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  #1  
01-20-2012, 01:35 AM
ErikCalifornia ErikCalifornia is offline
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Hello to DigitalFAQ!

I have scoured through the threads, enjoyed the friendly discussion environment, quality of information, and most importantly the hard effort and work that DigitalFAQ seems to put into helping others for free as well as other fellow premium members. Because of this and after a few months of reading many threads, I have decided to become a premium member myself as a way to give back and contribute to this website! Also, I may later donate as a way to say thanks as I move forward on my project. Therefore, today I welcome myself officially to the website. As for my background, I have grown up and live in California . So hello to all the DigitalFAQ staff from the sunny side of the USA!

Obviously, everyone has a purpose to be on here. Some are here for fun and pleasure, others for their hobbies, some perhaps for work related issues, others for their own projects, ...etc. For me, I am getting everything together so I can transfer my family videos from VHS into the digital world. This is important for me to do before the VHS tapes deteriorate from age. Also, I want them transferred because they do take up room, and I rather not keep the VHS tapes forever.

Below is the hardware I have collected over time in hopes that it can be used to transfer my VHS tapes into digital; if anything it gives me things to try, play with, and experiment with; after all, isn't this what we all are really doing? Collection is based off what I have learned from reading many threads:

1) JVC HR-S7800 (have already had for some time)
2) JVC HR-S9911U (can I suffice without the JVC HR-S9800U? Should I still spring for one?)
3) DataVideo TBC-1000
4) Elite Video BVP+
5) Grass Valley ADVC300
6) ATI TV Wonder 600 USB 2.0
7) DataColor Spyder3Pro

Choice of software so far:
1) VirtualDub
2) Sony Vegas Pro (sophisticated enough yet cheap enough for me to buy)

Currently, I am running Windows 7 64-bit. I am among those who have successfully installed ATI TV Wonder 600 USB 2.0 in Windows 7 thanks to lordsmurf's thread and capture drives for Windows 7. The 600 USB seems to work in VirtualDub, but I don't seem to be able to get it to work in any other application. For instance it doesn't work in Sony Vegas Pro 64-bit.

My workflow is setup as follows (all S-Video through the chain):

[JVC HR-S9911U] --> [DataVideo TBC-1000] --> [Elite Video BVP+] --> [ATI TV Wonder 600 USB 2.0] --> [Window 7-64bit].

Please bare with me as I ask my questions. I need to start somewhere so that I can start to move forward on transferring my family videos in the coming weeks and months. As I grow, I'm sure I'll be able to ask more specific questions. For now, these questions I have wondered about and may be something I dig deeper into as I move forward with you and everyone else who cares to share their own opinions and thoughts:

1) Now that I have all my hardware (and some software), what's the best way for me to calibrate or ensure that I have everything working correctly? Test patterns (e.g. SMPTE color bars)? Software based Waveform monitor and VectorScope monitor (does this fit in and if so when and how)? Any realtime Waveform/VectorScope software during live capture?

2) When capturing video, does it really matter that the captured video is NTSC video compliant? In other words, if my video is not in-between the black and white levels of what is considered broadcast safe NTSC video on capture, does that even really matter? It would seem, though I could be wrong, that I am still capturing all the analog signal into digital data even when the video is outside the black and white levels for NTSC. That through post processing I could THEN make the video NTSC video compliant later on. Or, is it better to capture all video within the black and white levels of NTSC video? I'd like to capture at the highest quality possible.

3) Let's take the pure color black for instance. When I see black on the VHS tape, how do I ensure it maps to black in the computer world? The same question goes for red, green, and blue. How do I get the colors to properly map to the computer space? How should I be thinking about this as I transfer the VHS tapes to my computer?

4) Though I can get into this more later by showing some examples (I can attach pictures and/or video later on), currently I seem to have a slow upward moving wave running through the video when the TBC-1000 and BVP+ are chained together. If I plug each in independently and look at the video, the video seems fine. It's only when they are chained together do I get a slow horizontal wave that slowly moves upwards. Actually, it's not really that noticeable. However, without a doubt, you can still slightly see it in the video. Maybe someone has also experienced this issue?

5) 720x480 seems to be the recommended capture resolution. Yet, today's higher resolutions consist of HD at 1920x1080. Why can't I capture my VHS tapes at 1920x1080? Or, why isn't there a capture card that will take the NTSC video signal and capture at 1920x1080. Or, if there is such a way, why is it not recommended? When I look at 720x480, why should I believe that it's a resolution that should satisfy the transfer of my family VHS videos to digital? In the future, when I share and watch these family videos, I most likely will have a larger video display with a higher resolution. How will 720x480 upscale (or look) at 1920x1080? Since larger displays are 1920x1080 or greater, why not capture at 1920x1080? Or, will it suffice simply to capture all VHS at 720x480 and then upscale it somehow in the future to 1920x1080? Obviously, what I am trying to get at is why I should be satisfied with capturing at 720x480 in terms of viewing in the future?

6) In my workflow, do you recommend I view the captured video on a 1920x1080 HD display? Should I have this in my chain to make sure the video looks good?

7) Is there any additional hardware you suggest I purchase that may be helpful towards my endeavors to transfer my family videos? Better capture card? Anything better then the ATI 600 USB since I am in Windows 7? I am considering setting up an additional XP box, but if possible, would like to stay in the Windows 7 world. Or will the ATI 600 USB suffice? Is there really any benefit to a better card? If so, please help to explain why.

As I move forward, I thank you all in advance who contribute to the conversation and this thread as it moves forward!

-Erik
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  #2  
01-31-2012, 01:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ErikCalifornia View Post
Hello to DigitalFAQ!
Hello Erik, and welcome to the site.
Thanks very much for becoming a valued Premium Member of the community. It is appreciated.

Quote:
This is important for me to do before the VHS tapes deteriorate from age.
Magnetic videotapes have a realistic lifespan of about 35-65 years, before they start to seriously degrade beyond playability. If your tapes are from the 1980s, 1990s or 2000s, then there's no immediate need to rush. I just want to put that thought out there. You still have plenty of time to slowly do things properly. If you were an early videotape adopter, and have 1970s VHS tapes, then there is some sense of urgency. While early 1980s tapes can make you cringe from time to time, the idea that tapes are "fading" or "aging" is more hype than truth.

Storage is more important than age. Basement, attics, garages and barns do more damage than the toll of time, as the most common causes of mold and oxide shedding.

Quote:
Also, I want them transferred because they do take up room, and I rather not keep the VHS tapes forever.
Just be aware that future transfer methods may be able to archive the tapes in ways currently not possible. Sometimes that's due to changes in technology, and sometimes it's due to changes in your own knowledge. I made the mistake of throwing away some tapes in past years, only to discover I could have done a much better job with my knowledge/tools 10 years later. Luckily, most of my mistakes were just TV recordings, for which official releases were eventually available. That saving grace would not be possible for family home movies, of course.

Quote:
1) JVC HR-S7800 (have already had for some time)
2) JVC HR-S9911U (can I suffice without the JVC HR-S9800U? Should I still spring for one?)
3) DataVideo TBC-1000
4) Elite Video BVP+
5) Grass Valley ADVC300
6) ATI TV Wonder 600 USB 2.0
7) DataColor Spyder3Pro
All good stuff.

(Well, the Canopus box is just a DV box. Nothing special. Not bad, but the ATI 600 may be better.)

The 9911 and 9800 realistically have very little real-world differences. There is less RAM in the 9911, but it's more efficient. The 9911 JVC transport is different (I believe), and inferior, but that may not necessarily matter. I also don't remember if the 9911 has the Dynamic Drum or not. I'm going off memory here. I believe some of these nitpicks have been discussed in the forum in the past -- likely by NJRoadfan and myself. I wouldn't pass up a functional 9911. It's fine. Again -- nitpicks.

What sort of computer monitor do you have? The reason I ask is because most cheap LCDs have very out-of-spec (un-calibrate-able) values. To get a decent degree of accuracy with your videos, you'll want to use a high quality monitor. For example, the Viewsonic VP2365-LED 23-Inch Wide e-IPS LED ($315 at Amazon). Otherwise you'll just be calibrating against the flawed hardware, instead of the visual image displayed by the hardware.

Quote:
Choice of software so far:
1) VirtualDub
2) Sony Vegas Pro (sophisticated enough yet cheap enough for me to buy)
Also good stuff.

Quote:
Currently, I am running Windows 7 64-bit. I am among those who have successfully installed ATI TV Wonder 600 USB 2.0 in Windows 7 thanks to lordsmurf's thread and capture drives for Windows 7. The 600 USB seems to work in VirtualDub,
You want it to work in ATI CMC for MPEG-2 capturing, and VirtualDub for lossless AVI capturing. That's it.

Quote:
but I don't seem to be able to get it to work in any other application. For instance it doesn't work in Sony Vegas Pro 64-bit.
Sony Vegas is an NLE. Never use it for capturing. That's an "add-on" function that works quite lousy. Vegas is far too piggy on resources to allow enough breadth for flawless capturing. Adobe Premiere and Final Cut Pro generally have the same complaints -- not good at capturing, lots of problems. Therefore don't use an editor for capturing tasks.

Quote:
My workflow is setup as follows (all S-Video through the chain):
[JVC HR-S9911U] --> [DataVideo TBC-1000] --> [Elite Video BVP+] --> [ATI TV Wonder 600 USB 2.0] --> [Window 7-64bit].
Looks great.

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  #3  
02-01-2012, 12:18 AM
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Quote:
what's the best way for me to calibrate or ensure that I have everything working correctly? Test patterns (e.g. SMPTE color bars)?
This is such a loaded question. The first part of the equation is starting out with hardware that is accurate, or at least can come close to it. When it comes to the computer monitor, the aforementioned Spyder calibration unit is a good place to start. For previewing on a monitor, look at using the Avia discs.

Quote:
2) When capturing video, does it really matter that the captured video is NTSC video compliant? In other words, if my video is not in-between the black and white levels of what is considered broadcast safe NTSC video on capture, does that even really matter?
I'm not sure I understand this. If you're capturing video, then it's going to conform to a certain specification. If it's a video tape, it's a variation of NTSC, PAL or SECAM. There are no other choices that I'm aware of. "NTSC safe" is generally a term used for creating content in the RGB color space, on a computer, such as images in Photoshop, or rendered motion graphics in LightWave 3D or Maya.

Quote:
When I see black on the VHS tape, how do I ensure it maps to black in the computer world?
Well, that's just the thing. NTSC black doesn't map to RGB black. In NTSC, RGB black would be considered "blacker than black", and additionally it would pull shadows with it, thereby clipping/coring the black level of the video. You'd lose image tonal fidelity and picture details in the process. If you need to convert NTSC video to streaming video -- a version used only on Youtube, for example -- then you'd process a special version in an editor like VirtualDub or Adobe Premiere Pro, and adjust levels and contrast accordingly.

Quote:
I seem to have a slow upward moving wave running through the video
Generally speaking, this is a power related error. Dirty power is causing feedback and interference somewhere. It can be inside the devices, or it can be external. Be sure you put video hardware on a battery backup UPS, not a weenie surge strip or directly into a wall outlet. This will not only protected the gear, but tends to clean up the power input. (Some units have a specific "AVR" feature that often also conditions the power, too.) Look for models by APC. A cheap UPS is about $50, while the good ones are at least $175.

Quote:
5) 720x480 seems to be the recommended capture resolution. Yet, today's higher resolutions consist of HD at 1920x1080. Why can't I capture my VHS tapes at 1920x1080?
You need to read this: Guide to Understanding Video Sources, Part 2 – Capturing Videotapes

VHS doesn't realistically have detail beyond a maximum threshold of about 360x480 pixels. Realistically, it's less. The only reason 720x480 is so often recommended as a capture resolution is more about the hardware in a video workflow, and not the resolution of the source. Some cards simply behave poorly beyond their well-calibrated Full D1 720x480 resolution. And then secondary hardware like detailers (SignVideo, Vidicraft) can "fake" a small amount of additional detail that would be lost even with the best 352x480 capture cards. Capture resolution is, therefore, dependent both on the source format and the hardware used for digital video conversion.

Quote:
Or, if there is such a way, why is it not recommended? ... How will 720x480 upscale (or look) at 1920x1080?
It will generally look very poor. That your HDTV upscales video is an entirely different topic, even though both are within the realm of "resolution". This would quickly get into a jargon-heavy technical conversation, and refer to high-end brand names of video technologies (for example, Faroujda or Snell & Wilcox).

Quote:
6) In my workflow, do you recommend I view the captured video on a 1920x1080 HD display? Should I have this in my chain to make sure the video looks good?
All that a high resolution display will do is show you the noise that most people did not realize existed on VHS tapes, analog cable, SD digital cable, SD digital satellite, etc. Inevitably, you'll view it on HD monitors in 2012 and beyond, but you need not use HD to judge the quality of SD video too harshly. Concentrate on chroma noise, grain, etc -- don't panic at the lack of high detail, the analog/digital grain noise, etc.

Quote:
7) Is there any additional hardware you suggest I purchase that may be helpful towards my endeavors
You need a good monitor, as mentioned in my last post. Aside from that, I really do think you're fine.

If you want to splurge on some gear that may assist in detail, look at the SignVideo detailers (www.signvideo.com) but understand those generally only help with the VHS was SP mode in really sharp quality to begin with. And you'll be adding fake detail, by using psychovisual tricks similar to Photoshop unsharp masks. It's edge correction, which can be overdone (halos, technically known as "ringing" in video).

Remember to be mindful of quality, but never get obsessive.

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