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12-04-2017, 06:40 PM
Skitter Skitter is offline
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This is multiple questions. Please at least read the first couple paragraphs and let me know a more informative thread title, or where to properly put this. This is obviously my first post, which is a reason -- but not and excuse -- for some level of ignorance. Thanks.

Okay, so I've looked through the buying guides and a bunch of stuff on this forum; I've made some purchases and have seen you guys know your stuff (not implying I'd know how to tell). Anyway, it seems I will need to buy more stuff. I'm willing to spend money where it matters, namely getting this project done right. With that said, my wallet does indeed have a bottom, and it's not a shallow as I'd like, so before I spend yet more money on hardware, I'd like to pose a couple questions.

First, my project:
Transferring old family VHS tapes onto a modern format. (I'm going with blu-ray, but that's getting ahead of myself) The tapes are in VHS, and VHS-C, and some of them are in SP, LP, and EP. I've got around 50 tapes of varying length and type.

Second, my current hardware:
-A decent PC. (i5 3.50Ghz, 8GB RAM, Win 8.1, several TB of available storage) Is that still decent these days? But I have no more slots for cards, so any hardware must be USB, otherwise I'll be building another PC, which seems like a total waste of money.
-Hauppauge HDPVR (Yes the original, I hate this thing and all of its software too)
-Daimond VC500
-Some other cheapo capture device that if I had to describe it in detail would get me instantly banned for profanity and other crimes.
-JVC HR-S991u I wish I had known VCRs were this good a long, long, long... <insert exaggeration here> ...long time ago. This thing is awesome, and I have your buying guide thread to thank. Which of course, is why I came here for more.

Third, what I need:
-A TBC, clearly. I'm thinking about the AVT-8710. That's awful pricey for something I recently didn't know even existed, but hey. This seems to be the only one that's external, so it's got my attention. Also, you guys recommended it, so...
Is there a better alternative that's also external? And by 'better' I mean a slight price hike for a noticeable increase in returns. Or is there a cheaper alternative that doesn't drop some feature I'll later wish I had. (I know you guys aren't mind readers, so a rough estimate might be necessary)

-A better capture device.
I'm thinking about the ATI TV Wonder HD 600 USB. (You know, since it's USB)
What about the Canopus stuff also mentioned in the AIW alternatives thread? Is it worth the significant extra price or what?

-Some S-Video cables.
I have one I think is decent (since I've had good results in the videos I've gotten), but heck; it could be placebo or total crap. I'll need a couple of them, and no online reviewer seems to know jack about anything, so... what would y'all buy?

-Anything else?


Basically, my story is this. I've been fighting with hardware that's incompatible with software, software that's incompatible with hardware, unstable software (looking at you arcsoft), and software that is seemingly incapable of recording in decent quality while other programs can get better results on the same hardware. (And let's not forget the fact that I recorded 30 tapes before I realized I could turn of the JVC's superimposed "Video Calibration" message. Actually, yes; let's forget that.)
VirtualDub seems to be the thing to use, so I'd like to stick with that.

So before I bother asking what settings and/or filters to mess with in virtualdub, and before I ask if there's a filter for making these old videos less embarrassing, I need to actually get these tapes transferred to my PC; and before that, I want to get the right hardware. ('Right' being well above the rest of the crap, but before I reach the point of diminishing returns)

Thanks for reading the whole thing. Sorry if it's entirely wrong and/or misplaced.
I'll be patient for a reply.
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  #2  
12-05-2017, 03:26 PM
sanlyn sanlyn is offline
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Welcome

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skitter View Post
First, my project:
Transferring old family VHS tapes onto a modern format. (I'm going with blu-ray, but that's getting ahead of myself).
The BluRay spec includes standard definition video just as DVD does, and both can output video as 4:3 or 16:9 display. SD-BluRay has an advantage in that it can be encoded at higher max bitrates using either MPEG, h.264/AVC, or VC1, whereas DVD is MPEG that gets up to about 9200 kbps max (although the latter is still good enough for commercial DVD and broadcast, as anyone can see every day). However, if by "BluRay" you mean only big frames and upscaling, you're barking up the wrong tree. High definition involves high-resolution source, not low resolution source blown up into big blurry frames. There is absolutely nothing to gain and much to lose by using resizers that inflate VHS tape source into big, hazy, fuzz-infested 1920x1080 frames, as has been proven many times. Your set top player and TV can upscale properly processed standard-def media better than you can with your PC.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skitter View Post
Second, my current hardware:
-A decent PC. (i5 3.50Ghz, 8GB RAM, Win 8.1, several TB of available storage) Is that still decent these days?
That's plenty for VHS capture, which can still work today on a circa 2001 XP machine with a Celeron CPU. You'll need i5/3,5GHz for today's processing filters. If you use several TB of internal hard drive in your computer as a storage barn you're in for the maintenance nightmare of your life, especially when the drive develops problems. Our advice is that external drives are cheap these days and are more ideal for storage than are active working drives that are subject to more stress. Computers are for work. External drives are for storage and backup.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skitter View Post
-Hauppauge HDPVR (Yes the original, I hate this thing and all of its software too)
-Daimond VC500
-Some other cheapo capture device that if I had to describe it in detail would get me instantly banned for profanity and other crimes.
-JVC HR-S991u I wish I had known VCRs were this good a long, long, long.
- I have the HDPVR and I make high-def recordings off HD cable at least weekly into my home built HTPC with excellent results. But not using their showbiz crapware. I also tried standard definition with it and got garbage for my efforts. Let's face it, if you want better captures from SD analog source you should use software and hardware that are optimized for it.
- The VC500 is a very decent performer for your purposes and was designed for it. Not very expensive, but not as cheap as the el cheapo clone you mention, of which there are many and all of which are horrible. I have All In Wonder AGP's on my XP capture machines, but I've used a VC500 on my Win7 machine with VirtualDub capture and I'm pleased with the results. There are a number of video posts in this and other forums that used the VC500 for analog tape capture. One test from a couple of years back indicated that the VC500 ignores most flavors of VHS copy protection.
- The JVC is a great player. Too bad it plays slower-speed tapes no better than other VCRs, as JVC never fully supported speeds other than SP. Panasonics are usually recommended for slow tapes. Or you can live with what the JVC gives you by using EDIT mode and turning off noise reduction. The latter tends to blur the slow-speed stuff.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skitter View Post
Third, what I need:
-A TBC, clearly. I'm thinking about the AVT-8710. That's awful pricey for something I recently didn't know even existed, but hey. This seems to be the only one that's external,
The AVT isn't the only external model, and when new it sold for half the price of its nearest competitor, the TBC-1000. Today the best place for such a device would be this forum's marketplace, if for no other reason than because you know it will work. Never buy used tbc's off auction sites--we see too many horror stories.

One way to beat city hall's robber baron prices on external tbc's is to use a recommended pass-thru device (such as a used Panasonic ES10 or ES15), which have rudimentary line-level and frame-sync tbc's builtin. Use them as pass-thru between the player and the capture card, not for recording. They aren't complete tbc's in that they don't defeat Macrovision. Anyway, it's a suggestion. This advice assumes that you do know the difference between line-level and frame-level tbc's. Your JVC has a built-in line-level tbc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skitter View Post
-A better capture device.
I'm thinking about the ATI TV Wonder HD 600 USB. (You know, since it's USB)
What about the Canopus stuff also mentioned in the AIW alternatives thread? Is it worth the significant extra price or what?
The ATI 600 isn't "better" than the VC500. What I have against the VC500 is that it clips super-blacks and makes it diffiocult to restore a full dynamic luma and color range in post-processing with some material. Other than this, I don't think you'll see any difference between the two except for different signal level adjustments during capture.

I assume you noticed the warnings about using Canopus gear for analog capture. And, no, Canopus isn't better. What you lose with Canopus is lossless capture, along with losing the ability to control signal levels or to control the phoney DV sharpening of analog noise. What you "gain" with Canopus is fake looking Kool-Aid color, fried highlights, buzzing edges and compression artifacts that you can have no end of fun trying to clean up using Avisynth filters (Virtualdub won't help you here). DV was not designed for restoration, especially since it starts you out with 15 to 20% compression loss that can't be retrieved. Yet people continue to pay extra to get these "features". Go figure.

If you really want to get "better" than today's USB devices you should build an XP PC with an AGP graphics slot, then find an All-In-Wonder AGP card. Or scrounge up more cash and go the Aja Kona route. BTW, price isn't a foolproof guide --if you run into anyone who recommends the pricey BlackMagic stuff for VHS capture, tell them that if they like BlackMagic for that purpose, then you have a bridge in Brooklyn that you can sell cheap.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skitter View Post
-Some S-Video cables.
They're pretty much alike, especially if you stick with the no-name budget models. Price gouging from the likes of MonsterCable won't get you anything except really funky connection plugs that break. Anybody who charges for silver-plated cables is playing you for a sucker. And anybody who advertises their s-video cable as "Digital" is making a buck on ignorance (s-video doesn't carry digital -- it's analog only). If you want to spend some worthwhile cash you can get the kind that pro's build for themselves, the BJC YC-2, here: https://www.bluejeanscable.com/store/svideo/.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skitter View Post
-Anything else?
- Well, there's the new VirtualDub advanced capture guide: Capturing with VirtualDub [Settings Guide]. Free
- Avisynth, for typical analog tape problems. Also free. VirtualDub is essential as well, but has definite limits.
- Coffee. Or herbal teas, which work better IMO.
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  #3  
12-05-2017, 05:55 PM
Skitter Skitter is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sanlyn View Post
Welcome

The BluRay spec includes standard definition video just as DVD does, and both can output video as 4:3 or 16:9 display. SD-BluRay has an advantage in that it can be encoded at higher max bitrates using either MPEG, h.264/AVC, or VC1, whereas DVD is MPEG that gets up to about 9200 kbps max (although the latter is still good enough for commercial DVD and broadcast, as anyone can see every day). However, if by "BluRay" you mean only big frames and upscaling, you're barking up the wrong tree. High definition involves high-resolution source, not low resolution source blown up into big blurry frames. There is absolutely nothing to gain and much to lose by using resizers that inflate VHS tape source into big, hazy, fuzz-infested 1920x1080 frames, as has been proven many times. Your set top player and TV can upscale properly processed standard-def media better than you can with your PC.
Nope, I was only considering Blu-Ray for its capacity. Unless of course I'm mistaken in thinking I can simply put more videos on a Blu-ray. I definitely wasn't planning on upscaling anything.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sanlyn View Post
That's plenty for VHS capture, which can still work today on a circa 2001 XP machine with a Celeron CPU. You'll need i5/3,5GHz for today's processing filters. If you use several TB of internal hard drive in your computer as a storage barn you're in for the maintenance nightmare of your life, especially when the drive develops problems. Our advice is that external drives are cheap these days and are more ideal for storage than are active working drives that are subject to more stress. Computers are for work. External drives are for storage and backup.
I guess I should mention that the OS and a handful of programs are on an SSD; other programs I seldom use are on a second drive, and a third drive is pretty much just for storing things I may need, but probably never will touch again. I also do have a 4TB external.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sanlyn View Post
- I have the HDPVR and I make high-def recordings off HD cable at least weekly into my home built HTPC with excellent results. But not using their showbiz crapware. I also tried standard definition with it and got garbage for my efforts. Let's face it, if you want better captures from SD analog source you should use software and hardware that are optimized for it.
- The VC500 is a very decent performer for your purposes and was designed for it. Not very expensive, but not as cheap as the el cheapo clone you mention, of which there are many and all of which are horrible. I have All In Wonder AGP's on my XP capture machines, but I've used a VC500 on my Win7 machine with VirtualDub capture and I'm pleased with the results. There are a number of video posts in this and other forums that used the VC500 for analog tape capture. One test from a couple of years back indicated that the VC500 ignores most flavors of VHS copy protection.
- The JVC is a great player. Too bad it plays slower-speed tapes no better than other VCRs, as JVC never fully supported speeds other than SP. Panasonics are usually recommended for slow tapes. Or you can live with what the JVC gives you by using EDIT mode and turning off noise reduction. The latter tends to blur the slow-speed stuff.
Yeah, my experience with the PVR for this purpose is pretty much why I'm here. Thankfully, I didn't buy it specifically for this project, otherwise I'd be mad and ashamed.
I do like what I've gotten from the VC500, but I figured it was worth asking about the ATI 600 since there's a sticky dedicated to its drivers, and in that thread it's called "an excellent second choice to the AIW."

Quote:
Originally Posted by sanlyn View Post
The AVT isn't the only external model, and when new it sold for half the price of its nearest competitor, the TBC-1000. Today the best place for such a device would be this forum's marketplace, if for no other reason than because you know it will work. Never buy used tbc's off auction sites--we see too many horror stories.

One way to beat city hall's robber baron prices on external tbc's is to use a recommended pass-thru device (such as a used Panasonic ES10 or ES15), which have rudimentary line-level and frame-sync tbc's builtin. Use them as pass-thru between the player and the capture card, not for recording. They aren't complete tbc's in that they don't defeat Macrovision. Anyway, it's a suggestion. This advice assumes that you do know the difference between line-level and frame-level tbc's. Your JVC has a built-in line-level tbc.
It was scary enough buying the VCR off of ebay. (literally the only thing I've purchased on ebay that I didn't need to instantly return due to some deception or another) Definitely not trying to win the lotto twice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sanlyn View Post
The ATI 600 isn't "better" than the VC500. What I have against the VC500 is that it clips super-blacks and makes it diffiocult to restore a full dynamic luma and color range in post-processing with some material. Other than this, I don't think you'll see any difference between the two except for different signal level adjustments during capture.

I assume you noticed the warnings about using Canopus gear for analog capture. And, no, Canopus isn't better. What you lose with Canopus is lossless capture, along with losing the ability to control signal levels or to control the phoney DV sharpening of analog noise. What you "gain" with Canopus is fake looking Kool-Aid color, fried highlights, buzzing edges and compression artifacts that you can have no end of fun trying to clean up using Avisynth filters (Virtualdub won't help you here). DV was not designed for restoration, especially since it starts you out with 15 to 20% compression loss that can't be retrieved. Yet people continue to pay extra to get these "features". Go figure.

If you really want to get "better" than today's USB devices you should build an XP PC with an AGP graphics slot, then find an All-In-Wonder AGP card. Or scrounge up more cash and go the Aja Kona route. BTW, price isn't a foolproof guide --if you run into anyone who recommends the pricey BlackMagic stuff for VHS capture, tell them that if they like BlackMagic for that purpose, then you have a bridge in Brooklyn that you can sell cheap.
Even the amazon reviews for the BM Intensity heavily suggested that it had a lot issues. Now I know those are to be taken with a grain of salt, but a number of them were worded in a manner suggesting the user probably had some competency. That, and like the PVR, it was designed and merketed for HD, not analog or SD of any type.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sanlyn View Post
They're pretty much alike, especially if you stick with the no-name budget models. Price gouging from the likes of MonsterCable won't get you anything except really funky connection plugs that break. Anybody who charges for silver-plated cables is playing you for a sucker. And anybody who advertises their s-video cable as "Digital" is making a buck on ignorance (s-video doesn't carry digital -- it's analog only). If you want to spend some worthwhile cash you can get the kind that pro's build for themselves, the BJC YC-2, here: https://www.bluejeanscable.com/store/svideo/.


- Well, there's the new VirtualDub advanced capture guide: Capturing with VirtualDub [Settings Guide]. Free
- Avisynth, for typical analog tape problems. Also free. VirtualDub is essential as well, but has definite limits.
- Coffee. Or herbal teas, which work better IMO.
That guide will probably answer most of the questions I'm still waiting to ask. (waiting until I've got the hardware set up properly)
As much as I like coffee, I think I really need an 8th day per week. (dear santa...)

Anyway, many thanks. This has been super helpful.
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  #4  
12-06-2017, 11:35 AM
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Yes, knowing you actually knows stuff, and who just blusters, if not easy if you yourself are not savvy at the task. We all have that trouble somewhere.

A good DIY setup is about $1k. You can cut corners, but you'll cut quality. Trying to save some bucks often backfires where eBay and Craigslist are concerned.

Our family videos are transferred to 15mbit MPEG, so Blu-ray ready. It's a perfect balance of space and quality. Not everybody needs massive lossless files. I only do lossless for projects, and usualy purge when done, with output to DVD or BD specs, maybe second copy to streaming. In other words, your method is sound.

EP usually requires playack from specific JVC or Panasonic S=VHS decks. Those tape speeds are not friendly.

- i5 is fine
- 8gb fine
- Win8 often a problem, few cards like it (ATI 600 USB is one that does, excellent card)
- Hauppauge probably useless.
- VC500 is fine, not my favorite
- Chinese cards are good to show you what low quality looks like

Your comment on the 9911 amuses me. I thought that in the late 90s when I go a new 9800U. Excellent deck, still have it, though I mostly go to other decks first now. The 9911 has transport flaws, and tends to have some nasty timing jitter compared to others. Most blocked by TBC, but some gets through. SR-V101 is the same here. 9600-9900 were best from the 9000 lineage.

You need a TBC. AVT-8710 is excellent, if the green one (rare). You're in luck, I have one available, PM me. So that solves that.

I'd suggest the 600. I just finished some deep testing the weekend, and it's almost transparent to the AIW. (sanlyn, I never saw any black crushing, just needed an adjustment from 110 to 107 brightness in software levels, plus the audio hack. Looks/sounds great!)

s-video cables are odd. My best cables are the free one that came with JVC VCRs, or DataVideo TBCs, and worst ones are fancy thick cables.

Right now I'm fighting with Avisynth. The world gets even more not-fun when you also have x86/32 vs x64/64 software to contend with. I'm currently trying to do work, and document everything so I can later write up guides and provide some packages here.

Yes, one at a time. Focus on good captures first.

- Did my advice help you? Then become a Premium Member and support this site.
- Find television shows, cartoons, DVDs and Blu-ray releases at the TVPast forums.
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