Quantcast Need guidance with DIY high quality conversion - digitalFAQ Forum
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04-08-2019, 09:37 PM
foosy foosy is offline
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Hi all,
First, thanks to this great community for supporting the rest of us. I have been reading multiple threads and now feel so much more knowledgeable. I do need though your expertise for my project.

I need to convert multiple hi8, and digital8 tapes. My camera is not working anymore but I acquired on eBay a Sony GV-D800 player.
I am very flexible with the setup and my goal is to create the highest quality conversion. I donít have the time to edit in the first phase, so the goal is just capture and digitization.

I do need to make sure that whatever format I end up creating, is easily editable. I was thinking of using a PC per @lordsmurf recommendation in another thread, But I can use a Mac as well.

So what would be the ideal setup? What would it include to create without babysitting a clean and stable video with corrected colors, with automatic chapter creation at scene changes, with embedded timecodes (maybe as subtitles, or in a separate synchronized file as long as it can be used in the editing phase)?

Finally, if I were to invest all this money and time to get there, will it give me a justifiably better quality than giving my tapes to Costco or Kodak for conversion?

-- merged --

SO after posting, I realized that many people had that same question in the past. The only difference is that I am late in the game and not all equipment is available anymore.

Nevertheless, I am going to use my own thread to document my experiences in this journey.
After reading multiple advice, I decided that the solution that would work the best for me would be to evaluate which option gives the best results for me.

My first workflow was Hi8 -> Sony GV-D800 ->firewire -> PC (win 7, WinDV)

Setup - ran into an issue where the Sony GV-D800 was not recognized the first time I connected it. Found that after I rebooted the computer it installed the additional drivers and now it is recognizable.
Ease of capture - very easy, no fussing with any settings
Issues during captures - sometimes tape would stop. I was able to eliminate most of these by changing the tape setting on the Sony GV-D800 to be 8/Hi8 instead of Auto, so it does not need to detect the video signal.
Frames dropped - very few according to WinDV
Capture results - pixelation visible; color seems a bit washed out; bottom of video has a jittery line. Interestingly that line does not show up on the LCD of the GV-D800.
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  #2  
04-16-2019, 04:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by foosy View Post
Hi all,
First, thanks to this great community for supporting the rest of us. I have been reading multiple threads and now feel so much more knowledgeable. I do need though your expertise for my project.
Welcome.

Quote:
I do need to make sure that whatever format I end up creating, is easily editable.
Editing means lossless

Quote:
I was thinking of using a PC per @lordsmurf recommendation in another thread, But I can use a Mac as well.
Mac is the wrong tool for capturing. Fine platform/OS, just not for this task.

Quote:
So what would be the ideal setup? What would it include to create without babysitting a clean and stable video with corrected colors,
Standard workflow:
recommended VCR/camera with internal line TBC > external framesync TBC > recommended capture card

Quote:
with automatic chapter creation at scene changes, with embedded timecodes (maybe as subtitles, or in a separate synchronized file as long as it can be used in the editing phase)?
That's not happening. Nothing is automatic in video, no metadata in analog captures.

Quote:
Finally, if I were to invest all this money and time to get there, will it give me a justifiably better quality than giving my tapes to Costco or Kodak for conversion?
Places like Walmart/Walgreens/Costco send your tapes out to a random company (often in India/Philippines/etc), that uses low end hardware, and your returned tapes are crap quality. If returned at all. Either be more selective with the service you choose (FYI: we offer this sort of work), or DIY.

Quote:
Originally Posted by foosy View Post
SO after posting, I realized that many people had that same question in the past. The only difference is that I am late in the game and not all equipment is available anymore.
Nah, not really that late.

Quote:
My first workflow was Hi8 -> Sony GV-D800 ->firewire -> PC (win 7, WinDV)
You're losing 50%+ of your color data from DV conversion. That's not good.

Quote:
Setup - ran into an issue where the Sony GV-D800 was not recognized the first time I connected it. Found that after I rebooted the computer it installed the additional drivers and now it is recognizable.
Ease of capture - very easy, no fussing with any settings
Issues during captures - sometimes tape would stop. I was able to eliminate most of these by changing the tape setting on the Sony GV-D800 to be 8/Hi8 instead of Auto, so it does not need to detect the video signal.
Frames dropped - very few according to WinDV
Capture results - pixelation visible; color seems a bit washed out; bottom of video has a jittery line. Interestingly that line does not show up on the LCD of the GV-D800.
That method works, but the DV quality is why you see what you see: pixel noise, lousy color quality.
That "jitter line" may just be head switching noise.

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04-16-2019, 10:45 PM
foosy foosy is offline
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Thanks @lordsmurf.
I actually continued my tests today with a few additional workflows and was very surprised about the results.
So here are the additional workflows I tried:

Workflow #2:
Hi8 -> Sony GV-D800 ->Y/C->PC:MageWell Capture Card -> CaptureExpress(Magewell native capture into MP4)

Workflow #3:
Hi8 -> Sony GV-D800 ->Y/C->PC:MageWell Capture Card -> VirtualDub (capture into AVI)

Workflow #4:
Hi8 -> Sony GV-D800 ->Y/C->Panasonic ES15 -> Y/C ->PC:MageWell Capture Card -> CaptureExpress(Magewell native capture into MP4)

Workflow #5:
Hi8 -> Sony GV-D800 ->Y/C->Panasonic ES15 -> Y/C ->PC:MageWell Capture Card -> VirtualDub (capture into AVI)

The only variable I cannot control for a true comparison is the fact that the GV-D800 player may not produce the exact same signal on every run. I used the same tape and ran the experiment a few times on the same area. In all experiments the video still shows a running line that is about 5 pixels high at the bottom of the screen. Interestingly, this line does not show up on the LCD screen of the player. That problem shows up for all tapes I have by the way, so I am assuming it is a player issue. I did experiment with cropping while capturing and it is possible, but I would be interested to see if those lines do not show up on other players.

Now to the results:
I played the videos with Windows Media player, zoomed out to full screen which means at a higher resolution than captured. I did so on purpose so that it would enhance the artifacts and make it easier to compare. Then I took screenshots and wanted to upload the exact PNG captures , but the forum converted them to jpg. They are still a good representation of the the originals. (if someone shows me how to upload 5MB PNG files, I will do it).

So the results:
Workflow #2:
(With crop during capture)

Workflow #3:
(no crop, can see line at bottom)

Workflow #4:
(With crop during capture)

Workflow #5:
(no crop, can see line at bottom)

And for comparison to yesterday:
Workflow #1:
(no crop, can see line at bottom)

Do you see the winner ? Without a doubt(*) - direct to firewire; the simplest workflow!

(*) OK...I do have certain doubts:
1. I used VirtualDub with default configuration. If anyone thinks I can get better results with custom encoders and custom configs, please let me know which ones and I will try again my experiment.

2. Is there a more accurate way of capturing frames than what I did ?

3. I don't know how interlaced video impacts the captures I did


Attached Images
File Type: jpg Capture-magewell.jpg (60.6 KB, 52 downloads)
File Type: jpg Capture-panaES15-magewell.jpg (62.7 KB, 53 downloads)
File Type: jpg Capture-panaES15-virtualDub.jpg (68.2 KB, 53 downloads)
File Type: jpg Capture-virtualDub.jpg (67.9 KB, 53 downloads)
File Type: jpg Capture-windv-firewire.jpg (68.0 KB, 53 downloads)

Last edited by foosy; 04-16-2019 at 11:07 PM.
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  #4  
04-17-2019, 01:48 AM
sanlyn sanlyn is online now
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This is really depressing. It's amazing how the Magewell and BlackMagic crowd always posts results that look like something processed at the nearest Walgreens kiosk.

People have been making the same newbie mistakes since Windows 3.1, using components designed for digital sources rather than SD analog source and they always get the same results.

Can you guys grasp the difference between photos and videos? I can't believe this thread ended up with another post that looks like a repeat demo from 1995. It just feels like a lot of work for nothing and it's getting to be exhausting to see the same thing over and over for decades.

Save the Magewell for digital sources and HD. Find yourself something made for analog sources. We've covered all this before, over and over and over, for 25 years now. Meanwhile, i don't get it: now that these posts have demonstrated how many mistakes the creator can make with hardware and software, where are the comparison posts of the same source captured properly?

And what the hell is this 890x668 image business? Don't Magewell people know enough about video to make and post actual frame captures, or is this just another skill that's missing from their repertoire? This is just confirmation that it's a replay of Planet of the Apes and the monkeys think they're winning.

Jeez, LS, where does this circle end? Has visual literacy totally disappeared from our culture?

Last edited by sanlyn; 04-17-2019 at 02:24 AM.
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  #5  
04-17-2019, 03:02 AM
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lordsmurf lordsmurf is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sanlyn View Post
This is really depressing.
Jeez, LS, where does this circle end? Has visual literacy totally disappeared from our culture?
As harsh as your post was, I can't disagree.

The 890 pixel width is the forum max size for JPEGs. So he attempted to attach a huge "zoomed" JPEG image to the thread, as he described -- though I'm not really sure why.T he resolution should have never exceeded SD 720x480/720x576. (Anytime anybody needs to attach larger images, that's what zip/rar are for. Same for PNG.)

Blackmagic/Magewell cards aren't a good option for SD. If you want "any quality" capture, sure, it works, but so does the low-quality $10 EZcrap cards from China. Video not only gives you the quality you pay for, but also the time invested, and using the correct tools. An HD card for SD is like using Mac for capture, wrong tool, downsides to the method (usually quality). As you say, "any moving picture is good" to some folks, which is not too dissimilar from the criteria used by eBay sellers with VCRs.

Quote:
We've covered all this before, over and over and over, for 25 years now
It wasn't until the late 90s that I started sharing my advice online, so more like 21 years. I was doing it, however, for about 27 years now. The earliest incarnation of this site was from 2002, using the stuff I'd been sharing since about 1999. It's not 25 years just yet.

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  #6  
04-17-2019, 08:04 AM
foosy foosy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sanlyn View Post
This is really depressing. It's amazing how the Magewell and BlackMagic crowd always posts results that look like something processed at the nearest Walgreens kiosk.

People have been making the same newbie mistakes since Windows 3.1, using components designed for digital sources rather than SD analog source and they always get the same results.

Can you guys grasp the difference between photos and videos? I can't believe this thread ended up with another post that looks like a repeat demo from 1995. It just feels like a lot of work for nothing and it's getting to be exhausting to see the same thing over and over for decades.

Save the Magewell for digital sources and HD. Find yourself something made for analog sources. We've covered all this before, over and over and over, for 25 years now. Meanwhile, i don't get it: now that these posts have demonstrated how many mistakes the creator can make with hardware and software, where are the comparison posts of the same source captured properly?

And what the hell is this 890x668 image business? Don't Magewell people know enough about video to make and post actual frame captures, or is this just another skill that's missing from their repertoire? This is just confirmation that it's a replay of Planet of the Apes and the monkeys think they're winning.

Jeez, LS, where does this circle end? Has visual literacy totally disappeared from our culture?
Your comments are well taken. I agree to the 25 years making the same mistakes - but there is a reason for this: there is no clear consensus. I would have loved to see sticky threads with concrete recommendations. I am not ashamed that I am a newbie, and I am looking for people like yourself to help me make the right decisions. See even the name of this post: "need guidance".
Please point to the place explaining how to properly extract frames. I will gladly repeat the experiments.
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  #7  
04-17-2019, 11:30 AM
sanlyn sanlyn is online now
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OK, let's take our time and start over. I realize your post represents a lot of work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by foosy View Post
Your comments are well taken. I agree to the 25 years making the same mistakes - but there is a reason for this: there is no clear consensus.
That's understandable at this stage but, yes there is consensus and always has been. From the very beginning of processing from analog to digital and from digital to digital, years before consumer capture cards appeared on the market, engineers and professional restoration labs have always known the differences in behavior between analog and digital sources, as well as between consumer and professional sources. They've always used equipment and methods optimized for each. The only lack of consensus is among hobbyists, many of whom have no idea what they're doing or who lack the means or skill to perform meaningful tests and comparisons and, from what I can tell, most of whom have no experience whatever with a decent analog capture device. I have seen many tests and posts over the years, and have seen commentary by transfer and restoration specialists (you might not recall, but at one time many members here and at videohelp were employed in professional broadcasting and mastering labs). No professional or advanced specialist I ever encountered would recommend using digitally-oriented gear for analog acquisition.

Quote:
Originally Posted by foosy View Post
would have loved to see sticky threads with concrete recommendations. I am not ashamed that I am a newbie, and I am looking for people like yourself to help me make the right decisions. See even the name of this post: "need guidance".
Please point to the place explaining how to properly extract frames. I will gladly repeat the experiments.
I guess I sound like more grumpy chiding here, and don't mean to, but you won't learn very much from tech forums by reading stickies alone. They're only a start and I wish there were more. But all tech forums from this one thru the Adobe user forums have the same problem: the real meat lies in post after post from users with problems and questions, and in the solutions that experienced users provide. I don't pretend to know so much (I wish i did. I'd be getting paid right now). Whatever I know I learned from other users who know more than I do.

You can make direct video frame captures to the Windows clipboard using almost any NLE editor, or simply use VirtualDub. One look into the main VDub menus can reveal a lot: "Video..." -> "Copy source frame to clipboard". Once copied to the clipboard, any photo app can make a jpg or lossless png from it. Even Windows Paint can do it.

As you can guess, a still image has only a fraction of the info of a piece of moving video. Still images have been converted from the original colorspace, which often is a problem in itself. Still images don't show motion behavior or noise patterns. There's plenty of video activity that never appears in a still image.

You can make video samples in an NLE if you want to, but most of them won't preserve the original colorspace and will modify them in some way as soon as files are opened and re-saved as something else. The easiest video sample maker is Virtualdub, which can save the original colorspace and compression if you save using "direct stream copy". 8 to 10 seconds of video in lossless YUY2 huffyuv or Lagaeith with motion would fit well within the 99MB upload limit. Lossy encodes will require a smart-rendering editor -- a re-compressed lossy encode that has been re-encoded is all but useless for analysis, yet people continue to post lossy re-encodes here and on YouTube for some strange reason, unaware that re-encoding lossy video materially changes things and no longer accurately represents the original.

If "easy editing" is your goal, as you stated, then mp4 was a bad choice. No lossy final delivery codec would be a good editing choice, but interframe encodes are probably the worst. A smart rendering editor would be required, but no smart rendering can prevent the damage done when the basic image is modified in any way, such cropped, color corrected, denoised, etc. And if you wanted final output such as standard def bluRay, you can't use mp4.

Why are you cropping during capture? Be careful with that. Most YUV video processing uses 8x8 pixel grids. Some advanced processes insist on 16x16 for DVD and standard def bluRay. The idea behind a capture is an intact, accurate replica of the image for further processing or archiving, lossless and without added digital artifacts. It's been decades since I heard of anyone cropping during capture, and I've been capturing video since 1996 with my first All In Wonder. Before ATI came along a capture card for VHS would cost at least $1500 in 90's dollars. The fact that the first AIW's could perform as well for less than $200 attests to their phenomenal success with hobbyists and pros alike, even if the prices did go up by 2003. There are reasons why pros still use and recommend AIW's and why I'll never get rid of mine. I also have newer USB devices for analog capture.

Last edited by sanlyn; 04-17-2019 at 11:44 AM.
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  #8  
04-18-2019, 08:43 AM
foosy foosy is offline
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The magewell recommendation came from this board. Given I could not find the famed AIW, I ordered it.

Regarding the pictures, even if I get the exact capture, done in the right way, there is no denying that the straight to firewire was giving the best results. Better than VirtualDub with a panasonic ES15 as a TBC. Even if the capture is wrong, it is wrong in the same way for all captures and my visual experience is that the direct capture was better.

Now, saying that - I am aware that the quality is still far from good - in all of the captures. I am also aware that there might be other ways to try.

The type of issues I have are not necessarily related to TBC. For example, I have this running line on the bottom of the video. I don't know where it is coming from as I do not have enough experience.
I do know this: - it is seen both on the firewire and the Y?C outputs - but not on the internal LCD screen of the GV-D800. It also exists on all tapes I have.

What can I do to fix this so that I do not have to crop the video neither in pre nor in post?
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04-18-2019, 06:02 PM
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That "running line" is likely either a hardware flaw, or a corrupt driver. It's not normal. But remember Magewell also isn't a suggested device, precisely for reacting poorly to SD material.

I don't think anything can fix tat, aside from trying another Magewell to verify. However, give the high costs of that card, undeserved costs at that, you can get a couple of better cards.

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04-18-2019, 07:39 PM
hodgey hodgey is online now
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I would assume the "running line" you are talking about is the head switching point where the camera switches between the two spinning video heads that read the tape. At least that is what it looks like on your images. That is normal.

It likely won't be visible on the LCD monitor due to overscan, the edges of the picture will be cut off. I haven't used this player in particular, but all LCD screens on (tape-based) camcorders I have seen do this.

If you want to make some comparison images, grab a raw frame as suggested with virtualdub and don't upscale it before uploading. One reason why the firewire one may look a bit nicer at first sight is that the player will know it is interlaced and the right field order, and deinterlace it properly (as the DV video codec is always going to be interlaced in the same manner). With a lossless (huffyuv or otherwise) it won't know this, and display it as though it is progressive scan even though it's interlaced which will result in combing/mice teeth when stuff is moving. It looks a bit like that on the images you posted, but it's a bit hard to see as they are scaled.
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04-20-2019, 11:51 PM
foosy foosy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
That "running line" is likely either a hardware flaw, or a corrupt driver. It's not normal. But remember Magewell also isn't a suggested device, precisely for reacting poorly to SD material.

I don't think anything can fix tat, aside from trying another Magewell to verify. However, give the high costs of that card, undeserved costs at that, you can get a couple of better cards.
Actually, this cannot be a magewell issue as it also happens with direct capture with FireWire

Quote:
Originally Posted by hodgey View Post
I would assume the "running line" you are talking about is the head switching point where the camera switches between the two spinning video heads that read the tape. At least that is what it looks like on your images. That is normal.
Interesting,
So, do you think this is a player issue? Will another player not exhibit this?

Quote:
Originally Posted by hodgey View Post

It likely won't be visible on the LCD monitor due to overscan, the edges of the picture will be cut off. I haven't used this player in particular, but all LCD screens on (tape-based) camcorders I have seen do this.

If you want to make some comparison images, grab a raw frame as suggested with virtualdub and don't upscale it before uploading. One reason why the firewire one may look a bit nicer at first sight is that the player will know it is interlaced and the right field order, and deinterlace it properly (as the DV video codec is always going to be interlaced in the same manner). With a lossless (huffyuv or otherwise) it won't know this, and display it as though it is progressive scan even though it's interlaced which will result in combing/mice teeth when stuff is moving. It looks a bit like that on the images you posted, but it's a bit hard to see as they are scaled.
I really want to eliminate the running line first, as it is visually distracting. Then I will get a new capture card and try again as recommended.
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  #12  
04-21-2019, 02:36 AM
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maybe I point out the obvious here.. the DV is progressive (it deinterlaced the captures posted) where the Magewell did not, or the captures are of a single field.. so there are pixelation issues?

The OP "thinks" they are getting higher resolution or greater detail out of the DV

I think the OP is confusing deinterlaced results with interlaced results and ignoring just about everything else being suggested.. but the OP is trying to keep an open mind

if I'm wrong.. please feel free to flame

the DV example has definitely lost a lot of color detail.. pay attention to the "blue" objects in the room compared to all the other examples.. it looks "flat" or "dull"

Last edited by jwillis84; 04-21-2019 at 02:59 AM.
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  #13  
04-21-2019, 07:02 PM
sanlyn sanlyn is online now
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So far the only thing we've learned from the OP is which mistakes and distortions he favors as "best". Again, it's the same old story: the digital-HD card crowd just can't succeed at lossless non-destructive capture, always end up with poor level management, unreal looking results, thinned-out color, washed out brights, and so on. We had examples of similar mistakes (but worse) not very long ago. Advanced video properties and processing remain a mystery. It's a shame that better results can't be got from such exalted gear.
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