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-   -   My experience capturing VHS video (http://www.digitalfaq.com/forum/video-capture/12784-experience-capturing-vhs.html)

s0ren 05-22-2022 03:31 PM

My experience capturing VHS video
 
I recently started capturing my old VHS tapes, and through google I found a lot of useful threads here and in other places online. Thank you to everyone who contributed over the years. I thought I'd share my experience in a new post here for the next googlers to find, rather that resurrecting 10 dead posts.

My setup is:
Philips S-VHS VR-1100 (140€)
DMR-EH52 (60€)
SAA7131 capture card (30€)
Futro S900 (Win7Pro 64bit, SSD, virtualdub) (25€ computer + 48€ SSD)

The VHS deck is a JVC rebatch, but they seem to pop up lot cheaper than identical JVC decks from time to time. On *some* captures, enabling the VHS' TBC improved stability and timing, even though most posts seem to discourage doing that when using a pass-through device like the Panasonic. The DMR-EH52 still seemed to be able to do its thing, if the signal was not too unstable. I will consider it on a case by case basis.

DMR-EH52 on the outside looks like a DMR-ES10 but with an additional HDD. It completely fixed a couple of unstable VHS recordings I had. I have an old retail "Independence day" VHS with jittery vsync that it fixed as well. Luckily none of my tapes were so bad that the EH52 could not fix it, so luckily I did not need a real TBC unit. Some people recommend using AV1 (scart) input to prevent automatic gain control from making the video too bright. I tried capturing the same tape both using s-video input and scart (once with a scart cable, once with composite), and I found no difference. Composite colors were a little different but luminance remained the same. Maybe that advice applies to different models or in specific cases which I did not encounter. I also tried a DMR-ES15 and a DMR-EH50 but all their capacitors were busted so they were not very reliable. Visually the EH52 caps are pretty much crap as well, so at some point I will have to take out my soldering iron and try fix it. I expect these devices to become more and more rare, as I presume that most regular people will throw them out if they do not work, instead of trying to sell them as broken. I honestly expected a brand like Panasonic to use better caps than this. One thing to note about using this machine as pass-through, is that after a while the HDD will go into power saving mode, and the EH52 displays an annoying OSD notification about this. Leave the EH52 idle for about 15 minutes before capturing to avoid getting it on your videos.

I am satisfied with the SAA7131 based ASUS PCI card I use. I had one a long time ago (that my wife threw out... different story), and I got another NIB one on ebay for around 30€. A little cheaper than back in 2006 :) I like the capture quality and the features of the card, though I have not compared it to an AIW card. I tried a cheap easycap clone for fun, and it was horrible in comparison though.

I used the capture card in a Fujitsu Futro S900 thin client, with G-T56N CPU, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, running Windows 7 pro 64bit. I have seen some people swear by Windows XP and spinning HDD, but this setup works fine. I actually set up a different computer with Windows XP, just to check if there was any difference in performance or quality (perhaps SAA7131 driver differences), but the captures were as identical as can be when talking about analog to digital conversions (analog to Huffuyv + PCM). I also tried with 4GB RAM and a slower G-T40N CPU, and that worked fine as well. I have seen someone here say something along the lines of "you get inserted or dropped frames when capturing due to the fragmented nature of SSDs". I strongly disagree with that statement. Maybe if you have a heavily used SSD with Windows XP (as it does not support TRIM), and perhaps if it is a really shitty "KingPing" knock off SSD with no DRAM cache, but else no. 2012 hardware like this is easier to support and source for cheap in good shape, than 2002 hardware. The Futro S900 is around a quater the size of the VHS deck so it is easy to tuck it away with the rest of the HW when not in use, and leave it as a dedicated capture computer.

lordsmurf 05-22-2022 04:51 PM

Thanks for sharing. :)

Quote:

Originally Posted by s0ren (Post 84910)
My setup is:
Philips S-VHS VR-1100 (140)
DMR-EH52 (60)
The VHS deck is a JVC rebatch, but they seem to pop up lot cheaper than identical JVC decks from time to time. On *some* captures, enabling the VHS' TBC improved stability and timing, even though most posts seem to discourage doing that when using a pass-through device like the Panasonic. The DMR-EH52 still seemed to be able to do its thing, if the signal was not too unstable. I will consider it on a case by case basis.

First line TBC in a chain/workflow owns the signal. The 2nd cannot do anything, it has already had corrections. The ES10/15 type passthrough has a strong line, but it's different than the VCR TBC, and it can be worse. As you've seen. What you state is not unusual, and is expected.

The passthrough recorders have non-TBC frame sync, NR issues, chroma/luma/IRE issues, all things you mentioned and noticed. As long as you know what you're getting yourself into, by not having actual TBCs, I definitely approve of the method. (It's when people claim recorders are "TBC replacements" that I take issue, as it's nonsense/BS.)

You have good observations, testing, and troubleshooting. :congrats:


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