.

All those other errors are expected behavior when feeding uncorrected 2nd-gen VHS to a capture device.

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