Quantcast Help with Panasonic and Hauppage workflow. - digitalFAQ Forum
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01-02-2013, 12:31 AM
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Hi lordsmurf, I first want to thank you for all the information you share. I seriously wish I could pay you, having learned so by reading your posts. I am in need of some advice regarding VHS transfer.

My Hardware

VCR - Panasonic AG1980
Capture Card - Hauppage WinTV-HVR-1255
Computer - Windows 7 64 bit with intel i-7 8 gigs of ram, SSD drives, nice GPU, etc

Situation -

I am looking to digitally archive my medium quality home video VHS tapes. My experience with digitally archiving film leads me to think that the best route is to first capture in the highest quality possible (i.e. create a "master" file) and then encode (and compress) this master file down to the desired size/formats as needed/desired.

The problem that I'm running into is that I just can't decide/figure out the best workflow. I'm kind of stuck at the moment. Speed is very important to me, as I'm getting dozens of tapes from all sorts of family members.

The suggestions I've seen that if you're going to burn to DVD, you might as well skip the whole VirtualDub to avi. process and use something like VideoReDo. I have tried this suggestion and I quite like VideoReDo for the ease and speed of getting a VHS lightly edited and authored to DVD. The problem with WinTV+VideoReDo is that I only have a .ts file as my master. Furthermore, compressing/encoding the .ts file to .mp4 (using VideoReDo) for sharing/streaming isn't yielding very good results, but they are OK (this may be a result of my settings).

So, if you were personally in my same position, and you were wanting to have...

1. A high-quality "master" file in a format that has a reasonable expectation to be playable (and therefore encoded/compressed) in 20 years.
2. The ability to take this same master file, and burn it to DVD.
3. The ability to take this same master file, and compress it to a format that will play in a web browser with the resulting file size being between 100-400 MB.

What would you recommend? Is my desire possible without having to re-capture? Thank you in advance, and sorry if I left out important information or included too much extraneous information.

Sincerely,

Kennethlee

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  #2  
01-02-2013, 12:44 AM
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Lordsmurf is not available right now, but I will be glad to answer your question. (See also Important Update for Dec/Jan...).

-Not ever a waste to capture as HuffYUV in virtualdub if quality is most important.
-I have concerns that your Hauppage card may not be very good for AVI capture unfortunately.
-Try the ATI 600 USB instead.
-VideoReDo is really and editor for MPEG-2 it does MPEG-4 but its more of a sideshow. It's best to not use when quality matters most.
-.ts files are really not what you should be doing. HuffYUV AVI to MPEG-2 is really the optimal work flow.
-The Panasonic VCR is a good one, if it is working properly.

If you want to get back, we would love to have you as a Premium Member.

Thanks,
-JMP
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01-03-2013, 01:05 PM
kennethlee kennethlee is offline
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Premium membership? Done. I now have a few more follow up questions to your response.

1. So, I'm happy to get a new capture card, but would you mind sharing the specific concerns about the Hauppage card for .avi? I'm curious.

2. The ATI 600. In the amazon reviews, someone mentioned there aren't drivers for Win 7 64 bit. If that is true, do you have another recommendation for capture card, or is that specific one such a standout I should dual boot my machine into a compatible OS?

3. I suspected the .ts file was not really what I should be doing. Which takes me back to my first question, why not just use VirtualDub and rip to .avi?

4. You started your response by saying never waste a capture to HuffyUV, but then say my optimal workflow is to go from HuffyUV AVI to MPEG-2. Am I missing something?

Thanks for your help JMP and I'll keep lordsmurf and family in my prayers.

Kennethlee
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01-03-2013, 01:44 PM
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Hey there, thanks for becoming a premium member.
I'll try my best to answer some of your points.
-There are drivers for the ATI 600 USB for Windows 7 x64, I refer you to this post here from Lordsmurf (ATI 600 card doesn't work in Windows 7, how to use?)
-What I meant by saying never a waste was ripping to a HuffYUV AVI file as a master is the optimal choice which you can do in VirtualDub if I'm not mistaken.
-You can then use that HuffYUV file and convert to MPEG-2 for DVD or other formats as you need.
-I wish I could give you the specifics for why the Hauppage may not be good for AVI, but at the moment I can't really recall, sorry.

Thanks,
-JMP
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  #5  
01-03-2013, 01:57 PM
kennethlee kennethlee is offline
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Thanks for the quick response. You are correct, I just read your initial comment about VirtualDub incorrectly. Good to hear about the drivers for that card.

About the capture card, I could a second one anyway, so I think I'll go ahead and pick one up. Question though, you recommended the USB one? Any reason for that? What about the PCI-Express one here...

http://www.amazon.com/Diamond-ATI-Wo...Wonder+HD+600?

And what is your recommendation for software to convert the avi to mpeg-2? What about for web viewing? What settings do you recommend for that particular software? Remember, i'm doing mid-quality VHS and im looking for speed and ease, not necessarily eeking out every bit of "quality" from the original VHS.
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  #6  
01-03-2013, 04:15 PM
robjv1 robjv1 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kennethlee View Post
Thanks for the quick response. You are correct, I just read your initial comment about VirtualDub incorrectly. Good to hear about the drivers for that card.

About the capture card, I could a second one anyway, so I think I'll go ahead and pick one up. Question though, you recommended the USB one? Any reason for that? What about the PCI-Express one here...

http://www.amazon.com/Diamond-ATI-Wo...Wonder+HD+600?

And what is your recommendation for software to convert the avi to mpeg-2? What about for web viewing? What settings do you recommend for that particular software? Remember, i'm doing mid-quality VHS and im looking for speed and ease, not necessarily eeking out every bit of "quality" from the original VHS.
There are potentially more pitfalls and time pits with computer capture, so if you're looking for a speed/quality balance, I'm not sure that a vintage DVD recorder wouldn't a better match for you. VHS is inherently a noisy source and even with your VCR, a capture using the ATI cards will leave most of it intact, which may or may not be your preference. So you'll have to further process the resulting file to deal with the noise if it doesn't look good to you (and it may be especially annoying on a very large screen). Some of the LSI logic DVD recorders will do a decent job minimizing grain/noise in real-time, without the additional time spent rendering to an intemediary file. The capture won't be as clean as one captured lossless and filtered, but it can be done in less time.
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  #7  
01-03-2013, 04:45 PM
volksjager volksjager is offline
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the ATI600USB works fine in 64bit 7 - that is what i use

the very best DVD recorder is the JVC DR-M100
this has the LSI chipset and removes grain and chroma noise from VHS captures (something no capture card can do) only use either XP or FR155 modes

you should also add an external TBC to the workflow
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01-03-2013, 06:10 PM
kennethlee kennethlee is offline
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Thanks rob and volks for your input. I would actually love to avoid the computer altogether (in terms of speed) but I am specifically looking to be able to 1. Have a "master" .avi on my computer, 2. convert the .avi to mpeg-2 for burning to dvd and 3. Convert the .avi to a highly compressed format compatible for web streaming.

The LSI chipset quality intrigues me though, and it kind of makes me wonder if having an uncompressed .avi as the "master" is all that necessary. I could always import the resultant DVD to my computer for the encoding to a web format... hmm.

Any suggestions considering that? Any comments about the PCI-E card vs the USB one?



I've thought about external TBC, but I wanted to see if I wasn't happy with my result without one first.
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  #9  
01-03-2013, 06:20 PM
volksjager volksjager is offline
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the good ATI PCI-E capture cards only work with XP
the 600usb is the way to go with 7

i have had good results with:
AG-1980 -> TBC -> JVC DR-M100(set on XP or FR155 mode)
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  #10  
01-03-2013, 08:15 PM
robjv1 robjv1 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kennethlee View Post
The LSI chipset quality intrigues me though, and it kind of makes me wonder if having an uncompressed .avi as the "master" is all that necessary. I could always import the resultant DVD to my computer for the encoding to a web format... hmm.
Capturing to AVI and then rendering that version directly to a web version isn't going to look all that good anyway for marginal VHS tapes, it'll be very noisy, especially on an LCD in full screen. So without spending the time to filter out the noise, you're actually moving in an even less ideal workflow than if you just went the DVD recorder route.

You really need a three step process if you're doing it on the computer:

Capture lossless --> filter noise in resultant file into lossless intermediate --> render down into DVD/web versions.

The advantage of the computer route is quality if you do all three steps -- you get both a sharper and less noisy master / distribution versions. The disadvantages are time/space requirements. If you do just step 1 and step 3, you basically remove all of the advantages to doing it on the computer in the first place -- the ability to more carefully and accurately filter noise because you're using advanced alogirthms and not doing it in real time. The LSI recorders have special hardware that is specifically designed to address this though, so they are a huge help. Also many of the older ATI cards for use on Windows XP machines were much more well suited for VHS work, because they did similar filtering on the inputs. Not anymore.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kennethlee View Post
Any suggestions considering that? Any comments about the PCI-E card vs the USB one?
I've thought about external TBC, but I wanted to see if I wasn't happy with my result without one first.
Depending on your tapes, you may need an external TBC, but it's worth a shot without it as they'll cost you between $250 and $600.

As far as PCI-E vs USB, I can't think of any meaningful difference between the two, although some people do note that they get more noise via interference from components in the computer in the audio with PCI-E cards versus USB cards. That may be specific to a particular model of computer / combination of equipment though.

Whether going the DVD recorder route and re-encoding that to a web-version is going to look good enough for you is hard to say -- a lot of it depends on your tapes. If you've got pristine SP tapes, shot on a good camera, with a tripod, in good lighting, then you probably won't see a huge difference between the two workflows. If you're dealing with dark, jittery EP tapes that don't track easily or play well on your VCR, then they'll probably need all the help they can get.

I previous did all of my capturing using a JVC DR-M100S DVD recorder and the results were fantastic as long as you chose appropriate speeds (see volksjagers reply). I often re-encoded them for uploading on YT and they looked solid as long as you did a multi-pass encode. These days, I pretty much do all of my converting with a ATI 750HD on the computer. The quality of the 750HD is undeniably better especially with very noisy tapes, but the process takes probably 3x the time per tape for me.
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01-07-2013, 01:10 PM
kennethlee kennethlee is offline
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Thanks guys for your help so far. Looks like I have a battle of the two workflows. Anyone care to weigh in and give me a final suggestion?

Workflow #1 Computer

Encode to HuffyUV as my "master"
Run some filters on the resultant .avi (which filters?)
Render down to mpeg-2 (dvd version) (which software, which settings?)
Render down to web version (which software, which settings?)

Workflow #2 JVC DVD Recorder

Record to DVD using a JVC Recorder with the LSI chipset
Import the DVD to my computer as my "master"
Render down to web version (which software, which settings?)

In terms of quality, I'll be honest, I'm not THAT particularly picky, but not so lazy that I'd be bothered by running a filter on an .avi, especially if the quality would be magnitudes better. What I'm really trying to avoid is having to change a massive series of settings or filters for every tape that comes through just to get a decent DVD and web version.

I do suppose I'm leaning towards the DVD recorder, mostly due to robjv1's comment that when he used a DVD recorder for his transfers, his Web versions looked "solid" (with a multipass encode). Solid seems to describe exactly what I'm looking for for the web versions (the web version being the least necessary to look "best").

I guess it all comes down to how well the DVD versions will look. It sounds like the DVD recorder route will give me very good results, but from what you guys have taught me, there may be some tapes where doing a capture with an ATI card and running a few filters would be better. In the end, I'll probably end up trying both myself, unless you guys have enough experience with these two workflows to assure me I won't be missing out too much choosing one over the other.

Lastly, thanks for all your help, turns out that premium membership was worth every penny!
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  #12  
01-07-2013, 09:54 PM
robjv1 robjv1 is offline
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I'm going to chime in a bit more on workflow #1 --

So much of what determines whether or not this will be a good workflow for you is your threshold for being able to accept your work as good enough to be done with it. I think a lot of us start out with one level of expectation, abandon it once we realize how complicated it can become with a large collection of tapes, then learn a few things and redo old work, establishing a new baseline for a standard of what is acceptable.

That's one of the issues with recording on the computer -- there are dozens of tools you can use for each step in that workflow. Some are more user friendly than others. Some cost nothing and others cost several hundred dollars or more. So the big time investment with recording to a computer is due to the learning curve of trying different stuff out and seeing what works best. There is a *lot* of trial and error involved, so just be aware of that.

Since you're asking about programs -- I'll expand a bit upon the workflow I mentioned before. Computer capturing and burning to DVD basically falls into these tasks, with each subsequent group being fed a file from the previous step.

Capture --> Filter --> Encode --> Author --> Burn

Really, it's no different with a DVD recorder, except all of those steps are handled by the box.

On the computer, many people use a different program for each step, while others use program combining several of those steps into one. Hopefully others will offer their workflows, but I typically capture with VirtualDub, filter using some of the plugins that come with it or are compatible with VDub (see next paragraph), encode using MPEG Reference Encoder, and author with DVD Lab Pro 2. I burn using ImgBurn -- and unlike the other categories where there are a lot of options, ImgBurn is far and away the best burning program (and free too) so you should definitely use it. A step many people have trouble understanding is authoring -- that's more or less adding incidental things like menus and chapter stops to your video, but more crucially it is putting the files into the DVD-Video structure needed to burn it to a disc and be playable in a DVD player.

Just to point you in a direction, as far as filters, it depends on the issues your tapes have. If most of those issues can be dealt with on your VCR, then you're starting off on the right foot. For noise reduction though, I really like Neat Video. It's fairly easy to use and you can get the home version for about $70 and I find for about 90% of my noisier tapes that it does a fantastic job far surpassing anything else I've tried. I typically only use the temporal filtering and occasionally the sharpener when needed. A word of caution, it's extremely easy to overdo it though, so you have to keep a light touch with it and test out your captures. If your tapes aren't particularly noisy, it may be overkill. Not everyone favors it.

VirtualDub has some very nice free tools for adjusting color and other aspects of the picture if you need it, ColorMill and Gradiation Curves both come in handy and are big favorites. Once again, you'll wanna make sure your filtered files look good on your final display device -- it's easy to pump up the contrast/brightness up too high where it looks good on a monitor, but blown out on a TV.

If your technical aptitude is high, you might want to look into AviSynth. It's a video scripting language that has a ton of filters and flexibility, but since it's script based (think programming languages) a lot of people struggle to get very far with it. You can do just about anything with it though.

In the end, you'll have to evaluate things with your own eyes, but if your footage is in decent shape, the LSI DVD recorders are not eons off from computer capturing.

Just out of curiosity -- are most of your tapes SP or EP recordings? Are you aware of any common issues or problems with them?
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  #13  
01-07-2013, 10:24 PM
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Video is not easy, and there are a lot of decisions when it comes to it, which we all want to help you with beforehand.

For computer conversion it needs to be HuffYUV for quality. Use Avisynth for detail work if you are worried about quality. So what you will have is a Raw capture then an Avisynth archive.

There is a balance between quality and time.
HuffYUV and Avisynth is the best you can do. Have you considered BluRay? kpmedia prefers MPEG-2 because its 15Mbps. The alternative is the h.264 BluRay. The problem with that is it takes a lot longer to encode but the benefit is that it is non-square pixels.

I could write a book about why tapes need different settings, but needless to say, each individual tape may require some amount of work either to get it to play/cooperate and/or individual filters. Lets say we have 40 tapes, I would probably have about 10 different settings and filters.

I have some more for you on this, but I have to step out for now, I will be back to fill you in on the rest.

-JMP
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  #14  
01-07-2013, 11:15 PM
robjv1 robjv1 is offline
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Oh and one other word on Neat Video -- it's very slow, even on an I7. With your setup at DVD resolutions, you can expect to get maybe 18 to 26 fps most likely, so you're talking a few hours of processing for a few hours of video.
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