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01-24-2021, 10:35 AM
arcticus arcticus is offline
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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, HuffYUV 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!

/ Johan
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01-24-2021, 11:25 AM
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lordsmurf lordsmurf is offline
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- Analog video is interlaced, screen recording is progressive. Strike 1.
- Screen recording records graphics display errors (stutters, jerks, etc). Ball 1, since analog has dropped frames (when using bad equipment, or lack of equipment aka no TBC.)
- Almost all screen recording is overly compressed recording, H.264. Strike 2.
- Source resolution is not respected, 720x480/576 max for SD. Strike 3, you're out.

To sum: You cannot screen record analog video.

Elgato earned the nickname Elcrapo. Lousy junk.

What you suggest will look terrible -- so bad that it's really not worth doing.

The ATI 600 USB (or clone if using Win8/10) will be much better. There's nothing scary about VirtualDub or Huffyuv. You have members of this forum to guide you through usage. There are also guides in this forum.

Canopus DV boxes are inferior, mostly for NTSC (4:1:1 aka 50%+ color loss, results in muddy and blurry look, in additino to DV blocks). PAL not as bad, 4:2:0. The Canopus method will be better than the screen recording, I will say that. I'm not entirely anti-DV, sometimes you're forced to use it (ie, Mac users, as Mac has very sparse capture options, who refuse to consider Windows options).

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- For sale in the marketplace: TBCs, workflows, capture cards, VCRs
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The following users thank lordsmurf for this useful post: JPMedia (01-24-2021)
01-25-2021, 01:50 PM
arcticus arcticus is offline
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Thank you for your reply, I very much appreciate it. Iíve spent some time since my last post reading a bunch of threads here in order to understand everything a bit better. I think that I might go ahead and try to do this as correct as possible, itís going to take a lot of time and energy anyhow so it might as well be done the right way. I guess that I got a bit overwhelmed by the entire project and that I needed a bit of a push in the right direction!

I noticed that you have a couple of ATI 600 USBs etc. for sale. Iím interested in purchasing one of those so Iíll send you a PM.
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