Quantcast What to buy to convert videotape to DVD? - digitalFAQ Forum
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03-06-2016, 04:06 PM
colas colas is offline
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I am nearly finished putting together a custom build PC, only to discover an oversight. I have a lot of out-of-print video cassettes that I need to convert to DVD before entropy takes them out. Know little about it, but research suggests my PC needs a video capture card, and TBC card. The latter was easy to find (few choices), but could use some help picking a video capture card. I am hoping for one that will work with both XP Pro and Linux; with composite/RCA inputs. So far, only found this one:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16815116021

Will it work? Is there a better one? Feedback and recommendations needed.
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03-08-2016, 07:45 AM
sanlyn sanlyn is offline
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Welcome to digitalFAQ.

I assume you've been through the forum's capture guides. There are several parts to the guides shown on this page: http://www.digitalfaq.com/guides/video.htm. The VHS to digital business starts with the heading "Video Capturing / Concept Guides" That section includes
- "Introduction to Capturing & Recording Video"
- "Understanding Your Source"
- "Playback Hardware Suggestions (VCRs and TBCs)" and a couple of other chapters.

Farther down near the middle of the page at http://www.digitalfaq.com/guides/video.htm is an important section under the heading "Restore Video". There is only one chapter: "Introduction to Restoring Video". While it's basic intro-only, I suggest you take a look before deciding on the method and equipment you want to use for capture.

Many don't bother with restoration. What they get is noise-infested video that's annoying to watch. They blame results on VHS itself. That blame is partially justified, but what's more at fault is either bad post-processing or no post-processing. Anyone who thinks VHS is supposed to look horrible is either uninformed or simply accepting of low graphics standards. People often won't accept a bad or sloppy photo print or a bad wedding album job from a drug store or photographer without asking for a re-work or a refund. But they accept low quality video work from their own PC's and blame it entirely on the tape. Poor results aren't exclusive to analog sources: we've seen plenty of digital sources that were damaged or ruined using poor transfer and processing methods.

You didn't mention what player you use to play your tapes. Good quality begins with the player, not elsewhere. The quality of the player affects all subsequent operations.

Quote:
Originally Posted by colas View Post
I have a lot of out-of-print video cassettes that I need to convert to DVD
"Out-of-print" suggests retail movie tapes or old TV series. I still have about 15 remaining from my old collection (I saved the worst for last, so I guess I still have some work ahead LOL!). Video based on movie film sources, which includes a lot of TV shows, involves Macrovision. Not all retail tapes are copy protected. Those that are, require a frame-level external tbc. The frame tbc is inserted between the player and the capture device. For analog tape you'll also need another type of tbc, called a line-level tbc. A line tbc is either built into the player or inserted after the player and before the frame tbc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by colas View Post
research suggests my PC needs a video capture card, and TBC card. The latter was easy to find (few choices), but could use some help picking a video capture card. I am hoping for one that will work with both XP Pro and Linux; with composite/RCA inputs. So far, only found this one:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16815116021
The type of TBC's referred to are not found as "cards". The capture device you linked to will "work", in that it will create a relatively low quality lossy encoded video that will look as bad or worse than the original tape (usually worse), and in an interframe format designed for final delivery, not for damage-free edits and certainly not for post-cleanup.

The prime VHS capture cards recommended in this forum and elsewhere are the ATI All In Wonder line of AGP cards. You can get better if you're willing to spend 4 figures on something else. They won't work in Linux, which is a limited OS for restoration. We know that AGP motherboards are really scarce, so there is a list of recommended alternates for non-AGP systems:
- Hauppauge 610 USB2 capture stick ~$50
- ATI TV Wonder HD 600 USB2 capture stick ~$50-100
- ATI TV Wonder HD 600 PCI capture card (aka Diamond ATI TV Wonder HD 600 PCI capture card ~$50-100
- ATI TV Wonder HD 650 PCI capture card aka Diamond ATI TV Wonder HD 650 PCI capture card ~$50-100 (not the USB versions! Stay away from the USB versions of these products. Consider yourself warned).

For frame-level external tbc's, two that are easiest to find are the AVT-8710 and the TBC-1000. No TBC is perfect. Their function is to clean the frame sync timing to avoid dropped or inserted frames and to maintain correct audio sync. They also defeat Macrovision. There are other frame tbc's around, many of them well-used shop-level units that require expertise and advanced support hardware.

The other type of tbc that is essential is a line-level tbc, either built-in with higher-end VCR's or found in pass-thru units that are almost as effective. You'll find many threads that discuss products used as pass-thru line tbc's. They will not undo Macrovision. Their function is to correct the line-by-line output within individual video frames. Bad scanline timing creates geometric distortion and other obvious problems due to irregular scanline output. This problem can't be fixed with frame-level tbc's, nor is there any way possible to fix them after capture.

The question often asked is "Can I just capture without the line tbc foolishness and still get good results? No, you can't. And the older and worse the tape, the worse are the problems. Scanline errors are not rare; they're as common as VHS tape noise, which looks worse without a line tbc.

Below are links to 2 samples of scanline errors. The tape was played with a non-tbc VCR. While the bad demo looks like a severe case, it's not as uncommon as you'd think. This sort of top-border flagging and frame slippage happens often with old tapes. Some tapes will play without this severity, some won't.
- A1_Sample2_bad.mpg is the original capture encoded to MPEG, with frame size slightly reduced to prevent TV overscan from hiding some of the problems.

- B1_Sample2_fix.mpg is the tape played with a line tbc pass-thru device.The "fixed" sample shown is a first-stage test repair with only basic denoising, improved afterwards with a better VCR, but here addressing only specific issues. The tape is no longer available.

A less severe but more common example of line "wiggles" produced by typical scanline errors is here: http://forum.videohelp.com/threads/3...=1#post1882662.

For the best results in the entire workflow from capture to repair, to color correction, thru edits, timeline, encoding, authoring, burning to disc, VHS is captured via a device designed for analog sources. It is captured to lossless YUY2 digital media using lossless compressors like huffyuv or Lagarith to reduce file size. The audio portion is captured as uncompressed PCM. Lossless encoding means just what it says: lossless. You can modify a losslessly compressed video, make all kinds of changes to it, and recompress it without the damage inflicted by lossy re-encoding. Encoding to lossy formats (DVD, BluRay, AVCHD, and lossy encoded containers such as mp4, mkv, etc.) are the very last step in the conversion process.


An important question to ask yourself: what are my expectations? VHS captured to any digital media still looks like VHS. It doesn't look like DVD. Nor is it "improved" by directly encoding it to a digital format like DVD -- encoding noisy VHS directly to lossy encoded MPEG or h.264 often looks worse than the original. You get the original VHS noise and defects, plus added to it are digital compression artifacts caused by that noise. In any case, it can't look better than the original. But it can be vastly improved by capturing to lossless media and using some fairly common methods for cleanup before encoding. It depends on how much you put into it.

When people say "VHS to DVD" they sometimes mean recording VHS directly to a DVD recorder or DVD encoder card. That works, if you will, although even the so-so DVD recorders of today can make a better video than a cheap VHS-to-DVD capture device. Older recorders from 2004-2006 are many levels better than new ones. The best DVDR's used LSI processing chips with decent digital denoising -- decent, yes, but far from great, primitive compared with post-process filters today, and given to ghosting and motion smear.

Among several other similar threads, an earlier post in a thread 9 months ago asked the same question you've asked: "Want to capture VHS tapes to Hard drive: what equipment to buy?".
One answer: Want to capture VHS tapes to Hard drive: what equipment to buy?

More comments are in this post: ATI 600? Or fix older XP system? (part suggestions needed)
and the post that follows it in the same thread: ATI 600? Or fix older XP system? (part suggestions needed)

General notes on VHS to lossless vs not-recommended VHS to DV capture: Recommended A/D converter for PAL VHS conversion? and a following post that discusses line-level and frame-level tbc's: Recommended A/D converter for PAL VHS conversion?
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03-26-2016, 01:37 PM
colas colas is offline
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I am astounded (and most grateful) at the sheer depth of your reply. It will take me a week or two to study the printouts of all the links you provided, but I didn't want you to wait that long for a reply, and maybe think all your effort was wasted.

My current VCR is the JVC HR-A592U. Got it for under $100, used it over ten years now, and yes, I know I need to get a better model. I have a list of high end VCRs to keep watch for, but right now all my money is going towards completion of my PC. Once this custom-build is done, I'll budget for VCR and whatever else.

Out-of-print indeed means retail movies on videotape, no doubt with macrovision. I've been collecting since videotape movies first came out, and at least 80% never made it to DVD...nor likely ever will. Okay, so my custom-build is set up using legacy components, but I didn't go back that far to AGP era. I hane Phenom X4 9850, Gigabyte GA MA-770-DS3P, and Geforce 6800 GS 512MB. I'll be using XP Pro on one HDD, and Linux on the second HDD. Will the ATI capture cards you mentioned 'play nice' with my components. Heard Nvidia and ATI don't get along.

The list of VCRs I mentioned have the built-in line level TBC, but if you can recommend some "pass-thru units", it could be useful as a 'plan B'. Basically I don't want to go much beyond $300 for any component, so I'm not "willing to spent 4 figures" on anything. Also, I don't do blu-ray stuff. As for my expectations, videotape quality is as low as I'm willing to go, so if the end result is a DVD that looks worse than the original videotape, then its not worth my money and effort.

I'll study the printouts, and get back to you when I have a better understanding. Thanks again for all your help!
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03-26-2016, 06:45 PM
sanlyn sanlyn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colas View Post
Out-of-print indeed means retail movies on videotape, no doubt with macrovision. I've been collecting since videotape movies first came out, and at least 80% never made it to DVD...nor likely ever will.
SOme retail taps have copy protection, some don't. I encountered both among my 100 or so old retail tapes, all of which are now digital -- some are DVD, some are standard definition MPEG BluRay (both h.264 and MPEG are valid for BluRay encoding). These were captured to lossless media using either huffyuv or Lagarith lossless compressors, then run through a cleanup (some required just a little, a few required heavier work). About 12 of those tapes went directly to a Toshiba RD-XS34 or Panasonic ES20 recorder at high bitrates, transferred to a PC for simple edits like cutting off trailers and ads, then authored in smart rendering apps (no re-encoding) and burned to DVD with prettier menus. The direct transfer tapes were of pristine quality -- mild denoising in the VCRs was adequate for improving the few VHS noise problems. Today's DVD recorders can't approach the performance of earlier machines. All of of the other retail tapes required lossless media and cleanup.

Quote:
Originally Posted by colas View Post
Okay, so my custom-build is set up using legacy components, but I didn't go back that far to AGP era. I hane Phenom X4 9850, Gigabyte GA MA-770-DS3P, and Geforce 6800 GS 512MB. I'll be using XP Pro on one HDD, and Linux on the second HDD. Will the ATI capture cards you mentioned 'play nice' with my components. Heard Nvidia and ATI don't get along.
I don't quite get that last part. They don't get along? Capture devices use capture drivers, not display drivers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by colas View Post
The list of VCRs I mentioned have the built-in line level TBC, but if you can recommend some "pass-thru units", it could be useful as a 'plan B'.
The previous links about pass-thru refer to the Panasonic ES10 and ES15 recorders as preferred pass-thru units, even if their optical drives no longer work. The '85' series with built-in hard drives appear to be similar to the ES15 in tbc action. The ES10/15 sell for under $100 at auction, often for less than $50. Expect to pay a few bucks if the unit still has a remote, which you will need. Remember that line-level tbc's don't defeat Macrovision. You need a frame-level tbc for that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by colas View Post
As for my expectations, videotape quality is as low as I'm willing to go, so if the end result is a DVD that looks worse than the original videotape, then its not worth my money and effort.
The only expectations that would be unrealistic would be to expect VHS, especially old VHS, to look like DVD or a digital original upon capture or recording. That can't happen. With the average VCR, don't expect the cleaner image or tape flow you'd get with a better player. Certain components and methods are recommended here based on years of experience by pros and hobbyists alike.

As for legacy components, for capture with my ATI AIW 7500 Radeon AGP I still use a 2001 Gateway 700S with XP, IDE hard drives and optical drives, 1GB of RAM, a Pentium-4 1.8GHz.
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  #5  
03-27-2016, 01:04 AM
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I had to re-lookup the definition for "entropy". It's been quite a while since I needed to last use it. And you what, you may be accurate here. It's the video jargon, but it's not an unreasonable definition either!

Yes, capture card.
Yes, TBC.
And a good VCR. Preferably with TBC to clean image. (External TBC to clean signal, not image.)

Be careful with TBCs. Some are not actually TBC, and the marketing lies. Some have known issues. Some are good. Let us know what you got.

Don't use composite on VHS. Use s-video. Composite has noise, as it composites/combines the video signal into one wire. s-video is separated (the 's'), and keep chroma/luma separate, thus no noise.

I'm not fond of Hauppage, and never have been. I've begrudgingly suggested it over the years, as some MPEG hardware cards were decent. In general, it was disappointing. I have several unpublished reviews that I need to publish, on the older cards.

Windows XP Pro SP2 is an ideal OS for DVD video work. Newer ones only for restoring and editing. The reason is most quality video tools and hardware and software locked to that OS.

sanlyn gave a thorough reply.

To add to his comments...


I really need to add to those restoration guides. It's on my summer to-do list.

Most people think/accept that older analog VHS video is terrible. But they don't know any better. It can be as good as anything you see on modern HDTV. Maybe slightly less resolution, maybe 4x3 cropped, but certainly not junk. Junk is usually the result of cheapo hardware and a terrible workflow.

We all save the worst for last.

The TBC-100 was a card, but it's somewhat rare. I have one for sale for $475 if anybody is ever interested. It is the best TBC that was ever made for VHS work. I had 4, sold 1, and decided to keep just 2.

AGP boards = eBay is your friend.

To repeat, no, you cannot avoid a TBC. I don't want to buy one either, but it's required. Buy it, use it, a resell it if needed. Trying to avoid TBC is an exercise in futility and foolishness.

Interesting samples. It only removed it to the overscan, not entirely. That's odd. I almost never see that.

@sanlyn: We really need to collaborate on some things for this site, related to a glossary/wiki. We keep looking for the right tech to power it, but nothing acts like I want. WordPress is about to win, being sadly the best option available.

VHS can look better than the original tape. So it's closer to DVD than not, when done right. A quality DVD recorder (JVC LSI models), with a good tape, with a good VCR and TBC, can be amazing quality. Most won't actually realize it's from VHS, as they think VHS = junk.

Back to colas:

What retail tapes? Sometimes you can get better/uncut quality from UK, Australia, or even places to Poland, Germany or Spain. Not everything is released here, but it is elsewhere.

Some of us may have already transferred them ourselves, and can give you tips.

A quality setup is about $1k total: TBC, VCR, capture card. More if you need a computer. You can always resell it. That's why we have a marketplace (free) on this site. So others can buy/sell gear.

Back to sanlyn:

nVidia motherboards, maybe? ATI hates VIA, and thus AMD -- which is funny now, since ATI bought AMD after the AIW days.

Yep, legacy systems work fine. There's zero issues with a single-core P4, IDE drives, and even PCI-only non-AGP systems. All you need is Windows XP, a lean setup, and it can capture AVI or MPEG-2 (DVD spec) just fine.

- Did my advice help you? Then become a Premium Member and support this site.
- Find television shows, cartoons, DVDs and Blu-ray releases at the TVPast forums.
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  #6  
03-28-2016, 07:22 PM
colas colas is offline
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I'm printing out your replies and will study them at home. Right now the 'timeclock' at the library is counting down. Please be patient and don't close the thread. I'm old and slow. Still going over all the info in the links. I'll get back to you all in two or three days.
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03-28-2016, 09:15 PM
sanlyn sanlyn is offline
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lordsmurf, Thanks for your additional input and clarification.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
Interesting samples. It only removed it to the overscan, not entirely. That's odd. I almost never see that.
Those scanline errors and distortion samples were my first tests for my old Toshiba RD-K2 recorder as pass-thru. I had it on hand, and the JVC 7600 I had at the time with tbc wouldn't track that tape. Obviously the lesser Toshiba didn't have enough tbc power for a better fix with such a bad tape. The restoration itself was due for a nephew's graduation, so no time for more samples later. Rather than trust that tape in a high-end VCR I used my old PV-9668 Panny and an ES15 pass-thru.

You'd be shocked at the abuse those college kids inflicted on their football tapes....well, no, you wouldn't be surprised at all.
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03-31-2016, 05:14 PM
colas colas is offline
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I never completed the purchase for the Datavideo TBC card. When sanlyn warned me off tbc cards I passed it by, and someone else bought it. With legacy stuff you have to move on it quick. Only a year ago nobody wanted this stuff. Everyone was a 'latest&greatest' fanboy. Now it seems like this is changing, as lately the competition is on an upsurge.

So which Hauppauge models of "MPEG hardware cards were decent"? Linux favors this brand (I think those with BT848 or BT878 chips).

I only buy DVDs from overseas, and only because I have a cheap all-format (region free) DVD player. I balked at the gawd awful expensive all-format VCR, so never fooled with foreign videotapes.

My install disc is XP Pro SP3. Is there a problem with SP3? My plan is to use nLite and XPLite Pro to cut XP Pro down to about 900MB, so if there is stuff you think I need to jettison (maybe some nasties in SP3) or stuff I absolutely must keep (to convert VHS to DVD), let me know.

I'll try to shake loose a donation next week. Between buying computer parts and donating to legal fund for bleepingcomputer, the wallet is getting bare just now.
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03-31-2016, 05:48 PM
colas colas is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sanlyn View Post
SOme retail taps have copy protection, some don't. I encountered both among my 100 or so old retail tapes, all of which are now digital -- some are DVD, some are standard definition MPEG BluRay (both h.264 and MPEG are valid for BluRay encoding). These were captured to lossless media using either huffyuv or Lagarith lossless compressors, then run through a cleanup (some required just a little, a few required heavier work). About 12 of those tapes went directly to a Toshiba RD-XS34 or Panasonic ES20 recorder at high bitrates, transferred to a PC for simple edits like cutting off trailers and ads, then authored in smart rendering apps (no re-encoding) and burned to DVD with prettier menus. The direct transfer tapes were of pristine quality -- mild denoising in the VCRs was adequate for improving the few VHS noise problems. Today's DVD recorders can't approach the performance of earlier machines. All of of the other retail tapes required lossless media and cleanup.

I don't quite get that last part. They don't get along? Capture devices use capture drivers, not display drivers.

The previous links about pass-thru refer to the Panasonic ES10 and ES15 recorders as preferred pass-thru units, even if their optical drives no longer work. The '85' series with built-in hard drives appear to be similar to the ES15 in tbc action. The ES10/15 sell for under $100 at auction, often for less than $50. Expect to pay a few bucks if the unit still has a remote, which you will need. Remember that line-level tbc's don't defeat Macrovision. You need a frame-level tbc for that.

The only expectations that would be unrealistic would be to expect VHS, especially old VHS, to look like DVD or a digital original upon capture or recording. That can't happen. With the average VCR, don't expect the cleaner image or tape flow you'd get with a better player. Certain components and methods are recommended here based on years of experience by pros and hobbyists alike.

As for legacy components, for capture with my ATI AIW 7500 Radeon AGP I still use a 2001 Gateway 700S with XP, IDE hard drives and optical drives, 1GB of RAM, a Pentium-4 1.8GHz.
Okay, I've quickly gone through the links, though I'll need a week or so to really study them. If I understand correctly, the transfer of a movie from its original VHS to DVD causes degradation of the picture quality, which requires 'image restoration' to get the picture quality to beas good as the original videotape. If so, I will definitely need to be able to do this. I've been stuck with crappy copy-of-a-copy DVD bootlegs (picture looks bleached out, horizontal lines, static, artifacts all over, ect.), and had to throw them in the dumpster. As for editing, none of my movies have commercials, so the only thing I might need to do is black out edges of flashing borders if that occurs.

I have no interest in BluRay or VCD, so I wil only be doing conversion of VHS videotapes to (regular) DVD, and nothing else. To answer your question, while researching hardware components for my custom-build, I came across various compatibility issues. I vaguely recall problems reported on various forums between Nvidia graphic cards and ATI TV tuner cards. Don't think ATI capture cards were mentioned, but thought it prudent to ask you before getting ATI TV Wonder HD 600 or 650, since most suppliers of legacy items sell 'as-is', with no refund/return offer....so this needs to work with my PC setup. Also, should mention my motherboard's PCIe slots use the 2.0 standard. I noticed Canopus MPEG-Pro requires "v2.1 or later", but I have not yet found the specs to either ATI card, so don't know if this is a problem. I have already found sellers of both ATI cards, Canopus DVStorm, and maybe the 'Matrox RT.X100' (its listed as 'Matrox RTX100/KIT/N'). Which should I aim for? And can I assume this will be the only internal part needed to finish my PC?

I will budget for the full-frame TBC and new VCR as soon as my rig is done and online. The list of VCRs look to be mostly S-VHS sort. Is it true that VHS VCRs only play VHS tapes, but S-VHS VCRs play both VHS and S-VHS tapes?

I had thought "pass-thru" meant 'stand-alone' (i.e. a line-level time base corrector as a separate unit) like the 'FOR-A FA-128. Think these are actually called 'frame synchronizer TBCs'. If so, I have now compiled a list of models to watch for on the bargainhunters circuit. By the way, I ran across mention of 'Videolabs Video Scaler Pro' at www.unterzuber.com/tbc & www.thegadgetssite.com/av/AV.html. What do you think of this device?
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03-31-2016, 09:31 PM
sanlyn sanlyn is offline
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I can answer most of those ????'s, not all, and much it will be a repeat.

Quote:
Originally Posted by colas View Post
If I understand correctly, the transfer of a movie from its original VHS to DVD causes degradation of the picture quality, which requires 'image restoration' to get the picture quality to beas good as the original videotape.
Not quite. In fact, no. Recording VHS source directly to lossy DVD either with a DVD recorder or MPEG-encoding capture device will not necessarily degrade the image. At best, and with a very high bitrate (no more than 1 hour of encoded MPG per disc) you will get zero improvement and some slight visible loss. ..Or, if it's a really noisy tape, at high bitrates the source noise will be visibly worse. Encoded data bits will be wasted on noise, not used for content. At lower bitrates (90 minutes) you'll start to see compression artifacts that are not in the tape, and a mild but visible loss in clarity. At 2 hours per disc (bitrate about 4600 kbps) you'll see noise, digital artifacts, hard-edges gradients, tape noise flutter, and detail loss that will clearly look worse than the tape. At lower bitrates (over two hours on a disc) you'll have no doubt that you're deep into Degradation City for sure.

The encoder is also a factor. Not all DVD recorders have equal quality MPEG encoders, which have many different chip manufacturers and implementations. Older recorders up to circa 2006 are better than anything made today. The MPEG encoders found in some capture cards are not as versatile, as powerful, or as clean as primary MPEG encoders in good DVD machines -- unless you want to spend a lot of money for a top notch MPEG-encoding capture device, which for high quality MPEG can cost as much as or more than the original MSRP for first-rate DVD recorders.

MPEG, like BluRay or DV-AVI, is lossy encoding. Lossy means that what goes into the lossy encoded video and what comes out is less than what one started with. Lossy encoding discards 15% to 40% of the incoming data, depending on bitrate. There is no way to retrieve the discarded data. If in processing you incur yet another stage of lossy encoding in the new file, you lose additional data when re-encoding and, again, end with even less than you had in the original lossy encode. Modify the lossy re-encode yet again, and you lose still more. Lost data means loss of clarity, poor motion handling, lost detail, more compression artifacts, and more noise.

Lossless compression means that 100% of the data that went into the original video will be returned 100%, with no loss or alteration. If the video is decoded for more processing cleanup, then 100% of the new modifications will be retained in the new file, and 100% will be returned. Popular lossless compression codecs are huffyuv, Lagarith, and UT Video. All three are fast enough for real-time lossless compression during capture, mainly to reduce lossless file size with no data loss or compression damage.

The idea behind lossless media for analog capture is that lossless media is free of added compression loss or artifacts and is the most accurate direct digital copy of the source.

The idea behind lossless post-processing is not to "get the picture quality to be as good as the original videotape", but to restore it so that is is better than the original, which means free of the common noise, defects, bad color and other disturbances found in analog tape. Why would one want to capture to a lossy format and then do all that post-processing just to get back to what they started with? With lossy formats, getting back to what one started with won't be possible anyway. With lossless capture, one can apply post-cleanup or even ignore post processing if desired, and go directly to the final delivery format with no loss. With analog-to-DV capture you begin with a lossy encode; there is no way to avoid an additional lossy encode if you want anything other than PC-only playback.

Lossy formats such as DVD or BluRay, or lossy encodes in containers like MPEG, VOB, mp4, mkv, etc., are designed as final delivery formats. Final delivery means final, not designed for edits or further modification without obvious and permanent data loss. As for DV-AVI, I repeat what has been said here many times: DV was not designed as a conversion format, not designed as a capturing format, and not designed as a restoration format. It was designed as a record-and-watch format. That is, it was designed so that users could record a digital video, then leave it as-is for watching on a PC or plugging the camera into a TV set. Soon TV sets will no longer have the composite, s-video, or Firewire jacks that older TVs once offered, so forget about watching DV directly thru a TV. DV is PC-only playback. It is not supported by the internet or by external playback devices. Other than simple cut and join, a DV video cannot be modified without another stage of lossy DV re-encoding or re-encoding to a final delivery format

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Originally Posted by colas View Post
As for editing, none of my movies have commercials, so the only thing I might need to do is black out edges of flashing borders if that occurs.
Well, let's hope your borders don't flash. Likely you'll have to do some border fixup in any case. Bottom-border head-switching noise is found on almost all VHS captures. A 4:3 original doesn't fill the entire 720x480 or 720x576 frame horizontally; Standard playback methods for 4:3 usually fill only 704 of the 720 pixels, sometimes more. Some captures have two 8-pixel side borders, some have 16 black pixels on one side only, others might have 12 pixels on side border and 4 black pixels on the other. Some tape sources such as those for 16:9 ratios often fill the entire frame. With home-made tapes created on different machines the varieties are endless, depending on the playback and capture setup and how the original was made.

Newbies tend to place a black mask over border problems. This usually presents an offcenter final image. Users who don't know better will chop off unwanted borders and resize the image to fill the frame, thus distorting the final aspect ratio and often enlarging parts of the image into the overscan area where they weren't located earlier. Most users with better skills know how to fix borders without image aspect ratio or centering problems.

Masking over borders or otherwise modifying the image (cropping, color correction, denoising, adding titles, transitions, etc.) with lossy encoded video requires a new, lossy re-encode with added compression loss. Modifications to lossless media are saved as a new file with no data loss or recompression artifacts.

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Originally Posted by colas View Post
To answer your question, while researching hardware components for my custom-build, I came across various compatibility issues. I vaguely recall problems reported on various forums between Nvidia graphic cards and ATI TV tuner cards. Don't think ATI capture cards were mentioned, but thought it prudent to ask you before getting ATI TV Wonder HD 600 or 650, since most suppliers of legacy items sell 'as-is', with no refund/return offer....so this needs to work with my PC setup.
No answer there. Maybe you refer to old legends about certain VIA motherboards? I've used different ATI cards and USB devices with AMD motherboards and NVidia graphics cards and VIA boards since 1999 with no problems. Someone else with more direct experience will have to advise on that. Might be a good idea to provide the specs on your motherboard if you haven't already posted.

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Originally Posted by colas View Post
Also, should mention my motherboard's PCIe slots use the 2.0 standard. I noticed Canopus MPEG-Pro requires "v2.1 or later", but I have not yet found the specs to either ATI card, so don't know if this is a problem. I have already found sellers of both ATI cards, Canopus DVStorm, and maybe the 'Matrox RT.X100' (its listed as 'Matrox RTX100/KIT/N'). Which should I aim for? And can I assume this will be the only internal part needed to finish my PC?
You can use capture devices that don't capture to lossless media if you want. I don't recommend starting video projects with Canopus or cards that involve data loss as the first step. Most techs bypass questions about fixing video compression problems that could have been avoided in the first place. Lossy capture means added work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by colas View Post
Is it true that VHS VCRs only play VHS tapes, but S-VHS VCRs play both VHS and S-VHS tapes?
Yes, and yes.

Use the s-video output from SVHS players for capture, regardless of the tape format. The terms "S-VHS" and "S-video", by the way, have nothing to do with each other. SVHS is a tape data format. S-video is a type of signal transmission that can be used for video tape, DVD, many camcorders, cable boxes, and anything that requires analog transmission by keeping luma and chroma channels separated for cleaner throughput. S-video circuits cannot transmit HD video.

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Originally Posted by colas View Post
I had thought "pass-thru" meant 'stand-alone' (i.e. a line-level time base corrector as a separate unit) like the 'FOR-A FA-128. Think these are actually called 'frame synchronizer TBCs'. If so, I have now compiled a list of models to watch for on the bargainhunters circuit. By the way, I ran across mention of 'Videolabs Video Scaler Pro' at www.unterzuber.com/tbc & www.thegadgetssite.com/av/AV.html. What do you think of this device?
Line tbc's as in vcrs and recommended pass-thru units are not frame synchronizers. Frame synchronizers are not line tbc's. They are two different tbc's for two different purposes. Strictly speaking, the typical full-frame tbc is not necessarily the same thing as a "frame synchronizer".

A pass-thru device as used in this context means what it says: the VCR's signal is passed-thru the unit, not recorded to it. The recommended pass-thru devices have active line-level tbc and basic frame syncro circuits. They can't defeat Macrovision. A line level tbc should precede a frame tbc in the capture circuit.

The Pro unit seems like overkill. I thought you said you were turned off by low-quality conversions. If you want to use it to reformat and then lossy-re-encode video that's already lossy, I suggest you give it a second thought. If you're thinking of using it to convert (i.e, lossy encode) noisy VHS tapes directly to DVD with no cleanup, then the majority of this thread's content is irrelevant. I was led to believe you were targeting highest quality lossless processing. I might have mistaken your intentions.

Maybe someone who's actually used the unit for lossy transfers can advise further. Seems like a lot of trouble just to get a frame-level tbc.

Last edited by sanlyn; 03-31-2016 at 09:45 PM.
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  #11  
04-13-2016, 06:55 PM
colas colas is offline
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Okay, so lets simplify this, take everything 'lossy' out of the equation, and focus entirely on 'lossless' transfer of my VHS movies to regular DVD. Now what exactly am I buying, beginning with internal components for my custom-build? ATI TV Wonder 600 / 650....yes or no? If yes, is one better than the other (I can get either). Is there any other internal part needed for my PC? You didn't like the TBC-100 card, so what do you recommend instead? Specifically, what do I need on my shopping-list for lossless work?

All my movies are between 90 minutes to 120+ minutes. From what you wrote it sounds like you're suggesting splitting movies into two DVDs to avoid "Degradation City". I hope I am misunderstanding this.
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  #12  
04-13-2016, 07:31 PM
sanlyn sanlyn is offline
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Okay, so lets simplify this, take everything 'lossy' out of the equation, and focus entirely on 'lossless' transfer of my VHS movies to regular DVD.
Well...good, but hopefully you understand that DVD is not lossless. The capture is to lossless YUY2 video. You can use huffyuv or Lagarith lossless compressors to reduce file size by 2/3 or so. The next step is cleanup or edits and color correction (whatever's needed to make that old tape look decent for encoding), then encode to whatever format you want. Capturing directly to DVD means that you plan on no further changes -- DVD is not designed as an editing format.

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Originally Posted by colas View Post
Now what exactly am I buying, beginning with internal components for my custom-build? ATI TV Wonder 600 / 650....yes or no? If yes, is one better than the other (I can get either). Is there any other internal part needed for my PC? You didn't like the TBC-100 card, so what do you recommend instead? Specifically, what do I need on my shopping-list for lossless work?
All of the capture devices in post #2 (http://www.digitalfaq.com/forum/comp...html#post42694) are suitable, no preference, although ATI's capture drivers seem to be easier for many people. I don't say I won't "like" the TBC-100, just that I prefer the AVT's less softened image. Takes a pretty good eye to see the differences. The 100 is a big favorite as well. All TBC's affect the image in one way or other. It's better than image crackup, dropped frames, and bad audio sync. (You can't have everything, not even when it's digital)

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Originally Posted by colas View Post
All my movies are between 90 minutes to 120+ minutes. From what you wrote it sounds like you're suggesting splitting movies into two DVDs to avoid "Degradation City". I hope I am misunderstanding this.
I know that by now you surely have heard of dual-layer DVD with nearly twice the capacity of single layer. Verbatim DVD+R-DL AZO are the ones to get. 90 minutes at 2-pass VBR (that's about 6000 kbps target and 9000kbps max) would be the limit for single layer DVD. At 2 hours you'd see quality loss, but you can maintain a higher bitrate with dual layer discs. Double layer is the way most retail DVD's are made, so it should be good enough for the rest of us. I've made a ton of 'em myself, especially for those PBS Masterpiece recordings that seem to go on forever. Or try the VHS I made years ago of the silent classic "Pandora". 2 hours, 43 minutes.

With ATI's drivers you get a pretty good MPEg encoder. If you have a tape that's in nice, clean shape (not many home videos qualify here) without a lot of noise, you can cap directly to MPEG. Warning: you might have to accept a little more noise, so it depends on your tolerance. This won't work well at all with "typically" noisy tapes. Warning2: MPEG is an interframe lossy format not designed for editing without visible damage, so keep that in mind.
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  #13  
01-04-2021, 05:13 PM
Subarit Subarit is offline
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MPEG, like BluRay or DV-AVI, is lossy encoding...
Lossy formats such as DVD or BluRay, or lossy encodes in containers like MPEG, VOB, mp4, mkv, etc., are designed as final delivery formats. Final delivery means not designed for edits or further modification without obvious and permanent data loss. ... DV was not designed as a conversion format, not designed as a capturing format, and not designed as a restoration format. It was designed as a record-and-watch format...
You can use capture devices that don't capture to lossless media if you want. I don't recommend starting video projects with Canopus or cards that involve data loss as the first step.
Guys, can I please ask for a clarification if I may: Canopus DV Storm 2 card, according to its specs, delivers the output file in the DV format which can be further fully edited in Canopus' bundled Edius or a third party program (Premiere). In a guide on capture devices from this forum this card was labeled as professional and was closer to the top of the list. Should it be understood that the quality of this professional card and software override the deficiencies of the lossy capture it performs? Could a professional card capturing (though lossy) be worse than other (lossless) capturing methods? Or am I overlooking something? In an earlier thread (2015, ‘Recommended A/D converter for PAL VHS conversion?’) Sanlyn insisted on that “You don't want DV for VHS capture” and that “NLE's can't be used for repair of analog noise and defects -- they weren't designed for it.” Lordsmurf retorted “I'm only anti-DV for NTSC … But PAL 4:2:0 is fine.”
The above quoted statements contradict to an extent, information contained in the card manual ref editing. As I am in the PAL area I would consider Canopus DV Storm 2 among other options (ATI AIW USB, Diamond VC500 USB) as I have found a Win XP PC with a slot for this card. It also recognizes recorded SECAM signal from TV broadcasts, which I have on some VHS.
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