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  #1  
11-04-2022, 11:05 AM
Cal_ Cal_ is offline
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Hello everyone! I'm brand new to this stuff and understand you guys are probably annoyed with the amount this type of question is asked, but I really need a push in the right direction. Just a week ago I didn't even know the difference between different types of camcorder tapes or what a TBC was, but have since done a few hours worth of research to get my bearings, so that should give you some perspective of where I'm situated. I also don't commonly use forums, so please forgive me if I'm doing this wrong.

I'd like the ability to digitize tapes from a Sony CCD-TRV87 camcorder, and as I understand it the absolute best way of going about this is to utilize a dedicated XP build with a nice deck, TBC, and an ATI AIW. Sadly though, I'm going to school soon and will be living in a very small space for a couple of years, so I don't have the money or space to utilize a setup like this. All I really have is my modern desktop (AMD 5000 series CPU, 30-series GPU).

I've looked for an alternative route that would be practical for my niche situation, and have since attempted to talk to people in the spaces I currently occupy that are deep into the hobby, but sadly enough all they recommend is something like a Pinnacle Dazzle or a Digital8 camcorder through firewire for my use-case. When I try to inquire about superior options after explaining the issues those solutions may pose, they've just replied in a demeaning or dismissive manner.

Even in this forum alone I've seen people say different things. Some people explain that cards like the Hauppauge USB Live2 and I-o DATA GV-USB2 are more than decent enough for most, others explain that they're unreliable garbage.

Given my current situation, what I'm aiming for is a solution that utilizes a USB card (I have no free PCIe Slots) that I can use on my modern rig. I have the wherewithal to install an extra SSD and dual-boot Windows 7 on it if that's required for the capture process. I'd likely use my TRV87 as the source, as it is likely all I can afford and has an inline TBC. I've looked at lordsmurf's listings, and am interested if these are good for my use-case. I'm aiming for a lossless, stutter-free capture with strong color (though it doesn't necessarily need to be accurate color). Given I actually enjoy some artifacts posed by analog video I'd actually be okay with some analog distortion as long as the capture meets the requirements listed above. These aren't old tapes, I will be the one taking these videos with the camera. (If this does change anything regarding choice, I like the warm look of analog tapes that I've seen in the past.) Bonus points if this capture solution is able to be practically used for retro gaming consoles, though that's mostly unrelated.

If anyone can point me in the right direction, I'd be extremely grateful!
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  #2  
11-04-2022, 11:35 AM
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On the tech side, the issue is drivers, and OS cooperation.
On the quality side, the issue is faithfully transferring values, legal values, and not screwing with exposure/contrast/color/etc.

All of those factors arrive and cards that work well, and cards that truly suck. And then a gray area of good+bad cards, most of which still are not suggested.

Above all else, it's about your sanity in using the cards, and not insulting your eyes trying to watch garbage.

There's a reason I have multiple quality cards in the marketplace, for various OS, workflows, etc. Video has a learning curve, and I try to make the experience as easy as possible for others, while retaining quality, between gear I list in the marketplace, and the advice I give on this site (and sometimes a few others).

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  #3  
11-04-2022, 12:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
There's a reason I have multiple quality cards in the marketplace, for various OS, workflows, etc.
Thanks for the quick response! Is there a specific card that you have in stock that would be better suited to my use-case over the other ones you offer? Or are they all mostly suited to what I'd like to accomplish as detailed in my original post? That's kinda what I was getting at originally, sorry if that wasn't clear.
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  #4  
11-04-2022, 03:06 PM
lollo2 lollo2 is offline
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Quote:
Some people explain that cards like the Hauppauge USB Live2 and I-o DATA GV-USB2 are more than decent enough for most, others explain that they're unreliable garbage.
Whoever the "others" are, they lie or have a conflict of interest.

A channel on S-VHS / VHS capture and AviSynth restoration https://bit.ly/3mHWbkN
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  #5  
11-04-2022, 03:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lollo2 View Post
Whoever the "others" are, they lie or have a conflict of interest.
In aggregate, Hauppauge cards are not well liked, and have never been well liked. Most Hauppauge cards have various issues. I've wanted to like Hauppauge cards, and for 20 years now, and in fact own about a dozen different models (PCI, PCIe, USB, and actually more PAL models than NTSC). Aside from the ATI 600 USB clone, these range from passable (not too different from Dazzle) to craptastic. I'm sure some folks like their cards, it worked well in their scenario. But the overall sentiment differs.

Now then, for PAL, or NTSC-J, that GV-USB may be fine. But thus far, for regular NTSC, it's not known to be a quality card. And attempting to import one,from Asia to North America, can be messy, which I learned the hard way.

And that's where we are. That's where we've been for more than decade now.

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  #6  
11-04-2022, 03:57 PM
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More contradicting info!

What would you guys advise for my personal use-case? Do you have any recommendations for any specific capture card models? That's really all I'm trying to find out, and because I don't know enough yet, I'm searching somewhat blind as I don't know what's what. The following quote from my original post lists what I'm looking for and is the most important part of the post:
Quote:
"I've looked at lordsmurf's listings, and am interested if these are good for my use-case. I'm aiming for a lossless, stutter-free capture with strong color [though it doesn't necessarily need to be accurate color]. Given I actually enjoy some artifacts posed by analog video I'd actually be okay with some analog distortion as long as the capture meets the requirements listed above. These aren't old tapes, I will be the one taking these videos with the camera. [If this does change anything regarding choice, I like the warm look of analog tapes that I've seen in the past.]"
I don't want to spend more money than I have to as I'm going to school, and like I said I'd like to retain some analog distortion as I enjoy the effect. I just want it to be a smooth and lossless video without muted color that will work on my modern machine. Any help is greatly appreciated!
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  #7  
11-04-2022, 04:30 PM
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Aspects such as color accuracy tend to be tied to other issues. So it's rare for a card to have a single flaw, but rather multiple flaws. So a washed-out/underexposed image (ie, not "strong color") will usually also have "stutters" (induce dropped frames).

Everything costs money. You can spend too much (HD cards, etc), or too little (Easycaps, Elgatos, etc), and both are the same bad spend (negative economics). What you need is a card that's quality, for your own sanity. Spend wisely, not cheaply, not foolishly. Good gear costs, but good gear also has resale if/when you decide you're someday done with it.

The difficult part of shopping for capture cards in the 2020s if that the quality cards are used, and you don't want to randomly buy on eBay. Not just due to condition, but because some companies (especially Pinnacle and Hauppauge) had production changes, meaning a certain model card isn't always the same card as another with that same model numbers. You have to tear down the card, verify components. Same for some TBCs, even VCRs. This PITA mess started to trip me up in the 2010s, and another reason I provide gear in the marketplace now.

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  #8  
11-04-2022, 04:46 PM
lollo2 lollo2 is offline
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Quote:
What would you guys advise for my personal use-case?
It's your choice. You need your tapes to be in good conditions, and a good player (high end S-VHS VCR or high end Camcorder with line TBC). These are the key factors. Under these conditions, a Hauppauge USB-Live 2 or a IOdata GV-USB2 card will provide excellent results. They are still in production and are relatively cheap, no need to search for anything else.

If your tapes are bad and/or your player is not that good, you may need to add a (specific) DVD-R recorder in passthrough mode and/or a frame TBC to clean/recondition the analog signal prior to capturing. But that's a further step.

A channel on S-VHS / VHS capture and AviSynth restoration https://bit.ly/3mHWbkN
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  #9  
11-04-2022, 10:41 PM
Hushpower Hushpower is online now
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I'll vouch for the IO Data GV-USB2. It works flawlessly with Windows 10 and makes good captures, bad tapes or good.

If you have trouble with picture tearing or colour wobbles and flashing, get a DVD recorder for stabilising passthrough as Lollo mentioned: the Panasonic Es-10, 15 are the kings in this regard.
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  #10  
11-05-2022, 06:47 PM
Crazyates Crazyates is offline
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I used the AverMedia EZMaker 7 on Win 11. Very easy to use, quality was good, and it was pretty cheap.
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  #11  
11-06-2022, 03:57 AM
lollo2 lollo2 is offline
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Quote:
quality was good
Any sample to show? Otherwise is just an opinion and not a fact, like often happens here.

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  #12  
11-06-2022, 09:29 AM
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Some clarification needed here...

Quote:
Originally Posted by lollo2 View Post
If your tapes are bad and/or your player is not that good, you may need to add a (specific) DVD-R recorder in passthrough mode and/or a frame TBC to clean/recondition the analog signal prior to capturing. But that's a further step.
TBC is not optional, but a requirement for all workflows.

Some form of TBC is needed, be it
- substandard and highly problematic (video mixers, SE-500/etc, weak and messy),
- containing quality degrading drawbacks (ES10/15 line with non-TBC frame sync),
- or ideal and hassle-free (JVC/Panasonic S-VHS VCR with line + Cypress/DataVideo type frame, such as TBC-1000 and green AVT-8710)
- or a varied combo of ideal and non-ideal, to arrive at minimally passable outcome

It's not just for bad/problem tapes. All VHS tapes are bad, have problems. It's inherent to the format. When VHS was invented, digital ingest was not fathomed. It was designed to work with CRT TVs, which had some % of timing correction built in. With digital, zero correction is native, hence requirement of TBCs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hushpower View Post
I'll vouch for the IO Data GV-USB2. It works flawlessly with Windows 10 and makes good captures, bad tapes or good.
PAL user.

At some point, maybe next year, I'll try again to import one, for my PAL workflows. I have a few PAL cards, including suggested cards that were crap, lots of Hauppauge garbage models in that box.

Before some may respond, yes most cards "also do" other formats. But the cards are clearly native to a format. There are multiple signs. Certain cards that I reserve for PAL users were released in USA, but are a PITA with NTSC signals, fiddly. With PAL, same cards are flawless and simple. The same of true of TBCs, and certain DataVideo TBCs are actually PAL and NTSC native as well.

Quote:
If you have trouble with picture tearing or colour wobbles and flashing,
That's essentially all VHS tapes, with degree of issues varying per tape.

Quote:
get a DVD recorder
But not any recorder. In fact, almost all recorders lack this ability. The line passthrough ability was only found in a few DVD recorder models, mostly just certain Panasonic models, especially the large production ES10/15 models.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crazyates View Post
I used the AverMedia EZMaker 7 on Win 11. Very easy to use, quality was good, and it was pretty cheap.
AVerMedia has never made anything good. I've tried so many AVer cards over the years, all junk, to the point where I no longer bother. That EZMaker 7 appears to be just another low-end Conexant-based "grabber" like the VC500, ie terrible (AGC issues, off values, etc). Those are rebadged and resold, by both low-end actual brands, and those made-up Amazon-only Chinese "brands".

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  #13  
11-06-2022, 12:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
TBC is not optional, but a requirement for all workflows.
For my circumstance, which is digitizing hi8 tapes using the CCD-TRV87 as a source into that Pinnacle capture device you're selling to me, do I need a TBC? As stated before I like the look of many analog artifacts, so as long as the resulting footage is smooth with good color, I'm happy. The TRV87 has a built in TBC, and while I know that's not ideal for most circumstances, would this not be good enough for what I'm trying to achieve considering the above? Sorry for my cluelessness.
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  #14  
11-06-2022, 01:45 PM
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The CCD-TRV87 line TBC should help correct the image quality, somewhat (limited) stabilize the signal. The main issue is signal stability. Hi8 is a drop-happy format. Dropped frames cause multiple issues, stutters, black frames, messy frame, audio desync. You can attempt to forego frame TBC, but odds are against you. That said, that specific card does try to be more forgiving that some. It's really a toss-up here, to the downside. It now comes down to how much you want to futz around with tech, as opposed to using it. Your sanity. That's why frame TBC matters. In this exact scenario, frame TBC will be the "easy button" option, not the "fiddle, tweak, pray" option. With this exact scenario, some weaker alternative TBCs may also suffice, too.

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  #15  
11-06-2022, 02:25 PM
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I understand. Do you have any recommendations regarding specific models? Something that will avoid the stutter/dropped frames but retain the analog artifacting. I don't have a lot of money to spend, but the fact that I may have to utilize a weaker TBC here may be to my benefit in that regard.
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  #16  
11-06-2022, 04:03 PM
lollo2 lollo2 is offline
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Quote:
TBC is not optional, but a requirement for all workflows.
Not for mine, where only few times I add an ES-15, nothing more. For sure I am a special case, but not so rare as I have experienced across several interactions with many collectors.

Quote:
But the cards are clearly native to a format.
IOData GV-USB is not PAL native format, but NTSC-J beeing a japanese card.

A channel on S-VHS / VHS capture and AviSynth restoration https://bit.ly/3mHWbkN
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  #17  
11-07-2022, 05:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lollo2 View Post
IOData GV-USB is not PAL native format, but NTSC-J beeing a japanese card.
Sometimes it's the reasoning behind nativity. It is possible for NTSC-J and PAL to be more similar, likely even, than NTSC-J and NTSC. I've run into this before.

It's the NTSC-J and PAL aspect that makes me want to test this card, though I'm not expecting anything (because expectations = disappointment).

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  #18  
11-07-2022, 05:42 AM
Hushpower Hushpower is online now
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Quote:
me want to test this card, though I'm not expecting anything (because expectations = disappointment).
Gawd, anybody would think we were forcing you onto MAFS!

I'll chuck a few dollars your way, LS, if you like, to contribute to a purchase. I would be intrigued about your analysis, "although I'm not expecting anything"!

Seriously, there seems to be a fair amount of this VHS transfer stuff still going on and to have a robust Win10/11 solution that requires minimal faffing around that you could at least be neutral about would be a great help to the many newbys that continue to appear.
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  #19  
11-07-2022, 07:29 AM
lollo2 lollo2 is offline
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It is possible for NTSC-J and PAL to be more similar, likely even, than NTSC-J and NTSC
No. The only difference between NTSC and NTSC-J is in level of the signals (0 IRE, such as PAL, versus 1 IRE). No impact on a capture in general; in particular, the levels are fixed by the user to stay inside the capture range anyhow.

PAL and NTSC are way different.

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  #20  
11-07-2022, 08:59 AM
Crazyates Crazyates is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
That EZMaker 7 appears to be just another low-end Conexant-based "grabber" like the VC500, ie terrible (AGC issues, off values, etc).
The EzMaker 7 does use the Conexant CX23102 chipset, same as the VC500 and the Hauppauge 610 USB-Live 2. Why are the EzMaker 7 and the VC500 junk, but the Hauppauge USB-Live2 is on your Suggested consumer capture cards list?
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