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  #1  
03-15-2019, 07:55 AM
FSquared FSquared is offline
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I work at a TV station and we have a few hundred tapes that we want to get digitized. We have two JVC SR-VS30U decks. It's a S-VHS/DV combo deck, and it has a FireWire port. Through some tricks I was able to do with it, I got it to export VHS through the FireWire port that usually only works with DV. Unfortunately, there's a bit of noise that comes with it when I get it output to a Mac. Are there any good external passthrough TBCs that are compatible with firewire 800?

Or would I just be better off with capturing it with S-Video?

Last edited by FSquared; 03-15-2019 at 08:08 AM.
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  #2  
03-19-2019, 09:35 PM
ehbowen ehbowen is offline
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If it's an analog source, use an analog capture workflow. When you use FireWire it converts the analog to a digital stream and loses, basically, half of the color information in the process. For best quality you want a compatible TBC (and one which was intended for use with consumer equipment, not a broadcast-quality unit which your station may have sitting in a closet somewhere...it would expect a broadcast-quality source and not a noisy VHS tape) and either an AIW card running on a Windows XP (or earlier) computer (if you're building the system from components sourced on eBay and similar, make Very Very Sure that the cards come with ALL cables or you're Sorry, Out of Luck) or else a good-quality USB capture device (check the Marketplace of this forum). See the other thread I just posted to in Workflows for a quick-and-dirty guide to assembling a homebrew capture system which has worked great for me.

Edit To Add: The gurus here will recommend that you capture lossless using HuffyUV, most likely with VirtualDub 1.9 and a YUY2 color space. However, if you're going to be editing on a Mac or using modern post-production software HuffyUV may not be recognized. If you use VirtualDub2, though, you can capture in ProRes and if you bump the quality settings up to (near) maximum your video information loss will be minor. The experts here seem to frown on VDub2 and I generally go by their recommendations, but I did a few tests with Vdub2 and ProRes and they came out acceptable to me.

Last edited by ehbowen; 03-19-2019 at 10:10 PM.
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  #3  
03-20-2019, 01:14 PM
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The problems with Firewire are many.

Its seduction is its one cable and doesn't have dropouts or "lip sync" problems.. so you (think) you got off scott free.. but it also "baked" in all the problems into your video.. no recovery, no improvement is possible. None. There is and never will be a TBC for firewire. The image format has "left" the analog domain where using a TBC is possible. Its been turned into a series of "still photographs" that masquerade as a video. There is literailly nothing left to work with.

By-pass the firewire port.. use the very good to "excellent" S-Video output you have on the JVC SR-VS30U, it is already using its built-in line TBC to square up the horizontal lines, and you have the option of adjusting filters in that VCR that no less expensive VCR ever had.

Stay in the "analog capture workflow" path as was suggested above. You will have many very good signal clean up options available to you.

What your seeking is called a "frame synchronizer" or a frame TBC.. which basically rebuilds the vertical sync.

Good external TBCs are hard to come by, some people give up and try using a known-good ('for pass-thru') DVR as a pass-through to provide both some line TBC and frame TBC features. You take the S-Video output from the VCR pipe that into the DVR and take the S-Video output of the DVR and pipe that into your capture device. You do not have to "record" the signal on the DVR.. in fact do-not-do that.. the DVR is used "passively" only as a "filter" to provide the TBC functions and sometimes as a proc-amp if you want to tweak the image.

The destination capture device can be a "raw" video capture card, or it can be a DVR to disc, or DVR to hard drive (or) it can be an all in one box that captures to a removable hard drive on to a normal PC file system, that lets you copy the video files off to a PC for editing and burning to disc later. You have many options.

Workflows can be long and complicated, or short and simple.

A JVC SR-VS30U over Firewire -to- PC file path is one case.

A JVC SR-VS30U to DVR ('pass-thru') -to- PC capture card path is another case.

Some people keep it simple and do

A JVC SR-VS30U to DVR ('to hdd') and burn a disc from that DVR later. This lets you do some minimal editing on the hdd before burning to disc. If the DVR support DVD-RAM or DVD-RW you can offload it to disc and then import it back to a PC.. though you might have to do it in chunks since the disc can be quite small at 4.7 GB. This is mostly why people consider a video capture card.

The choice of a video capture card starts with, using compression, or using no compression. One makes small files, one makes large files. It sounds like your interested in doing it all at once with compression.. so you'll have to shop around.

If your using compression you may want hardware compression because then you won't have "lip sync" loss or have to be careful the PC had a lot of resources to make a clean capture without problems. The choices are vast..but can be costly.

If your using compression and you use software compression, it can be cheaper and you have more post capture edit options.. but you will need a more powerful PC and could spend some time matching up all the components to make sure they don't conflict with each other. This can cost a lot of time, and there may be many false starts, and recaptures.

Generally unless a premium picture from poor sources is a requirement.. people will find a good old DVR and capture to HDD and burn a disc and be done. But there are so many options, people will do it one way as a backstop (in case they never find time later..) and then do it again with better equipment.. or workflow.. so hang on to your tapes.

Doing it to get rid of the tapes and clean out the garage.. usually doesn't give you... quite that "this house is {clean}" feeling after the fact.. if the video actually matters.. cleaners "regret" often surfaces later.. so hang on to your tapes.

For the original Firewire "squished" video.. there is no TBC even remotely ('possible') but Firewire turned your video into a poor version of the hand-held cell phone "steady cam" problem.. you could use one of the "de-nauseate" filters in a Video Editing program to "try" and inject some stability into a gyrating frame..but be warned.. usually those filters work by trimming the boarders and centering the picture on a few elements at the center of each pseudo-still picture in the frame. In my opinion it looks "ghastly" and truly awful.. but that's about all you can do with Firewire digitized video.. its cooked.

And sometimes.. people try to give a blood transfusion back into de-saturated Firewire video.. to '[put back in]' what it drained away.. the only problem is they hype the saturation and its uniform.. colored areas start to "bleed" all over the image and do whats called {blooming} which basically looks like a Kids comic book with crayons.. using the lines more as guidelines than general rules.. Firewire took away the details of where the color was supposed to go.. it removed color "resolution" now its just a leaky faucet that "bleeds" all over the place. People aren't overly sensitive to color resolution.. that's why Firewire got away with this deficiency for so long.. but on higher resolution screens today it makes your video look more like a Black and White Bela Lugosi "special" than real video.. film noire is an acquired taste.. for vampires and videophiles alike.

Last edited by jwillis84; 03-20-2019 at 01:37 PM.
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  #4  
03-21-2019, 10:01 AM
FSquared FSquared is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jwillis84 View Post
The problems with Firewire are many.

Its seduction is its one cable and doesn't have dropouts or "lip sync" problems.. so you (think) you got off scott free.. but it also "baked" in all the problems into your video.. no recovery, no improvement is possible. None. There is and never will be a TBC for firewire. The image format has "left" the analog domain where using a TBC is possible. Its been turned into a series of "still photographs" that masquerade as a video. There is literailly nothing left to work with.
Are you sure? I have it going out to a TV via RCA and comparing it to the picture I get on my FireWire, it looks about the same.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jwillis84 View Post
Doing it to get rid of the tapes and clean out the garage.. usually doesn't give you... quite that "this house is {clean}" feeling after the fact.. if the video actually matters.. cleaners "regret" often surfaces later.. so hang on to your tapes.
You'll be happy to know that's not what I'm doing this for. I just want to archive our tapes in the best possible quality. That's all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jwillis84 View Post
For the original Firewire "squished" video.. there is no TBC even remotely ('possible') but Firewire turned your video into a poor version of the hand-held cell phone "steady cam" problem.. you could use one of the "de-nauseate" filters in a Video Editing program to "try" and inject some stability into a gyrating frame..but be warned.. usually those filters work by trimming the boarders and centering the picture on a few elements at the center of each pseudo-still picture in the frame. In my opinion it looks "ghastly" and truly awful.. but that's about all you can do with Firewire digitized video.. its cooked.
It doesn't squish the video. If you're referring to the aspect ratio, it keeps it at 4:3, and the video looks just fine. It doesn't look like it has any "steady cam" problem, because it's a stable image.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jwillis84 View Post
And sometimes.. people try to give a blood transfusion back into de-saturated Firewire video.. to '[put back in]' what it drained away.. the only problem is they hype the saturation and its uniform.. colored areas start to "bleed" all over the image and do whats called {blooming} which basically looks like a Kids comic book with crayons.. using the lines more as guidelines than general rules.. Firewire took away the details of where the color was supposed to go.. it removed color "resolution" now its just a leaky faucet that "bleeds" all over the place. People aren't overly sensitive to color resolution.. that's why Firewire got away with this deficiency for so long.. but on higher resolution screens today it makes your video look more like a Black and White Bela Lugosi "special" than real video.. film noire is an acquired taste.. for vampires and videophiles alike.
As mentioned earlier, I don't see any color problems at all with Firewire. It looks about the same as it does on AV, but slightly better looking closer at it.

Regardless, I found a TV that has S-Video on it, so I'll plug in my VCR to that and compare the results to FireWire, and I'll update this post with screenshots.

Last edited by FSquared; 03-21-2019 at 10:16 AM. Reason: Added more context after looking
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  #5  
03-21-2019, 02:54 PM
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TBCs are analog, not digital, therefore do not work with Firewire. You're using the equipment incorrectly for what you want to do.

TBCs aren't for noise, but signal correction. Noise implies other problems, often power related, other aspects of the signal, etc.

DV loses 50%+ of color data, having 4:1:1 compression to the digital equivalent of 4:2:2 that was on the VHS tape.

Mac is mostly a DV workflow, and the software available is pretty miserable, often not having basics like dropped frames counters. Video is, and always was, something done on Windows. Linux and Mac has some specialty uses, with Linux msotly used for watching/recording TV, Mac for camera work (including editing thereof), but Windows for capture, encoding, restoration, etc. If you insist on Mac, at least use the standard VCR>TBC>capture workflow.

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03-22-2019, 11:55 AM
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Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
TBCs are analog, not digital, therefore do not work with Firewire. You're using the equipment incorrectly for what you want to do.

TBCs aren't for noise, but signal correction. Noise implies other problems, often power related, other aspects of the signal, etc.

DV loses 50%+ of color data, having 4:1:1 compression to the digital equivalent of 4:2:2 that was on the VHS tape.

Mac is mostly a DV workflow, and the software available is pretty miserable, often not having basics like dropped frames counters. Video is, and always was, something done on Windows. Linux and Mac has some specialty uses, with Linux msotly used for watching/recording TV, Mac for camera work (including editing thereof), but Windows for capture, encoding, restoration, etc. If you insist on Mac, at least use the standard VCR>TBC>capture workflow.
Thanks, I'll probably just do that. My boss begs to differ, but I'll try to convince him to get a S-Video capture device.
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  #7  
03-22-2019, 11:58 AM
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Remember: bosses are just in charge (for whatever reason), not necessarily smarter.

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03-22-2019, 12:12 PM
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It should be noted that NTSC DV's 4:1:1 chroma subsampling is 1/4 the luminance in the horizontal direction only (ex: a 720x480 capture has 180x480 of color data). In theory this shouldn't be a problem with VHS captures since they have such low resolution chroma. The problem is the process of chroma subsampling in real time isn't perfect (it throws away the wrong samples), so you'll get weird artifacts in the capture, particularly with noisy VHS sources. Its no different than scaling an image smaller, you have multiple algorithms to do it and which one is best varies by the content. I suspect analog to DV bridges take the easy why out and just sample chroma every 4th pixel starting at row 1. A proper sub-sampler (difficult to create for real time encoding) would take the actual content into consideration and weigh which of the 4 pixels to actually sample color from.

Even 4:2:2 subsampling (1/2 horizontal color resolution) isn't free of these errors, they are just less noticeable. PAL can get away with 4:2:0 because the PAL and SECAM standards only have half the vertical color information encoded to begin with.
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03-22-2019, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by NJRoadfan View Post
It should be noted that NTSC DV's 4:1:1 chroma subsampling is 1/4 the luminance in the horizontal direction only (ex: a 720x480 capture has 180x480 of color data). In theory this shouldn't be a problem with VHS captures since they have such low resolution chroma. The problem is the process of chroma subsampling in real time isn't perfect (it throws away the wrong samples), so you'll get weird artifacts in the capture, particularly with noisy VHS sources. Its no different than scaling an image smaller, you have multiple algorithms to do it and which one is best varies by the content. I suspect analog to DV bridges take the easy why out and just sample chroma every 4th pixel starting at row 1. A proper sub-sampler (difficult to create for real time encoding) would take the actual content into consideration and weigh which of the 4 pixels to actually sample color from.
That's probably one of the best reasons I've seen as to why we see what we see with DV.

But I also think it has to do with quartering to begin with. 4:2:0 is alternating halving, which is the same bandwidth as quartering. Yet 4:2:0 MPEG compression on NTSC still looks better than 4:1:1 on conversion.

Your reason is probably also exactly why DV looks fine with shooting, but terrible for conversion, something else we've all long observed. (Though still not perfect, as it was miserable for chroma keying against.)

Edit: I vaguely remember some conversations at VH years ago, that alluded to this, but never outright stated it. I wonder if the poster realized that either. I don't think he did. I didn't. (Or maybe I forgot? Always possible as well.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by NJRoadfan View Post
Even 4:2:2 subsampling (1/2 horizontal color resolution) isn't free of these errors, they are just less noticeable. PAL can get away with 4:2:0 because the PAL and SECAM standards only have half the vertical color information encoded to begin with.
Now I'm wondering if the errors I saw with Huffyuv many years ago where somehow related to 4:2:2 processing from the codec, and not the lossless compression itself.

You had a good post there. I think you're on to something.
Why didn't I think of that?

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