Quantcast How to improve VHS to DVD conversion? - digitalFAQ Forum
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03-06-2019, 01:58 PM
jbur jbur is offline
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I have been trying to convert some VHS tapes that were made back in the 80's using a Magnavox camcorder. I captured the tapes using VirtualDub, the composite output of my VCR, and the Diamond VC500 USB converter. I used the following settings in VirtualDub (NTSC-M, 29.97 fps, 720x480) with utvideo lossless compression.

I then modified the captured file with the following filters:
1. resize (Precise bicubic (A=-0.75))
2. camcorder color denoise 1.6MT (level-30,threads-4)
3. red/green/blue/sat/contrast (0.0)

The result was better but watching the VHS tape itself on the TV still looked better. I have attached a small clip of the captured file using direct stream copy both before and after the above filters were added. You can see the horizontal lines at times on the edges of her shirt come and go causing a fuzzy appearance to the video. Are there any filters out there that could help with this situation? I didn't want to go crazy with all sorts of filters that may degrade other areas of the video. Also, as I mentioned earlier I used the VCR composite output to capture the video. Do you think that using a VCR with an S-video output could help with this considering that the initial video was recorded using an 80's style camcorder?


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File Type: avi clip1.avi (31.13 MB, 8 downloads)
File Type: avi clip2 filtered.avi (29.74 MB, 3 downloads)
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  #2  
03-07-2019, 01:44 AM
sanlyn sanlyn is offline
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Thanks for the sample, but there's no way to improve an improper capture with so many basic mistakes. To begin, it has severe and obvious scanline timing errors that can be corrected only at capture time with a line-level tbc. The geometric distortion should be evident in the cropped 2X blowup of the upper right-hand portion of the frames. In the image below note the warped shape of the window frame and the "wiggles" in the vertical pipe at the left.




The attached mp4 video is the same frame area enlarged 2X, running at 8fps to show the "wiggles" and horizontal jitter of objects in the frame.

And you have illegal luma levels that far exceed even y=255, as well as dot crawl from using composite input with no y/c comb filter. VHS audio is usually captured at 48KHz, not 44.1 KHZ -- nothing wrong with that, but is there a specific reason why you chose that lower sampling rate? If you want DVD or BluRay for final output you have to resample at 48KHz. Also wonder why you're using ut video codec, which is optimized for HD digital source and is relatively inefficient for analog source capture.

If you want improvement I suggest that you spend more time studying basic capture and filter principles in the many threads that discuss these issues in the capture and restoration forums.


Attached Images
File Type: jpg scanlne timing distortion.jpg (31.0 KB, 49 downloads)
Attached Files
File Type: mp4 clip1_2X_Crop_8fps.mp4 (2.47 MB, 6 downloads)

Last edited by sanlyn; 03-07-2019 at 02:31 AM.
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03-07-2019, 01:46 PM
jbur jbur is offline
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Thanks Sanlyn for the analysis and suggestions.
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03-07-2019, 10:07 PM
sanlyn sanlyn is offline
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Good luck. Once you get a handle on better gear and capture methods, you'll be much happier with the results. Thank you again for posting the sample properly.
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03-10-2019, 01:44 PM
jbur jbur is offline
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Since I do not have the means to get the expensive equipment such as a TBC unit I was able to borrow a combo unit (Toshiba DVR670) to try the conversion. I realize that this is not the best method but I think it is better than what I had done previously. I converted the created DVD into an MPG file using the DVDVob2MPG program and then used VirtualDub to save the MPG file as an AVI with huffyuv compression. I had used utvideo compression previously because it resulted in the smallest file size compared to huffyuv or logarith. I have attached a clip using this method with no filtering. I believe this is a good starting point to start filtering and then creating a new DVD.


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File Type: avi Clip huffyuv.avi (50.49 MB, 5 downloads)
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03-10-2019, 02:35 PM
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lordsmurf lordsmurf is offline
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The camera movement on that clip is so erratic that I can't tell much of anything.

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03-10-2019, 03:28 PM
hodgey hodgey is offline
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The new clip does look less wiggly and the colour is less noisy. You may be able to get a similar result, but without having to go through a DVD and having the side-effects mpeg compression introduces by capturing from the S-Video output on the combo unit.
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03-10-2019, 03:55 PM
jbur jbur is offline
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Hodgey, I will be getting an S-Video cable next week and will that as well but I thought that without having a TBC device the DVD method would be the best. We'll see if third times the charm.
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03-10-2019, 06:14 PM
sanlyn sanlyn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbur View Post
Since I do not have the means to get the expensive equipment such as a TBC unit I was able to borrow a combo unit (Toshiba DVR670) to try the conversion. I realize that this is not the best method but I think it is better than what I had done previously. I converted the created DVD into an MPG file using the DVDVob2MPG program and then used VirtualDub to save the MPG file as an AVI with huffyuv compression. I had used utvideo compression previously because it resulted in the smallest file size compared to huffyuv or logarith. I have attached a clip using this method with no filtering. I believe this is a good starting point to start filtering and then creating a new DVD.
That's not a quality capture. It's minus the former scanlne errors but there's severe color and detail loss, not to mention lossy compression problems. Not only are DVD/combo's "not the best method", they're among the worst methods for playing and capturing vhs. You also have the typical blown-out unrecoverable detail loss of lack of input level controls. Then you took the 50% chroma loss from the initial encoding to MPEG and compounded it somewhat with an unnecessary conversion from YV12 to RGB with Huffyuv, which can't compress YV12.

So, yeah, it looks "better", but it's still a pretty poor capture. You can struggle with it if you want, but it's now simply a case of better looking garbage than the garbage you had before. But it's a long way from the lossless capture you could have had by using the DVD/VHS as a tbc pass-thru device for lossless capture -- assuming that the unit could be used as pass-thru, which is sometimes possible with these products.

I realize you're doing what you can and you deserve credit for that. But let's not kid around. That's a poor capture with many typical errors. You can salvage only so much from it, which won't be a lot, and you can very easily make it worse until you find out what you're doing. Take note that what's been lost so far can't be recovered, and most of the errors can't be repaired. Right now, except perhaps for some color correction, it's as good as it will ever get. You can try denoisers, but considering that you're original is lossy to begin with you'll reduce noise only at considerable cost in other properties. Your next encoding to a final format well entail visibly more quality loss and another 50% deficit of the chroma density you're working with now.

We're getting more and more to the conditions out there in the digital video world where people are making unrecommended compromises to the point where they believe that if they have an image that moves and makes sounds, it's a "good' capture. It isn't. It's just a capture, period. Let's get real: It demonstrates what happens when the wrong gear and the wrong methods produce limited and poor results.

You will have to limit your expectations and do the best you can with what you have.

Last edited by sanlyn; 03-10-2019 at 06:25 PM.
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03-11-2019, 07:33 PM
jbur jbur is offline
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Thanks again for the comments. I guess that I will need to be satisfied with the best effort I can make with the equipment I have.
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03-11-2019, 07:40 PM
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I'm not anti-MPEG/DVD, but proper YUY2/YV12 color conversion is a must in VirtualDub, don't open colorspace as RGB. I think the color quality lost was from that.

What model/brand DVD recorder is this?

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03-12-2019, 03:14 PM
jbur jbur is offline
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As I mentioned in my previous post the Combo unit I borrowed is a Toshiba DVR670. When I get the S-Video cable this week I am going to try capturing VHS from this unit via S-Video in VirtualDub to see the differences between this capture and the VHS2DVD created internally by this same unit and go from there. Eventually I want to make some improvements (if possible) and some edits and then create a new DVD.
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Yesterday, 10:43 PM
ehbowen ehbowen is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
I'm not anti-MPEG/DVD, but proper YUY2/YV12 color conversion is a must in VirtualDub, don't open colorspace as RGB. I think the color quality lost was from that.

What model/brand DVD recorder is this?
What are your views on using RGB if that is the native colorspace of your device? My film scanner captures 8mm and Super 8 film as 32 bit RGBA image sequences.
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Yesterday, 10:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ehbowen View Post
What are your views on using RGB if that is the native colorspace of your device? My film scanner captures 8mm and Super 8 film as 32 bit RGBA image sequences.
At some point, you may have to convert to YUV. But if the goal is to always stay online, ie streaming, then it may not matter to stay RGB throughout.

Not that it'll make a big difference, as the color off home-shot 8mm/Super8 films is rarely high quality. You're going to spend a lot of time color correcting, and the colorspace isn't the top concern. Just pick one, and correct after selecting. Don't change it again, if avoidable.

I've never been a colorspace purist, either. Video is a menu of variables, few constants. Colorspace isn't a constant.

I really am a video pragmatist. I seek quality, but have no use for dogma.

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