Quantcast Hi8 Capture HW/SW Recommendations - digitalFAQ Forum
  #1  
02-14-2010, 12:19 PM
djam0000 djam0000 is offline
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I have about 20 Hi8 tapes of family movies that I want to transfer to digital and edit. After a couple weeks reading the forums, I've worked myself into paralysis on what (if any) extra hardware/software I need to get good results and what format I should capture to for editing. The Hi8 tapes were recorded on a Sony TR81 camcorder, which eventually broke. It had problems with the tension roller when some of the video was recorded. Most of the tapes play fine, but a few have bad horizontal jitter and some have tearing at the top. A few tapes have a horizontal tearing line that slowly moves from top to bottom (only at the end of the tape). A few parts have crinkled tape along the edge (which I donít expect to recover). I definitely need TBC. I was considering buying a Canopus ADVC55 or ADVC110, but after reading some of lordsmurfís comments Iím not sure I want to go that route. Instead I was thinking about using the hardware I have and adding an AVT8710 TBC. I'm willing to spend another ~$200 or so on hardware or editing S/W if it will make a difference.

The hardware/software I currently have at my disposal include:
- Pinnacle 500-USB capture box (svideo input, USB output); Pinnacle Studio Ultimate Version 12
- Gateway SX28000 Quad Core 2.3GHz 64bit 4G RAM; Win7 Pro (only has half height PCI so card selection is limited; has 4pin firewire, esata, and USB)
- Sony EV-S900 Hi8 Player (purchased from ebay, but produces great picture when used with good tapes).
- JVC GZ-MG255U Everio Hard Disk camcorder (has svideo analog in and produces .MOD mpeg2 files)

I tried capturing two different ways
1) Sony EV-S900 Hi8 Svideo -> Pinnacle 500-USB -> Gateway SX2800 (capture from the Pinnacle box using Pinnacle Studio 12 Ultimate)
GSpot says the container for the Pinnacle capture is DV Type 2 AVI; dvsd codec
2) Sony EV-S900 Hi8 Svideo -> JVC Camcorder -> copy file to Gateway SX2800
GSpot says the container for the JVC file is DVD VOB format; MPEG-2 codec; 10080kb/s VBR

On the bad tapes capturing with the JVC camcorder dramatically improved the picture and eliminated almost all horizontal jitter. But it only slightly improved the scrolling horizontal line tearing. I assume the JVC must have some line TBC. But the problem is that the JVC only can record in .MOD files (encoded MPEG2). The other problem is that the JVC only has one channel audio-in (whereas the original tapes had stereo audio). But then the Pinnacle can only produce DV. I didnít realize that this was also compressed format.

So here are my questions:
Is MPEG2 significantly worse than DV, if I am going to edit in Studio 12?
Would I be better off adding an AVT8710 TBC than capturing to the JVC?
Should I replace my Pinnacle 500-USB capture box with a Tevion from Aldi (lordsmurf says they work well as SVideo USB capture cards) and add an an AVT8710 TBC in the middle?
Would the AVT processing cause audio/video synchronization problems?
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  #2  
02-16-2010, 04:32 AM
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Are you able to find a Tevion USB capture stick?

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  #3  
02-16-2010, 09:33 PM
djam0000 djam0000 is offline
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I have a few Aldi's near by here in Ohio, but didn't check yet if they have the Tevion USB in stock.
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  #4  
02-17-2010, 08:50 AM
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Well, before we continue too much more, see if that Tevion is even an option. See if it's in stock at your local Aldi. Remember that Aldi is like Big Lots or Tuesday Morning -- they only have what they have, and when it's gone, it's gone. Few things get restocked.

Tevion is the "house brand" for Aldi, as far as I know, but even then not everything gets a restock. For only $25-30 after tax, that Tevion USB stick was an amazingly good card -- better than many of the name-brand items from ATI and others. Most cards in that price range are crap (or even in the $50-100 range, lots of crap).

I think the Tevion is a rebadge of something else, overstock from an OEM, and the Tevion label was the branding given to the surplus sold only in Aldi. But I've never figured out who's card it is. It uses a generic "USB 2861" device driver, and the marking on the unit (and in the box/paperwork) were bare and non-identifying in any way.

I'll go ahead and answer some more of your question in the next post.

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  #5  
02-17-2010, 09:41 AM
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Quote:
I've worked myself into paralysis on what (if any) extra hardware/software I need to get good results and what format I should capture to for editing.
Well, you've found this site, so hopefully the guesswork, gambling and time/money spent doing it is over with.

Quote:
The Hi8 tapes were recorded on a Sony TR81 camcorder, which eventually broke. It had problems with the tension roller when some of the video was recorded. Most of the tapes play fine, but a few have bad horizontal jitter and some have tearing at the top. A few tapes have a horizontal tearing line that slowly moves from top to bottom (only at the end of the tape). A few parts have crinkled tape along the edge (which I don’t expect to recover).
Ewww, ugly. Unfortunately, unlike VHS formats, 8mm based formats are either good or bad. There's no way to "track" a bad 8mm tape -- it's basically an alignment issue, though more complicated than VHS alignment.

At least with VHS, you could purposely "break" (misalign) a machine, in hopes of getting the signal again. I just today sold an extra JVC VCR that has an ability to be "broken" in this manner without special tools.

Your only hope would be to misalign a Hi8 deck in the same way. But even that, that sometimes doesn't work.

Quote:
bad horizontal jitter
This could possible be fixed in software, with a de-shake type of filter with heavy emphasis on the vertical noise. This same topic has been something we've research heavily in the past 6 months.

lordsmurf has asked about it in this thread on videohelp: http://forum.videohelp.com/threads/3...uction-filters

and a good answer was given near the bottom at http://forum.videohelp.com/threads/3...=1#post1933820 in the 14th post in that thread.

More examples of deshake and dejitter are found at http://www.digitalfaq.com/forum/show...oved-1144.html -- using different methods.

The style of movement/jitter you have will determine the method of attack required. While the solution for AVI Synth is shown in that VH post, it's not necessarily better than the method not-yet-shared in the sample Dukes clips on this site.

Quote:
A few parts have crinkled tape along the edge (which I don’t expect to recover)
While you may not be able to recover 100% of the signal, audio and portions of the video may be fine. I dealt with a project late last year where the VHS-C tape had significant damage from misalignment during recording. The solution was to crop the 4x3 video in a 16x9 widescreen version, cutting out the bad parts of the video. It turned out great, the client was quite happy with it. Buzzing in the audio was filtered out using the methods discussed at http://www.digitalfaq.com/forum/show...atic-1163.html

Quote:
I definitely need TBC.
Just be clear on what a TBC is, and how the various types of TBCs differ in what function they will perform for you. Read more at http://www.digitalfaq.com/forum/showthread.php/alternative-avt-8710-1853.html

Quote:
I definitely need TBC. I was considering buying a Canopus ADVC55 or ADVC110, but after reading some of lordsmurf’s comments I’m not sure I want to go that route.
Yeah, a DV box is not a TBC, and the DV codec itself is not the best compression format for capturing and archiving tape-based analog consumer/prosumer formats (VHS, S-VHS, 8mm, Hi8, etc). That was recently discussed in depth at http://www.digitalfaq.com/forum/showthread.php/video-conversion-service-p10686.html

Quote:
Instead I was thinking about using the hardware I have and adding an AVT8710 TBC. I'm willing to spend another ~$200 or so on hardware or editing S/W if it will make a difference.
Budget is workable.
AVT-8710 may or may not be your best buy at the moment. Let's see how this pans out before buying anything just yet.

Quote:
- Pinnacle 500-USB capture box (svideo input, USB output); Pinnacle Studio Ultimate Version 12
It's alright, bottom-end device. I have one that I'm about to sell. Bought it for testing, and it mostly just aggravated me in the higher-end testing. It's basically the same as a cheap DVD recorder -- only on the computer, in terms of quality of output.

Quote:
Gateway SX28000 Quad Core 2.3GHz 64bit 4G RAM; Win7 Pro (only has half height PCI so card selection is limited; has 4pin firewire, esata, and USB)
Good hardware for encoding speeds. The Win7 works against you, as will limited cards/ports.

Quote:
Sony EV-S900 Hi8 Player (purchased from ebay, but produces great picture when used with good tapes).
As expected.

Quote:
JVC GZ-MG255U Everio Hard Disk camcorder (has svideo analog in and produces .MOD mpeg2 files)
Decent home camera for shooting new videos, won't really affect capturing/converting your old videos.

Quote:
1) Sony EV-S900 Hi8 Svideo -> Pinnacle 500-USB -> Gateway SX2800 (capture from the Pinnacle box using Pinnacle Studio 12 Ultimate)
GSpot says the container for the Pinnacle capture is DV Type 2 AVI; dvsd codec
The AVT-8710 TBC would help for stabilizing any signal errors in this type of chain. Visual improvements would vary depending upon the errors present in the tape and errors fixed by the TBC.

Just to be clear, such a chain is Hi8 cam > TBC > capture box/card

Quote:
2) Sony EV-S900 Hi8 Svideo -> JVC Camcorder -> copy file to Gateway SX2800
GSpot says the container for the JVC file is DVD VOB format; MPEG-2 codec; 10080kb/s VBR
I would only do this at the equivalent at XP on a DVD recorder -- whatever the smallest amount of time is (best quality recording mode). Same as above for TBC.

Quote:
On the bad tapes capturing with the JVC camcorder dramatically improved the picture and eliminated almost all horizontal jitter. But it only slightly improved the scrolling horizontal line tearing. I assume the JVC must have some line TBC.
TBC, frame sync, both -- clearly it has some filtered going on for you, so that's good.

Quote:
But the problem is that the JVC only can record in .MOD files (encoded MPEG2).
Depending on the encode quality, it may not be an issue, especially at higher quality modes (lower compression). Then again, the MPEG files may not handle the hand-held video source well, nor would it necessarily edit/re-compress well later on.

Quote:
The other problem is that the JVC only has one channel audio-in (whereas the original tapes had stereo audio).
I doubt the tapes had true stereo. Most home cameras will at best record mono to both channels. It's still mono, just in both a L and R speaker. You need two separate mic inputs for true stereo, and it has to be mixed properly.

Quote:
But then the Pinnacle can only produce DV. I didn’t realize that this was also compressed format.
Yep, both 5:1 data rate and 4:1:1 colorspace compression.

Quote:
Is MPEG2 significantly worse than DV, if I am going to edit in Studio 12?
It can be, yes. It really depends on the source videos. If hand-held video, I'd say yes.

Quote:
Would I be better off adding an AVT8710 TBC than capturing to the JVC?
These are two difference devices, different purposes.

Quote:
Would the AVT processing cause audio/video synchronization problems?
No.



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  #6  
02-23-2010, 01:28 AM
djam0000 djam0000 is offline
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I decided to go ahead and get the AVT-8710 TBC, and to my surprise it made no improvement at all. This surprised me seeing how much better the picture was when recording to the svideo-input on my JVC camcorder. I assumed the JVC was just a cheap line TBC - but it seems far better than the AVT-8710 full frame TBC.

The link below contains a montage with the three ways I captured
1) (left pane) Sony EV-S900 Hi8 -> Pinnacle 500-USB DV capture
2) (middle pane) Sony EV-S900 Hi8 -> AVT-8710 TBC -> Pinnacle 500-USB DV capture
3) (right pane) Sony EV-S900 Hi8 Svideo -> JVC Camcorder mpeg2 capture

https://docs.google.com/leaf?id=0B9X...MTE4N2Y0&hl=en
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  #7  
02-23-2010, 08:07 PM
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The AVT-8710 is an external TBC, and is meant almost entirely for signal stabilization. Visual improvements will vary, but it's more likely that you won't see anything happening. A TBC of this type is for allowing the process of TAPE>DVD to even happen. A dirty signal (no TBC) will often give you a false copy protection message, and will not let you copy your tapes to DVD. No, it doesn't matter if protection is there or not -- any signal error can trip the anti-copy system in digital recorders and capture cards.

I looked at your sample.

The shaky image needs timebase correction and/or synchronization, but not the kind provided by an AVT-8710. It needs corrections that affect visual image aspects, too.

The JVC probably has a synchronization filter or frame sync similar to the ones found in Panasonic ES series DVD recorders, among other devices.

That Sony camera plugged into a Panasonic may help. (Not just any Panasonic, the ES series machines - ES10, ES15). It's used in passthrough mode, nothing is recorded with the Panasonic. It may or may not be possible to use the JVC like this.

  • Sony cam, analog out >
    • JVC cam, analog out >
      • capture card
Of course, that capture card isn't the greatest. Not bad, but not the best.

Another option is to get outside help, since it's just a few tapes. I worked on a project just like this about 5 days ago -- it turned out beautiful, all errors removed and accounted for. If that's a possibility, let me know. That $200 budget could get a good amount of work done. No more fuss for you, no more experiments/guesswork, no more boxes of unnecessary gadgets.

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  #8  
02-23-2010, 10:54 PM
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I've gone ahead and attached the video preview to the post as a Flash embedded object.

"Reload page to view video."


It's actually a pretty good example of corrected and uncorrected timebase/sync -- a great before/after video. Would you mind if I used this on some of the guides here on the site?


Attached Files
File Type: mp4 TimebaseSync-Comparisons.mp4 (2.48 MB, 6 downloads)
File Type: wmv compare.wmv (5.01 MB, 3 downloads)

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  #9  
02-24-2010, 10:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by admin View Post
It's actually a pretty good example of corrected and uncorrected timebase/sync -- a great before/after video. Would you mind if I used this on some of the guides here on the site?
Sure, go ahead and use it.

By the way I contacted TV One technical support on the AVT-8710 and included my sample video (Nice technical support - I got a prompt response the same day). They indicated that for my application the AVT-8710 seems out of it's depth.
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