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  #1  
12-10-2019, 03:46 PM
runchy runchy is offline
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I have some old VHS tapes (one from 1992, a few from 1998-99), the contents of which I want to put on DVD. I've converted VHS tapes to DVD for other people before, but since these tapes are for me personally, I want to make sure I'm getting the best possible quality.

For my previous projects, I used a JVC SR-VS30 connected to a StarTech SVID2USB23 (S-Video to USB capture device), and I recorded the output in OBS Studio. The StarTech capture device appears to have a native output resolution of 640x480, and I don't know if I can change it. I then burn the DVDs using a free program called DVDStyler.

What are the best settings I can use on my VCR or in OBS to get the best quality video onto DVD? Or is there other free/very low cost software that I can use that would be better? I'm on a tight budget.

-- merged --

After doing some further research, I found out that I can use the SR-VS30's DV out to connect it directly to my computer and capture in Premiere Pro, which seems to work pretty well so far.
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  #2  
12-11-2019, 05:28 PM
homefire homefire is offline
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Are you planning on doing any restoration or correction?
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  #3  
12-11-2019, 11:49 PM
runchy runchy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by homefire View Post
Are you planning on doing any restoration or correction?
Not as much as I originally thought. The picture looks much better having been captured directly from the VCR through DV/FireWire rather than having to go through the S-Video-to-USB converter. It completely eliminated all the interlacing artifacts or whatever you call them. There's some white flecks dancing around the screen, but I'm thinking that's just from the tape itself.

I'm still going to raise the volume level (the captured video peaks around -18 to -24; I usually go to -6) and try to get rid of a background buzzing noise in one section. I'm going to try to export the modified video as an MPEG-2 file so it can go directly onto a DVD without re-encoding (do I have that right?).

I'd appreciate any advice on anything else I can do to improve quality.
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  #4  
12-12-2019, 12:21 AM
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lordsmurf lordsmurf is offline
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This thread isn't making any sense, and you may be making some huge mistakes here.
Replying as a I read...

Quote:
Originally Posted by runchy View Post
I have some old VHS tapes (one from 1992, a few from 1998-99), the contents of which I want to put on DVD. I've converted VHS tapes to DVD for other people before, but since these tapes are for me personally, I want to make sure I'm getting the best possible quality.
Best quality = not DVD.
Lossless capturing, not MPEG, not DV, etc.
Take those master 4:2:2 captures, convert to other format copies for watching (keeping master), be it DVD or streaming/Youtube, etc.

Quote:
For my previous projects, I used a JVC SR-VS30
Depending on condition, as many are in dire need of repair/maintenance, this can be a great model deck. I use several myself.

Quote:
connected to a StarTech SVID2USB23 (S-Video to USB capture device),
This is not a bad card, but the older/prior "USB2" modeel (not "23") was better. I'd only use it for a few tapes, never as a primary card for a large project.

Quote:
and I recorded the output in OBS Studio.
Mistake. Use VirtualDub. OBS is not for analog capturing, even if it "can" (half@ssed) capture analog.

Quote:
The StarTech capture device appears to have a native output resolution of 640x480,
No.

Quote:
and I don't know if I can change it.
Again, use VirtualDub, you won't have issues capturing 720x480 lossless.

Quote:
I then burn the DVDs using a free program called DVDStyler.
DVD styler is authorware that also burns, but be very careful not to let it also re-encode (if it even can, and I forget if it can). Convert the lossless AVI to MPEG in Avidemux 2.6 freeware.

Quote:
What are the best settings I can use on my VCR or in OBS to get the best quality video onto DVD? Or is there other free/very low cost software that I can use that would be better? I'm on a tight budget.
The main issue with the workflow is lack of frame TBC. I'm not sure if the line TBC alone will cut it, you may run into issues (watch the dropped frames counter in VirtualDub, and watch audio sync!), but you're welcome to try.

Quote:
Originally Posted by runchy View Post
After doing some further research, I found out that I can use the SR-VS30's DV out to connect it directly to my computer and capture in Premiere Pro, which seems to work pretty well so far.
Mistake. Premiere won't show you dropped frames, and DV conversion is losing 50%+ of the color data.

Quote:
Originally Posted by runchy View Post
Not as much as I originally thought. The picture looks much better having been captured directly from the VCR through DV/FireWire rather than having to go through the S-Video-to-USB converter.
Mistake. Again, VHS>DV conversion loses quality (assuming NTSC, not PAL). And there's no such thing as a "s-video to USB converter" -- that's simply a USB capture card.

Quote:
Originally Posted by runchy View Post
It completely eliminated all the interlacing artifacts or whatever you call them.
Interlacing is NOT an artifacts. If this conversion somehow deinterlaced, you're losing a massive amount of quality, and will look dreadful at anything larger than the tiny preview window in NLE/capture software (and even then, it'll have obvious flaws). Sample needed.

Quote:
There's some white flecks dancing around the screen, but I'm thinking that's just from the tape itself.
Sample needed.

Quote:
I'm still going to raise the volume level (the captured video peaks around -18 to -24; I usually go to -6) and try to get rid of a background buzzing noise in one section.
Removing noise is best done in Sound Forge. If that section isn't too long, and the noise is simple to remove (for me, at least), I'll often help others with a quick filter job. So feel free to attach a sample of that as well (and make sure a piece is as silent as can be, with only noise present).

Quote:
I'm going to try to export the modified video as an MPEG-2 file so it can go directly onto a DVD without re-encoding (do I have that right?).
Export from Premiere? It encodes with MainConcept SDK encoders, looks good. But you must be very careful with the setting. Premiere is notoriously stupid, with horrible default settings that will further mangle the video quality. You'd better seek guidance from folks on this site, don't just encode blindly.

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  #5  
12-12-2019, 05:14 PM
runchy runchy is offline
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You've given me a lot to think about. I guess I've been imprecise in my usage of terms; when I said "interlacing artifacts" I was referring to what I understand is called "combing". I think this and the 640x480 output might be limitations of OBS.

I gave VirtualDub a try, and it appears to be just what I've been looking for. I did a test capture from DV to AVI and it looks great. In light of your comment about the loss of colour data, I wanted to try capturing the same footage through S-Video to compare and to see if the end result looks better than it did in OBS, but I can't get it to work. When I switch the input from DV to the StarTech capture device, I see the left 1/5 of the picture repeated 5 times, with half of the horizontal lines missing. (i would include a screenshot, but I can't seem to get that to work either.) This problem might be better suited to the "Capture, Record, Transfer" section. Should I post it there?
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  #6  
12-12-2019, 07:11 PM
msgohan msgohan is offline
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Try changing from Overlay to Preview for the display if you didn't.
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  #7  
12-12-2019, 11:15 PM
homefire homefire is offline
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This got me started for my first capture: Capturing with VirtualDub [Settings Guide]
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  #8  
12-17-2019, 11:06 PM
runchy runchy is offline
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All right, I've finished capturing the first tape. Thanks for the help, everyone. I had about 30 dropped frames in 1 hour and 45 minutes of video; is this about what I should expect?

The only problem is that I'm seeing a lot of black (and sometimes) white flecks dancing across large areas of solid colour. Is this chroma noise, or something different? I understand that some VCRs have visual noise reduction features; is the JVC SR-VS30 one of them? Or is there a way to fix this after capturing to AVI?

I have attached a couple screenshots of the worst examples.


Attached Images
File Type: png noise1.png (460.0 KB, 14 downloads)
File Type: png noise2.png (408.5 KB, 13 downloads)
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  #9  
12-18-2019, 10:10 AM
msgohan msgohan is offline
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I would say that whether the dropped frames without frame TBC are expected depends on where they happen. In the middle of scenes with no apparent cause? They would be expected at the start of a new recording when the VCR is outputting a garbled signal, or during moments of vertical jitter.

Black specks: is this a TV recording or a pre-recorded retail release?
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  #10  
12-18-2019, 01:01 PM
traal traal is offline
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The red channel is blown in both images, so the colors probably aren't accurate to what's on the tape.

Both screenshots are still 640x480.

The white/black flecks seem to appear only in regions of red or orange, not in yellow or pink. If you see them even from the Firewire connection, maybe there's something in the VCR that's gone haywire, or auto tracking is turned off. If it's on, maybe try manual tracking and see if you can clear it up that way.
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  #11  
12-18-2019, 11:41 PM
runchy runchy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by msgohan View Post
I would say that whether the dropped frames without frame TBC are expected depends on where they happen. In the middle of scenes with no apparent cause? They would be expected at the start of a new recording when the VCR is outputting a garbled signal, or during moments of vertical jitter.

Black specks: is this a TV recording or a pre-recorded retail release?
These are TV recordings from the early '90s. There are recordings from different channels on the same tape, so I would guess the dropped frames are from when one recording ends and another begins.

Quote:
Originally Posted by traal View Post
Both screenshots are still 640x480.
That's just how I was viewing it in VLC at the time I took the screenshots. The video is actually 720x480.

Quote:
The white/black flecks seem to appear only in regions of red or orange, not in yellow or pink. If you see them even from the Firewire connection, maybe there's something in the VCR that's gone haywire, or auto tracking is turned off. If it's on, maybe try manual tracking and see if you can clear it up that way.
The screenshots are from the video captured over Firewire, so I thought that maybe it was just because it was an old tape and perhaps not in the best condition. I should clarify that the VCR is not mine (although I am the only one who uses it) and I don't know too much about it, but I did find the owner's manual online recently and I'm learning more about it. I do know that it has a feature called Active Video Calibration, and that it is turned on (the words "VIDEO CALIBRATION" flash on the screen whenever I start to play a tape). I don't know if that goes beyond just tracking, or if that's just JVC's fancy term for it. It's also possible that the VCR is not in the best condition.

Before I started the first capture, I tried using a dry-type head cleaning tape that I had lying around. So either it didn't work or that wasn't the problem. What is the general sentiment toward those around here?
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  #12  
12-19-2019, 09:39 AM
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jwillis84 jwillis84 is offline
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Lord Smurf mentioned why Active Video Tracking should be turned off three years ago here:
Quote:
Originally Posted by lordsmurf
For recording, this thing is horrible. It's makes the whole tape untrackable.

For playback, it rarely works. More often than not, it causes vertical (layman) jitter, because it will hit the tracking boundary.

Don't use it unless it is shown to help, which will be less than 1% of the time.
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  #13  
12-19-2019, 09:52 AM
msgohan msgohan is offline
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Do you have retail tapes with highly saturated colors to check whether you get black specks there? These ones could be part of the original TV recording.

You can seek to "Dropped Frames" in VirtualDub using SHIFT + ] to go forward or SHIFT + [ to go backward. But this will actually show you what VirtualDub's Capture mode calls Inserted Frames, i.e. frames which are duplicated.

Frames which were skipped (called Dropped Frames in Capture mode) will just be missing from the capture and there's no automated way to find them.
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