Quantcast Help with Beta conversion workflow/equipment - digitalFAQ Forum
  #1  
06-03-2015, 12:04 PM
digitap digitap is offline
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So I have about 30 or so Beta tapes of home movies that need transferred. I have a working Beta deck, so that piece is solved. I was going to take the analog outs from the deck into my panasonic PV-GS250 camcorder then transfer over DV to my pc. After reading here, that seems like a bad idea, but depending on cost tradeoffs, might still be my only option.

So, what's the best way to get from the Beta deck to PC?

I'm guessing for best quality, I'd want to put a TBC in the loop, correct? I'm just not sure since most analog focuses on VHS, I wasn't sure if Beta suffered from the same issues. Also, I see that some TBCs only have the video, so would connecting audio straight in while video passes through the TBC cause any AV sync issues on capture?

Would I also need one of the VCRs suggested in the sticky threads? Just not sure that since I'm coming from a beta deck vs VHS if a VHS deck is redundant or would make things worse. I just wasn't sure if running the analog out from the beta into a VHS VCR, then out to the TBC/PC via S-video would make any difference.

Lastly, With the Beta deck and possibly TBC in the path, what's the recommended solution for connecting to the PC? Would any old analog-USB dongle do the trick, then just use other software to capture? Or do I really need one of the AIW cards?

Edit: I should also add, I'm working on a Windows Vista system, and I'm looking to spec out a decent home use rig, not a business or "top quality at all costs". I also have some VHS-C tapes I'll eventually transfer as well as a whole host of Mini-DV. I'm assuming Mini-DV won't be a problem since I have the camera. VHS-C I'll need to keep an eye out for a decent VCR as I think I threw my nice JVC into the Goodwill pile when cleaning out the basement, not thinking that I still had all those tapes.

Thanks for any help!

Last edited by digitap; 06-03-2015 at 12:27 PM. Reason: Additional info
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  #2  
06-04-2015, 06:28 AM
dpalomaki dpalomaki is offline
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A few thoughts.

Some of the factors in you decision process should be:
How much am I willing to spend?
In time?
In money?
In learning?
How good is good enough for your purposes? most of the regulars here have extremely high standards for conversion compared to the population as a whole.

Evaluate the trade off between investing you time, money, and energy in building and learning a transfer system and proves, vs. sending it to be commercially done (I believe the site owners offer that service).

For a small number of tapes (perhaps the VHS-C) it is unlikely worth the effort set-up a good DIY system. And 30 Beta tapes is likely boarder line when the total DIY vs. hire-out costs are compared, especially if there is a learning curve factored in and this is not a labor-of-love hobby for you.

The Mini-DV should not present a problem capturing via IEE-1394 (Firewire). The capture should be lossless relative to the information on tape.

In general capturing analog to DV (e.g., MiniDV) is not the best way if you have any image processing or restoration of the capture image in mind.

For analog tapes: an external TBC is almost always necessary. A proc amp for color correction prior to capture is often needed as well.

The el cheapo USB capture devices (e.g., $29 with software) are generally not good.

Try your MiniDV camcorder pass through. If you are satisfied with the result declare victory and move on with life. If not, then start investing time, and no small amount of change, in building a system, or hiring it out.
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06-04-2015, 12:38 PM
digitap digitap is offline
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I'm ok with the learning as that's what brought me here. Sending tapes out would likely cost about the same as doing them myself, depending on equipment needed. I'm assuming the $200 range tbc's is what I'd be targeting. Investment in a decent vcr would also be necessary since I have the vhs-c tapes, too. I just wasn't sure if the vhs was a necessary workflow step for the beta tapes. Since the beta tapes have some mold/other stuff on them sending off to a restoration service is probably out of the budget and I figured most services would probably reject the tapes. If they didn't then who knows what other crap they accept and run through their equipment. To boot, I sent off old 8mm film for transfer by another company and the really botched it (could elaborate on that separately) so I'm pursuing at home options for now.

So I guess my real questions are for modern pcs (vista and newer), are the AIW USB capture devices the way to go, or can some of the internal PCI cards work with the newer os's?

Second, do I need a Vhs in the capture workflow for beta tapes?

Third, what is a proc amp?
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06-06-2015, 02:34 PM
dpalomaki dpalomaki is offline
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Can't see how a VHS VCR would help in capturing Beta tapes.

Not all transfer services are bad. You will have to to search a bit and get customer feedback, maybe send a test tape too, to fine one that will meet your needs.

Proc amp is a processing amplifier that is used for analog signal adjustments including brightness, contrast, color saturation and hue as a minimum. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Processing_amplifier.

I use a BlackMagicDesigns Intensity Pro as an analog capture card in my Win7 64-bit PC. It works for me, but some folks do not care for it. Most capture cards need a good, clean, stable signal for reliable capture.
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