Quantcast Best Capture Quality - digitalFAQ Forum
  #1  
03-15-2004, 05:35 PM
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Hello Smurf,

I have several VHS tapes of various qualities, mostly home movies that I would like to capture in the best quality possible, then burn them to a DVD. I have used several different methods with various results which I will explain later in this message.

The equipment I have is an ATI All in Wonder 8500DV card, a JVC VCR/DVD combo with S-video out for both VHS and DVD and a Sony Digital Video Camera DCR-TRV 38. My computer is a P4 with lots of hard disk space and 512 megs of RAM.

My software is Womble Video editor, Adobe Premiere 6.0, ATI MMC 8.7 and Nero 6.

First, I connected a VCR to the ATI card and captured the video tape using the guidelines for a composite capture on your web site, saving the file as a mpeg 2 using 720 x 480 resolution. In an effort to improve quality, I bought a new JVC VCR with S-Video output and connected it to the S-Video port on the ATI card, also saving it as an mpeg 2 and using 720 x 480 resolution. I read that if you run it through a video camera it would improve the quality even more. So, I bought the necessary cables and connected the S-Video out of my VCR to the S-Video connection on my Sony camera to the fire wire port on my computer using the Sony software for the capture. The problem with this is that the Sony software only allows 10 minutes of capture at one time and you have no choice as to the resolution, saving it as 320 x 240. The good part of the Sony software is that it is in a format that both Womble and Adobe will both open. Next, I tried using Adobe Premiere for the capture, again using the video camera, saving the file as a AVI with 720 x 480 resolution. The quality is good but the files are very large and Womble Video editor will not open them.

I would very much appreciate your opinion, giving the equipment and software I have what would be the best possible capture. I prefer using Womble over Adobe but will use which ever gives the best quality. Nero 6 has been able to burn both formats to DVDís with no problem, although the AVI files take much longer to burn. My editing really only consists of cutting out the bad parts but thought that I may use some of the filters in Adobe to help improve them. In a perfect world I would like to capture in a format that will open in both Womble and Adobe at a 720 x 480 resolution. Is this possible?

Thank you in advance for your help.
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  #2  
03-15-2004, 06:09 PM
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The card checks out good. As long as that DV aspect isn't giving you any hardware conflicts, you're good to go. The P4 and RAM sounds fine.

Womble MPEG VCR only opens MPEG files. The Womble MPEG Video Wizard is the same. MPEG only, won't open AVI.

S-Video in and of itself, is no better than composite. In fact, it can be WORSE, yes WORSE, than the s-video on certain stubborn source tapes. The first time I saw this anomaly a year or more ago, my jaw hit the floor. Not often, but it can happen.

If you are using VHS as the source, 720x480 is a huge overkill on resolution. But it's your preference on what you want to do here. I did a movie at 720x480 today myself, mainly because the disc would only be for that one movie. Just an observation.

What kind of JVC VCR are we talking about here? Model number.

Running the signal through a video camera won't necessarily do anything unless special processor filters are in the camera, which is not really all that common. TBC's and other filters only normally work when the tape is played from inside the camera. And not in what's called "passthrough" mode. I'm not familiar with all cameras, so you'd have to check your manual for such info.

The 320x240 is a big red stop sign. I'd avoid any method that did that much damage to the video quality. You'd want 352x480 interlaced video at a minimum.

The Sony format may just be MPEG-1, which Windows natively opens (which alloewd Adobe to open it too), and again Womble opens all MPEG files.

Before I forget, Adobe Premiere 6.0 is a huge headache If you can update or upgrade to 6.5, I'd HIGHLY suggest it. That was a very buggy version that was out for less than a year, the 6.0.

Capturing in Premiere will work, congrats on getting Premiere (and 6.0 most of all) for cooperating with the ATI card. Normally not easy to do. However, you captured AVI of some sort (you didn't share the settings or codec info). Womble will not open AVI.

An AVI is a large uncompressed file, or uses a codec for another compression algorithm. It will be big, and must first be encoded to MPEG for a DVD.

As far as Nero 6 is concered, Nero is burning software. ALl these extra fancy things in recent versions don't work real well, and are pretty much an afterthought to make the program seem better than it is. If it is possible, consider using dedicated authoring software (TMPGEnc DVD Author is easy to use, and cost like $50 or so from www.pegasys-inc.com). Nero 6 may try to always re-encode you file to its own spec, and always take huge amounts of time to do so. I'm not overly familiar with the non-burning aspects of the software, all my tests some months back earned it an "Uninstall Award".

Perfect world for you would be to use ATI MMC (free ATI software for ATI cards from www.ati.com) and then follow my guides on www.digitalFAQ.com for capturing ATI MPEG. After capturing, run it through Womble to edit and QUICKLY (like a few minutes quickly) save. Then author with easy software, TMPGEnc DVD Author if you can, or try to muddle through Nero 6 (the Nero HELP files in the software and documents are www.ahead.de are normally decent, at least enough to get you pointed in the right direction using Nero).

The catch is asking about using an MPEG in Adobe Premiere. My system is an anomaly because I have the LSX Encoder installed, and it is what allows me to open MPEG files in Premiere. Anyway, MPEG is not a good format to heavily edit (light Womble editing is fine), so capturing AVI in Premiere (and doing editing or whatever else you need to do, add effects, etc) and then exporting to a MPEG (a feature found on in Premiere 6.5 or higher) would be great. And then you could use the Premiere-exported file (now an MPEG) in Womble. Then feed those MPEGs to an authoring package to make the menus and create the DVD.

Have I covered it all?
I tend to go fast and straight to the point, so if something was confusing, ask for clarification.

-LS

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  #3  
03-17-2004, 03:43 AM
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Thanks for your answers to my questions. As you can tell I am somewhat new to video and appreciate the opportunity to ask questions.

After reading your response several times over, I have begun making some changes. I have downloaded a trial version of TMPGEne DVD Author and will evaluate it in the coming days. I have also contacted Adobe about upgrading to Premiere Pro. They tell me $200 for the upgrade, which I am considering.

I usually put four or less different video clips of less than 25 minutes on one DVD. Using Nero, four separate videos allowed me to make decent menus, so 720 x 480 was no problem. I will reconsider resolution after I become familiar with TMPGEne.

If I read your response correctly, it is your opinion that capturing from my VCR using your guidelines through the ATI MMC card and 8.7 software and saving it as a Mpeg 2 would yield the same quality as playing the tape on the VCR, running it through my Sony digital camcorder and capturing it as an AVI file in Adobe Premier and then converting it to a Mpeg 2 for play back on a DVD. I understand that AVI is better if extensive editing is going to be used. But for a straight capture and burning to a DVD, you see no difference in quality if both were captured at 720 x 480 resolution. Correct?

I will re-read your recommendations on resolution again. I was trying to get the best quality and went straight to the highest setting 720 x 480.

You asked about my JVC VCR. I read your recommendations for VCRís but could not find the ones you listed. According to the salesmen at Best Buy and they always tell the truth, it is very difficult if not impossible to purchase the ones on your list. He said the JVC HR-XVS44U is just as good, so I bought it. Would you agree?

Some of the video I am going to capture is old 16 millimeter video that has been transferred to VHS and is not in very good shape. I called several different video services about renting a TBC. My thought was if I saw a noticeable improvement I would purchase a TBC but so far no luck on renting one. I need to do more research as to just exactly what ills a TBC will cure.

I am going to stick with S-Video at this point. I have too much invested in Monster cables to not use them.

Thanks again, I appreciate your quick response and the service you are providing.





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  #4  
03-17-2004, 03:07 PM
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I would not go for Premiere Pro ... it has issues, according to many reports. I'd still look for 6.5 if you could. Either way, good luck on it.

On the AVI vs MPEG comments, yes, correct.

People at Best Buy are idiots (most of them, at least). I would not agree with their comments. The kind of JVC VCR I suggest is not available at consumer stores. It must be bought in a pro video/photo store, or ordered online. While your JVC is not horrible, it is a far, far cry from the JVC HRS7000-9000 series I suggested. Look for a JVC SR-V10U at www.bhphotovideo.com. This said however, if you are happy with what you got, then stick to it. Just know that the ones I suggest are much, much better. If all your source tapes are perfect quality, then the current VCR may be okay.

A simple TBC is an answer to instability, not to visiable quality. The DNR found inside a JVC TBC is what you want. It is digital noise reduction, and the VCR has filters. Given your source, I'd return that JVC to Best Buy, comment to the manager that his salesman was as helpful as a brick, and then make a purchase at B&H or another store online. Always remember the front page of www.digitalFAQ.com has some shopping tips about mid-way down.

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03-17-2004, 05:42 PM
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Thanks again, you really have me thinking. I have tried TMPGEne DVD Author and while I am just learning all of its features I find it far superior to Nero 6.

I will take your suggestion about the VCR. I checked on the B & H web site and they have a SR-V10U that I will order soon. I am a little confused about your TBC comments. Does the SR-V10U have the JVC TBC you recommended as a feature of the VCR or is that a separate device? Many of my source tapes are not in very good condition and I want to do everything, with in reason, to make them the best I can. When I get the new VCR I may ask for some assistance with the settings.

As for Adobe, my thinking for now is that I will use my ATI MMC software and save my captures as a MPEG 2, using your recommended presets. I find Womble much easier to work with than Adobe and with my clips as MPEG 2 the AVI problem goes away.

Again, you are a great help to me as I get started working with video, many times I cannot find a specific answer to my situation at the various sites on the internet. Thank you.

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03-17-2004, 09:41 PM
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The JVC SR-V10U contains the 2MB version of the JVC DNR-based TBC. This will probably do most of what you want. Images for the VCR and specs can be found at B&H and others.

The 9600-9900 have a 4MB version, and are slightly better, but they are just getting too hard to find, and they are a few hundred more. I think you'll do okay with the SR-V10U for casual use. You've not descrbied anything that needs super-strength, just a good dose of DNR/TBC from JVC.

Also be sure to play with the custom templates in TMPGEnc DVD Author, as the presets I find to be quite ugly. I'll eventually have detailed guides for this on the site.


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