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  #1  
06-30-2011, 09:02 PM
rappy rappy is offline
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Ok - So I think I am done with all the hardware. AIW 7500, Santa Cruz audio card (internally connected to AIW), Intel Pentium 4 (3.6 MHz), Windows XP (SP2), 2 GB memory, JVC hr s9900u, Sign Video proc amp, and a AVT 8710 TBC (currently being tested ).

To me, this was the easy part. Now comes the tough part. My initial idea was to capture AVI using HUFFYUV directly to my hard drive and leave it at that. I can view all the files from there, and creat DVD's as needed. But the size of the files would be huge (100 tapes), and I have read that is not the best process flow? (when DVD is final product). I am not so concerned about the size if this is the best option, but now I am thinking since it is VHS, I wouldn't loose any "real world" PQ if I captured directly to MPEG2. Am I correct? My main goal of the project besides not degrading the quality, is to acess the files from a pc to tv. I will back up with additional hard drives and optical media as required.

So, from the point of capture, I start to get confused. I am not sure what the best products are, and best work flow. The only software I am familiar with is Corel DVD Moviefactory to creat the Dvd's and menus. That's pretty straight forward. I have often seen products like TMPGEnc, VirtualDub, and Main Concept Reference (I know it's $$ but if it's worth it, I'll go for it) mentioned. The product can't be too complicated to use.

I'd like to be able to use SW to do minor "clean up" if needed. Not too complicated though. Then of course create the DVD (assuming this is the recommended work flow). I have also read that using Imageburn to burn the final DVD is appropriate.

Thanks in advance for your help

Rappy
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  #2  
07-01-2011, 06:39 AM
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Quote:
Corel DVD Moviefactory to creat the Dvd's and menus
Not suggested, not at all. Put it in a drawer, forget you have it. You can do better. We'll teach you.

Quote:
My initial idea was to capture AVI using HUFFYUV directly to my hard drive and leave it at that. I can view all the files from there, and creat DVD's as needed. But the size of the files would be huge (100 tapes)
You could capture to high bitrate MPEG-2. It's better than DVD, yet looks good. Not quite exactly like Huffyuv all of the time, but most of it, assuming your VHS tapes are not rough.

Quote:
and I have read that is not the best process flow?
It can be best for certain scenarios, like video that needs to be edited or restored. Huffyuv is a lossless intermediary codec. Basically, it's the codec you use when you play to "do stuff later on" with the video. In some cases, it's the same hour. In others, it can be years. (I'm guilty of having personal projects sitting on drives for months or years, sometimes. I've had an uncompressed AVI taking up 300+ GB on a drive since last summer. Haven't received my "round to-it" yet.)

Quote:
I am not so concerned about the size if this is the best option, but now I am thinking since it is VHS, I wouldn't loose any "real world" PQ if I captured directly to MPEG2. Am I correct?
No, not correct. MPEG encoding is easily confused by noise, and VHS is full of noise. Ideally you want to clean and process noise as much as possible, and then (AND ONLY THEN!) encode to MPEG. The way to fight off noise is to use higher and higher bitrates. ATI MMC goes up to 20Mb/s, and that would be perfectly fine. It's maybe half to 2/3rds the size of Huffyuv.

If you need more space, consider getting a 2TB Fantom hard drive (the eSATA model, meaning you'll also need a PCI or PCIe eSATA card, if the motherboard doesn't have one already).

Quote:
I'd like to be able to use SW to do minor "clean up" if needed. Not too complicated though
VideoSoap can do minor clean-up live while capturing MPEG video. The 17% "salt-and-pepper" or "despeckle" is the only one recommended).

For more advanced filtered, capture AVI Huffyuv in VirtualDub, filter in VirtualDub and/or Avisynth, then save to new AVI, then encode that AVI to a final MPEG. At that point, you'd also need a good encoder. MainConcept Reference is most definitely worth the $550 it costs. If you have more time than money, then the $37 TMPGEnc Plus would suffice. Neither are that hard to use, and both are documented on this site. And if there are questions, you can always ask for help here. I use MainConcept Reference every day.

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  #3  
07-02-2011, 09:25 AM
rappy rappy is offline
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Ok. Let me know if I have this correct. My two current options are:

option 1 - Capture MPEG using ATI MMC with the highest bit rate possible (cbr or vbr?). Looks like in the settings the most I can set it at is 15.00 MB/s. Use video soap to "clean up" the video. (I see the Despeckle, but what is the "salt & pepper" actually called- I only see none, Despeckle, soft focus, sharpen, combo filter 1 or 2?). Then create the DVD? Will I need a separate encoder?

Or

Option 2 - Use VirtualDub to capture huffyuv AVI. Use VirtualDub filters as required (need to understand that, but a separate issue) then encode using mainconcept reference (for high quality MPEG).

so am I correct to think I will only need Mainconcept for option 2? Or will I need it for both options?

Thanks,

Rappy
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  #4  
07-03-2011, 01:50 PM
Joekster Joekster is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kpmedia View Post
...at that point, you'd also need a good encoder. mainconcept reference is most definitely worth the $550 it costs. If you have more time than money, then the $37 tmpgenc plus would suffice. Neither are that hard to use, and both are documented on this site. And if there are questions, you can always ask for help here. I use mainconcept reference every day.
@KP,
So roughly speaking, do you reckon:

Code:
      MainConcept                                            tmpgenc plus
--------------------------------------    ==about== -------------------------------------------
$550  *  (short encoding times)                        $37  *  (longer encoding time)
EDIT:
Sorry, I can't stand to leave it like that ^^. What I mean (somewhat less precisely) is that MC is as good as tmpenc, once you consider their respective prices and encode times?

Hey, sorry for the equation...but that's the way my poor little mind thinks.

Last edited by Joekster; 07-03-2011 at 02:03 PM. Reason: to create English out of my brain-churnings
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  #5  
07-04-2011, 01:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rappy View Post
option 1 - Capture MPEG using ATI MMC with the highest bit rate possible (cbr or vbr?). Looks like in the settings the most I can set it at is 15.00 MB/s. Use video soap to "clean up" the video. (I see the Despeckle, but what is the "salt & pepper" actually called- I only see none, Despeckle, soft focus, sharpen, combo filter 1 or 2?). Then create the DVD? Will I need a separate encoder?
15Mbps vs 20Mbps may vary model to model, and MMC version to MMC version. Both suffice. Be sure you're in MPEG-2 mode, not MPEG-2 DVD mode. That may be the limiting factor as to why you only see 15 and not 20 -- even though 15 isn't a legal DVD-Video bitrate.

Despeckle and Salt-and-Pepper mean the same thing. Despeckle is technically an accurate filter name, while S&P is some cutesy name that appeared in some of the ATI MMC preset settings for VideoSoap. I don't remember the ins and outs of every variation of the cards and MMC. By and large, they're identical, but you'll notice some small changes here and there between them.

Quote:
Option 2 - Use VirtualDub to capture huffyuv AVI. Use VirtualDub filters as required (need to understand that, but a separate issue) then encode using mainconcept reference (for high quality MPEG).
A good option.

Quote:
so am I correct to think I will only need Mainconcept for option 2? Or will I need it for both options?
MC is only needed for the second option, where you capture to AVI first, then encode out later.

Another free option for MPEG-2 encoding is to use the Matrox VFW MPEG-2 codecs, which save to a sub-broadcast/broadcast "archival" MPEG-2 in the 10-50Mbps range (15-20 suggested). However, the MPEG is wrapped as AVI, and requires 720x480 (or 720x576) resolution. It could only be re-opened in a limited number of video editors (like VirtualDub), and played in very few players (like VLC or MPC-HC). The AVI also has nor AR flags, so the 720x480 is stored and played at 1:1. You'd have to manually transform to 4:3 in the player, with the playback filters. I also don't believe it's possible to re-wrap from AVI to MPEG containers, as both tools from Womble and Avidemux have failed at that task.

So suggesting a $550 price tag is not being done in haste. It's really the best/ideal solution for that sort of workflow.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joekster View Post
@KP, So roughly speaking, do you reckon:
that MC is as good as tmpenc, once you consider their respective prices and encode times?
When I shop for groceries, I'm a cheapskate. My shopping cart is mostly full of store brands, which are generally cheaper than so-called "name brands" (even with coupons). For the most part, it all tastes the same. I cannot taste any difference between tortilla chips, frozen waffles, mustard, etc. The snobby "brand name only" type buyers would accuse me of having no taste buds, but that's most definitely NOT the case.

But some things just don't taste the same. For example, Cheerios. Now a name-brand box of cereal is usually about $4. The off-brand is about $2. To most, $2 doesn't seem like a lot, but over time it does add up to $100's per year -- money that's better spent elsewhere. But because I can save a lot of money, I'll buy Happios instead of Cheerios. Yes, the flavor isn't 100% as delicious, but it's also not bad. A little bland, at worst. It's not like I'm eating dog food.

That's really the case here.
- MainConcept is quality. Period, the end, nothing more to say about it.
- TMPGEnc is the "knock-off" encoder (albeit from an earlier generation of MPEG-2 encoders, before MainConcept existed). It's always been reliable, very good quality, although slow. You generally need to use slightly higher bitrate (250-500k), and then it does have more artifacts (blocks, mostly) than the better encoders. For truly "archival" type work, I would not suggest it.

There are also a couple of free encoders (HCEnc, for example), but the user interface is mostly by a mix of command-line scripting fed into a lousy GUI. And quality isn't too much different from TMPGEnc, which has the added benefit of some advanced filters and tweaks.

Maybe not a math equation, but hopefully the analogy helped it make sense.

...

To take the analogy a little further, and into the realm of web hosting, you have people that love to buy cheap hosting. The common defense is that it's "good enough". But unlike the Happios, which are a similar substitute to Cheerios, super-cheap hosting is like eating Alpo. (In some cases, it's most like eating the Alpo after the dog's done with it. Yuck!) So at some point in time, you leave the land of substitution, and to directly to junk. It's generally people who have B&W/binary type mindsets that think of everything in terms of "good" and "bad" (or in this case "good" and "good enough"), rather than understand the varying levels of quality.

I say this because there are also quite a few absolutely rotten MPEG-2 encoders out there.

If you read comments/reviews/etc at various user forums and sites online, you'll notice that quite a few people will shrug off good encoders for the "good enough" option -- but their idea of "good enough" is to use garbage. And their reason for not using the real "good enough" options (TMPGEnc Plus) is that it's "old", which is an odd thing to even say. I'm far older than TMPGEnc, and I don't think of myself as being useless. It's still good at what it does, so age isn't a concern here.

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  #6  
07-06-2011, 11:43 AM
rappy rappy is offline
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ok - So I think I am leaning towards "Option 2". I can order Mainconcept Reference (less 40% with student discount!). I will capture useing VirtualDub/Huffyuv and then encode with MC. I hope this will yeild the best result! I have reviewed the "AVI capture useing VirtualDub" guide. Are these settings (v1.5.1) still valid? What should I consider useing if I want to add menues/captures to the DVD's?

Also - I will be capturing with my XP rig. Once the hard drive is full, I will transfer the drive to my W7 PC (P67/2600K/SSD OS drive) - This is where I will install MC to do the encoding onto another a final drive. Once all the files are encoded, should I wipe the original drive to capture new files, or save it as an archive drive? My idea is to have the DVD's saved in a drive that I can access from my daily PC. I can/should burn copies onto DVD's as back ups as well?

thanks
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  #7  
07-07-2011, 05:03 AM
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The VirtualDub guide is correct, but could use some updates and added tips. I've marked it for the update queue. By the time you get started into your projects, it'll probably be done, or close to that time.

For my projects, I do this:
Capture to #2 on eSATA.
Carry eSATA drive to #3 for encoding.
Transfer over LAN to #1 for archiving to local SAN*. Burn dupe copies to DVD. (Not DVD-Video, but video data files on a disc.)
That's for "high quality, low compression" projects. MPEG-2 I-frame 20Mbps, for example.
Quick format eSATA.

> *SAN is also incrementally mirrored offsite.

One way to increase MPEG-2 quality is to lower P and B frame usage. You can go to only I frames, for maximum quality. However, this requires more bitrate. Even an IP or IPP setup is decent, skipping B frames. You can alter these both in ATI MMC for MPEG-2 capturing, or in MainConcept Reference settings.

Let me know where you plan to get MC for cheap price. Was it from MC directly?

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  #8  
07-07-2011, 06:38 AM
rappy rappy is offline
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Yes- actually a friend is ordering it for me directly from MC. They offer 40% discounts to students. You just need a valid student ID.

Quote:
Originally Posted by admin View Post
One way to increase MPEG-2 quality is to lower P and B frame usage. You can go to only I frames, for maximum quality. However, this requires more bitrate. Even an IP or IPP setup is decent, skipping B frames. You can alter these both in ATI MMC for MPEG-2 capturing, or in MainConcept Reference settings.
Admin. You lost me with this where can I read up on proper MC Reference settings?
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  #9  
07-09-2011, 04:34 PM
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It's not really "reference settings" as much as it's simple MPEG-2 encoding theory. I know, I know ... I said "simple" and it's definitely not without a learning curve. But it's not necessarily written down in an explicit manner because it's a set of conceptual guidelines based on experience and standard practices.

It's sort of like asking for the best method to mow a lawn -- grass type, the season, drought/weather conditions, yard shape, mower type, etc, all affect the methods used to mow. Yes, you can go out there and just "do it", but you may have a half-dead lawn that looks like it was butchered by a weedwacker when you get done.

MPEG-2 theory:

MPEG-2 compressed is based on a GOP (group of pictures), and each group is made of individual frame types -- I frames, P frames and B frames. I frames are "master" frames, and the P frames are based on changes to the I. Then B frames further degrade because those are based on changes from P. This is how temporal compression is achieved. MPEG compression compressed both in-frame image content (like a JPEG), and then compressed information between frames.

A GOP is never more than about half of a second on a DVD (12-18 frames, with 24-30fps), so this process repeats itself thousands of times in a video clip.

Let's put it another way: The I is like a fact, while P is an educated guess, and B is a normal guess. If you remove the normal guess, you get better image quality. If you remove the educated guess, you have all facts -- the best possible quality. It essentially lowers compression.

The tradeoff is that "more facts" requires more bitrate, otherwise the in-frame compression degrades.

In some ways, it's like basic math -- division:
Let's say an I frame takes up 25 chips.
A P frame takes up 15 chips.
And a B frame takes up 5 chips.
Now the chip bag can only hold 250 items max.

IPBBBPBBBPBBBPBB = 25 (1x25) + 60 (4x16) + 55 (11x5) = 140, room to spare
IPPIPPIPPIPPIPPIPP = 150 (6x25) + 180 (12x15) = 330, must crush a few chips so they still fit in the bag
IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII = 625 (25x25) = 625, way too many, will have to crush the chips to puree to fit in the bag.

You need a bigger bag (more bitrate, meaning larger file) to hold all I-frame MPEG, without losing quality (crushing chips).
Or slightly larger bag for IP only.

The IPB represents use of 4 P frames, and 3 B frames.
The IP shows two P frames, zero B frames.
The I-only is, obviously zero P or B frames.
These are the kinds of numbers you can set in the encoders.

The number of P is the max # of P allowed per I.
The # of B is max allowed per P.
An I is used when the max GOP length is met (15-18 frames, based on DVD-Video specs), or on scene change. Some MPEG encodes will intelligently insert a new I on a scene change, otherwise temporal compression looks bad. If a new image appears on a P or B frame, a bunch of frames would have artifacts, as there would be parts of two distinct images on screen during that GOP. And you do see a lot of that in cheap/crappy encoders. I see a lot of it in lousy Youtube videos -- especially old commercials somebody captured off VHS.

Does that help it make more sense?

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  #10  
07-09-2011, 07:12 PM
rappy rappy is offline
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Does it make sense? Sort of. I guess it something that you just need to use/see for your self. I guess what's more important is how to maximize the settings in Mainconcept Reference To achieve the best output. Can you assit in these settings? I am going to DL the software in the next day or so.

Thx,

Rappy
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  #11  
07-11-2011, 09:29 AM
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After you have the software, and some sample videos to work with, yes, we can learn about MC settings.
Won't be too useful to know before that time. Need to be hands-on with this one.

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  #12  
07-13-2011, 09:45 PM
rappy rappy is offline
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A few questions for VirtualDub. How exactly do you set the proper capture drive? I am sure it's easy, but I cannot seem to find it. I also (think) I accidentally captured about 20 sec of video, but cannot find where it is? Also- regarding filters, do you run the filters as you capture or after you capture? If it is after, would it make sense to get the file to my i7 rig? To speed things up? I will be ready to capture files with all my equipment in place starting tomorrow, so I'd like ti iron out all the final settings.

Rappy
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  #13  
07-15-2011, 12:12 AM
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Open VirtualDub
Go to File > Capture AVI
New window opens, changing itself from edit mode to capturing mode.

Then do this:
  • Device > pick your card
  • Video > Source, pick your input (s-video, composite, etc)
  • Audio > Source, pick your input device for audio
  • File > Set Capture File, this is where it saves captures
  • Capture > Capture Video, this is where you instruct VirtualDub to start capturing video
For AVI capturing, running filters is honestly best done after capture is over. Few can be active during capture anyway. And of those that will work, many will cause dropped frames, unless you're on some super-duper powered system -- which you're probably not using, given the confines of most video capture workflows (i.e., single core CPUs).

For that reason, capture lossless Huffyuv AVI.

Capture on one, transfer to i7 for processing? Sure. That may help. It really depends on the filter chain in use. In some cases, the bottleneck is hard drive I/O, and a faster CPU won't make any real difference there.

Happy capturing.

Do let us know how it goes. Don't be one of the digitalFAQ.com "disappeared".

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  #14  
07-17-2011, 10:11 PM
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Ok. So I have been messing around with 15/20 sec captures with ATI MMC and VirtualDub. A fee observations:

1. Captures look better with MMC
2. When I increase the screen to " full" screen, there are horizontal lines that are very evident.
3. I think I have the MMC settings straight, but I am not sure if I have the correct critical settings for VirtualDub?

So if I capture with ATI, I will still need Mainconcept correct, since I would be saving it as AVI?
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  #15  
07-18-2011, 06:46 AM
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1. Can you define "better" ?
2. Is this interlacing? Read this guide: http://www.digitalFAQ.com/guides/vid...nd-sources.htm (about halfway down page)
3. Take screen shots of your settings, attach to a reply post.

Yes, you would need an MPEG encoder to create MPEG files (for DVD-Video, or even just archiving as-is) if capturing to AVI. And MainConcept is one of the best (maybe "the" best) software MPEG encoders around.

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  #16  
07-18-2011, 09:14 PM
rappy rappy is offline
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1. The ATI image looks "cleaner". Also, the V-Dub video has a ghosting effect during movement.
2. I think it is interlacing that is the issue. I have attached 2 still captures of approxomately the same image.
(bottom two files)
3. Here are my V-dub settings (well most of them I think). Let me know if I am missing something.


Attached Images
File Type: jpg Audio.jpg (38.9 KB, 4 downloads)
File Type: jpg Audio Compression.jpg (41.8 KB, 3 downloads)
File Type: jpg Capture.jpg (41.6 KB, 3 downloads)
File Type: jpg Capture timing options.jpg (45.2 KB, 2 downloads)
File Type: jpg Device.jpg (38.9 KB, 1 downloads)
File Type: jpg Raw Audio Format.jpg (41.0 KB, 2 downloads)
File Type: jpg Video.jpg (41.0 KB, 2 downloads)
File Type: jpg Video Compression.jpg (47.0 KB, 2 downloads)
File Type: jpg VirtualDub Image.jpg (29.9 KB, 3 downloads)
File Type: jpg ATI image.jpg (22.0 KB, 3 downloads)
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  #17  
07-18-2011, 09:24 PM
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It's almost impossible to clearly see what those screen shots show, since you captured the entire screen, as opposed to just the important bits of the screen.

Perhaps try again, and this time use Greenshot: How to take a screenshot / Take picture of computer screen
It's excellent freeware.

With Greenshot, you can (using your mouse) select what you want to capture, and save directly to JPEG. It's really quite easy.

Thanks.

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  #18  
07-18-2011, 10:21 PM
rappy rappy is offline
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Lets try again:


Attached Images
File Type: jpg ATI Image.jpg (77.9 KB, 6 downloads)
File Type: jpg VirtualDub Image.jpg (29.9 KB, 6 downloads)
File Type: jpg Audio.jpg (49.2 KB, 7 downloads)
File Type: jpg Audio COmpression.jpg (80.1 KB, 3 downloads)
File Type: jpg Capture.jpg (69.1 KB, 5 downloads)
File Type: jpg Capture Setting.jpg (35.7 KB, 4 downloads)
File Type: jpg Device.jpg (48.5 KB, 5 downloads)
File Type: jpg Noise Reduction.jpg (65.1 KB, 5 downloads)
File Type: jpg Video.jpg (83.6 KB, 4 downloads)
File Type: jpg Video Compression.jpg (41.5 KB, 5 downloads)
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  #19  
07-20-2011, 03:54 AM
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Disable noise reduction (NR) in VirtualDub. It may be doing a blur instead of a more advanced quality NR.

Your ATI settings may be deinterlacing, making the image softer and blurry. Interlace is wanted.
What are the settings in ATI MMC?

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  #20  
07-24-2011, 06:20 PM
rappy rappy is offline
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I was out of town for a few days, but I am back at it! Here are my ATI settings. I think they are correct?
ps - I think NR was off wehn I actually captured.


Attached Images
File Type: jpg MMC Main.jpg (36.0 KB, 4 downloads)
File Type: jpg Hyffyuv Config..jpg (93.9 KB, 4 downloads)
File Type: jpg MMC Wizzard.jpg (80.8 KB, 5 downloads)
File Type: jpg MMC Wizzard 2.jpg (94.8 KB, 4 downloads)
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