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  #1  
06-01-2021, 11:04 AM
Yiveyvhs Yiveyvhs is offline
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Hi, and thank you for having me!

I've just recently started researching the subject of capturing and digitizing our analog videos and I thought I would introduce my thoughts regarding my upcoming task.

We've got around 100 tapes of VHS, Video8, Hi8, VHS-C and miniDV. All shot in northern Europe in PAL format. It's mostly my father who have recorded everything. We got him one of those awful cheap USB capture cards, before knowing better, so that he could start digitizing. Thankfully (?), he didn't find the time for it and now I've taken over. If I'll find a good workflow for this I might also undertake to digitize the rest of the extended families analog tapes, maybe 100 more tapes.

I quickly found out that this is no small task and after many days and nights of research I came to the conclusion that I need to get a good overview and plan for this project before I begin. Trial and error to find the most optimal workflow for me and my budget.

My equipment today:
- 27" iMac (late 2015) quad-core 3.2GHz i5, 32GB RAM, 1TB internal NVMe SSD and 1TB internal SATA SSD. Runs macOS Big Sur. No powerhouse by any means but still snappy enough for my needs.
- 13" Macbook Pro (mid 2010) 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo, 16GB RAM, 250GB SATA SSD. Runs macOS High Sierra. Old and obsolete, but works fine and have FW800. Can install Windows through Boot Camp on this perhaps.
- 38TB unRAID server for storage. Everything connected over gigabit ethernet.
- Sony Handycam DCR-TRV50E miniDV camcorder with FW cable and adapters to Thunderbolt 2 and Thunderbolt 3.
- LG DVD recorder/VHS RC68223 with S-video out for VHS. Haven't tested it yet though...
- Sony Handycam CCD-TR340E Video8 camcorder with only composite out.


My thought on equipment to buy:

- A JVC/Panasonic/Blaupunkt S-VHS vcr with built in line-TBC, preferably from a reputable seller in Sweden but I haven't found one so far. Perhaps I have to look to European sellers in Germany or NL.
- A standalone TBC would off course be favorable but extremely hard to obtain locally. Might be available somewhere in Europe and I understand that I could resell it when finished, just have to earmark the money for it. A bit stiff as a student with a family to support.. Maybe doable but I'm a bit forced to find our economical sweetspot in this.
- Second choice would be the now sought after Panasonic DMR-ES10/15 to use as passthrough "TBC-ich". Though not sure if that makes a difference for an S-VHS with built in line-TBC though?
- A Digital8 camcorder for FW out or S-Video out depending on what route I choose. Perhaps a Hi8 camcorder with TBC is a better choice.
- A good quality VHS-C adapter - preferably the JVC C-P7U or the equivalent Panasonic.
- A Windows machine (or run bootcamp on the MBP), preferably a workstation with a analog video capture card.
- For capture I first thought I would use the Sony miniDV camcorder as A/D-converter but now I might have found a used PC with a Canopus Edius NX PCIe card in it. The PC is 2009/2010 tech so nothing to jump up and down for, but the Canopus NX I've read some good stuff about. The seller is asking for 240 shipped including a 1080p monitor. I have a feeling that this actually might be a good deal, and that I can sell just the Canopus NX card after I'm done to cover the cost of the PC. What is your collective thought on the Canopus Edius NX?


My first task in this is to make master copies of everything. And since storage isn't a problem I'd like it to be lossless if possible. When the masters are made I can go over it again and possibly encode mp4's or burn DVDs for easier viewing.

Considerations:
1. Would I actually gain anything capturing miniDV lossless over s-video with the capture card, compared to just using the (lossy) DV transfer over FW? If I understand it correctly, using s-video the video would be converted D->A->D. If I got a TBC then I can see the benefit, but the time stamp would be gone?
2. Can't decide if I like the feature that miniDV transfer over FW splits every take into separate files or not. It sure is nice when searching for a specific clip or date (since they're named after recording date/time), but as soon as the miniDV has a dropped frame it screws everything up and the separate clips created can't be added together easily without it looking like cr*p. Need to find a solution for this. The dates/times are of course nice to have later on.
3. I tried transfer DV over FW in both iMovie and FCP (trial version). Also QT but that wasn't lossy DV. Used the same tape that had some glitches/dropped frames in it. FCP was way better at handling the dropped frames and didn't freak out more then once, while iMovie started splitting the takes much earlier.
If I get the PC with the Canopus NX it too has FW. Will Virtualdub(or some other software?) handle these dropped frames (data) better than iMovie and FCP? Is there perhaps a sensitivity setting for this?
4. Would the separate PC with the Canopus Edius NX be an big improvement over my current Macs, considering I could run Windows on the MBP? I. e. (VCR->)camcorder->FW->Mac running either macOS or Windows vs VCR/Camcorder->s-video(/FW)->Canopus NX->Windows PC


This became a long post and a bit unstructured. Sorry about that!

I really enjoy this type of searching of information and diving into new interests. Just need to control it and find a balance.

If you've read so far, thank you!

Regards Yiveyvhs!
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  #2  
06-01-2021, 12:04 PM
Bogilein Bogilein is offline
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The Canopus NX is a good choice. You'll need the NLE Edius to capture with this card. Virtual Dub will not work.
The Canopus NX is supported up to edius 8.
If you have really bad tapes with heavy jitter you'll need the panasonic ES10/15.
You should also switch off the tbc on the s-vhs video recorder when you capture with the the canopus nx.
With most tapes you don't need a video recorder with tbc or an external tbc. So far, I have had no problems with tapes that were recorded with Macrovision copy protection.
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  #3  
06-01-2021, 02:14 PM
latreche34 latreche34 is offline
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Capturing DV over firewire is the lossless way even though DV is lossy in itself, S-Video is a lossy method but it is okay if you can't use the firewire method.
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  #4  
06-01-2021, 05:45 PM
Yiveyvhs Yiveyvhs is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bogilein View Post
The Canopus NX is a good choice. You'll need the NLE Edius to capture with this card. Virtual Dub will not work.
The Canopus NX is supported up to edius 8.
If you have really bad tapes with heavy jitter you'll need the panasonic ES10/15.
You should also switch off the tbc on the s-vhs video recorder when you capture with the the canopus nx.
With most tapes you don't need a video recorder with tbc or an external tbc. So far, I have had no problems with tapes that were recorded with Macrovision copy protection.
Sounds good, thank you for your answer! Why isn't Virtualdub working, is it a driver issue? Would you say there is a market to resell the Canopus NX after using it?


Quote:
Originally Posted by latreche34 View Post
Capturing DV over firewire is the lossless way even though DV is lossy in itself, S-Video is a lossy method but it is okay if you can't use the firewire method.
Ok, that was sort of in the lines of what I was thinking. Thank you!
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  #5  
06-02-2021, 01:36 PM
Bogilein Bogilein is offline
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No it's impossible to use Virtual Dub with the NX.
The first NX (PCI-X) cards was sold with Edius 3 later versions (PCI-Express) with Edius 4/5. You can capture uncompressed avi in YUV2 but not with huffyuf, lagarith, ut video codec. Later in post production you can use Virtual Dub/Avisynth with the lagarith, huffyuf, ut video codecs.
I don't know if there is a market in your country. If it is the PCI-Express version you could use it with up to date hardware. If it is only the PCI-X version you're limited to hardware with PCI or much rarer PCI-X motherboards. There is no perfect capture card. Not the ATI USB600, AIW.., Diamond 500, Pinnacle...,Hauppauge..., Blackmagic.... or any other card and I have many to compare with. For PAL video content it's one of the best.
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  #6  
06-02-2021, 01:57 PM
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lordsmurf lordsmurf is offline
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This is a long thread, lots of questions, I'll have to circle back to it.

The NX isn't what I'd do. Trying to capture on Mac is self-handicapping your options.

The idea of a dedicated Windows XP/7 setup is far more ideal.

TBC is NOT just for "copy protection" (anti-copy, mostly Macrovision). If only it were that easy. I don't buy TBCs for funsies, but because it's a required tool for the task of transferring analog videotapes to digital. Without TBC, you'll have issues, both in quality and outright refusal of tapes to capture. And it has almost nothing to do with anti-copy. Only tiny % of tapes I deal with have anti-copy, and yet TBC is almost always needed with all capture cards. I have many samples of what happens when trying to go it sans-TBC, or using a crappy/flawed TBC.

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  #7  
06-02-2021, 02:41 PM
Bogilein Bogilein is offline
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You can talk bad about anything, especially if you have never tested or used it yourself.
You just make comments, test it, show us your capture and tell us why it is not recommended, then I accept your answer. These comments without having used and tested the equipment yourself and being the judge of what is good or bad based on hearsay or dislike of certain brands gets on my nerves.
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  #8  
06-02-2021, 02:57 PM
latreche34 latreche34 is offline
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I don't think he is talking bad about the card, He just said it is not what he would do, And we all know Mac sucks for capturing analog video, It's like using a Swiss knife for electrical work, It will work somehow but not in the easy way.
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  #9  
06-02-2021, 03:50 PM
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lordsmurf lordsmurf is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by latreche34 View Post
I don't think he is talking bad about the card, He just said it is not what he would do,
Correct.

For me, Edius is no-go. At this time, I reject NLE capturing outright. In general, NLEs botch video captures.

@Bogilein, I know your captures are fine, as you've posted samples here before. So it's clearly a viable solution, at least with your exact hardware and sources. I hope to try it myself eventually, if I can find the time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bogilein View Post
based on hearsay
I never do this. At most, I'll report it exactly as such (ie, multiple users are reporting __.)

Quote:
or dislike of certain brands
I never dislike brands.

At most, I'll make generality comments (because it's generally true). For example, Sima sucks. Now Sima did have a couple of nice items, when used in specific scenarios. But overall, junk. Canopus made an awesome MPEG encoder, at the time, later superseded by MainConcept (and abandoned by GV-Canopus). Canopus also made crappy DV boxes. Canopus was a mixed bag.

We all know this is how the world works. Some brands have quality, some do not, some are mixed.

I don't have a problem with Edius, it was a good editor in the 2000s.

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