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-   -   Looking for VHS capture advice-CBR/VBR, bitrate, res upconversion, dropped frames (http://www.digitalfaq.com/forum/video-capture/3422-vhs-capture-advice.html)

jtrevor99 08-30-2011 06:40 PM

Looking for VHS capture advice-CBR/VBR, bitrate, res upconversion, dropped frames
 
So I'm starting a project to convert all of our family's VHS and 8MM tapes over to DVD. With help from the digitalfaq site and other research I've decided on the following inexpensive setup:

--Using Honestech VHS-to-DVD 5 with latest updates and firmware
--352x480 @ 5000kbps CBR initial capture (my machine apparently isn't strong enough for 720x480 capture without dropped frames)
--Conversion to 720x480 capture @ 90% to 98% quality VBR, in preparation for burning to DVD or for safe-storage on a hard drive


My specs are:
  • Intel Core 2 Duo @2.26GHz
  • Windows 7 Ultimate x64
  • Nvidia GeForce 9600M graphics card
  • 4 GB RAM
  • 1 TB external hard drive, USB 2
  • Latest firmware and software installed

Question 1.
I understand that there's no reason to go higher than 5000kbps when you're only capturing at 352x480. But what about when you're later upconverting to a higher resolution? Should I allow the VBR to exceed 5000kbps--i.e. is a higher bitrate needed to preserve quality when upconverting the resolution? Should I capture at 8000kbps instead due to the planned upconversion? (And yes, I know the benefit of VBR is iffy when disk space is so cheap. But many of my relatives have old computers where space is still a luxury.)



Question 2.
I've used every method I can think of, including everything on the digitalfaq website, to prevent dropped frames, but I still encounter them from time to time - usually around 10-20% dropped frames for 6 of every 30 minutes. I assume it's due to hardware limitations, since I've shut off all nonessential processes, disabled antivirus/antispyware/firewall, etc. Yet my CPU and graphics card only cap at around 40% during capture.
It's definitely not due to damage on the tape since the skipping is in a different place each time and is consistent across tapes, and I doubt it's due to a bad VCR.

I've thought about trying the following to see if any of them help with dropped frames. Has anyone tried them? Anyone have other advice?
  • Changing the capturing software's priority to Above Normal or High
  • Changing the capturing software's affinity so it only uses one core, instead of both
  • Tweaking the Compatibility Settings of the capture software (what settings should change?)
  • Running in Safe Mode

Any help is appreciated.

jtrevor99 08-30-2011 11:22 PM

A few additional details and questions, in case they are relevant:
--I am using a GoVideo DVR5000 VCR for capture. It's a 4-head VCR that's "S-VHS capable".
--I know that one solution to the problem would be to get some better equipment than a USB capture card. But I'm looking for suggestions (if there are any) that do not involve new equipment. I settled on Honestech because, from what I could tell, it's one of the best USB capture devices out there.

--I'm just using the default codecs that shipped with Windows 7 at the moment. Are there any MPEG codecs that you would recommend over these?
--Could part of the problem be due to running a 32-bit application in a 64-bit environment?

jtrevor99 08-31-2011 07:53 PM

I contacted Honestech for help on the dropped frames as well - at least so far, they haven't been able to offer anything other than the obvious (ie all of their suggestions also are on this site). Any ideas are greatly appreciated!

admin 09-01-2011 07:20 AM

1 Attachment(s)
I'm having to spent most of my time on the new site, while juggling support questions for the back half of the week and weekend. So just bear with me, as I try to work everything in. (This excludes about 50 videos being processed, too!)

______________


Ideally, you'll NEVER want to resize upwards. What is the reason for wanting to upscale the video to 720x480 ?

______________

Install VirtualDub: http://www.digitalfaq.com/forum/vide...lters-pre.html

Go to File > Capture AVI
Go to Device >

... and tell me what's listed.

For example:

Attachment 1703

I'm not confident your system can capture MPEG, given the lousy quality of pack-in software, combined with the low quality of devices from companies like Honestech. So let's see if AVI is even an option, and we can look at AVI > MPEG encoding next, as needed.

Would you be open to spending maybe $50-75 on a better card, to capture MPEG video?
For example, the ATI 600 USB card: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...SIN=B0035BJGYW

What are these specs of your computer: Internal hard drive space, laptop or desktop?

jtrevor99 09-01-2011 08:43 AM

Thanks! Don't worry, I completely understand your being busy (same here) and am just glad to get any response at all - I'm pulling my hair out here!

I'm at work right now so will have to post the VirtualDub specs tonight. In the meantime, to answer your other questions:


(1) Why I'm upscaling. I was planning to later burn these to video DVD for playback, in addition to safe-storage as MPEG data files. My understanding (which very well could be wrong) is that standard DVD specs call for 720x480 resolution, so either I can upscale now, or have that handled during the video DVD burning. Let me know if I'm wrong. (I've also considered 704x480 resolution to preserve aspect but am not sure if that would work.)

(2) Yeah, I suspect that ANY USB capture device I purchase is not going to produce the greatest results. Honestech 5 has the highest reviews of the USB capture cards I've looked at, but that's not saying much! Still, I'm happy with the captures it's created, other than the dropped frames--few if any distortions, no coloration issues, etc.

(3) Admittedly I've never heard of the ATI card you linked to - apparently I need to spend more time in the hardware section of this site :). I would be willing to spend another $50-$100 to get good captures, possibly even up to $200. After I post the VirtualDub specs, any advice you can give me on the best capture setup in that price range for my (weak) rig and price range would be appreciated!

(4) I'm currently using an Asus M50Vm laptop with a 320GB (2 partition) internal hard drive. I also have access to a desktop with an 800GB internal hard drive, but I don't think it's any stronger than my laptop - would have to check specs.

jtrevor99 09-02-2011 07:42 AM

OK, here's what VirtualDub shows. (Nice program BTW.)


0: Microsoft WDM Image Capture (Win32) (VFW)
1: USB2.0 UVC 1.3M WebCam (DirectShow)
2: USB2.0 VIDBOX NW03 (DirectShow)
3: Screen Capture
4: Video File (Emulation)

jtrevor99 09-02-2011 04:22 PM

I've been tinkering around a bit with VirtualDub, and discovered a couple of factoids that may help:

(1) Interestingly, the LOWER I set the Disk I/O buffer, the better. Setting at 1x64k (the smallest accepted setting) allows the recording to go the longest before encountering dropped/inserted frames. I haven't seen much difference from enabling/disabling Windows write caching, whether I've turned on/off the same on the external drive itself in Device Manager.

(2) It's frame inserting, not frame dropping, that I'm getting. With a small buffer, I can go for several minutes - anywhere from 6 to 20--without a single inserted frame. Then the inserted frames start accumulating rapidly till they hit my 1% acceptance rate.

(3) The point where frame dropping/inserting first happens often roughly coincides with the point at which the video stream hits 4GB. (I haven't figured out any way to capture compressed video with this Honestech card; I'm wondering if doing so would help.)

(4) It doesn't appear to be a CPU or RAM cap issue - I have plenty of RAM and I've never seen my CPU hit greater than 75%.

_K__ 09-02-2011 07:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jtrevor99 (Post 17166)
(1) Why I'm upscaling. I was planning to later burn these to video DVD for playback, in addition to safe-storage as MPEG data files. My understanding (which very well could be wrong) is that standard DVD specs call for 720x480 resolution, so either I can upscale now, or have that handled during the video DVD burning. Let me know if I'm wrong. (I've also considered 704x480 resolution to preserve aspect but am not sure if that would work.).

DVD specs support:
Quote:

NTSC (NTSC Film) Video:
Up to 9.8 Mbps* (9800 kbps*) MPEG2 video
Up to 1.856 Mbps (1856 kbps) MPEG1 video
720 x 480 pixels MPEG2 (Called Full-D1)
704 x 480 pixels MPEG2
352 x 480 pixels MPEG2 (Called Half-D1, same as the CVD Standard)
352 x 240 pixels MPEG2
352 x 240 pixels MPEG1 (Same as the VCD Standard)
29,97 fps*
23,976 fps with 3:2 pulldown = 29,97 playback fps (NTSC Film, this is only supported by MPEG2 video)
16:9 Anamorphic (only supported by 720x480)
Quote:

PAL Video:
Up to 9.8 Mbps* (9800 kbps*) MPEG2 video
Up to 1.856 Mbps (1856 kbps) MPEG1 video
720 x 576 pixels MPEG2 (Called Full-D1)
704 x 576 pixels MPEG2
352 x 576 pixels MPEG2 (Called Half-D1, same as the CVD Standard)
352 x 288 pixels MPEG2
352 x 288 pixels MPEG1 (Same as the VCD Standard)
25 fps*
16:9 Anamorphic (only supported by 720x576)

jtrevor99 09-05-2011 04:12 PM

Well, after a lot more trial and error, I think I've finally found a combination that works for me.
For whatever reason, my computer REALLY does not like the video overlay. (I knew better than to have the Preview Pane going, but didn't think the overlay would cause so many problems.) Once I turned it off in VitualDub, most of the dropped/inserted frames issues disappeared. I also was able to bump my capture resolution up to 480x480, better than the 352x480 I was using.

I could probably do even better with a different capture card but this works well enough for me. Thanks for your help.

EDIT: Per K's post above I know 480x480 isn't a standard DVD resolution. Guess I'll have to scale by 704/720x480 after all, or capture at 352x480 instead.

kpmedia 09-06-2011 03:23 AM

I would simply capture and stay with 352x480. You gain nothing by re-upscaling to 704/720x480, nor do you really gain anything by capturing at 704/720x480 when it comes to VHS sources. VHS video resolution is 240 analog lines, which is most comparable to about 330x480 theoretical max resolution. In reality, it can fall closer to 250x480 or 300x480 most of the time, depending on various factors (grade of VHS tape, quality of VCR heads at recording time, etc).

Overlay is known to cause problems on some systems, including one of mine. Simply use the non-overlay preview option, which can be choppy but does not interfere with the capturing resources. It's for "preview" anyway, not watching, so choppy frame loss on a preview is preferable to choppy frame loss on the actual capture.

I do believe you'd get better quality from a better card, but this should suffice.

After you capture to lossless Huffyuv AVI files, you'll need to encode to MPEG-2 for DVD-Video, as well as author to DVD. Assuming that your workflow to VHS to DVD, and not something else (to Blu-ray or for Youtube, for example). Start new threads on MPEG encoding and/or authoring, in the proper forum sections, if/when you need help on that topic.

As a shortcut, TMPGEnc Plus is a good-yet-inexpensive MPEG Encoder, for all of $37. Buy here: Pegasys / TMPGEnc

And then TMPGEnc Authoring Works, from the same company, at the same link above, is an easy DVD authoring program for $99. There are some freeware alternatives out there, too, although there is a somewhat high learning curve involved, and are not without their bugs and frustrations. TAW4 is dummy-friendly, and easy to use -- especially if you're making menu-less DVDs or want basic menu templates. There's a few options to choose from, it you want to discuss it more; again, in a new thread dedicated to that new topic.

Thanks.


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