Quantcast Hardware for a PAL VHS project? - digitalFAQ Forum
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09-16-2020, 09:17 AM
archivarious archivarious is offline
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Dear forum members,

This is for a project on digitizing VHS tapes.
The last two weeks I've been researching on this forum. This time spent was while I was at my job, home at night: all the time I could. Very informative and enjoyable, and giving me a clear direction for the first time in years
A little over a week ago I've made an account, thanking specific posts that answered my questions.

At the moment I have 5 PAL VHS tapes and one NTSC VHS tape from a pupil of my grandfather, with their dance performances. I also have two DVDs with two of the tapes on it, to compare to my own upcoming captures.

I'm using this project to learn on how to digitize properly, and use this knowledge to extend it to:

VHS
1. the VHS collection of my grandfather of pre-1950s cinema (this consists of a wall full of videotapes, recorded or bought in the 90s and early 2000s. I fondly remember his search for tapes in "mint" condition. Currently in storage facility.

2. the VHS collection of a local volunteer-run cinema, for the past 30 years collecting dust (and what else?) in a smoky office room.

miniDV
3. The miniDV tapes of family members and my own "short films" as a teenager

Audio cassettes
4. Record and upload all audio cassette tapes of grandparents for family members to listen to.

5. Retro gaming capturing

Below is my setup. Any thoughts? I read the recommended VCR and capture cards. So far I've collected the below items. If possible, I'd like to start and use mainly Windows 7 on a Lenovo i5 3th generation X230. Underneath there are also semi-affordable alternatives I could get. My budget is low, but over the years I've been able to slowly prepare for this project and learn a lot more in the past two weeks than in previous times.

Current, items bought second-hand 2013-2020

JVC-HRs5970 with remote - 120 EUR
Philips VR1100 with remote - 115 EUR
I-O Data GV-USB2 - 75 EUR
Monster s-video to s-video cable - 15 EUR
Monster s-video to scart cable (one direction) - 15 EUR
Vivanco gold-coated scart to scart cable - 0 EUR
Unbranded gold-coated scart to s-video cables - 10 EUR

Available OS

Windows 7

Planning to use software and settings

Virtualdub with suggested settings on the forum, lossless capture

Optional buys, second-hand

Compro Videomate U900 (USB 2 0)
Hauppauge WinTV HVR-1100
Philips VR-1600
Canopus ADVC-110
Panasonic AG-7150

Optional actions

Check VCR tapes for mold through the transparent part of the plastic, do not use if moldy

Clean VCR recorders with non-cotton swabs and 96% alcohol

Alternative OS and capture card I have available in-house

MacOS 10.14 Mojave
Linux Mint
Miglia TV Max+ with an older EyeTV (I don't think that software can do losless)
A Funai DVD/VCR combo with scart output for VHS

Optional learning to do

Avisynth video restoration scripting

Recently missed objects - sold to someone else at a thrift store/ebay before I could go home to get my payment card.

DMR-ES35V
ATI Wonder 600 USB

Last edited by archivarious; 09-16-2020 at 09:24 AM. Reason: Formatting and text added
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  #2  
09-16-2020, 02:56 PM
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lordsmurf lordsmurf is offline
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That's a lot random gear.

Quote:
Philips VR1100 with remote - 115 EUR
Model should be fine, hopefully exact unit is as well. That's a low price, so you always have to wonder what's wrong with it.

Quote:
JVC-HRs5970 with remote - 120 EUR
For capture, won't really help. Good as backup utility VCR, for preview, REW, etc. But probably not capturing. Only exception is if paired with ES10/15, but realize you get negatives/drawbacks of the ES10/15.

Quote:
I-O Data GV-USB2 - 75 EUR
Compro Videomate U900 (USB 2 0)
Hauppauge WinTV HVR-1100
Canopus ADVC-110
MacOS 10.14 Mojave
Linux Mint
Miglia TV Max+ with an older EyeTV (I don't think that software can do losless)
A Funai DVD/VCR combo with scart output for VHS
Not good, or not useful, or both.

Quote:
Monster s-video to s-video cable - 15 EUR
Monster s-video to scart cable (one direction) - 15 EUR
Vivanco gold-coated scart to scart cable - 0 EUR
Unbranded gold-coated scart to s-video cables - 10 EUR
Most s-video cables are decent quality. Ironically, it's stuff like Monster that is the worst. The usual problem is head quality. Gold makes pretty jewelry, but really does not matter for the video/audio carriage. You need a good head that doesn't grip too tight, nor fall out. Cables shielding is good, but it doesn't take much, and a lot of "thick cables" just have excess rubber goo sheething.

Quote:
Windows 7
Virtualdub with suggested settings on the forum, lossless capture
Good.

Quote:
Philips VR-1600
Panasonic AG-7150
I don't remember models off-hand. Do these have line/field TBCs?
If not, then blah.
If so, then research mode in forum.

Quote:
Check VCR tapes for mold through the transparent part of the plastic, do not use if moldy
Always.

Quote:
Clean VCR recorders with non-cotton swabs and 96% alcohol
I'm finding that more and more swabs are getting bad. I'm seeing "head cleaning"/foam swabs switch to open-cell foam, which is bad. Chamois quality lowering and raggedy. dSLR sensors swabs now have several kinds, all expensive, and the oldest best ones harder to come by. I've therefore swapped to paper, and (mostly) adopting TGrant's cleaning method. I need to make a guide on this.

Quote:
Optional learning to do
Avisynth video restoration scripting
It's never-ending learning, always situation based. I know a lot, but I'm constantly learning. It's really a crowdsource effort, both for development and usage (and usage needs spurn yet more development). I want to make guides sharing what I know, but just no time yet.

Quote:
DMR-ES35V
ATI Wonder 600 USB
I've still not seen where that Panasonic is good (not ES10/15 type), but the ATI 600 USB was a missed opportunity.

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  #3  
09-16-2020, 05:05 PM
archivarious archivarious is offline
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Thanks for the in-depth response. Very useful, learning hard and fast.
Yes, a shame about the ATI 600 USB.

Would these be good alternatives for a 600 USB?

- ATI TV WONDER USB HD 650
- ATI TV Wonder HD 600 Hybrid Tuner (PCI express)

I'll check the status of my VR-1100, and the specs for the other 2 models mentioned.
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09-16-2020, 06:00 PM
hodgey hodgey is offline
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Philips VR1600 is very similar to the VR1100, same base just with some extra editing functions.
Panasonic AG7150 is playback only version of AG7350, nice image quality, but SP only and no TBC, so you would want to use it with a Panasonic or other DVR with TBC capability.
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  #5  
09-16-2020, 06:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by archivarious View Post
Would these be good alternatives for a 600 USB?
- ATI TV WONDER USB HD 650
- ATI TV Wonder HD 600 Hybrid Tuner (PCI express)
No.

650 has AGC issues.
600 PCI entirely different card, also not good.

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09-17-2020, 04:41 AM
archivarious archivarious is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
That's a lot random gear.
Oh yes

Quote:
Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
For capture, won't really help. Good as backup utility VCR, for preview, REW, etc. But probably not capturing. Only exception is if paired with ES10/15, but realize you get negatives/drawbacks of the ES10/15.
Ok. Is a Philips VR1100 with TBC/DNR on better than JVC>ES10/15? Hope so
I would need to look up what are those negatives. I might sell the JVC.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
Most s-video cables are decent quality. Ironically, it's stuff like Monster that is the worst. The usual problem is head quality. Gold makes pretty jewelry, but really does not matter for the video/audio carriage. You need a good head that doesn't grip too tight, nor fall out. Cables shielding is good, but it doesn't take much, and a lot of "thick cables" just have excess rubber goo sheething.
Good, great to know, thanks! From amazon reviews to affiliated-link-filled articles, the information about this has been very confusing until coming here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
No.

650 has AGC issues.
600 PCI entirely different card, also not good.
Thank you, I found the posts about the PCI having a completely different chipset.
AGC issues seem to be relating to the brightness changes?

Quote:
Originally Posted by hodgey View Post
Philips VR1600 is very similar to the VR1100, same base just with some extra editing functions.
Panasonic AG7150 is playback only version of AG7350, nice image quality, but SP only and no TBC, so you would want to use it with a Panasonic or other DVR with TBC capability.
Thank you, would any of the editing functions of VR1600 be necessary/desired/an improvement on the 1100 for digitizing? Assuming not.
For the AG7150, I could try to bargain down the price. Would an AG7150 with s-video out > my Philips VR 1100 > s-video to computer be an improvement on image quality on just using a VR 1100?

After a very quick capture test, I noticed an improved difference between my non-tbc/dnr JVC and my TBC/DNR Philips VR1100. Less color noise, and the borders seem more clean-cut. Seems it does cut off a little bit on the left hand side.

With such a quick and noticable result I think I'll be selling these, would it be useful for anyone on the marketplace here?

JVC-HRs5970 with remote
Miglia TVMax+

Looking for good recommendations, I found three in another thread. Does this still apply?

1. Ati 600 USB
2. Hauppage USB-Live 2
3. Diamond Multimedia VC500.

If ATI 600 USB as the number of an 100% desired hardware item, how close are the other two? I have a laptop, and if needed a Windows 7 desktop with PCI.

While I'm possibly ordering new (recommended) parts, I'd like to try out the GV-USB2 I have here and pinpoint where it would fail/shine. How could I test such a capture device for the sake of information gathering and perhaps sharing here, in a way that could be useful? Thanks again.

Last edited by archivarious; 09-17-2020 at 05:11 AM.
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  #7  
09-17-2020, 09:27 AM
hodgey hodgey is offline
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I don't think the AG7150 would look any better than the VR1100, just different (provided both are in good condition). It's a number of years older, and very big and heavy, and a broadcast machine, so it could have been something that has seen a lot of use and wear, and more likely to have issues with it.

The downside of using the PAL ES10/15 and other panasonic DVRs is that they can end up clipping bright image details. (It is possible to work around it by using a potentiometer or something else to lover the signal level of the video signal going into it a fair bit but that can be a bit clunky.) The PAL ones doesn't have the posterization issues that the NTSC ones do as far as I know. It can be useful having in any case in case any of your tapes give the TBC in the VCR you use issues.

Your observation of the differences between the JVC and philips makes sense, the TBC/DNR function straightens the image, and reduces noise, especially color noise. The sharper edges is probably due to the digital sharpening feature (3R) in the philips, people here often prefer to leave it off though. You can further adjust the image a bit in both VCRs, on the philips with the smart picture button, on the JVC in the menu (both are the same function just with different naming.) The base video IC in both are quite similar otherwise, the JVC being a bit newer.

I'm also curious about the GV-USB2, it seems to use different hardware and drivers than other commonly sold dongles. I've found one post on videohelp on it, but it only compared a capture direct from composite with a canopus avdc box (which has DV compression), so it wasn't very helpful.
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09-17-2020, 09:35 AM
archivarious archivarious is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hodgey View Post
I don't think the AG7150 would look any better than the VR1100, just different (provided both are in good condition). It's a number of years older, and very big and heavy, and a broadcast machine, so it could have been something that has seen a lot of use and wear, and more likely to have issues with it.

The downside of using the PAL ES10/15 and other panasonic DVRs is that they can end up clipping bright image details. (It is possible to work around it by using a potentiometer or something else to lover the signal level of the video signal going into it a fair bit but that can be a bit clunky.) The PAL ones doesn't have the posterization issues that the NTSC ones do as far as I know. It can be useful having in any case in case any of your tapes give the TBC in the VCR you use issues.

Your observation of the differences between the JVC and philips makes sense, the TBC/DNR function straightens the image, and reduces noise, especially color noise. The sharper edges is probably due to the digital sharpening feature (3R) in the philips, people here often prefer to leave it off though. You can further adjust the image a bit in both VCRs, on the philips with the smart picture button, on the JVC in the menu (both are the same function just with different naming.) The base video IC in both are quite similar otherwise, the JVC being a bit newer.

I'm also curious about the GV-USB2, it seems to use different hardware and drivers than other commonly sold dongles. I've found one post on videohelp on it, but it only compared a capture direct from composite with a canopus avdc box (which has DV compression), so it wasn't very helpful.
Thanks a lot for the extensive answer.
To be able to compare, if I would get ATI 600 USB clone such as Elgato EyeTV Hybrid US, would that work the same way setting it up? Drivers, settings. Are there downsides to using a clone, perhaps not the full 0-255 spectrum?
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  #9  
09-18-2020, 02:18 AM
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VC500 has proven variable, due to apparent production changes over the years. So no idea what the card will be using, and thus is you'll get some of the reported issues like AGC.

I don't remember right now, but there's a catastrophic flaw with using the Elgato. OS, drivers? I don't remember. It's not a "clone" of the ATI 600 USB. That's one of the TI cards that I avoid.

0-255 is RGB values. VHS has 16-235 YUV. While a few cards can capture 0-255 values as YUV, most cards only capture the legal 16-235 range. It's not good for restoring dark/sub-black/blacker-than-black video, but that's also what (external) proc amp is for. ATI AIW if you want 0-255.

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09-18-2020, 02:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
VC500 has proven variable, due to apparent production changes over the years. So no idea what the card will be using, and thus is you'll get some of the reported issues like AGC.

I don't remember right now, but there's a catastrophic flaw with using the Elgato. OS, drivers? I don't remember. It's not a "clone" of the ATI 600 USB. That's one of the TI cards that I avoid.

0-255 is RGB values. VHS has 16-235 YUV. While a few cards can capture 0-255 values as YUV, most cards only capture the legal 16-235 range. It's not good for restoring dark/sub-black/blacker-than-black video, but that's also what (external) proc amp is for. ATI AIW if you want 0-255.
Would the ATI 600 USB be 0-255 YUV or 16-235 YUV? I might not need to restore blacker than black. Not sure (?). Well, deciding today on purchasing an ATI 600 USB from you, lordsmurf. Thanks for the PM's and the insights here.
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09-18-2020, 02:40 AM
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600 USB = 16-235
Blacker-than-black is usually underexposed video. (White than white = overexposed.)

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