Quantcast VHS quickie question (TBC or VCR?) - digitalFAQ Forum
  #1  
08-13-2009, 02:08 AM
zaq.hack zaq.hack is offline
Invalid Email / Banned / Spammer
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 9
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
You seem to be the VideoHelp expert on VHS restoration/capturing. I have a super quick question for you.

I have some money to put toward improving my VHS capturing experience. I also have some Hi-8 tapes that I want to capture/convert.

I have a Viewcast capture card in a badass PC. My VCR is a 2001 model Panasonic (mediocre). On good tapes, I get a great capture. On not-so-good tapes, OY!!!

Should I prioritize putting money toward:

1. A high-end JVC S-VHS (9800, 9900 types)
2. A VHS-to-DVD recorder (from what I read, these do a really good job of cleaning stuff up)
3. An external TBC like the 8710 or TBC-1000

I can probably swing ONE of these items.


This question was asked in a private message. Rather than hide our tech advice in private conversations, Site Staff will often answer PMs (from any site) here in the digitalFAQ.com forum, so that others may read and benefit from our expertise. Please continue the conversation here. Either login or join as a Free Member, and we can continue troubleshooting your video, photo or web related issue. Thanks for understanding our tech Q&A policies.

Reply With Quote
Someday, 12:01 PM
admin's Avatar
Ads / Sponsors
 
Join Date: ∞
Posts: 42
Thanks: ∞
Thanked 42 Times in 42 Posts
  #2  
08-14-2009, 03:03 PM
lordsmurf's Avatar
lordsmurf lordsmurf is offline
Site Staff | Video
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 11,920
Thanked 2,170 Times in 1,870 Posts
continued from PM...

Quote:
Originally Posted by zaq.hack
You seem to be the VideoHelp expert on VHS restoration/capturing. I have a super quick question for you.

I have some money to put toward improving my VHS capturing experience. I also have some Hi-8 tapes that I want to capture/convert.

I have a Viewcast capture card in a badass PC. My VCR is a 2001 model Panasonic (mediocre). On good tapes, I get a great capture. On not-so-good tapes, OY!!!

Should I prioritize putting money toward:

1. A high-end JVC S-VHS (9800, 9900 types)
2. A VHS-to-DVD recorder (from what I read, these do a really good job of cleaning stuff up)
3. An external TBC like the 8710 or TBC-1000

I can probably swing ONE of these items.
The VCR is the place to start, and is where the most VISUAL IMAGE clean-up happens.

The external TBC does next to nothing for IMAGE quality, it works to most provide a clean and stable signal. This rarely presents itself visually, it serves to mostly prevent dropped frames, false anti-copy errors, and other choking-up problems of digital acquisition devices.

The DVD recorder can filter, depending on the model (nothing foud new in stores will do much -- see http://www.digitalfaq.com/reviews/dvd-recorders.htm for more details), but it's still not as good as filtering with a good VCR.

The JVC S-VHS series machines are indeed one of the best/better lines, and I suggest them as the best all-around machine, tackling most errors, and indeed providing the highest image quality in general. However, if you have certain specific errors on your tapes, then another VCR line may work better, be it JVC D-VHS, Panasonic AG-19xxP or some others.

I'd want to know more about your tapes before saying "yes, that's exactly what you want". I don't like giving generic advice, I want to give YOU specific advice for YOUR EXACT situation.

To continue discussion, sign up for this forum. For the best one-on-one support, after registering, consider becoming a Premium Member, which runs about the same price as two tech magazines you might have bought, but should prove FAR MORE useful to you.

- Did my advice help you? Then become a Premium Member and support this site.
- For sale in the marketplace: TBCs, workflows, capture cards, VCRs
Reply With Quote
  #3  
08-14-2009, 06:20 PM
zaq.hack zaq.hack is offline
Invalid Email / Banned / Spammer
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 9
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
My exact situation is that I have a bookshelf filled with VHS and Hi-8 "home movie" tapes. I want to archive the clips into a digital video library (my wife will manage that) as well as transfer them to a less-decaying sort of media like DVD.

Presently, I use an old Panasonic VHS player and a Viewcast Osprey-220 card. On a "good tape," I am very pleased with the captures I am getting. I run a few light filters in Virtualdub or Avisynth to remove some of the background graininess (without noticeable softening) and they turn out to DVD pretty well. This is about 70% of the tapes.

On the other 30%, there are issues. These range from occasional VHS droput marks (horizontal white streaks) to a loss of sync with the Osprey that causes terrible artifacts in the capture. Some of the tapes seem to track improperly, but I have found that FF to end and REW in the VCR can help this immensely. There is only one tape I have found so far that completely loses tracking and that looks something like the old "scrambled" cable signals.

So, primarily, I want to know what to do about the more difficult tapes. Where is the most "bang for the buck" to be had. Your answer so far sounds like I should be in the market for a high-end JVC VCR.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
08-16-2009, 04:41 PM
zaq.hack zaq.hack is offline
Invalid Email / Banned / Spammer
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 9
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Also, from elsewhere on the site, I see a list of VCR's. Where can I buy one of them? I have looked for the newest JVC (S9911U) but cannot even find that one. I have seen a few of the others on eBay, but that seems the only spot that has some.

I have run across a few of the D-VHS models. I have read in some places they are comparable to the HR-9800 and 9900 series. Should I snap one of those up if I have the chance?
Reply With Quote
  #5  
08-16-2009, 06:38 PM
reframmellator reframmellator is offline
Free Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Upstate NY
Posts: 6
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I just found two JVCs in the last ten days on eBay - an HR-S9800u that is like new and an SR-V10U that is nicked a little but works great. I will sell at least one when I've transferred my files over - probably the SR-V10U - maybe sooner for a good price.. PM me if interested.

I found you have to be a little patient and wait for your item/price on eBay. Craigslist is also worth a look.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
08-16-2009, 09:44 PM
admin's Avatar
admin admin is offline
Site Staff | Web Development
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 4,333
Thanked 635 Times in 452 Posts
The SR-V10 and/or JVC HR-S9800 available from refram in the above post might be a good idea.

The Osprey card you have is an early 2000s card, one that I ignored because of the high success I had with ATI All In Wonder and Matrox series cards (at that time). I can only assume you've done your homework on this card, and know for certain that it is of high quality input and output.

I would heavily suggest that for the VHS tapes, you dump the old Panasonic consumer VHS deck. While I would usually suggest the JVC series -- and it will probably work for most of your tapes -- the Panasonic AG-1980P S-VHS may track better on those worst tapes.

On the other hand, buying the JVC for most of your tapes, and then outsourcing the few problem-to-track tapes to a service such as ours, may actually be the best course of action. Tracking problems can be hard to deal with, and you can find yourself buying a half dozen or more VCRs to combat the problem, before finding enough decks that cooperate with all of th tapes. It's one reason transfer businesses have (or should have!) a dozen or more VCRs available, mostly professional- and broadcast-grade decks.

A good-condition S-VHS VCR is worth at least $250-350, especially in like-new or even brand-new condition. It's the "as is" and often-damaged ones you find in the $100-200 range (or just a dumb seller, with a poor listing, during an unlucky/low-spending time).

A better VCR would certainly solve many of your issues, and make many more tapes playable. Just know that no one deck will be able to perfectly play everything -- there will still be some leftovers. And again, you can eitherbuy more VCRs for those, or outsource those remaining few to a good service that specializes in such work (probably NOT a local service, but one you find online, such as ours).

VCRs in general are no longer made, and these models being suggested are classic models from the late 90s and early 2000s, when the VHS and S-VHS format was still professionally used in varying degrees. There will not be any "new" VCRs sold in stores (at least not usually, and most of it will be crap when you do find one). Hence the need to shop in the second-hand or "used" markets, such as eBay, iOffer and Craigslist.

The D-VHS units are pretty decent -- they operate a little differently than the S-VHS units, when it comes to the video filtering. Some folks prefer the D-VHS over the S-VHS, some prefer the S-VHS over the D-VHS. I would not suggest against the D-VHS. The D-VHS has the added benefit of a frame synchronizer similar to what is found in the Panasonic DMR-ES10 DVD recorder (useful for signal pass-through, but NOT for recording). On the other hand, the filters are "always on", which can lead to various smoothing/smearing/blurring noise at times. Filtering is always a trade-off, trading a worse error for a lesser one.

If nothing else, a better VCR will remove the need to process so much in VirtualDub. And analog-domain processing often yields better filter results than digital software processing/filtering.

For the Hi8 tapes, I highly suggest a Sony Hi8 camera above all others. These can still be pricey, in the $200-300 range for the betterones, but it is entirely worth it, when you locate one on eBay. These tend to go fast, and owners usually keep them because of the quality. I forget the exact model right now (not at the office), can look it up if necessary (ask).

Hope that helps.

Again, consider joining as a Premium Member for the best one-on-one support, and to help this site stay online and assisting folks such as yourself. Thanks.

- Did this site help you? Then upgrade to Premium Member and show your support!
- Also: Like Us on Facebook for special DVD/Blu-ray news and deals!
Reply With Quote
  #7  
08-16-2009, 10:31 PM
zaq.hack zaq.hack is offline
Invalid Email / Banned / Spammer
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 9
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
You guys have definitely earned a few of my nickels. As soon as I have a regular job again, I'll be sure to up my membership! (Hopefully this week - fingers crossed!)

We have a Sony camera; the one that recorded all the Hi8. It still works pretty well and I'm moderately happy with captures I get from it. As you mentioned, filtering is a trade-off: If I can get by with light noise filtering without noticeable softness, then I always figure it is a "win." The problem comes in when I get either so much noise that digital filtering post-capture makes the stream look like you are looking through a foggy window, or when there are artifacts like "jumping," tape dropout, crazy verticals, and so on. These are the problem children of old VHS, mostly.

I am sure you guys are the video/computer experts for your friends and family. I'm that guy in my circle (plus I used to work with PC video a lot at a former job). So I'm trying to figure out how much is healthy for me to spend on this as a hobby, or do I want to just say "screw it" and get all OCD about it. ;-)

The Osprey card came from the old job. We bought some Viewcast components to capture serial-digital from their editing decks (which was BEAUTIFUL, I might add), so I just went with one of their lower-end boards for home. They seemed to have their stuff together, but I'm not sure it is worth the cost for VHS transfer. It isn't helpful beyond any other composite/s-video input that I've seen, really. They have some neat tricks they do in software to make a single card look like many for multiple encodes. I'm still trying to figure out how to use that to mark DVD chapters by frame number at the same time I'm capturing a full-frame AVI ... would be a big time-saver.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
08-20-2009, 05:13 PM
admin's Avatar
admin admin is offline
Site Staff | Web Development
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 4,333
Thanked 635 Times in 452 Posts
You're not OCD yet -- there is still reasonable room for growth in your quality of output. Removing dropout, jumping and smeary NR are acceptable goals for sure.

I think the S-VHS VCR would solve most issues. At worst, a TBC and possibly the Panasonic ES10/ES15/ES20 series DVD recorders (for passthrough filtering, not recording) may be needed for the worst tapes. However, rather than buying all that video gear, I would suggest outsourcing the few tapes in need of such extra work to a vide conversion service such as ours -- one that specializes in VHS restoration.

- Did this site help you? Then upgrade to Premium Member and show your support!
- Also: Like Us on Facebook for special DVD/Blu-ray news and deals!
Reply With Quote
Reply




Thread Tools



 
All times are GMT -5. The time now is 08:00 AM