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  #1  
10-31-2011, 10:24 PM
mguitonxlt mguitonxlt is offline
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First, I just wanted to say that you have a great website and forum. From what I have read, you have a wealth of information within these pages.

Now, on to my problem, err, my challenge. I was hoping to get some advice on converting 200 hours of family analog videos to digital files which would be stored on several multi-terabyte external hard drives. These are full sized VHS tapes, mostly recorded (from late 80s to 1999) by a Montgomery Ward Signature 2000 VHS Camcorder Model 10687 (probably a very low end camcorder). Almost all of the tapes are in very good condition. I assume they are in SP. According to the VCR manual, it says the video signal is EIA Standard (525 lines, 60 fields) NTSC color signal. The video recording system used a helical scanning system with 4 rotary heads. Audio used 1 track. Pick-up system is sequential color difference, field reverse system.

I currently have a quad core AMD processor based system running Windows Vista. It is about 2 years old. I installed USB2 ports.

My plan is to buy a nice S-VHS VCR based on your recommendations. Since no one makes these models anymore, I could really use your help locating a good one that isn’t already damaged.

I also plan to buy an external TBC, probably an AVT-8710. In addition, I will need a capture card. I was considering buying the AIW 600 USB2, but if you think I should buy something different, please let me know.

With this new hardware, I would capture to Huffyuv AVI using VirtualDub. I assume I should use 720*480 to ensure the best quality. I guess that would mean 8K bit rate? I am not worried about the size of the files. 30-40Gig per hour is ok. I have a reasonable amount of money to spend on these items.

If I read this site’s advice correctly, then I believe the process would go something like:
Step 1 – put VHS tape into S-VHS player. Connect S-Video cable from S-VHS player to the external TBC.
Step 2 – connect a second S-Video cable from the external TBC to the capture card.
Step 3 – download, install and then run VirtualDub.
Step 4 – play VHS tape in VCR and start capturing with VirtualDub.

Please let me know if this process makes sense. I would appreciate any help you could give me.

Thanks,
Mark from Crystal City
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  #2  
11-04-2011, 06:10 AM
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kpmedia kpmedia is offline
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Before I begin...

Answering this post took a few days longer than normal because I wanted to dedicate some computer time to it, as opposed to quick iPad time. I've edited your post to space things out properly. All of the line breaks were gone. Did you copy/paste from Notepad or Word? I'm curious what may have caused loss of line breaks. Or maybe you typed it on a tablet or mobile phone?

On to the questions/answers and comments ...


Quote:
First, I just wanted to say that you have a great website and forum. From what I have read, you have a wealth of information within these pages.
Thanks much.

Quote:
Now, on to my problem, err, my challenge.
I like your attitude already. Exactly the kind of person that's enjoyable to teach.

Quote:
I was hoping to get some advice on converting 200 hours of family analog videos to digital files which would be stored on several multi-terabyte external hard drives. These are full sized VHS tapes, mostly recorded (from late 80s to 1999) by a Montgomery Ward Signature 2000 VHS Camcorder Model 10687
A standard type of project. All you need is good/proper equipment to make it happen in a quality way, which is why you're here, and I'll be glad to instruct you on what specifically is needed for this kind of workflow...

Quote:
several multi-terabyte external hard drive
Hard drives are NOT a reliable archiving method, when used alone, and in singular fashion. By "alone", I mean that the only copy is on hard drive -- not still on archived/kept tapes, not on discs (DVD or Blu-ray versions), etc. By "singular", I mean you don't have mirrored copies of the hard drive, and on drives from a different manufacturer. For example, a good backup policy on a hard drive would be to have a "master" 2TB Western Digital drive, and a "backup" copy of that 2TB WD HDD on a Seagate or Hitachi 2TB drive. Backups are required, and in redundancy. Yes, it costs a few bucks -- currently $100 per 2TB drive -- but you'll thank me later.

Quote:
(probably a very low end camcorder).
Cheap 80s cameras have a number of issues dealing with ghosting, flares and color accuracy. Be aware that these are considered "shooting errors" and are largely irreparable. While you may be able to correct some of the color with a proc amp and/or good editor (NLE like Adobe Premiere Pro), there's little that can be done for these sorts of shooting flaws. Archive as-is, keeping in mind that "fixing them perfect" is not your goal.

Quote:
Almost all of the tapes are in very good condition. I assume they are in SP.
Inspect the tapes physically, too -- for mold (white on tape), crinkling, missing oxide (flaking black), etc.

Quote:
According to the VCR manual, it says the video signal is EIA Standard (525 lines, 60 fields) NTSC color signal. The video recording system used a helical scanning system with 4 rotary heads. Audio used 1 track. Pick-up system is sequential color difference, field reverse system.
Standard technical specs -- nothing too important to know for the purpose of the project itself.

Quote:
I currently have a quad core AMD processor based system running Windows Vista. It is about 2 years old. I installed USB2 ports.
Good hardware. The "quad" core doesn't mean much. The per-core speed matters more for video work.
Vista poses a nuisance on some tasks, but we've documented most of them quite well on this site, so your waiting to do this project was in some ways beneficial to you.

Quote:
My plan is to buy a nice S-VHS VCR based on your recommendations. Since no one makes these models anymore, I could really use your help locating a good one that isn’t already damaged.
Everything you need to know is here: VCR Buying Guide (S-VHS, D-VHS, Professional) for restoring video
There's nothing I can add beyond that.
Well, unless you want to post some eBay links, and seek advice on "which one should I get" -- but even then, that thread is thorough.

Quote:
I also plan to buy an external TBC, probably an AVT-8710.
I have one DataVideo TBC-100 left, new in box, for $300 + shipping, guarantee to work perfectly. (I tested it thoroughly, which is the only reason the box was opened.) I bought out the final stock at a liquidation sale of a video store that went under last year. $300 is cheaper than they were new, and only slight more expensive than the AVT-8710 that is undergoing some sort of manufacturer chipset issue (meaning a new AVT-8710 could be bad).

Let me know ASAP if you want it. I've been offering these new, one by one, to people on this forum -- rather than selling the on eBay or whatnot. I wanted to be sure I had enough for "my people" instead of just random people. I'm down to three, and plan to keep two for myself.

Quote:
In addition, I will need a capture card. I was considering buying the AIW 600 USB2, but if you think I should buy something different, please let me know.
For your computer, I think this is best option. Get the ATI 600 card.
Amazon is suggested: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...SIN=B0035BJGYW
Less risky than eBay.

Quote:
With this new hardware, I would capture to Huffyuv AVI using VirtualDub.
Or MPEG -- but AVI lossless is generally better.
However, you can split the difference, and go for a high bitrate MPEG-2, in the range of 15Mbps (or more, with Matrox codecs in VirtualDub).

Quote:
I assume I should use 720*480 to ensure the best quality.
Depends on the content. VHS is way below 720x, and then most cameras have lousy optics, so even 352x was a challenge on the resolved detail. Either is fine, to be honest. 352x fits more a disc, with the same visual quality as 720x. In fact, sometimes 352x helps hide various "detail" noise (small noise that isn't really detail, just noise).

Quote:
I guess that would mean 8K bit rate?
Lossless AVI has no bitrate to choose from. "8K" (betting that you mean 8Mbps) is an MPEG-2 bitrate measurement.

Quote:
I am not worried about the size of the files. 30-40Gig per hour is ok.
Huffyuv is lossless quality, and ~35GB/hour on average.

Quote:
I have a reasonable amount of money to spend on these items.
Good. Being cheap leads to diminished quality.

Quote:
If I read this site’s advice correctly, then I believe the process would go something like:
Step 1 – put VHS tape into S-VHS player. Connect S-Video cable from S-VHS player to the external TBC.
Step 2 – connect a second S-Video cable from the external TBC to the capture card.
Step 3 – download, install and then run VirtualDub.
Step 4 – play VHS tape in VCR and start capturing with VirtualDub.

Please let me know if this process makes sense. I would appreciate any help you could give me.
That is it -- perfect summary of what will be done.

Quote:
Mark from Crystal City
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  #3  
11-06-2011, 04:04 PM
mguitonxlt mguitonxlt is offline
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Thanks for your recommendations, very good advice overall. I have a few responses and questions:
1) I usually write in Microsoft Word or Outlook and then paste. I wonder why it messed the message box up.
2) I will add your hard drive strategy to my plan. Great idea.
3) I am interested in buying your TBC-100. Please let me know how I can do that. Am I correct in thinking the TBC-100 has to be installed in my computer vs. a standalone TBC-1000? If so, does my process change. S-Video cable goes into the TBC-100 card. I assume there is another S-Video connection going out of the card. So i connect an S-Video cable from the TBC card out to the AIW USB device?
4) Virginia
5) Since I am not an experienced Ebay user, buying a VCR from the site makes me uncomfortable. So if you don't mind reviewing the links below, I would be grateful. There were many more links, so I put only the best ones based on your list. I would be curious as to which one you would pick if you were in my shoes. Or, if you have any other good idea on how to get a VCR for this project, I would be all ears.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Panasonic-AG...item43aad38744

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Panasonic-AG...item2a10a83421

http://www.ebay.com/itm/PANASONIC-AG...item27bfceb191

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Panasonic-AG...item5ae346497e

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Panasonic-AG...item5ae3635514

http://www.ebay.com/itm/JVC-DVHS-HM-...item3a6ad17d50

http://www.ebay.com/itm/JVC-SR-V10U-...item2eb547290b
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  #4  
11-11-2011, 05:24 PM
NJRoadfan NJRoadfan is offline
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Regarding VCR purchases:

Buying the Panasonic AG-1980/5710 'as-is/untested' is a bit like playing roulette. The machines have well known problems with capacitors that cause various picture quality problems (barber poling, herringbone noise, loss of color, etc.) Even if the machine is tested, very few people actually look out for these picture quality issues (aside from the obvious loss of color).

The JVC SVHS decks are a bit easier to purchase, they seem to have less issues then the older Panasonic. The trade off is that they tend to have problems tracking EP tapes and are troublesome playing back VHS-C tapes in an adapter. For SP tape playback out of camcorders, they are a very good choice however. That SR-V10 is a good deck for the price.

The HM-DH40000U is a bit on the high side, a good working unit usually goes for $150-200. That unit is also sold as the Marantz MV-8300 and the JVC SR-VD400U. The machine also has the added benefit of tracking EP tapes better then the old SVHS JVCs, and it can be used as a pass-through TBC.

Also, NEVER pay a lot for a completely untested VCR, my personal limit is $50 for those units. Always assume an untested VCR is broken. Its not very hard to stick a random VHS tape into a machine to test playback. Sellers of broken equipment DO test their VCRs and if they don't work they make up a story like "don't have to equipment or tools to test, selling untested/as-is". The only exception to this is high volume sellers (mostly govt surplus auction purchasers). They can get away with this excuse because its time consuming to test a pallet of equipment before listing. If the guy selling it is an occasional seller, buyer beware.
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  #5  
11-11-2011, 05:44 PM
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lordsmurf lordsmurf is offline
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I looked at the auction links a few days ago, but didn't have any immediate thoughts beyond guidelines I've written elsewhere in the forum. (I think it's on my VCR suggestions guide.)

Is the dFAQ member "deter" the seller "av-collection" ? I don't remember.
I'd probably buy one of those, if the price isn't outside what you're able to budget for a VCR.

SouthernAdvantage (SA) is a store that can be trusted, but you'll pay out the nose for the VCR.

A "tested" VCR is not turning on the power, and seeing a LED light! A proper VCR test includes the following:
  1. TBC works
  2. Heads physically inspected, look good.
  3. Heads are playing a clean image and signal
  4. The display is not going out -- AG-1980P's have a major dysfunction with the LED display failing.
  5. All the buttons, sliders, knobs, etc work.
  6. It tracks SLP mode VHS fairly well, and all SP mode recordings -- meaning it's aligned
  7. It doesn't feather tapes (curl up edges, ruining tape -- "eaten" by the VCR, although a minor "eat")
(I need to write out a full guide when time is available. So hard to keep up lately. Too much to do.)

I'd buy a JVC SR-V10U, if there's no special need for the AG-1980 (lots of EP tapes, VHS-C tapes, etc).

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