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11-03-2020, 01:00 AM
lenslol lenslol is offline
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Hi there,

Brand new to this, came here from Reddit. I'm tasked with converting all of the home video footage
(about 30-40 VHS-C tapes, and 20 MiniDV). Now for the Mini-DV, I've bought a firewire card but the cable it came with doesn't seem to fit into the ilink port on my Sony HandyCam. I ordered another one off ebay, hopefully that fits right (its the 1339ee whatever thing). I would appreciate some tutorial/link for how to transfer over firewire if you have it btw.

Now the problem is with the VHS-C tapes of course. I just ordered a new adapter because the old Panasonic one we have was dropping frames when VCR is just hooked up to the TV. The new adapter seemed to have fixed that issue.

However, now i'm trying to capture the footage. I'm using a blackmagic intensity pro 4k (lordsmurf if you're reading this I know you're disappointed and I wish I saw your advice on capture cards before I bought it).

The VCR I have is a brand new never before used Toshiba my parents bought from BestBuy, very last unit they had ever. Specific model: Toshiba sd-v296ku

It's not that great, it only has component and svideo out for the DVD, not the VCR. I am stuck with composite.
Anyways, the adapter I got (which was supposed to be a Konig, but I got some weird Dutch brand instead???) plays in the VCR fine, but in BlackMagic media capture, It's flickering black a lot.

Now the kicker here is that I took the old Panasonic Camcorder which recorded all of these VHS-C tapes, and played it through that. I set it to VCR mode, and connected it, and voila no black flickering! Also if I connect the Camcorder to the VCR input, and then the VCR to the blackmagic, again no more black flickering!

Bottom line, I don't have a crazy budget here. I don't want to end up spending thousands investing in VCR's off ebay and TBC's. I'd like to set a max budget of $500 for myself (that's gone up quickly from 300 lol) and hopefully I'm able to return this blackmagic and get something else. Part of my frustration is just how freaking hard it is to find any "new" products, because I can't afford to spend money on something and then more money to get it repaired. Or get a computer and install Windows XP on it for the drivers sake.

I'm honestly pretty okay with how the quality is coming from the Camcorder directly into the BlackMagic but I know that there's probably more quality available. Really appreciate any help, advice, and feedback. Thanks!
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  #2  
11-03-2020, 12:46 PM
hodgey hodgey is offline
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For firewire you probably want a 6-pin to 4-pin cable, cards usually have 6-pin ports, while camcorders had 4-pin ones. The two extra pins were used for power on e.g external hdds.

What model of camcorder do you have? Blackmagic cards black-screens on any unstable video signal which you get from video tapes directly from the VCR. A handful of the last JVC and Panasonic VHS-camcorders actually had a TBC built in (the one in the JVC ones is very good, haven't tried any of the panasonic ones), so maybe yours is one of those, though it probably desn't buffer and create a fully 100% stable signal, they will make the job for the capture device much easier.
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  #3  
11-03-2020, 01:09 PM
lenslol lenslol is offline
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Hey Hodgey, thanks for the reply. I'm pretty sure the cable that the card came with the firewire pci card is a 6-4 though, it just wont fit in the handycam for whatever reason. I'll keep you posted when the one from ebay comes in.

The camcorder is a PV-A306D. If it has a TBC that's awesome. I mean the signal is stable enough for the BlackMagic to capture without any errors. The only concern here now for me is that will it be okay for me to play all of these tapes through that camcorder. I'm worried about potentially wearing it out. Also do I need to clean the head of that camcorder, and are VHS-C head cleaners even a thing?

One more thing to add, I loaded a VHS of Space Jam into the VCR, and it captures into the BlackMagic without errors/flickering as well. Is that expected though? Like the big VHS tapes give better signal into the blackmagic than the VHS-C would (especially through an adapter)? I was just looking through the very recent post about adapters, and maybe there's a possibility I can buy a better one? Although I'm pretty pissed at how much I had to spend on this one (and again, they didn't even send me the brand that I expected to get from the picture on Amazon lol)
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  #4  
11-03-2020, 03:06 PM
hodgey hodgey is offline
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I don't think that one has TBC, so maybe it's something else then, maybe the VCR just doesn't track the camcorder tapes as well as the camcorder. A commercial tape will usually be a more stable recording in the first place.

You will have to decide how much you are willing to sink into it, but the basic setups have been discussed a bunch of times -
for the budget option, a panasonic dvd-recorder for pass-through with current or different player
expensive option - suggested svhs deck + standalone tbc
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  #5  
11-03-2020, 03:40 PM
lenslol lenslol is offline
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If the problem is that the Toshiba isn't tracking the tape well (or maybe the adapter isn't), will hooking it up to a dvd-recorder for passthrough help? Also would bad tracking affect if I hooked up the VCR through composite to a Smart TV? Because on the smart tv, the tapes using the adapter and vcr play fine.

So, I'm guessing my new budget setup should be: VHS-C tape -> adapter -> Toshiba VCR (composite) -> (component) Dvd recorder w/ passthrough -> BlackMagic? (pcie). And if I'm still having problems, I'll try a new adapter I guess.

What are the benefits to this over Camcorder (composite mono audio) -> BlackMagic?
Is there significant quality improvement, or is it not bottlenecked by the Toshiba VCR?
Is there also the fear of somehow wearing out/damaging the camcorder player after playing back many tapes?

Seriously, for someone with anxiety any of you have some advice for not worrying about these antiques breaking on you? lol
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  #6  
11-05-2020, 12:01 AM
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lordsmurf lordsmurf is offline
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The main problem here is the Blackmagic card (lousy at SD video capture) + lousy VCR (Funai Toshiba)

Camcorders are dangerous for VHS-C tapes, more likely to eat them than not. Playback never attuned on camcorders, intention was recording only. Play on VCR, with (often good, not always) included adapter in actual VCR.

Are you sure PV-A306D has TBC?
I'd need to see usage samples, or screenshots of menus, or a manual, or something.

- Did my advice help you? Then become a Premium Member and support this site.
- For sale in the marketplace: TBCs, workflows, capture cards, VCRs
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