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  #1  
02-21-2014, 03:34 PM
premiumcapture premiumcapture is offline
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What do you guys actually use for hardware? That guy spun an interesting tale and I'm curious what the pros use. The only reason I don't want to do it is I figure you will get a better picture for better hardware. I won't tell anyone.


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  #2  
02-21-2014, 04:04 PM
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This is a great question.

Unlike most other "video transfer services" that are vague about equipment, or pretend to have some special "secret sauce" method, we're completely open about what we use. It's setup that we're quite proud of, and took many years to assemble and tweak into the powerful workhorse that it is today. (And tomorrow, it may be even more powerful, as we keep on top of video tech almost daily.)

If you ever read our web hosting reviews, you'll notice that we're big on quality hardware being used, and of companies that are transparent. And when it comes to what we use for video work, we apply this same standard to ourselves.


The Hardware

Each analog workstation is equipped with:

- a Panasonic AG-1980P
- a JVC 9600 or 9800
- a JVC SR-V10U
- TBC-100, TBC-1000, and/or AVT-8170 TBCs
- SignVideo detailer
- Elite Video BVP-4 Plus proc amp
- Tapco or Behringer audio mixers
- JVC DR-M10 or M100 DVD recorder
- everything has quality wires -- which does NOT mean "gold" or Monster brand!
- dual- or quad-core computer with 5TB+ of storage, with 2-3 capture cards each; one card is an ATI All In Wonder
- multiple Pioneer and Samsung DVD and/or Blu-ray burners

There's also dozens of optional components that are slipped in where needed, when needed. For example, a Panasonic ES10 DVD recorder (for the sync filter).

There's dozens of VCRs, both for spares and for specialty needs. For example, several JVCs are purposely "broken" (misaligned) for troublesome tapes. We can disassemble the VCR quickly (slight custom mod to hardware), and tweak the posts for troublesome tapes. There's also several scrap VCRs here, for repair needs. We maintain equipment regularly, and have a stock of cleaning supplies. Quality VCR maintenance and minor repairs about $900 per year for all the decks.

Although we have numerous capture cards, the ATI All In Wonder cards outperform them all when it comes to consumer analog sources -- VHS, S-VHS, Video8 (8mm), Hi8 and Betamax. (MicroMV needs to be run analog, too. Sometimes even DV and Digital8 needs to be run analog, if the tapes have errors to restore.) We have (or had) cards from Matrox, Canopus, Blackmagic, Pinnacle, Hauppauge, AVer, DataVideo, dozens of "no-name" brands, and even other cards from ATI. The ATI AIW is simply the best here.

And DV should never, ever be used for converting video. IT IS NOT A CONVERSION FORMAT! It was invented for shooting only! And yes, we have DV converters for testing.

Wires always go bad over time, so we stock wires, and throw bad ones away at the first hint of noise.

Professional hardware really is an albatross; "something that causes persistent deep concern or anxiety". That's one of the reason we always tell people to be 100% sure that they want to DIY a project. Because the hardware can be a real nuisance. It's one reason the video repair forum here is so popular, with new posts made almost daily.


The Software

If you look around digitalFAQ.com, you'll notice that we not only use software -- we create filters AND share them here freely with others. I can't even begin to count the number of "video conversion services" that have downloaded and use our video/audio filters, or DVD/CD/Blu-ray case artwork templates. Simply put, a lot of businesses are only possible because we gave them the tools.

What's always amusing is that many people assume "professional video = expensive software". But when it comes to consumer analog formats, a lot of the software is low-cost or even free/open-source. It's the hardware that is the biggest expense.



... just got a phone call, have to edit this tonight.

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  #3  
02-21-2014, 04:56 PM
NJRoadfan NJRoadfan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kpmedia View Post
(MicroMV needs to be run analog, too. Sometimes even DV and Digital8 needs to be run analog, if the tapes have errors to restore.)
MicroMV supports 1:1 Firewire digital capture. It should be a MPEG2 Transport Stream like DVHS and HDV uses. CapDVHS and HDVSplit should be able to capture the stream to disk.
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  #4  
02-21-2014, 05:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJRoadfan View Post
MicroMV supports 1:1 Firewire digital capture. It should be a MPEG2 Transport Stream like DVHS and HDV uses. CapDVHS and HDVSplit should be able to capture the stream to disk.
Yes, it did support both USB2 and Firewire hardware for transfers. But the software to transfer the files was honestly unusable. There were only two programs that could do it. The proprietary Sony-supplied software has pretty much vanished online, and was the worst of the two anyway. Pinnacle Studio was the other, but it was extremely buggy, too. I forget the version number where it quit working -- either Pinnacle 8 or 9.

Beyond this, the software transfer method often missed portions of clips.

The analog transfer method is best here. So much for it being a "digital" format.

It's not DV, and DV methods/software does not work for MicroMV.

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  #5  
02-21-2014, 05:13 PM
NJRoadfan NJRoadfan is offline
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CapDVHS and HDVSplit are dedicated capture programs, not the buggy mess that MovieShaker and Pinnacle were. I use them with my HDV camcorder without a problem. Its worth giving it a shot.
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  #6  
02-21-2014, 05:29 PM
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I already tried CapDVHS years ago. It didn't work for MicroMV.

DV methods simply do not work.

Sometimes digital transfer is overrated anyway. The MicroMV glass (camcorder lens) wasn't all that good. So even though the resolution of the video was decent -- either 720x480 or 704x480, I forget -- the actual detail of the image was more like fuzzy DV (but better than VHS). The same could be said for many low-end AVC or DV camcorders.

The format was also really prone to signal dropouts, which totally screwed up attempts to transfer the footage. Even when analog, it needs a good TBC in there to not drop frames.

Notice that Wikipedia lists Ulead DVDWS2, Final Cut Pro, Windows Movie Maker, and some others. As usual, Wikipedia isn't accurate. Those don't work either. Heck, a quick Google search will reveal this is inaccurate bunk. Lots of people saw that Wikipedia noise, tried it, and when it didn't work, they went to forums asking what they were doing wrong. The answer was "nothing". Honestly, I think trolls sometimes add misinformation to Wikipedia to get their jollies.

Finding a good camera for this is almost impossible, as they easily went out of alignment. There is no VCR/VTR/deck for this format. The whole format is a great big PITA. We get them about once per year, and it's always a headache to work with. It was inferior to DV in almost every way imaginable, aside from using 15mbit broadcast 4:2:0 MPEG-2 (aka Blu-ray spec MPEG2!). Having a BD-ready shoot would have been nice!

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  #7  
03-23-2016, 05:10 PM
msgohan msgohan is offline
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This thread notes your NTSC S-VHS players, but what do you use for the other formats? PAL S-VHS, and NTSC/PAL Video8, Hi8, and Betamax?
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  #8  
03-27-2016, 01:56 AM
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- PAL VHS/S-VHS = JVC HR-S7965EK units
- SECAM VHS = Panasonic/Samsung worldwide
- Hi8/Video8, NTSC only = several Sony cameras
- MicroMV = Sony camera
- DV = several Canon cameras

No Betamax, no U-matic, no Betacam formats.

Keeping everything in working order can be a real PITA. Panasonic hardware is the worst for aging badly.

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