Quantcast Looking for some hardware suggestions - digitalFAQ Forum
  #1  
02-04-2005, 05:25 AM
dmsinger dmsinger is offline
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Ok, some background: the main thing I'm doing is grabbing video from older tapes or copies of older tapes, so I'm looking to get the best quality picture I can. They're short clips that I'm digitally archiving onto my hard drive (as mpg2) as well as putting on dvd as video. I keep them as clips on my hd so I can make compilations easier.

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I have a plan old JVC now, nothing special about it afaik (not svhs). After reading everything here, I see the suggestion of getting the HR-S9911U or SR-V10U multiple times.

I've found the HR-S9911U for about 365 w/shipping; and the SR-V10U for about 260-270 plus shipping.

I'm obviously looking to get the best picture out of the VCR. Can anyone tell me what's in that extra $100 in the HR-S9911U that might help me achieve that?

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While I'm here I might as well ask: my wires aren't just the "cheap kind", but I do wonder - will grabbing a nice set from somewhere make a big difference in picture quality (audio is usually pretty good, but not as important with what I'm doing).

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I'm currently using a DAC-100 to get my footage as DV. I then do some small editing (nothing too heavy, but some of the clips need some frames shaved off, maybe a little splicing in the middle, no filters or anything on my end). I'm currently using Vegas 4.

On this end - what could help me get a better quality picture, the DAC-100 grabs a nice pic, especially when the source is good - but when it's shady, it's of little help, and it seems a tiny blip on the tape will cause a decent size skip.

The ADVC-300 looks great, but I don't know if that's just nice marketing.

Now, I know a new VCR like the JVC with it's features will help my picture already, may get rid of some of the skips I encounter now - but what would be a good helper - should I get a new "capture device" (I realize it's not technically "capturing")? Or should I pick up a TBC-1000? Or both?

I realize this is a bit open ended, but I figure I'd ask anyway.

--

Lastly, I have a related question in terms of process: would transferring the tapes to DVD (let's say using some stand-alone device) then prohibit me from cleaning/restoring any of the video afterwards? I only ask this for literal space reasons, I have a lot of tapes.

My current process is also pretty slow. I transfer one clip at a time (generally a minute or two in length), slightly edit, render it as an mpg2 and wmv. I'll transfer a bunch at once, and then work on each, but rendering isn't too fast and if I have a skip (which I almost always do in between clips), it seems to really slow down the Vegas (it stutters bad on it). Perhaps I should upgrade to Vegas 5 and get a bit more ram (I have a gig), but I'd love for anything to be able to speed me up some, whether it be capturing a whole tape at once and easily slicing it up afterwards (that'd be nice), or anything else.

Any suggestions welcome, and if you want to answer in chunks (especially about the hardware since I'm antsy to pick up new stuff right now), I don't mind - dmsinger
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  #2  
02-06-2005, 12:32 AM
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Old tapes generally means "problems ahead" in layman's terms. And to get top quality results, you can bank on needing top quality hardware. Normal VCRs will do little more than give mediocre (or worse) results.

The good news is you CAN and SHOULD be able to not only transfer the tapes, but IMPROVE THE QUALITY while you're at it. This is restoration, and is my specialty.

++++++++++

The extra $100 is for a bigger RAM buffer in the DNR circuits. It does work better, but you'll have to decide if it's $100 better. I am a perfectionist, so I say yes. However, the 7000/SRV10 series units are no slouch. They do an excellent job too. Often every bit as good as the 9000 series. It's mainly tougher tapes that stress the lower RAM buffer.

+++++++++++

Good wires = better signal. For s-video, get the thicker wires with gold plating. For composite and RCA audio, get Monster cables that are thick and gold. For coax, get RG6 (not flimsy RG59) cable, preferably gold or even copper/silver tipped is fine here. Satellites require RG6 because of the higher bandwidth. You may be able to skate by with some RadioShack cables, but a single set of Monster really is worth it. I used to think anything would work, and I was proven wrong over and over again in self-done tests. Experience.

++++++++++++++++++

DAC-100 is the DataVideo version of the Canopus ADVC DV devices. They work great, but are limited to DV only and may suffer 4:1:1 color compression artifacts in NTSC video. But is it an excellent DV AVI device.

The blip and skip as you have called it is probably a problem with poor source. You sound like you need a standalone timebase corrector (TBC). More info on these are in the PLAYBACK DEVICES guide on this site.

The ADVC-300 is not as good as it claims. Yes, it is mostly marketing fluff by one of the biggest video marketing fluffers in the business: Canopus. They re-define "smoke blowing" when it comes to their products. It works well, but it's not worth anywhere near $500. You could buy a good VCR, and TBC, and even some used proc amps and detailers for less than that (or at that). Totally senseless pricing. It sounds fancy on paper, but that's about it.

For now, I think a good VCR and TBC will solve your problems. If not, then the capture card can be looked at later. It would be the CHEAPEST thing to add/replace anyway.

+++++++++++++++

One you digitize the source, you're finished. There is almost NOTHING that can be done to fix analog video once it has gone digital. We want to fix it in analog-land before it ever hits the PC. Computer software is a last-ditch effort when analog fails.

Are you just transferring video? Not real editing (except maybe cutting/splicing footage). If so, we really should talk about DVD recorders. That will speed things up quite a bit, and analog correction is still possible. Plus it frees up the computer for footage that you DO want to edit, as well as authoring.

More RAM won't do anything for you. You likely use no more than 600MB at any given time anyway. I have tried to use RAM. I can never top 700-800MB or so. CPU is the bottle neck. Yes, Vegas 5 is supposed to be better than Vegas 4 (or so a pro I trust tells me). Reviews on it are good too. I'm an Adobe Premiere person. Or Final Cut Pro.





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  #3  
02-06-2005, 02:53 AM
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re: vcr - dvd recorder

Better, and possibly better help is all I needed to hear. I'll definitely give it some tough tapes, so that's where this should be useful.

But I am not doing "real" editing I guess. One tape produces a hundred clips or so, so I have to splice all those, possibly shave a few frames off each end and every once in a while I cut out the middle of a clip (then just do a quickie fade transition or something like that from segment to segment).

A friend suggested that maybe I could just transfer straight to mpeg-2, but I had some capture device that did that once and I was left with this problem: I "edited" every clip and then still had to re-render them. That and the quality didn't look as good as just grabbing the clips in DV. Could have been the other device I was using though (name escapes me right now).

Anyway, if you have a dvd recorder suggestion, I'm all ears. After I transfer all the clips on a tape, I do plan on just transfering it to dvd (as historical backup) and then ditching the tape. They're just taking up too much space.

re: PC

Perhaps I'll just get a beefier proc and machine when I can.

re: wires

I learned my lesson a bit with these. I was getting awful audio at one point and the fix was better wires needed. However, I went through a set. They just stopped working, except the video. I use that along with Monster audio cables that are barely long enough. When I get the new VCR I guess I shouldn't need anything other than the s-video cable I have along with my audio wires. I might look for a new s-video cable, mine is a bit thin.

re: capture/transfer device

That's what I was thinking - try improving closer to the source and move on from there (was thinking that from all the great stuff on the front of the site). I'll see what comes from the new VCR and then maybe the TBC.

Thanks for all the pointers
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  #4  
02-10-2005, 01:50 PM
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Well, the HR-S9911U didn't really seem to affect any of the few tapes I've tested it with. I either couldn't tell the difference with the TBC on, or it was actually better with it off (twice it also skipped less with it off). The video stabilizer I only tried once, but it was enough for my DAC-100, which did nothing but skip over and over.

I'm not put off by it yet, I do like the device better than my old vcr, and I'm thinking of a few tapes where it may definitely come out better with the TBC on.

I haven't stopped reading and I think the TBC-1000 should help me with my skips, which will make me a happy camper for a bit.
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  #5  
02-10-2005, 11:49 PM
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I really don't know why your tapes are not playing correctly. The 9911 may have been misaligned during shipping. That is known to happen on any VCR, especially if they get dropped or shaken too hard.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++

If you're simply archiving tapes, maybe doing some splicing (think digital scissors and tape), then a DAC-100 is really a time waster. A good DVD recorder would be much faster. Use it as a standalone MPEG capture device. Do not think of it as a machine that makes your "finished DVDs." Use RW media (to re-use later) and transfer the MPEG from the DVD-RW to the computer. You can then quickly "edit" (splice) and then re-author with nice menus. I do this a lot. Technology has grown to the point where computer capture methods are not needed for mere transfers.

I suggest the JVC DR-M10 (aka 10S, 10SUS, 10SJ, etc), as it uses a high quality LSI encoder chipset, in addition to some other JVC pre-processors. Very often, your DVDs will look better than the source tapes. Pioneer and LiteOn/ILO also make some decent units. The JVC and Pioneer have FR mode, so you can specify the DVD length, not merely 2 hours or so. JVC has 5-minute increments. Pioneer has 10-minute increments.

Quality on the JVC is excellent up to 4 hours. It's best settings is easily 3-hour mode (FR180). But anything in there looks really good.

Machines to ESPECIALLY AVOID include Panasonic, Philips, Magnavox, Cyberhome, and then pretty much any no-names or "lower" brands. All kinds of problems, quality being one of them.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Fades/transitions can also be done when you splice MPEG. MPEG, as you may know is a final-product format, not really meant for editing. Then again, this REALLY is not what you'd call "editing". It can be spliced just fine, and no re-encoding is required (that's the time saver!) It's really easy. I use Womble MPEG-VCR (MPEG2 version) a lot. All you need is an MPEG editor to avoid re-encoding.

Simply follow these guides for using a DVD recorder.

Extract files:
http://www.digitalfaq.com/edit/recor...corderedit.htm

Edit:
http://www.digitalfaq.com/edit/mpeg2vcr/mpeg2vcr.htm
... the guide says "removing commercials" but is merely a simple cut/splice guide. Adding fades is simple usage of the EFFECTS tools.

And then author with your favorite authoring software.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Be careful with s-video and composite. S-video is "separated" video, chroma and luma channels separate. This CAN cause issues on tapes sometime (shown as tapes being "too bright" when played). I actually use composite a LOT of the time. That said, feel good knowing JVC equipment has really good y/c separation, so the "brightness" issue will not be seen often. Just something to log into memory, should you ever see it.
VHS is a composite format, so the separation is what may do it. Try s-video first. Then compsite. This is more common in older tapes or copies of copies.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I think that about covers it for now.






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  #6  
02-11-2005, 03:08 AM
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Hmm, I think I'm going to test the 9911 a bit more this weekend before I think it's possibly broken. Many of my tapes are not first generation, and could be third or forth and copies of bad footage - it seems this is common for having problems that just can't be fixed? Or some of my tapes may just be crap. I'm going to try and find one or two slightly wavy scenarios and test it out in normal, TBC, and Video Stablizer mode and see the differences.

---

The DR-M10 looks pretty good. I might just grab that to make backups of my tapes and to help transfer. My only concern is I've burned quite a few things onto DVD+R already, but my Xbox plays those, so I guess it's not too big a concern.

A couple of questions about it:
1) I assume it would still be beneficial for me to have a TBC-1000 in between the vcr and dvd recorder? Skips are still a big concern of mine.
2) Is there any way to copy dvds with this machine? I realize I could just copy a signal, but if I make a dvd with menus and such, is it possible to do this? (if not, it's not too big a deal, I just do it on my computer)

---

Regarding splicing - while this is great for backing up my tapes to dvd and getting rid of some stuff - is it just as easy to split these all up into separate mpgs? While I'm looking to backup everything, I'm also looking to splice it all up into tons of separate mpgs (then after I do a bunch of tapes, I can make other compilations easily).

---

I was trying s-video last night. That's very good to know. I just thought "oh, new vcr, new output", but I'll give the composite wire a shot as well.

---

Thanks again. It's not that I wanted to give my equipment an overhaul ($$$), but I have to admit, the more I read, and the more I see the time I can save (and quality I can keep or up), the happier I am. Plus, I just say "time is money" (in an "I think I can" tone) when I buy the stuff anyway
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  #7  
02-11-2005, 03:41 AM
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Tapes can be too far gone for correction. When it comes to restoring video, the name of the game is "make it better" and not "perform feats of magic". When you start dealing with old tapes or multi-generation copies, errors can be so compounded that they are impossible to correct.


++++++++++++++

(1) TBC can always help. Yes.
(2) No. A DVD recorder digitizes an analog stream. It cannot copy DVDs. That's something a PC is required for.


+++++++++++++

You can ONLY splice MPEGs if they share the same properties. Bitrate, resolution, audio, etc. Mixing and matching is not possible. Womble will sometimes try it anyway (flaw), but the results are a mess.


++++++++++++++

Yeah, try s-video first. See how it looks. Then compare to composite. Neither is "better" they are just different. Different needs, different times.


+++++++++++++++++

One of my favorite sayings is "time is money" too. It's true. Everything has value. Even time. If I can spend $100's more now, and not have to work so much later, it was totally worth it. ESPECIALLY when the end product can look better.




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  #8  
02-11-2005, 04:12 AM
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Thanks for all that. I'm completely prepared for the fact that some of the footage may just be too far gone.

---

Reading the reviews on videohelp.com, it seems the DR-M10's one fault could be some error that people randomly run into. I guess worst case scenario is this happens, and it needs to be sent back (so I'll have to check warranty things when I purchase).

I'll also update one of my comments by saying that most seem to report that it does playback dvd+r. I wish it had divx support for kicks, but it's not an issue, just thinking outloud.

I'm still reading more on the Pioneers and LiteOn/ILO too.

---

As for the mpg splicing, here's what I'm looking to do:
1) get a tape onto dvd - there's my backup
2) get that dvd onto my machine as one big mpeg
3) use Womble/mpeg editor to splice up that mpeg and save out smaller sized mpegs

Then down the road I may use the mpegs on another dvd. Currently I use the mpegs I make to easily piece together a dvd (each mpeg is it's own chapter). I forget the name of the program I use, I'll look it up when I get home, but I like it a lot as it's easy to import multiple mpegs and they default to each being a separate chapter (and I find the menu very easy to edit). I have only one request for the developers of it (I sent it in, but they told me it's not currently planned): possible sound balancing when using multiple mpegs. The reason for this is - if I make render some video as an mpeg-2 and few other people do, and we swap (without planning beforehand), it's rare we all hit the same sound levels, and it would be nice when putting these all on one dvd to have no sound issues. Can Womble handle that? I can just lower/raise the sound levels on the mpegs that differ from mine if that's the case.

Oh - and thanks again
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  #9  
02-11-2005, 05:34 AM
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Simply demux the MPEG when it is on the computer. Convert the audio to WAV. Edit in a audio editor. I like to use SoundForge 6 for all my audio work.

Then save the fixed WAV file. Re-convert as desired (AC3, MP2, DTS, leave as WAV, etc). Author with video.

Okay, maybe NOT so simple. But it's not hard. Just a little time consuming.

There are ALSO some hardware audio devices that can be used for "live" audio work (sort of like a proc amp is for video). However, I have never wanted them. Costs too much, can just as easily spend time in SoundForge.

Unlike video, audio encoding is very fast, especially on modern P4 and AMD+ systems. I was editing audio on a pro audio card by in the early 90s on a 486 system. And it was fairly fast back then too!



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  #10  
02-11-2005, 05:44 AM
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As far as the JVC errors, don't let the boogeymen at videohelp.com fool you. There are a couple of "trolls" on that forum that will see flaws in the JVC where none exist. The old saying is true: "don't confuse me with the facts, my mind is made up." They have overhyped a minor issue. It's not impossible, but it's not a major recall either. A small percentage of isolated incidents.

I deal closely with about 6 people that do work much like myself, and "loading" issues have been seen only by one. He had his repaired, end of story now. His was also that combo unit, not the DR-M10. He had the MV1. Combo units always have issues, no matter who makes it, nor what it is combo'ing. My issue, as well as that of a friend, was from overuse in a short timeframe. I saw it once and never again. Any piece of equipment gets angry after a while. Even VCRs eat tapes after about 6-12 solid recording hours. I abused mine with about 24+ hours nonstop. I won't do anything that stupid again.

If you want to see some clips from various machines, let me know. I have samples from most of them. Just not all the same footage.





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  #11  
02-11-2005, 12:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by admin
I suggest the JVC DR-M10 (aka 10S, 10SUS, 10SJ, etc), as it uses a high quality LSI encoder chipset, in addition to some other JVC pre-processors.
Any idea what the difference is between the S, US, SJ? I've been trying to find some sort of comparison or chart, Googling my butt off, but can't find anything. There are a couple of decent Ebay listings, some nice deals from Pricegrabber or Froogle, but I'm trying to see if the difference between the units is something that would sway me to have a preference in one over the other.
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02-11-2005, 11:14 PM
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"J" is the new production model. By all rights, it's still the name machine, just the ones made in 2005.

When I bought mine in May 2004, the manual says DR-M10, the box says DR-M10SUS, and the unit itself says DR-M10S.

That leads me to believe that they're just stupid when it comes to model numbers.

JVC has been like this in the past, however, the last letter USUALLY signified the color. "S" would be silver, "B" would be black, etc. This was how DVD PLAYERS operated.

At one point, the VCRs had oddball things too. The JVC HR-S7965 (PAL) I have is called the "EK". However, it is called other names too. But the same machine.

If these letters actually mean anything reasonable, I would be surprised, to be quite honest.

The "next" model of JVC recorder is called the JVC DR-M100 .... extra zero "100" model. The 30 (HDD model) is going to be replaced by the 300.

Model numbers, regardless of company, product, etc ... NEVER make much sense to me anyway. You should see the professional still camera market. Nikon and Canon are just as nutty.





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  #13  
02-12-2005, 03:01 AM
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Good to know

I was actually reading about the DR-M100, but outside of possibly using the hard drive to record dvd to dvd (which I doubt it'll have the ability to do) and considering I can just do it on my computer anyway, I'm not going to wait for it. - dmsinger
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