Quantcast Please review my video capture setup! - digitalFAQ Forum
  #1  
06-08-2016, 04:46 PM
willow5 willow5 is offline
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Hi - I am new to this forum and the world of vhs to digital capture.

I have a Canopus Advc300 and a SVHS Mitsubishi HSM1000 but my tapes are not SVHS, only vhs and some betamax ones too but I have yet to buy a betamax player for these.

I want the best possible capture and in some cases to improve the original video quality (such as any grainy video). I am not sure whether I need a TBC having done a test capture. I also don't want to use the grass valley software that came with the ADVC. Is there any better software out there which is compatible with the ADVC300?

Also is there any software that would capture or read any teletext information that I may have recorded on vhs?

I really want the capture to be as professional and high quality as possible so would really appreciate your advice.
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  #2  
06-09-2016, 08:11 AM
sanlyn sanlyn is offline
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Hello, and welcome to digitalfaq.

Quote:
Originally Posted by willow5 View Post
Hi - I am new to this forum and the world of vhs to digital capture.

I have a Canopus Advc300 and a SVHS Mitsubishi HSM1000 but my tapes are not SVHS, only vhs and some betamax ones too but I have yet to buy a betamax player for these.

I want the best possible capture and in some cases to improve the original video quality (such as any grainy video). I am not sure whether I need a TBC having done a test capture. I also don't want to use the grass valley software that came with the ADVC. Is there any better software out there which is compatible with the ADVC300?

Also is there any software that would capture or read any teletext information that I may have recorded on vhs?

I really want the capture to be as professional and high quality as possible so would really appreciate your advice.
IF you really want the capture to be of the best quality you can get, you won't get it by capturing to lossy codecs with the Canopus or any other DV card. Analog to digital transfer devices and encoders expect a clean, noise-free signal. VHS is anything but free of noise and has plenty of other problems to boot. Those problems look worse when captured to lossy codecs. Almost every member here would advise that for original digital transfer and cleanup with VHS, you should capture to lossless media (lossless YUY2 AVI). The Canopus cards don't capture to lossless media, at least not without some complicated workarounds that are hardly worth the hassle. Lossless media from VHS makes large files, larger than DV, but the file can be reduced in size using lossless compressors such as huffyuv, Lagarith, or UT Video during capture and intermediate work stages. Lossless can then be encoded to any desired final output format. Lossless capture does have the same VHS noise and defects as your source, but it does not have the added problem of noisy lossy compression artifacts, some of which are all but impossible to clean.

DV, MPEG, h264, etc., are lossy codecs. These encodings, and particularly DV, were not designed for restoration, cleanup, color work, etc. DV is shoot-and-watch media not designed for further modification. The best you can do without damage to DV is simple cuts and joins. DV is for PC-only playback. DV is not supported by external playback devices except for a scant few specific external media players. It isn't supported by the internet. So any way you look at it, DV has to go through another round of more lossy encoding to be transferred to universally compatible media. Each stage of lossy encoding involves further loss. None of it can be recovered later. If you capture to other delivery formats such as MPEG or h264, you are limited to working cuts and joins with smart-renderimg apps designed for it. For more detailed work or cleanup, all lossy codecs have to be decompressed to lossless media for working files to prevent further encoding loss. Lossless media is designed for restoration and for what many refer to as "editing". Lossless working files can be losslessly recompressed again and again without compression damage.

I'm not familiar with your Mitsubishi in detail, but I've seen it mentioned often. VHS can be played in SVHS players. The preferred output from SVHS players is s-video cable. You can use composite output if you wish, but s-video will be cleaner.

If you haven't been through the forum's capture guide, you should take a look. Some of the hardware mentioned is dated these days, but the working principles haven't changed. http://www.digitalfaq.com/guides/video.htm
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  #3  
06-09-2016, 08:51 AM
willow5 willow5 is offline
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Thank you very much for your detailed response sanlyn.

I was led to believe that canopus was one of the best video capture devices and used by professionals, is this not the case? Does it only capture lossy formats?

I haven't yet been through the capture guide so thanks for pointing that out. From what you have mentioned, I guess my vcr is fine with the S-Videi option but I will have to purchase alternative hardware to capture lossless formats, is that right?
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  #4  
06-09-2016, 10:01 AM
sanlyn sanlyn is offline
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Many transfer shops use Canopus to transfer tape end even film to various DV formats. As far as I know, the transfer service here doesn't use that method for analog tape sources (correct me, anyone, if I'm wrong on that. I don't work here). There are many who think analog to DV is the greatest thing since whatever. I tried it. I'll never do it again. I've seen it tested and demonstrated, always with conflicting comments, and usually approved by users who don't intend to do any restoration work but take the results as-is. Those who do repairs have to go through hoops to get the results they want. You'll have to decide on that score.

This doesn't mean that all capture devices optimized for analog source capture are "the best". Some are classics, some are really good, some are so-so, many are terrible. The best of them are either out of production but still available now and then, while a very few are priced sky-high and require specific expertise and other hardware. Also keep in mind that original DV source itself is not captured or re-recorded, it's copied 1:1 without re-encoding. I'm suspicious anyway of a Canopus card that claims it has an internal tbc, when it's been proven that if that tbc exists it does nothing. I learned years back that the least trustful source is the maker's advertizing. I apply that to any maker of any video product, IMO. I'm also of the school that holds that multiple lossy encodes are neither better nor cleaner than one.

As I say, different strokes for different folks. I've used or seen many methods and came to my own conclusions through experience with over 300 VHS tapes of my own and hundreds of posts in several user forums from Adobe to Canopus to this one and back again. We can recommend, but no one here would force a decision onto anyone. Everyone takes the path that best suits their purpose.

Whatever you do, remember that you're welcome to post short samples in digitalfaq if you need specific help.

Last edited by sanlyn; 06-09-2016 at 10:30 AM.
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  #5  
06-09-2016, 10:29 AM
willow5 willow5 is offline
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Thank you Sanlyn - maybe there is a misunderstanding here. When you say DV, are you referring to DV tapes as used by digital camcorders ? I do not have such tapes here. In this scenario I only wish to transfer VHS to a digital file and nothing more.

What would you recommend in this case ? I only want to keep it simple and do a straightforward transfer of the highest quality to a digital file
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  #6  
06-09-2016, 10:57 AM
sanlyn sanlyn is offline
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Yes, I referred to original DV video source. Many users mistakenly re-encode DV to a computer or DVD/PVR device.

The forum has posted recommended cards for VHS capture several times. Some are limited to XP (which we recommend for the better VHS capture devices anyway), some will work with Win7, most won't work with Win8 or Win10. It depends on your system. Your PC system is unknown, and I've ceased recommending some cards because I've never used them myself or seen definitive examples of what some of them can or can't accomplish. But many here will chime in with suggestions. In any case you don't need a super-computer to capture VHS. A few even use laptops (I can think of easier ways to go through life, LOL!).

In my own case for capture I use a couple of home-built XP PC's and a retrieved Dell Pentium-4 XP, all equipped with ATI All In Wonder AGP cards (7500 and 9600XP Radeons, which are long-time favorites). My capture software is VirtualDub. With my Win7 machine I've used a Diamond VC500 USB and VirtualDub with satisfactory results, and the VC500 is about as unsophisticated as it gets. After going through 9 VCRs over the years, a couple of which were duds, I now use 3 different VCRs. At least one will track a problem tape better than the other two -- you never know until it's tried.

Quality begins with decent captures. The magic lies in post-processing and encoding for the final output which can be whatever you want. This business of digitizing from analog is not as straightforward as many blogs and marketers make it out to be. Analog and digital are vastly different worlds. But everyone here learns to do it, proving that it can be done despite the laws of physics.

Many advanced users who use different capture gear aren't here all the time, but when they show up they have helpful info. I just got back here myself after a long week.
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  #7  
06-09-2016, 12:39 PM
JoRodd JoRodd is offline
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I have used the ADVC-300 for years and have been happy with my results.

I transfer SVHS, VHS and Beta tapes (usually broadcasts of sports events) from VCR (Panasonic AG-1980, JVC HR-S5100U or Sony SL-HF450) to ADVC300 to PC or to my DVD recorder. On my PC, I capture using Scenalyzer Live, edit with Adobe Premiere (I have a WinXP dual boot for this very reason) and encode using ProCoder 3.

I use the ADVC to color correct mostly and have found that it does enhance the quality of what I am capturing.

Am I missing something? Can I get better results?
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  #8  
06-09-2016, 01:06 PM
willow5 willow5 is offline
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Interesting thoughts.

@JoRodd, do you find the ADVC300 to give you a good quality capture? Can you elaborate on how you use Scenalyzer Live to capture and whether it captures in lossless or lossy format?

@Sanlyn, would you therefore recommend that I ditch the ADVC and get an ATI like this one on ebay: 182156367361 ? I must admit that I am getting slightly confused with what the optimum configuration is.......
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  #9  
06-09-2016, 01:08 PM
sanlyn sanlyn is offline
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You have a couple of good players and some nice software, BTW. But if you're happy with the results, what would you want to improve?

No one can answer the question with any certainty without a sample. But your video would be of a different character than Willow5 described about his own work. If you care to post a sample, however, please do so by starting a new thread.
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  #10  
06-09-2016, 01:25 PM
JoRodd JoRodd is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willow5 View Post
Interesting thoughts.

@JoRodd, do you find the ADVC300 to give you a good quality capture? Can you elaborate on how you use Scenalyzer Live to capture and whether it captures in lossless or lossy format?
It's a simple setup. I make sure it is set to NTFS for unlimited capture and set the file type. "Canopus Compatible DV-files" is the file-type setting I usually use. There is also another file-type that works for me - "Type2 DV-avi for Premiere or Vegas". The Canopus setting is good for real time preview and editing.

To my eye, I have never noticed any loss when capturing using Scenalyzer. Also, it keeps the audio in sync and I am able to trim/split the captures as needed.
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  #11  
06-09-2016, 01:27 PM
willow5 willow5 is offline
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Thanks for the information. Do you recommend using a TBC with the ADVC or is it adequate without? What is the file format of the capture?
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  #12  
06-09-2016, 01:36 PM
sanlyn sanlyn is offline
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Canopus DV and Type2 DV-avi are lossy formats.
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  #13  
06-09-2016, 02:32 PM
willow5 willow5 is offline
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Thanks Sanlyn...please could you comment on my earlier post on the type of card I need to purchase from eBay?
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  #14  
06-09-2016, 03:37 PM
sanlyn sanlyn is offline
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I previously mentioned the former All in Wonders as either AGP or PCI cards for analog source, but they're not very plentiful on eBay or anywhere else. Users and transfer/restoration shops that still have them are pretty stubborn about keeping them. Drivers are limited to XP. There are newer USB and PCIe devices from Diamond, ATI/AMD, and Hauppauge -- I mentioned one from Diamond Multimedia earlier.

Be careful about auction sites. Many list the famed AGP models but lack the necessary connection dongles and drivers. Most of those cards were made for either NTSC or PAL, but those models are specific to one or the other of those sources, not to both. Finding them intact is a trek in itself. You'll also find occasionally one of the high-priced models from other makers, but each has its peculiarities and requirements. Once configured properly, AIW's are straightforward in use. Other users would have to advise about the big guys like Aja Kona and Matrox MX -- both are above my salary grade unless you can find a good price, all the proper connections and whatnot, and learn to use them. There's a list of AIW alternatives here: Best ATI All In Wonder card alternatives, to transfer tapes to digital?. Some aren't listed, such as the VC500, but it's basically a modified clone of the ATI USB's and at least has updated drivers for XP, Win7, 8, and 10. It's certainly cheap enough for a trial run, selling at 1/3 its original price of a few years back. There are other posts in that thread concerning driver downloads available here, and other comments. I'd suggest that the PCIe cards in that list are better choices. Some are still sold new at Amazon. I have a personal misgiving about the ATI 600 USB and won't recommend it -- it just doesn't behave like a "real" ATI device in my opinion but, then, ATI itself no longer exists and is now part of AMD. The 600 USB also has OS driver limitations, and brand new ones are hard to come by. Some will disagree about my misgiving with that device, but it's low cost enough for a trial if you wish. I don't think you'll find it "new" at sites like Amazon. You'll also find Canopus in that list, but there are cautionary notes about its use with analog sources.

At auction sites and online you'll find both the genuine EZCap 116 and countless cheapo clones of it. It's a popular card for some strange reason, but its captures always look rather weird and grimy IMO. The cheap clones are even worse and notoriously unreliable. The "real" EZCap is sold at its maker's site and is not the cheapest choice.

The legacy All In Wonder line is still highly preferred, and some pay outlandish premiums to get a good used one and build or find XP PCs for it. VHS and analog capture disappeared from the mainstream and are not a priority for capture card makers. Many end up with DV devices as a result of this scarcity, and for some in many areas it's the only choice. Analog to DV is a tough row to hoe. It's not impossible. But for repair, restoration, color grading, etc., it sure is a lot of extra work that isn't needed by devices that were/are specifically designed for analog source.

Some of the countless members here with other capture cards are bound to chime in sooner or later.
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  #15  
06-09-2016, 03:46 PM
willow5 willow5 is offline
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Thank you once again Sanlyn for the detailed response. Do you happen to know anything about Osprey cards ? Its just that I have access to one of these cards too but know nothing about them...perhaps this could work for me somehow ?
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  #16  
06-09-2016, 03:55 PM
sanlyn sanlyn is offline
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There are some old (and some new) posts about Osprey in this forum. The latest conclusion from lordsmurf, the main admin authority around here on capture devices, doesn't recommend it. Another user concluded that it's pricey but doesn't do as well as some budget ATI-type USB or PCIe cards.

How many tapes do you have, BTW? If not hundreds of them, digitalfaq's capture service is likely cheaper than building a preferred system. Output is lossless YUY2, which you can work with to your heart's content. Just a thought. And, no I don't work here so there's no profit in it for me. But I have used them in the past for my own stuff when I needed a quickie.

Just a thought.
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  #17  
06-09-2016, 04:45 PM
willow5 willow5 is offline
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Thank you again. I have too many tapes to mention here collected over 3 decades so really need to do these transfers myself....how do you suggest I proceed?
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  #18  
06-09-2016, 04:59 PM
sanlyn sanlyn is offline
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Depends on the operating system you're using now.
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  #19  
06-09-2016, 05:00 PM
willow5 willow5 is offline
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I have XP, Windows 7 and Windows 10
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  #20  
06-09-2016, 05:27 PM
sanlyn sanlyn is offline
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XP for capture offers the widest choices. You can do post processing somewhat faster in Win7. Much of the software we recommend for restoration or cleanup is free and a lot of favorite freebies won't work in Win10.

Again, I'd go for one of the PCI or PCIe devices mentioned in the alternative list. Wherever you get it, insist on getting its software and a liberal return policy if you don't like the results. Unless you can find a ready-made XP machine with an AGP motherboard and appropriate CPU, you're in for the hassle of a lifetime trying to build one just for mounting an All In Wonder....assuming you could even find an intact AIW from the 7500 on up through the 9xxx series.

In any case, don't try capturing 4 hours of tape to get an idea of how it's going. All you need are a few minutes here and there from a single tape, which should tell you as much as hours would tell you. Use 32-bit software and lossless compressors. And for that matter you'll be using some 32-bit fixers and filters, mainly because so many favorite filters have no 64-bit counterparts and likely never will.
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