Hi! I’m in the process of converting a bunch of old home movies in various formats and I’ve now arrived at the big pile of VHS, VHS-C and SVHS-C tapes that we have. I really need some guidance on what my next step should be. I think we have over 50 tapes all in all so I really want to do things at least sort of right from the get go.
Right now, I have a Panasonic NV-HS1000 with built in TBC and an S-video output and an old MacBook Pro mid 2012 still running High Sierra 10.13, as well as a Windows 10 desktop computer that I could borrow. The tapes are all PAL and I have a new Hama adapter for the VHS-C tapes. Now, from what I’ve read I don’t really seem to have the best equipment to start with, except for the Panasonic maybe, but I would like to at least try to work with what I have before I spend any more money.
About a year ago I thought I’d prepare myself for this project by buying -sigh- an Elgato Video Capture USB device. While this stick really left me disappointed at first with it creating really blocky, artifact-filled video after capturing and mandatory compressing, the video does actually look quite good (to my inexperienced eyes) when you’re simply viewing, not capturing, the video stream through the Elgato software! So I had this idea, and please talk me out of it if it’s incredibly stupid...
While playing the VHS tapes via S-video through the Elgato stick to my MacBook and viewing it in the Elgato software in full screen mode, I figured that I could just use Quicktime to create a screen recording of the video to capture it that way, which in my mind circumvents the software’s additional compression of the final video. By using Soundflower I could also record the sound at the same time and the tests that I’ve done does actually look miles better than when I record the video through the Elgato Software, and the sound seems to have no issues.
The ”specs” of the screen recordings are the following (bear in mind that this is all very much new to me), roughly translated from my language, it might not be the correct terms:
Aspect ratio: 1280 x 800 (Elgato was 768 x 576)
Codec: H.264, AAC (same as the Elgato software’s)
Color profile: HD (1-1-1)
Encoding program (Mac OS X 10.13.6 (17G14033)
File Size is 112mb for a 79 second test file as an example.
The Elgato version was 16MB for the same length.
So, barring the obvious fact that I -could- just try to source an ATI 600 USB device, an old computer running XP, a few more hard drives for lossless files and also face the scary prospect of understanding VirtualDub
etc… Would it -really- give me that much better quality compared to the method above, considering the time, money and the fact that I most likely won’t understand the Windows software and the technical video settings very well? By screen capturing through Quicktime I realize that the aspect ratio becomes larger than ”what it should be” and that I get black bars on the sides of the film, but that doesn’t really bother me as long as the actual video looks ok.
I realize that this is a very open question and that the simple answer is that I could do better but do any of you know if this crude method with screen recording has been used before? Could anyone show me some examples and comparisons between video captured through, say the ATI 600 and a cheaper USB stick? I guess I really just need to discuss this with someone, I'll try to be open minded.
(I also understood that I could get a Canopus ADVC-100, for example, to capture the video as DV since I have a firewire-port on my MacBook, but that this still would be inferior to the ATI solution.)
Sorry for the rambling but I am thankful for any advice!