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12-26-2020, 07:19 PM
Patrick_S Patrick_S is offline
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So I just finally started to digitalize the old VHS tapes with personal footage that my parents still had laying around. I thought buying the Elgato Video Capture would do the trick and even though the process started fairly positive, I'm starting to feel like I'm not digitalizing this old footage in the best way possible.

First of all, the program that comes with Elgato Video Capture works great and when I started to capture old footage, I thought it looked decent in the preview. However when the first capture was finished. I noticed the video file was actually kinda pixelated. I hope using VirtualDub will fix this problem. But have not been able to try this yet. Would you guys recommend using Elgato Video Capture with VirtualDub? Or should I try looking into another video capture card/cable?

I fear the card/cable is not the only way to improve the quality, but the equipment I have also plays a big part in this. Currently I'm trying to digitalize the following stuff:

- Mini DV-tapes with a Panasonic camcorder (The footage was shot with this camcorder, so it's probably the best source possible). However I'm missing the S-Video cable and I'm currently using a composite cable to digitalize the footage. Will using a S-Video cable during this process upgrade the quality of my footage? I've been reading mixed opinions, but a S-Video cable only will cost me a few bucks, so I guess it's worth a shot.

- VHS tapes with the Philips VR-170 VCR. I've already tried to capture one tape and noticed the quality of the VHS tape was very disappointing. The tape in question is over 25 years old and some of the footage looked really exposed. I'm not sure if this is just because my dad messed up the settings when he filmed this footage, or because the tape aged poorly. Other video parts of the tape also looked damaged, either the picture was missing, grainy or looked very disturbed. Do you guys think upgrading my VCR can help improve the quality of this tape or is the damage already done? I've been reading Super VHS VCRs will have better picture. But I doubt it's worth forking out a few hundred bucks for a better VCR if the tapes are already shit.

Would love to have your input!
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  #2  
12-26-2020, 07:53 PM
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Elgato earned the nickname "Elcrapo". Most of your exposure problems may actually be here, as the card is known for it. Same for Easycap/EZcap, which again earned the nickname "Easycrap".

Another card is suggested. Which card depends on OS. Which OS are you using? WinXP/7 is best, but others can work. Mac/Linux are the worst capture systems, few options, especially on latest OS versions.

Always use VirtualDub, nothing else, for the USB cards.
Not VirtualDub2, as it captures different than VirtualDub (sometimes good, usually bad).

Standard workflow is VCR > TBC > capture card

Not just any VCR/TBC/card, but specific models known for quality.

VHS VCRs are made with cheap internals. The image is almost always more unstable, has more visual boogers like wavy/wiggly picture (sometimes slight, sometimes like ripples in a pond, but always distracting). Cheap consumer VHS VCRs also tend to oversharpen, over/underexpose. The S-VHS VCR will better play tapes, due to better transport and s-video. More accurate color and sharpness. The line-TBC models will remove color noise, most/all the wiggling, etc. JVC calls it "DigiPure", and its apropos, as it purifies the image quality. It makes a big difference.

You will require some form of TBC, be it a minimalist TBC(ish) ES10/15 (a shortcut with a fail rate), or a combo of ES10/15+DVK, or an actual TBC. The solution chosen it determined by tapes and budget.

Consumer camcorder optics weren't great, so DV 720x480 is more hopeful thinking than anything else. The true resolve probably doesn't exceed s-video by much, or at all. You can capture DV over analog, but only do it after getting a good card. often actually prefer DV over analog, as the digital transfer "capture" can be a PITA. The biggest problem is the blankout and lag between clips. DV transfer can clip some seconds, whereas analog will acquire every second played. With good camera work, not an issue, but what consumer used good camera work? A clip may immediately start with the words "HAPPY 100th BIRTHDAY GRANDMA!", and you'd probably miss it on the digital "capture", but not the analog capture.

Remember to look in the marketplace subforum: http://www.digitalFAQ.com/forum/marketplace/

- 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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12-27-2020, 07:41 AM
Patrick_S Patrick_S is offline
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Thanks for the fast reply!

Looks like I'll be returning my Elgato Video Capture, if possible. The positive reviews had me fooled. Currently I'm on a Mac, but I do have an old laptop laying around with Windows 7 on it (I have not dug it up yet, hence why I did not try VirtualDub yet). I also have a Windows 10 on a different location. What capture card would you suggest that works on a Windows 7 & 10? (Or only Windows 7, if that will give me better results). Guess that'll get me started with the DV-tapes. Hopefully I won't get any problems with the blankout and lag between clips you mentioned. I don't think I experienced this when I tried to transfer one DV-tape with the Elgato Video Capture.

About the VCRs, thanks for the input. Seems like it might be worth investing in a decent VCR. So I will need a VCR & external TBC? Do you have any tips where to get a good PAL VCR (and external TBC)? Since I'm in The Netherlands and the marketplace subforum seems to be more NTSC.
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12-27-2020, 08:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick_S View Post
but I do have an old laptop laying around with Windows 7 on it (I have not dug it up yet, hence why I did not try VirtualDub yet). I also have a Windows 10 on a different location. What capture card would you suggest that works on a Windows 7 & 10? (Or only Windows 7, if that will give me better results).
Windows would be ideal. Win7 better than Win10, but Win10 can work. The capture card choices tend to be OS locked, though I have a few cards that currently work in XP through 10. The Hauppauge ATI 600 clone is nice in Win10, but certain Pinnacles do well in PAL. So what OS do you think you'll be using?

Quote:
Do you have any tips where to get a good PAL VCR (and external TBC)? Since I'm in The Netherlands and the marketplace subforum seems to be more NTSC.
It's not an NTSC marketplace. For example, I have PAL gear right now.. In fact, I often have PAL capture cards, usually TBCs, sometimes VCRs. And I ship internationally.

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- For sale in the marketplace: TBCs, workflows, capture cards, VCRs
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