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metaleonid 01-31-2017 11:43 PM

ATI AIW 7500 VE PCI vs. Diamond VC500 for LaserDisc
8 Attachment(s)
I've been trying to test both of these capture devices today to decide which one to use to capture from the LaserDiscs.

In this setup my workflow was pretty straight forward:
Pioneer Elite LD-S2 S-Video out ->

-> Diamond VC500 S-Video in
-> ATI AIW 7500 VE S-Video in

And the winner is Diamond VC500.

After setting up brightness and contrast for both capture cards using histogram (thanks to Sanlyn) and then examining images I found that ATI AIW 7500 tends to clip whites a bit more than Diamond VC500. Also ATI AIW 7500 is inferior to Diamond VC500 in picking up dark colors. I am going to include 4 different pairs of frames. Feedback is very welcome.

Please note, that my decision is based on my setup for the LaserDiscs for a particular player Pioneer LD-S2. I am not advising anything for VHS captures.


lordsmurf 02-01-2017 12:39 AM

I actually prefer the ATI more.

Yes, the VC500 is perhaps a wee more faithful to the source, but the source needs some mild contrast adjustments anyway. I'd almost be more interested in a side-by-side video clip test on a source that ran the full range from lights to darks.

This is a preference situation. There's no one correct answer here. :)

metaleonid 02-01-2017 05:14 AM

Hi Lordsmurf,

Do you want me to post the video clips by both devices?

metaleonid 02-01-2017 09:17 AM

So basically what you're saying is that VC500 is more faithful to what the LaserDisc player outputs, but the contrast is needed to be applied to the player's itself, right?

But don't you think that I can apply color correction in post processing to the VC500 footage and make it look almost exactly like ATI AIW 7500 footage? However, I won't be able to do the opposite i.e. applying color correction in post processing in AIW 7500 footage to make it look like VC500 footage because, for example, I will not be able to restore some of the brighter yellowish colors on that white background because they simply got clipped.

sanlyn 02-01-2017 10:24 AM

You are supposed to control levels and avoid clipping during capture, not after, regardless of the capture device. The same goes for color correction. Short of some painfully obvious, oddball and serious color cast problems, attempting to do a complete job of color correction during capture of analog is an exercise in clinical masochism. Analog source is seldom color-correct to begin with, and even with retail tape the color balance and individual colors and levels will change from scene to scene.

IMO the 7500 and the VC500 don't look exactly "alike" with the same tape. Neither do other capture card models. Both are capable cards. I use the VC500 in Windows 7 when my XP/7500 isn't available, which it often isn't when it's involved with another project at the same time, and vice versa. I get excellent results with both. But both always require color work in post processing.

If you think a tape looks "better" using one card than using the other, use the device you favor for that project. It's up to you to adjust for the levels difference between the two. If the card you're using is clipping brights or crushing blacks, it's your job to correct that problem during capture by adjusting input levels. VirtualDub capture and the proc amp settings for each card give you the ability to do that. The adjustments required for each device and for each tape will never be the same. And each tape will require a different adjustment, even if you use the same card all the time.

metaleonid 02-01-2017 11:21 AM

Hi Sanlyn,

Thanks. Yes, I did follow your advise. I adjusted contrast and brightness for each card such that histogram doesn't show any RED on the right (for the brightest moments) and doesn't show RED on the left (for darks) at any time. That is for both cards. So in theory no clipping brights and crushing blacks take place. However, after examining the image (see attached frames #3 at the first post), I do see that AIW 7500 doesn't seem to pick up bright yellow color whereas VC500 does. Did you look at the frames attached? What's your opinion on the images I attached?

sanlyn 02-01-2017 12:47 PM

I can't tell what's happening with those images.The 7500 has a notch in the bottom border and cuts off part of the top of the frame that is visible with the VC500. But that could vary with the input source, I haven't seen anything like that with my 7500 and tapes. If you like the VC500 better with that source, go for it.

lordsmurf 02-03-2017 09:00 PM

For samples, yes, clips are often better. Or, better yet, both. I like both.

FYI: That why before/after code was added to the forum:
For images, not clips.
For before-after clips, that what Avisynth in for.

metaleonid 02-03-2017 09:46 PM

So, you want mpeg2 or Huffyuv?

lordsmurf 02-03-2017 10:42 PM

For the purpose of attaching samples, I actually find x264 with a good bitrate to suffice.
MPEG-2 4:2:2 is a good choice, too.

metaleonid 02-09-2017 02:09 PM

4 Attachment(s)
There you go. I think I can even upload Huffyuv AVIs. They are less than 99Mb.

Here go the 1st AVI for AIW 7500.
Here goes the AVI for VC500.

sanlyn 02-11-2017 01:33 PM

The two videos sets, whether m2v or avi, aren't exactly "alike". Likely you'll never adjust both to be alike during capture unless you're a glutton for punishment. I don't see anything especially bad about the lossy captures, it's just not something I do with analog source, and when I do I just have to settle for whatever I can get within reason. MPEG is not an editing or restoration format per se, even at high bitrates. So if you expect to massage the video to any degree beyond simple cut and join, lossy isn't the way to go.

With the lossless captures, the AIW has better dynamic range and cleaner color across the board. But both devices do a creditable job. The AIW holds specular highlights together better, and shadows and midtones aren't quite as murky as with the VC500. But it's all relative. Post processing would bring them closer together. Between the two captures, shadows in the AIW are a scant few RGB points darker and look more "solid", while AIW brights have more depth because the AIW has more contrast (thus the bright reds and yellows have more snap). But if you increased contrast with the VC500 they'd look nearly identical. I don't see clipping in either device except for brief clipping that occurs in the source. The VC500 doesn't render large flat areas like skies quite as cleanly, as there are some "breaks" and rough areas in the VCV500 histogram that might give some discernible gradient edges with anime. But that's stretching very fine differences in that regard.

[EDIT] The AIW capture has a higher gamma (higher midtones) than the VC500. If you lower gamma bit in the AIW capture, middle reds will look exactly like those in the VC500. So both cards don;'t look alike, but post processing will clear up a lot of differences. That would be the case with any two similarly capable capture cards like these.

According to my calibrated monitors, I'd go for the AIW.

metaleonid 02-12-2017 09:25 AM

Hi Sanlyn,

Thanks a lot. The lossy captures were uploaded merely because I thought I wouldn't be able to upload the AVI lossless files due to size limitation. Now that AVIs are successfully uploaded, the lossy uploads can be disregarded.

I was about to go with VC500 but after your post I decided to go with both. Yes, I will be doing parallel captures. I have 2 S-Video outputs from my LaserDisc player.

I also want to give a bit of background. I manually lowered down video level of resistor VR302 in my LaserDisc player to avoid white clipping. This brought white colors darker. Thus does it turn out that AIW brings this video back to where it is supposed to be as if I didn't adjust the video level? That is due to the higher gamma level of AIW, right?

sanlyn 02-12-2017 09:32 AM

Gamma is involved with midtones and upper darks, not with the brightest highlights. In most color systems, "Contrast" controls the bright end.

I've never heard of two capture card products that "look alike". Many will look similar, but not identical in every respect. As I noted, you can make certyain changhes during capture or post-processing that will have the VC500 and the AIW 7500 look nearly identical, buit IMO the AIW has slightly cleaner color and less muddled darks.

With finicky or faulty sources I almost always make at least two captures, maybe more. The two capture cards involved at my end are the AIW 7500 Radeon AGP and the AIW 9600XT AGP, and usually different VCRs. Each card requires different proc amp settings during capture, and so does each VCR. But I couldn't pick one card over the other. They're both highly capable.

metaleonid 02-13-2017 08:47 PM

Ok so the upper darks... I thought that in VC500 I can easily distinguish between very dark and upper dark whereas in AIW the upper dark and the darkest are nearly indistinguishable. Am I wrong or is it how it is supposed to be?

Well, initially I was going to be doing 3 captures for my LaserDiscs:
1. LD-S2 composite out to DMR-ES25 to Conexant component in
2. LD-S2 S-Video out to AIW7500.
3. CLD-D703 composite out into ATI Theatre 750 PCIe.

Then I decided to add the 4th one
4. CLD-D703 S-Video out into ATI Theater 750 USB

Then I thought I was going to use VC500 in #2 setup but after your post, I will just add it as #5. :)

metaleonid 03-17-2017 09:23 PM

I recently discovered that VC500 has AGC. AIW7500 has fixed gain. If you download AIW7500.avi and VC500.avi (see above) and load them into VirtualDub, jump to the frame #149. Compare this frame to the subsequent frame #150. You will see that in VC500.avi 149th frame is brighter than its successor (frame #150). This is not the case with AIW7500.avi.

ATI TV Wonder 750 causes a lot more AGC issue with this scene when I use this particular LD player. That's why I stopped using ATI TV Wonder 750 with this LD player.

msgohan 03-20-2017 12:17 AM

4 Attachment(s)
The AIW 7500 does drop in brightness there too. It's just less pronounced.

metaleonid 03-20-2017 11:07 AM

But it's not visible, right? What are the indicators on the right? What do they mean? Thanks.

msgohan 03-20-2017 12:22 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Correct, but it's not visible with the VC500 capture either unless you're going through it frame-by-frame. Your eyes have to adjust from the full-screen white to the dark scene, as well, and that's not immediate.

We should actually be comparing these with SeparateFields() on, by the way. It's then much more clear what each card is doing. They both drop significantly between the final field of frame 148 and the first field of frame 149. And those two fields should actually be identical: if you watch the video frame-based it looks interlaced, but if you separate it you can see that it's actually phase-shifted progressive 30fps until the dissolve to the 24fps ski hill.


V1 = AVISource("VC500.avi").Histogram().ShowFrameNumber(x=8,y=18,size=20).AssumeTFF().SeparateFields()
V2 = AVISource("AIW7500.avi").Histogram().ShowFrameNumber(x=8,y=18,size=20).AssumeTFF().SeparateFields()


Having said all that, in this one respect, the AIW 7500 is indeed performing better and I prefer it for this scene. Some time back, I was trying to combine some lines of a capture from VC500 with other lines from a DVD recorder HDMI capture, and the differing AGC effects of each device ruined what I was attempting. In that case, it wasn't a transition from a white flash to a dark shot, either.

Also, look at the right-hand black border as the video brightens starting at field 239. The VC500 horizontal stability goes a bit nuts.


Originally Posted by metaleonid (Post 48385)
What are the indicators on the right? What do they mean?

You've never seen the Avisynth Histogram filter? It's actually named wrong; it's a waveform monitor display. I thought we discussed the meaning of these readings in reference to one of my capture card threads way back.


Note that neither of these files was properly adjusted during capture. When you're using the VirtualDub histogram (which is a true histogram), you should overcrop all sides first. Sanlyn mentioned that when guiding you.

The AIW 7500 capture has been adjusted for the darkest part of the frame, namely the few superblack lines at the bottom. And the VC500 appears to have been adjusted based on the single empty half-line at the bottom. If you crop those lines, you will see how elevated your blacks truly are.

Attachment 7301

Left column (before the first "/" on each line) is luma. Knowing the minimum value is rarely super useful, because it will just tell you what the darkest single pixel anywhere in the image is, even if that pixel is just noise. Loose Minimum is more generally useful.


Originally Posted by Avisynth Wiki: ColorYUV
There is Loose Minimum and Loose Maximum which ignore the brightest and darkest 0.4% (1/256) pixels.

So ignoring noise, the darkest part of this field of your VC500 capture is Y=32. Remembering that Y=16 is video black, this capture has brightness cranked +16 if we are to assume that some portion of this frame should appear to be pure black. And the AIW 7500 capture is +13.

Note that these "+" numbers don't translate directly to the scale used by either device's Proc Amp brightness control.

metaleonid 03-20-2017 01:36 PM

Hi Brad,

Thanks a lot for an in-depth reply. I will use your script later tonight, when I get home to analyze...

Yes, I did follow Sanlyn's guide. I used VirtualDub's histogram and made sure I don't get clipping in blacks and in whites. I didn't get any red stripes during this particular scene.

So in short, do I need to adjust brightness/contrast during the capture so that Loose Minimum has the value 16? Or can this be adjusted as post processing?



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