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  #1  
05-02-2011, 12:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andymation
Hi Lordsmurf
A couple years ago I remember your name came up a lot in discussions regarding svhs decks and the "best" workflows for transferring vhs tapes to computer.

Well I have caught the bug again, and I need to transfer some family home movies to the computer/DVD.

If you have a moment, would you be willing to give me a couple recommendations for a SVHS deck?
Also whether or not I ought to consider a separate TBC or proc amp?

I am basically trying to figure out my ideal workflow to get these tapes transferred.
I am a stickler for quality. I am on a Mac and do tons of video editing and film making, so working with uncompressed files is not a problem.

Sorry rambling... Okay so my questions are:
1. What would you recommend for a SVHS deck?
2. Is a separate TBC or proc amp necessary? (a couple of my tapes look quite degraded)
3. I'm considering a capture card from Black Magic perhaps. Any other recommendations?

thanks
Andy Bailey
Quote:
Originally Posted by andymation
After writing you my previous PM, I've been thinking that I probably should have done more reading before asking you a million questions. My apologies. I'm sure you get bombarded constantly with questions that are already covered in the various threads.

I guess overall I am leaning toward a panny ag-1980 and possibly a TBC. I am still unclear how much of a difference I would see with or without a separate TBC...

As far as video capture goes, I am hoping to get the Black Magic Intensity Shuttle or Intensity Pro. Looks pretty sweet for a couple hundred bucks.

Thanks and I would be happy for any remaining advice you might have.

Andy
Yes, I've been online quite a few years now, and am known for video advice.

Because of the late hour, I only have a few minutes to answer this. I can try and come back tomorrow, when I get some free time.
But to give a quick reply...

1. It depends on your tapes. The JVC decks easily have superior image quality, but there are known weaknesses on certain kinds of sources. For example, the AG-1980P from Panasonic will sometimes track EP mode (aka SLP mode) tapes better. The standard advice is to get a JVC HR-S7600-7900, 9600-9900, or SR-V10 first. Then add others later. If you have a high volume of EP/SLP tapes, and don't want or can't spend on two VCRs, the Panasonic is an okay consideration. Just be aware of other factors, such as typical conditions. JVC VCRs tend to be in better shape, while older Panasonic decks tend to be fairly beat up.

2. TBC necessary? Usually, yes. There's really no way to avoid it. VHS/S-VHS, like most tape formats, is a very erratic and unstable signal, and digital capture devices expect stable signals to lock onto for digital conversion. Even those that claim that they "don't need" a TBC could have used one, for better quality captures. A proc amp is optional, and is for altering color quality. Suggested, but still optional.

3. Macs make for horrible video capture systems. You're basically limited to DV only. Of course, Mac workflows are built around DV anyway, so it makes sense. Uncompressed, lossless compression and low compression formats are almost entirely found on Windows systems (and Linux workflows). Perian expands Quicktime to accept something like Huffyuv AVI. You have few choices. I'm not anti-Mac, I'm typing this on one, in fact. But this isn't the right tool for video capture. Is a dedicated Windows system out of the question? If so, then you're mostly left to pick from gear made by Canopus, Matrox, Blackmagic Designs and Elgato. Fine video editors, of course, using Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere, etc. Just really, really weak on the ingest options. All of my video capture is done on Windows boxes, or even with MPEG-2 recording via DVD recorders. (The all-MPEG Mac workflow is weak here, too, but a few options exist, using Yadex, MPEG Streamclip and DVD Studio Pro.)

Does that help?


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  #2  
05-02-2011, 04:22 PM
andymation andymation is offline
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That is a huge help thanks Lordsmurf!
I'm glad you suggested looking at the JVCs. I will definitely do that, and consider get the panny ag-1980 as a second option.

As a note... as someone who works professionally in film production I don't really agree with the notion that Macs aren't built to ingest decent video... but I guess that's an unimportant side conversation.

At any rate a Windows box is not out of the question IF that proves to be the simplest&cheapest solution.
In the end though, I'll be moving footage to the Mac to work Uncompressed or Prores. And I'll have to buy a capture card/box no matter whether it's mac or windows.

So, what kind of a capture card are you recommending for Windows if it's not Black Magic, Canopus, Matrox, etc?
(I need something that will capture Uncompressed or close-to-uncompressed to my Raid.)

Anyway a million thanks for your quick advice and help! It's extremely cool that you contribute so much knowledge.
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  #3  
05-03-2011, 04:10 AM
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4:2:2 uncompressed, or SDI uncompressed?
How uncompressed does uncompressed need to be?

Honestly, YUY2/YUV422 at 720x480 should be fine for VHS or S-VHS formats. There's really no way to squeeze anything else out of it. Even a lossless YUV, like Huffyuv or Lagarith, would be perfectly acceptable. (Although Huffyuv works on Mac via Perian, and Lagarith does not.)

Part of Mac vs "PC" (Windows) goes back to Apple and Steve Jobs in the late 1990s, and how they tried to in-house all the video/DVD software for OS9 and OS X, essentially aggravating companies like Avid and Adobe, which in turn caused many of them to simply flee to a more receptive Microsoft-based OS (NT based, to be precise, on NT4, 2000 and then XP). Note that this has since changed, in the past 4-5 years, with many higher-end editors (Premiere, Avid, etc) now equally available and functional both on Mac and in Windows.

Apple is proprietary hardware, and created a semi-proprietary OS based off its own Darwin homebrew Linux kernel to power the hardware. In general, it's not a developer-friendly system. So many popular video tasks, using independent or small-company developed software, is simply not possible on a Mac. (And as previously mentioned, for many years, even large companies were tired of dealing with it.) Disc testing analysis, for example, is essentially impossible on Mac, while Windows systems have a half dozen choices for testing tools. Capturing isn't much different. Apple has only blessed a few certain codecs to work on their system, or created their own (ProRes was a winner, while Quicktime's H.264 variant was an absolutely hack job and butchering of MPEG-4). Apple is constantly criticized for the near-crippled abilities of iMovie, iDVD and even Final Cut Express for import formats.

All that aside, yes, I do think it a wiser choice to capture on a Windows machine, and then transfer to Mac -- either via external hard drives or even via gigabit ethernet connections. In the past, I would capture to Windows with an ATI, edit on either Mac or Windows (encode on the same), and then author in DVD Studio Pro on the Mac.

What you DO NOT WANT is the "latest and greatest" hardware and Windows version. That's just as bad of a nightmare as a Mac system. Windows XP is the sweet spot, as most of the still-available best gear was made from 2001-2006. The ATI All In Wonder cards come highly suggested, and they work great even with 1.8Ghz P4 single-core computers, which can generally be picked up rather inexpensively. I'm sitting at a desk right this second with two "old" computers that are strictly for ATI capturing.

This is one option: ATI All In Wonder video capture card, with the capturing computer, for sale [SOLD]
Very worth it.

What sort of budget did you have?

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  #4  
05-03-2011, 12:03 PM
andymation andymation is offline
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Alright you've persuaded me. Haha
And actually I do have an xp machine that sounds like it will do the job. Haven't used it for a while but it's a core 2 duo. 1.8ish I think. Solid older video card but no capture card.

My budget isn't much. But I'm guessing an All in Wonder would be quite reasonable.
And you're saying that with something like huffyuff I can capture essentially uncompressed?

I guess that brings up another round of questions:
If I had an All in Wonder and wanted to capture the "best" quality, what codec and settings should I use?

Last edited by andymation; 05-03-2011 at 12:33 PM. Reason: misspelling
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  #5  
05-03-2011, 07:20 PM
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What slots are on the XP computer's motherboard?
  1. PCI ?
  2. PCI Express ?
  3. AGP ?

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  #6  
05-03-2011, 08:52 PM
andymation andymation is offline
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Motherboard is an Asus P5LD2 with a PCI Express x16 slot and a few PCI Express x1 slots. No AGP
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  #7  
05-03-2011, 10:59 PM
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An ATI card would be the most suggested, yes. It captures uncompressed YUY2, lossless codecs, or MPEG-2 (sub-broadcast up to 20k, or as low as DVD specs), and not simply lossy DV like many so-called "professional" cards of the same era. These also have accurate aspect ratios, which was a big issue on consumer grade cards that could capture lossless/uncompressed AVI in past years. Overall, it's win/win for an ATI.

While not impossible to find a PCI Express slot ATI All In Wonder Radeon card, it's easier to find the AGP slots versions.

A full rundown of all ATI All In Wonder cards ever made, read post #6 in this thread: ATI All In Wonder Hacks, Drivers, Codecs and MMC

For capturing lossless or uncompressed, all you'll need is VirtualDub (freeware), and this card. Once capturing is done, edit the video however you like, on whichever computer (and software) you want. Huffyuv AVI is 35-40GB/hour, while uncompressed YUY2/YUV422 is 75-80GB/hour, and both work perfectly fine in OS X 10.6 via Perian. I'm sure lower OS X versions work, too, though I'm more or less set at 10.6 Snow Leopard these days.

...........

Another possible option is the ATI 600 USB card: http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.ht...reative=390957
Those work in Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7. MPEG capturing = NTSC only, no PAL. AVI capturing = NTSC or PAL, via VirtualDub.

NOTE: A "complete" ATI 600 card has:
- the USB stick
- a wire with a mini USB styled cable on one end, and composite/s-video/RCA audio plugs on the other
- a remote (not necessary for analog captures)
- an external coax antenna (not necessary for analog captures)

.... be wary of buying incomplete setups from eBay, Craigslist, etc -- maybe even wise to ask Amazon sellers for confirmation.

I would suggest the internal ATI All In Wonder Radeon cards are slightly superior to the ATI USB 600 cards (and comparable PCI cards of same series)

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  #8  
05-03-2011, 11:32 PM
andymation andymation is offline
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Clarification about this info from the post you linked:
quote: "The latter versions of ATI MMC 9.x required by the PCI-E generation of cards also removed or limited some recording options coveted during the "classic" years, such as VideoSoap."

Does that mean that if I get the ATI All-In-Wonder Radeon X800 XL, that I would not be able to use MMC 8?
Sounds like 8 is better than 9?

If the x800 XL would work for me, I can pick one up for $50.
Otherwise I also found ATI Rage 128 Pro All In Wonder 32MB Video Card -PCI for less than $20.

Thanks again for the advice. Much appreciated.
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  #9  
05-04-2011, 12:46 AM
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I forget the exact version that heralded the changes. I do know that ATI MMC version 9.0 and 9.02 both worked well on ATI AIW Radeon AGP cards, and had VideoSoap. I don't recall if it was 9.06 or 9.14 where VideoSoap was removed, and the shift of the cards towards end-of-life of the series was for PVR/DVR (TV recording, digital VCR) type use. And terribly executed, at that. There's no point in DivX capturing, for example, because it looks like crap. That apparently became more important than high quality analog capturing features.

Quote:
Otherwise I also found ATI Rage 128 Pro All In Wonder 32MB Video Card -PCI for less than $20.
You have to be careful about this.

For one, there is no "128 Pro" PCI card. That's wrong information by whoever is selling it. AGP was Pro, PCI was not. That 128 PCI version was just a crappy non-Theatre 128 card. It was not at all any good, and reflects the best of crummy late 1990s technology video capture cards.

The AGP cards are 10-year-old cards, from spring 2001, and if not known to work perfectly, probably do not. You can quite readily find cheap ATI cards, just like you can find a cheap Panasonic S-VHS VCR -- but the odds of it being in good condition are slim. Only get tested, verified to work, cards. If these cards work, they are exceptional, even today. The past decade brought little in the way of analog capturing advances. Most of what was true in 2001-2003 is still true today.

The only ATI Theatre chipset card in a PCI slot was the 7500 VE. It's a rarer card. I have one here, that I don't use anymore (WORKS PERFECTLY!), and would consider selling for $70. I have a few cards that I need to sell, but just have not done to date.

Quote:
the ATI All-In-Wonder Radeon X800 XL, that I would not be able to use MMC 8
I don't believe so, no. It uses some version of MMC 9.x.
VideoSoap was mostly for MPEG capturing anyhow, and since you're going to be capturing uncompressed or lossless AVI, your tool of choices needs to VirtualDub anyway -- not really ATI MMC. (Yes, this does counter some of my advice from past years, but that's also due to how much VirtualDub has changed. It just works more stable now.)


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  #10  
05-04-2011, 01:47 AM
andymation andymation is offline
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Lordsmurf your amount of knowledge completely astounds me.
Your 7500 VE card sounds very tempting. I just might be inclined to go with your offer for that one.

Is there any difference in uncompressed capture quality between the Rage Theatre chipset and the Theatre 200 chipset? I would assume not, but somewhere it was mentioned that the Theatre 200 improved video input. But maybe that was just for mpeg.
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  #11  
05-04-2011, 01:53 AM
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Quote:
Lordsmurf your amount of knowledge completely astounds me.
Thanks.

Quote:
Your 7500 VE card sounds very tempting. I just might be inclined to go with your offer for that one.
Private message (PM me), if interested in buying it.

Quote:
Is there any difference in uncompressed capture quality between the Rage Theatre chipset and the Theatre 200 chipset? I would assume not, but somewhere it was mentioned that the Theatre 200 improved video input. But maybe that was just for mpeg.
No difference for AVI capturing.

The improvement was in processing of MPEG, and not really anything visual. It simply offloaded more assist to the chipset, and laid off the CPU more. And that only matters when using ATI MMC. Remember that ATI AIW cards were hardware-assisted MPEG capturing, powered by Ligos GoMotion MPEG technology at both ends (in MMC, and in the Theatre chipsets). It was unique, and resulted in nice quality. Only a few DVD recorders were ever able to compete with it, also due to nice chipset designs (Zoran, for example). But I digress...

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  #12  
05-04-2011, 02:03 AM
andymation andymation is offline
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Excellent! Man I had no idea that the ATI AIW was such a great card for this.

I've also been searching ebay for a good JVC deck. Slim pickings. If you know of any for sale, I'd love to hear.

cheers
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  #13  
05-04-2011, 02:30 AM
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ATI reminds me of a 90s grunge rock band like Bush or Toadies:
  • They came out of nowhere,
  • Made a song that everybody loved,
  • Made several more that were honestly more or less identical to the first release, and everybody loved those, too
  • Then one day they just seemed to disappear.
  • Were outlasted by the very bands that they had modeled themselves after.
Compare this to ATI, who:
  • Created this awesome series of card like no others before it, even by big-name competition like Canopus or Matrox.
  • Made lots of them, across quite a few model names/numbers.
  • Easily outperformed some of the Matrox and Canopus cards of their day ... and even many cards made now by various manufacturers, all these years later.
  • Then disappeared from the capturing world, after a slow withdrawal. Yes, ATI is still around, but mostly working with third parties like Sapphire to create graphics cards with no video abilities, or to closely integrate with CPUs from their mother company AMD.
People who weren't doing this from 2002-2005 (the most popular years) really don't know who ATI is, sadly.

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  #14  
05-05-2011, 10:00 PM
andymation andymation is offline
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Great analogy! haha
I'm glad to have learned this from you.
Now I just need to find myself a good JVC deck.
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  #15  
05-05-2011, 10:11 PM
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ATI for many years was a big provider of video chips for OEM machines. Seeing a Mach32 or 64 chip on a motherboard was a common sight. Their dominance in the industry lagged when dedicated 3D accelerators came out in 1996, and they remained a distant 3rd to 3dfx and nVidia until late 2000 when 3dfx folded. Their main competition in the late 90s was actually from S3 (another big onboard videochip supplier), not the big boys. Cards like the All-in-wonder were their "value added" attempt to compete in a crowded marketplace. Keep in mind that the All-in-Wonder line dates back to 1997. ATI even had a Macintosh lineup of VIVO cards called "XClaimVR"
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  #16  
05-06-2011, 12:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJRoadfan View Post
Keep in mind that the All-in-Wonder line dates back to 1997. ATI even had a Macintosh lineup of VIVO cards called "XClaimVR"
Yes, but as mentioned in an earlier post...
Quote:
Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
reflects the best of crummy late 1990s technology video capture cards.
.... it really wasn't until the ATI All In Wonder Theatre chipsets in 2001 that the game changed.

The chipset is what truly matters, be it for capture cards or DVD recorders.

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  #17  
05-12-2011, 06:07 PM
andymation andymation is offline
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Lordsmurf, you mentioned that the standard advice is to get a JVC HR-S7600-7900, 9600-9900, or SR-V10 first.
Does that mean that all of those decks provide essentially the same quality of video output? I'm looking at an SR-V10 and just want to make sure I'll be happy with it. I assume I will.
It's listed here: http://cgi.ebay.com/JVC-SR-V10U-S-VH...item19c541b0a7
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  #18  
05-12-2011, 06:19 PM
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They all vary a little, but yes, the SR-V10 is one of the better JVC models. I have several of these.

I would be a little wary of this, however:
Quote:
It has been used in a facility that sends out professional grade videos for public viewing.
I wonder what condition the heads are in?
Then again, it may be perfectly fine. The price is right, that's for sure. Cheap!

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05-12-2011, 06:37 PM
andymation andymation is offline
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Okay great to hear. Thanks.
Now, this question may show my ignorance... but if a VCR's heads are going bad, it should be obviously apparent right? ie I would see static or noise? I guess my question is: I'll be able to distinguish between bad heads vs bad tape, correct?
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  #20  
05-12-2011, 07:15 PM
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Usually, yes, it is that easy.

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