Quantcast Good video program for capturing VHS tapes - digitalFAQ Forum
  #1  
01-13-2010, 03:28 PM
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I am new at capturing VHS tapes through my computer to dvd's. I have bought several different devices. I have Pinnacle studio 500pci. + advc-55. as capturing devises. I do not use the Pinnacle software 10.8 software because of audio sync problems. I use ulead videostudio 11.5 plus to capture with. When I capture though the Advc-55 I have snow in the picture. When I capture using Pinnacle Studio 500 pci, there is no snow, but the picture isn't sharp. I am going to buy a All in wonder card. I was told that unlead is a low rate program. All I am doing is transferring vhs tapes to DVD no editing. What would be a good program that converts my video file to a high quality mpeg file for DVD burining? I use nero to burn my DVD's the program that came with ulead takes several hours to burn the DVD. Nero takes about 45 minutes. (Two hour tapes)
I am running a Dell 5000 AMD dual processor 2.6-sata 500 GB hard drive. I am running Visa. I also, a have a T.B.C. (1T-TBC) When I hook up the TBC, the picture gets snow in it. I have monster cables. I have a comsumers VCR. I payed about $80.00 for it new. I do have a Panasonic AG 1980 at the shop right now.
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  #2  
01-14-2010, 09:52 AM
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When it comes to VHS conversion/restoration, I always make everybody back up as far as they can, to the tape itself. The first thing to check for is will be "is the tape okay". Can it be played in a VCR hooked up to a TV. If it looks good, then we proceed to the VCR.

You mention a Panasonic AG-1980P. This is an excellent VCR, especially if your tapes are SLP/EP mode homemade recordings (or even cheap retail SLP/EP mode recordings). As long as it's confirmed as working (the tape to TV test works here, too), then you're good to go.

Those old broadcaster TBCs are often not all that helpful for VHS to DVD work. Only when the TBC was specifically designed for VHS/tape type sources (like the Digital Processing Systems DPS-220 that I'm in the middle of selling) then odds are it won't do much for you. Those broadcaster TBCs were designed with a different task in mind. The so-called "prosumer" model TBCs of more recent years will often be far more helpful for this task. If the 1T-TBC is causing snow, then I would suggest it is either malfunctioning or the wrong tool for the task at hand.

These recent threads may also be worth reading:
More on prosumer TBCs, like the AVT-8710: http://www.digitalfaq.com/forum/show...8710-1853.html
Complaints about the 1T-TBC: http://www.digitalfaq.com/forum/show...-tbc-1496.html

Ulead Video Studio is very basic consumer software, yes. I generally don't suggest it. For basic capturing, I prefer to work with VirtualDub, if possible. Other times, iuVCR works better. I've tried and re-tested all of the newest versions of low-cost software and freeware in the past 60 days, and I keep coming full-circle with tests, landing back at iuVCR and VirtualDub for the best experiences. (DScaler has potential, but it's so buggy. Same for VirtualVCR.)

Guides for
iuVCR: http://www.digitalfaq.com/guides/vid...-avi-iuvcr.htm
VirtualDub: http://www.digitalfaq.com/guides/vid...virtualdub.htm
Download the programs using links at the top of those guide pages.

You definitely DO NOT want to use Nero for anything whatsoever. It's terrible software for pretty much everything. Even for simple CD audio or data burning, there are now better programs -- all of them free. Nero was never good at authoring a DVD-Video titleset, prior to burning.

What you need to do is this:
  1. Capture the video, either to AVI or MPEG
  2. Crop off the ends of the video recording (junk before and after the video you actually want -- a very basic "editing" task -- because a capture is never perfect start/stop points)
  3. If AVI, encode to MPEG
  4. Author the MPEG files to DVD-Video titlesets (gives you the VOB/IFO/BUP files)
  5. Burn to DVD with ImgBurn freeware
In theory, the ADVC55 should work, although I'm really not a big fan of the DV compression format -- especially not for conversion of consumer tape sources (like VHS), as it tends to be a bit abusive on the quality.

The Pinnacle boxes/cards tend to work best only with their own software, maybe sometimes a few other limited programs. Pinnacle Studio 12 has worked well in my experience -- earlier versions had all kinds of problems, such as audio sync errors. Not the best card or capturing method, but it will work. The MPEG and DV encodes tend to be noisy.

An ATI All In Wonder card would be a good solutions, yes. In fact, I have several available for sale right now, $75 each, if you're interested. Comes with the purple break-out box, and I can provide a copy of the drives and ATI MMC on a CD or DVD. These are tested cards, work perfectly. ATI comes with free capturing software, the ATI MMC program. These are AGP slot cards, not PCI or PCI express.

What kind of budget do you have for buying software? Encoding to MPEG-2 takes commercials software, freeware tends to be cumbersome and buggy for this specific task. Then again, if you get an ATI AIW card, you can capture directly to MPEG-2 in high quality.

For authoring software, look into one of two options:
Ulead DVDWS2 is the better of the two, it's a professional application. TAW4 is not. Yes, it's a "Ulead" program, but it's not anything like the other ones you've been using. DVDWS2 is both high quality AND easy to use. There's a guide for it at http://www.digitalfaq.com/forum/show...-dvd-1506.html

When it comes to authoring software, $100 is the low-cost price range. Below this, you mostly get junkie software for $40-50, and a mix of limited hard-to-use freeware.

I'd like to see an image of what "not sharp" looks like to you. It may be as sharp as possible, given the limits of the source format. Or maybe there really is a problem -- I'd have to see it to troubleshoot.

Hope that helps.

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  #3  
01-15-2010, 01:11 AM
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Thanks for the information. I have been reading all over the internet and I have been so confused what to use and what to buy. This gives me a good start. I will study the information and look at the program. This will take me a little time. I will get back with you later.
Thanks again for the answer.
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  #4  
01-15-2010, 01:05 PM
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Yep, there's a lot of information online!

Unfortunately, a lot of it is biased towards products that makes a website the most money, even if it isn't the best product. I'd rather recommend the best product and make $0 (or $5 or whatever), than recommend a product that offers me an affiliate payout of $20+ --- and those offers are made to us daily (mostly be Chinese software companies, too). Be careful in your reading and researching.

You sound like you were already on a decent path -- having a good VCR, for example -- hopefully I've been able to fill in the gaps for you. You really weren't too far away.

keep in touch, let me know how everything goes for you.

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  #5  
03-03-2010, 02:17 PM
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I took your advise. I bought an all in wonder card 9600xt. I put it in my computer and the software load with no problems. I am running an asus motherboad AMD 2600 with Windows xp home edition with a sound card. (This is a computer I built in 2003) My set-up is a consumers VCR, an 1TTBC, then on to the capture card. I reset the all in wonder software to DVD high. I authorize with dvd workshop 2 (with up grade from U-Lead) and burn with Imgburn. The colors are great and the picture is sharp. A lot better than my ADVC-55. I am one happy camper. Thanks for the great advise and thanks for the great web site. I can't wait to see how the picture will look once I get the Panasonic fix. It is put on hold for now because of cost of getting it fix. Thanks again. One happy camper.
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03-03-2010, 07:19 PM
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Be careful about using the "out of the box" default ATI MMC settings -- they are poorly set up. The standard DVD settings, for example, deinterlace and ruin your video quality. That's why the guides were set up at this site:
At one point in time, ATI tech support was sending callers to this site, back in 2003-2005.

Those guides will instruct you on how to PROPERLY set up an interlaced MPEG-2 video capture suitable for DVD-Video use at home archival quality.

Consumer VHS VCR > 1T TBC > ATI AIW capture card

.... yep, that will work.
You'll find you might get better quality from the tapes, using a higher end S-VHS VCR. But getting one of those depends on your budget, of course.

Good to hear that your experience has improved.

Thanks much for the follow-up post, always good to hear how things have turned out and progressed after some time has passed.

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  #7  
03-09-2010, 08:45 AM
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I reset the all in wonder card specs. I do have a question. From reading the information that I obtained from other sources it says that store bought DVD have a bit rate of 5. Why is your setting at 4 for movies? Does it make a differents if I am not using s video? Should it be higher? This is for mpeg settings. Thank you.
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03-09-2010, 09:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John View Post
information that I obtained from other sources it says that store bought DVD have a bit rate of 5.
There are many amateur articles/sites online that are full of utter rubbish that they try to pass off as fact. This is definitely one of those times. I'd love to see the article or post where this was said. Usually when there's one bit of misinformation, there's a half-dozen more.

FIRST

First refer to the analog video source resolution chart, and notice that VHS, VHS-C, 8mm and Betamax are adequately captured with 352x480 resolution. Depending on the quality of your hardware, 720x480 may be required, as some devices handle 352 poorly. The ATI AIW cards are very sharp and accurate at 352x480, so this isn't an issue.
http://www.digitalfaq.com/guides/vid...nd-sources.htm

SECOND

Now understanding that 352x480 is a good resolution choice, understand that image quality is determined by
  1. having an adequate allocation of bitrate to the resolution in use,
  2. and is further affected by the speed and complexity of the content.
For 352x480, a bitrate of 2.5Mbps (2500kbps) to 5.0Mbps is available. Below 2.5, and the image is usually blocky and unwatchable. Above 5.0, and you're just wasting bitrate. More complexity means you should compress less, less picture complexity means you can compress more.

Examples of "more complex" =
  • shaky home movies
  • wrestling, auto racing, football or other spectator sports where there is a lot of motion, and many quickly-changing camera angles
  • explosions, smoke, fog
  • underexposed video, lots of darkness and shadow
Examples of "less complex" =
  • cartoons and anime
  • nightly news casts
  • TV shows
You can see the MPEG-2 bitrate calculator charts (currently) at the bottom of this page: http://www.digitalfaq.com/guides/vid...rd-capture.htm

THIRD

Understand that the guides on these sites are here to assist you, it's not unchangeable video dogma. You're allowed to alter settings -- encouraged, even! -- as you learn more about what they are, and how it operates.

The settings on the ATI All In Wonder MPEG capture help guide give multiple examples of settings that can be used under various situations. It's more of a "here's how to use the software" type of guide, showing some commonly needed presets.

From a VHS tape, from home movies, a 352x480 MPEG capture with a bitrate of 4.0MBps is probably quite adequate for direct-to-DVD (DVD-ready/author-ready) video work.

If you want to do any major editing or restoring, high bitrate MPEG-2 (15Mbps+) or lossless/uncompressed AVI tends to be the better choice for the sake of quality.


AND NOW, THE RUBBISH...

Most commercial film/movie DVDs are authored from 24p film scans, using expensive hardware encoding, in multi-pass VBR with custom matrices, to Full D1 720x480, with advanced encoding methods down to the GOP level.

Beyond that, the conversions are most often pressed to dual-layer DVDs, and use the maximum bitrates allowed or needed to retain all quality.

But you cannot compare this to the style of encoding found with anything you'd use at home, or even in a small studio/broadcast environment. There is a much larger gap from low to high, if nothing else.

TV shows box sets often differ a bit in encoding style from the movies.

Either way, saying "5Mbps" is just throwing out a random number.



Did I get it all?

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  #9  
03-10-2010, 12:49 PM
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I reset the all in wonder setting to your specifications. I didn't catch the part that 352 x 480 max. out at 4. I always understood that when you capture video that the capture is supposed to be on the second hard drive and not on the hard drive the operation system is on. I have tried to set the settings on the all in wonder program to capture on the 2nd hard drive and it will not. It will transfer the information to the second hard drive after I am done capturing. Is there a setting? Is that the way the all in wonder program works?
Also, I purchased a VCR with S-video. It is a JVC S-Video HR-S6900U VCR. I know that it isn't the best, but it is s-video. It will do until I get my panasonic 1980 repaired. But I understand it has good picture quality and will play about any tape that is put in it. I think I just about have my setup as far as I am going. P.S. I don't drop any frames when I am recording. I will post the part later when I read about the commerical dvd being set at 5. Thank you for your answer. This has been a great site.
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03-10-2010, 12:51 PM
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This is a great site.
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03-13-2010, 03:44 PM
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I said that I will show you where I got the information about the information about the bit rate sitting at 5. About 4 or 5 years ago I purchased ADS product to convert VHS tapes to DVD. I copied, and pasted the information below.
" Keep in mind that most Hollywood DVDís are produced at 4.5 mb/sec. this allows up to 133 minutes of audio and video on a DVD disk. With the ability to capture MPEG-2 and create DVD movies at 4 or 5 mb/sec. with variable bit rate you can produce video with the same high quality achieved on Hollywood DVD movies."
Just following up what I said I would do. They are talking about 720 x480.
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03-15-2010, 06:10 PM
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"purchased ADS product" --- I didn't have to read any further than that. It's amazing how much crappy information can be found in product ads, brochures and instructions books. The latter one is the most problematic, too, in my experience and observations.

We all know they were trying to make themselves sound better than they really were -- cheesy lines like "with the same high quality achieved on Hollywood DVD movies" just really take the cake.

"Same high quality", my @ss. Utter bollocks.

Thanks for sharing this.

Where was this copied/pasted from? The help file, help PDF, the website? I'd like to have a copy of the source.

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  #13  
03-18-2010, 10:14 PM
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The information was on C:\Program Files\ADSTech DVD Xpress\Formats.htm.
All I know is when I click on the link internet explorer came up with the information. The link to the information in on one of the screens that you have to go through to get to the program. I don't know how to copy and send you the information.
Also, I purchase an s-video vhs player. All I can say is what a differents! The colors are better and the picture is sharper. Thanks for putting me on the right road.
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  #14  
03-25-2010, 04:55 PM
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If you don't already have an ATI All In Wonder AGP Radeon card, we have several available for $75 plus shipping. A secondary option is the ATI 600 USB card, using Catalyst Media Center for MPEG-2 capture, or VirtualDub for lossless/uncompressed AVI capturing.

If you need anything else, let me know! Thanks.

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