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  #1  
03-24-2017, 12:33 PM
Kuja Kuja is offline
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Hello!

I want to digitize a huge VHS collection.

I have a Mac Mini (Late 2012, 2.3GHz, i7, Quad-Core, 16 GB RAM) with firewire input.
I also have a Canopus ADVC-100 firewire capture device
and a Panasonic NV-HS830 SVHS recorder with s-video output.

I could capture everything to DV format first, and convert to h264 later, but this would be space and time consuming.

QuickTime can do some sort of realtime h264 capturing, but it downsamples to 640x480, deinterlaces the footage and has a fixed low quality bitrate.

I would like to capture directly to h264 in full PAL resolution and in high quality (without deinterlacing if possible).

Can you recommend a simple no frills capture software,
that will allow me to do realtime h264 capturing from my Canopus firewire device
in full PAL resolution with high quality?

Thanks in advance,
Aleksandar


PS
If there is no such software for Mac, I could use my old PC, but I'm not sure if it is up to the task...

Last edited by Kuja; 03-24-2017 at 12:55 PM.
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  #2  
03-24-2017, 12:52 PM
msgohan msgohan is offline
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This is a terrible idea.

1. You have no interest in trimming the files before creating your H.264 viewing copies? Not to mention cleaning up visual problems.
2. Realtime encoding is much lower quality than slower encoding, per MB consumed.
3. Even if you insist on doing realtime H.264, you could get better video quality by skipping the DV middleman compression step.
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  #3  
03-24-2017, 01:28 PM
Kuja Kuja is offline
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Thank you for your fast reply!

1. I can trim the resulting h264 files in software like Avidemux without any loss.

2. I am well aware that I can get much better quality with multi pass slow encoding, using some fancy extra settings.

But I will save this for few really important tapes.
...Or even better - save them in DV format.

For the majority of (almost hundred) of not so important tapes, I want the best compromise between speed and quality.


3. I can not skip the DV device since this is what I have. I can not invest in some other hardware.

Also, I'm very satisfied with the ADVC-100, especially with its locked audio feature - audio stays in sync with video for hours, no matter what.


So, my question stays.

Last edited by Kuja; 03-24-2017 at 01:41 PM.
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  #4  
03-24-2017, 02:01 PM
svhs90 svhs90 is offline
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I have a MX02 mini of the same vintage and use a Macbook Pro for capture. The newer MINI MAX does real time encoding. Check the Matrox site for the spec. Don't use the ADVC...do a search and check this forum for the reasons why from the knowledgeable experts on this site. Instead, get a TBC like the AVT-8710. The MX02 has a s-video adapter. Quicktime 7 Pro does allow you to get the full frame. (From memory), click on show movie properties, then presentation, then use the drop-down to change "clean" to "encoded pixels). Also change the audio settings to 2-channel: left, right, and everything else unused. MX02 captures 8 audio channels by default.

Encoding after capture as recommended here is the way to go for your setup. I use x264 in lieu of the h264. I'm no video expert, but learned a lot from the pros in this forum.
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  #5  
03-24-2017, 02:07 PM
svhs90 svhs90 is offline
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I responded too quickly and saw that you don't have a MX02. That being said, ADVC is not recommended as mentioned. There are not many capture card alternatives for Mac unfortunately. Check you the user guides on this site for a good WinXP setup.
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  #6  
03-24-2017, 04:38 PM
Kuja Kuja is offline
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I have been using ADVC-100 for more than 10 years, and I never had any problems with it.

Now you are saying that it is not good.

It has very good analog to digital and digital to analog converters.

When I capture analog video with it and then output it back to my TV, I can hardly see any difference between the capture and the original.

I'm using PAL.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
NTSC is 4:1:1, and not good.
PAL is 4:2:0, like DVD, and looks fine.

The 4:1:1 quality loss is noticeable, especially on modern large HDTVs. Understand that DV was invented during the Pentium III era (almost 20 years ago!), and was compressed so much because the signal couldn't keep up with hardware of the era. It's not that much better than analog formats of the time. It's just that analog and digital have different flaws. The color of S-VHS and Betacam was much better, but DV had better clarity. DV was never intended for video conversion -- only shooting. An already-lossy VHS tape had lossyness compounded by DV.

4:1:1 should have never been used, as it quarters color quality. 4:2:2 and 4:2:0 half it. (Instead of quartering color, 4:2:0 halves the half in an interval. Neither is ideal, but this method is better.)

So it all depends on where you are!

USA DV = poo
Europe DV = alright

I know that you all mean well and I thank you for it!


But my question is exclusively about the realtime firewire to h264 capturing software.

I'm not going to change my hardware setup that I had great results so far.
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  #7  
03-24-2017, 09:31 PM
sanlyn sanlyn is offline
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So far you've rejected every suggestions that would guarantee higher quality results and formats that are actually playable on devices other than a PC. To say that you've been transferring analogy source to DV with no defect cleanup for years and are pleased with the results is to say that you won't particularly benefit from in the techniques and ideas prevalent in this type of forum. If you're pleased with lower quality results, what exactly is your output goal, your quality goal, and your actual question? Yourf hallowsed Canopus product didn't come with software or capture tutorials for Mac? Does this tell you something?

As for h264 capture: editing h.264 cvaptures is a always a disaster unless you can come up with some smart0rendering h64 edit software for your Mac (or your PC), but typical large-GOP capture edits are damaged beyond repair. You might eventually come across a recommendation for a method to first encode analog to lower quality DV and then re-encode it to even lower quality h264 during capture, but you're ignoring the technical damage. This leads me to believe that when you say you've been getting "great" results for 10 years, you aren't applying high technical or visual standards. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, as they say, and beauty in their eyes only is not uncommon these days.

Even if you had a DV-device-to-h264-capture double encoding software recommendation, you'll get lower quality rather than improved quality using a system that is DV-centric, lossless challenged and h264 challenged, and a name that even abandoned its own QT standard. At least a PC would give you more processing options, even if you don't want them. But even at that I don't think anyone would suggest double-loss encoding for any type of capture, not even for DV to DV.

h.264 is a poor choice for edits, worse than DV in that respect. Period.

Last edited by sanlyn; 03-24-2017 at 10:01 PM.
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  #8  
03-25-2017, 07:52 AM
Kuja Kuja is offline
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I'm sorry if I have offended someone.

As I already have said, I want the best compromise between speed and quality.

I'm not interested in absolute quality needed for archiving irreplaceable footage of historical value.
I'm not interested in improving anything.
I do not need editing, large GOP cuts are OK for my purpose.

I have to work with what I have, I have no money to spend on some other capture card or buy a new PC.

Why is it so hard to accept this?

I had a simple question regarding software for real time capturing/h264 encoding.
Nothing more.

I am really grateful (seriously) for you trying to help and show me the right way.
Please don't be angry with me.

Last edited by Kuja; 03-25-2017 at 08:26 AM.
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  #9  
03-25-2017, 08:35 AM
sanlyn sanlyn is offline
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No one is offended. This seems to be more a case of working against oneself. You're looking for devices that don't exist or aren't supported for some computer systems. If you want to use your Canopus card you're pretty much stuck with its own software, which is what both were designed for. If you want h.264 there are free encoders around and many can import DV source (if it's already on your computer as DV). You have to re-encode DV anyway if you want anything other than PC playback. If you want h.264 capture then forget the Canopus and FireWire and find an inexpensive USB device for Windows that offers h.264 encoding. I wouldn't be able to offer advice on that, as it's not somethi9ng I'd do with analog source and hesitate to recommend products I don't use.
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  #10  
03-25-2017, 09:52 AM
Kuja Kuja is offline
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Canopus ADVC-100 does not come with any software in the box, and it is not designed for any specific Canopus software.

I never had any piece of Canopus software on my computers.

It is compatible with any software that allows capture from firewire, PC or Mac.
I have used it on various computers with Adobe Premiere, Final Cut, Sony Vegas, VirtualDV, QuickTime, IMovie, etc, etc...

Regarding the capture quality,
ADVC-100 captured PAL DV video looks (99%) the same compared to the original analog video, when both are viewed on a high quality big screen TV.
This is what I meant when I said that I was happy with it for more than 10 years.

Maybe we are not talking about the same piece of hardware?
I see that there is a lot of Canopus bashing on this forum, even from some users who never have used it,
but my experience is totally opposite and I just do not find many of described shortcomings to be true in actual use.


Google search gave me this:
https://www.bensoftware.com/swiftcapture/

I will try it.
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  #11  
03-25-2017, 12:59 PM
latreche34 latreche34 is online now
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Kuja, You can use any of Pinnacle devices from early 2000's you can get them very cheap on ebay, Then you can capture lossless and encode to MP4 using Avisynth, It's only a 2 step process, You don't have to be next to the computer for every step to complete and that's how I save time. Don't get me wrong PAL DV looks pretty good, it only gets complicated when you try to convert DV to another format. I myself captured PAL DV before and had to recapture because my family wanted MP4 files and had gone thru the trouble trying to convert DV to MP4.
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  #12  
03-25-2017, 02:07 PM
sanlyn sanlyn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kuja View Post
I see that there is a lot of Canopus bashing on this forum, even from some users who never have used it,
I've used it (and will never do it again). You see Canopus bashing from those who've used it and from those who've seen the results. Bashing comes from the results. Fried colors, mosquito noise, buzzy edges and other compression problems, illegal video levels and blown-out highlights, lower quality after cleanup and from re-encoding, etched characteristics with little or no fine nuance or inner detail, and the rest of it. If your standards for analog transfer are lower than those of other users, you are of course justified in your appraisal of the method. But many have higher standards, which is why they frequent tech forums such as this. Any consumer blog or cnet post will tell you how great analog-to-lossy is, no clue to better methods and from authors have never used proper lossless methods. If you're satisfied, you're doing what you want to. But statements about "no difference" can be easily contradicted anywhere 24/7/365 and have been posted, again and again, for years.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kuja View Post
my experience is totally opposite and I just do not find many of described shortcomings to be true in actual use.
Your experience is the exactly opposite from mine and from what I've seen in thousands of tests over the years.
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  #13  
03-28-2017, 04:36 PM
Kuja Kuja is offline
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Funny thing is that I just have discovered that the Canopus ADVC-100 is actually listed among suggested consumer capture cards in a sticky topic on this forum: Best ATI All In Wonder card alternatives, to transfer tapes to digital?

Anyway, I have made some trials and I was very surprised that mpeg-2 conversions look much better than h.264 with the same bit rate!

With noisy analog video, mpeg-2 reproduces that noise in a natural way, results are almost indistinguishable from the original footage, while h.264 looks kind of blotchy with some artefacts.

Software used was MainConcept Reference 2.1 at friends house.

Bitrate was VBR 6000-9500.
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  #14  
03-28-2017, 04:59 PM
sanlyn sanlyn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kuja View Post
Funny thing is that I just have discovered that the Canopus ADVC-100 is actually listed among suggested consumer capture cards in a sticky topic on this forum: Best ATI All In Wonder card alternatives, to transfer tapes to digital?
You neglected to mention the quality cautions associated with those listings.

Yes, MPEG2 does look less "processed" than h.264, is part of the BluiRay SD/HD standard, and is still the cable broadcast mainstay..

Odd that you're proud of all the noise in your captures and how well MPEG2 encodes it. But if you're happy, all is well.
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  #15  
03-28-2017, 07:07 PM
Kuja Kuja is offline
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Why should I be proud of the noise?

It is in the source, it is not the result of the capture process.
These are VHS recordings of some shows from the analog TV days.
The signal strength was not ideal, so yes there is a little bit of noise.

I prefer to leave them this way since I don't mind some noise. It looks natural to me.

But it's just me - I also like to listen to old vinyl records, with clicks, pops et all, ...and I like film grain in film and analog photography.

Captured trough ADVC-100, with MainConcept's mpeg-2, the result is almost indistinguishable from the original.

Me happy!

Thank you all for trying to help!

I understand what your goals are and I appreciate your knowledge.

It is just that I want to do a much simpler thing - (more or less) faithful digital copies of a bunch of noisy old TV shows.

I just needed a software recommendation.
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  #16  
03-28-2017, 10:03 PM
sanlyn sanlyn is offline
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I understand completey.
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  #17  
07-13-2017, 01:06 PM
Shakedown St. Shakedown St. is offline
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You can actually do this and you need no special encoding software, I have found dealing with uncompressed 100GB files are totally impractical when you have a lot to capture and archive. Four months later I have found you an answer.

All you have to do is use OBS to stream to YouTube, YouTube renders an H264 stream in real time flawlessly. You can then download the videos off of YouTube after your stream has ended, it really is that simple and completely free.
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  #18  
07-13-2017, 04:14 PM
Shakedown St. Shakedown St. is offline
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By the way on what I noted above, OBS is terrible at handling 1080P so rescale to 720p both in Video and Output. Most internet connections will not handle a Bitrate above 2100, and keep CPU Usage Preset no lower than "veryfast" unless you have an incredibly fast CPU.

For streaming I would recommend a hardwired connection, but the results speak for itself. Here is a capture of my local news station recorded @720p 60FPS on my Blackmagic Mini Recorder streaming in real time to H264. Took up zero space on my hard drive, thanks Google!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EXDn2W_sZ38

My Computer Specs:

Quad Core i7 2.5GHZ
16GB Ram
AMD Radeon HD 6770M 1024 MB

Edit: Also note, Firefox is the only browser that will allow you to download your saved streams with an extension called, "Flash Video Downloader YouTube HD Download (4k)" exact spelling. One is named similar but does not work, hope I could help!

Last edited by Shakedown St.; 07-13-2017 at 05:11 PM.
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  #19  
07-24-2017, 05:22 PM
Shakedown St. Shakedown St. is offline
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After using this method for a good month now I have one more observation to note, an OBS preview will not handle motion well at all and will likely moire during movement. Nothing to worry about, this is not how it will come across on your stream. You should focus on the YouTube preview and you will see it is gone, that is all.

As for only using Firefox that is a false alarm, a stream can take up to a full day to be archived on your channel depending on the length. That is what was happening to me, that's about it and again I hope this is of some use to anyone.
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  #20  
07-24-2017, 05:42 PM
sanlyn sanlyn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shakedown St. View Post
Blended fields. Permanent damage. Again, YouTube triumphs over skill and visual literacy. I rest my case.
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