Quantcast What workflow for beta/VHS/Hi8? - digitalFAQ Forum
  #1  
11-07-2018, 08:18 PM
trek3913 trek3913 is offline
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Hello all. Fairly new to the forum, but I've been trying to read through the forum for last few weeks.

I've been thinking about doing digital captures of quite a few home videos staring around 1981 and am staring to gather equipment that will help. My family has gone through a few different tape formats over the years. We have home movies including Betamax (Zenith VR9800), VHS (Zenith VR2230), Hi8 (Hitachi VM H835LA), MiniDV (Sony DCR-PC350), and maybe a few on VHS (Panasonic PV-S9670). I am probably in a unique situation where I have access to all of the original equipment that did the recording and all has been stored well so I expect it to still function properly, but I haven't tried yet.

I am in the process of building up a windows XP system around an ATI AIW 9700 video card and a turtle beach Santa Cruz sound card. I have no TBC device yet as they seem to be fairly hard to find right now, but I have searches going for the DataVideo devices along with the AVT-8700 (green).

What I haven't quite figured out is:
1. Should I try to get "better" VCRs for capturing or use the original VCRSs - Do I need a JVC/Panasonic VHS system, Hi8 with TBC, or the SL-HF2100 so I have S-video output for Beta? or plan to use the original equipment?
2. It seems a TBC both line (in the VCR) and full frame (TBC-1000, AVT-8710) is recommended for VHS, but is it needed for Beta, or Hi8?
3. It seems there would be no way to get a line TBC in Beta, so is that where a DMR-ES10 might come into play? Should I worry about a line TBC for Beta (I don't think there is such a thing) or Hi8 (or even VHS if it isn't recommended to use original equipment)

I should have my 2nd AIT card showing up tomorrow and I can start trying some preliminary captures on Hi8 (The Beta tapes and system are currently at my parents house). The first ATI AIW I got appears to have some overheating issues and screen artifacts. I plan to develop a workflow capture system before I move to attempting to capture Beta, so I have more time to figure out the Beta workflow.

I hoping to capture a pretty good picture and clean up whatever is fairly viable/easy to do. I know there are some old VHS with audio issues (buzzing from a microphone on one of the channels- Hi-Fi VHS). I also seem to remember the original Beta recordings never really had the correct color. I'm not sure if that is fixable since it was probably the camera at that was used that wasn't feeding the correct color to the beta system. Anyway, I know this is very theoretical at this point and until I start capturing some video, I am only guessing, so I am assuming once I have that going I will have more specific questions. Just trying to figure out what I might be needing to do these conversion fairly well. (At least I know not to use the ADVC-300 now)
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  #2  
11-08-2018, 08:40 AM
NJRoadfan NJRoadfan is offline
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My preferred setup for the above formats

VHS: Modern SVHS/DVHS deck with TBC and DNR (see forum list for models).
Hi-8: Modern Sony Hi-8 Handycams 1998 or newer. This includes Digital 8 models that support analog playback. They have a built-in TBC/DNR.
Betamax: Any VCR that you can find that works at this point. Sony decks tend to be fussy and various levels of broken. Sanyo decks tend to be way more reliable, but the video quality sucks. If your recordings are SuperBeta and/or Beta Hi-fi, Sony is likely your only bet.

For the Beta tapes, an external video processor might be helpful for color correction.
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11-08-2018, 09:17 PM
trek3913 trek3913 is offline
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Thanks NJRoadfan. You didn't mention an external TBC, do you not use one, or is it just known that an external TBC is always needed?
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11-09-2018, 04:30 AM
sanlyn sanlyn is offline
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You need an external frame-level tbc. Sometimes you can get away without one. But have no doubt -- sooner or later, you'll encounter a video that needs it.
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  #5  
11-09-2018, 07:53 AM
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Betamax, Video8/Hi8 and VHS are interchangeable in a standard analog workflow.

If you want, you can even include DV in there, which I often analog capture over s-video since the actual resolution of the home camera/lens isn't much better than s-video max anyway. Only 720x480 in theory, and palette, but not true resolve of the cheap built-in camera lens.

INPUT:
- Betamax is the worst of them, as no internal TBC units exist. And in that case, I'd actually inject an ES10/15 for passthrough into the workflow.
- VHS is simple, thanks to many years of research that have already been put into it (by myself, and some others). Get a recommended S-VHS deck, the end. (I'm no longer a fan of the DVHS, as they're too attuned for SP only, and seem to develop other random issues. Time hasn't been kind to those model lines.)
- Hi8/Video8/DV: Good cameras are also not too difficult, lots of threads on it in this forum as well. DV is is the easiest of the cameras, though Canon models generally regarded as best for multiple reasons.

PROCESSING:
Then comes the required external framesync TBC, and one made specifically for consumer analog tape sources (most DataVideo, non-flawed-chipset Cypress/AVToolbox, few other specifics units like the For.A).

CAPTURE:
And finally, the digitizer, be it a capture card or DVD recorder -- and again, it needs to be a recommended model, not just any cheap POS like EZcap/EZcrap USB dongles or no-name DVD recorders.

And that's basically it.

Knowing what to get is easy, finding working units not so much. Lots of eBay sellers promise "working" or "tested" units, but they're actually not. Cramming an old copy of Home Alone into a VCR, and seeing a picture, any picture, is not a test. There's a reason that I do maintenance, realignments, repairs, and sometimes complete rebuilds of decks. And it's not because I enjoy tinkering with VCRs, but rather I want the units to work as flawlessly as possible.

Be sure to check the marketplace for this gear.

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11-09-2018, 05:09 PM
trek3913 trek3913 is offline
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Thanks for the information. Sounds like I pretty much have the beginning process figured out. Now just to try to find a good TBC as they seem to be about as rare as unicorns right now. I had missed that the For.A was a recommended TBC, so I have added that to my search. (and I'm watching the marketplace here as well)
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  #7  
11-10-2018, 12:13 PM
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Only the FA-125, which is more rare than the others anyway, and often more expensive as the MSRP was $1k+. So don't look to hard. A green AVT-8710 on marketplace right now.

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11-10-2018, 06:54 PM
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You're unlikely to find a SL-HF2100 for less than $1000 since they're very rare, having come at the end of the Betamax lineup. I think the followup stripped down SL-HF2000 was the last consumer Betamax release. Very hard to find though.

Instead, I recommend looking for a ED-Beta machine (EDV-7500, EDV-9500 U.S., EDV-7000, EDV-9000 Japan). There's currently several EDV7000 and EDV9000's listed on eBay from Japan. AFAIK, the only difference is they have Japanese TV tuners. They're not cheap, with prices around $500 shipped, but are probably the best Betamax(s) there were.

Since the ED-Betas were semi-professional machines, they are likely to be in better shape than most consumer Betamaxes.

I owned both the SL-HF2100 and EDV-7500 and found the ED Beta to give a better picture.

A bit of trivia, I just learned that there were three other ED-Betas released only in Japan, the EDV-5000, EDV-6000 and EDV-8000. These included digital effects and likely were more home consumer based = lower quality build.
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11-10-2018, 07:05 PM
lingyi lingyi is offline
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@lordsmurf

I know you don't think much of Betamax picture quality, but I'm interested if you have any input on the picture quality of the various machines.

I owned almost every top of the line Betamax, SL-5600, SL-HF-2700, SL-HF-900, SL-HF2100, EDV-7500 and my memory from 15+years ago was the playback quality (BII, both regular and Super-Beta recordings) of the machines were: EDV-7500, SL-HF-900, SL-HF2100, SL-HF-2700. I stopped using the SL-5600 when Hi-Fi came out since it wasn't compatible.

I also had the SL-HF860 (with digital effects) and found the recording/playback to be softer than the non-digital machines.

I viewed everything on a uncalibrated PVM-2530.
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11-10-2018, 07:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lingyi View Post
@lordsmurf

I know you don't think much of Betamax picture quality, but I'm interested if you have any input on the picture quality of the various machines.

I owned almost every top of the line Betamax, SL-5600, SL-HF-2700, SL-HF-900, SL-HF2100, EDV-7500 and my memory from 15+years ago was the playback quality (BII, both regular and Super-Beta recordings) of the machines were: EDV-7500, SL-HF-900, SL-HF2100, SL-HF-2700. I stopped using the SL-5600 when Hi-Fi came out since it wasn't compatible.

I also had the SL-HF860 (with digital effects) and found the recording/playback to be softer than the non-digital machines.
It was never that I wasn't fond of Betamax, but rather that I wasn't fond of the BS revisionist nonsense that now gets stated as fact online. Betamax wasn't really better than VHS, especially in light of things like the S-VHS decks that improve quality of the tapes.

But it's now been about 10 years since I was really into the trading scenes, which is where Betamax was prominent. Nobody gave a rat's @ss about retail tapes, but rather their home recordings. Traders and collectors. Sadly bottomless pit Netflix/Youtube/torrents/etc has gutted communities, and the predominant attitude is now "they'll release it eventually" (while the person instead spends his/her video time watching something else).

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