Quantcast Best PCIe capture card for VHS? - digitalFAQ Forum
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04-13-2019, 02:15 PM
hdfills hdfills is offline
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hello im after buying a pcie capture card that is good for capturing vhs - i have a blackmagic intensity 4k card already but always getting dropped frames and its not good .... any help would be appreciated
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04-13-2019, 04:41 PM
ehbowen ehbowen is offline
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What is your operating system? Unfortunately, most of the capture systems which were/are really good with analog VHS were designed and built during the Windows XP (and earlier) era. If you have or can get a Windows XP computer and dedicate it only to capturing video (you don't want it Internet accessible!), we can talk you through building a system around either PCIe or AGP which will give great capture quality. After you capture on the WinXP machine, sneakernet it over to a more modern computer to edit and render it to MP4 or burn to DVD.
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04-14-2019, 07:29 AM
Eric-Jan Eric-Jan is offline
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Originally Posted by hdfills View Post
hello im after buying a pcie capture card that is good for capturing vhs - i have a blackmagic intensity 4k card already but always getting dropped frames and its not good .... any help would be appreciated
1. Do you know for shure your storage device, is fast enough during the capture ?
2. You are capturing to a normal resolution like 720x480 or 720x576 ?
3. The BlackMagic Design device expects a good quality video signal, so the vcr should have minimal some sort of build in TBC, a regular vcr without this, will not be a good source, since BMD products are quality devices, for the prosumer.
4. For a Magewell product the story is the same, without stabization you will have dropped frames.
5. A DV box or a passthrough device like a miniDV or Digital8 camera (you will need a Firewire interface on your PC/laptop) will give no dropped frames, and will be a cheaper solution.
6. Or.... if you have enough money to spend, and know what to buy, you could try to find an external TBC, this will be enough for the setup you now have.(unless number one in this list is at play....)
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04-14-2019, 08:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Eric-Jan View Post
3. The BlackMagic Design device expects a good quality video signal, so the vcr should have minimal some sort of build in TBC, a regular vcr without this, will not be a good source, since BMD products are quality devices, for the prosumer.
4. For a Magewell product the story is the same, without stabization you will have dropped frames.
5. A DV box or a passthrough device like a miniDV or Digital8 camera (you will need a Firewire interface on your PC/laptop) will give no dropped frames, and will be a cheaper solution.
6. Or.... if you have enough money to spend, and know what to buy, you could try to find an external TBC, this will be enough for the setup you now have.(unless number one in this list is at play....)
That's not accurate.

Blackmagic drops frames, regardless of TBC being in the workflow. The SD capturing abilities are somehow fatally flawed, and the exact reasons are not (yet) known.

Magewell is the same, though not quite a bad.

DV hardware capture boxes can drop frames like any other capture card, especially with lack of both framesync and line TBCs. And then it's really lossy for NTSC, losing 50%+ of the color data that was present on the analog tapes.

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04-14-2019, 11:13 AM
Eric-Jan Eric-Jan is offline
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Here we go again.... i'm just talking out of my own experience, but never used a Magwell device, btw.
Don't forget it is an combination of PC hardware, (fast) storage, interface pathway, capture device, operating system and RAM used... so you can't blame it on one particulair part.

The OP just wants some tips, i gave mine. it shouldn't be a cock-fight everytime.....
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04-14-2019, 11:21 AM
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The Magewell can run in two modes (1) UVC, in which you can adjust very little (2) advanced driver, in which you can adjust quite a lot.

One explanation for the dropped frames when capturing SD source (may be) the "method" selected for keeping audio and video in sync when in (2) advanced driver mode. I'm sure the "method" is selected (for you) when leaving it up to the UVC mode.. but in either case it acknowledges that some frames will be sacrificed in order to stay sync'ed in the output. -- I believe the choice was labeled (drop frames, or drop samples) where the default was always on (drop frames).

I don't understand the logic other than our ears might be more sensitive to an audio discontinuity than a visual.. except where large GOP are involved in which artifacts can make a big difference at lower data rates. With so many choices and trade offs to be made, having the ability to control them, and making the choices are two very different things.

All things considered throwing data rate at the problem and shrinking GOP to IPB I think is probably the simpler thing to do. But a relatively "simple" device like a Blackmagic is supposed to make all those decisions for you.. and make things simple...r i g h t ?.. my guess is they do the same thing and choose to (drop frames) by default and its beyond your ability to control except to run at ludicrous capture speeds.. and then there is the wall you hit when trunking it over USB and you start dropping USB frames.

The whole idea of switching from DV (an off board compressor that only sends compressed digital) to using an off board Raw uncompressed capture device.. assumes your connection is fast enough to handle the video and audio simultaneously.. don't bet on it. (But) if you use that USB only for video and capture the audio by a separate path or on a separate machine and match it up later, your less likely to experience trade off issues like forced (dropped frames). But that is a lot of extra work. -- ATI kind of had the right idea with the Theater 200 chip, decode the audio.. but hand it off to a sound card to do that capture.. and focus on capturing only the video. Staying focused ATI gave accurate frame drops.. if any.. and didn't have to answer to two masters at the same time.. audio (and) video. The later ATI PCIxpress cards did both.. I wonder if they had more frame drop issues?

I think DV also depends on the Color Burst signal for timing information.. so ironically though its less color resolution, it depends on the signal being in "color" or it will refuse to encode. I don't see much mention of this.. but then not a lof of B&W only capture sources these days.. except old 90's security camera footage.

A "practical" rule of thumb several have said here before.. by-pass using the audio input of the USB capture dongle or device.. route the audio (around) the capture device into a separate sound card capture device. Leave as much of the capture bandwidth on the device as possible for the video.. or program the capture device to (only) capture video.. in the capture software (VirtualDub or Amarec et. al.) that creates the capture file. Deliberately and under your control (interleave) the two sources for audio and video.. accept they may drift out of alignment.. or manage the trade offs in that software and choose the "dropping" algorithm there.

I'm pretty sure that is how the old school Movie studios did it. They did Sound Design and Sound Scoring separate and apart from filming.. and made corrections and ADR exactly because things didn't always go off as planned. Its sort of the same thing.

Last edited by jwillis84; 04-14-2019 at 11:49 AM.
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04-14-2019, 04:00 PM
Eric-Jan Eric-Jan is offline
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btw. I use ProRes422 LT to capture,(with a Intensity Shuttle Thunderbolt interface, on a MBP early 2015, 8 GB 1867 MHz DDR3, 2,7 GHz Intel Core i5, Intel Iris Graphics 6100 1536 MB) use ProRes422 LT to capture with, and see if you still have dropped frames, ProRes422 LT is enough for VHS quality to capture.
Which brand/type vcr are you using ? this is very important, a vcr with build in TBC makes a difference, i have both a JVC and a Panasonic with build in "TBC" and both work fine with my Intensity Shuttle.
My prefference goes out to the Panasonic vcr, because it also outputs the vcr playback over the component (YUV) output,
The JVC shows "echo lines" at sharp transitions over the s-video output.

Last edited by Eric-Jan; 04-14-2019 at 04:11 PM.
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04-15-2019, 12:38 PM
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What model VCR has a component output?... that must be very rare.

As far as I know only DVD players have a true component output. I have seen some combo boxes that use an ADC/DAC to upconvert and output VHS through HDMI.. but component sounds like something Sony or a D-VHS (JVC 30000) maker would do. Eventually though whether its on the VCR or on the way into a Capture device something has to perform the Comb Filter function to extract the color information from the Y/C or CVBS coming off the Video head.

I forget where, but someone here in the US was a big fan of converting a "three prong" to a "two prong" power plug connection from the VCR to the capture equipment to "break ground loops".. not safe.. but might be a method of eliminating unintended power source interference. Isolators are also made for isolating ground loops between equipment.. I believe Furr makes some lower cost ones.
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04-15-2019, 01:09 PM
Eric-Jan Eric-Jan is offline
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My Panasonic DMR-ES35V plays the VCR part also over the component (RCA YUV) video output, it's a recorder combo, so not a vcr recorder with a dvd-player.
This model is still available on the internet, it gives a very clean video signal, processed i guess, fast forward gives no dropped frames, with my Intensity Shuttle.
what you mention as three prong, is done mostly in the audio area, for (long) microphone and amplifier cables, interference is "nulled" that way, and earth potential is also minimal.

btw. you don't want to output a vcr signal over HDMI.. most of the time they also put a anti-copy signal in it or the protocol just won't "communicate" .
in progresive mode, the Macrovision signal has also disappeared at the YUV component output, with "protected" tapes.
no external TBC needed.

Last edited by Eric-Jan; 04-15-2019 at 01:27 PM.
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04-15-2019, 01:47 PM
hodgey hodgey is offline
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Some DVD-Recorder/VCR combo units do have component (and on late ones HDMI) output. Though, at least on the ES35 it seems the video signal is fed into the digital part of the vcr as a composite signal. This as opposed to the luma/chroma portions being kept separate all the way from the video heads to the output jack as when using a S-Video connector on most SVHS decks. So it's essentially like plugging the composite video from a standard VHS deck into a dvd-recorder and recording form the component output of that.

I use the blackmagic intensity shuttle (USB3) to record from component from a DVD-recorder (used as pass-through for VHS) myself, though that's mainly due to the fact that I got some noise interference on the S-Video input on the blackmagic card. Ideally I would use the HDMI out but that would require a HDMI splitter to strip off macrovision. I haven't noticed any frame drop issues when recording from a stable source myself. Not really a fan of it still for analog capture. It seems to often disconnecting randomly when reloading the capture graph requiring restarting the computer, and I don't grab the audio with it as I get a consistent periodic crackle sound from it for whatever reason.
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04-15-2019, 02:08 PM
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Eric-Jan,

Thanks interesting. Early component HDTV outputs are interesting... i did suspect what Hodgey was saying might be the case however. I'd say whichever way is found cleaner is the path you should use.

I've been working on a lot of the older Panasonics in the last couple of days.. testing copying their recordings directly from their hard disks to a PC.. they were phenomenal machines.. very crisp and clear encodings.

I feel very lucky to have a Magewell.. which is somewhat like a BM Shuttle.. but like Hodgey I tend to use it for HD not SD.. and it too is not immune to 'lock ups' or resets.. though I strongly suspect its the quality of my motherboard USB 3.0 drivers. USB 3.0 is simply a mess as implemented.. different chipset and driver writers make it.. unstable to say the least. Unfortunately by association that makes anything plugged into a USB port (convenient) but prone to instability.

Good luck if you find your daisy chain to and through the Black Magic stable.. more power to you.
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04-16-2019, 03:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jwillis84 View Post
The later ATI PCIxpress cards did both.. I wonder if they had more frame drop issues?
The bigger issue was the onboard audio was horrible. You should still route audio to the PCI/PCIe sound.

Quote:
A "practical" rule of thumb several have said here before.. by-pass using the audio input of the USB capture dongle or device.. route the audio (around) the capture device into a separate sound card capture device. Leave as much of the capture bandwidth on the device as possible for the video.. or program the capture device to (only) capture video.. in the capture software (VirtualDub or Amarec et. al.) that creates the capture file. Deliberately and under your control (interleave) the two sources for audio and video.. accept they may drift out of alignment.. or manage the trade offs in that software and choose the "dropping" algorithm there.
Some cards have a delay, so be aware of it. You may get desynced audio/video, manual resync needed.

Quote:
I'm pretty sure that is how the old school Movie studios did it. They did Sound Design and Sound Scoring separate and apart from filming.. and made corrections and ADR exactly because things didn't always go off as planned. Its sort of the same thing.
Still do. When I worked for studios, there were times that audio and video had separate ingest, and I had to sync. Only once was I given different masters, and trying to sync was a PITA.

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Originally Posted by jwillis84 View Post
Early component HDTV outputs are interesting...
Not the word I'd use. Lots of laws, not mature tech. Interlacing is always something to be mindful of especially.

Quote:
I've been working on a lot of the older Panasonics in the last couple of days.. testing copying their recordings directly from their hard disks to a PC.. they were phenomenal machines.. very crisp and clear encodings
So crisp they usually had noise artifacts.

Quote:
though I strongly suspect its the quality of my motherboard USB 3.0 drivers. USB 3.0 is simply a mess as implemented.. different chipset and driver writers make it.. unstable to say the least. Unfortunately by association that makes anything plugged into a USB port (convenient) but prone to instability.
Something in the Blackmagic/Magewell boxes is just flawed for SD.

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04-16-2019, 03:59 PM
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Something in the Blackmagic/Magewell boxes is just flawed for SD.
At least for the Magewell boxes we have it from themselves that the Analog Digital chip (does) have a TBC, but they deliberately disabled it in the circuitry to optimize for HD not SD.

The reason was never clearly explained, but I suspect whatever that is.. it might also be the case for the Blackmagic.

Moral: Just because the chipset (says) it has a TBC.. doesn't mean the manufacturer left it alone and did not disable it in such a way it can never be re-enabled by the end user.

TBC's exist exactly to prevent frame drops.. so guess what? If you capture SD video with it.. (you get frame drops)..

Last edited by jwillis84; 04-16-2019 at 04:48 PM.
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04-16-2019, 04:05 PM
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Also remember that "TBC" is a loose term, and I often like the muse if my toaster has a TBC.

TBCs exist to correct timing, not frame drops. The side effect can be prevention of frame loss, but it also has to be a specific kind of TBC (frame sync TBC).

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04-16-2019, 05:49 PM
hodgey hodgey is offline
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The TBC function in the Analog devices chips like the ADV7180 used in the blackmagic intensity is what LS would refer to as line-TBC. As it will involve some resizing and buffering of lines I presume it will cause some delay, and maybe have a marginally negative image quality effect on a stable HD source, which could be why it's not enabled by default for these boards.

Some forum users here have claimed it does work in the Canopus NX cards, though they seem to be somewhat rare and expensive, though the germans seem to really like them. It's been reported to also possible on the Happauge colossus (at least the first one) with a registry setting. The ADV chips are found in some stereo receivers too, which may or may not have this functionality enabled. I believe I read something in the datasheet of the chips that it could be set up to work as a frame TBC provided it was given access to extra memory but I can't find it right now.

I haven't used either so I can't vouch for the info though. I wish the windows capture card drivers gave more control over the capture card settings. On linux, the open source drivers for many cards like empia, conexant and philips based usb and pci cards let you directly access the capture chip via I2C, so you can enable/disable/adjust whatever it supports, but I haven't seen any cards where such a thing is possible on windows.

Texas instruments also made a chip. TVP5160 that boasts a similar line-tbc function, but I haven't seen any capture cards use it. The as TVP5150 found in many capture cards like the ATI USB 600 does not have this feature. Otherwise line-tbcs seem to be reserved to DVD recorders and VCRs/camcorders.
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08-07-2019, 04:44 AM
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I have a LG Combi RCT689H. It has an HDMI out. This HDMI is compatible with my fieldmonitor/recorder Atomos Ninja Flame. I can record in Prores or DNx. Now I will do the same for svhs... but I can not find an s-video to HDMI converter who is compatible with my fieldrecorder. All of them work fine on TV and PC screens but do not sync, even with TBC in between. Any good suggestions.
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08-07-2019, 05:20 AM
Eric-Jan Eric-Jan is offline
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The LG is a Super VHS recorder ? i don't see a mini din s-video connection on the LG....
Does the component output, output the vhs(recorder) video signal ?
for vhs there's little difference between component or hdmi since the video is in a vhs format recorded signal.
my guess is that there will be semi-pro hardware options to convert from component to hdmi,
or do you have an other vhs recorder/player you did not mention ?
If no other option is available, you might try a passthrough with other equipment, if that will give quality you want.
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08-07-2019, 06:47 AM
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No, my LG is not a svhs...
It has a component out but I did not test it since I have HDMI out. I really was surprised since as to the manual, it was only for dvd out. And this hdmi was compatible with my fieldmonitor.
Currently, I use my JVC HRS7700 for playing tapes, use the scart out and plug it in LG combi and select AV1 as source. Older tapes are played better with svhs.... Also with this procedure, HDMI is working...
My goal is to use a fieldmonitor/recorder as capturing device. It records directly on a SSD.. The SSD can be read by Resolve for further editing etc... So no communication problems ...
I tried a few hdmi converters but I have sync problems; unless my Fieldmonitor recognizes 1080P... I have a MPU-700P TBC, but I still have to evaluate if it is still working. s video pass trough... hue, color etc are working. I can freeze an image... but can not sync my Fieldmonitor. I am really looking for good converter, but even Gefen can not give me the correct information. There seems to be an ATOMCCNAS1 converter, but I can not find a 'user' review...As too other users, it seems not to be the holy grail.. Before I do further investments, I have to be sur my TBC is working since all prosumer or broadband equipment expect stable inputs.
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08-07-2019, 07:15 AM
hodgey hodgey is offline
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If you're trying to grab from HDMI, going with a DVD-Recorder that has S-Video inputs + a HDMI splitter to strip HDCP if needed may work better than a HDMI converter box. It's similar to what you do with the LG already, but with a recorder that features S-Video input. The particular LG DVD-Recorder/VCR combo model you have composite video input only, and the HDMI out is also grabbed from composite output from the VCR internally. (I've got one of them myself actually.)

The DVD recorders were designed to handle input from unstable sources so they should be able to deal with it better than most converter boxes, in addition to avoiding upscaling. Some (Panasonic, and later Sony/Pioneer/Tohsiba models) even had varying degrees of line-TBC functionality. Converters/Upscalers are often also stuck to HD resolutions only, while DVD-recorders typically let you output the original 576i resolution.
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08-07-2019, 09:38 AM
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HDMI is a blend of digital formats, anything output through HDMI will have already been put through an A/D conversion, capturing digital with an A to D converter is a bit like thinking capturing DV with a capture card is performing A to D.. not really happening. The game is already over. You've chosen to use the HDMI output device as your capture device.. for good or bad.

Some think the HDMI output is good because it can scale the video resolution up.. but that's sort of missing the point.

PVRs got simpler and easier after the NTSC to ATSC transition because all of the content was already in a Digital format, frame drops were no longer an issue.. there were none. All the PVR had to do was dutifully copy the files being sent over the RF signal as MPEG-TS files to hard disk. If they burned these to DVDs all they had to do was MPEG-TS to MPEG-PS and done. (But) if one of these PVRs had "Camera Inputs" it had to have a cheap Analog to Digital convertor.. which was .. cheap.. and not nearly as good as the ones in the older DVRs.
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