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  #1  
02-05-2015, 02:38 PM
bteamstephen bteamstephen is offline
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Hi,
I used this guide from DigitalFaq to help me with buying an S-VHS with TBC in order to capture my VHS home movies and digitize them for editing and blu-ray burning.

I decided to purchase an S-VHS with TBC because my old VHS broke in the process of capturing tapes and I thought I would invest a little more money to get the best possible capture of our cherished home videos. My old VCR also had trouble reading certain tapes so I thought an S-VHS with TBC might help along with giving me better picture quality.

Unfortunately, the TBC feature seems to be giving me a worse picture than it does with it turned off. It creates a wavy portion on the top of some videos and makes them look jittery. I have uploaded a sample of the video I have captured with TBC both on and off, indicated onscreen in the video.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/4n8g6wtv6t...%2001.avi?dl=0

The first part is a store-bought VHS movie, with TBC on, you can see how jittery the video is as opposed to when it is turned off. The second part is an old Ninja Turtles video where you can see the wavy portion at the top of the screen when TBC is turned on. Some tapes have this wavy effect with TBC on and some don't.

Secondly, here is a home video that I recorded. The first part was recorded with the new JVC SR-V10U with TBC on and the second was recorded with my old crappy VCR before it broke. Notice how there is more visual detail in the picture in the video recorded with the old crappy VCR. How can this be if I am using a higher-quality S-VHS player, using S-Video, with TBC, video calibration, picture control and digital R3??

https://www.dropbox.com/s/16aiq9mxai...%2002.avi?dl=0

Is my S-VHS working properly? Do I have the correct settings set, or is there something I should Change? Could it be defective?

I purchased a JVC SR-V10U from ebay for relatively cheap. Once received, I set up the VCR and connected it to my PC. My video capture set up:

JVC SR-V10U - Playing the VHS tape sending signal via S-Video and red/white audio cable to my
Sony Handycam DCR-HC32 - Which acts as a video capture interface, connecting to PC via firewire cable
PC is using Adobe Premire Pro CS6 to capture

I don't believe my PC stats are relevent since this is an issue with the S-VHS VCR, but I can provide this info if needed.

I have the JVC SR-V10U settings set with:
TBC on
video calibration on
picture control - auto
digital R3 on
video stabilizer off(this won't work with TBC on)

Additionally, the video calibration/tracking on some of my family home videos is not stable and continues to flicker - this did not happen with my old, crappy VCR before it broke. And the JVC SR-V10U does not seem to play the hard to read tapes any better than the old VCR. However, I guess I will focus on one issue at a time...

Any help you can provide to determine whether I have this set up wrong or if it is defective would be highly appreciated! Please let me know if any further info is needed.
Thanks,
Stephen
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  #2  
02-05-2015, 03:11 PM
sanlyn sanlyn is offline
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Capturing old VHS tapes to DV? Tsk, tsk. I gave up working on VHS->DV problems long ago, and this sequence reminds me why.
Is that Sequence 1 source copy protected? You probably need a frame level tbc.

Sequence 2: Generally, JVC players are a poor choice for slow-speed VHS tapes. That's just the way it is.
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  #3  
02-05-2015, 06:49 PM
bteamstephen bteamstephen is offline
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Sanlyn,
Can you please explain further? What is the problem with capturing VHS through a DV device like my Sony Handycam? Is there a better way? Would a USB capture device be better? If so, why?

As far as I can tell, I do not have any issues with the way I am capturing, but more so with the video that the S-VHS VCR is producing. I was getting better picture quality with my crappy old Panasonic VCR before it broke. I spent extra money for the features that I assumed would increase the quality of video I was getting from my VHS tapes.

Have I wasted my money on the JVC SR-V10U?

According to the DigitalFaq guide here, JVC was the best brand to use for this type of thing.

I am not sure if either of those VHS tapes (Point Break or the Ninja Turtles On Tour) are copy protected. How can I tell?
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  #4  
02-06-2015, 12:13 AM
sanlyn sanlyn is offline
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The Sequence 1 problems could be Macrovision effects, but you wouldn't have got the better captures if that were so. It's more likely that your JVC's TBC and your webcam (which appears to have an onboard tbc) don't get along together. Someone more familiar with your camera could make a more educated guess. It's also possible that another VCR without tbc that gets hooked into that camera wouldn't have any problems. Also, 2 line tbc's in tandem can be a problem. The second tape in Sequence 1 actually looks petty good and could play nicely with a litttle cleanup.

I don't recall seeing a statement that any particular JVC player is "the best". JVC has a problem with with not properly tracking some types of damaged tapes (yet they will properly track other tapes with different types of damage), and they're better with retail tapes or tapes recorded on a similar JVC than with home tapes recorded on other machines. The capture guide also mentions that Panasonic is another well-regarded brand (especially since the AG-1980 sold for 3 times the price of some high-end JVC's and has a more powerful tbc). It's been mentioned many times here and elsewhere that JVC is not the best choice for slow-speed tapes. The 8600 thru 9600 series were better at that particular job. Panasonic is usually recommended for EP tapes.

I note that you're using JVC's "AUTO" picture setting. JVC manuals recommend "EDIT" or "NORMAL" modes for recording or dubbing to other destinations (sharper output, less internal processing). The "Sharp"mode should never be used for noisy VHS tape (why would anyone want to sharpen tape noise?). The digital R3 circuit is a primitive DNR which, if you look at your sequence 2 capture, does some odd things with noise: you should be able to see that the DNR is smearing motion and sometimes generating ghosts on fast movement.

No one forbids you to capture analog source to DV. But most tech forums, other than PCMag and blogs from writers who don't know what they're talking about, would recommend against VHS-to-DV. Tape source, especially old and aged and home made and noisy tape, is best captured to lossless media using a 100% lossless compressor such as huffyuv or Lagarith. DV is a lossy compressed format that costs about 15% of the original data and loses 50% of the color resolution. It doesn't interlace all that well and is marked by compression artifacts that don't appear in lossless captures in the proper color format. The other downside is that DV is PC-only playback. You have to go through another lossy re-encode to get a format that can play elsewhere. DV can be edited in simple cut-and-join methods with little loss or re-encoding, but as soon as you submit DV to filtering of any kind you suffer multiple stages of lossy re-encoding -- so ultimately, for the highest quality restoration work, DV is decoded to lossless media for restoration, then encoded again to a final format. By capturing to lossless media in the first place, the only lossy compression step is the final encode to the delivery format.

The JVC SR-V10U is a decent player. But it's a bit delicate and isn't like the heavier JVC's or the Panasonic AG's. It's possible yours might need some servicing. Apparently you're crappy old Panasonic VCR can still play the home-made EP tape with a better image and no motion smearing, which in this case is no surprise. I've been through 3 JVC players, all of them higher-end than yours, and to one extent or another these effects were always present -- 6-hour EP tapes never looked very good. They've since been replaced with a rebuilt AG-1980, two identical Panasonic PV-S4672 SVHS machines (no tbc) circa 1996, a 1998 PV-8664 with Dynamorphous heads (no tbc), a newer 3800 series lightweight JVC (no tbc, but some retail tapes look pretty good on it), and a Panasonic DMR-ES15 for pass-thru with the non-tbc units. It's not unusual for hobbyists with a lot of tape on their hands to have more than one VCR. I've had some tapes that looked better thru the 1996 Pannies than thru the pricey AG-1980. If I could get my hands on a well-kept JVC 9800 or so, I'd do it -- but they're all pretty well burned out by now and not cheap.

Every tape will play differently on different machines. VHS is simply not that precise. If you ever get into the details of how VHS runs and works, it's a big surprise that it plays at all.
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  #5  
02-06-2015, 07:11 AM
NJRoadfan NJRoadfan is offline
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The JVCs are very hit or miss with tracking in general. My HR-S7800U (older version of the SR-V10U) won't track any EP tape correctly and its Hi-Fi tracking is hit or miss. The HR-S7500U I have seems much better behaved, but has the dynamic drum feature. The JVC DVHS deck and AG-1980 seem to play anything I put in them without a problem.
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02-06-2015, 11:43 AM
bteamstephen bteamstephen is offline
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Wow...I clearly have alot to learn about all of this. I'm obviously not trying to do a professional job, but I just want our family tapes to be preserved at the best quality I can get for a decent, amateur price, $100-$200....because we would love to trash the old tapes once we have them safely backed up.

I didn't know DV had so many faults. Would I be better off with a USB capture device such as this - Elgato Video Capture? It says it captures in H.264, which is pretty good, right? They even have an HD version, which would be good for me for capturing other HD stuff I might want to work on... that is, if it could also do my VHS tapes.

Would DV be the obvious choice for my DV tapes that I took with the Sony Handycam? Or would I be better off capturing those another way as well?

I did not know that my DV camera could interfere with the signal and video coming from the VCR, so thanks for enlightening me.

If the Elgato, or USB-type interface would be a better choice, then would that work better with the JVC SR-V10U I already have? Or should I try to re-sell it and purchase a different VCR? I understand each tape will play differently, better/worse on each VCR. I guess I'm just looking for advice on a good, affordable VCR that will be the most well-rounded since I don't know what kinds of tapes each of our old movies are recorded on.

Thanks Sanlyn, your advice and expertise has been very helpful! I was just so frustrated last night from working on all of this for 4 days now.

Best,
Stephen
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  #7  
02-06-2015, 01:46 PM
sanlyn sanlyn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bteamstephen View Post
Wow...I clearly have alot to learn about all of this.
Join the club, and welcome from the rest of us card-carrying learners.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bteamstephen View Post
Would I be better off with a USB capture device such as this - Elgato Video Capture? It says it captures in H.264, which is pretty good, right?
h264 is lossy. It is known as one of the "final delivery formats", not designed for editing. You need a BluRay player for h264.
Quote:
Originally Posted by bteamstephen View Post
They even have an HD version, which would be good for me for capturing other HD stuff I might want to work on... that is, if it could also do my VHS tapes.
Definitely not recommended. VHS is low-detail, low-resolution, noisy material. It looks goofy and fuzzy captured and upscaled to HD.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bteamstephen View Post
Would DV be the obvious choice for my DV tapes that I took with the Sony Handycam? Or would I be better off capturing those another way as well?
DV isn't captured.It's transferred directly from youir camera to your PC via Firewire as a 1:1 copy, no encoding of any kind. Use WinDV for the transfer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bteamstephen View Post
I did not know that my DV camera could interfere with the signal and video coming from the VCR, so thanks for enlightening me.
It can cause problems, and it might not be either component that's at fault. There are several recent threads here with this-or-that player in combo with some other component being a mismatch. I'd keep it around, as you seem to have got some decent captures with your camera and the JVC tbc turned off.

The JVC did well when the hookup glitches were ironed out. So keep it, but as I said there are plenty of members here with more than one VCR to work around the very problems mentioned. The Panasonics I mentioned were bought at about $100 or less on eBay, from sellers who specialize in this sort of thing and offer returns (avoid guys who sell dinnerware and trailer hitches on the side. They wouldn't know a VCR from a toaster.). The posted video that you played on your old VCR didn't look all that bad to me, and I suspect your camera has a y/c filter at work to prevent dot crawl from composite input.

The guide page of VCR listings mentioned some other good brands, and some to avoid. Panasonics are often a good bet, but avoid anything made after 1998. Panny made some decent VHS and SVHS machines during 1996 and 1998 -- 1997, for some reason, wasn't so great. The PV-S7xxx series from 1997 and the PV-96xx from 1999 were too lightweight for any sort of durability, and they oversharpened video noise like you wouldn't believe. I still see older Pannies on eBay. Anamorphous head models and refurbs are decent bets, if they don't sell for some ridiculously cheap price. By 1999, everyone's VCR's were plastic junk going downhill fast. The giveaway with later Pannies is the model number. Older and better units had model numbers like "PV-46xx", "PV-86xx", or "PV=Sxxxx" (the "S" for SVHS). Later junk had model numbers like "PV-Vxxxx" or "PV-VSxxxx". It's that additional "V" in the middle that's a clue to the rotten stuff. Your camera seems to have a line tbc built in. Try it with your old VCR and we can check out a short sample to look for any problems.
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  #8  
02-06-2015, 11:44 PM
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lordsmurf lordsmurf is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJRoadfan View Post
The JVCs are very hit or miss with tracking in general. My HR-S7800U (older version of the SR-V10U) won't track any EP tape correctly and its Hi-Fi tracking is hit or miss. The HR-S7500U I have seems much better behaved, but has the dynamic drum feature. The JVC DVHS deck and AG-1980 seem to play anything I put in them without a problem.
This isn't model specific, it's unit specific. All VCRs go out of alignment over time -- the effect of gravity -- and need to be tuned. I have to adjust my units every 2-3 years, otherwise it will have tracking issues. It's most noticeable on SLP/EP tapes.

The Panasonic AG-1980P is better than JVC for EP tapes, but it's also not perfect.

It is what it is. This is one of the first things I learned about analog video 20+ years ago.

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  #9  
02-09-2015, 10:30 AM
bteamstephen bteamstephen is offline
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Quote:
h264 is lossy. It is known as one of the "final delivery formats", not designed for editing. You need a BluRay player for h264.
Do you have a recommendation for a good capture device that will capture in a high quality lossless format? What format should I be looking for? As Sanlyn said, H.264 is lossy....what about MPEG-4 and .avi?

The Elgato one I mentioned earlier captures:
Video resolution: 640480 (4:3) or 640360 (16:9)
Video format Mac Software: H.264 at 1.4 MBit/sec or MPEG-4 at 2.4 MBit/se
Video format PC Software: H.264 at 1.4 MBit/se
Audio: AAC, 48kHZ, 128 kBit/sec

I was getting 720x480 resolution capturing my VHS through DV. Should I research devices that capture in a higher resolution? Hopefully a better capture device will allow me to use this JVC SR-V10U and get a better picture than with DV...Please correct me if I am wrong.

Thanks,
Stephen
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  #10  
02-09-2015, 11:56 AM
sanlyn sanlyn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bteamstephen View Post
Do you have a recommendation for a good capture device that will capture in a high quality lossless format?
The consesnsus here for VHS capture is in its current state would be with an ATI 600 USB or PCI card. Diamond Multimedea makes a similar device. We would not recommend any other VHS->lossless device, unless you can find a working ATI All In Wonder AGP card and a motherboard to accept it -- which at this late day would be really difficult. There are dozens of threads in this forum about the ATI 600 devices. Several threads are current during the past couple of weeks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bteamstephen View Post
What format should I be looking for? As Sanlyn said, H.264 is lossy....what about MPEG-4 and .avi?
Yes, MPEG-4 is lossy., "AVI" is a container, not a format. AVI can be encoded using several different codecs. For example, you apparently captured to fairly lossy DV-AVI using the SONY DVCPRO codec. VHS is usually captured to YUY2 unencoded AVI losslessly compressed with huffyuv or Lagarith. Such AVI's would run about 25GB per hour of SD video. Frankly, the DV-AVIs you captured, when the setup didn't bork things, looked workable enough. We've seen much worse.


Quote:
Originally Posted by bteamstephen View Post
The Elgato one I mentioned earlier captures:
Video resolution: 640480 (4:3) or 640360 (16:9)
Video format Mac Software: H.264 at 1.4 MBit/sec or MPEG-4 at 2.4 MBit/se
Video format PC Software: H.264 at 1.4 MBit/se
Audio: AAC, 48kHZ, 128 kBit/sec
All of those formats are final delivery formats, more lossy than DV-AVI and difficult even for simple editing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bteamstephen View Post
I was getting 720x480 resolution capturing my VHS through DV. Should I research devices that capture in a higher resolution? Hopefully a better capture device will allow me to use this JVC SR-V10U and get a better picture than with DV...Please correct me if I am wrong.
Yep, you're wrong. Don't even think about HD. Use 720x480 or 640x480.
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  #11  
02-09-2015, 08:38 PM
bteamstephen bteamstephen is offline
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Quote:
Your camera seems to have a line tbc built in. Try it with your old VCR and we can check out a short sample to look for any problems.
Unfortunately my old Panasonic PV-9451 has completely stopped reading tapes, which is why I needed a new player. I could upload samples of the tapes I capture before it broke if you like. I have checked the manual for my Sony Handycam DCR-HC32 and I could not find any documentation that it has built in line TBC. Are you able to tell that it does based on the samples I uploaded?

If this is the case, then the TBC built in my VCR would be useless because I wouldn't want to run both TBC's at the same time, correct? Is that what was causing the jittery-ness and wavy lines in the samples I uploaded? Additionally, I could potentially save a good chunk of change purchasing a VCR that does not have TBC, correct?

I know I have tons and tons of questions....but if I were to return my JVC SR-V10U (free returns) to purchase a different model VCR (preferably under $200), which of these features do I really want and which are not as important/will I notice the difference in the final project?
- S-VHS (as opposed to regular VHS - I do not have S-VHS tapes, but these usually have S-Video outputs)
- TBC
- Video Calibration
- Picture Control
- Video Stabilizer
- Digital R3

Quote:
Frankly, the DV-AVIs you captured, when the setup didn't bork things, looked workable enough. We've seen much worse.
So this sounds like you are recommending that I continue capturing through my DV camera rather than trying to invest more money into another capture device which may not produce a notable difference.

What this all boils down to is... Will I notice much of a difference with all of this? Should I just go purchase a cheap, used VCR and get all my tapes done and be done with it? Or is it worth the time, effort and investment (and frustration) to find a more higher-end VCR to transfer my tapes and attempt to get better results?

I hope this makes sense and I am not annoying the forum!
Thanks again,
Stephen
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  #12  
02-17-2015, 09:13 AM
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lordsmurf lordsmurf is offline
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- TBC = most important
- Video Calibration = always turn off
- Picture Control = set to Norm 99%+ of the time
- Video Stabilizer = usually turned off, does not work with TBC
- Digital R3 = useless "sharpening", do not use

A cheap VCR makes a huge difference in quality.

I'm rarely annoyed. You're fine.

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