Quantcast Archiving with Matrox MXO2 and JVC VCRs? - digitalFAQ Forum
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12-06-2016, 10:28 PM
leeoverstreet leeoverstreet is offline
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Hi Digital FAQ! I've been lurking a while now, and learning a lot. I've loved the detail and expertise, so I guess it's time to finally ask questions! I hope the "Project Planning, Workflows" forum is right for this.

I'm about to do a good ol' fashioned digitizing of home videos, so here goes:

THE TAPES (approximately): 100 VHS, 6 VHS-C, 6 S-VHS, 10 8mm, 40 Hi-8, 22 DV, 24 HDV. The DVs are already captured. Nearly all the tapes are in quite good condition with analog from 1985 - 2003, and digital from 2004 - 2015 (last HDV). The few poor ones I'll probably just send to you guys. :-)

VCRs: Main - JVC HR-S9911U (2003) & backup - JVC HR-S9500U (1998), both with line TBC/NR and working great.

FOR CAPTURE: Matrox MXO2 mini & PCI card (& Sony LCD HDTV for video output)

COMPUTER: Self-built in 2014 with i7-4790K CPU, 16GB RAM, Win 7 Pro 64, SSD & two 6TB RAID0's, GTX 750 Ti GPU, Dell 1920x1200 IPS monitor, LG Blu-Ray / DVD burner

SOFTWARE: Adobe CC suite, with Premiere CC 2015.2. My wife gets an amazing educator discount! I have not yet tried diving into the recommended VirtualDub world.

I'd like to:
1) Capture tape uncompressed (analog tapes)
2) Export from uncompressed lightly edited MPEG-DVD files and burn to DVD for piece-of-mind offline backup
3) Export from uncompressed more edited h.264 mp4 (deinterlaced) to store on a PC media server
4) Export from uncompressed even more edited h.264 mp4 (deinterlaced) in 640x480 square pixel etc. for YouTube
5) Save some videos as uncompressed or lightly compressed files for later use in a YouTube podcast about my old radio show which will combine modern HD formats with some of the old NTSC stuff.

WHEW!

I'm starting with VHS, and so far, my VCR playback looks great. Luckily, almost all of these tapes were kept in good condition. Good camcorder tapes seem to look best with the JVC set to EDIT mode and the TBC/NR ON (which, since 1998 I've called the "magic green button!"), and television tapes seem to look best in AUTO mode with the TBC/NR ON. I've had a few tapes with issues that needed the TBC/NR turned OFF to play without tearing at the top (a tape with wrinkled edges, for example). On camcorder tapes AUTO mode seems like too much noise reduction, with what looks like temporal smoothing, but it sure helps with noisy television tapes, especially with dark color noise. Anyway, playback is good overall, and I'm loving how these VHS look on my little Sony 32" HDTV, and am especially impressed on my Panasonic 50" plasma.

Captures with the MAtrox MXO2 to either Matrox's fully uncompressed (~80 GB/hr!), or to their MPEG-2 I-frame 4:2:2 codec (default 25Mbps, adjustable up to 50), look great. Upon playback from a Premiere timeline, it looks to me just like playing straight from the tape. The only problem seems to be the MXO2's signal passthough to the TV during capture. It's someowhat unstable, disappearing occasionally via HDMI, and jumping around some via component analog. Poorer tapes do it more, good tapes almost not at all. Sometimes it seems to lose sync or maybe lose the field order after a signal gap on the tape. But like I said, no matter how the passthrough looks, the actual captured file is rock solid so far across several tapes. Maybe the MXO2 has a full frame TBC? No idea. But it looks nice. It makes me happy.

My issues so far:

1) When I capture uncompressed with the MXO2 mini, I get a 720x486 video. 486! I didn't notice it wasn't 480 until I happen to be exporting to a h.264 format for YouTube, and noticed how soft it looked. After much research, I only learned that 720x486 is the old analog standard, and more professional devices can create such a file, but what good does that do me? No apparent way to change it to uncompressed 480i. Capturing via MPEG-2 I-frame yields a 480i file as one would expect. So upon export from Premiere, the Matrox documentation says to choose "scale to fill" for 486i videos instead of the default "scale to fit," and "fill" seems to just crop off the 6 vertical pixels, and then crops pixels from the sides (8, I would assume) and scales back to 720 (so 712 to 720?). Even knowing that cropping and light scaling is going on, it actually looks pretty darn good on export. But it bugs me knowing it's not IDEAL. Any ideas / analysis, other than trying VirtualDub Huffyuv at 720x480?

2) De-interlacing! As you know, Premiere only has one method of de-interlacing, and that's to throw away one field. Sad, and very noticeable. This is where I start getting angry at the degradation of the image. I've been considering the Fieldskit de-interlacer, since it's a plugin for Premiere. I also see AviSynth & QTGMC mentioned a lot, but boy that looks like a learning curve. I just want some decent motion detection / prediction, and to stop throwing away half my video!

Any ideas / advice on my "issues" or general setup? If I can solve those two issues, which may require forum threads of their own, I think I can plow on into this project. Sorry for the long post (best my OCD brain can do), and thanks for any help!
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  #2  
12-07-2016, 03:51 PM
sanlyn sanlyn is offline
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Welcome to the forum.

Something you'll often you'll see when cruising forum posts is that no one here recommends capturing VHS (or anything else) with an NLE like Premiere or any of the budget imitators. No one would recommend them for restoration or repair, either. That's not what they were designed for.

Quote:
Originally Posted by leeoverstreet View Post
1) When I capture uncompressed with the MXO2 mini, I get a 720x486 video. 486! I didn't notice it wasn't 480 until I happen to be exporting to a h.264 format for YouTube, and noticed how soft it looked. After much research, I only learned that 720x486 is the old analog standard, and more professional devices can create such a file, but what good does that do me? No apparent way to change it to uncompressed 480i. Capturing via MPEG-2 I-frame yields a 480i file as one would expect. So upon export from Premiere, the Matrox documentation says to choose "scale to fill" for 486i videos instead of the default "scale to fit," and "fill" seems to just crop off the 6 vertical pixels, and then crops pixels from the sides (8, I would assume) and scales back to 720 (so 712 to 720?). Even knowing that cropping and light scaling is going on, it actually looks pretty darn good on export. But it bugs me knowing it's not IDEAL. Any ideas / analysis, other than trying VirtualDub Huffyuv at 720x480?
Indeed, Virualdub is what you should be using. That's what it's capture utility is created and optimized for. Capture to 720x480 YUY2 using lossless huffyuv or Lagarith compression. That would be the basis of your lossless working mode, much of which would be accomplished in that original YUV colorspace. No need to export, there it is right in front of you. All that rescaling and whatnot in Adobe is horrifying -- that and some other very un-professional quirks were among the deal-breakers with me and Premiere.

You'll probably want to have Lagarith for lossless compression and the post-processingn needed for VHS, not much of which is very effective with Premiere.

Quote:
Originally Posted by leeoverstreet View Post
2) De-interlacing! As you know, Premiere only has one method of de-interlacing, and that's to throw away one field. Sad, and very noticeable. This is where I start getting angry at the degradation of the image. I've been considering the Fieldskit de-interlacer, since it's a plugin for Premiere. I also see AviSynth & QTGMC mentioned a lot, but boy that looks like a learning curve. I just want some decent motion detection / prediction, and to stop throwing away half my video!
You'll hate bhearing this, but I'll repeat it: NLE editors aren't restoration or elemental rebuild platforms. They're editors. There's not much software around that can compete with Avisynth for manipulating video right down to its elemental pixels, and a lot of work has gone into doing things correctly and with precision. You'll see reports here and elsewhere that Premiere, despite its talents in some areas (color correction, one of its desired virtues), doesn't deinterlace properly, doesn't resize well, doesn't make many colorspace conversions properly, has sloppy resizing, can't undo telecine effects well (inverse telecine), no talent for real noise reduction, and has a few other faults. What's wrong with Avisynth or even the venerable VirtualDub?

QTGMC is the best deinterlacer for most types of video, better than your TV or set top players. It's highly configurable but luckily it comes with a bunch of presets that do a lot of things well. If you explore restoration threads you'll see QTGMC and its lesser competitor yadif all over the place and used with some pretty simple scripts, such as the script below. This command script opens an avi file and deinterlaces to double frame rate with built-in denoising, shimmer and distortion reduction, even some anti-aliasing and excess de-combing effects built-in (which you can disable if you want). The script also tells Avisynth your field priority, in this case the usual Top Field First (TFF), something you don't want your NLE to assume unawares since some NLE's get it wrong anyway:

Code:
AviSOurce("enter the path to your video\videoname.avi")
Assume TFF() 
QTGMC(preset="medium")
Yes, there's a learning curve. Are you saying Premiere Pro doesn't have a learning curve, LOL?

Have you tried making progressive 23.976 video from telecined video that uses 3:2 pulldown? There's a default inverse telecine script in Avisynth's TIVTC filter that restores 29.97 NTSC telecined video to progressive 23.976 film speed that beats anything Adobe can do with it.

One example of something Avisynth can do well is denoise without deinterlacing, which can work well with many Avisynth filters. Here's a way to clean up the ubiquitous VHS chroma noise (your captures have some of this, don't deny it) and does it without a full deinterlace by separating the interlaced fields, cleaning up chroma noise, and weaving the fields back together:

Code:
AssumeTFF()
SeparateFields()
FFTD3DFilter()  ## <- or whatever chroma cleaner you want, there are many ##
Weave()
Here's something you can't do easily with many editors: crop off 8 pixels or more (or less) of the bottom-border band of VHS head-switching
noise with 720x480 video, replace the cropped pixels with black ones, and center the image vertically with 4 pixels of black border at the top and 4 pixels at the bottom, and without affecting the central image or its geometric proportions:

Code:
Crop(0,0,0,-8).AddBorders(0,4,0,4)
Or resize deinterlaced video for web posting at 640-480 -- and make sure you deinterlace and denoise before resizing anything:

Code:
Spline36Resize(640,480)
You can trying comparing Avisynth's handful of resizers (take your pick) to anything Adobe would use and still come out ahead. Or take a tape that has a letterboxed 16:9 image inside a 4:3 frame and (after denoising and deinterlace or inverse telecine cleanup) make it a full 16x9 frame by cropping off the letterbox borders, resizing horizontally-only, and resharpening the image with any of several sharpeners that avoid oversharpening edge halos and other artifacts:

Code:
Crop(60,0,-60,0)
Spline64Resize(856,480)   # <- or any other 16:9 frame size you want, like 640x360
LimitedSharpenFaster(strength=100)
You can remove spots, dropouts, scratches, ripples, tape noise, correct for illegal video levels and retrieve some clipped or crushed details (I'll bet you haven't been doing that, and even Adobe strongly recommends it), stabilize image jitter, clean up chroma bleed and chroma shift on edges, clean edge halos and ghosting, replace damaged frames and interpolate new ones, reduce luma flicker, steady frames that have camera jiggle, denoise and resize with 16-bit processing, and lots of other stuff. All of the plugins listed here are free: http://avisynth.nl/index.php/Externa...oma_correction.

There's color correction in Avisynth and VirtualDub that work pretty well. But for something really sophisticated you'll want to use the advanced color correction and masking/blending tools you paid for with Adobe and which I assume you've already looked into at great length.

Quote:
Originally Posted by leeoverstreet View Post
I have not yet tried diving into the recommended VirtualDub world.
Not even VirtualDub? You seem to be making many factors tougher than they should be. You mean you haven't even heard about the famous VDub NeatVideo plugin? Not that you need it, but they also make versions for Adobe. If it's good enough for Premiere, After Effects, Final Cut Pro, and Vegas, that should tell you something about the ability level of VirtualDub.

If you want to submit several seconds of lossless, unaltered huffyuv sample to see what can be done with it, feel free to post in the forum.

Last edited by sanlyn; 12-07-2016 at 04:13 PM.
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  #3  
12-07-2016, 04:42 PM
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Don't capture uncompressed. It's a waste of space, and has zero advantages over lossless. In fact, uncompressed has issues with overhead. It's slower, and for no reason.

Don't deinterlace in an NLE. It's really inferior to "non-professional" (but used by pros!) software like VirtualDub or Avisynth. QTGMC is best, while the Yadif methods are next best. Avisynth isn't that hard, especially with folks like me and sanlyn (and others) helping here.

On JVC, make sure the calibration is turned off. It messes up the video more than not.

Many Matrox MPEG codecs are almost as good as lossless Huffyuv. Anything in the 25-50mbps range tends to be transparent to the source, and 4:2:2 is slightly better than 4:2:0 (less blurring). It's mostly noise, or fine-moving details in crowds (wrestling, NASCAR, etc), that shows MPEG mosquito artifacts. When using Matrox hardware, I really like those codecs. But lossless AVI may work; try Huffyuv in VirtualDub.

You need an external TBC between the VCR and Matrox card. That's your main problem. It's surely fix the erratic signal passthrough.

You should be able to capture to Matrox MPEG with the Matrix hardware in VirtualDub. Try it.

FYI: I fixed the misposting issue, scrubbed it from the thread.

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  #4  
12-08-2016, 04:42 AM
sanlyn sanlyn is offline
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Well, here's a good one to start your day and ruin mine. Back in post #2 of this thread I stupidly wrote the following embarrassment (how it got past the experts around here I'll never know, the typo was so obvious to everyone except myself):

Quote:
Originally Posted by sanlyn View Post
Or take a tape that has a letterboxed 16:9 image inside a 4:3 frame and (after denoising and deinterlace or inverse telecine cleanup) make it a full 16x9 frame by cropping off the letterbox borders, resizing horizontally-only, and resharpening the image with any of several sharpeners that avoid oversharpening edge halos and other artifacts:

Code:
Crop(60,0,-60,0)
Spline64Resize(856,480)   # <- or any other 16:9 frame size you want, like 640x360
LimitedSharpenFaster(strength=100)
Unfortunately that doesn't remove border pixels from the top and bottom of a letterboxed image. Instead, it removes left and right side pixels from a pillarboxed image. Therefore, what you'll get is a very strange looking result if your original video is letterboxed.

Avisynth online help is pretty clear about the meaning of the position of those 4 directional numbers in the Crop() command. The sequence of positions for Crop() is left, top, right, bottom -- in that order. So what you want to do in order to remove typical 16:9 letterbox borders is to remove zero pixels from the left side inward toward the center, 60 from the top downward toward the center, zero from the right side inward toward the center, and 60 pixels from the bottom in a negative direction upward toward the center.

To remove typical 16:9 letterbox, my code should read:

Code:
Crop(0,60,0,-60)
Spline64Resize(856,480)   # <- or any other 16:9 frame size you want, like 640x360
LimitedSharpenFaster(strength=100)
If you're half asleep, as I was when I typed that code earlier, you'll make a typing error. The typo would result in one of two events -- either (a) you'll get a really un-funny looking frame size and picture in your preview viewer, which might be VirtualDub or AvsPmod, or (b) Avisynth will display a little message saying that you've used an incorrect syntax in the statement with that crop command. However, you will not blow up your system or otherwise harm your computer. You will just say unkind things to yourself or mutter irrationally at your monitor.
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12-08-2016, 02:36 PM
leeoverstreet leeoverstreet is offline
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THANK YOU Sanlyn and Lordsmurf!!!

That's a lot to digest, and I'll need to break things down ino steps to not overwhelm my OCD/anxiety brain, but I'll get there. I got Virtualdub installed last night, and it does seem to see my Matrox device, but I didn't have time to get Huffyuv installed properly (no luck on simply right-click installing the .inf for the 64 bit version). I'll step through the process of installing the 32 bit version via command line later. It just got late last night and like sanlyn, I get inaccurate as the hour gets later! ;-)

So, assuming I get Virtualdub with Huffyuv working for capture, and Avisynth with QTGMC working for cleanup and de-interlace, will I then be able to use the resulting lossless and deinterlaced files in Premiere for editing? The Matrox MXO2 outputs to a TV via HDMI from the timeline, and that's kind of awesome. Premiere is definitely overkill, yes, and I'm not particularly a fanboy, but it's all I have any familiarity with.

To wit... Here's a demo TV version of my college radio show show I did way back in early 2002 after teaching myself some Premiere. It went from 8mm to Matrox codec to MPEG-2 DVD, then back on a computer and cropped (I know, I know!), and then re-encoded to WMV and then uploaded to YouTube! Yikes.

Lee & Wolfe TV Demo 2001 (5 separate parts)

Besides making my old home videos look as good as possible and sharing with family, I also want some of the radio show related stuff to be integrated into a podcast with modern HD footage from DSLR, phones, GoPros, Google Hangouts, etc., so I really want to do my best on the analog tapes, and especially deinterlacing.

Would sample clips in the Matrox uncompressed and MPEG-2 I-frame codecs be useful to see? Maybe just to see the quality I'm getting off the JVC VCR?

I'll try more with Huffyuv, plus avisynth & QTGMC as soon as I can and report back / beg for help.
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12-08-2016, 02:57 PM
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The Matrox codecs can also be installed: http://www.matrox.com/video/en/suppo...es/version1.0/

Then you have a choice between MPEG and Huffyuv -- in theory. I don't believe that you can capture Matrox MPEG (which is stored in an AVI container) with some cards. But I'm curious if the MX02 will somehow sense the MPEG compression asked for, and engage its own hardware encoding, passing the hardware-encoded MPEG to VirtualDub. Again, in theory, not sure if it works that way.

If I had an MX02, I'd try it.

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12-08-2016, 06:26 PM
sanlyn sanlyn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leeoverstreet View Post
I didn't have time to get Huffyuv installed properly (no luck on simply right-click installing the .inf for the 64 bit version). I'll step through the process of installing the 32 bit version via command line later. It just got late last night and like sanlyn, I get inaccurate as the hour gets later! ;-)
Rght, use 32-bit huffyuv (and 32-bit Lagaraith, which can losslessly compress YV12, as you'll find you will need later). Also 32-bit VirtualDub and Avisynth. There are hundreds of 32-bit filters around, but a real dearth of 64-bt versions. 64-bit isn't faster anyway. Installing 32-bit huffyuv was covered earlier: Cannot install HuffYUV on Windows 64-bit Vista or Win 7 [solved].

Quote:
Originally Posted by leeoverstreet View Post
So, assuming I get Virtualdub with Huffyuv working for capture, and Avisynth with QTGMC working for cleanup and de-interlace, will I then be able to use the resulting lossless and deinterlaced files in Premiere for editing?
Yes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by leeoverstreet View Post
To wit... Here's a demo TV version of my college radio show show I did way back in early 2002 after teaching myself some Premiere. It went from 8mm to Matrox codec to MPEG-2 DVD, then back on a computer and cropped (I know, I know!), and then re-encoded to WMV and then uploaded to YouTube! Yikes.

Lee & Wolfe TV Demo 2001 (5 separate parts)
That's neat work, but we can't do anything with Utube processed video. Can't tell their artifacts from yours. Good edits and splicing, but the color looks a little drained. I think QTGMC and Avisynth work will get you better color and definition. Looks like bright clipping in some shots.

Quote:
Originally Posted by leeoverstreet View Post
Besides making my old home videos look as good as possible and sharing with family, I also want some of the radio show related stuff to be integrated into a podcast with modern HD footage from DSLR, phones, GoPros, Google Hangouts, etc., so I really want to do my best on the analog tapes, and especially deinterlacing.
Home videos are a terror to work, but there are many ways to clean up. For distribution of that sort of content, make it interlaced. Obviously you have to deinterlace for the web but QTGMC and yadif will let you keep all your frames instead of screwing up temporal resolution by ditching them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by leeoverstreet View Post
Would sample clips in the Matrox uncompressed and MPEG-2 I-frame codecs be useful to see? Maybe just to see the quality I'm getting off the JVC VCR?
It would be both instructive and revealing, but don't add further processing. Uncompressed is pretty large, and the file limit here is 99MB. But you can take a bigger one, cut it into parts, and zip them up separately. I think you'll find in a little while that huffyuv and Lagarith can be very handy.

Last edited by sanlyn; 12-08-2016 at 06:45 PM.
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  #8  
12-08-2016, 08:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sanlyn View Post
Rand the file limit here is 99MB. But you can take a bigger one, cut it into parts, and zip them up separately.
Please don't. There's no need. Even AVI is not really needed. You can make an MP4 with 15mbps, which is a really high bitrate, to showcase what's needed -- and at a fraction of the size (and time).

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  #9  
12-09-2016, 12:19 AM
sanlyn sanlyn is offline
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@leeoversetreet, probably best to wait until you have a Huffyuv capture that you have questions about. A re-encoded mp4 wouldn't be worthwhile to show you how to use Avisynth or to demo a decent deinterlace or repair.
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  #10  
01-16-2017, 01:22 PM
leeoverstreet leeoverstreet is offline
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Hi again, and thanks again for all the advice / guidance! Life and work got in the way, so I wasn't able to get back to this project until now. Sorry for the month gap. Not trying to bump an old post pointlessly.

I got VirtualDub installed, and it sees my Matrox MX02. I followed the HuffYUV 32-bit instructions, and got that installed OK too. The attached screen caps show what I'm seeing for VirtualDub and HuffYUV.

I tried a capture via VirtualDub and HuffYUV, and got strange results. I'm guessing it's a subtle frame rate / timing problem. The interlacing is particularly pronounced (even with VLC playback set to de-interlace blend mode) and there's a slow rolling distortion from top to bottom. Looks terrible. Tape is fine and plays fine. Also, it gives me 640x480, which is frustrating since for DVD and local archiving I need 720x480 and would rather not scale up.

I hope you'll forgive me a link to a Dropbox file. I understand that's not desired, but 99MB would give you just a few seconds, right? The file I'm linking to is 20 seconds straight out of VirtualDub with HuffYUV. I chose this clip because it's a VHS of decent quality much like I'll be working with, with lots of movement and detail (and bad uncle Larry camera technique!).

So here's the link, and I'm happy to make a few seconds of video under 99MB to attach if need be.
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/...ape_20_sec.avi

Any ideas? Can I get a 720x480 file with proper timing and interlacing?


Attached Images
File Type: jpg VirtualDub w HuffYUV test file info.jpg (153.0 KB, 34 downloads)
File Type: jpg VirtualDub w HuffYUV 32bit installed - screen capture.jpg (158.0 KB, 35 downloads)
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  #11  
01-16-2017, 02:18 PM
sanlyn sanlyn is offline
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All capture software apps including Virtualdub require that you tell the app what to capture with the correct settings. Perhaps you should take a closer look at this latest settings guide: Capturing with VirtualDub [Settings Guide]. You appear to have 640x480 selected. These settings are explained in the guide. Compare your settings to those shown, which includes almost every dialog window in VirtualDub capture.

Your capture has good color but displays some tape damage (ripple). Try fast-forward and then fast-rewind, from start to finish and back again, without playing, to smooth tape windings and get better flow from the feed reel. Your capture isn't YUY2, it's RGB32 which accounts for the enlarged file size. Watch your input levels, as you have clipped brights. I don't see interlace problems, in fact it looks cleaner than with most consumer cameras. I played in Media Player Classic and saw nothing unusual, although it's upside down in MPC-BE (orientation not set with universal coding in your capture card ??). It playhs correctly in all players after I recompressed to YUY2 in VirtualDub.

I notice a field-blend effect in your capture. It doesn't play as properly interlaced but looks more like field blending. Do you have your capture card or other setting configured for some form of deinterlace during capture? Analog tape is interlaced and should be captured that way. Also, it looks to me as if the player used was the 9911, which is blowing out highlights. I'd suggest you use the 9500 JVC.
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