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  #21  
07-03-2016, 08:25 PM
beef beef is offline
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Yeah, I am using a USB capture device currently - the "Elgato Video Capture". Correct, I have a Scart > RCA adapter in the back of my VCR and the red, white and yellow audio and video cables are all going directly into the Elgato device.

When I click Devices in VDub I get the following 4 options:
0. Microsoft WDM Image Capture (Win 32) (VFW)
1. Elgato Video Capture (DirectShow)
2. Screen Capture
3. Video file (Emulation)

I don't have a dedicated sound card sadly. I built this PC a few years back when I thought the on-board audio of my Motherboard would suffice (and it does for most of my needs!). In the Audio menu, there are two options:
0. Capture device
1. Analog Audio In (Elgato Video Capture)

Oddly enough, I get a blank screen with no audio or video preview if I select "analog audio in".

In the Audio input menu there is nothing to select, and the Audio source menu there is the choice of "No source" or "Audio Line". That's it.

Thanks for the recommendation, I will look into VirtualVCR tomorrow but I really wish I could get VDub working as it seems great otherwise. For what it's worth I'm using Windows 7 and recording onto a 2tb hard drive separate from the one my OS is installed on.
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  #22  
07-03-2016, 10:44 PM
sanlyn sanlyn is offline
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OK, those choices look about right for Elgato Video Capture Direct Show drivers. The odd one is analog audio-in that won't let you couple to the Elgato's audio input -- but, then, one could say that "Capture device" means the same thing, it's just odd to see it worded that way.

I can say that there are a ton of complaints using Elgato devices with software other than Elgato's own. The question now becomes, would a simple old-line program like VirtualVCR recognize the Elgato? It should, though I've never seen the Elgato tested here with lossless capture software, and its own software isn't designed for lossless. I believe msgohan has posted some tests elsewhere using a ton of other capture cards. He might have seen a workaround that avoid complaints with Elgato USB.

I don't see that you're not using an external frame-level tbc. Correct me on that if I missed something again. Sometimes recent threads that diverge from the original capture guides are starting to look alike.


Anyway, at least VirtualVCR is free.
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  #23  
07-04-2016, 05:11 AM
beef beef is offline
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Oh I'm sure they do, you're a damn saint for trying to help all of us clueless idiots.

No TBC to be seen here. I did just buy a JVC HR-DVS2U which has an inbuilt TBC allegedly, won't arrive for a while though. What confuses me is how the lossy Elgato captures are so perfectly in sync, which makes me question whether it's a hardware problem at all? Or is it perhaps that the Elgato device just can't handle the lossless capture as it's not designed for that.

I just tried VirtualVCR, sadly it looks incompatible - I can get video but no audio as the only audio option is the "Analog Audio In (Elgato Video Capture)", which you would assume would work, but it is the same option in VDub that gives me a blank preview.

Very frustrating - the Elgato captures with its own software are passable, but now I've had a taste of the better quality captures they just don't do it for me. Unfortunately it's proving to be a bit of a headache now and I really don't know what there is left to try... Could it be some audio sampling rate issue?

I'm just about ready to trade in the Elgato and get something a bit more widely recommended for lossless capture.
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  #24  
07-05-2016, 07:22 AM
beef beef is offline
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Just to update: Still no dice with the audio sync.

Got a new VCR yesterday, a JVC HR-DVS2U (this thing is gigantic, holy crap) and while it's a massive upgrade over the standard charity shop LG VCR I found, it hasn't done anything to help the audio sync.

In fact, I'm pretty sure it was even more out of sync from my latest test. Not sure if it's worth mentioning, but this is a 3 hour tape, so I've just set the stop conditions to stop recording after 3 hours - I can't imagine that would affect sync or anything, but might as well mention it.

I wasn't expecting the new VCR to fix it to be honest, as I'm fairly certain the Elgato is the issue here given how I can capture perfectly in sync with the Elgato software.

Regardless, it's an awesome upgrade - I don't think the mini DV side works unfortunately, as I have a few of those tapes to digitise too, but it's got S-video out (marginal upgrade, but I'll take it) and I'm loving the fast forward dial, where you can scrub through frame by frame, and even record while it's fast forwarding (useful for glitchy goodness). Just need to find a remote for it...

Anyway, I'll keep trying.
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  #25  
07-05-2016, 09:04 AM
sanlyn sanlyn is offline
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Since other members haven't chipped in here, other than msgohan who has tested a bunch of capture cards, I can add some more info. The most often suggested remedy for bad audio sync, which can happen with even the best VCR trying to play old tapes, is an external frame-level tbc. Many neglect that item with a variety of cards, and end up bad mouthing VirtualDub and other capture software. Fact is, except for the F5/F6 incident I mentioned, I've never had audio sync problems. But I'm using AIW's and a Diamond VC500 in XP machines with a frame tbc and have tested others.

I do know that Elgato is a Mac-oriented outfit and, as one post I saw has put it, Elgato doesn't know Windows that well. Add to that the Elgato posts I've seen (some which had audio sync problems with lossless capture) the caps looked noisy and somewhat oversharpened -- which of course sharpens noise. That's just my impression. Caps that didn't have sync problems used an external frame sync of some kind, either a full-fledged frame tbc or one of a few pass-thru devices for their frame timing ability. But an external tbc is preferred over a pass-thru device like a Panasonic DMR ES10/ES15 used for pass-thru, which isn't a very "complete" frame tbc. Also, Win7 is another factor that seems to call for a frame tbc.

MediaInfoXP is a simple GUI that displays video properties in text list format. The program is 100% self-contained, no DLL requirements, no installer. no adware. It also works in Windows7. You'll find it very useful.

Create a folder or subfolder in your PC and name it "MediaInfoXP". Into that folder, download the attached .zip MediaInfo-GUI.2016-05-21.zip, attached because the download area of their otherwise nice website is confusing. Unzip that file inside the MediaInfoXP folder. After unzipping, you'll see several files. Double-click on MediaInfoXP.exe to run it. The dialog window will have no data. The window's top menu bar has only 2 menu items. Click on the "Application..." menu item, then click on "Preferences...", then select "Enable the Shell Integration". Close the menu, then close the MediaInfoXP program.

MediaInfo's Windows Shell Integration is now enabled. When you right-click on one of your AVi captures, you'll see a context popup menu of options. Near the top of the Windows popup menu click on "Analyze file with MediaInfoXP". MediaInfoXP will open, and in a few seconds the video's properties will appear in the window. The window can be resized. You can select the contents with a mouse and copy the text contents to the Windows clipboard. Or you can right-click anywhere in the app's window and get a menu of output options, such as saving as a .txt file or copying the contents to the clipboard.

Paste the text in its entirety into a post, or attach the .txt file that you get from MediaInfoXP. We'll take a look for any clues about the audio. That little MediaInfo app is also good for getting some insight into what's inside video files.


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File Type: zip MediaInfo-GUI.2016-05-21.zip (8.84 MB, 8 downloads)
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  #26  
07-05-2016, 11:55 AM
sanlyn sanlyn is offline
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In the meantime I played around today with a terrible, noisy tape from 1991 that I captured with an All In Wonder with OK sync years ago. This goes so far back, I was surprised to find this this old tape still in storage.

Today, with the AIW's, two PC's and two VCR's I had no problem. So I decided to try a couple of USB cards. I was surprised as all heck to find USB sync wasn't so great on one of the PC's -- no drifting, just not in-sync by about 400ms during a short 2-minute capture. After deciding that the timestamps from the USB card might be the problem, I played with Timing Options and two USB cards, I ended up with perfect sync from start to end. It worked with my external tbc and worked with the tbc disconnected as well. So you might want to try these settings, customized for the USB cards:



Every card and system setup is different, and so are tapes (especially noisy ones recorded to cheap tape with bad cable signals!!). The above settings worked with one PC but had no effect on the other. Go figure.


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  #27  
07-05-2016, 02:31 PM
beef beef is offline
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Absolute legend - I will try all of this and report back later!

I've gotta say, in a strange turn of events since my last post, I'm now an owner of a DataVideo TBC-1000. Think I might need some more cables before I can use it however. I was searching for a TBC and it popped up on eBay as an auction pretty much right as I searched. Shot him a message and he offered me 25 for it - turns out he was only 20 minutes drive away, so I just got back it with it now. Incredibly nice guy - he even had a USB Pinnacle Dazzle HD thingy and a Canopus ADVC-55 which he said I could come back and buy if my Elgato proves to be rubbish even with the TBC-1000.

Edit: I'll try your suggestions without the TBC first, for the sake of science!

Last edited by beef; 07-05-2016 at 02:55 PM.
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  #28  
07-05-2016, 02:59 PM
sanlyn sanlyn is offline
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Congrats on the tbc-1000.

Pinnacle Dazzle HD = worse than Elgato.
I think you know from many posts here that Canopus/DV is a poor choice for analog capture.
They would put you back where you started. Why spend on these when a recommended USB card is so inexpensive?
I'd give the Elgato another try. If no go, it's easier to get any of several recommended cards.
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  #29  
07-05-2016, 03:42 PM
beef beef is offline
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Oh really. I thought the Canopus cards were decent? I've just seen them being name dropped in a lot of the threads I've seen. I can see now that DV is not what I'm looking for.

I've read the guide on capture cards, very informative but there was no obvious recommendations for specific capture cards that I could see. What's the general consensus on decent inexpensive capture cards then, and I'll see if I can hunt one down. I've seen that Lordsmurf uses the ATI 600 but they look incredibly hard to find over here. What do you use? And what other recommended options are there?

Will definitely give the Elgato a chance though - it's recording right now, should be able to check the audio sync in an hour or so, and then test with the TBC over night. If I can get reliable captures with synced audio with the Elgato, I'll be satisfied.

Edit: Also, I've currently only got one S-Video cable - when I use the TBC will it matter at all that it'll be S-Video from the VCR to TBC but RCA cables from the TBC to the capture card?
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  #30  
07-05-2016, 04:07 PM
sanlyn sanlyn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beef View Post
I've seen that Lordsmurf uses the ATI 600 but they look incredibly hard to find over here. What do you use? And what other recommended options are there?
I uswe:
ATI All In Wonder 7500 AGP Radeon (XP only)
ATI All In Wonder 9600xt AGP Radeon (XP only)
ATI 600 USB (XP)
Diamond VC500 USB 2 (XP, W7).
UK Source: Diamond Multimedia VC500 USB 2 (Win98/2K/XP/Vista/7/8). https://www.amazon.co.uk/Diamond-Mul...+VC500+USB+2.0

Other from the recommended alternatives list:
Hauppauge 610 USB2 (Win 7? Not sure). UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hauppauge-0.../dp/B003Q2ZA36

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Originally Posted by beef View Post
Also, I've currently only got one S-Video cable - when I use the TBC will it matter at all that it'll be S-Video from the VCR to TBC but RCA cables from the TBC to the capture card?
Composite, never. S-video all the way.

Last edited by sanlyn; 07-05-2016 at 04:55 PM.
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  #31  
07-06-2016, 05:15 AM
beef beef is offline
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Good news! Audio is now perfectly in sync when I used the TBC! Really didn't think it would work - pretty sure this unassuming little box is pure black magic. Just tested it with composite cables all the way as I need to go buy a second S-video. Pretty sure my timing settings were still set as they were with 'do not resync' selected and what not.

For the record, I tried it without the TBC one last time with the above settings and it was still out of sync. I don't know why it's seemingly impossible to get it synced without a TBC when capturing lossless with this device. I need to look into exactly what the TBC does as I'm really curious how it managed to sort it.

So happy - thanks for your help man. Now I just need to look into deinterlacing and compression as I've got a few dozen tapes to capture and this 3 hour one I've been testing with is about 90GB in lossless avi. At this rate they wouldn't even all fit on a brand new 2TB hard drive, so quality sacrifices must be made!
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  #32  
07-06-2016, 06:13 AM
sanlyn sanlyn is offline
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Good work. That 90GB file size seems a little on the large side for 3 hours of standard definition hufffyuv, but a noisy tape could easily take up extra data bits and take up more room as AVI. Obviously it will be smaller after post processing.

Most people keep original captures on external hard drives and pull off sections of video during editing. A few lossless captures get archived as-is (for the really important stuff), others are discarded at end of project, still others are archived as broadcast-high-bitrate MPEG or some other low-loss compression.

I am concerned however, about your comment. Why are you deinterlacing? Do you deinterlace all of your retail DVD's and all of the broadcast TV programs that you watch? What format will you use to compress your deinterlaced videos (it won't be DVD or SD BluRay -- those are interlaced formats). Are your VHS tapes movie-based or made from film-based TV programs (they aren't interlaced, they're telecined. Deinterlacing will ruin them). Are they movie or TV shows that are NTSC to PAL conversions (they often use field blending and other production techniques, so deinterlacing won't work). If they're animations, they're created as progressive frames and brought up to playing speed using duplicate framing or pulldown techniques, and can't be deinterlaced.

Deinterlacing video that is originally interlaced has a quality cost. When it's done it's for a good reason and uses specialized software for it.
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  #33  
07-06-2016, 08:27 AM
beef beef is offline
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Ah I see. I thought you needed to 'decomb' or 'deinterlace' these files if they're going to be played back primarily on computer screens. I was thinking that because the tapes look so smooth with the refresh rate on the CRT and I'd like to simulate that in the digital files. So far they're all just home movies, from VHS-C, no TV or film yet. Anyway, it's not that they look bad as they are, I'd just like them as smooth as possible. Am I barking up the wrong tree?

Also yeah 90GB was incorrect, it's about 75GB. The TBC rip is 75GB and the non TBC one is 70GB. Eventually I want to edit in Final Cut or a similar program - I don't think my computer could handle working with raw files that big. It would be nice to keep the lossless captures but it's not totally essential depending on how the compressed files turn out.

Also... my bloody VCR has already got a tape stuck in it that won't eject. What a pain... think I'm going to have to open it up and operate.
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  #34  
07-06-2016, 08:28 AM
beef beef is offline
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Edit: Double post - DELETE!!!
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  #35  
07-06-2016, 10:39 AM
sanlyn sanlyn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beef View Post
Ah I see. I thought you needed to 'decomb' or 'deinterlace' these files if they're going to be played back primarily on computer screens.
PC media players deinterlace on the fly the same way your TV does. With VLC Player you have set deinterlacing in the Tools option menu. Windows Media Player doesn't deinterlace as well as some others. Excessive combing is often a problem with video from consumer cameras but that can be fixed in post processing. There are specific filters for such problems that won't damage your video.

Quote:
Originally Posted by beef View Post
Also yeah 90GB was incorrect, it's about 75GB.
Yes, that's closer to "normal", LOL!

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Originally Posted by beef View Post
Eventually I want to edit in Final Cut or a similar program - I don't think my computer could handle working with raw files that big.
If your PC can run Final Cut, it can handle the files. What you would use most of the time to repair VHS defects would be a restoration and repair app, not an editor. Final Cut is an editor. The forum's capture guide and hundreds of threads deal with restoration projects.

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Originally Posted by beef View Post
It would be nice to keep the lossless captures but it's not totally essential depending on how the compressed files turn out.
You don't have to keep them. The original capture is the source for lossless intermediate working files, which are seldom retained.

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... my bloody VCR has already got a tape stuck in it that won't eject. What a pain... think I'm going to have to open it up and operate.
Yes, and be careful. I've had that problem myself, darn it.

Likely your new player has much better playback than average. But VHS still has many defects. High end VCRs can't get all of them, such as invalid luma levels, clipped blacks or blown out highlights, uneven borders, head switching noise, and whatnot (processing in the player would take forever to play your tapes!). I recently posted a few samples of cleanup using one seriously horrible tape from a bad cable signal, and a low-quality retail VHS movie transfer. There are before/after samples posted. Notes in that post reveal some of the early mistakes I made with those captures several years ago. Lossless/rstoration demos. Surprised you haven't caught some of these threads.

I was under the impression you were working with VHS. While VHS-C home video is similar, it has its own problems. Capture is only the first step. If you want CRT smooth, now that you're in the digital domain, you have to do at least some nominal repair. If you're doubtful about the reasons for it, you can post a short piece of unprocessed lossless capture for evaluation. If you don't know how to make an unprocessed short edit, just ask.
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  #36  
07-06-2016, 05:10 PM
beef beef is offline
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If you wouldn't mind briefly explaining how to make an short unprocessed edit, that'd be awesome. I was actually wondering how to do that the other day. Also I'd love to know how trim the end off a lossless file without interfering with the compression at all. And yeah it'd be lovely to get your opinion on a short sample.

I'll have a look at your restorations - sounds interesting and definitely something I'll look into in the future. For now I'm just going to focus on capturing everything, and compression (I'll have a search around for info on that or create a new thread as it's still a bit of a mystery to me - much like everything else). There's a certain charm to the defects and nuances of tape though that I can't help but love, so I'm not sure I'd want to try to eradicate all of those kind of things. Colours, levels and borders is definitely something I'll investigate over the next few weeks though. In all honesty repairing and post process hadn't actually crossed my mind.

And I guess I won't really need to compress these home videos, especially as the VHS-C ones are all under 45 minutes anyway. They're fine as they are really. I'm looking into compression as I've got some film/music video projects I want to get started on - I've got hundreds of old obscure tv records and kids tapes that I'd like to use as source material, digitise them and splice them together in Final Cut (hence why I mentioned it, wasn't planning to repair them in FC). It just doesn't seem feasible to me to work with lossless files when I'll be using so many sources in one project. But perhaps I'm being silly.

Also yeah you were right to assume I was working with VHS, I did all my tests with a 3 hour BBC 'Review of the Year' tape from 1989 (when I was born!) once I knew the audio could stay synced for an entire 3 hours then I'd be happy to digitise all the VHS-C home recordings. Turns out the new VCR really doesn't like my VHS-C adapter cassette thingy, the old one ejected it no problem. Was pretty nerve-wracking getting it out again, but it's all good now, the tape wasn't chewed up or anything. Though I'm a bit terrified to try another one as I think it'll do the same again. Hard to explain how it got stuck in there, but it looks like it'd probably happen every time.

Last edited by beef; 07-06-2016 at 05:35 PM.
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  #37  
07-06-2016, 06:28 PM
sanlyn sanlyn is offline
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Quote:
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If you wouldn't mind briefly explaining how to make an short unprocessed edit, that'd be awesome. I was actually wondering how to do that the other day.
An unprocessed YUY2 cut of 8 seconds is 200 PAL frames, which should be sufficient if it contains motion (preferably someone moving left to right, gesturing, etc.). Avoid really spastic camera motion, which is mostly blur.

Open a huffyuv video in VirtualDub and scroll to a section of video that you want to use as a sample. Using the navigation icons in the lower left of the VirtualDub window, click the "start Selection" key to mark the starting frame. To navigate to the end of your selection, use the ">" frame advance key. Then click the "End Selection" icon to mark the end of the selection. When your selection is made, in VDub's top menu click "Edit..." -> "Crop Selection".



The last steps are important. In the VDub top menu, click "Video..." -> then click "direct stream copy". Finally, click "File..." -> "Save AVI...", and give the sample a name and location.

To trim off the end of a file, move to the frame that starts the section you want to delete, and mark that frame with the "Start" selection icon. Then click the "end of File" navigation key (">|"), and mark the end of the file by clicking the "End" selection" icon. Then click "Edit..." -> "Delete". This will trim off the unwanted tail end of a file.

To trim off the beginning of a file, scroll to the last frame at the end of the section you want to delete. Mark that frame by clicking the "End" selection icon -- note that the indicated selection now includes all frames from the beginning of the file to the frame you just marked as "End". Then click "Edit..." -> " Delete". This will trim off the unwanted front part of the file.

Quote:
Originally Posted by beef View Post
For now I'm just going to focus on capturing everything, and compression (I'll have a search around for info on that or create a new thread as it's still a bit of a mystery to me - much like everything else). There's a certain charm to the defects and nuances of tape though that I can't help but love, so I'm not sure I'd want to try to eradicate all of those kind of things. Colours, levels and borders is definitely something I'll investigate over the next few weeks though.
That's a little confusing, LOL! You love the charming defects but you want CRT smooth? Of course there's a big difference between basic cleanup and the futile quest for perfection. However, if you want to improve colour, levels, and borders, you hve to do that in lossless format. Fixing those details with lossy final compression formats will be shooting your projects in both feet from the outset and wasting your effort at getting a good lossless capture.

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Originally Posted by beef View Post
And I guess I won't really need to compress these home videos, especially as the VHS-C ones are all under 45 minutes anyway. They're fine as they are really.
You can compress them to high bitrate codecs and archive the originals you want to keep. Or anything you want, but why keep a multitude of 10 and 20GB short videos all over the place? Final encoding is the easy part. Not to worry, it will all come along soon enough.


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  #38  
07-07-2016, 01:48 AM
koberulz koberulz is offline
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Originally Posted by sanlyn View Post
Other from the recommended alternatives list:
Hauppauge 610 USB2 (Win 7? Not sure). UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hauppauge-0.../dp/B003Q2ZA36
FWIW I'm using this with a Windows 10 laptop to do my captures.
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  #39  
07-07-2016, 04:00 PM
beef beef is offline
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Originally Posted by sanlyn View Post
That's a little confusing, LOL! You love the charming defects but you want CRT smooth?
Haha I know man... I confuse myself sometimes. I guess it boils down to wanting the best possible quality I can achieve for the old family home recordings... but for all the other VHS media I have (vintage tv recordings, kids films, general curious items) I'd absolutely welcome any artifacting and distortions that VHS has a tendency for. Ultimately, because I'm a contrived hipster!

I have a box of over 150 regular VHS tapes with all sorts of things on that I'd like to sort through, and digitise (at least temporarily to see if they're worthwhile) so I'm going to have to sacrifice some quality for the sake of efficiency and just plain hard disk space. I'd still love to capture them at 25fps 720x576 but I'd only have room for 6 or 7 if they all end up 70+ GB. So I either need to look into capturing at a lower quality, or look into a way to quickly compress them after a lossless capture. Hopefully that clears things up a bit. Kind of itching to get started on that project but I'll get all the home movies done first.

And thanks for your short tutorial on extracting a short clip and trimming the ends. Super helpful as always. Sadly a bit too busy until Saturday afternoon to work on it, but I'll be able to get a clip up on the weekend. Then I'll have a go at doing some clean up, corrections and reparations. Looking forward to it!
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  #40  
07-08-2016, 09:11 AM
sanlyn sanlyn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beef View Post
I guess it boils down to wanting the best possible quality I can achieve for the old family home recordings
I started with over 300 VHS tapes. Obviously I'd be in my grave befiore I could make pristine digital archives of every one. Many were replaced with DVD releases. Many were decent tapes that I recorded directly to MPEG/DVD with a Dvd recorder equipped with the excellent LSI chip. Many out of print movies were broadcast later over digital TV and recorded to DVD or to a PC with a high definition PVR. Many were noisy recordings with an old cheap VCR but were cleaned up satisfactorily with some simple filtering (the "good enough" school of output quality). Some were so horrible and consequential, they were discarded.

But as you say, some of mine are irreplaceable favorites: live TV broadcasts of Pearl Harbor and D-Day memorials, many hours of live TV coverage of 9/11 and the Katrina disaster, some excellent old films that will never see DVD, and some priceless home videos. These were subjects for repair and restoration. Ultimate quality is of course a personal preference, but getting there requires an understanding of video properties and proper processing. One can read about that stuff forever, but it all remains mysterious until one is engaged in actual use. Without some basic insight, many users attain average, below-average, and even terrible results, a far cry from "highest possible quality". Fortunately for most of us, getting decent quality isn't rocket science, and most of the tools are free. But we do have to know how to look into a video's innards and work with it.

I don't keep captures on my active hard drives. They are transferred and stored on external USB hard drives after capture. Unlike external drives used only as storage and backup, continuously active drives are subject to the usual stresses of daily use. If a blip occurs, the captures could be damaged or lost. More experienced users understand very well the maxim that computers are for processing, not for permanent storage.

For tapes that don't require a lot of cleanup, you can encode directly to MPEG/DVD or higher bitrate standard definition BluRay with a good encoder and authoring program, most of which can make better encoded videos than many capture cards. But encoding is the last step. Better to first get a handle on video properties and avoid disappointment.
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