Quantcast Issues capturing VHS tapes, how to do better? - digitalFAQ Forum
  #1  
07-03-2019, 04:47 PM
bzowk bzowk is offline
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Hey Guys -

I recently started a project to digitize all of our family's old home movies from various tape formats (mostly VHS). I used the software that came with my hardware to perform the captures and only when ~75% done capturing and exploring filters for post-processing did I come to understand that not only does it seem that I captured at a slightly wrong resolution, but that I captured uncompressed via MP4 where folters may not work as well.

As mentioned above, I'm planning to recapture most which I initially captured anyways as only after playing recently did I find that VHS seemed to default capture to 720x480 in VirtualDub and mine were captured 640x480. Not a huge difference, but I could tell a difference side by side.

I put the project on pause to research and experimented a bit and now have a few questions, please. Below is a list of the hardware and configurations used for my initial captures followed by the questions. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated!

Initial Capture Hardware & Configuration
- Hardware
- AverMedia ExtremeCap U3 (External USB 3.0)
- Samsung DVD-VR320 for tape playback -> above device via x3 video component cables & x2 RCA audio
- Software
- AverMedia RECentral 1.3.0.116 (Came with hardware - Latest version compatible with hardware)
- Windows 10 x64
- Capture Configuration
- Container: MP4 (H.264+AAC) (Only option listed in RECentral even after additional codec installation)
- Resolution: 640x480
- Video Bitrate: 6.0Mbps
- Frame Rate: 30
-Audio Bitrate: 192Kbps
- Audio Quality: Average Bitrate

Note: Some of the questions below may/may not be

My Questions
Some questions may not be relevant depending on the answers to others
1. Which Software to Use
Overall, I plan to recapture everything uncompressed then run through filters to get the best possible result for each video. Since uncompressed isn't an option with RECentral, it's out. I'm tested with VirtualDub, but having a issue (question #3 below). AverMedia offers plugins for Adobe Premiere Pro & Sony Vegas, but they are from 2014 and couldn't get the plugs to work in the latest Premiere version.

So... Should I use a single software to perform the captures, filtering, and everything else or use different software for each part (capture, filter, etc)? I have access to licenses for both Premiere & Vegas

2. Capture to DVD First?
My VHS Player (Samsung DVD-VR320) is capable of capturing VHS directly to DVD. Besides ease of use, is there any advantage to doing that then filtering as opposed to capturing using my U3?

3. Restoration / Filtering
I have researched and tried a few different filters (there are so many) and couldn't figure out others like avisyth. I had luck with Neat Video, but it's $75 and know there are free options out there. Most of what I'm trying to clean up are to reduce noise, deinterlace, etc. Attached is a before & after screenshot from one tape after running through Neat Video as an example (example3.jpg)

4. VirtualDub Capture Issue
Only applies if you think I should use it to capture
After test uncompressed captures, I found that the media was somewhat distorted. I finally saw that they were captured at 50fps which I assume is the culprit. In VirtualDub within the "Capture Pin" settings, the FPS was set to 50fps. If I set this down to 29.970 or 30, I get "Signal out of Range" in my video preview window. The only way to get the video to re-appear is change it back to "50." I've tried all kinds of fixes without luck. Any ideas?

5. Would Different Hardware Make Huge Difference?
I'm not trying to do anything ground breaking nor have a budget for this, but would any of the following potentially make a noticeable improvement?
- Upgrading to better VHS Player
- Cleaning Heads of VHS with cheap cleaning tape from Amazon (Don't see why they'd be dirty but it has been suggested)
- Upgrading capture hardware

6. Post-Processing
When videos are captured and filtered, I plan to store them on an external HDD and create smaller, lossy versions to host on my Plex server. Should I just use HandBrake for that or an option within the capture software?

That's really about it. Overall, I know the end results aren't going to be 4k and look like they were recorded on today's hardware, but just want something that preserves the media as best possible with what I've got to work with.

Appreciate your help!!


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File Type: jpg example3.jpg (29.4 KB, 5 downloads)
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  #2  
07-03-2019, 05:57 PM
ehbowen ehbowen is offline
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Just time for a quick reply here, but the key word you're looking for is not "uncompressed" but, rather, "lossless." VHS has very limited image info (by modern standards) and you don't want to lose any of it in image processing...at least, not until you're ready to render the final result to MP4 or DVD/Blu-ray for viewing and distribution. HuffyUV and Lagarith are two codecs which will provide some compression but not lose any of the image information. Once it's lost, you can never get it back. Download links and instructions are available in the sticky posts in this same forum. Good luck!
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  #3  
07-03-2019, 06:34 PM
hodgey hodgey is offline
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1:

I would capture lossless (huffyuv, lagarith etc) with virtualdub. You can filter with whatever application you prefer afterwards. Virtualdub and avisynth can give amazing results, but can be a bit difficult to learn. (I'll leave the filtering suggestions to someone else here.)

2:
Capturing to DVD first will introduce compression artifacts, which make e.g noise reduction more difficult.

4:
It sounds like the VHS/DVD player is set to progressive mode, i.e the player deinterlaces the video and outputs 50fps. It should be possible to turn that off with a button on the front judging by the manual.

Since you can capture from component this seems to be one of the combo recorders that digitizes the signal internally which will give you a clean signal out but prevent any subsequent TBC/Capture device from correcting jitter etc.

5:
Better VHS deck - My experience with samsung-made decks (PAL, non-DVD-combo) is that they're not the worst when it comes to image quality (for standrd VHS decks), I don't know what internal processing this VCR does though, whether it does any jitter correction etc. One of the digitalfaq recommended S-VHS decks will likely look better.

I don't know much about the capture card, it's ezcap clone junk at least, though that's usually not where the big quality gains are made.

6:
Encoding to lossy is something you do after filtering and editing is done.
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  #4  
07-03-2019, 06:34 PM
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jwillis84 jwillis84 is offline
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1. Which Software to Use
virtualdub.. huffyuv
2. Capture to DVD First?
no
3. Restoration / Filtering
avisynth
4. VirtualDub Capture Issue
AverMedia ExtremeCap U3 - is made for game capture, it will give you problems adapting it to capture VHS, its simpler to get a cheaper device specifically for VHS capture that doesn't have issues with VirtualDub, historically there are (Many) available that work over USB.. USB3.0 is not a fixall and often causes more problems capturing video than USB2.0
5. Would Different Hardware Make Huge Difference?
yes.. take the easy route and get another capture device, save the AverMedia ExtremeCap USB3.0 for game capture
6. Post-Processing
keep the original caps untouched, use video redo to edit and make distribution copies

you skipped the VCR and TBC requirements, generally if they clean it up enough you may not need all the restoration/filtering unless there is real damage

i waffle on long vhs tapes with unknown or un-indexed content.. a straight copy to a DVR and then exporting that as mpeg2 files to a pc is quicker and can scout out a tape that needs intensive care.. scrubbing through a digital file is a lot faster than watching tape, and if you can't find a TBC, then having a DVR you can use as a pass-thru can substitute for one when you do the intensive care capture. DVRs don't need working burners to be used as scouting or transfer devices anymore.. so they can be found used pretty cheap

these are my opinions and I'm still something of an (in)experienced newbie.. experienced professionals will probably have different opinions
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  #5  
07-28-2019, 04:27 PM
bzowk bzowk is offline
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Hey Guys -

Thanks for the comments and apologies for the late reply. I tried VirtualDUB again today along with huffyuv, but still had the issue where it captured at 50fps. After playing with it, I found out that the minimum FPS for 720 x 480 is 31 with a default of 50. I'd try to capture at a different resolution, but that's the only one I can select which doesn't result in "Signal Out of Range" message in my Preview window.

Any suggestions for how I can clear this up to where it captures at the 29.9 fps I need? Thanks
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  #6  
07-28-2019, 04:42 PM
ehbowen ehbowen is offline
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The menu for changing capture frame rate is accessed through the far lower right corner of the screen (click on the box which shows fps). You should get a pop-up menu which will allow you to select 29.97 fps. See the attached screenshot for details.



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File Type: jpg Screenshot.20190728.jpg (24.3 KB, 43 downloads)
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  #7  
07-29-2019, 11:09 AM
bzowk bzowk is offline
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Thanks for the reply...

I found it and set it to 29.97 which finally did capture in that FPS - Thank you! Unfortunately, when playing back the captured media, now the audio is slower than it should be instead of faster. As most settings are default, I'm sure that the culprit is tied to the capture pin settings. I'll start a new thread if suggested, but if someone could please advise, I'd appreciate:

Virtual Dub Configuration
- Everything default except for below
- Compression: Using huffyuv, but issue occurs without compression as well
- Capture Pin: 50fps @ 720 x 480 (Only one that doesn't result in "Signal Out of Range")
- VHS Player attached to capture device (Avermedia ExtremeCap U3) via Component video
- All audio configurations are default

Behavior
- I must set the capture pin to 50fps @ 720 x 480 (capture1.png) else receive "Signal Out of Range" message.
- After set to above where I can view playback in Preview (video and audio work normally).
- Strangely, if going back into Capture Pin after setting it as such, it shows its set to 50fps @ 720 x 576 (capture2.png). Clicking OK here results in "Signal out of Range" so must change it back to 720 x 480.
- Prior to capture, I change the capture to 29 fps in lower right of VirtualDUB

Results
- If capture with above settings, the resulting file does capture at 29fps. During playback the video seems ok, but audio is slower. Not just an A/V sync, but audio is a lower pitch
- If capture without changing the fps in lower right (but same pin settings), the resulting file is captured at 50fps. During playback, the video looks fine, but audio is faster therefore higher pitch.

Really close to just capturing with hardware's native app which although has minimal options and performs lossy capture, did result in a playable result. Any suggestions?

Thanks


Attached Images
File Type: png capture1.png (13.1 KB, 2 downloads)
File Type: png capture2.png (12.4 KB, 2 downloads)
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  #8  
07-29-2019, 11:18 AM
hodgey hodgey is offline
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Did you check and make sure the VCR is not set to progressive mode?

Second question:
Is it PAL or NTSC you are trying to capture?

720 x 576 (25 or 30FPS) is a PAL format, while 720x480 (29.97 or 59.94) is NTSC. It's important that the capture device is set to the right standard. Normally one would be at 720x480 at 29.97 FPS when capturing analog video from an NTSC source.

I know on some capture devices one has to go and change the video format outside of virtualdub, in the native capture application first for it to work properly.

Last edited by hodgey; 07-29-2019 at 11:28 AM.
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  #9  
07-29-2019, 02:46 PM
ehbowen ehbowen is offline
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See also Sanlyn's Settings Guide for VirtualDub. (That post really ought to be made a sticky)
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  #10  
07-30-2019, 10:14 AM
bzowk bzowk is offline
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Thanks for the replies...

hodgey -
Yes. I actually tested with and without Progressive Scan enabled (confirmed via display on VCR) and there were no differences in the results I'm trying to capture NTSC and within the pin settings, NTSC_M is displayed and seemingly cannot be changed. Good point, though. The device's driver (only device software I installed) doesn't have configurable options when looking. THe driver also installed an app, but only to test USB 3.0 bandwidth. I looked in the VCR's menu and the only thing I saw which may be related was that aspect ratio was set to 16:9. I changed this to 4:3 then played with the pin settings again, but got the exact same results. I couldn't find any NTSC settings within VirtualDub's settings.
What do you think?

ehbowen -
I've gone through that guide before in a past VD installation without success, but will try again later as have nothing to loose.

Any more suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks Guys
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