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  #1  
09-09-2015, 06:21 PM
gabemcg gabemcg is offline
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Hi All--Glad to find an active resource/community here. I've done a bit of reading, and found a original-owner selling a lightly used JVC HR-S9500U on craigslist for $200. (let me know if this is a bad deal, I like the idea of buying locally vs rolling the dice on amazon/ebay but if I should hold out for a better deck I'm open to that)

My dad just shipped me a couple large boxes of VHS home movies from my youth in the 80's/90's and it is my intent to archive these before they are lost to time. I don't have an unlimited budget, but I'm willing to spend money where it makes sense and hopefully recover some costs by reselling equipment after the project is complete.

Questions:

What is by best value for digital a conversion/capture device? I'm open to USB, (or FireWire if it is a must) or an ad-in type PCI card. I want to avoid driver issues with Windows 8.1 if at all possible.

What is the preferred archival encoding/file format and software? I have Adobe Creative Cloud subscription and am familiar with Premier Pro if that helps.

~10 Terabytes of free storage to play with, so that shouldn't be a limiting factor although I'd probably like to compress the final files to save space/upload to cloud storage.

Anything else I'm missing or should be considering?

Thanks in advance for any advice!

-- merged --

So, I picked up an old AJA KONA LHe PCIe card off an Amazon seller for $100. I called their tech support to inquire about Windows 8.1 compatibility and while they were not exactly hopeful I concluded it was worth a shot. I can always spin up Win 7 in a VM or on a spare box if it comes down to it.

I picked this option since it should give me an uncompressed capture that I can encode as I choose. Hopefully the VCR I'm looking at will do the trick.

I also just talked to my Dad and he found a trove of Mini-DV tapes hes going to send me too (hopefully along with the camera) That should be an easier problem to solve as firewire is still a thing.
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  #2  
09-11-2015, 04:58 AM
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lordsmurf lordsmurf is online now
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The 9500 is listed here: VCR Buying Guide (S-VHS, D-VHS, Professional) for restoring video

Unless you test the unit on-spot, before buying, and you know what flaws you're looking for, it may still be a gamble. I often find Craiglist to be no better (maybe even worse) than a good eBay seller or seller in our own marketplace forum.

If working, then $200 is a good price. I just finished paying $275 for a 9800 from one of our members.

How many tapes do you have?

Ideally, set up a dedicated offline capture PC, probably based on Windows XP. Capture with it. The ATI AIW cards are most suggested.

Your Aja card is probably best for Windows Vista, as that was the OS at the time when it came out.

You cannot access hardware for capturing in a VM OS.

You also need an external TBC. See What is a TBC? Time Base Correction for Videotapes

Premiere is not a good capture tool, as it often causes dropped frames. But it is quite good for editing, and can be used for exporting to MPEG (as its based on the MainConcept/Rovi SDK). My preferred NLE is Premiere CS4, and I've been using Premiere since the late 90s.

If you plan to export for web streaming (Youtube, etc) the best way to deinterlace is via Avisynth, using QTGMC. Premiere is terrible at deinterlacing.

I find that Blu-ray/broadcast spec interlaced MPEG-2 @ 15mbps is a good archival format. Use Huffyuv lossless for your "working format" when editing and/or restoring, but the final output can be MPEG. You can store a copy of disc, distribute it to others, and store it on HDD to play directly with something like a WDTV. It's a very multi-purpose quality format.

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- For sale in the marketplace: TBCs, workflows, capture cards, VCRs
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  #3  
09-11-2015, 08:53 AM
gabemcg gabemcg is offline
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Thank you for the reply!

Quote:
Unless you test the unit on-spot, before buying, and you know what flaws you're looking for, it may still be a gamble. I often find Craiglist to be no better (maybe even worse) than a good eBay seller or seller in our own marketplace forum.
I realize I'm taking a risk, I buy and sell on craigslist frequently and after speaking with this seller I'm optimistic, but I guess we'll see how it goes. I don't have a good way to test before I buy.

Quote:
How many tapes do you have?
Dozens of VHS--My grandmother was quite prolific in her documentation. Some Mini-DV on the way (I'm familiar with this workflow)

Quote:
Ideally, set up a dedicated offline capture PC, probably based on Windows XP. Capture with it. The ATI AIW cards are most suggested.

Your Aja card is probably best for Windows Vista, as that was the OS at the time when it came out.
It may be a fool's errand but I'd like to give it a shot with my current PC, if I run into a brick wall then setting up a dedicated box is not a problem, I have MSDN access so I can get pretty much any OS without issue.

I realize I should be reading through more of the ATI AIW threads/stickies to find an answer to this question, but are the AIW cards more likely to work on a modern PC/OS than the Aja, do they offer any advantages over the Aja in terms of image/capture quality, or software compatibility?

Quote:
You also need an external TBC. See What is a TBC?
I just read through it, and have the AVT-8710 in my cart @ B&H (via your affiliate link, I hope). I guess before I pull the trigger my question is, should I wait and view a few of these tapes after I get my VCR (this afternoon) and see if they suffer from Jitter and dropped frames before I invest in something to correct that, or is it pretty much guaranteed my tapes/player will have these issues?

Quote:
Premiere is not a good capture tool, as it often causes dropped frames.
Understood. What would you recommend for a windows-based capture program that should play nice with my Aja card? (I'm not married to this card by the way. If the AIW cards can be had easily/cheaply and are likely to offer fewer headaches I'll gladly switch.

Thanks again for the advice.
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  #4  
09-11-2015, 10:44 AM
sanlyn sanlyn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gabemcg View Post
Dozens of VHS--My grandmother was quite prolific in her documentation.
I have a maniac sister and clueless brother-in-law who are Kamikazes with a camera. Cameras aside, VHS is a mess regardless how it's captured. The primary tool for repair/restoration is Avisynth, with help from VirtualDub. NLE's from Adobe, SONY, etc., are OK at what they do but they're editors, not restoration tools. Take Lordsmurf's advice and work with lossless media from VHS until you get to the final step, which is encoding to whatever format you want. DVD/MPEG2 is universlly playable and will be around for a long time, despite BluRay and web formats. Analog tape is usually captured to losslessly compressed huffyuv or Lagarith lossless compression, also used for intermediate lossless work files. You don't have to archive all those intermediate files.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gabemcg View Post
I'd like to give it a shot with my current PC, if I run into a brick wall then setting up a dedicated box is not a problem, I have MSDN access so I can get pretty much any OS without issue.
You'll hit plenty of brick walls with win8 and win10, maybe a few with Win7. XP is still the primary capture tool we recommend, and many use it for post processing as well thanks to literally hundreds of free and paid specialty utils that don't work in later Windows.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gabemcg View Post
II just read through it, and have the AVT-8710 in my cart @ B&H (via your affiliate link, I hope). I guess before I pull the trigger my question is, should I wait and view a few of these tapes after I get my VCR (this afternoon) and see if they suffer from Jitter and dropped frames before I invest in something to correct that, or is it pretty much guaranteed my tapes/player will have these issues?
The JVC's tbc will correct much of it. The line-level tbc in your VCR corrects scanline timing within frames and a few other things, while frame tbc's like the AVT correct the frame-rate and audio timing signal. They each address different problems. With old tapes you're likely to need both tbc's.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gabemcg View Post
What would you recommend for a windows-based capture program that should play nice with my Aja card? (I'm not married to this card by the way. If the AIW cards can be had easily/cheaply and are likely to offer fewer headaches I'll gladly switch.
I'm not up on the Aja's details. The most highly recommended analog capture program around here and elsewhere is VirtualDub capture to losssless YUY2. I don't know if the Aja works with it or not.
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