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  #1  
11-26-2018, 06:33 PM
Flipper Flipper is offline
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Hi!

I need to convert a number of old VHS tapes to digital format. The tapes are primarily old home movies. I have a chance to buy a new Toshiba D-VR7-K-TC2 VHS-DVD recorder and am wondering if this machine will be a good way to digitize the VHS tapes.

Users here are true experts and so its best to ask for advice before I go and spend a great deal of time and later learn that I've wasted my time.

I don't need the very best quality for my conversions, but I do indeed want good results.
I was not able to find much information (reviews of its digitization capacities) about this machine online and a search of this forum yielded nothing.

I'll look forward to hearing suggestions. Thanks!
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  #2  
11-26-2018, 10:04 PM
sanlyn sanlyn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flipper View Post
I don't need the very best quality for my conversions, but I do indeed want good results.
Never fear, there's no way you'll get high quality from a combo unit, especially the budget unit you mention. At best, the results will look no better than the tape and technically it will look worse. What do you consider "good" quality? Can you live with defects like a band of head-switching noise along the bottom border? Would you enjoy watching tape noise converted into digital artifacts, mosquito noise, excessive grain, and smeared details? How about chroma stains, color blotching, color bleed, blown-out highlights, and horizontal ripples and static?

The best way to answer your question is to insert a tape it into the machine, set the highest bitrate (that's one hour of video on a disk), make a recording, and watch the results. What you see will be the best you can get with that combo unit, which means you'll be able to answer your own question. There are lots of experts in this forum, but there's no expert who can tell you what you like or don't like.
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  #3  
11-26-2018, 10:55 PM
Flipper Flipper is offline
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Hi, thanks for your reply.

Given the description that you provided, it sounds like I would most certainly not be satisfied with the results. Probably the best bet will be to find a professional shop to do the conversions for me. Investing in the quality gear needed to do a good job may not be cost or time-effective.

I'll continue to watch the forum to learn. Thanks!
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  #4  
11-26-2018, 11:04 PM
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lordsmurf lordsmurf is offline
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The Digital FAQ also does conversion work, it's not just a site to talk about it.

But there are still some ways to DIY the project, it's just the the right (good!) equipment is needed. Whether you want to send the tapes here for processing, or get help with a good DIY method, we can help you.

The main questions are this:
- How many tapes?
- Do you have a budget in mind for the project -- and willingness to increase it if needed for quality?

- 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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  #5  
11-27-2018, 12:00 AM
Flipper Flipper is offline
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I will check and count the number of VHS tapes.

Most of my valuable VHS tapes were all conversions from MiniDV. Two years ago, I used a Digital8 camera to convert the MiniDV tapes to a digital format. Was this the best way to do it? Or are there better ways to squeeze out better image quality from the MiniDV tapes? If so, I might be able to approach an organization that would like to seem my research tapes preserved and request funding to do this. What types of costs are involved?

Thank you!
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  #6  
11-27-2018, 06:39 AM
sanlyn sanlyn is offline
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Not sure what you're doing here. MiniDV is already a digital format. Digital formats can't be recorded to other media without quality loss; rather, they are supposed to be copied 1:1 to digital files using Firewire and computer software designed for that purpose. If you recorded your MninDv tapes to a VCR you downgraded MiniDV from digital DV to analog VHS. Do you still have the original MiniDV tapes?
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  #7  
11-27-2018, 06:59 AM
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lordsmurf lordsmurf is offline
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Conversion from the original source is always best. In this case, the MiniDV.

However, I would note that MiniDV from consumer camcorders can adequately be captured via s-video as a lossless format. There is no quality loss to speak of in this scenario. It makes larger files than the native DV, however some NLEs/apps work better with lossless than DV.

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  #8  
11-27-2018, 04:23 PM
Flipper Flipper is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sanlyn View Post
Not sure what you're doing here. MiniDV is already a digital format. Digital formats can't be recorded to other media without quality loss; rather, they are supposed to be copied 1:1 to digital files using Firewire and computer software designed for that purpose. If you recorded your MninDv tapes to a VCR you downgraded MiniDV from digital DV to analog VHS. Do you still have the original MiniDV tapes?
Yes, very sorry. Somehow I became muddle-headed and said MiniDV. I meant to say 8mm video. Most of my prized research collection was shot on 8mm tapes. Later I bought a Digital 8 machine used its passthrough feature that to digitize and transfer the analogue 8mm video to my computer. Was this the best way of doing it?

Would I get significantly better video if I used the s-video output from my 8mm camera and captured it on my computer via a video capture card?

(Perhaps I should edit my original post to remove the mistake where I wrote MiniDV instead of 8mm)
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  #9  
11-27-2018, 08:31 PM
sanlyn sanlyn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flipper View Post
Yes, very sorry. Somehow I became muddle-headed and said MiniDV. I meant to say 8mm video. Most of my prized research collection was shot on 8mm tapes. Later I bought a Digital 8 machine used its passthrough feature that to digitize and transfer the analogue 8mm video to my computer. Was this the best way of doing it?
It depends. You didn't say which digital 8 camera. If the camera had analog pass-thru and you captured to lossless media, it would be the correct way of doing it.

If the output was digital-DV only and you captured to lossy DV or another lossy codec, you took a big quality hit, threw away 50% of your original color resolution, added digital compression artifacts to the output, and probably suffered some highlight blowout due to the analog-unfriendly DV format. If you recorded to analog VHS, you'll have generational loss and artifacts that won't go away but it's still possible to do a little cleanup if you capture the VHS to a lossless format.

But didn't you say that you recorded with that camera to VHS tape?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flipper View Post
Would I get significantly better video if I used the s-video output from my 8mm camera and captured it on my computer via a video capture card?
Most definitely, yes. And you should capture to a lossless file using VirtualDub, YUY2 color, and huffyuv or Lagarith lossless compression. Capturing with VirtualDub [Settings Guide]

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flipper View Post
(Perhaps I should edit my original post to remove the mistake where I wrote MiniDV instead of 8mm)
It's correct in the later posts, but if you want any corrections to the original post at this late stage you haven tom contact the moderator. Probably OK to leave it as-is.
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  #10  
11-27-2018, 11:12 PM
Flipper Flipper is offline
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Thanks to all for your replies.

@Sanlyn- thanks! I will check to see which camera I used and the video format I used for capturing. I captured the video 9 years ago as I was worried about the original tapes degrading. Most were filmed 1991-2002.

The camera, a Sony late-model Digital 8, was recommended to me at the time as the best option. I believe it had used a digital passthrough as connected a firewire from the camera to my computer. I used an application called Scenalyzer 4.0 and I'm quite sure I used an uncompressed format.

Once I find the camera, I'll post a section of video to examine if that might be useful.
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  #11  
11-28-2018, 06:43 AM
sanlyn sanlyn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flipper View Post
The camera, a Sony late-model Digital 8, was recommended to me at the time as the best option. I believe it had used a digital passthrough as connected a firewire from the camera to my computer. I used an application called Scenalyzer 4.0 and I'm quite sure I used an uncompressed format.
Firewire is not passthrough. Firewire and Scenalyzer are used together to transmit DV video to a DV AVI file on a PC. Using that system, your original analog tape was encoded to lossy DV and sent to your computer via Firewire and Scenalyzer software in DV format. DV is lossy, adds visible compression artifacts to analog sources, and discards 50% of your original chroma resolution. You can't make a lossless capture using that hookup.

Whoever told you that analog-to-DV was the "best option" was not correct.
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