Quantcast Is this a good plan? (PAL VHS workflow) - digitalFAQ Forum
  #1  
08-19-2016, 10:20 PM
Turok81 Turok81 is offline
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I have some home videos I would like to capture to my computer in lossless AVI format. That sounds like the most convenient solution. I'm at a planning stage and considering buying a Philips VR1100 S-VHS with built in TBC and NR. It's supposed to be a JVC rebrand, so that should make it a good choice, right? Though my home videos are VHS-C tapes and I've heard JVC units don't play well with them, so I guess the same goes for a rebranded JVC unit? Could this be a problem?

These tapes were recorded with a Panasonic NV-A3 camera that I still have, but the battery is completely dead so I can't use it at the moment. There are replacement batteries sold on ebay. Would it be a good idea to buy a new battery for the camera, use it to play the tapes and capture with? I don't think it has any kind of TBC, but at least it has s-video out. Should I explore this option or just stick with an S-VHS VCR?

I want to get an ATI 600 USB card for capture since I've heard a lot of good things about it. I should be able to get it to work in Windows 10, right? Otherwise, I've heard the Hauppauge usb-live2 and EZCAP.TV 116(not the easycrap) are good alternatives.

I suppose getting an external TBC is something I also should consider, but I'm not sure what to get.
It seems like Virtualdub is the software you guys prefer, so that's what I'm planning to use. Editing and filtering after capture is not something I want to worry about right now. I want to get a good quality capture to have as a starting point and then I can worry about editing later.

My computer is not very powerful by today's standard, but hopefully enough for the job.
I3-2120T
4GB RAM
Windows 10

Philips VR1100 S-VHS player (built in TBC and NR)
External TBC
ATI 600 USB capture device
Virtualdub
Lossless AVI

Does this sound like a good plan? Will a setup like this potentially give me better quality than the original tapes?
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  #2  
08-23-2016, 10:33 AM
sanlyn sanlyn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Turok81 View Post
I have some home videos I would like to capture to my computer in lossless AVI format. That sounds like the most convenient solution.
Well, no, it's not the most convenient but it offers the best way of of capturing and processing analog sources.

How many tapes?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Turok81 View Post
considering buying a Philips VR1100 S-VHS with built in TBC and NR. It's supposed to be a JVC rebrand, so that should make it a good choice, right? Though my home videos are VHS-C tapes and I've heard JVC units don't play well with them, so I guess the same goes for a rebranded JVC unit? Could this be a problem?
The VR1100 is a nice VCR but will have the same JVC problems you heard about with VHS-C. A high end Panasonic would be preferable. Also, if any of these tapes are recorded at long-play slow speeds, JVC usually gives inferior performance with such tapes. Some recommendations here: http://www.digitalfaq.com/guides/vid...k-hardware.htm.

Even better, get a battery for your camera and see if tapes play properly. IF it has no line tbc, you can pinch-hit at fairly low cost using a recommended DVD recorder as a pass-thru device for its line-tbc and frame sync capabilities. I use a Panasonic ES10 or ES15 for tbc pass-thru with non-tbc players when my high end SVHS Panny won't track certain tapes well. A post on line-timing sync errors and samples of initial fixes using tbc pass-thru are here: examples of line sync errors in captured video , with more notes here on line and frame tbc's: difference between line and frame tbcs

The ATi600 USb and Hauppauge USB-Live2 are recommended. They work with Windows 10. No version of the EasyCap has ever been recommended here. Having tried the "genuine" article myself, I'd say it's waste of time and money. Here are some notes on installing the ATI in Windows 10: ATI USB 600 install on Windows 10 64-bit?.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Turok81 View Post
I want to get a good quality capture to have as a starting point and then I can worry about editing later.
With respect to post processing, Windows 10 has many software limitations not posed by Windows 7 or XP. Even with 64-bit systems, stick with 32-bit VirtualDub and post processing. 64-bit restoration apps and resources are in such short supply as to be useless.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Turok81 View Post
Will a setup like this potentially give me better quality than the original tapes?
Along with notations given above, the setup will work OK. A good capture is indeed the best starting point, but lossless capture isn't designed to give a finished product. It's designed to give you the most accurate digital copy of your source without inflicting further capture-time damage on the results. We've seen improper and lossy encoded captures that look pitiful. "Better" comes with post capture cleanup and decent final-output encoding to your preferred delivery format. Lossless video is a processing and archival format, not a final delivery format. But with lossless video your choices for cleaner and better final output are unlimited.

The forum's recommendations for guaranteed, properly restored and tuned hardware including VCR's and TBCs would be TGrantPhoto. Proper hardware repair is highly skilled work and isn't cheap. Your least reliable source would be eBay, from which we've seen too many complaints and sad stories.

Last edited by sanlyn; 08-23-2016 at 10:44 AM.
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  #3  
08-23-2016, 03:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Turok81 View Post
I'm at a planning stage and considering buying a Philips VR1100 S-VHS with built in TBC and NR. It's supposed to be a JVC rebrand, so that should make it a good choice, right?
Usually, yes, but...

Quote:
Though my home videos are VHS-C tapes and I've heard JVC units don't play well with the
Yes.

Quote:
so I guess the same goes for a rebranded JVC unit? Could this be a problem?
Correct, JVC hates the 'C' format. I don't get it. I've seen far too many JVC VCRs eat those tapes, and read far too many horror stories from others. Panasonic transports are therefore safer.

Quote:
These tapes were recorded with a Panasonic NV-A3 camera
The myth of "play the tape in the recording camera/VCR" is just that -- myth. That is only true if the original recording was misaligned, due to deck issues. However, in many cases, the misalign was the first sign it was failing, and that unit failed (and was junked) long ago.

Quote:
Would it be a good idea to buy a new battery for the camera, use it to play the tapes and capture with? I don't think it has any kind of TBC, but at least it has s-video out. Should I explore this option
No.

Quote:
I want to get an ATI 600 USB card for capture since I've heard a lot of good things about it. I should be able to get it to work in Windows 10, right?
Yes.

Quote:
Otherwise, I've heard the Hauppauge usb-live2 and EZCAP.TV 116(not the easycrap) are good alternatives.
Eh.
- Hauppauge has always been about DVR/PVR, so capturing tapes on one has never been a good experience -- especially for lossless or uncompressed AVI. I forget the strengths/weaknesses of that exact model.
- EzCAP earned the name "EasyCrap" for a reason.

Quote:
I suppose getting an external TBC is something I also should consider
Yes.

Quote:
It seems like Virtualdub is the software you guys prefer, so that's what I'm planning to use. Editing and filtering after capture is not something I want to worry about right now. I want to get a good quality capture to have as a starting point and then I can worry about editing later.
All good.

Quote:
My computer is not very powerful by today's standard, but hopefully enough for the job.
I3-2120T
4GB RAM
Windows 10
Yeah, that's fine. My capture system doesn't even have that (XP, 2gb, dual-core).

Quote:
Philips VR1100 S-VHS player (built in TBC and NR)
External TBC
ATI 600 USB capture device
Virtualdub
Lossless AVI
Does this sound like a good plan?
Yes.

Quote:
Will a setup like this potentially give me better quality than the original tapes?
Yes.

This post took some reading, but I didn't have to write much in response but 'yes' and 'no'. You've clearly done your homework, and seem to be on a correct path for what you want.

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  #4  
08-23-2016, 07:52 PM
Turok81 Turok81 is offline
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Ok. thanks for the advice guys. I guess I should look for a good Panasonic deck. The only reason I had the VR1100 in my sights was because it's the only S-VHS player I can currently find for sale in my own country. But I'm ok with buying from somewhere like ebay. I guess that's always going to be a bit of a gamble, though. I'm in PAL land, by the way. I'm finding the thread with the list of good VCRs extremely useful in my hunt.

I only have about 10 VHS-C and 5 VHS tapes, but there may be a few more lying around somewhere. I didn't mention it in my first post, but I already tried digitizing the tapes before using a crappy VCR and a Magix usb device. Tapes played fine, but the capture was very poor with noise, artifacts and dropped frames. Issues that are not there when I have the VCR hooked up directly to my tv. But that's to be expected when capturing without proper equipment.

I even had some of the tapes done by a professional, but they completely butchered the videos. Sure they removed the noise and and frame issues, but it's like there's a layer of vaseline smeared over the videos. It's just a blurry mess with visible compression artfifacts. In some ways it looks even worse than the capture I got with my crappy VCR and Magix device. This was very surprising to me, I expected it to at least look as good as the original tapes. But, oh well, I'll just take it as a learning experience. It was naive of me to think a company can give VHS tapes the individual attention they need and provide this service for an affordable price. Want something done right, do it yourself, right?
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  #5  
08-23-2016, 09:41 PM
sanlyn sanlyn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Turok81 View Post
I even had some of the tapes done by a professional, but they completely butchered the videos. Sure they removed the noise and and frame issues, but it's like there's a layer of vaseline smeared over the videos. It's just a blurry mess with visible compression artfifacts. In some ways it looks even worse than the capture I got with my crappy VCR and Magix device.
Sorry to hear about that. We see similar tales frequently and it always riles me to hear them. Digitalfaq has posted the names of so-called "pro" shops that are pro in name only and produce worse than clueless results.

Being in PAL country does make it difficult to find capable players. But don't think NTSC land is swimming in plenty. Players that aren't battered through use are scarce everywhere. I've had frustrations along those lines, as most users have. Bur, then, I started with almost 400 hours of recorded tapes. Paying a shop for that much work, even for captures alone, was beyond my salary grade. I had a few of those tapes sent to digitalfaq for lossless capture-only and was pleased with the results, which originally started me on the road to restoration on my own and proved the value of lossless media for the work.

Good luck with your project. Don't hesitate to browse the forum for ideas and ask for help.
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  #6  
08-23-2016, 10:04 PM
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lordsmurf lordsmurf is offline
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Yes, please tell me the name of the "pro" so we can ream them. That's utter bollocks on their part. I have several more BS services to name-and-shame, but haven't had ample chance to do so. I just get so bogged down from health and site tasks sometimes. It's hard to add new video-topic content.

When it comes to costs, remember: Buy it, use it, resell it.
This is also a reason we have a free-for-members marketplace forum, to avoid eBay fees.

VHS (and VHS-C) can look much better than the source -- we do it all the time, and have for years.

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  #7  
10-03-2016, 02:37 PM
Turok81 Turok81 is offline
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Just a small update. Well, I just got my hands on an ATI 600 usb device. Found a pretty cheap one on ebay, and it seems to work fine. I had a bit of trouble getting it to work at first. Setting up this thing with PAL capture in Virtualdub seems very finicky. The LED light on the device doesn't come on either so I feared it was a dead unit and almost gave up. But after fiddling around with the settings back and forth a lot I eventually got it to work with PAL. I'm not sure exactly how, it seemed more arbritary than anything else. But at least it works now.

Did a quick capture test, and I'm really glad I got this unit now, because I see a clear improvement over previous captures, even with my crap composite VCR. Feels good to know I'm on the right track. Next step is getting a decent Panasonic S-VHS player. I'm using the VCR buing guide, watching some units on ebay. Guess I'll just have to take a gamble on one since I don't see any other options than ebay for PAL units. There seems to be a few that have been overhauled according to the seller, and come with 12 months warranty, but they are quiet expensive. Still it's probably better than buying a slightly cheaper "as is" unit that's been pulled out of a dumpster.

I will worry about getting a TBC after I have a good VCR. I'm finding this forum extremely helpful, and I'm learning something new all the time. It is a lot of trouble for relatively few cassettes, but I've come this far and I'm very determined to go through with this and do it the right way.
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  #8  
10-03-2016, 04:06 PM
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lordsmurf lordsmurf is offline
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Setting up VirtualDub for PAL capturing is always finicky. The author is in NTSC-land.

LEDs burn out. I have a new HDD here where the LED went within the first 5 times of use. I almost panicked when I saw the light off when I flicked the switch, but the drive is fine. I hate LED anyway; saves me the trouble of covering it with electrical tape!

In EU, eBay.de and eBay.co.uk are both good for VCRs. PAL has several good Panasonic models, while NTSC really has just the one.

How expensive is "expensive"? (Use xe.com to find $USD equivalent.)

I have two TBCs left, both are PAL compatible.

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