Quantcast What capture card for my VHS equipment? - digitalFAQ Forum
  #1  
12-03-2021, 06:06 PM
vhsNoob121 vhsNoob121 is offline
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Hello!
I've been researching how to VHS Capture to preserve some memories and would appreciate any help in narrowing what choices to make!

I have 8 tapes, and would like to capture them decently but try to avoid buying a lot of expensive extra equipment that'd be used minimally afterwards. (Also can't send them off to a service.)
The plan is to just store them digitally, not edit or burn them elsewhere.

Tech I currently own:
- Windows 8 laptop
- Windows 10 laptop
- Sony SLV-SE720 Video Recorder
- Panasonic NV-VZ1 Camcorder (tapes were recorded with this)

It's been confusing doing research due to conflicting tutorial videos and threads elsewhere (e.g. elgato good/elgato bad). Have just recently discovered DigitalFAQ, and from what I gather so far:
- Layman solutions like using elgato software/hardware is not ideal for quality
- VirtualDub is the preferred software for capturing (Avisynth for professionals)

Even if my equipment isn't great for capturing, I would like to try using what I have if possible, to at least have something captured before investing in a better VCR / a TBC later. Espcially as I need to get a capture card of some sort anyway.

So for now I suppose, I'd like to ask if the above equipment is usable somewhat, and if so, what capture card/adapter might be a good choice, and that can work with VirtualDub?

Thank you
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  #2  
12-03-2021, 06:21 PM
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lordsmurf lordsmurf is online now
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"Trying to use what I have" is sort of like trying to prepare dinner with a bag of microwave popcorn, a can of cat food, and some whipped cream. On their own, each is fine, but only for the use intended. You need a baseline of gear, not just random gear that isn't useful for this task.

Win8 sometimes works, better than Win10 at least. It acts like both Win7 and Win10, and can go either way. WinXP/7 is best for capture.

You must have some form of TBC. It's not optional. Even a minimalist ES10/15 is better than nothing, though you'll compromise quality (vs. an actual TBC) and have Panasonic side effects. But again, better than nothing.

There are worse consumer VHS VCRs than 2000s Sony models. So there's something. It's not good, but merely "not terrible".

Most pros are idiots -- and I can say that, having worked professionally for studios. They wouldn't know an Avisynth script from a DOS batch file. Avisynth is merely for those that seek quality, as it's primarily a restoration tool. Most users of this are serious video hobbyists, not working professionals. Most. Not all.

There is (currently) no reason to use the camcorder that made the tapes. Most camcorders play worse than VCRs, and in fact more often damage tapes.

Elgato earned the nickname "Elcrapo". It's not merely about quality sucking, but all the problems you'll have simply trying (and likely failing) to get it to work correctly.

Yes, VirtualDub. Not VirtualDub2 (not yet), and never OBS (screen/stream recording software, NOT analog capture software!)

With only 8 tapes, and resistance to buy stuff, get the ES10 or ES15 (and few others; are you PAL?), those are ~$150 range. Try the VCR, get a good capture card (~$100 range). Not the >$10 eBay/Amazon special (and it's "special" all right). I have cards in the marketplace, or you can pull the eBay slot machine handle and hope you don't get a dud. Nothing (with any degree of quality) is sold new anymore, converting VHS is a legacy 2000s task mostly using 2000s (to early 2010s) hardware.

Remember this: buy it, use it, resell it. It holds value -- especially after a quick turnaround of 8 tapes.

- Did my advice help you? Then become a Premium Member and support this site.
- For sale in the marketplace: TBCs, workflows, capture cards, VCRs
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The following users thank lordsmurf for this useful post: vhsNoob121 (12-04-2021)
  #3  
12-03-2021, 06:54 PM
vhsNoob121 vhsNoob121 is offline
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Woah thank you for the quick reply!! Your dinner analogy feels sadly accurate

Thank you for the great breakdown, I will look at those capture cards, and get to upgrading the rest of my gear later on.
(For some reason I assumed TBCs were optional, I guess from lack of mention in mainstream YouTube tutorial vids. I don't believe I have one, so will look into buying and reselling one too.)

Also extra thanks for your detailed replies across this forum, it's a great comfort to know there's a dedicated and passionate hub for this knowledge somewhere.
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12-03-2021, 07:06 PM
Hushpower Hushpower is offline
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I second Lordsmurf's comment re a line TBC: if you have any wobbles curvy lines in your video, the ES-15 will straighten them out nicely. I say "if". If you videos are in good condition, you may not need it. It does very slightly damage the overall picture while doing it's straightening work.

My capture card suggestion:

I use the IO Data GV-USB2:

https://www.amazon.com/DATA-connection-video-capture-GV-USB2/dp/B00428BF1Y

A minor issue is that the instructions are in Japanese, so use this guide to get it installed:

https://iotku.pw/gvusb2-guide/

I use it with Win 10 21H1 and Virtual Dub 1.9.11 with absolutely no issues; it's bullet-proof. The Levels/Proc Amp can be controlled, live, with Graphstudio.

I think it comes with it's own DVD software but I don't use it for that; I capture to Lossless AVI (eg Lagarith, MagicYUV) and work with that in my video editor.

Lordsmurf, OBS allows me to capture from my capture card. This is obviously not screen capturing. The only problem with OBS that I can see is that you can't capture into a compressed lossless codec, only compressed MP4-style and something that is huge (uncompressed?).

Given the OP has VHC-tapes, I would have thought using the same camcorder that recorded them would be a good idea. Otherwise, they will have to get an adapter.
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  #5  
12-04-2021, 04:04 AM
lollo2 lollo2 is online now
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Quote:
I second Lordsmurf's comment re a line TBC: if you have any wobbles curvy lines in your video, the ES-15 will straighten them out nicely. I say "if". If you videos are in good condition, you may not need it. It does very slightly damage the overall picture while doing it's straightening work.
In my opinion and with my limited experience, there is not a single consumer capture card (except probably Canopus NX) able to properly capture an analog signal from a VCR without lineTBC.
You need a S-VHS with lineTBC, or a DVD-R recorder used in pass-trough mode if lineTBC is missing in the VCR.

What is maybe not needed in some cases is the frameTBC (lordsmurf will disagree on this )
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