Quantcast After capturing VHS with VirtualDub, how to proceed? - digitalFAQ Forum
  #1  
01-10-2017, 06:31 PM
Superopa Superopa is offline
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After reading and learning from your forum for the past two years, I was able to cobble together a Windows XP system with an ATI card, and have successfully captured about 200 VHS tapes using Virtualdub. I have saved each home video without any editing in direct streaming mode and then loaded all videos into a network attached storage system. I want to keep these files as master files but would like to know how to best view them with the best quality possible. I have access to both Windows and Mac computers, but would prefer to edit the videos on the Mac. Now I have several questions:
1. Which video conversion program/app will allow the least amount of data loss?
2. Should the individual videos be burned onto a DVD or could I just save a version for streaming from the NAS?
3. Can you explain the difference between rendering and authoring? I am still confused about these two terms.

The amount of editing I will do is limited, i.e. add a title, cut out a few wobbly sections, etc. Because I am new to all of this, I will possibly try color corrections and other, more advanced editing at a later point. Can advanced editing be done using Virtualdub and the saved, direct stream copies I have made? Or will I have to convert the direct stream copy back to another format?
I am still confused about a lot of the terminology, so detailed instructions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you very much for assisting me.
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  #2  
01-11-2017, 02:27 AM
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What you do next depends on the project goals.

Lossless files make great masters, horrible viewing formats. The lossless is an "intermediary" (ProRes422, DNxHD, SDI, lossless formats, etc). The viewing, you need a "delivery" format, and settings within that format (MPEG, H.264, etc).

I capture as lossless, restore and editing as needed, and then encode to high bitrate MPEG. I pick different settings, depending on my need (example: 4:2:2 vs standard 4:2:0), but most often pick Blu-ray spec. Then I purge the lossless, it's no longer needed. Only some lossless is kept for future project, or gambling future restoration method can salvage it even more.

I watch MPEGfrom directly-connected drives on WDTV and Kodi boxes.
I only stream H.264, which I also do for streaming copies of the MPEG or lossless masters.

Avidemux (free) and MainConcept (pay) are my favorites, and both have Mac and Windows editions. I also like to edit on Mac, as Premiere Pro seems to be more stable on OS X (which is odd, considering it was ported to Mac from Windows to start with).

"Rendering" is bad jargon use, in most cases. To "render" is make something entirely new. For example, to make an animated movie like Toy Story, you "render". What most people really mean is "encode". Encoding is where you make a new video file, often with a different compression. For example, to go from lossless to MPEG, you encode a new copy.

"Authoring" is specific to disc. To make DVD-Video (aka "DVD") or Blu-ray (BDMV, BDAV), you package the files. The raw MPEG for DVD, or H.264 or MPEG for BD, is combined with audio, subtitles, on-screen disc artwork, menus, etc. That process is authoring, and needs authoring software aka authorware.

When you edit video, aside from snipping and rearranging, a new encode must be made. VirtualDub 'direct stream copy' cannot be used for video that had color corrected, filters used, etc.

Your confusion over jargon is precisely why I've been working on a glossary in recent month. It's slow, because I have a lot of things to do. Some jargon has synonyms, too. For example, "ingest" = "capture". Video jargon can be every bit as confusing as medical jargon or IT jargon.

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  #3  
01-11-2017, 06:49 AM
sanlyn sanlyn is offline
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The post claims he wants to use VirtualDub and/or Avisynth for cleanup but wants to use a Mac to do that. Not possible. Perhaps cleanup in Windows, edit in Mac.
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01-11-2017, 06:56 AM
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Correct, Mac natively cannot run VirtualDub or Avisynth.
For some reason, the word "editing" makes me think of NLEs. FCP, Premiere, Vegas, Avid, etc.

However, I have Parallels on my Mac, with Windows XP installed for Windows-only software. VirtualDub can also be installed with Wine in Mac. Most modern computer users should be using VMs, when heavy tasks are involved. I often use our Linux desktops, which are Mint and Xubuntu. Those have Virtualbox, for Windows, when needed.

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01-11-2017, 08:30 AM
Superopa Superopa is offline
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Thank you for your response. I still have a few more questions:
All of my virtual dub masterfulness are saved as direct stream copies. I did not do any color correction or use any filters during capture or before saving these files. They are truly meant as master files as I anticipate a few failures while I try to do minor editing and turing these files into a delivery format.
You mentioned that VirtualDub direct stream copies cannot be used for video that had color corrected or filters used. But can I use these direct stream copies/master files to do basic editing, such as snip away a few parts, add a title, background music etc? If so, do you recommend using Avidemux? Or should I purchase Premiere Pro?
I have already used a few video conversion apps such as wondershare which will convert the files to MPEG for viewing or streaming. However, the files go from let's say 6.5GB to 230 MB in this conversion, and therefore a huge amount of data must be lost, which is exactly what I want to avoid, since I have already taken the trouble to capture lossless files. In essence, I would like to watch my captured files, after some basic editing, with as much quality as possible.
Thank you also for clarification of the authoring and rendering terminology.
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  #6  
01-11-2017, 10:09 AM
sanlyn sanlyn is offline
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A little more information:
Which version of Windows?
What is the format (codec) of your lossless captures?
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01-11-2017, 10:51 AM
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I will attach a few pictures of my setup for you which will hopefully give you the information you need. Thank you.


Attached Images
File Type: jpg IMG_0070.jpg (58.1 KB, 5 downloads)
File Type: jpg IMG_0071.jpg (55.5 KB, 5 downloads)
File Type: jpg IMG_0072.jpg (72.8 KB, 4 downloads)
File Type: jpg IMG_0074.jpg (74.9 KB, 5 downloads)
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  #8  
01-11-2017, 10:52 AM
Superopa Superopa is offline
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I have several Windows computers, a laptop windows 10, laptop windows vista, and desktop (which I use for capture) with windows xp.
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  #9  
01-11-2017, 11:45 AM
sanlyn sanlyn is offline
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Your captures are losslessly compressed HuffYUV in a YUY2 colorspace. I assume the frame size is 720x480. IF you ever need to submit (or view) the techy stuff of a video you can always use the free Windows MediaInfoXP utility (http://www.videohelp.com/download/Me...2016-12-22.zip). it works in all versions of Windows). Its info panel can be copied as plain text and posted in a forum if necessary. It is a standalone program, meaning it has no installer. Just click the .exe file to run, and direct it to open a video file. The images you posted reveal that the frame rate of that particular capture is a little short of 29.97 fps, but it can be easily fixed. The frame rate shown is 29.71619, not 29.97.

What advantages does a Mac offer in this project? What do you feel you can do on a Mac that you can't do in Windows? I'm not bashing Mac per se, but they haven't supported extensive video work for years except for their pro machines. For much of what advanced users do with lossless video Windows is more flexible and the software offerings, free and paid, are far more extensive. I would not suggest trying to process video on a laptop, notably because their display screens are not well adapted for that use. The typical laptop display is particularly unsuited for color work.

Mac does not support AVI vfw containers or lossless or near-lossless codecs beyond a very few such as ProRes, which requires .mov containers. As far as I know the best way to transfer lossless AVi to a Mac is to decode it to totally uncompressed format, which would be very large files. Others might have a different take on that transfer method. Lossless codecs such as huffYUV or Lagarith can't be used on a Mac. The exception is the UT Video Lossless Codec Suite, but I'm not certain that compression is interchangeable between its Windows and Mac versions.

You mention "advanced editing", which includes a lot of territory. Advanced users would divide the term "edit" several ways. There is restoration and repair, which includes noise and typical VHS defect removal, and color work. This would be performed using lossless media and lossless intermediate work files. Then there is simple cut-and-join, discarding unwanted segments ("simple edits"), and assembly into a finished product with audio work, transitions such as dissolves and fades, superimposed titles, etc. (timeline edits). All of these operations are best performed using lossless media.

The last phase of any video project after all the above work is completed is encoding into a final delivery format. By "final delivery" we mean a standard format playable on most players and systems and not designed for further edit or modification -- DVD, BluRay, or h.264 encoded containers such as mp4, mkv, or others. Standard final delivery formats use lossy codecs. Higher bitrates entail lower loss and higher quality, as you can see when you buy a retail DVD or BluRay disc or watch HDTV.

Their smaller file size reflects only a slight loss (when encoded correctly), as well as a colorspace change, but more relevant to the smaller size is the manner in which those formats are encoded. An encoded DVD, BluRay, etc., doesn't consists entirely of complete images. Rather, encoding is in Groups of Pictures (GOP), usually of a restricted size such as 15, 30, or 60 frames, and other mandated groupings. One or a very few of those frames is a complete image called a key frame. The majority of the other frames in the GOP are not complete images but contain only data that has changed since the last key frame or reference frame. On the other hand most lossless formats consist entirely of full-size and complete images, which is of great advantage in cut and join operations and in advanced repair such as denoising and color work. Most playback systems other than PC's don't support lossless media playback.

NLE's do pretty well at color work, timeline edits, and encoding, but they are not enabled for anything more extensive. An application like VirtualDub or Avsiynth can perform cuts and even color work, but they are specifically designed for correction and restoration and for handling lossless media. By default Virtualdub's output is a lossless file.

As explained earlier, authoring to such formats as DVD or BluRay does not involve further encoding nor image modification. Rather, with authoring the encoded files are rearranged into a new file organization designed to accommodate players for those formats and to incorporate special features such as menus and chapters.

You can save time, trouble, and probably money by doing everything in Windows. But you can always transfer to the Mac for more simple work, encoding, and authoring.

Last edited by sanlyn; 01-11-2017 at 11:57 AM.
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01-11-2017, 02:30 PM
Superopa Superopa is offline
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Sanlyn, thank you very much for this very detailed explanation. I will set up my windows desktop and get started. You did not mention if I can use the "direct stream copy" which I saved after capture for the simple editing I want to do, i.e. insert a title, cut out a few segments, maybe add some background music.
Should I do these simple edits using VirtualDub or do you recommend another Windows application, free or paid for? Also, can I use these same applications to finalize the project and place it into one of the containers you specified?
I hope I am not asking too many questions, but as you can tell, I am trying to understand the workflow and avoid errors as much as possible. It took a long time for me to get all of the components of the video capture together and then set up the correct parameters, so if at all possible, I would like this phase of the project to go a little smoother.
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  #11  
01-11-2017, 03:38 PM
sanlyn sanlyn is offline
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Direct stream copy, when used to save cuts/edits in VirtualDub, saves the desired output in the same colorspace and compression as the input. However, it won't apply any VirtualDub filters you might have loaded. You need Full processing mode for filtering, if you use any. But to return the output to the original lossless compression and colorspace, set the "Color depth" to the desired colorspace (to match the color depth to the colorspace of your source, which is probably YUY2) and set the "Compression" entry to the codec of the source (probably huffyuv). This will apply any filters you want and will return output to the same colorspace and codec as the source.

You can also work with lossless media in NLE editors for complicated editing and you can save the output as lossless, or you can encode to your final format. Some people set compressors in VirtualDub to encode to final format, but this is a clumsy way of doing it -- not as flexible for settings as you'd get in an NLE or encoding app. Some NLE's are problematic with huffyuv. If that occurs, you can use huffyuv's main competitor, the lossless Lagarith codec which is more universal as far as NLE's go. There is no problem changing compression from huffyuv to Lagarith, -- both are lossless, they do the same things, they're equally fast, and they output the same file size. A bonus with Lagarith is that it also works with YV12, which is the color system used by DVD and BluRay encodes and most h.264 formats.

I'm not much for NLE's like Premiere, I do most of my work in Avisynth and Virtualdub because I do extensive cleanup of VHS captures and use separate encoders. When I need timeline work or really sophisticated color I use AfterEffects (advanced color controls similar to Premiere Pro), but I save its output as lossless and use other apps for final encoding. An NLE can be directed to save output in any format you choose.

Normally with this type of workflow you accumulate many lossless intermediate working files. The master is always archived as-is; working files can be discarded along the way, but I always save notes on the settings I used for those files. You can never tell when something needs a re-work. Encoding to final format is, of course, the last step in a project.

Most of my color work is done with Avisynth and Virtualdub, for which a ton of filters are available. Some of Virtualdub's add-ons can emulate color filters found in Photoshop and Premiere and in many ways are more sophisticated than the color controls in budget NLE's like Premiere Elements. For severe color problems I have to to go with Aftereffects. The "grunt work" or the foundation before final assembly is done in Avisynth + VirtualDub, before going into an NLE or encoder.

Last edited by sanlyn; 01-11-2017 at 04:00 PM.
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01-12-2017, 09:22 PM
Superopa Superopa is offline
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Thank you for your response. I would like to summarize what I have learned so far and would appreciate if you could review and comment on my thoughts:
1. I will download my saved file(s) from the NAS to my (Windows) computer and open them in VirtualDub. Since they have been saved as a direct stream copy, I will not be able to apply any filters. Did I understand correctly that I can "return" the direct stream copy to "full processing mode" by setting the color depth to the colorspace of my source, and set the compression to the codec of my source/capture?
2. After setting the color depth and compression as described above, I can then use VirtualDub's filters for editing?
3. After editing has been completed, should I again save as "direct stream copy"?
4. Once the edited file has been saved, it is loaded it into an NLE or encoder to encode to a final delivery format?

For the most part, my editing will be limited to cut and join and adding a title, maybe a few transitions; can that be done in VirtualDub using the direct stream copy?
And finally, what are the recommended encoding settings? I would prefer watching the home videos via streaming, but if saving to BlueRay is recommended, I will follow your recommendations.
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01-13-2017, 04:11 AM
sanlyn sanlyn is offline
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"Direct stream copy" means what the term implies -- it is a copy operation, not a processing operation. Under direct stream copy Virtualdub will automatically preserve the original lossless compression and colorspace.

Under "full processing mode" the input source is converted to uncompressed RGB so that filtering can be applied. With this mode, you must manually set the output color depth and compressor, otherwise the default output is uncompressed RGB.

VirtualDub has more than 100 add-on filters available, but it is basically a frame serving application (too complicated to go into at this point) for lossless media and not a full-featured NLE editor as most people know them. Transitions, timeline, titles, etc., can be applied in any conventional NLE such as Movie Studio or Premiere Elements, which can also encode the results into several final formats but are useless for denoising or repair (you need Virtualdub for that).

The two most popular and widely used final delivery codecs are MPEG (usually for DVD or BluRay) and h.264, the latter codec used for BluRay and the internet. Modern consumer apps like the NLE's mentioned above can encode using those two codecs. Most encoding for streaming servers don't include menu features such as chapters that you would associate with DVD or BluRay disc -- these features are the result of authoring operations performed on encoded video. Full instructions for those NLE's come with the product, and while they all do pretty much the same thing they have different icons and command buttons for doing it.

For output formats, remember that your original input source is interlaced and should remain that way. DVD and BluRay are interlaced formats, just like your HDTV cable programs. I would suggest encoding to MPEG at DVD-compatible bitrates (about 6500 kbps average to 9000 max, with Dolby AC3 audio at 48Khz/16-bit, using VBR (Variable BitRates) ). The MPEG container for that encoded video would be an .mpg file and can be used for DVD authoring or for streaming. For BluRay you can use higher target bitrates of MPEG encoding at about twice the DVD bitrate. Also for BluRay or streaming you can use h.264 encoding at standard definition bitrates of 8000 kbps to 15000 kbps VBR in .m2t (BluRay) or mp4 "generic" containers. In all cases the frame size would remain the same at 720x480 @29.97 fps (NTSC) or 720x576 @25 fps (PAL). Either of these can be encoded for a 4:3 or 16:9 display aspect ratio, based on the original display aspect ratio of the taped source (which is usually 4:3).

If none of this makes any sense, you need to consult your NLE program's user guide. Many NLE's offer automated templates of varying output quality to help the encoding-challenged user.
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01-13-2017, 06:43 AM
Superopa Superopa is offline
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Thank you for this detailed response. You have clarified a lot of questions for me and I can now get started on my project. Thanks again!
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