Quantcast VHS capture not interlaced as expected? - digitalFAQ Forum
  #1  
04-22-2019, 08:36 PM
oldvhs oldvhs is offline
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Hi there,

I’m trying to capture several old VHS tapes (PAL) and turn them into 50fps video files.

Setup:
  • Panasonic DMR-EZ49V Recorder
  • composite cable (CVBS), audio (L/R)
  • USB 2.0 Video Grabber (DigitNow)
  • Windows 10
  • VirtualDub 1.10.4
  • HandBrake 1.2.2 (encoding)
Method 1:
recorder -> composite -> grabber -> pc:
With VirtualDub I'm able to capture AVI using DirectShow (despite video preview being buggy with Win10…). When I try to apply deinterlace filter (Interpolate using Yadif / Double frame rate) the added frames are just copies of the previous ones – nothing changes. The captured video file seems to be already progressive 25fps and not interlaced as expected.

Method 2:
However if I’m using the built-in “VHS to DVD“ copy function of the recorder and convert the DVD container to MPEG and then AVI the video is interlaced (visible “combing“) and I can apply the aforementioned deinterlace filter in VirtualDub and get a 50fps video file.
But: This method involves more steps and each DVD (4.7GB) only fits ~1h / 2h tape (using best quality modes XP/SP).

Anyone has a clue why I get a progressive video using the first method?
Quality wise which method would you choose with regard to my setup?

Btw., what I already tried so far: Several different device settings within the recorder. Also asked the manufacturer of the recorder directly, but they couldn’t give me any further technical explanation or documentation;
Multimedia framework VFW instead of DirectShow; S-Video cable + SCART adapter instead of composite (apparently not supported contrary to specs…)

Thanks in advance! I’d appreciate any advice of yours!
(Uncompressed test snippets of both methods in attachment.)


Attached Files
File Type: avi usbgrabber.avi (70.01 MB, 4 downloads)
File Type: avi VHStoDVD.avi (79.51 MB, 4 downloads)
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  #2  
04-22-2019, 08:58 PM
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jwillis84 jwillis84 is offline
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oh.. hmm.

How to answer?

First I'm just a guy who visits this board a lot. Second your in a PAL country so my advice will probably be amateurish.

The workflow best suited is usually:

vcr > tbc > capture device

You did not mention the vcr brand or model. It might be a good one with a line tbc, it might not be.

You also did not mention if the tapes are regular VHS or S-VHS, and at what speed they were recorded: SP or EP or SLP. It matters quite a lot since S-VHS and high speed SP tapes have a lot to work with, VHS and EP or slower don't have a lot and will be far less stable unless you have a regular VCR for VHS tapes that specializes in tracking horrible quality, slow speed tapes.

VHS is always "interlaced" to start.. and its considered (not smart) to try and convert them to progressive at this time because the player of the captured files will always be (newer) and find better ways to de-interlace later. Once you have converted a file to de-interlaced you throw away any chance of the playback ever being improved ever again. So its considered a one-way lossy process going from interlaced to de-interlaced. (Just remember "Interlaced = Good" : "De-interlaced = Bad" those lines you speak of are signs your player is bad, not the video).

Looks like your stuck with Windows 10.. I'm sorry.. .. not everyone has the advantage of an OS they can control or rely on. But even on Windows 10 there are better capture devices than not.. but one alternative might be to capture on a device that doesn't involve the computer and gives you files on removable media that you can copy over to the PC.. its something to consider.

VirtualDub is great on a lot of operating systems.. but if your stuck on Windows 10, perhaps look at OBS Studio.. its free and works pretty well on Win10 for capture. It does have a steep learning curve however.

Finally.. take everything I say with a grain of skepticism, and pay strong attention to anyone other than me that comments.

ps. To clarify (de-interlacing technology "at this time" is not perfect and always introduces "artifacts") Many good players will give you a choice among many algorithms to "choose" the best way of de-interlacing that suits you, or the content of the video.. it varies quite a bit.

If you really want a "de-interlaced" version for an iPod player or something then keep the "interlaced" as your raw professional copy of the original VHS capture. Then ten years or so later you or someone else can "re-visit" the original material and make a far better copy based on the technology of the day. Its like shooting an original photo with a Nikon D5 DSLR camera.. then choosing to make a copy as a plain low res JPG file to put on a website. You might not regret that decision today, but if you have the original.. you or your kids will be grateful later.
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  #3  
04-23-2019, 07:29 AM
hodgey hodgey is offline
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The first clip doesn't look like it comes from a video tape, are you sure it's interlaced to begin with? (granted it does look like it has been de-interlaced at some point.) I know many dvd recorders has a "progressive" output mode that outputs (crappily) deinterlaced/de-telecined video but I've never seen that being available over composite, but requiring component/rgb or HDMI output. If there is some deinterlacing going on it seems it may be the capture device doing it, unless you have somehow turned on deinterlacing when capturing in virtualdub. Most dongles would just pass the signal to the capture application unaltered so I don't know why it would be doing it though.

Digitnow seems to have a number of different USB capture devices, not sure which one you have.

Quote:
VirtualDub is great on a lot of operating systems.. but if your stuck on Windows 10, perhaps look at OBS Studio.. its free and works pretty well on Win10 for captur
OBS is nice for streaming stuff, but I don't think it's really ideal for video capture. If there are issues with virtualdub, amarectv is a decent alternative.
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  #4  
04-23-2019, 11:03 AM
sanlyn sanlyn is offline
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These samples are uncompressed RGB. We all hope that's not the way they're being captured.
It looks as if the OP is ill prepared for VHS capture and hasn't really looked into, at least not in this forum. There seem to be too many departures from conventional capture gear and methods to know where to begin.

DigitNow?

Last edited by sanlyn; 04-23-2019 at 11:16 AM.
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  #5  
04-23-2019, 08:02 PM
oldvhs oldvhs is offline
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Thank you all for your replies!

In my first post I attached snippets (random recorded TV program on VHS) I took during testing several settings to get rid of the problem. Yes, I might not have selected any compression within VirtualDub creating those small samples. The main point was just to show the difference between both methods: DVD copy = interlaced; USB grabber = not interlaced.

I’ll add some further details, for clarification.
First, I attached 2 captures, showing the same scene for better comparison. (VHStoDVD vs. USBgrabber) (audio cut out)

Furthermore, some brief adds to my setup and workflow.
VHS tapes (PAL): originally taken in the early 90s by some relatives with a camcorder (my best guess would be a “Sony Video8 HandyCam“) and dubbed to the VHS tapes I got here. Unfortunately, I don’t know any further details.

USB 2.0 Audio / Video Converter:
Model name: ”DigitNow! BR116” (picture attached)
But there seem to be plenty of brands having a device looking exactly the same. All guides and reviews using those USB grabbers showed tolerable interlaced videos (in my eyes) - way better than what I am getting.
As hodgey mentioned above and to my understanding it should just pass the signal unaltered.
So, I don’t think the problem is located here.

DVD-Recorder:
Model name: “Panasonic DMR-EZ49V”
I tested several settings and tried to locate any option that may cause this conversion, but without any success. I even consulted the manufacturer about any known conversion of the video signal, but support couldn’t help me on that issue and did not provide any technical details.

Operating system:
In Windows 10 the only problem is that VirtualDub won’t show any preview of devices using DirectShow which is annoying but shouldn’t cause any further problem. Since I tested the same setup with a PC running Windows 7 with the same results (except preview is showing).

Capture software:
Besides VirtualDub I also tested the software provided with the USB capture device called “Honestech VHS to DVD 3.0 se” and “amarectv” suggested by hodgey – unfortunately without any improvement – except for a working preview ��.

Workflow

Method 1:
DVD Recorder video out -> composite -> USB grabber -> pc
(alternatively I used: DVD recorder AV -> SCART adapter -> composite)

VirtualDub instructions:
Capture AVI -> Device: “AV to USB2.0 (DirectShow)”
Capture pin: 25fps / YUV2 / 720x576 / 25fps
Video compression: UtVideo YUV422 BT.601 VCM
Audio: pcm: 48000Hz, stereo, 16-bit

Method 2:
Copy VHS to DVD (built in function of DVD-recorder) using SP mode.
DVD -> MPEG using “VOB2MPG v3.0”
MPEG (VirtualDub + MPEG-2 Plugin v4.5) -> AVI (compression: UtVideo YUV422 BT.601 VCM)

@sanlyn
Thank you for your post. I’ve read several guides and articles (on here as well) and a lot share similar equipment and workflows. I know there are e.g. way better capture devices. I chose the device mentioned above because it seemed good value for the price, widespread, with good reviews. The DVD recorder should be decent (at least it’s not cheap).
Bearing in mind the setup and workflow I described above, how is my approach ill prepared and why do you think I haven’t looked into it? It would help if you could clarify what you mean.


Attached Images
File Type: jpg USB grabber.jpg (44.5 KB, 5 downloads)
Attached Files
File Type: avi Method1USBgrabber.avi (82.15 MB, 4 downloads)
File Type: avi Method2VHStoDVDcopy.avi (82.71 MB, 3 downloads)
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  #6  
04-24-2019, 01:19 AM
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lordsmurf lordsmurf is offline
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This main issue is wrong equipment, wrong tools for a quality job.

DigitNow just rebadges Chinese junk, and then jacks up the price 10x. It's like Wolverine or Ion, and so many others. The capture card is just a horribly lousy $10 Easycap (aka Easycrap), and many problems stem from it.

Why would you analog capture from DVD recorder?

VOB2MPG is generally inferior to DVD Decrypter. And with ChrissyBoy being MIA for about a year now, not something I'd bother using anymore, lot of issues in VH threads about it, unresolved installs, no support responses. Unfortunate.

If you want true 50fps, then capture native 25fps (50i) and use QTGMC to deinterlace into 50p.

Handbrake is terrible software. It's popular only because it's dummy-friendly. But the software is just as dumb as the users. Look into selur's Hybrid instead, vastly superior, and QTGMC is available using the embedded Avisynth or Vapoursynth controls.

Some of the PAL Panasonic records screw with VHS signals from what I've seen in the past year. I'm not sure if it's user errors, or the machine really does monkey around with signal once ingested.

Win10 is a terrible capture OS, it will fight you, and then break again every update (every 6 months).

- 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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  #7  
04-24-2019, 07:50 AM
sanlyn sanlyn is offline
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Thank you for your samples and the workflow details.

What's up, with your UT Video compression? The two .avi samples averaged 84mb in size, but in Lagarith YUY2 they were 67mb each.

Quote:
Originally Posted by oldvhs View Post
VHS tapes (PAL): originally taken in the early 90s by some relatives with a camcorder (my best guess would be a “Sony Video8 HandyCam“) and dubbed to the VHS tapes I got here.
Dubbed? Ouch! That smarts. Not your fault, of course. I can sympathize with the many shortcomings of bad tape. Add my condolences for being stuck with Windows 10.

I had to bypass cleanup suggestions for Method1USBgrabber.avi. It's not a workable capture, for reasons described below. Method2VHStoDVDcopy.avi was at least usable, but capturing to lossy MPEG entailed a serious quality hit. Since you specified 50fps progressive, I encoded it that way and assumed you also wanted 4x3 square pixel for PC playback or web posting. 50fps can't be used for standard definition distributable formats like DVD or SD-BluRay. Deinterlace and resizing was done in Avisynth, followed by color and levels tweaks and extra denoising in VirtualDub. Working with noisy VHS from lossy MPEG is never easy. It's an unnecessarily masochistic way of trying to get digital video from VHS tapes. The attempted cleanup effort demonstrates the difficulty of getting noise free results from lossy captures. It's attached as Method2_50p_4x3.mp4.

Quote:
Originally Posted by oldvhs View Post
@sanlyn
Thank you for your post. I’ve read several guides and articles (on here as well) and a lot share similar equipment and workflows. I know there are e.g. way better capture devices. I chose the device mentioned above because it seemed good value for the price, widespread, with good reviews. The DVD recorder should be decent (at least it’s not cheap).
Bearing in mind the setup and workflow I described above, how is my approach ill prepared and why do you think I haven’t looked into it? It would help if you could clarify what you mean.
I'm not certain where to begin. What I mean by ill prepared is that you seem to be reading the wrong guides -- or another way of putting it, you seem to be doing things that the guides and project threads here and elsewhere would recommend that you avoid.

To begin I don't recall seeing DigitNow! BR116 mentioned as a recommended device. Even if it is, now that I've seen its performance I recommend that you use something else. It makes rather grim looking captures with odd color effects (colors look, well, somewhat soiled I'd say), poor dynamic range (it reminded me of the EZcap and its Chinese knockoffs), and some very untidy, smeared reds. It's the noise, distortion, and object shimmer from scanline errors and bad deinterlacing that is unacceptable. If you have a line tbc associated with DigitNow, it's not doing its job. Besides being ugly and annoying to watch, such vertical noise and jitter are a wholesale waste of encoding bitrate. Other reasons that make it unacceptable are that it can't be corrected after capture and that our guides clearly state why that distortion occurs and how it is avoided. Most readers seem to be aware that a line tbc is required for VHS capture. But even if you don't have one, you're using a capture device that not only has a fuzzy, destructive way of deinterlacing but is also discarding alternate frames in order to maintain 25fps.

Why does DigitNow do this? I don't know.

I notice that you did try Honestech, which no one in this forum would suggest. It's a known offender, so I can understand why you didn't stick with it ("Low-end hardware...never been regarded as quality", Anyone tried Honestech VHS to DVD 8.0?). I see that you also ignored widespread tech forum advice to avoid DVD/VHS combos, widely reputed as one of the lowest quality means for VHS capture. I'm surprised that you don't know how infamous the EZ49 series is.

At least your DVD/VHS combo has decent color, good contrast, and a line tbc, although not a very powerful one. The results you're getting are visibly less noisy than anything I can see from DigitNow. But that's not saying much. Capturing to lossy MPEG and then making a lossless avi out of it is, really, not lossless capture. It's lossy, period. MPEG compression is painfully obvious with VHS and difficult to subdue in post-processing. Decoding lossy codecs to lossless files does not restore the data discarded in the original encode -- "lossy" means you lose: the lost data is unrecoverable. The tape itself has no fine detail at ball, and lossy encoding makes it look even more barren. Even after considerable filtering, the Method2 capture still has some persistent digital "floiating grunge" and shimmer that's the direct result of poor playback and lossy encoding from noisy tape.

Quote:
Originally Posted by oldvhs View Post
When I try to apply deinterlace filter (Interpolate using Yadif / Double frame rate) the added frames are just copies of the previous ones
Most users would recommend QTGMC over yadif. QTGMC is far cleaner and artifact-free than yadif. But yadif, as implemented by several editors, is fast and handy for testing. VirtualDub does have some otherwise handy features and a few good filters, but for the level of powerful and sophisticated cleanup required for the low quality captures you're making, you need to learn Avisynth. And as mentioned earlier, your capture device isn't adding frames, it's removing them.

As far as I can see you're ignoring the guides, with low level results as expected. That's what I mean by ill prepared. You'll likely do as best you can with severely limited resources, but without better equipment and methods you can't have better results.


Attached Files
File Type: mp4 Method2_50p_4x3.mp4 (6.23 MB, 2 downloads)

Last edited by sanlyn; 04-24-2019 at 08:12 AM.
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  #8  
04-24-2019, 08:41 AM
hodgey hodgey is offline
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Quote:
But there seem to be plenty of brands having a device looking exactly the same. All guides and reviews using those USB grabbers showed tolerable interlaced videos (in my eyes) - way better than what I am getting.
There are numerous different dongles that have that exterior design with wildly different internal hardware so it's hard to say what you would get with one. Drivers can be a clue, but I didn't see any download links for it them on the website. Granted, I haven't heard of any of them deinterlacing when capturing.

Quote:
Besides VirtualDub I also tested the software provided with the USB capture device called “Honestech VHS to DVD 3.0 se” and “amarectv” suggested by hodgey – unfortunately without any improvement – except for a working preview ��.
Do you have this capture device as well? I would test with this (or another capture card if you have access to one), to rule out the digitnow being the cause. The general troubleshooting flow when having an issue like this is to go through the capture chain and and switch out each part to see if there is a difference. You've already tried different software, so lastly you could also try with a different VCR if you can locate one if swapping capture device doesn't help.

Also, if it's this one, it's likely to produce a better result than the digitnow dongle.
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  #9  
04-24-2019, 09:05 AM
sanlyn sanlyn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hodgey View Post
Also, if it's this one, it's likely to produce a better result than the digitnow dongle.
We don't recommend Honestech. Didn't you see the previous post? Anyone tried Honestech VHS to DVD 8.0?. There are other negative reports over the years, here and elsewhere.
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  #10  
04-24-2019, 10:45 AM
hodgey hodgey is offline
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I'm not suggesting buying one. Just saying that if he already owns it it may be better to use that than the EzCap dongle. Granted the main thing was to try a different capture device to see if that solves the interlacing issue.
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