Quantcast Vet new VHS-MP4 workflow; Hybrid stumping me? - digitalFAQ Forum
  #1  
10-19-2020, 02:12 PM
cygnals cygnals is offline
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Hey, gang.

I've been ramping up my VHS capture workflow in anticipation of hundreds of new captures in the coming weeks and months. I went on a bit of a buying spree after years of using consumer VCRs, a TBC and capture solutions through the years ranging from the AIW9800 to the Hauppauge HD-PVR 1212.

My current input stack:
  • Furman power conditioner
  • AG-1970 x2 - among the "good" decks recommended by Those Who Know
  • Sharp VC-H998 - old standby consumer deck
  • Sony SVO-1630 - industrial deck which may have strength in EP/SLP
  • MD830 SVHS deck - SP-only, has a TBC. Pawn shop gamble, haven't tried it yet
  • Datavideo TBC-1000
  • Startech USB3HDCAP - saw good things about it here

Now, my first venture into capturing uncompressed video in a long, long time. I went with Virtualdub2, got all the drivers geared up, and managed to capture a tape to HuffYUV at 720x480. It's from the late 80s but appears to be first- or second-generation, and captured beautifully. I watched the histogram and didn't see clipping, but there was definitely signal being recorded below 16 and above 235, so I expected to have to adjust that from PC to TV levels later.

After reading lordsmurf's praise of Hybrid, I grabbed that, and was excited to finally have a full front-end to Avisynth stuff, which has always been an area that I've been reluctant to dive into.

My goal, as it seems to be with some others who've posted here recently, is to output a x264 progressive ~60fps file for viewing online, on phones, and so on. I'm well aware of the "keep interlaced as interlaced" sentiment in the community, and I intend to make a separate interlaced file for archival and future purposes. Right now I'm trying to nail down the easy peasy delivery format.

And Hybrid, bless its ffmpeg heart, is making me crazy.

I'm on my eighth iteration of trying to get what I suspect I want, and please tell me if parts of this are bonkers:
  • MP4 container
  • h264 video, progressive 59.94 (or 29.97 if you can convince me I'm not perverting the originals by 'throwing away data')
  • deinterlacing via QTGMC, or yadif if necessary, using Bob
  • captured 720x480, output 640x480 -- or do I need to resize at all?
  • not cropping or masking the borders -- the overscan capture on this one isn't distracting
  • a light pass of denoising -- I'm open to recommendations as I'm not loyal to any algorithm there
  • audio captured at 48k PCM, leaving it stereo despite it likely being dual mono, compressing to AAC 160kbps

Here's where I'm getting stuck.

Hybrid is analyzing my capture as progressive. I can see with my eyes that it's interlaced. So, I've tried assorted checkbox and value change adjustments to tell Hybrid to ignore its better judgment and treat this as interlaced. I've tried top field first and bottom field first - neither yields acceptable video. Perhaps I'm misreading what the many options do, but I've done what my brain thinks SHOULD work, and it's not, so I'm asking for help.

Ordinarily I'd handle most of this in Vegas, as I've used that NLE for a decade or more. But I've not been able to load the HuffYUV files into Vegas, despite the usual suspects (VLC, MPCHC, Virtualdub) having no problem with them. So here I am.

Thoughts, gang?
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  #2  
12-02-2020, 08:05 AM
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lordsmurf lordsmurf is offline
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Replying as I read...

Quote:
Originally Posted by cygnals View Post
and capture solutions through the years ranging from the AIW9800 to the Hauppauge HD-PVR 1212.
That AIW was one of the best cards, that Hauppauge not so much.

Quote:
Furman power conditioner
UPS more useful, with AVR.

Quote:
AG-1970 x2 - among the "good" decks recommended by Those Who Know
It can be. The 1970 is noisier than the 1980, both are noisier than JVCs.

Quote:
Sharp VC-H998 - old standby consumer deck
Meh. Sharps are probably some of the better consumer decks, but you must pair it with the ES10/15 to give it line TBC(ish) function.

Quote:
Sony SVO-1630 - industrial deck which may have strength in EP/SLP
MD830 SVHS deck - SP-only, has a TBC. Pawn shop gamble, haven't tried it yet
Neither are suggested.

Quote:
Datavideo TBC-1000
Should be excellent, when functioning correctly.

Quote:
Startech USB3HDCAP - saw good things about it here
Not from me. This is one of those crappy gamer capture cards that usually does quite poorly at SD VHS video.

Now, my first venture into capturing uncompressed video in a long, long time.
Quote:
I went with Virtualdub2,
Use VirtualDub 1.9.x in most cases.
Sometimes, rarely, 1.10.x or the FilterMod (pre-2 version).
VirtualDub2 is terrible at capturing.

Quote:
. I watched the histogram and didn't see clipping, but there was definitely signal being recorded below 16 and above 235, so I expected to have to adjust that from PC to TV levels later.
These are illegal values, technically. Blacker than black, whiter than white. The AIW can capture those values, while most cards clip. Clipping isn't bad or wrong, it just is. But if you must restore video, AIW has an advantage here.

Quote:
I'm well aware of the "keep interlaced as interlaced" sentiment in the community, and I intend to make a separate interlaced file for archival and future purposes. Right now I'm trying to nail down the easy peasy delivery format.
Excellent, one version for archive, another for processed delivery (deinterlaced, compressed, etc).

Quote:
And Hybrid, bless its ffmpeg heart, is making me crazy.
I'm on my eighth iteration of trying to get what I suspect I want, and please tell me if parts of this are bonkers:
MP4 container
I prefer MKV, but MP4 fine. (Reason being that web browsers want to stream MP4, and we do not want to upload samples to others in that manner. With MKV, they are forced to download, and watch on computer.)

Quote:
h264 video, progressive 59.94 (or 29.97 if you can convince me I'm not perverting the originals by 'throwing away data')
59.94 and 29.97 both have their place. While 29.97 is not really throwing away data whatsoever, I do err on the side of 59.94 more and more myself.

29.97i is 720x240 alternating data. To create 59.94p at 720x480, new data must be created. 29.97p does discard some motion data, it's realistically about 25%. But while 59.94 retains all motion data, artifacts are created, and the file bloats. There's no correct answer, and must be case-by-case. 59.94 can having nasty side effects on home movies. (The same is true of 25/50 for PAL frame rates)

Quote:
deinterlacing via QTGMC, or yadif if necessary, using Bob
Yaid is rarely needed.
Do not use the QTGMC slower preset. Use faster. Slower blurs, takes needless longer to process.

Quote:
captured 720x480, output 640x480 -- or do I need to resize at all?
Depend on usage. Assuming H.264, it's safer to use 1:1 AR, so either 720x540 or 640x480 (with the latter usually being better. 640x480)

Quote:
not cropping or masking the borders -- the overscan capture on this one isn't distracting
Distraction isn't the only reason. Bitrate allocation is as well. Mask noise (cover in black). Never crop.

Quote:
a light pass of denoising -- I'm open to recommendations as I'm not loyal to any algorithm there
It fully depends on the source file issues, there is no one-size-fits-all filter for NR.

Quote:
audio captured at 48k PCM, leaving it stereo despite it likely being dual mono, compressing to AAC 160kbps
Perfect. AAC 160 stereo 48kHz is my choice as well.

Quote:
Hybrid is analyzing my capture as progressive.
The AVI container has no interlace flags. You set it, likely to TFF.
Filtering tab > Deinterlace > Override* > TFF

* Currently says "overwrite", but that's no correct, need to submit a bugfix to selur here.

Quote:
I can see with my eyes that it's interlaced. So, I've tried assorted checkbox and value change adjustments to tell Hybrid to ignore its better judgment and treat this as interlaced. I've tried top field first and bottom field first - neither yields acceptable video. Perhaps I'm misreading what the many options do, but I've done what my brain thinks SHOULD work, and it's not, so I'm asking for help.
I'd need to see a sample.

Quote:
Ordinarily I'd handle most of this in Vegas, as I've used that NLE for a decade or more. But I've not been able to load the HuffYUV files into Vegas, despite the usual suspects (VLC, MPCHC, Virtualdub) having no problem with them. So here I am.
Vegas, and other NLEs, are good at editing and color correction, but pitiful at NR and deinterlace.

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  #3  
12-02-2020, 08:44 AM
cygnals cygnals is offline
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Thanks for the reply!

Quote:
Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
Replying as I read...
That AIW was one of the best cards, that Hauppauge not so much.
I've still got the AIW. And a fleet of Hauppauge mpeg2 cards, the 250, the 150, etc. Not sure what to do with them. Someone might want them.

Quote:
UPS more useful, with AVR.
I suppose so. My aim was to just filter noise from the line, as I've got a bathroom fan timer somewhere in the house that causes audio interference in my other studio....figured it was likely to cause me grief on the video capture side, eventually.

Quote:
Neither are suggested.
Of course. I grabbed one before I knew better. Grabbed the other in a buying spree.

Quote:
Not from me. This is one of those crappy gamer capture cards that usually does quite poorly at SD VHS video.
Yes, it was others. I've got nothing bad to say about Startech.

Quote:
Now, my first venture into capturing uncompressed video in a long, long time.
Use VirtualDub 1.9.x in most cases.
Sometimes, rarely, 1.10.x or the FilterMod (pre-2 version).
VirtualDub2 is terrible at capturing.
Any details on the nature of the terribleness? I've seen you say this many times, but I've not seen what makes it unsuitable.

I'm still kind of jumpy when it comes to capturing video. When I started years ago with the AIW, we had to get RAIDs set up to accommodate the data flow, turn off everything in Windows except for the capture program, make sure the screen saver was disabled, and avoid even wiggling the mouse. I'm scared right now, writing this reply on the same machine that's capturing.

Quote:
These are illegal values, technically. Blacker than black, whiter than white. The AIW can capture those values, while most cards clip. Clipping isn't bad or wrong, it just is. But if you must restore video, AIW has an advantage here.
I might be showing an RGB-centric bias, but I've assumed that if the capture is getting 0-255 and I use the histogram to ensure that the video is hitting the card at 16-235, then I've bought myself some headroom to make some corrections if there ends up being signal I want in 0-16 and 236-255. But in the past few weeks, I've grown fearful of colorspace conversions eating my blacks and highlights. So far, so good though. My final outputs aren't crushed or blown out, so I'm feeling good about that.

Quote:
Do not use the QTGMC slower preset. Use faster. Slower blurs, takes needless longer to process.

Depend on usage. Assuming H.264, it's safer to use 1:1 AR, so either 720x540 or 640x480 (with the latter usually being better. 640x480)

Distraction isn't the only reason. Bitrate allocation is as well. Mask noise (cover in black). Never crop.
I've re-read a crap-ton of your posts (and others, of course) in the past month and got the message about QTMGC faster. I'd always believed that the slowest presets that can be tolerated will give the best results, but you've convinced me otherwise.

The resizing. Hmm. I'd LIKE to deliver 640x480 but haven't been able to pin down which combination of settings in Hybrid actually gives me a correct aspect ratio on output. Perhaps I need to override the default PAR/DAR settings, but whatever resize method I've tried in the final step has been off enough to be distracting. So, for the current batch, I'm trimming to 704x480 on the way to final compression.

Quote:
Vegas, and other NLEs, are good at editing and color correction, but pitiful at NR and deinterlace.
I love Vegas, but the deinterlacing is what's forced me to dive in to Hard Mode. Neat Video serves my noise reduction needs, though it feels like using bleach and muriatic acid where dish detergent is called for.

Other loose ends ... I don't remember when I picked up the TBC-1000, but it had to have been in the 1990s. It works just great, all but one of the outputs IIRC. I've always had a hard time trusting a black box with no knobs, buttons or switches.

With the leaps in technology we've seen in the past 20 years, and the current ease of crafting custom parts and projects, I'd be delighted if someone somewhere would design a basic TBC and proc amp with a little screen in it so we could make wfm/histogram/vectorscope adjustments. Or get ballsy and put a DSP chip in there with hardware versions of QTGMC etc. Yeah, it'd be a very niche thing and would be a short production run, only of interest to a few. But if it were good, wouldn't you buy a case of them?
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  #4  
12-29-2020, 11:45 AM
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lordsmurf lordsmurf is offline
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VirtualDub2 is very different capture interface, approaches drivers differently. It's more glitchy, more unstable, causes dropped frames at times. It can sometimes make cards work, that had previously NOT worked in VirtualDub 1.9/10/FM. But it's not overall best. 1.9.x is best, then FM (pre-2), and 2 is last. Even 1.5 can be more stable that 2 at times. 2 was not intended for capture, but better input/output (codecs). The dev did work on capture years later, but it's still beta quality.

You can reorder Hybrid filters. I often just write an Avisynth script manually, and load the .avs in Hybrid.

NeatVideo is a hatchet job, Avisynth is a scalpel. It was good 15 years ago, not so much now.

The problem with making TBCs is an utter lack of chips to do it. That's why Cypress and DataVideo exited the TBC markets, no more supply of chips, and unwilling to do new R&D with the sparse chips available.

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