Quantcast What is a TBC, how do I get it? - digitalFAQ Forum
  #1  
02-15-2022, 01:43 PM
Oneanddone Oneanddone is offline
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So I've read one of the sticky posts in /r/Datahoarder on reddit and poked around otherwise. Some questions I'm not seeing the answers to (maybe they're too obvious):

1. Where do I get head cleaners in this day and age? Is it expected you'll open the devices and do it manually?

2. What about Beta? I have an old Beta player, but it doesn't have svideo - is that a dealbreaker? Do I need to find one with Svideo?

3. Regarding TBC, does a passthrough device cover that or does it depend on the device? How do I find out if it has it? If it does, is it automatic or does it require additional configuration?

Right now, I'm only trying to digitize my minidv, 8/hi-8, Beta, and VHS tapes (home videos). Not starting a business, this will be a one and done situation.

I have a mini dv camcorder, a hi-8 camcorder, an old VHS (no svideo) and an old Beta player (no svideo). I have a variety of computer, though I'm hoping to use my slightly older one for this because it has a Creative Audigy 2 card with firewire (that's good, right?).

My parents used to do some video stuff and spent way more money than they should have. That means I can borrow a Sony DHR1000 from them which only plays Minidv, but might work as a passthrough?

Anyway, I've got some of the picture figured out, but I'm missing a few pieces in the middle.
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  #2  
02-15-2022, 06:01 PM
themaster1 themaster1 is offline
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For the tbc explanation : imagine a perfect vertical line recorded on vhs : without tbc it'll be more or less crooked whereas with tbc it'll be straight or almost. That would be the effect of a line-tbc. There are other types of tbc (frame tbc and i think field tbc ? ) dedicated for very bad tapes generally
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  #3  
02-15-2022, 07:10 PM
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Ok, so how do I make that happen? I read that some players have it built-in so when you do passthrough it's covered... or no?
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  #4  
02-15-2022, 11:10 PM
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Welcome.

Read this: What is a TBC? Time Base Correction for Videotapes

The Reddit thread you refer to is from nicholasserra, a member in this forum as well. Quick writeup, decent, summary crash course to open your eyes to quality video conversion.

1. Don't use head cleaner. Ever. Not now, not years/decades ago. All those do is pushed around dirt, not remove it. Actually open it up, and clean with either non-cotton (!!!) swabs, or the copy-paper method (as foam/chamois swabs are getting both more expensive, and lower in quality, can actually damage the VCR). Detailed posts on this are in the forum.

2. "Beta" isn't a format. Betamax, BetacamSP, some "Beta" others? Since no s-video, assuming Betamax. Not my format, but lingyi was who I deferred to here. He's been MIA lately (hope he's okay), but here's a thread from some years ago: https://forum.videohelp.com/threads/...ut#post2573611

3. "TBC" is a wide term, refers to many things. Line TBC, frame TBC, frame sync TBC, field TBCs, etc. And those can vary highly based on source designed for. So you can't just randomly look for the term "TBC", and then smash a buy button on Amazon/eBay/wherever. The ES10/15, for example, is just a strong+crippled line TBC, with non-TBC frame sync. Whereas the TBC-1000 is a frame sync TBC, along with Cypress models, few others.

The whole "starting a business" (or "pro quality") is a meaningless term. Video quality is either good, or bad. It doesn't really have gradations of quality. And while businesses/pros should want the best quality, sadly that's too often not the case. LegacyBox, for example, awful reputation when you get past the BS fake "reviews" online. So do you want quality, or just cram a tape in, and whatever gets pooped out is what you'll accept? Because that's how it works. Both have learning curve, but only one is rewarding.

DV cameras for DV tapes, the end there.
DV cameras rarely have TBC passthrough. And the VHS "passthrough" is low=quality DV conversion using 1990s methods/tech.

A random "old VHS" (old VCR) almost never works for conversion. Exact model/brand matters, and don't be surprised if it's not at all useful. You'll just make your own capture life miserable by insisting on using a crummy old random VCR.

Quote:
Originally Posted by themaster1 View Post
For the tbc explanation : imagine a perfect vertical line recorded on vhs : without tbc it'll be more or less crooked whereas with tbc it'll be straight or almost. That would be the effect of a line-tbc. There are other types of tbc (frame tbc and i think field tbc ? ) dedicated for very bad tapes generally
Decent explanation of line TBC, but not for frame TBC. Frame TBCs aren't just for "very bad tapes", but all tapes. Line cleans the image, frame cleans the signal. You need both.

Line is essentially interframe intraframe (in the frame).
Frame/framesync is interframe (frame to frame, or field to field).
So timing/TBCing on different axes.

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Originally Posted by Oneanddone View Post
Ok, so how do I make that happen? I read that some players have it built-in so when you do passthrough it's covered... or no?
Buy the units needed.
Exact models depends on PAL vs. NTSC.
In general, JVC/Panasonic S-VHS VCRs with line TBC.
Then DataVideo/Cypress type frame TBCs.

Be wary of eBay. Lots of bad stuff sold there, sellers are liars and idiots. Bad VCRs that aren't "working" or "tested" as claimed. Bad chipset TBCs. Items that don't actually have a TBC are "TBCs". Etc, etc. eBay is a video dumping ground, gambling.

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Last edited by lordsmurf; 02-18-2022 at 01:16 AM. Reason: Typo!
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  #5  
02-16-2022, 05:17 AM
themaster1 themaster1 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
Decent explanation of line TBC, but not for frame TBC. Frame TBCs aren't just for "very bad tapes", but all tapes. Line cleans the image, frame cleans the signal. You need both.

Line is essentially interframe (in the frame).
Frame/framesync is interframe (frame to frame, or field to field).
So timing/TBCing on different axes.
You meant intra frame (=within the frame) but i get you. I was down for a cypress once but given the price/ rarity i'll never experience the joy of such tbc in my lifetime i guess.
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  #6  
02-17-2022, 01:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
Welcome.

Read this: What is a TBC? Time Base Correction for Videotapes

The Reddit thread you refer to is from nicholasserra, a member in this forum as well. Quick writeup, decent, summary crash course to open your eyes to quality video conversion.

etc...
Thank you! I'll try to absorb this as much as I can. So if I get a TBC, it just sits between the player and the computer? Also, how am I connecting to the computer?

Thank you for all of that. I understand this is the gold standard, but I'm not convinced poor record is worse than no record at all. I'm not against spending a bit to get my setup done, but besides total cost, there's a factor of number of tapes I'll be recording. It doesn't make sense to drop thousands for a handful of tapes IMO.

That said, I'm all-in on doing the best I can - just not sure how to proceed. I looked for the TBCs you mentioned and can't find them anyway (except on on Ebay for about 2k). For SVHS, also not easy. I can start looking around in the Pawn shops and at least its easy to see what's SVHS by the logo. Any recommendations for finding the gear?

Also, is it the TBC that makes the final connection to the computer? Is that via Firewire or would I need some kind of capture card/dongle that takes Svideo?
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  #7  
02-17-2022, 04:43 PM
dpalomaki dpalomaki is offline
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Quote:
Also, is it the TBC that makes the final connection to the computer? Is that via Firewire or would I need some kind of capture card/dongle that takes Svideo?
Typically, the TBC sits between the VCR and the capture device, which may be a capture card in a PC, or on a USB port, or perhaps an analog-to-SDI device. There are a number of options, some work better than others for consumer analog sources such as VHS. Other threads cover recommended gear. The list of good stuff is short; there is a lot of $19.95 USB junk out there on Amazon, ebay, etc that is not recommended.

Note that you might want a proc amp between the TBC and capture device for color/brightness/contrast/tint correction to get the video in the right ballpark before digitizing.

The preferred connection method for analog consumer video such as VHS, Video8, S-VHS, and Hi8 is s-video. Some capture devices such as the Canopus ADVC series use firewire (aka IEEE1394 & iLink) to connect to the PC, but they are not preferred capture devices mainly because they output a DV signal. The DV signal suffers from lossy compression and is especially vulnerable to noise in the video. However, it is generally better to ingest MiniDV and Digital8 tapes directly via firewire.

Quote:
...but I'm not convinced poor record is worse than no record at all...
The pragmatic standard is are you and your users satisfied with the product you produce. Many of the contributors here have a very high standard, far above that with which Joe and Jane Sixpack would be happy. For much home video content is king; a blurry, snowy video of granny is better than none at all.
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  #8  
02-18-2022, 01:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oneanddone View Post
So if I get a TBC, it just sits between the player and the computer? Also, how am I connecting to the computer?
It sits between the VCR and the capture card (and the capture card is connected to the computer).
VCR > TBC > capture card
And ideally not just any random VCR or TBC, but
JVC/Panasonic S-VHS VCR with line TBC > DataVideo/Cypress type frame TBC > known-quality capture card

Quote:
I understand this is the gold standard
Not correct.
Some form is TBC is required. You cannot just go VCR > card, and expect it to work. Dropped frames, audio sync issues, etc.

The "gold standard" is using gear where a single piece costs more than the entire workflow that you're being suggested to use.

There are setups that I refer to as "TBC(ish)", TBC-like in function. Budget options, well under $1k. These items have drawbacks and caveats, vs. actual TBCs, but it will suffice for the budget constricted. Usually.

Quote:
but I'm not convinced poor record is worse than no record at all.
Another bad assumption. Without TBC, "no recording at all" is a common outcome. The capture card will fully reject the video, or partially to a degree that's it's not even watchable.

Quote:
It doesn't make sense to drop thousands for a handful of tapes IMO.
Buy it, use it, resell it. The gear holds value, and needs to stay in circulation.

Quote:
I looked for the TBCs you mentioned and can't find them anyway (except on on Ebay for about 2k). For SVHS, also not easy. I can start looking around in the Pawn shops and at least its easy to see what's SVHS by the logo. Any recommendations for finding the gear?
For starters, the marketplace forum here: http://www.digitalfaq.com/forum/marketplace/
Not eBay. It's a video dumping ground, including all the "tested" and "working" gear (not actually tested, not actually working).
Pawn shops won't have anything. This wasn't the sort of gear that the pawn shop demographic ever owned.

Quote:
Also, is it the TBC that makes the final connection to the computer? Is that via Firewire or would I need some kind of capture card/dongle that takes Svideo?
For a standard workflow, TBC > capture card. For more complex and pricey closed-loop/proprietary type setup, these can be integrated (SDI).

Quote:
Originally Posted by dpalomaki View Post
The pragmatic standard is are you and your users satisfied with the product you produce.
While I've always appreciated this "if you're happy, I'm happy!" type comment, in practice that's too generous. The person won't know it's bad until shown. Others won't be as naive, and will readily see /hear issues.

Beyond all this, family history gets lost this way. "See that fuzzy blob? That's our grandma!" (Not joking here. It's so sad to see, for example, 8mm film that was trashed after VHS conversion. Or VHS tapes after a blocky 6-hour mode 352x240 drop-frame deinterlace DVD conversion.)

It reminds me of how gullible children are. You could literally give a kid a can of Alpo, then say something like "boy, that sure is good, isn't it!" And the kid will often say "uh-huh" in agreement -- even if it tastes awful!

... and they actually tested this. Freshpet, not Alpo. So a bit more upscale. But still.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QtHa8Cf4BOI

And as funny as that video was, dog food isn't fit for human consumption, even so-called "human ingredient" food. The QC is more lenient, and more forgiving to the more acidic/robust guts of animals (non-humans). Notice Youtube comments were disabled. That's really not too different from all the crappy half-baked Chinese video gear and random video doodads.

Quote:
For much home video content is king; a blurry, snowy video of granny is better than none at all.
Not really. If quality is bad, nobody will actually watch it once converted. Especially audio sync issues, which is a main issue resolved by TBCs. That and wiggly video. The same was true of video hobby from the tape era. If was bad, people would just stuff it into a closet until better came along. And thus why so many people are now redoing videos in the 2020s, bad work from 2000s and 2010s.

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02-18-2022, 09:08 AM
dpalomaki dpalomaki is offline
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Quote:
Not really. If quality is bad, nobody will actually watch it once converted.
That is a bit like saying one would rather starve than eat spam. And FWIW dog food may well be better than no food at all (ask people who starved to death in past wars).

Bad is a relative term. What qualifies as bad for most of the regulars here may well qualify as acceptable to others not into seriously video transfer/preservation. Like the difference between grade AA, A, and grade B egg, or perhaps USDA Prime, Choice, Select, Standard, Commercial, Utility, Cutter and Canner grades of beef.

I still contend that content is king. Almost everyone watched the Rodney King and OJ chase videos, even it is was bad, because the content was compelling. It also becomes a trade-off; i.e., do I want to invest the time, energy, and money to learn how to do it better, or declare victory on the tape transfers at some point short of the possible and move on to something else that is now more more important in my life. But then "content" may be defined as the image, or as the underlying action depending on the viewers priorities.

If the number of tapes is relatively small they might want to farm it out to a reputable transfer service rather than ramp up to DIY.

I am reminded of a friend who shot his son's wedding. In the interest of getting the editing perfect he never completed the project before they were divorced.
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02-18-2022, 10:02 AM
Oneanddone Oneanddone is offline
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Thank you both! I'll check out the market place and see about getting the best equipment I can within reason. That said, I have to agree with dpalomaki and maintain that something is better than nothing. Not everyone has the time, money, and expertise to do this "right". I originally used a USB capture card and it was "fine" in the sense that it played and it didn't have any strong issues that I can recall. If this ends up costing more than a few hundred dollars in the end, I'll probably go back to that and be happy I at least have it digital (though I'll keep the tapes just in case).

I really hope that doesn't sound ungrateful - definitely not my point. I greatly appreciate both the time and obvious expertise you're offering.
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  #11  
02-18-2022, 10:13 AM
dpalomaki dpalomaki is offline
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Oneanddone:
Note the "Our Services" link on the page banner. The operators of this web site may be able to do the transfer for you. Contact them if that interests you. (I do not know their details as to turn around or cost.)
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  #12  
02-18-2022, 07:48 PM
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I would like to see comparison captures that demonstrate the need for a frame TBC.

I have a DVK-200 which isn't a "proper" TBC but has TBC-like effects. The problem is, I can't see the difference, and I can keep audio sync without it with no dropped frames.

There are comparison videos around showing how a DVD recorder can act as a Line TBC and drastically improve video captures, but I've never seen any showing the effects of a frame TBC such as a Datavideo 1000. Given a TBC-1000 costs over a $1000, one would expect some visual improvement to be obvious.
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  #13  
02-19-2022, 05:48 AM
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Quote:
one would expect some visual improvement to be obvious.
In term of "quality of the image" a good frameTBC must do nothing. It must be transparent!
In term of "quality of a video" it must fix the synch between frames, rebuild the relative timings, avoid frame drops, and provide a clean and stable signal to the capture card.
So a comparison between with and without will be a sequance of a captured video where you see differences in the sequence of the images, but the intrinsic quality of the capture should not change in term of captured detail, stability of the frame (for this we need a lineTBC), color, saturation, etc.

If dealing with pristine tapes you may no need a frameTBC in the same way as you may no need a DVD-R passthrough if you use a S-VHS VCR with a line TBC. Most of the time you do need a frameTBC, and sometime you need the DVD-R passthrough if the lineTBC of the VRC is not strong enough.

A channel on S-VHS / VHS capture and AviSynth restoration https://bit.ly/3mHWbkN
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  #14  
02-19-2022, 06:04 AM
Hushpower Hushpower is online now
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Thanks Lollo, I suppose I'm relating to what I'm seeing here. Even with the most God-awful tape being run through a ES15, I'm not "seeing" any difference when I include the DVK-200 in the chain. The signal is already rock-solid (no drops, in-sync) coming out of the ES15 and, especially at the price of a TBC-1000, I really am struggling with the need for one ("required", as some say).
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  #15  
02-19-2022, 07:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dpalomaki View Post
That is a bit like saying one would rather starve than eat spam.
That's a misleading comparison, because it's want vs. need.
- I need to eat food, so I'll take the best available.
- But if I want to watch a video, I'll only watch something good (as will others). Watching a badly shot home movie of a birthday party or T-ball game from 30-40 years ago is hard enough, but if it looks/sounds like crap, we're all just going to stop watching, find something else to do.

I'm sure some people are into self-punishment, suffering/slogging through a rough watch/listen (or read) experience. But those people are a tiny minority. It's the same type of person who enjoys seeing somebody else's baby pictures on Facebook (aka, a top activity that gets most people blocked from most feeds).

Quote:
Bad is a relative term.
Yes, but no.

There are several widely accepted and acknowledged ideas of bad quality:
- tracking problems,
- audio desync,
- fuzzy/software picture.

There's also issues that a person sees (and often dislikes), but doesn't know how to describe:
- chroma noise,
- wiggly de-timed video.

Sadly, some people are under the wrong impression that there errors are "just tapes" and inherent to the format. No, not correct. Inherent to bad methods, not the format.

After those major flaws -- aka, a main reason to use TBC -- it does quickly get more nuances. I'm not at all anal like some posters, who get far into the weeds on things like halo and levels. Yes, technically those are errors, but it gets complex, trade-offs, art even.

Quote:
Like the difference between grade AA, A, and grade B egg, or perhaps USDA Prime, Choice, Select, Standard, Commercial, Utility, Cutter and Canner grades of beef.
I often state that video quality is somewhat binary. Overall, only good/bad. So, for example, the idea of "pro quality" and "good quality", etc, are nonsense. It's not a comic book price guide. We don't have poor, fair, good,very good, fine, very fine, near mint, mint -- and then all the CGC grades from 1-10. No, with video, it's simple. Good, bad. Good video has nuances, but there's no nuance between good and bad.

Quote:
I still contend that content is king.
This is a statement that started in the 2000s (origin Gates, 1996), mostly about online content. Quantity over quality. It was heavily created by search engine gaming ("SEO"). But we've all moved past that now. It's about quality again, not just "stuff" en masse. If you follow the "streaming wars" (Netflix, WB/HBO, Disney+, Peacock, Paramount+), this is often discussed. Simply having quantity isn't winning the war. Not producing quality is waste of money. It always was, of course, but at least people are starting to realize it again, after 20 years of filling our digital lives with low quality crap.

Quote:
Almost everyone watched the Rodney King and OJ chase videos, even it is was bad,
But it wasn't bad. It was shot from a news chopper.

Quote:
do I want to invest the ... money
That's the true reason for arguing quality. It's rarely about the quality, and instead griping about the costs of quality. People almost always back into the "good enough" mindset, an excuse for bad quality. But here's the thing: people aren't going to watch/listen/read it. When it comes to home movies done badly, you'll get fake smiles and thanks, then it's trashed or thrown in a drawer when you walk away. So what the point of that?

Quote:
If the number of tapes is relatively small they might want to farm it out to a reputable transfer service rather than ramp up to DIY.
That's it.

Quote:
I am reminded of a friend who shot his son's wedding. In the interest of getting the editing perfect he never completed the project before they were divorced.
Perfection is the enemy of productivity. But there is a middle ground between perfection, and bad work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oneanddone View Post
I'll check out the market place and see about getting the best equipment I can within reason.
If this ends up costing more than a few hundred dollars in the end,
This is the phrase to focus on. When it comes to DIY, there will be upfront costs, several $K worth. But buy it, use it, and resell it. There gear holds value. And we want it to stay in circulation. So in the end, your final cost will be hundreds. Or nothing. And a few people have actually profited from the resale, timing of buy/sell worked in their favor.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hushpower View Post
I would like to see comparison captures that demonstrate the need for a frame TBC.
There's usually nothing to "see" with frame TBC, as lollo2 properly states. However, what happens with lack of frame TBC is obvious: dropped frames, audio skew/desync, capture refusal, few others.

Yes, there are some visuals that happen, usually single-frame length movements/issues, sometimes AGC (even on non-MV/anti-copy type tapes, or even with cards that "ignore" it). If you only have SP mode 1st gen tapes, then visual changes won't really be an affect. But with degradation of any kind, frame TBC will not only show some visual improves, but also show weakness (ie, why DVK-200 is a weaker unit than something like TBC-1000 or certain Cypress). Frame TBC visuals are nowhere near as obvious as line TBC visuals, unless dealing with a really bad tape**.

** This is a statement that I almost hate to make, because it's too often used out of context. There wrong idea that "frame TBCs are only for bad tapes". False. No. BS. The affects of frame TBC can be felt strongest on bad tapes, but remember the minimum threshold for what a frame TBC does is prevent drooped frames, prevent audio skew .

After this thread, and some recent others, I've drawn out some sketches, to try and visually show what a TBC does. It's not entirely technically accurate, but it helps novices understand everything going on with the signal, both visual and non-visual. To-do list, after forum/site upgrade. Nice long guide, put this topic to bed, or even out of its misery.

Quote:
and I can keep audio sync without it with no dropped frames.
This can happen. Not often, rare even, but can. It really depends on the sources, and other gear in the workflow. The ES10/15, for example, is a strong+crippled line TBC, with non-TBC frame sync. Sometimes that's enough for a perfect quality tape to limp along without any major issues. But equally possible is for a tape that "looks perfect" to drop frames without end in sight. So again, it comes down to non-visuals, gear, sources.

Quote:
Given a TBC-1000 costs over a $1000, one would expect some visual improvement to be obvious.
Again, not visual...

Quote:
Originally Posted by lollo2 View Post
In term of "quality of the image" a good frameTBC must do nothing. It must be transparent!
That's it. Transparency is the true test of a frame TBC. Ideally, you'll get good video, and not know it's there. It will prevent dropped frames, keep audio in sync, and sometimes compensate for some bad tape muck (which is actually more a statement about the VCRs and tapes, not entirely the signal -- and no, that doesn't contradict earlier statements here, but rather eases you in to understanding it more and more).

Unfortunately, all TBCs add some % of processing noise. The best TBCs let you adjust it out with very nuances controls. And the type of processing varies, from mere color tint changes, to actual interference type noise (some acceptably faint, some not at all).

Quote:
If dealing with pristine tapes you may no need a frameTBC in the same way as you may no need a DVD-R passthrough if you use a S-VHS VCR with a line TBC. Most of the time you do need a frameTBC, and sometime you need the DVD-R passthrough if the lineTBC of the VRC is not strong enough.
Quoted to reterate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hushpower View Post
Thanks Lollo, I suppose I'm relating to what I'm seeing here. Even with the most God-awful tape being run through a ES15, I'm not "seeing" any difference when I include the DVK-200 in the chain. The signal is already rock-solid (no drops, in-sync) coming out of the ES15 and, especially at the price of a TBC-1000, I really am struggling with the need for one ("required", as some say).
With certain errors, the processing of the error may have corrected something that would have later caused dropped frames. So in that case, the ES15 and non-TBC frame sync may be enough. It really comes to the source tape. Also tape modes, and even formats (PAL vs. NTSC). But this isn't the typical outcome. Otherwise we wouldn't have near-countless posts on the topic going back decades.

You're lucky. Congrats. Many are envious. You won the video capture lottery. But realize almost nobody else is so lucky.

NOTE: If you have your VirtualDub settings, where the top two boxes are NOT checked in the timing settings, then you're probably dropping frames, and don't know it. Disabling those merely disabled the counter, and the below-preview counter sticks at 0. So you're flying blind, assuming all is well when it is actually dropping. I've seen that too often in recent years. sanlyn had this in his guide, and I left it there to show that it's wrong. But I may edit it, one less wrong thing online.

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