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05-17-2022, 11:47 PM
midnitepimpsta midnitepimpsta is offline
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I'm looking to invest in a professional video workflow to convert analog video to tape. I have been making video art using feedback loops + Panasonic WJ-MX 10 AV mixer but have yet to find a proper way to capture into my Mac.

I've read What’s in a Professional Video Workflow to Convert Analog Videotapes and a few other threads in this forum and am still at a loss on what to get.

I'm currently running macOS Monterey on a 2015 Macbook Pro with a AMDRadeon R9 M370X 2 GB graphics card. I know Macs aren't the best for analog capture, I'm open to setting up a partition or buying dedicated PC for this as well.

I have a budget of ~$1000 but am flexible. I don't care about audio as much, I really would just like know how to get the highest quality video capture with my current set up.
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05-18-2022, 01:30 AM
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lordsmurf lordsmurf is offline
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$1k is the realm of budget gear, not professional, not even serious hobby. You'll have to make sacrificed, use lesser gear. And understand that proper and/or quality conversion of many tapes will be something you cannot do well, or at all.

You need a workflow, and the primary cost there is the frame TBC. An actual frame TBC, not some "also has/does" (really doesn't!) device, nor any random TBC. There are many TBCs are have flaws, such as black AVT-8710, that must be avoided. Expect that to be in the (at minimum) $2k range, especially depending on model.

You'll also need both JVC S-VHS deck with line TBC (to start), next getting the Panasonic S-VHS deck. When these are truly refurbished, expect to pay in the $1k range. And in the 2020s, the 1990s/2000s decks need work/refurb. It's unrealistic to buy some random VCR, even is a seller claims it's "working" and "tested" (because it NEVER truly is), and expect it to still be in fit condition after several decades. VCRs need maintenance, like cars, but too often did not get it. Thus, most VCRs long ago failed, and you see lots of irreparable "for parts or repairs" decks online.

You must avoid the idea of thinking you can jump on eBay/Amazon/Craigslist/Facebook, and buy any random item, from any random persons. People lie. People don't know what they don't know. eBay has become a video dumping ground in recent past years. I started a thread last year (unfortunately, no time to keep it updated regularly as I'd hoped), linking items to avoid, and discussing known-bad scummy sellers. Sometimes auction images are amusing, such as the item that "power tested", and yet showed bent electrical prongs that would have prevent it from even being plugged in. Those are the type of shysters that infest that place.

There are reliable sellers of gear out there, such as myself, but also some others. (I no longer care for TGrant's AG-1980 refurb work, it fails after just a couple of years, and requires another expensive $500 refurb job.) A few in PAL land, such as VCRshop.nl

Now then, Macs are great systems, I have one myself, and hope to get another for x265 editing. But it's the wrong tool for capturing video. Video has always been the realm of Windows, preferably XP or 7. Video capture is now a legacy task, and nothing "new" exists for it. Mac used to have some narrow capture options up to 10.14, but it's been entirely abandoned with the newest OS and CPU models. Anyway, it's always best to have a dedicated capture system, especially for pro users and serious hobbyists. You cannot use your "daily driver" computer for video, it has too much noise. Too much stuff, always online, phone home, interruptions that screw up a video capture session. The ideal video capture system is offline, running Windows XP/7, a lean system that only runs the video software. No background tasks, nothing else.

For consumer analog (VHS, etc) audio, you don't have a lot of options anyway. Audio sometimes is what it is. You can add a mixer, which sometimes is needed or helpful, but most audio work can be done post-capture in software like Sound Forge. If you even want to restore/filter the audio. The main issue with audio is using the VCR that most cooperates with that tape, be it JVC or Panasonic. Or those "fun" projects, where you have to capture video on one deck, audio on the other, then rejoin in software post-capture.

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- For sale in the marketplace: TBCs, workflows, capture cards, VCRs
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05-18-2022, 02:36 AM
midnitepimpsta midnitepimpsta is offline
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I really appreciate your thorough response. Would you be able to point me in the direction of an affordable + lean Windows XP/7 PC option that would suffice?
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