Quantcast VHS-C to digital video (conversion), need advice! - digitalFAQ Forum
  #1  
01-30-2015, 08:10 PM
DOThunder DOThunder is offline
Free Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 2
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I've wanted to convert my old VHS-C and MiniDV tapes for years and finally jumped in. Of course I started with some hardware without taking the time to do much research. I am using a consumer grade Panasonic VCR that I had on hand and purchased an ION Video 2 PC device.

I started with a 30 minute SP recording of one of my VHS-C tapes and saved it in .mpg2 format using the hardware I mentioned above and Cyberlink PowerDirector 9. Honestly the quality wasn't all that bad (in my newbie opinion). I had low expectations from these old tapes anyway and I figured garbage in/garbage out. But, as I continued, I found many tapes had been recorded in SLP mode (90 mins) on my old VHS-C camcorder and the audio was out of synch when saved to computer.

I've since been doing much reading on this Forum and others on the internet and in all honesty, it can be very overwhelming for someone trying to learn all this stuff so I am looking for some advice.

After reading some of the threads on this site, I decided to purchase a Panasonic AG-5710p S-VHS deck (have not received it yet) and am currently looking for a better capture device. I have been looking at the Canopus ADVC110 Converter.

I need some advice on this capture device and a format to save the digital video in. I was thinking .avi format. Not sure if a lossless format is worth it since the original analog source video is only of VHS quality to start with. Hard drive space is not a concern. I am not interested in creating DVD media of this video and plan to keep the video on a hard drive (backed up) of my computer and stream to my TV.

I have about 25 VHS-C and 25 MiniDV tapes. This is all very important home video and I really want to do this work myself as opposed to sending out to a shop to do.

I am a computer professional and very familiar with Desktop hardware and software but not so knowledgeable with video formats, codecs, capturing, etc. I have a dedicated 128GB SSD that I use to save the captured video onto then move off to a larger storage drive.

Any advice would be appreciated as I would like to do a decent job with this and get the best results possible within reason (realizing that this will never be High Definition quality).
Reply With Quote
Someday, 12:01 PM
admin's Avatar
Ads / Sponsors
 
Join Date: ∞
Posts: 42
Thanks: ∞
Thanked 42 Times in 42 Posts
  #2  
01-31-2015, 12:46 PM
sanlyn sanlyn is offline
Premium Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: N. Carolina and NY, USA
Posts: 3,644
Thanked 1,172 Times in 951 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by DOThunder View Post
I started with a 30 minute SP recording of one of my VHS-C tapes and saved it in .mpg2 format using the hardware I mentioned above and Cyberlink PowerDirector 9. Honestly the quality wasn't all that bad (in my newbie opinion). I had low expectations from these old tapes anyway and I figured garbage in/garbage out.
You figured correctly. PowerDirector does nothing to improve it, either.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DOThunder View Post
But, as I continued, I found many tapes had been recorded in SLP mode (90 mins) on my old VHS-C camcorder and the audio was out of synch when saved to computer.
SLP is likely immaterial. Your capture device, software, and capture settings are more relevant.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DOThunder View Post
After reading some of the threads on this site, I decided to purchase a Panasonic AG-5710p S-VHS deck (have not received it yet) and am currently looking for a better capture device. I have been looking at the Canopus ADVC110 Converter.

I need some advice on this capture device and a format to save the digital video in. I was thinking .avi format. Not sure if a lossless format is worth it since the original analog source video is only of VHS quality to start with.
The lower the qulity of your source, the more important it is to follow good practice for capture, cleanup, and restoration. If all that work is of no concern, you'll get no better results that you did before.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DOThunder View Post
Hard drive space is not a concern. I am not interested in creating DVD media of this video and plan to keep the video on a hard drive (backed up) of my computer and stream to my TV.
DV is PC-only playback. You might find an external media player than can handle DV, but I don't know of one.

MiniDV isn't "captured" or "recorded". It is copied to a computer 1:1 with no re-encoding using Firewire. If you re-encode, your garbage becomes lower quality garbage.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DOThunder View Post
Any advice would be appreciated as I would like to do a decent job with this and get the best results possible within reason (realizing that this will never be High Definition quality).
The best possible results with MiniDV would be 1:1 transfer with Firewire. You'll have to re-encode DV for TV viewing. The best possible quality for VHS-C is lossless capture with something like an ATI capture device to lossless AVI using lossless compressors such as Lagarith or huffyuv. Second choice to that would be capturing VHS-C to DV, but you'll have to live with some noise and re-encode anyway to a more flexible format. Otherwise your Pinnacle setup is the other choice. Many members here would not consider the Canopus to be the ideal choice for VHS.

Actually you haven't mentioned any kind of tbc. VHS-C captured without corrections for line timing and signal errors looks even worse than it does played on your TV directly from tape.

Did you see the capture and restoration guides in this forum?
Reply With Quote
  #3  
01-31-2015, 01:31 PM
DOThunder DOThunder is offline
Free Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 2
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thank you for your reply. I have browsed some of the forum material but looks like I need to do some more research. I will do some more reading, especially on the capture and restoration guides here.

To further explain my situation... At this time, I don't plan to do any editing of my recordings. My main concern is to get this material backed up safely in a digital format that gives me the best quality I can get. I have a home theater PC hooked to my TV so converting to another format for viewing is not really a concern (at least not at this time). I figure if I have master files, in the best possible format, I can always re-encode to another format at a later date should I choose to do so (maybe to share with a family member).

I did however receive my Panasonic AG-5710 today and am excited to get this hooked up.
You mention that I need a TBC. The Panny has one on board, is it recommended to have an external one as well?

Thanks for your explanation of MiniDV as well. I plan to tackle those tapes after I get the VHS stuff done.

If I can bug you for one more question... You mention an ATI capture device. What kind? There are so many devices out there (expansion card, usb dongle, etc).

Thanks again! I am really excited about this project and appreciate the help!!
Reply With Quote
  #4  
01-31-2015, 10:26 PM
sanlyn sanlyn is offline
Premium Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: N. Carolina and NY, USA
Posts: 3,644
Thanked 1,172 Times in 951 Posts
The VCR puts you a step ahead of most consumer players and will give better results. An external frame-level tbc is often used as well; while not absolutely necessary with a good player it does eliminate frame-level signal problems and is essential for damaged, poorly stored, or otherwise deteriorating tapes.

The ATI capture device most often recommended here is the ATI 600 USB or PCI. Lossless capture is achieved using VirtuaLDub as the capture interface, while the capture drivers themselves come with the capture device. The ATI can also capture directly to MPEG2 via its MMC software package. Another capture device that can capture to lossless media is the Diamond VCD500 (also using VirtualDub to capture). Uh, did I get that Diamond model number correct? Hard to remember, but it's definitely a '500'.

Again, the phrase "highest quality possible" shows up again. But most users who've never captured to lossless media don't know what the phrase entails. VHS, VHS-C, SVHS, Hi8 are capped in lossless form to decompressed AVI using Lagarith or huffyuv losssles compressors into a YUY2 colorspace (because YUY2 is a close equivalent to the way luma and color information are stored on analog tapes). Typically such a capture consumes drive space at about 25GB per hour. So frankly I don't think that method is exactly what you imagine it to be. DV runs at slightly lower file size but is not lossless; DV loses some 20% of the overall original data, and for NTSC it loses 50% of the chroma resolution. DV also has some compression artifacts that don't usually show up in VHS-to-lossless capture.

Practically speaking, you would likely prefer a much smaller archive encoded directly to MPEG2 at very high bitrates, which would max at about 3GB per hour, more or less depending on bitrate. It is possible later on to clean up the usual analog tape defects found in those captures. But realize that more compression loss is inevitable with re-encoding, and you'd have to do the fancy intermediate processing as lossless media anyway, and you have to know what you're doing.

The use of an HTPC for television viewing is one of the oddest fads going nowadays IMO, as PC graphic cards aren't all that suitable for TV display. People assume that PC monitors and TV sets display the same way. But of course they don't, and the difference is far more than just progressive vs interlaced-to-progressive. PC monitors and TV sets use a difference colorspace and have different luma and gamma curves, among other factors. The same mismatch occurs the other way around, i.e., watching DVD and BluRay movies on a PC when in fact those media are designed for TV display. Of course most people don't know the difference anyway, for several reasons, and usually neither their PC monitors nor their TV sets are properly calibrated for any medium, regardless of source.

The advantage to lossless is, first, that it's lossless. Second, any future modifications won't damage the new results thru lossy re-compression. Third, lossless media can be encoded to any format or codec imaginable -- which means that lossy encoding from lossless to the usual codecs is only one lossy stage, not multiple stages of loss and degradation. The master archive remains as-is. The disadvantage is that, like DV-AVI, set top and external media players don't recognize those lossless codecs any more than they can recognize lossy DV. Most PC media players, however, can interpret and play the lossless file if the codec is installed on the machine.

As I said earlier, most people aren't so picky anyway. But it's often the case that the more you know about video and graphics, the more closely you watch and the more involved you get, and the more involved you get the more the careless processing gets in your way. It can be dangerous territory.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
02-08-2015, 10:45 PM
lordsmurf's Avatar
lordsmurf lordsmurf is offline
Site Staff | Video
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 9,140
Thanked 1,536 Times in 1,340 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by DOThunder View Post
I am using a consumer grade Panasonic VCR that I had on hand and purchased an ION Video 2 PC device.
Ouch. That ION is probably the worst device I have ever seen in 15 years of digital VHS capture.

A normal Panasonic VHS VCR is pretty bad as well. Seriously, it's one of the worst VCRs ever made in the 90s, only rivaling junk like GE or Magnavox (both of which were old "brand names" by then, not actual companies that manufactured the units).

Quote:
and Cyberlink PowerDirector 9. Honestly the quality wasn't all that bad (in my newbie opinion). I had low expectations from these old tapes anyway and I figured garbage in/garbage out. But, as I continued, I found many tapes had been recorded in SLP mode (90 mins) on my old VHS-C camcorder and the audio was out of synch when saved to computer.
Simply put, you don't know what you don't know. The VCR is bad, the device is worse, and that software made is beyond awful. A VHS tape can look better than the source in 99% of cases. You were making it look about 4x worse than it needed to. Cyberlink easily caused the audio drift, as that's terrible software MPEG capturing, complete with deinterlace.

Quote:
I've since been doing much reading on this Forum and others on the internet and in all honesty, it can be very overwhelming for someone trying to learn all this stuff so I am looking for some advice.
Ask questions. We'll guide you.

Quote:
After reading some of the threads on this site, I decided to purchase a Panasonic AG-5710p S-VHS deck (have not received it yet) and am currently looking for a better capture device. I have been looking at the Canopus ADVC110 Converter.
The DV is indeed better than an ION, but it's still not great. You can do better -- and for less money! (Canopus devices are massively overpriced, especially considering their inferior nature.)

Quote:
I need some advice on this capture device and a format to save the digital video in. I was thinking .avi format. Not sure if a lossless format is worth it since the original analog source video is only of VHS quality to start with. Hard drive space is not a concern.
Lossless AVI (Huffyuv) is highly suggest for VHS. There is no such thing as "only VHS" -- don't make it sound worse than it is. True, it's not digital HD, but it's also not as bad as some think. (Mostly because they've only seen it through nasty VCRs, DVD recorders, capture cards, and software! -- as you have!)

Quote:
I am not interested in creating DVD media of this video and plan to keep the video on a hard drive (backed up) of my computer and stream to my TV.
These days, few do. I store my videos as Blu-ray spec SD MPEG-2 (15mpbs), after capture and a process pass as a lossless Huffyuv file. Capture, quickly restore, then store on 2tb drives. Everything is watched on wireless WDTV plugged in to several TVs here (kitchen, living room, bedroom). Even the discs are backed up as ISO now, so DVD players are not needed. Only a Blu-ray player is used, and that's just when renting/buying discs.

Quote:
I have about 25 VHS-C and 25 MiniDV tapes. This is all very important home video and I really want to do this work myself as opposed to sending out to a shop to do.
That really is a tiny collection. For so few tapes, why not consider a service? In the long run, it will be cheaper, faster, and better looking. (We work with VHS all the time, and I do most of the video projects. See OUR SERVICES at the top of the page, and CONTACT US if interested.) Most DIY projects are better for serious video hobbyists with 100s or even 1000s of tapes in their collection.

Quote:
Any advice would be appreciated as I would like to do a decent job with this and get the best results possible within reason (realizing that this will never be High Definition quality).
VHS video can be very good, even viewed in a 60" screen (from a normal viewing distance).

- Did my advice help you? Then become a Premium Member and support this site.
- Find television shows, cartoons, DVDs and Blu-ray releases at the TVPast forums.
Reply With Quote
Reply




Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Advice on VHS to DVD conversion Zoink187 General Discussion 5 01-29-2014 05:28 PM
Advice on video conversion strategy for TV Shows and Movies naripeddi Encode, Convert for discs 4 01-31-2013 02:16 AM
Setting up a VHS > Digital conversion rig guokamoli Project Planning, Workflows 14 06-16-2011 09:34 AM
Seeking Guidance on VHS to digital conversion equipment and procedures... kaliree Project Planning, Workflows 6 02-22-2011 02:39 AM
Video conversion service advice? also HuffYUV vs DV Kereellis Project Planning, Workflows 12 02-16-2010 01:49 PM

Thread Tools



 
All times are GMT -5. The time now is 02:46 PM