Quantcast Help deciding on equipment to digitize VHS home videos? - digitalFAQ Forum
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01-09-2018, 08:34 PM
Amanjm Amanjm is offline
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I read many threads on digitizing vhs tapes and I am looking for some advice on the equipment to use. From reviewing the threads, it sounds like the best way to do this would be:
- good quality vcr, not sure if mine falls in this category but I am using a magnavox zv427mg9, vhs dvd recorder but I plan to only use it as a vcr for this project.
- TBC, debating whether I can get away with not using this
- capture card, considering the Hauppage 600 sub-live 2 from one of the other threads or a newer one, Diamond VC500 usb2
- good software, planning on using VirtualDub although I have a question on this below.

For the card, any advice on whether the two referenced above are equivalent or if one is better than the other? All the reviews and info focuses on the software and not much on the hardware.

For the software I have been having a hard time because I would like to split the video into clips through scene detection as it is captured. I don't believe VirtualDub can do this. Not sure if other software that does this captures as well (considering Corel Videostudio x9 or x10). Any advice here would be great.

I have about 80 vhs tapes that are home videos. I am not looking to create DVDs and instead plan on capturing these to a hard drive. I am using Windows 10 and have VirtualDub running. I already tried using Roxio easy vhs to dvd 3 hardware with VirtualDub and was successful for a short test, but not sure the Roxio hardware is great.

Any help is greatly appreciated. These threads saved me from purchasing a Canopus device so thank you!
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  #2  
01-10-2018, 07:39 PM
sanlyn sanlyn is offline
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Welcome.
If you've been reading as many posts as you say you have, probably you already know the answers to your questions....

Have you considered what you want to do with things like bottom border head-switching noise, vertical distortions, wobbly borders, jitter, dropouts, spots, tape noise, chroma noise, horizontal ripples, color bleed, edge halos and ringing, video input levels, and other common capture VHS defects and problems?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Amanjm View Post
good quality vcr, not sure if mine falls in this category but I am using a magnavox zv427mg9, vhs dvd recorder but I plan to only use it as a vcr for this project.
Well, let's be honest. If that's what you're using to play your tapes, go no further. It's the worst player for your tape. It's a late model tin and plastic machine re-branded by Funai. The only way to get lower quality would be to use a broken vcr with a defective tape transport and dirty tape heads. If you can't get a better player, or don't want to get one, you're wasting your time. There's no way any of the components you connect to that player could improve the results, no matter what capture hardware or software you use. Poor players cripple capture projects from the start..
VCR Buying Guide (NTSC & PAL)

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Originally Posted by Amanjm View Post
-TBC, debating whether I can get away with not using this
No contest. You can't get away without both a line tbc and a frame sync tbc. One way to work around it is to use a recommeneded device that can be used as a tbc pass-thru into your capture card. Unfortunately your Funai unit doesn't qualify for pass-thru. https://forum.videohelp.com/threads/...hat-do-you-use.

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Originally Posted by Amanjm View Post
- capture card, considering the Hauppage 600 sub-live 2 from one of the other threads or a newer one, Diamond VC500 usb2
Both are excellent. I prefer the VC500 because of wider dynamic range, but both cards are fine.

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Originally Posted by Amanjm View Post
For the software I have been having a hard time because I would like to split the video into clips through scene detection as it is captured.
Capture first. Edit later. Everybody wants this kind of automation. It never works. If your intent is for unattended capture and automation gimmicks that leave you with nothing to do, you don't need technical advice or tips on how to apply it. At that level, anyone with 1 eye, 1 finger and a mouse can get an image into a computer. That part's easy.

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Originally Posted by Amanjm View Post
I am not looking to create DVDs and instead plan on capturing these to a hard drive.
What storage format? Are you aiming for lossless capture? Why? If not, what format do you want and why are you thinking of VirtualDub capture to get it? Updated VirtualDub capture settings guide.

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Originally Posted by Amanjm View Post
I already tried using Roxio easy vhs to dvd 3 hardware with VirtualDub and was successful for a short test, but not sure the Roxio hardware is great.
No, it's not great. No one here would recommended it. Your other capture card suggestions will be cleaner. Roxio's software is limited and pretty buggy, and ineffective for video cleanup or repair. But you can use it to cut up a capture and re-encode to a final format.
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01-11-2018, 09:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sanlyn View Post
It's the worst player for your tape. It's a late model tin and plastic machine re-branded by Funai.
I recently bought a Funai for $9 from Goodwill with the explicit intention of screwing up the deck with moldy tapes. I'd be totally unwilling to do such damage to another deck, but a Funai is one step above a toy. Quality will be somewhere corrected by ES10 in chain (long, long cord into building with mold player outside in breeze on warm day!), but I expect typical poor Funai output.

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No contest. You can't get away without both a line tbc and a frame sync tbc. One way to work around it is to use a recommeneded device that can be used as a tbc pass-thru
This must be re-stated over and over:
- internal line TBC is for correcting visual quality only, while
- external corrects the signal stability to even allow the capture devices to capture the video

The passthrough method is very hit or miss, because it is also NOT a true TBC. Errors still pass, including any legit error that is confused for artificial anti-copy signal errors (aka false MV detection). Even when I use a passthrough, post-ES10/recorder has an external TBC in the chain.

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Capture first. Edit later. Everybody wants this kind of automation. It never works.
Worth repeating.

Quote:
But you can use it to cut up a capture and re-encode to a final format.
I wouldn't even use Roxio software to do that. It's 100% worthless. You can do better in freeware, of all things. Roxio is essentially cheap Chinaware, not quality software.

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01-11-2018, 12:41 PM
Amanjm Amanjm is offline
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Thanks. I continue to research so thanks for your patience as I get up to speed.

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Originally Posted by sanlyn View Post
Have you considered what you want to do with things like bottom border head-switching noise, vertical distortions, wobbly borders, jitter, dropouts, spots, tape noise, chroma noise, horizontal ripples, color bleed, edge halos and ringing, video input levels, and other common capture VHS defects and problems?
I have not yet figured out all of this. Bottom border I am planning on cropping in Virtualdub. To correct for some of the others, I am considering my choice of VCR and using a TBC. Other issues you mention, I don't yet have the knowldge to know what to do or what the impact will be to my final set of videos.

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Originally Posted by sanlyn View Post
No contest. You can't get away without both a line tbc and a frame sync tbc.
In reading through posts it has been hard to determine what kind of issues TBCs might create in addition to what they fix. One of the hardest parts of learning through the web is weeding out fact from opinion, lack of knowledge or bias, or simply different standards or goals. However, I am leaning towards getting an AVT-8710 or DataVideo TBC-1000.

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Originally Posted by sanlyn View Post
What storage format? Are you aiming for lossless capture? Why? If not, what format do you want and why are you thinking of VirtualDub capture to get it?
I am looking to capture video in the best quality I can for the moment given time is running out due to the age of the tapes and the availability of the technology. With the size of hard drives these days, I am not worried about space so I am planning to use lossless. I did this with Hi8mm tapes several years ago and we watch them straight from the hard drive through our xbox one. Then I can always edit or transcode and convert some of these videos to DVD at a later stage if needed.

Based on my reading, Virtualdub does a good job of capturing in a lossless format, although I am still not clear on the differences between HuffYUV, YUV, and YUY2. I am also not yet clear on why the huffyuv codec needs to be installed separately. I have to check my current set-up as I thought I captured using yuy2 through VirtualDub even though I had not installed HuffYUV.

Thanks for your help.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sanlyn View Post
Well, let's be honest. If that's what you're using to play your tapes, go no further. It's the worst player for your tape. It's a late model tin and plastic machine re-branded by Funai. The only way to get lower quality would be to use a broken vcr with a defective tape transport and dirty tape heads. If you can't get a better player, or don't want to get one, you're wasting your time.
Quote:
Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
I recently bought a Funai for $9 from Goodwill with the explicit intention of screwing up the deck with moldy tapes. I'd be totally unwilling to do such damage to another deck, but a Funai is one step above a toy.
I have seen these players selling for hundreds of dollars. Are they different or is it more likely that the people buying them donít know any better and see the option of converting VHS to DVD all in one unit as valuable?

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Originally Posted by sanlyn View Post
Roxio's software is limited and pretty buggy, and ineffective for video cleanup or repair.
Quote:
Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
I wouldn't even use Roxio software to do that. It's 100% worthless. You can do better in freeware, of all things. Roxio is essentially cheap Chinaware, not quality software.
Thanks. I never planned to use the software but I was looking for the capture card. I actually purchased that before I came across this Forum. Luckily I am able to return it given its poor performance.
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  #5  
01-11-2018, 01:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Amanjm View Post
I have seen these players selling for hundreds of dollars. Are they different or is it more likely that the people buying them don’t know any better and see the option of converting VHS to DVD all in one unit as valuable?
Probably both.
- Some may not be what you think.
- Some may not be what the clueless buyers think.

Video hardware is very nuanced. You can't say "buy this brand" or "buy a combo" (or "even don't buy this brand/combo").

You have to know about video. And that's why you came here, and have found us.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Amanjm View Post
In reading through posts it has been hard to determine what kind of issues TBCs might create in addition to what they fix. One of the hardest parts of learning through the web is weeding out fact from opinion, lack of knowledge or bias, or simply different standards or goals. However, I am leaning towards getting an AVT-8710 or DataVideo TBC-1000.
The biggest issue is not falling for marketing or wrong advice (from those that are mostly just parroting the marketing). And by that, I mostly refer to devices marketed as TBC, yet are not true TBCs. The term "TBC" is very loose, and lots of non-correcting or partially-correcting devices garner that claim. There's also several kinds of TBCs, like line, field, or frame sync.

Quote:
I am still not clear on the differences between HuffYUV, YUV, and YUY2. I
Easy.
- Huffyuv is a lossless codec.
- YUV is the way color is stored, with RGB being the main alternative. If you know anything about photo, think CMYK vs RGB, or Adobe98 vs sRGB.
- YUY2 is a way to store YUV in codecs, specifically the 4:2:2 YUV space.

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01-11-2018, 06:22 PM
sanlyn sanlyn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amanjm View Post
I am not worried about space so I am planning to use lossless. I did this with Hi8mm tapes several years ago and we watch them straight from the hard drive through our xbox one. Then I can always edit or transcode and convert some of these videos to DVD at a later stage if needed.
Apparently you've been capturing uncompressed lossless video, which is usually done by those who don't know what a codec is or what a colorspace is. Hopefully you didn't capture in RGB, a big mistake with VHS input levels, especially with home tapes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Amanjm View Post
still not clear on the differences between HuffYUV, YUV, and YUY2. I am also not yet clear on why the huffyuv codec needs to be installed separately. I have to check my current set-up as I thought I captured using yuy2 through VirtualDub even though I had not installed HuffYUV.
If you didn't install huffyuv, you couldn't have captured using lossless huffyuv compression. You captured uncompressed video, a waste of space and a big CPU load for most media players.

You have to install third-party codecs because they don't come with your operating system. Huffyuv doesn't ship with Virtualdub, but neither does MPEG, XVid, h264, QuickTime, or a hundred other codecs. Huffyuv is used to capture in a YUY2 or RGB colorspace; YUY2 is recommended because it doesn't stretch input levels from analog sources nor does it cause clipping the way RGB does in many circumstances. Also, YUY2 more closely resembles the way VHS visual data is stored on tape.

YUV is a common video storage and transmission system. Your TV signal transmission is YUV. YUV is a system that stores three data channels -- a luminance channel (Y) and a blue (U) chroma channel and a rd (V) chroma channel. Green is derived by subtracting U and V from Y. Each channel can be modified independently. In other words, you can modify luminance but U and V will stay the same. How did this system come about? Back when black and white tv was transitioning to color, makers needed a system that could show color broadcasts in color on a color TV but still show a black and white version on older monochrome tv's. Voila! Store luminance seaparete from color, and both TV systems can work with the same signal.

RGB is a different system that stores three color channels: Red, Green, Blue. The brightness or luminance component is stored in the same area with each color. If you change the brightness of Red, you get a darker or brighter red. The other two channels stay the same. If you reduce the amounty ofm color inn a color, such as Green, you will reduce overall brightness as well in that part of the spectrum. Because of the way RGB data is stored, you can't separate brightness from color. RGB is the color systemm used for computer and Tv displays. RGB video originates in nature, which is the way we humans perceive nature's spectrum of brightness and color. For video, RGB in nature is converted to YUV storage systems. In order for you to perceive those YUV images, they must be re-converted to RGB for display.

RGB stores equal parts of brightnessn data and color data. It's usually a 4:4:4 system, meaning that for every 4 pieces of luminancev data, there are 4 pieces of color data. YUY2 is one of several YUV color models that store luminance separately from color. YUY2 is a 4:2:2 storageb system -- for every 4 pieces of luminance data, there are 2 "U" chroma pieces and 2 "V" chroma pieces. NTSC VHS uses the equivalent of a YUY2 4:2:2 colorspace. YV12, the YUV color system used in DVD's, BluRay, DV, and Tv transmission, is a 4:2:0 system -- for every 4 pieces of luminance data, there is 1 "U" piece and 1 "V" piece.

Your eyeballs can't make any sense of a YUV system. In addition, those RGB displays have to transmit RGB color as analog light waves, because your eyeballs can't see digital 0's and 1's. Likewise, your ears can't hear 0"s and 1"s, so digital audio must be convberted to electronic pulses that cause speaker cones to vibrate and move analog audio waves toward your human ears. So, ultimately, all digital media must be converted back to the analog domain for your eyes and ears to use it.

The huffyuv codec can losslessly compress YUY2 and RGB. The Lagarith lossless codec is also used for capture but more usually for post-processing lossless media because Lagarith can compress RGB, YUY2, and YV12. There are other lossless codecs, a newer one being the UT Video suite and even newer ones specifically for HD video and pro use. These codecs reduce uncompressed video to 1/3 their original size, or less, depending on the colorspace used, with absolutely no loss of data between compression generations. On the other hand MPEG, DV and h.264 are lossy compressors that discard data depending on the processing setup; discarded data is not recoverable, and each re-compression generation loses progressively more data.
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01-11-2018, 06:57 PM
Amanjm Amanjm is offline
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Is there a way to determine if the video was captured in RGB or other?

After digging through files and trying to remember the capture flow, I used a sony GVD-200 to play to tapes, used firewire, and captured DV files. For the digital 8 tapes, I think I am good with those as AVI-DV. For the Hi8 tapes - likely not the best approach but not ready to go back and tackle that yet. I used Vegas Pro 9 at the time but I was able to slim down all operations on the computer to ensure all tapes were captured without dropped frames.

At this point, my priority is to get these VHS tapes captured before considering whether I should go back and recapture the Hi8 tapes. I have not captured any VHS yet other than the 5 min test I ran on one tape. My test was to RGB and I will not be continuing in that way.
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01-11-2018, 09:16 PM
sanlyn sanlyn is offline
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Digital8 and other digital DV sources are never "captured". They are transferred directly (copied 1:1) via dedicated DV copying software and Firewire -- never "recorded' with an NLE, which sends them thru a second lossy encode, plus added data loss and compression artifacts. So the results with Vegas pro depends on how the app processed the DV input.

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Originally Posted by Amanjm View Post
Is there a way to determine if the video was captured in RGB or other?
The free MediaInfoXP utility: https://www.videohelp.com/software/MediaInfoXP
The free GSpot utility: https://www.videohelp.com/software/GSpot
The Avisynth Info() command: http://avisynth.nl/index.php/Info
The Info() command isn't accurate for field order.

Last edited by sanlyn; 01-11-2018 at 09:36 PM.
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01-12-2018, 02:18 PM
jwillis84 jwillis84 is offline
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Your getting some of the best advice I've seen, from some of the most experience members on three major website forums on VHS capture on the web.

Right now your probably swimming in new information, take it all in and work on it, think about it.. maybe run some tests and listen to these guys.. they know what they are talking about.

.. oh.. and don't get frustrated or intimidated.. its a "big" topic.. so much bigger than I ever understood.. and I'm still learning.

The biggest revelation to me was that YUV stuff.. and TVL - Television Vertical Lines of resolution.. I truly had no idea what resolution "Really was" until that got explained.. or Interlacing.. or Telecine.. or gosh.. its a "big" topic
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