I've been a lurker of the site for some time, preparing for the time that I'd have the hardware necessary on hand for transferring tapes, and I'm basically there now, but would like some advice from some of y'all that really know what you're doing.
For starters, the hardware I'm working with:
- Windows XP SP2 32-bit install
- Intel Pentium 4 HT 3.0Ghz
- 2 GB RAM
- 500GB SATA drive
- ATI AIW 9600
I'm mostly looking to transfer Video8 tapes for now, as I've got dozens upon dozens of tapes on hand from different family members that recorded events and such in the past, and for playback I got a Sony DCR-TRV840. I'll worry about external TBC later on when I can actually afford it, but until then I at least want to iron out the rest so once I'm ready with everything, I can fire away and get all these transfers done. I also got a JVC HR-S9800U for VHS once I'm done with Video8, but for now I'm just focused on Video8.
I worked with a friend yesterday to complete the PC build, then today I've been working on the software side of things. I followed the guide here to acquire and install the VirtualDub software and codec which went fine, and the guide here to configure it.
I'll attach a sample video so y'all can let me know what you think, I don't know that I have the trained eyes to judge accurately. One of my main concerns was that switching between Overlay and Preview in VirtualDub, it makes sense that Overlay is the direct feed and that Preview is the preview output to the file, but the Overlay to me looks a lot better, Preview shows a lot more jaggedness from the interlacing and seems to playback at a slower framerate, but maybe that's normal. I'm also curious if there might be any recommended filters to apply, or any settings to adjust to improve the output. I pretty much followed the second linked guide to a T, and I'm using the Huffyuv codec, but I can answer any questions for sure.
Sincere thanks for any and all help!
-- merged --
Hope it's okay if I bump this, I'm gonna be headed back up to the friend that helped me with the build tomorrow (two hour drive), as they wanted to test transfer some VHS and Video8 tapes. I'm certain the hardware is fine, I just wanna check if the setup guide I followed is still accurate today, or if there's anything more/different I could be doing in VirtualDub to get the Preview feed to look more like the Source feed. If anything, I'd like to know how others go about their settings/filters for their ATI AIW rigs. Thanks again for any and all help.
It's a pretty good capture. The black level is set a bit high, but that's better than it being set too low. The audio levels are low, but that's also easily fixed in software. There's surprisingly little head switching noise--only 6 rows--and the picture seems to go right up to the left and right edges. It looks like there might be some frames missing between the first frame and the second but maybe that's just camera shake.
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Very much appreciate the response! I'll tweak the video levels in VirtualDub to see if I can lower the black level a bit, and see if I can raise the audio a bit. I'll try a different portion as well with a bit less shake to it, probably tomorrow. I'm saving up til I can afford a proper TBC to do these transfers in full, but getting the rest figured out I'm happy to hear I wasn't too far off from a good capture
-- merged --
Gonna revive this again, as I've finally got a working TBC-1000 at my disposal, so I'd love to hear some more opinions and advice from the experts so I know I'm doing these important transfers right the first time. Same as before, I'm largely following the settings outlined in that VirtualDub guide I linked before. If I need to account for black or audio levels I shall, what I'm more worried about is getting the output to look more like the Overlay feed than the Preview feed, unless that's just how the capture works. I'm far from an expert on the subject but I'm trying my best here.
So to be clear, the current rig path I'm using:
Sony DCR-TRV840 -> DataVideo TBC-1000 -> ATI AIW 9600 -> Custom Windows XP SP2 build (Pentium 4 HT 3.0GHz + 2GB RAM)
Please have a look at the attached video file, and let me know any settings I could be looking at to improve the capture. Then I just need to figure out post production options. Thanks for all and any advice!
I am not sure what I can say to help but I will follow this thread as I want to do the same!
I have been a long time user of the exact same spec computers using the same ati 9600 cards. I built a fair few of them over the years, mainly when a computer would fail (bad capacitors etc).
But now I have a bunch of old vhs, vhs-c and hi8 tapes that I really need to save/record.
I checked out the tbc you have! I am a bit... I did not know they cost so much! but I am tempted to purchase a decent video deck and a tbc.
I assume you have not bothered with the ati mmc? I have recorded literally millions of hours of TV from satellite/set top boxes. These ati cards have probably been the best computer purchases I have ever made.
Yeah that's all valid! I'm doing my best to search all across the site for the best advice, I should have the hardware side of things nailed, so it all comes down to software now.
VirtualDub and all the ATI capture software should be installed properly, so that aspect just comes down to settings. As for after the initial capture, I'm trying to figure out deinterlacing and upscaling, I believe Hybrid using Avisynth has been mentioned a lot, but I need to find a good guide, as my attempts so far have produced very choppy tear-y results. Any suggestions or links please let me know any of y'all!
Regarding the TBC, I actually bought mine broken, the voltage regulator board just needed some work, and the RAM chips were all replaced. Gave the whole thing a REALLY good cleaning, and it's working perfectly! I don't think they're that hard to repair, capacitors are usually the suspect fault point, but all of them on mine were already replaced.
I've never messed with any of this ATI stuff, it's all new to me, but I'm guessing the initial capture is fine, just interlaced and needing some fine tuning.
-- merged --
I'm gonna bump this if that's alright, and I purchased a premium membership out of hope that some of the top site experts might be able to chime in to help or point me in the right direction where to look. I feel at this point the thread title should be changed but I'm not sure how, and I don't want to start another thread to flood things, apologies for the mess.
Screencap your settings for me.
- VirtualDub main preferences > display
- capture mode > timing settings
I'm on a tablet now, can't see video attachments today.
Describe what you think is wrong, could be better, have questions about.
Too many TBCs are trashed out these days, often due to non-video idiots mishandling them. Kudos for getting it, and fixing it, to put another good unit back into circulation! I like seeing/hearing that.
@altair: In terms of quality gear, always check the marketplace on this site, don't run to eBay the e-dumpster. TBCs really are NOT expensive, when compared to quality photo/video gear. These were not devices sold at Best Buy or Walmart, but AV/photo stores like B&H. In camera terms, realize a TBC is a quality item, like a SLR/DLSR camera, not a Polaroid or point-and-shoot.
Apologies for the delay, been a bit hectic these past few days. I finally had a chance to boot up my rig, and I couldn't find exactly what you meant by Display settings, there was one option but that's greyed out. I can go back if you can point me to the right menu. But I did get the timing settings at least.
I'm not sure anything is wrong, I just want to make sure it's all set correctly and looks good to a trained eye. I was initially worried with the difference in quality between overlay and preview, but I'm guessing that's normal, as you then run the captured footage through Hybrid/AVIsynth to deinterlace and bump up the framerate. If you have a good guide for how to go about doing the post production stuff I'd super appreciate that, my attempts so far haven't produced good results. Thank you so much for responding!
Hi DoddsieFox, I noticed in your Capture Timing Options screen cap that you have "Drop frames" and "Insert null frames" disabled. Is there a reason you don't have those boxes checked?
Note, in the excellent "Capturing with VirtualDub [Settings Guide]" on this site, lordsmurf states: "DO NOT disable frame drops/inserts. All that accomplishes is essentially disabling drop reporting, and prevent inserts to fight off audio skew. Analog tape video is chaotic, and dropped frames can happen regardless of this drop settings. Worse yet, with reporting now disabled, you're blind to what's happening, you have no idea whether input-based drops are occurring."
Apologies for the long delay in response, been really swamped on my end this past week and haven't had time to get to the capture rig. I reread the guide in full, and I realize now that yes, I overlooked the amendment that lordsmurf made at the start of the thread. I've made the change now, and I recorded a new sample clip, which perhaps doesn't make much of a difference, but just thought I'd be safe. Are there any other settings that you think I could take a look at? Otherwise just need to figure out post production.
Another thought did come to mind, the way audio is being captured needs to be fixed. I wanted to use the purple ATI capture box, but I couldn't get that to work, so for now I just have an RCA to 3.5mm connection to the Sound Blaster card. I've dug around on the site for solutions, I think there's a cable I need to be using to connect from AIW to Sound Blaster or something like that, perhaps I could get clarification here and confirmation on what type of cable to get.
You really don't need the internal audio cable between the AIW and the sound card. The AIW itself doesn't process the sound at all. If you send it to the card via the purple dongle it just passes it to the sound card via that internal cable. Sending it directly to the sound card as you're doing actually reduces the number of connections and avoids some possible RF interference from with in the PC case.
LS discusses his current set-up at the bottom of this thread.
If you do want to try the purple dongle, you have another option. The big breakout cable that connects your 9600 to your monitor has other outputs on it. The black, 1/8" male stereo plug is audio out from the AIW. You can just plug this into the sound card Line-in.
I very much appreciate the response, thank you. And apologies for the delay, I've been traveling around quite a bit lately. I went ahead and tried the method you described, connecting the breakout cable to the line-in, but I've only been able to get static noise out of that. If you think sending direct to the soundcard is better anyways I suppose I can stick with that, just want to make sure I'm getting the best audio capture I can.
If I have time tonight I think I'll look through and check all the settings one last time, and do one last test capture to see if there's anything else that can be tweaked before I start transferring my tapes en masse.
Alright, one final transfer to see if I've got it all right. I've also attached more screencaps of settings for feedback on those, but for the most part I followed sanlyn's guide to a T, making sure to tick those boxes in Timing as suggested before. Would love to hear from y'all how it's looking!
Hey y'all, been a while, hope you've all been well! I put this project on pause at about the time of my last post, as in the process of capturing the entirety of the first tape, the TBC crapped out, doesn't that figure X.X It took some time before it was back up and running again, the friend that helped me service it before basically ordered replacements for many of the chips on the TBC. Much shipping time later, and once my friend eventually found the time to do so, he just went about replacing things on the TBC until it was finally back up and running again, I think he made a couple other improvements too. By the time it was ready I was drowning in college, and that's mostly kept me busy up 'til now among other things, but now I'm graduated, I'm free, and I'm ready to tackle this project head on again!
What I would like to do is reload the desktop, reload all the software and everything, and then following all the advice I've been given already, I'll do one more test capture just to make sure it all looks good, and if y'all agree that it looks good, I'll go ahead and start capturing all my tapes. Appreciate all the help from before, finally I'll put it to action!
Alright, double checked all the settings, and this time I adjusted the levels a bit in accordance with what the guide was saying in using the Histogram. Let me know if this looks like a good test capture, and if so I'll continue with full captures. Thank you!
(It looks like I'll need to fix the audio, figure out what's causing that buzzing, but for now just looking to get confirmation on the video)
Update: Seems the audio buzz is coming from the right audio channel, I don't remember it being there before, but trying different cables and configurations all give the same result, so I might just need to stick with the left audio channel, which probably isn't the end of the world, unless anyone else has any ideas.
Last edited by DoddsieFox; 05-30-2023 at 11:14 PM.