04-01-2012, 10:59 AM
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Hi LordSmurf,

First, I want to take a moment to thank you for creating DigitalFAQ. I especially enjoyed your very helpful and easy to digest guides on ATI All-in-Wonder capture cards. When I got started with video capturing in 2004, I worked off your guides exclusively and was extremely satisfied with the results. In fact, when my system died due to a power surge in 2008, I tried a few alternatives before I eventually relented and purchased a new custom built computer that had AGP so I could continue using the ATI card.

In any event, I'm trying to determine where to go next. I have an 82" television and a hi-def projector capable of projecting images at about 100". I still have a few hundred VHS tapes that I would like to convert to some digital medium. I am thinking of simply capturing the tapes to MPEG using the ATI card and storing the raw MPEGs on a 3TB hard drive which I can access and stream to my TV or projector via a server (For what it's worth, I plan on utilizing two 3 TB drives and keeping one for backup purposes only).

I'm wondering if you have any thoughts on the viability of this. Is MPEG still a good format for capture and playback in this manner? In addition, I may need to occasionally burn DVDRs from these files, so a format that could be easily converted would be desirable. Should I consider AVI and possibly Huffy? I also imagine anything I capture will have to be done with DVD specs in mind.

Thanks in advance,

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04-01-2012, 11:11 AM
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Hello, and thanks for your kind words. And most humbled that you had used my methods.

The larger the viewing device, the more obvious errors and noise are. And the more compressed a format is, the more likely it will have noise and errors. VHS was a noisy consumer analog tape format, for example. And then MPEG-2 can be a very lossy format, depending on quite a few variables, including source and encoding method. While VHS captured directly to MPEG-2 (on the ATI AIW cards) looked fine on SDTVs of the era, and even HDTVs up to 60" (with playback filters), I'd be lying if I said the picture would be excellent at 80-100". I'd honestly have this workflow, for that source:

1. Capture to lossless Huffyuv AVI.
2. Carefully filter the video with Avisynth and/or VirtualDub, to remove encoding-resistant noise and errors.
3. Encode to H.264 MPEG-4 with a very decent bitrate. Or high bitrate MPEG-2 (15-25Mbps).

That would yield an awesome image.

But that would also result in a Blu-ray or streamed-only version.
For a "DVD version", simply encode a normal bitrate MPEG-2 as an alternate Step 3. Do both -- one "the best", one for DVD-Video format.

If you have more questions, just ask.


Note: Sorry for the slow reply to this question -- tech questions asked through PMs and emails are answered much slow than posts.
Always ask here on this forum, in posts, for the quickest replies.

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