Again, my apologies for the long delay on this topic. It required a trip to a friend's mini-studio, which is based completely off Apple/Mac products, in terms of the digital side. I felt it best to go there rather than operate purely from memory. I only use his gear 3-4 times a year.
First, on this method:
jvc xvs44u(svhs out)-->canopus advc3000-->mac imovie-->idvd, using canopus settings to sharpen images and also remove all chroma
- Better VCR may help, get to that in a minute.
- Canopus ADVC300, while a good device, most of what it claims to do is marketing smoke/mirrors, less reality
- iDVD is not the best software to use
So, let's expand on this now:
Digital video is actually a dual concept. You need to take care of the VIDEO and the DIGITAL separately. They are related, but not at all times. Playback is one of those times. You want to feed the digital device the cleanest and most stable signal possible.
Timebase correctors (TBCs) help stabilize the signal, and digital filters help clean it up. JVC branded S-VHS players, especially the higher end 7000 and 9000 series, clean up a VHS and/or S-VHS tape using various filters. One of these is the DNR (digital noise reduction) that is attached to a line TBC.
I suggest one of the JVC machines, and then the DataVideo TBC-1000 or AVToolbox AVT-8710. I use the TBC-1000 and have a JVC HR-S9800 and HR-S7965 (PAL) here. More on that can be found on the PLAYBACK SUGGESTIONS guide on the menu of digitalFAQ.com (capture section).
Canopus makes some decent cards. However, Canopus has a marketing department that I find all but disgusting. To them, everything is "pro quality" and they blow a lot of smoke. While I have no doubt that the DV AVI device (ADVC300) is decent, it is not a magic box like the seem to proclaim. It only does DV transfer, and it's filters are nominal.
There is only so much that can be done digitally, you need to try and correct the signal quality earlier on (VCR, TBC, proc amps, etc). The easy benefit of the external ADVC series is they can work both with PC and Mac.
The friend I went and visited uses a Mac G4 from summer/fall 2001. One of the earlier machines, if I recall correctly. It's fine. Newer ones will be faster, but older ones work too. My PC, in fact, is one I bought in 2001 with the very first burner drive (Pioneer 103) and it works great. MPEG encoding is a little slow, but seeing as how I encode overnight, saving a couple hours does not matter at all (I'm asleep anyway, who cares).
If you can afford a bigger, badder Mac, do it. You may want to verify the G5 and the OS X version required work well with the Canopus device. I don't see why not, but that Mac stuff can be a pain sometimes, not as backwards compatible as PCs are.
I'll cover FCP stuff at the bottom here in a bit. Proc amps and detailers are wonderful toys, used in moderation, and only when needed. Perfect source never needs these. Old source often does.
I personally have high needs and high expectations, because I work with a wide array of video. I started out with Vidicraft equipment, but ended up moving to an Elite Video BVP-4 Plus proc amp and a SignVideo DR-1000 detailer (called an "image enhancer" to them).
However, most people will be equally pleased with Vidicraft proc amps and detailers. The Detailer II and III are the most popular models, the III has an extra knob or two for finer adjustments. I had the II and it worked just fine.
Vidicraft is an older line of equipment made by what has ended up being SignVideo www.signvideo.com
. New proc amps and detailers from SignVideo cost $300 each. Used Vidicraft equipment generally runs $50-75 each on eBay
, and is where mine came from. The Elite is quite a bit pricier, $700 new or about $200-400 on eBay
That's a generic overview of the equipment. If you have more in-depth questions, just ask and I'll see about getting them answered quickly.
Aside from different higher-quality source, not much else can be done. Filter and stabilize the source before it hits digital. And then if more needs to be done, adjust in digital-land. That's where FCP comes in, for Mac. PC has more options, in terms of video filtering. FCP is mainly an NLE, made for effects, not really so much for quality restoration.
FINAL CUT PRO.
This was done on FCP 2 on a Mac G4 using OS 9.
Newer version may be slightly different, but probably not by much. I've not yet had time to write the OSX/FCP4 guides for the site. That is still forthcoming, I'm attempting to schedule that for next week.
While digitalFAQ.com is being updated, I've placed some of the pages on another site temporarily for people to view before they go live.
This is the FCP guide (temp location):
It's goal is mainly as a capture function.
However, that will work for this situation too.
(Sadly, I think I left some of the images on his main system, so I've got to go get them. FCP basically has two location where filters can be added.)
One is shown on the guide, in the CAPTURING setup. This is basic digital proc amp found in most capture software. You can adjust gamma, color, saturation, hue, tint, etc etc.
The other one is in the EFFECTS area, like most other NLE's (such as Adobe Premiere). You select a filter, and then render to see the effect. Some are realtime, some are not. RT hardware is needed for those to be realtime. This is mainly using editing filters, but applying them in a way that fixes video.
Encoders like TMPGENC have encoders filters on the PC, when encoding to MPEG format. Sadly, Apple has no such filters, aside from the FCP NLE. This is mostly because it is lacking in MPEG encoders (just a few are available). It also does not have the benefit of frameservings or scripts like a PC. Not bashing a Mac, just informing you of the differences in platform, as it applies to restoring video.
I'll continue to update this in the near future. Meanwhile, feel free to ask questions if there are more.