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Kugelfang 04-17-2015 10:55 AM

VHS capture setup feedback - more equipment needed?
Dear all,

I'm currently panning on capturing around 100 VHS cassettes. After lots of reading in this forum (thanks for all the valuable info) and ebay survey I bought the following devices:

Blackmagic intensity shuttle USB 3.0 (is this a good choice)

Is there any other equipment that I need? In particular do I need an additional TBC?

Beside all of that I also still have an JVC HR-D980 VCR and another crappy no name VCR that I bought back in 2005. Moreover I also still have the original camera (Panasonic M3) most of the content was originally recorded with. Would it be better to feed the capturing device with the S9600 or the original camera?

Iím currently planning on capturing the videos in Huffyuv using either VirtualDUB or Adobe premiere and archive these as untouched files on harddrives.

In addition I want to keep a deinterlaced and processed mpeg2 version for everyday use and streaming within the house.

It would greatly appreciate if someone could give me some feedback on whether this setup is a good choice or not or how to further improve it.


i Just realized that the Blackmagic Shuttle only allows for Uncompressed 4:2:2 8bit or 10bit instead of huffyuv. :question:

lordsmurf 04-17-2015 11:23 AM

The common workflow is

SVHS VCR with internal TBC >
external TBC >
optional proc amps and detailers >
capture card or DVD recorder

Sometimes other VCRs must be used, no TBC for a special tape, etc. But the workflow is usually good for 90-95% of the tapes in a project. (The others you can either figure out at the end, after the others are done, or you can send them to an experts like us to transfer for you.)

Do not Premiere to capture. It's terrible. Use VirtualDub, and go to lossless Huffyuv AVI.

If you want a streaming files, then it needs to be deinterlaced with QTGMC and encoded as H.264 (x264 with Avidemux).

Blackmagic cards have been found to have several fatal flaws, mostly regarding unreported dropped frames. Given that, it's better to find another card. The best video capture hardware was based on Windows XP, so building a separate computer just for capture is suggested. Then get yourself an ATI All In Wonder AGP card.

Kugelfang 04-17-2015 02:55 PM

Hi lordsmurf,

thanks for the quick reply. ok so virtualdub with huffyuv it is, but unfortunately building up a dedicated PC is not an option right now. Do you have any other suggestions for another capture device which works better than the blackmagic shuttle preferentially based on USB but pcie would also be ok

Kugelfang 04-17-2015 02:57 PM

on a side not, i trashed my PC with an ATI radeon 9800 AIW just one year ago :smack: before i ever thought about capturing my VHS

Kugelfang 04-22-2015 03:27 AM

so i slightly changed my workflow but there is one more question that came up which i hope someone can help me with.

I was directly connecting the S9600 via S-Video connection to the Blackmagic Shuttle. However, on some tapes i got a lot of lost frames most probably due to timing issues. For that reason I'm now feeding the video signal for problematic tapes trough an DVD recorder acting sort of as an external TBC which is capable of video passthrough. I know that an dedicated external TBC would be the way to go but I do not want to invest any more money at the moment. I can feed the DVD recorder via S-Video and it is capable of either 3-component or S-Video output. Since the Shuttle accepts both, which one would you suggest to use?

I ran some quick test and so far not a single frame was dropped on the problematic tapes using the DVD recorder. Also the picture quality was virtually identical using S-video or component connection betwen the shuttle and the DVD recorder. However I did not know which sort of image change specifically to look for. In contrast to the workflow without the DVD recorder however, the image looked slightly less noise most probably due to a certain degree of NR in the DVD recorder.

In addition: do i also have to feed the audio signal through the DVD recorder or is it better to correct the delay due to the additional device in the video chain in software only?

sanlyn 04-22-2015 09:25 AM

That's a somewhat convoluted workflow. I'd say you've left yourself open for a lot of unnecessary work -- and specifically, you should be aware that lossy encoding (MPEG, h264, etc.) is lossy, period. Each re-encode loses more data from the original, and it's data that can't be retrieved later. If the DVD recorder gives you cleaner captures, why use the Shuttle? As it is, no one here recommends that capture device for VHS. You can record directly to the DVD recorder (not the best way, but likely OK if you use a very high bitrate) and transfer that recording to your computer as a 1:1 copy.

Lordsmurf has the right idea. Since the last step in your workflow is deinterlacing and re-encoding for streaming, you can avoid a lot of image loss and audio sync problems by capturing with an ATI USB device to lossless huffyuv in Virtualdub-- which means one and only one encode as the last step. ATI and Hauppaugue ATI-style USB devices are discussed in a number of threads here, and drivers are available for different versions of Windows in this forum. I'd also take lordsmurf's advice about Premiere. It's fine for editing and other corrections with lossless media, but you can get better h264 or MPEG encoders for much less than the cost of Premiere, including many good free ones.

This forum has hundreds of threads dealing with proper and better methods for digitizing VHS. The methods you suggest will look no better then the original tapes, and probably somewhat worse.

You did mention that your MPEG captures look OK to you, which is an odd statement because at the same time you state that you don't know what you're looking for. If you can provide a short 10 seconds or so of a capture, many members here can help you with that. If you don't know how to make a short MPEG sample without re-processing what you cut out, let us know. There's a lot of free and simple software around that can do it.

Kugelfang 04-22-2015 09:54 AM

Dear sanlyn

thanks for the detailed answer. In fact I already set up VirtualDub for direct capture in huffyuv. What i did to test the steup was to record a few minutes without the DVD player in the chain and with it. Than i played both videos side by side and i could see virtually no difference aside of the lower noise level with the player in the cain. I'll prepare two samples tonight and upload them.

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