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  #1  
09-05-2020, 06:49 PM
SoCalBoy SoCalBoy is offline
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My VCR and MiniDV camcorder broke.

When I went to play a VHS tape I could hear the audio for a half second and see a frame but then it went back to blue. The menus still work on the player but I think it's finally time to invest in a new VCR.

My MiniDV Canon camcorder wasn't opening for the longest time but at last I got it to accept tapes only to discover grey lines both on the viewfinder and the TV when connected to the TV. This occurred on multiple MiniDV tapes.

I think I need a new MiniDV player or camcorder as I think even if I was to miraculously find a PC with a FireWire port or borrow someone's Mac and buy the FireWire to Thunderbolt adapter the lines would still show up as it's the camcorder that's causing the playback distortion.

I was about to purchase one of the suggested SVHS players with TBC on eBay when I came across the Sony DVCam deck players. I know they play MiniDV tapes (although I never had a Sony camera), but will they also play my VHS-C tapes? I only discovered the deck players because I was looking for VHS players on Craigslist and found a guy offering $10 conversions on any MiniDV or VHS-C tape to digital where he showed a picture of his Sony DVCAM deck player.

I'm pretty sure I can find an old MiniDV camcorder on eBay pretty cheap for when I eventually start converting those. I was planning on just connecting the AV cables to the new VCR I'm buying. So it'll be like:

VHS-C - VHS-C Cassette adapter - SVHS player with built-in TBC ($$$) - S-video Hauppauge 610 - Windows 10 - OBS software (probably)

MiniDV tape- new camcorder($) - AV cable - SVHS player with built-in TBC - S-video Hauppauge 610 - Windows 10

Not sure if I really need a ES10S DVD recorder so I'm skipping that for now.

Will a MiniDV deck player work better than using a VCR with built-in TBC? Do they also play VHS-C tapes?
Because otherwise my setup could be:

VHS-C or MiniDV - Deck player - S-video Hauppauge 610 - Windows 10
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  #2  
09-05-2020, 07:03 PM
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lordsmurf lordsmurf is offline
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The VCR may be clogged heads. What model/brand VCR is it?
It may not be worth wasting time on anyway. And it sounds as if you've already upgraded to a S-VHS+TBC deck anyway? (Though coming from eBay, hopefully it actually works correctly -- most do not, not even the so-called "working" and "tested" decks.)

MiniDV decks are actually often worse than a good MiniDV camera.
- JVC had design flaws, and the units ate tapes.
- Many of these units tend to be abused from overuse and no maintenance.

Guys/gals on Craigslist with $10 tape conversions are NOT services you should get anywhere near. Those sorts of folks generally see video as a "side hustle", and know very little about video -- sometimes less than you would! Quality, or lack thereof, will show.

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  #3  
09-05-2020, 07:26 PM
SoCalBoy SoCalBoy is offline
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I wasn't planning on buying the TBC-1000 since all the VHS players I've been looking at seem to have built-in TBC.

So it sounds like it'll probably be best to buy a fancy VHS player and a new camcorder and skip the decks.

So far I've just ordered the Hauppauge 610. I'll probably borrow someone's terrible VHS player just to see how much better this capture card is compared to the terrible Diamond VC500 I had before. I haven't seen anyone selling VHS players lately on here so eBay is kinda the only option.
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  #4  
09-05-2020, 08:12 PM
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lordsmurf lordsmurf is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SoCalBoy View Post
I wasn't planning on buying the TBC-1000 since all the VHS players I've been looking at seem to have built-in TBC.
Built-in TBCs are line TBC. TBC-1000 is frame TBC.
Line cleans the image. Frame cleans the signal.
You need both.

Quote:
So it sounds like it'll probably be best to buy a fancy VHS player and a new camcorder and skip the decks.
I wouldn't call a quality VCR "fancy". It's just that most VCRs are "barebones". The main difference in a pro deck is better build quality, thus more stable transports. And then many models have added TBCs, maybe a DNR setting. The "fancy" VCRs are the pro editing decks from hospitals/etc, and you don't want to go anywhere near those.

Quote:
So far I've just ordered the Hauppauge 610. I'll probably borrow someone's terrible VHS player just to see how much better this capture card is compared to the terrible Diamond VC500 I had before.
When the input is lousy, it's often hard to see differences between good and bad cards. The entire capture experience is miserable, and low quality.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SoCalBoy View Post
I haven't seen anyone selling VHS players lately on here so eBay is kinda the only option.
I actually have a few right now, just haven't had time to list in the marketplace yet.

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  #5  
09-06-2020, 08:39 AM
hodgey hodgey is offline
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A DVCAM VCR won't play VHS tapes, they are completely different formats. (Techically sony actually made some DV/VHS combo decks that were released in Japan but I doubt you would find many of those elsewhere, and JVC made some with both miniDV and VHS, but they're essentially 2 VCRs in one.)

I wouldn't expect the hauppauge to be very different from the VC500 quality-wise, they use nearly the same hardware. The driver settings may be a little different though so maybe it works slightly better. The VC500 and other card with similar chips are very bad at dealing with the raw output directly from a VCR, though the image quality of the chips used is decent if capturing from the output passed through a TBC or ES10 (or other DVR).
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  #6  
09-06-2020, 01:57 PM
BW37 BW37 is offline
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For the DV camcorder, I would try to clear/clean the heads on it before giving up on it.

I've bought a few DV camcorders on eBay with mixed results. But even a couple of the good ones looked bad (like dirty heads or more) until I ran a throw away tape through them a couple times. Then the image magically cleared up. I'm not sure why this happens. Maybe long dis-use causes some kind of build-up on the heads.

So first, I'd run a (good but unimportant) tape through it a couple times in play and forward and reverse scan. If that doesn't clear up the image then use a DV head cleaning tape. These are abrasive so always use sparingly and per the directions. While cleaning tapes are not recommended on VHS heads, trying to clean the heads manually on a DV camcorder is going to be very tough due the the tiny components and often limited access to the heads.

My

BW
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  #7  
09-07-2020, 01:57 AM
latreche34 latreche34 is offline
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DV is digital and must be transferred to computer using a firewire card and firewire cable. converting it to analog and back to digital is not a smart way of doing it.
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  #8  
09-08-2020, 05:19 PM
SoCalBoy SoCalBoy is offline
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None of my computers have firewire ports. I tried playing the camcorder, recording a bit, but now none of the tapes play anything. I've lost the grey bars and now it's just blue screen. It's a Canon MiniDV camcorder. Guess I'm in the market for a new camcorder. I read on here about the Optura camcorder that uses a USB cable so that would be ideal since apparently the JVC MiniDV VHS combo players eat the miniDV tapes.
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  #9  
09-08-2020, 07:51 PM
BW37 BW37 is offline
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The Canon USB driver for those few models that support USB transfer are for WIN XP 32bit. It's possible they'd work in a later 32bit OS, but I wouldn't count on it. The USB driver creates a Directshow device for the camera so things like VirtualDub can use it. It then allows transfer of the DV information to a .avi file. It doesn't allow any control of the transfer (no histogram or process amp controls or anything) so it's functionally identical to a firewire transfer.

As far as firewire transfers go, if your PC has a PCI slot available, you can install a firewire card that will probably work even in Win10, at least version 1909. Look for a Dell/Adaptec card with the LSI chip. They seem to be the most compatible.

BW
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  #10  
09-08-2020, 11:03 PM
latreche34 latreche34 is offline
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I could be wrong but as far as I can remember USB port in DV camcorders was initially used for transferring still pictures taken by the camcorder photo button and later on was used as a webcam port, I've never heard or read about a specific camcorder model that routed DV data over USB.
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  #11  
09-09-2020, 10:21 AM
hodgey hodgey is offline
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There are some that can stream video over USB as well, though I'm not sure if it gives raw DV stream or downsized and compressed video.

EDIT: E.g this states:
Quote:
– i.LINK cableThis method is good for copying video and sound recorded on a tape. Image data is transferred in more clarity than with a USB cable
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  #12  
09-09-2020, 11:56 AM
BW37 BW37 is offline
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I did some more digging to confirm that some Canon DV camcorders (3 I know of, one of which I have and have tried) can in fact transfer the full DV stream via USB or not. The post by dpalomaki here had me concerned I was wrong here and in my post just above his.

I rechecked the DV files I'd transferred via USB from my Optura 600 and MediaInfo says they are full 720x480, 24.4 Mb/s files: MediaInfo.jpg

Playing them they appear full resolution as well.

The 600 manual seems to indicate that either USB or firewire can be used to transfer from tape to computer (which I can confirm does work) and does not warn of a quality difference.

I also tried to confirm the max data rate of USB 2.0 and found this discussion

I'll try to upload a portion of an actual video file but won't have time for a while.

All that said, unless it fails me, I will use my Canon Elura 85 with firewire to do my DV transfers if for no other reason than that I can do this in Windows 10 directly on my main PC rather than having to transfer the transfers using an external disk.

BW


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  #13  
09-09-2020, 12:22 PM
latreche34 latreche34 is offline
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Good to know, I know Pinnacle made such adapters that can route DV data via a USB port I don't see why that cannot be implemented within the camcorder itself, Thanks for sharing.
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