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  #1  
02-05-2019, 09:12 AM
BPHusker BPHusker is offline
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Hello,
After starting and then stopping this process of the last 10 years (lol), I finally think I'm going to get to work to convert my old VHS and Hi8 tapes into a digital format before the tapes go bad. Over the years I have bought various VCRs and Camcorders to accomplish this. I was hoping the experts on this forum could assist and let me know the best way to use the hardware I already have and if possible, some better models, if the model I have isn't that great (thinking my Digital 8 camcorder).

Capture Device:
Hauppauge HD PVR - The first revision with SVIDEO, Component input. Can capture in TS and mp4

VCRs:
Panasonic DMR-EH75V - Originally bought this to do quick and easy VHS to DVD. I had read that this has pretty good playback out through SVIDEO (Component too?)
JVC HR-DVS3U - Used this in college in a one of our labs and ended up getting one of my own 5 years ago or so. I really liked how it could convert VHS to digital over firewire. Recently I have read that this ISNT the best way to convert it. This is the newest model SVHS player I own, but don't know if it is actually better than the other VCRs I have.
JVC HR-VP634U - I found this at a Goodwill years ago. I pretty much only bought it because it was SVHS and I assumed it may have better playback over a normal VHS player
JVC HR-S5000U - I got this at a Goodwill too. From what I've read, this is one of the first SVHS players.

VCR Summary: I am unsure which of these would give me the best quality output. In my testing before, I found that the DMR-EH75V could output VHS through component, so I thought that could be the best output because it is the highest quality output on the newest VCR I had. When I got the HR-DVS3U, I thought VHS through DV to PC was awesome and easy, but like I said before I have read that it is not a great way to capture it. In the case of the SVHS players, the best they can do is SVIDEO so I'm unsure if these are any better than the DMR-EH75V or the HR-DVS3U.

Camcorder:
Sony DCR-TRV480: Our Hi8 camcorder we used to record these tapes failed years ago and I ended up tracking down a Digital 8 camcorder for the same reason I got the HR-DVS3U above - DV output to PC. Like above, this seems to be a bad way to capture. Researching on this model, it is one of the worse because all it has is composite out - SVIDEO was removed in this model. If anything needs to be purchased for this project, maybe it will be a camera with SVIDEO out, unless the quality of Hi8 tapes captured via DV capture vs SVIDEO won't be worth it.

Sorry for the wall of text, but ultimately I'm trying to figure out the best way to capture the tapes I have. Throughout the years I have gathered various players and I am hoping the experts on this forum could help me figure out what the best way to capture these tapes would be.

Thanks!!
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  #2  
02-06-2019, 04:37 AM
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That DVS3U is nice for VHS, just not DV. Not sure what you read, where, or buy who. It just needs to be in good condition, which is usually the challenge.

Those Goodwill models are probably worth the $10 paid, and not much more.

The combo VHS/DVD will yield lousy quality, probably the worst of the lot.

Components is not better than s-video for VHS, just different, and usually not in a good way due to the processing done to convert the signal to component output (internal digitizing, ghosting, maybe deinterlacing, etc). This varies widely, not worth the effort.

DV conversion from analog is not a good idea. A good Hi8 camera is decently available, good price, even on eBay.

Which model Hauppauge? Most are not good cards, especially HD era.

You'll need external TBC between VCR and capture card, to prevent dropped frames, audio sync, and other capture issues. External framesync TBC different from internal VCR line TBC. You need both.

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  #3  
02-06-2019, 10:11 AM
BPHusker BPHusker is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
That DVS3U is nice for VHS, just not DV. Not sure what you read, where, or buy who. It just needs to be in good condition, which is usually the challenge.

Those Goodwill models are probably worth the $10 paid, and not much more.

The combo VHS/DVD will yield lousy quality, probably the worst of the lot.

Components is not better than s-video for VHS, just different, and usually not in a good way due to the processing done to convert the signal to component output (internal digitizing, ghosting, maybe deinterlacing, etc). This varies widely, not worth the effort.

DV conversion from analog is not a good idea. A good Hi8 camera is decently available, good price, even on eBay.

Which model Hauppauge? Most are not good cards, especially HD era.

You'll need external TBC between VCR and capture card, to prevent dropped frames, audio sync, and other capture issues. External framesync TBC different from internal VCR line TBC. You need both.
Interesting. Thanks for the info. Do you have a model you'd recommend for a Hi8 camera? I

don't know anything about TBCs. I just assumed you plugged the VCR into the capture device and just hit record. Is there a good, but inexpensive TBC? I looked up some on eBay and they were over $300.

This is the capture device I have: http://www.hauppauge.com/pages/products/data_hdpvr.html.
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  #4  
02-06-2019, 03:38 PM
BPHusker BPHusker is offline
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I found a localish eBay seller selling a Sony CCD-TRV101. Is this one of the best Hi8 camera with TBC and other good features?
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  #5  
02-06-2019, 04:15 PM
dpalomaki dpalomaki is offline
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IMO Goodwill, Salvation Army, etc. is a crap shoot, but may be very low price compared to eBay. And with any luck, if the machine doesn't have a PBJ shoved into the tape slot it just might be a low mileage unit donated by someone who didn't know the true value what they had. (In any case the thrift shop staff will likely be clueless as to what they really have.)

If it is cheap and looks clean and not abused, you could give it a try, and call it a donation if it doesn't work out.
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  #6  
02-06-2019, 07:10 PM
BPHusker BPHusker is offline
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What is a good price for the 101?
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03-21-2019, 01:01 PM
BPHusker BPHusker is offline
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I ended up finding a low priced CCD-TRV615 that was sold "parts only" because the seller didn't have a power cable to test it. It works perfectly. I am now trying to figure out whether I should plug it via SVIDEO in my Hauppauge HDPVR I linked above, or get a USB AIW. My Hauppauge captures in H.264 into .ts, .m2ts and .mp4.

Now I am looking for a TBC, but am unsure how much I should expect to pay for a DataVideo TBC-1000 as that seems to be the best one. Would there be a stark quality difference to run it through a ES15 DVD Recorder over the TBC-1000?

Is this what my setup would end up being?
VHS:
DVS3U* -> ES15 or TBC-1000 -> AIW USB or ATI USB or HDPVR* -> PC*

8mm/Hi8 Tapes:
TRV615* -> AIW USB or ATI USB or HDPVR* -> PC*

(*)own hardware

Last edited by BPHusker; 03-21-2019 at 01:18 PM.
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  #8  
09-30-2021, 09:20 AM
BPHusker BPHusker is offline
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I decided to bump this thread since I am finally going to try to digitize my tapes as I've recently moved and gathered all my tapes together. Is there a better way to capture into PC since my last post a few years ago?

I just saw that TBCs are way up there now.. Wish I would have bought one when I first posted this 2 years ago for 750. ��

Recently I picked up a Retrotink 5x for upscaling video games. There have been conversations that it can help make VHS tapes look better. Does anyone have any experience with the new 5x?

Last edited by BPHusker; 09-30-2021 at 10:12 AM.
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  #9  
09-30-2021, 09:49 AM
hodgey hodgey is offline
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Would definitely go for the DVS-3U as the main VCR. Would also try if sending it via the EH75V or Retrotink 5x (at the original resolution) and see if either is sufficient before investing in some other TBC or dvd-recorder.

The EH75V is from the same lineup as the ES15, so it's likely (though not certain, haven't seen any tests) that it's based on the same chipset and can work similarly.

Haven't seen a lot of useful detail about the performance of the Retrotink5x on videotapes yet. There are 2-3 clips on yt, but they don't really illustrate how it handles instability, gaps in recording and similar. As far as I know the older 2x struggled with loss of sync, but the 5x adds "triple buffering" which is supposed to help avoid dropping out on unstable input. There was some twitter post showing the developer testing it with playing around with fast forward/rewind on a vcr with it and it seemed to keep up fine with that at least (can't find it right now). The specs do however only list progressive scan output resolutions however, ideally you would want to do deinterlacing and scaling in post (unless it's for live viewing of course). Idk if it's correct and whether it's a hardware or firmware limitation.

I think me and others would be very interested to see how it (and for that matter the EH75V as well) deals with dodgy tapes, recording gaps etc though, so feel free to share if you do try it out.
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  #10  
09-30-2021, 10:17 AM
BPHusker BPHusker is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hodgey View Post
Would definitely go for the DVS-3U as the main VCR. Would also try if sending it via the EH75V or Retrotink 5x (at the original resolution) and see if either is sufficient before investing in some other TBC or dvd-recorder.

The EH75V is from the same lineup as the ES15, so it's likely (though not certain, haven't seen any tests) that it's based on the same chipset and can work similarly.

Haven't seen a lot of useful detail about the performance of the Retrotink5x on videotapes yet. There are 2-3 clips on yt, but they don't really illustrate how it handles instability, gaps in recording and similar. As far as I know the older 2x struggled with loss of sync, but the 5x adds "triple buffering" which is supposed to help avoid dropping out on unstable input. There was some twitter post showing the developer testing it with playing around with fast forward/rewind on a vcr with it and it seemed to keep up fine with that at least (can't find it right now). The specs do however only list progressive scan output resolutions however, ideally you would want to do deinterlacing and scaling in post (unless it's for live viewing of course). Idk if it's correct and whether it's a hardware or firmware limitation.

I think me and others would be very interested to see how it (and for that matter the EH75V as well) deals with dodgy tapes, recording gaps etc though, so feel free to share if you do try it out.
So would I hook the DVS3U to the EH75V via SVIDEO and L/R audio and plug that into a capture device? How would I know if the TBC is working well since I've never owned one and don't have the ES15.

Is the DVS3U in the same line/class as the SR-V10 or is the V10 a higher quality?

Also in looking at LordSmurf's marketplace thread for capture devices, is the AIW or 600 the best capture device? I have an old XP laptop that I still have kept around. Is the quality bump worth it vs grabbing a Pinnacle and using a W10 machine?
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  #11  
09-30-2021, 11:36 AM
hodgey hodgey is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BPHusker View Post
So would I hook the DVS3U to the EH75V via SVIDEO and L/R audio and plug that into a capture device? How would I know if the TBC is working well since I've never owned one and don't have the ES15.
Yup.

Maybe not the best comparison, the effect will depend a bit on the capture device, but you can see in this post the difference between capture card alone and a different panasonic DVDR on a gap in a recording. Without the DVDR, the signal drops out completely, while with the DVDR you Also, the image likely be very wiggly with the TBC in the DVS3U turned off direct to capture card, much more horizontally stable with the EH75V in the chain if it's active. For a full on "torture test" to compare it to an ES15 or similar you would need a very bad tape, but seeing how it behaves during a recording gap and on horizontal wiggle with VCR TBC off should at least give an idea on whether it's doing something useful. Post a comparison clip if unsure. (You do of course want to have the TBC in the VCR on normally when capturing, this is just for testing purposes.)

One instance where you may need something else is if you have tapes with macrovision/copy protection as the DVD-recorders usually are set up to detect that and often act weird if that's detected.
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  #12  
09-30-2021, 12:57 PM
hodgey hodgey is offline
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Missed the link i mean to post:
VC500 usages and quality questions?
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  #13  
09-30-2021, 02:26 PM
BPHusker BPHusker is offline
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Which capture device is recommended? Is the AIW (XP only) a big quality boost over the Pinnacle (win10) or the ATI 600?
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10-03-2021, 10:28 AM
ffmpeguserss ffmpeguserss is offline
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Neat finds regarding the VCRs; depending on their condition. Also, there could be a time in the future that these VCRs can be worth something (despite not being on the digitalfaq recommended lists) if they're still in good operational condition.

The AIW (XP, AGP) is what I use and I get really great results from it, I can't speak for the Pinnacle or ATI 600 but I see them mentioned here (I think LS recommends the ATI 600 USB as well if I'm not mistaken).

Those tapes aren't going bad IMHO. As long as they're stored properly: in a non-humid, cool, dry place. Some say the RH (relative humidity) should be 30% but that's not practical for me so I just keep the RH as steady as I can around 50%. The tapes are stored vertically oriented, and clean without mold or dirt. I don't rewind mine to keep proper tape tension, though on capture time I use a rewinder.

Note some tapes do degrade a little everytime they're played.

I was the same way, getting in and out of the project over a period of years; heheh, I remember when TBCs were around that much. By the way, I don't use an external TBC or even line TBC as what I'm digitizing is very stable (FHM, family home movies), but I cannot digitize OTA (over the air) recordings or copied FHM sensibly - it'll still work but my workflow is stictly for original taped FHM.

Good luck!!
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  #15  
10-03-2021, 12:09 PM
hodgey hodgey is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BPHusker View Post
Which capture device is recommended? Is the AIW (XP only) a big quality boost over the Pinnacle (win10) or the ATI 600?
IMO as long as you are dealing a stable signal from a dvd-recorder/TBC or similar, the differences between the ATI 600 and the AIW seem to be pretty small. Idk much about the new pinnacle cards.
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  #16  
10-03-2021, 01:03 PM
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lordsmurf lordsmurf is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BPHusker View Post
Recently I picked up a Retrotink 5x for upscaling video games. There have been conversations that it can help make VHS tapes look better. Does anyone have any experience with the new 5x?
Nonsense conversations. It's an HD device, and tuned to HD for video games, that lacks anything important for SD videotapes. It has the age-old ridiculous claims of random non-TBC stuff (chips, RAM, whatever) magically being a TBC. Hogwash. Not a TBC = not a TBC.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hodgey View Post
The EH75V is from the same lineup as the ES15, so it's likely (though not certain, haven't seen any tests) that it's based on the same chipset and can work similarly.
I have this now. I'm not yet sure the EH75V is 1:1 identical in performance, but seems close. Sort of like ES10 and ES15 not being 1:1, but both are good. The bigger issue is it's heavy, large, and cumbersome. I worry about shipping damage, buying these used, especially from eBay.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BPHusker View Post
So would I hook the DVS3U to the EH75V via SVIDEO and L/R audio and plug that into a capture device?
Is the DVS3U in the same line/class as the SR-V10 or is the V10 a higher quality?
Yes, yes.

Quote:
Also in looking at LordSmurf's marketplace thread for capture devices, is the AIW or 600 the best capture device? I have an old XP laptop that I still have kept around. Is the quality bump worth it vs grabbing a Pinnacle and using a W10 machine?
AIW best, then others.
But other considerations can matter. I'm not sure I'd want to capture video on an ancient XP-era laptop. Those were rarely adequate for video. Specs matter. You'd usually want an XP desktop, and with more modern motherboards, with things like SATA. Not a 20-year-old doorstop that is a mere P4, IDE, etc. XP isn't really that outdated (it can run Kaby Lake 7th gen Intels), but hardware can be, painfully slow.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hodgey View Post
One instance where you may need something else is if you have tapes with macrovision/copy protection as the DVD-recorders usually are set up to detect that and often act weird if that's detected.
Not just anti-copy, but also false anti-copy detection. Anti-copy is just an artificial video error. But natural errors can have the same problems, and will trip up detections. Any tapes is subject to anti-copy (Macrovision, etc) detection failures, false positives. This is extremely common. More so in NTSC than PAL.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ffmpeguserss View Post
Neat finds regarding the VCRs; depending on their condition. Also, there could be a time in the future that these VCRs can be worth something (despite not being on the digitalfaq recommended lists) if they're still in good operational condition.
DVS3 aka SR-VS30 is a good deck.

Quote:
Those tapes aren't going bad IMHO. As long as they're stored properly: in a non-humid, cool, dry place. Some say the RH (relative humidity) should be 30% but that's not practical for me so I just keep the RH as steady as I can around 50%. The tapes are stored vertically oriented, and clean without mold or dirt. I don't rewind mine to keep proper tape tension, though on capture time I use a rewinder.
Note some tapes do degrade a little everytime they're played.
VHS tapes have a lifespan of 35-65 years. We're not in that window, and tapes are degrading. I have conditions at least as good as yours, but I've found older early 80s BASF tapes failing in our family collection. I've seen the same issues with submitted BASF of that era. Don't think it's just BASF or 80s -- that list will expand in coming years. Other brands, other recording eras.

Quote:
I don't use an external TBC or even line TBC as what I'm digitizing is very stable (FHM, family home movies), but I cannot digitize OTA (over the air) recordings or copied FHM sensibly - it'll still work but my workflow is stictly for original taped FHM.
All VHS tapes have timing errors, it's inherent to the format. You may not notice those in tiny preview windows on the computer, but those will be obvious at standard viewing sizes when watching.

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  #17  
10-18-2021, 09:29 AM
BPHusker BPHusker is offline
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The XP laptop is from 2007 but I had used it to capture 720p/1080i video using firewire from my cable dvr in 2010-2014 and it seemed to do just fine. I'd be curious if it would be able to handle SD video capture.I'd probably throw a 256gb SSD in there to get better speed. If not I could pick up an early 2010s i5 desktop and throw XP on it.

Have you ever tested capturing to an XP VM?
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  #18  
11-28-2021, 08:02 PM
BPHusker BPHusker is offline
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I was going through my basement and found a HR-S3500U. How does this one compare to the other VCRs I listed above?
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11-28-2021, 08:21 PM
hodgey hodgey is offline
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Should be somewhat similar to the DVS3U without the TBC/DNR active. The HR-Sx500 lineup (from 1998) lacks the multiple picture settings of the later models but are otherwise quite similar, this one has "tape dub mode" according to the manual which may be akin to EDIT the later and higher end variants but not sure.
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11-29-2021, 08:30 AM
dpalomaki dpalomaki is offline
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I have a HR-S3500U. It is more of an entry level S-VHS VCR and lacks the bells and whistles of high end units such as switchable TBC but I've it has worked well for me with with the tapes I have tried in it. But most of my tapes are in good condition, YMMV. Since you have one, give it a try and determine whether or not you are satisfied with the results.
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