Quantcast Upscale of PAL VHS ex-rental store tapes? - digitalFAQ Forum
  #1  
12-13-2021, 10:20 AM
Rubycon Rubycon is offline
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I need to restore two VHS tapes to use as extras on a Blu-ray release.

The original masters have been long lost. These are shot on video comedy shows, with stand up comedy and some in-studio material shot against a bright white background.

My two VHS PAL tape "masters" are ex rental from around 1982. I have had to track down several copies of each title, to try and get the least worn out.

However, getting the picture into my Mac in a useable state has been tricky. I have 4 VCR decks, but the tapes only play properly on one deck, a Sharp 6 head. I've even tried a JVC S-VHS with TBC, but they absolutely will not track in properly. I ran the Sharp VCR signal through the JVC (TBC) and into a Canopus ADVC-100. So far, not great results.

I actually managed to get better results (so far) by recording each tape direct to DVD-R via a Panasonic DVD-R recorder.

I have another three VCRs on the way to me this week from eBay. I'm hoping to get a better image from one of these, at least.

What I'm seeing on these tapes is a sort of fuzziness/noise to the right of the outlines - dark against light background is most noticeable.

I've been experimenting with the DVD rips in Hybrid, using various vapoursynth filters to clean and upscale, but I could really use some more guidance. So far I have de-interlaced (bob) with QTGMC, then sRestored to 23.976 (for Blu-ray). I've also used NNEDi3 to upscale to HD. Results are pretty good considering, aside from the right edge bleed.

I have attached an example screen shot to demonstate the right edge fuzziness.

I also have one of these ACE converters, but I have not yet tried it out on these tapes.

Thanks,


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Last edited by Rubycon; 12-13-2021 at 10:39 AM.
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  #2  
12-13-2021, 10:36 AM
latreche34 latreche34 is offline
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I find it ironic when people say 4-head VCR and 6-head VCR while in reality a VCR doesn't use more than two heads to playback a video tape. Anyway, why don't you use your DVD recorder in pass-through mode instead of recording onto the disc? So that way you can bypass the MPEG-2 harsh compression.

https://www.youtube.com/user/latoak34/videos
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  #3  
12-13-2021, 10:40 AM
Rubycon Rubycon is offline
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I will indeed try going through the Panasonic DMR-EX83 when the other VCRs arrive.
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  #4  
12-13-2021, 03:26 PM
timtape timtape is offline
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If it's only one or two tapes' material needing digitising, is there the option to pay an expert to make the transfers for you or your company? It could be cheaper in the end and give superior results.
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  #5  
12-14-2021, 03:03 AM
Rubycon Rubycon is offline
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I agree, but I am unaware of anyone offering this specialised service in the UK, and it's something I'd like to learn for myself as I'm sure to need to do this again for future projects.
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  #6  
12-14-2021, 03:58 AM
lollo2 lollo2 is online now
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Quote:
I will indeed try going through the Panasonic DMR-EX83 when the other VCRs arrive.
It seems that the JVC lineTBC is not able to fix the tapes.

As latreche34 suggested, while waiting for the other VCRs to experiment, you can disable the lineTBC of the JVC and use the Panasonic DVD-R in pass-through mode, because it features stronger correction than the JVC.

Edit: The upscale steps (QTGMC, Nnedi3) are appropriate, but you may want to consider also latest VapourSynth techniques (VSGAN, TecoGAN, realESRGAN, SwinIR, ...)

A channel on S-VHS / VHS capture and AviSynth restoration https://bit.ly/3mHWbkN

Last edited by lollo2; 12-14-2021 at 04:08 AM.
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  #7  
12-14-2021, 04:02 AM
RobustReviews RobustReviews is offline
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Drop me a PM mate - I'll see if we can do a sample for you.
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  #8  
12-14-2021, 05:45 AM
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I'm also not aware of anybody in UK that specializes in consumer analog videotape restoration. (In the 2000s, there were some folks at BBC. But no longer, not that I'm aware of.) Most are confined to certain areas in North America, and shrinking. VHS conversion was a 2000s task, not 2020s.

Ex-rentals often have some deep damage to deal with, beyond what you'd normally see. I've done very similar projects in the past, and it was always an ordeal to get restored. You can make bad transfers, and you can even make good transfers. But the real challenge is the NR, sharpening, and upscale. You can truly botch that, and sadly many do. You need Avisynth (or Vapoursynth), not Final Cut or Adobe or whatever (no NLEs).

That Ace box is worthless, will be of no help.

The ADVC-100 will add issues, avoid DV compression. The upscale will be massively fugly.

You seem to be randomly buying VCRs. What exactly are you getting? Buying from eBay is not wise, you'll just get abused junk more often than not. For example, VCRshop, by contrast, for PAL decks, is far better. Noting that a few shops, like VCRshop, do also sell on eBay, from time to time.

Certain Panasonics (ES10/ES15, few others) have strong+crippled line TBCs, but beware of luma/brightmess issues that cannot always be corrected in post.

The edge fuzziness/bleed you refer to is overscan data/noises, and that must be carefully aspect-retaining cropped. Do not leave it on the BD release, it looks bad and amateur.

Since this is for a release, I take extreme interest. My background includes studio work, before health force me to quit. So feel free to PM me (and PM will get you my email). I need to know more about the project, the titles, etc. I still have contacts, in terms of sources. And then we can look at the upscale. Getting a good capture will probably be the lesser of issues you face here.

DIY just needs a proper hardware stack. Robust here could probably also help with the capture (just get the 720x480 max lossless SD file, nothing else done). I could as well, but not UK. However, as you state, you may to do this more in the future, so let's get you setup for it. As long as you have the budget, and it appears you do, it won't be an issue. You're also lacking frame TBC, and that can matter for serious errors that many would confuse with line issues (fixed by mere line TBC).

Hint: A main item you're missing right now is either a Panasonic FS200, or HS1000, or both. It's not better than a JVC, just different. Sometimes Panasonic is better with some tapes. The inverse is also true, JVC better. Usually JVC, in fact.

Also, do not be gullible, buy into that BS software by Topaz. It's not AI, the upscalers are crap that merely oversharpen. As lollo suggested, you can look into the advanced bleeding-edge upscale methods, but expect lots of self-help to get there. It's something even I've not had much time to look too deeply at yet. Thankfully, I bet selur may add some of them to Hybrid eventually, another "easy button" for us. (FYI: If you use Hybrid, please donate to selur. I'm sure he'd be thrilled with 50€ or 100€, and the knowledge that his software helped create Blu-ray extras.)

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  #9  
12-14-2021, 05:59 AM
Rubycon Rubycon is offline
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Thanks for the feedback. What would be best, the Panasonic FS200 or HS1000? Sadly I'm stuck with eBay, there are no UK dealers (or service engineers) offering these for sale – that I'm aware of.
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  #10  
12-14-2021, 06:07 AM
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UK is fairly empty of good gear. Are you being forced to only buy from within UK? If so, to be frank, you're probably screwed. I see no valid reason why gear can't be gotten from reliable sources in Netherlands or Germany. I can, right now. So if I can get gear sent to North America without much issue (shipping is costly though), why can't you get it within Europe?

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  #11  
12-14-2021, 06:08 AM
Hushpower Hushpower is offline
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Quote:
I'm also not aware of anybody in UK that specializes in consumer analog videotape restoration.
Cop that, Robust Reviews!

Rubycon, have a read of some of Robust Reviews' posts. They know what they are talking about (I think!).
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  #12  
12-14-2021, 06:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hushpower View Post
Cop that, Robust Reviews!
Rubycon, have a read of some of Robust Reviews' posts. They know what they are talking about (I think!).
Transfer and restoration are vastly different. Just because you can do one, doesn't mean you can do both. His company does lots of transfers. Posts to date are mostly about hardware, fixing hardware, conversion, etc. All good stuff, too! But I've not seen anything to date that'd lead me to believe that he specializes in advanced restorations. That's not a slight. In fact, in that same post, I mentioned he'd probably be able to give a good transfer.

Not that it matters here ... the OP wants to DIY.

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  #13  
12-14-2021, 09:09 AM
latreche34 latreche34 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
I'm also not aware of anybody in UK that specializes in consumer analog videotape restoration.
There are actually quite few but the one I'm familiar with and we've exchanged several e-mails is Colin at Video99.co.uk, He is an old school guy still uses DV workflow but he wouldn't mind capturing lossless if he asked to.
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  #14  
12-14-2021, 04:37 PM
timtape timtape is offline
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Another vote for Colin and there are others in the UK with similar depth of knowledge right down to component level. Ive found others on equipment repair forums, many retired and very knowledgeable. Colin is also refreshingly normal and sunny. A great teacher.
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