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  #1  
06-29-2016, 09:28 AM
CluelessCal CluelessCal is offline
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Hi, guys. Sorry if this is a redundant request. Itís just that in all the guides posted, I canít remember seeing an explicit A-through-Z ďdiagramĒ of the whole shebangólike something that paints a visual image of what step 1, step 2, etc, are for converting VHS tapes.

Like most people who visit here, I have a lot of VHS tapes that I want to make permanent digital copies of. (I eventually want to burn them onto data DVDsóprobably Blu-Raysóboth for playback and storage purposes.) I want the final result to be the best quality possible. (Relatively speaking; I know the source material isnít great to begin with, and Iíve already messed up to a degree by waiting so long to start this project.) And I have already gleaned some necessary info reading the posts here.

However, Iím still not quite clear on exactly all the equipment I need to get. And more importantly, Iím not clear on what the whole ďchain of eventsĒ will look like once Iím ready to start the actual transferring/preserving. Would it be possible for someone to just flat-out spell things out for me? I seriously need this diagramed for me like Iím a grade-schooler.

STEP ONE I figure is the VCR itself for playing my tapes. Iíve already gotten a good VCR based on the helpful buying guide here. (A JVC HR-S9600U from Ebay.)

STEP TWO: I *think* at that point Iím supposed to send the signal to an external Time Base Corrector (even though the S9600U already has an internal TBC). I currently have an ďAmbery Pro Video to VGA Scaler with TV TunerĒ (model number LCDT5) that I havenít ever taken out of the box. I donít know if thatís an adequate one though.

After those two first steps, things get a little hazy. Next I gather I send the signal into a capture card installed in my computer. But which one? (Iím using Windows 7.) I know Iíve seen people suggest NOT using one that automatically compresses the image into an mpeg-2 format, because that will most likely create an inferior image. So, which capture card should I be using, and which video format should I initially be saving these files to, keeping in mind that Iíd like the best quality end result. (I gather that eventually Iíll need to compress the files anyway to store on Blu-Rays. I also know that Iím *not* supposed to deinterlace.)

And what kind of software should I be using? Both to capture the images, but also to author the DVDs?

As you can see, Iím pretty clueless. If itís impractical and too time-consuming to get into too much detail for each step, I can understand that. Alternately, if someone could just flat out state the order of the steps and just provide specific brand names I should be using (both equipment and software), I can probably do individual searches about each step on my own to get that additional detail. Thanks.
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  #2  
06-29-2016, 05:08 PM
sanlyn sanlyn is offline
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Welcome to digitalfaq

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Originally Posted by CluelessCal View Post
STEP ONE I figure is the VCR itself for playing my tapes. Iíve already gotten a good VCR based on the helpful buying guide here. (A JVC HR-S9600U from Ebay.)
Good first step. Next step is to read the manual.

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Originally Posted by CluelessCal View Post
STEP TWO: I *think* at that point Iím supposed to send the signal to an external Time Base Corrector (even though the S9600U already has an internal TBC). I currently have an ďAmbery Pro Video to VGA Scaler with TV TunerĒ (model number LCDT5) that I havenít ever taken out of the box. I donít know if thatís an adequate one though.
A scaler? Why so complicated? You want an external frame-level tbc. What is a TBC? Time Base Correction for Videotapes. For a more about line-level tbc's in VCR's and external frame tbc's, -> these two posts #43480 and and 43725.

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Originally Posted by CluelessCal View Post
After those two first steps, things get a little hazy. Next I gather I send the signal into a capture card installed in my computer. But which one? (Iím using Windows 7.) I know Iíve seen people suggest NOT using one that automatically compresses the image into an mpeg-2 format, because that will most likely create an inferior image. So, which capture card should I be using, and which video format should I initially be saving these files to, keeping in mind that Iíd like the best quality end result
Keeping in mind that you want the best quality and result:

The best affordable cards recommended for over a decade are the Ati All In Wonder AGP and PCI line and a few AIW PCIe's for Win2000/XP. That eliminates Vista and Win7/8/10. Motherboards with AGP graphic slots haven't been made for 10 years or so. Still, people manage to somehow find AIW cards and old PC machines or build one (as I did). The AIW capture cards of yore are listed here (the 7500 and 9600's seem to be favorites): ATI All In Wonder Hacks, Drivers, Codecs and MMC. A few newer, decent USB alternatives have been posted. They're good, but they're not AIW's. Still, I've augmented my AIW's with a USB device with good results.

For best results, cleanup, repair, color correction, edits, etc., analog tape is captured via a capture device to a PC into lossless AVI containers as 720x480 frames using YUY2 color and usually with lossless codecs like huffyuv, Lagarith, or UT Video to reduce file size. This is to avoid ugly lossy compression artifacts, reduced color resolution, and other lossy encoding problems from VHS noise.

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Originally Posted by CluelessCal View Post
I gather that eventually Iíll need to compress the files anyway to store on Blu-Rays. I also know that Iím *not* supposed to deinterlace.
True, interlaced source should be archived/encoded/authored as interlaced. If your tapes are from Hollywood movies, these and many TV shows are not interlaced. They're telecined and should never be deinterlaced. For web posting if desired later, the best quality tools for deinterlacing and inverse telecine are in Avisynth.

Many set top players won't read DVD or BluRay burned as "data" to DVD or BluRay discs. DVD and BluRay players will read DVD that is encoded/authored in DVD format and burned to DVD disc; BluRay players will read those DVDs, and they read Bluray encoded/authored and burned as BluRay to BluRay disc. Official "DVD" format burned to BluRay disc is almost always unplayable by those players. Look into final delivery formatting later. Video encoded as MPEG (the codec used for DVDs and BluRay) or h.264/AVC (the codecs used for BluRay) can be encoded into several generic container types (.mpg, mp4, mkv, etc.) and burned as data to a disc or stored on a hard drive, but those are not "official" DVD or BluRay formats. Official BluRay includes high-bitrate standard definition as well as HD.

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And what kind of software should I be using? Both to capture the images, but also to author the DVDs?
VirtualDub's capture utility is a favorite. There are a few others. VirtualDub and Avisynth are two free tools universally recommended for cleanup of dirty noisy ugly VHS and its many unsightly defects. The process is known as "restoration". If you spend big bucks on something like Vegas Pro you'll be pleased with its color filters on lossless media and its encoder, but you'll be flatly disappointed to learn that NLE's are feckless wimps as restoration tools. They're not restoration apps, they're editors. There are also many free DVd/BluRay authoring apps -- not many features but, after all, they're free.
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  #3  
06-29-2016, 06:00 PM
CluelessCal CluelessCal is offline
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Thanks for the prompt response, sir. That's too bad (and kind of weird) about there not really being an ideal capture card option for newer computers. (But I'll investigate those links so I can get a better grasp of the options.) As I get further into this, I'm sure I'll be asking more questions.
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  #4  
06-29-2016, 11:48 PM
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There's not any easy way to do something visual for this, but it's an idea. I do find it interesting. But for now, an A-Z/1-2-3 type explanation is possible.

The biggest issue is the hardware setup. So I guess that could be Part 1 with an A-Z.

1. Acquire good hardware:
- A: Quality player required. For Video8/Hi8/DV, good cameras required. For VHS, good S-VHS VCR with TBC. For Betamax, good Super Beta is ideal.
- B: External TBC required; not same as internal TBC.
- C: Optional: ES10 for tearing, proc amps, detailers, etc.
- D: Quality capture card; ATI AIW suggested on Windows XP system for best results. Or a DVD recorder; LSI Logic chipset models are suggested, especially a JVC. Windows Vista and beyond have very limited capture workflows, and most items are not quality. The ATI 600 USB is an exception, as is a specific Tevion USB; both are Empia chipsets.

2, Setup good hardware as needed. Standard chain is VCR/camera > TBC > capture card. VCR/camera and card never move. Sometimes other gear added before/after TBC, sometime TBC removed. Depends on tape.

3. Capture to desired format. Lossless AVI (Huffyuv suggested) allows for advanced restoration and editing. MEPG-2 is good for archive at high 15mpbs+ bitrates, lower bitrates for direct-to-DVD (usally TV) recording.

FYI: Waiting didn't do you harm. VHS doesn't simply degrade with time. That's a myth.

For analog sources, MPEG-2 directly captured to 15mbps MPEG Blu-ray specs looks very nice, assuming the hardware can play it back in quality. It's often good for VHS, but especially the small camera formats.

Use VirtualDub as the capture software.

You're doing fine so far. Let's see how that helps.

FYI, I'm currently building my very last ATI AIW system that I'll be selling. It's not yet in the marketplace forum, as it's not done. Same for my last set of studio-quality speakers. Still a TBC available, and I may let an AGP-1980 go.

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  #5  
06-30-2016, 07:03 AM
CluelessCal CluelessCal is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sanlyn View Post
A scaler? Why so complicated? You want an external frame-level tbc. What is a TBC? Time Base Correction for Videotapes. For a more about line-level tbc's in VCR's and external frame tbc's, -> these two posts #43480 and and 43725.
Hi. Just so I'm absolutely clear on this, you're saying that the thing I have (the Ambery LCDT5 Scaler with TV Tuner) is completely inappropriate for what I to do, and that I'm going to have to get something else for my external TBC needs. Correct?

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Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
FYI: Waiting didn't do you harm. VHS doesn't simply degrade with time. That's a myth.
This eases my mind a bit. Thanks.

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Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
You're doing fine so far. Let's see how that helps.
FYI, I'm currently building my very last ATI AIW system that I'll be selling. It's not yet in the marketplace forum, as it's not done. Same for my last set of studio-quality speakers. Still a TBC available, and I may let an AGP-1980 go.
In the less than a day I've posted my questions, I've already gotten some helpful info.

I'll be looking out on the marketplace forum to see if what you're selling is a feasible option for me.

***

There is also something else I wanted to ask the experts here--similar to how it appears that I bought a pointless Ambery TV scaler a few years ago in anticipation of this project (that I haven't gotten to till now)...

A few years ago I also bought a bunch of other stuff (seemingly randomly) thinking that they would help. Now, I suspect that they're not ideal for my project either. They are:

--an XTune "video processor, scaler, switcher, Integrated TV tuner"
--a WinTV-PVR 350 "personal video recorder"
--a WinFast PxDTV2300 H "PCI-E Hybrid TV Tuner Card for DVB-T and Worldwide analog TV"

Given that I want the best end results as possible, am I correct in thinking that none of those things are going to be helpful to me? Thanks.
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  #6  
06-30-2016, 01:00 PM
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The Hauppauge WinTV PVR-350 is a nice card for hardware MPEG-2 capturing, at up to 15mpbs. The Hauppauge hardware is always a bit softer than ATI, and is noticeable for broadcast video. But for VHS, the softness really isn't an issue, as the resolution is lower than broadcast.

You do need the WinTV software for it -- one of that era, that supports that card.

It's an MPEG hardware card, so no AVI. (Even if capturing AVI, I believe it's still MPEG compressed first. Not much different from DV hardware cards here.)

So it may be "a best" for your situation.

Windows XP required for this one, too.

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  #7  
06-30-2016, 06:45 PM
CluelessCal CluelessCal is offline
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Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
The Hauppauge WinTV PVR-350 is a nice card for hardware MPEG-2 capturing, at up to 15mpbs. The Hauppauge hardware is always a bit softer than ATI, and is noticeable for broadcast video. But for VHS, the softness really isn't an issue, as the resolution is lower than broadcast.

You do need the WinTV software for it -- one of that era, that supports that card.

It's an MPEG hardware card, so no AVI. (Even if capturing AVI, I believe it's still MPEG compressed first. Not much different from DV hardware cards here.)

So it may be "a best" for your situation.

Windows XP required for this one, too.
Reading between the lines of what you're saying, am I correct in interpreting it to mean: the Hauppauge I have really isn't ideal for ultimately getting the best end result. And that you're only (semi) recommending my using it because I already have it in my possession, and thus, it would be most convenient and cost-efficient for me?

I'm not trying to sound snarky, I just want to understand 100% here. Thanks.
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07-01-2016, 03:42 AM
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No, there's no "between the lines" here.

It's all about workflow, which is based on goals of the project.

For example, some of my projects:
- work, Hi8, archive to watch, captured to 15mbps BD-spec MPEG with ATI AIW
- work, bad VHS to restore, captured to Huffyuv with ATI AIW or non-Ezcap Empia-based USB
- personal, archive to watch, B&W game show (What's My Line?), off TV, captured to Zoran-based DVD recorder @ 4-hour mode
- personal, archive to watch, B&W game show (What's My Line?), off VHS, captured to LSI-based DVD recorder @ 3-hour mode
- personal, old high school and college VHS (yeah, dating myself here!), to edit, captured Huffyuv with ATI AIW

So the PVR-350 can be great for "archive to watch". It depends on the source, and the need.

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  #9  
07-01-2016, 09:03 AM
CluelessCal CluelessCal is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
No, there's no "between the lines" here.

It's all about workflow, which is based on goals of the project.

For example, some of my projects:
- work, Hi8, archive to watch, captured to 15mbps BD-spec MPEG with ATI AIW
- work, bad VHS to restore, captured to Huffyuv with ATI AIW or non-Ezcap Empia-based USB
- personal, archive to watch, B&W game show (What's My Line?), off TV, captured to Zoran-based DVD recorder @ 4-hour mode
- personal, archive to watch, B&W game show (What's My Line?), off VHS, captured to LSI-based DVD recorder @ 3-hour mode
- personal, old high school and college VHS (yeah, dating myself here!), to edit, captured Huffyuv with ATI AIW

So the PVR-350 can be great for "archive to watch". It depends on the source, and the need.
Thanks for clarifying, lordsmurf. But seeing as how I'd need additional software *and* buy a new XP system to use the PVR, I wonder if I might as well just wait until the special setup you're creating that you alluded to earlier is available to purchase. Might as well go "all the way" if I have to get that additional stuff (XP operating system, software) anyway.
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  #10  
07-02-2016, 03:01 PM
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Then I'll try to get it finished next week, and contact you before putting it on the marketplace.

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  #11  
07-02-2016, 03:25 PM
CluelessCal CluelessCal is offline
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Great. Thanks I appreciate it.
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