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  #1  
12-05-2023, 04:01 PM
peahix peahix is offline
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Hi all, long time lurker, first time poster. Thanks to all who have posted such good, detailed advice here over the years.

I'm looking for opinions/advice on how to get the most out of my capture setup, and whether my current equipment should ideally be upgraded, etc.

I'm capturing a variety of analog video sources, but for now I'll just focus on my VHS chain to keep things simple. I'm capturing mostly old TV recordings and camcorder footage, sometimes SP, sometimes EP.

JVC HR-DVS1U VHS S-Video out, stereo audio out
Panasonic DMR-ES15 S-Video in, stereo audio in

ES15 Component out
Leitch DPS 475 Component in
DPS 475 SDI out
Blackmagic Decklink Studio 4K SDI in

ES15 stereo audio out
Decklick stereo audio in (my DPS 475 doesn't have audio, so I connect audio direct to Decklink)

Windows 10, Blackmagic Media Express capture to 8-bit YUV AVI
Vegas Pro 20 edit/render

OK, I'll leave my editing/rendering questions until I've heard some opinions on the hardware.

A few specific questions: is there a problem leaving the JVC TBC on in conjunction with the ES15, or should I turn that off? Are there any other JVC settings I should enable/disable for this setup?

Also, I've experimented with capturing via the JVC firewire port, which worked fine for the MiniDV side of the deck until the loading mechanism for that side failed (so I don't use it for MiniDV), but when routing the VHS through the firewire port, I get some sort of light wavy interference patterns on the signal. I don't think it's my firewire cable, as that works fine in other setups. Is this a known issue with this deck, or something that's repairable?

OK! That's it for the moment, thanks in advance for your thoughts on my setup!

Pea Hicks
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  #2  
12-05-2023, 04:24 PM
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DVS1U suggests NTSC. Confirm.

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  #3  
12-05-2023, 04:26 PM
peahix peahix is offline
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Hi, yes, NTSC.
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  #4  
12-05-2023, 04:42 PM
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Alright.

ES15 is not a TBC, and harms the signal as much as it helps. It's best saved for situations where you have net gains, added damage less than the added fxies.

Component out of a DVD recorder is not at all suggested for NTSC, it screws with the signal due to processing.

That Leitch TBC is not ideal, and it will fail at times, as it does not expect consumer sources like VHS, which are far more chaotic (or chaotic in a different way) that the broadcast sources it expects. Experiences with it are highly variable, from junk to results.

Blackmagic card used purely for SDI is fine, but the required proprietary software is blah.

Vegas is great for editing. The "rendering" (wrong word, you mean "encoding") uses the MainConcept SDK which is generally excellent, better than freeware encoding.

Firewire/DV and JVC should never be used, it's messy. JVC LSI based DVD recorders take DV in fairly well, but that's realy it. The DVS/SRVS decks should just be used as quality VCRs, ignore everything else.

You will get mixed quality results with this sort of setup, with the ES15 being most damaging here.

The DPS was somewhat shredded here years ago, lots of info and reading on why it's not suggested:
https://www.digitalFAQ.com/forum/vid...grade-tbc.html

What is the reason that you tried to assemble this sort of workflow?

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  #5  
12-05-2023, 04:52 PM
peahix peahix is offline
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Thanks for your thoughts! The equipment I have has just been cobbled together over time, often based on a problem arising with one tape or another, and seeking out something that might help. I read opinions about various pieces of gear online (yes, I've read that thread about the DPS), but often it comes down to finding things at reasonable prices just trying them out. I should point out that I originally got the DPS for my 3/4" decks to hook into. I'm always reconfiguring and trying different things, and am not opposed to just scrapping this system altogether and starting from scratch with a new setup. I just figured, before I do that, whether there's any sort of "optimal" way to link up the gear I already have.

-- merged --

I should add that I do generally get "good" results with this setup, but I don't really have a system for determining how far off I am from the technically optimal results I *could* be getting from any given tape.

-- merged --

Sorry for the multiple replies, but thought to also mention that I specifically got the ES15 for a particular situation where I had a tape with bad flagging. It cleared that problem up, and I just left it in the chain, thinking it'd be handy for clearing up similar issues in the future.
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  #6  
12-05-2023, 05:12 PM
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The gear for the initial uses was fine (DPS for 3/4" deck, ES15 for tearing), but it just does not cobble together for this different VHS use. It's really a case of trying to pound in a nail with a screwdriver. Wrong tool.

"reasonable prices" is relative to what it is. $5 for a roast beef sandwich is fine, $5 for a side of beef (aka half a cow) is not. Yes, both are beef, but both are different. You have to resist the novice urge to pull random numbers from thin air, or to give video gear a lunch budget instead of a proper budget (comparable to nice desktops/laptops)

The easy and obvious answer is
(1) quality frame TBC to complement the JVC VCR line TBC
(2) quality capture card

Capture card is OS specific, but noting that Win 8/10/11 are a PITA for capture, Mac/Linux is again the wrong tool, and WinXP/7 is the best for capturing. Remember, this a legacy task, using hardware of that era.

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  #7  
12-05-2023, 08:49 PM
peahix peahix is offline
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Can you point me to a thread that outlines, specifically, what's wrong with more current versions of Windows vis a vis capture? Or is it just that the most preferred capture cards only have drivers that work with older versions of Windows?
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  #8  
12-05-2023, 09:10 PM
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8/10/11 nuked not just how drivers work, but the Windows subsystems that drivers relied on. It's like trying to put gasoline (the old drivers) into an EV (Win8/10/11).

This is a legacy task, so "new cards" don't really exist, aside from cheap Chinese USB garbage, or HD cards that "also do" (and poorly) SD video ingest. There are some narrow paths for using newer Win8/10/11, but realize the next Windows update could nuke those too. Youi really should not use you daily computer for video capture anyway, it's always "doing stuff" in the background.

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  #9  
12-05-2023, 09:17 PM
peahix peahix is offline
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I don't use my daily computer for video stuff- I have a dedicated, well-spec'd machine for that. It's just that I do alot of different sorts of media production with it, most of which relies on current hardware/software. So I guess ideally I'd have to dedicate a whole other machine just to the video capture task. I have a couple of old HP Z420's sitting around that I guess I could employ for that. They were originally used as video editing workstations at a local TV station.
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  #10  
12-05-2023, 09:29 PM
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Swap the boot drive. There are hardware switches to power/select a different drive while powered off, so no actual removal/swap needed. I do this. All captures are to a second drive. Using pure WinXP is not fun, but a WinXP box that loads Win7/10/whatever is great. Or new fancy Win11 box that can load Win7. Capture in one, reboot, use/move/whatever captures in another OS. Even Linux, even a hackintosh.

The main consideration for a capture system for SD is to not go too far back. You never want an old IDE P4 box now. It needs to be SATA with dual-core minimum specs, otherwise capturing is miserable (just as it was in the early 2000s).

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  #11  
12-06-2023, 12:37 AM
aramkolt aramkolt is offline
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Very interesting chain suggested there. Seems the DPS475/575's have a bit of a cult following it seems. What I like about them is you get a sort of mini color level monitor on the front which certainly isn't a full vectorscope/waveform monitor, but it tells you whether your source is close to what it should be if you have a test pattern going through the chain and you can tune the proc amp accordingly. Yes, color correction may still be needed after the fact, but I like starting off at good capture levels so that nothing is clipped or has super low levels. Audio features can be pretty useful if you see another unit that has it at a good price. Main things are audio level monitoring, audio delay of up to 0.25 seconds, and it can also merge the audio to the SDI output with your video so whatever capture card you use receives the audio and video together.

I will say I did pop open my DPS475 and found that there's about 15 surface mount caps that all had high ESR - so guessing that is a very common thing for those caps to go bad and perhaps part of the reason why they haven't performed as well for some. I do plan to recap mine before doing any serious testing with it. You may want to look into that if you've got some decent soldering skills.

If you have the means to do a direct capture with something like virtual dub with another analog capture card, see if you're getting any dropped frames with a few different sources both with and without the ES15. If you're not, then you probably don't need the frame TBC for those tapes, especially if you are also not having any audio sync issues. Lord Smurf's setup would be ready to handle anything, but your source material might not require it if it passes the above tests. The other forum poster suggested that composite can't be used as the input if you have an unstable signal, but I think its own internal full frame TBC should work fine with S-Video in. I have seen other posts that S-Video-in is poor on the 475, but again, that could be due to capacitors that had gone bad inside perhaps for those that had that experience.

I'd be curious to see a short capture using the chain you suggested both with and without the ES15!
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  #12  
12-06-2023, 01:02 PM
peahix peahix is offline
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Hi, you mean a clip from VHS>ES15>DPS475>Capture, and one without the ES15?

Another question about the JVC deck. For non-problematic tapes that don't need a frame TBC to play nice, and don't need the ES15 for flagging/tearing issues, and thus I can connect the deck directly to my capture card, which output on the deck is better: Component or S-Video?
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  #13  
12-06-2023, 01:36 PM
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No, VCR > capture card lacks frame TBC, dropped frames will happen.

It needs to be VCR > frame TBC > capture card

You can actuallu skip the line TBC, but quality suffers.
Some TBCs also need clean(er) input, especially anything toward the broadcast end (the "also does consumer formats") TBCs that were "designed for both pro+consumer".

Hence,
recommended JVC S-VHS VCR with line TBC >
> recommended DataVideo/Cypress type frame TBC >
> recommended quality capture card

Random items win random prizes. Not where you want to be.

The data on VHS videotapes is stored as Y/C, thus you need s-video (Y/C). Not processed/degraded component output.

The line TBC in the JVC negates needing ES15 for anything. The ES15 will override the JVC, of the JVC can be allowed to function without the ES15. Only 1 TBC of a type can exist, and last one wins. JVC and ES15 both line TBC, so last in chain functions.

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  #14  
12-06-2023, 05:30 PM
aramkolt aramkolt is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peahix View Post
Hi, you mean a clip from VHS>ES15>DPS475>Capture, and one without the ES15?

Another question about the JVC deck. For non-problematic tapes that don't need a frame TBC to play nice, and don't need the ES15 for flagging/tearing issues, and thus I can connect the deck directly to my capture card, which output on the deck is better: Component or S-Video?
Yeah, that's the chain I was curious about the capture with, though in the case where you leave out the ES15, you'd enable the line TBC on the VHS and on the test with the ES15 in, you'd durn the VCR's TBC off.

The DPS475 does have a full frame TBC in it, it's just kind of poorly understood as it is not always active depending on the input source and mode it is in for settings. I also don't really have any data that says what degree of timebase errors the input signal can have before the DPS475 won't tolerate it.

Of note, S-Video-in will always have the TBC active, so I'd use that. However, I've also seen at least one person say that S-Video processing is "just bad", but I haven't directly observed that myself (need to do more testing). My guess is that most of those units have bad surface mount capacitors which may have affect that. All of my surface mount caps tested very bad in the unit I checked (and there's something like 15 of them) - was getting ESR's greater than 20 in several cases on 47uf caps.

Of note, the DPS475 is 10 bit, so colors should be more accurate than say a TBC1000, but it could be that you are only capturing in 8 bit, or the internal converters within the ES15, or line TBC within the VCR could be less than 10 bit, in which case it doesn't really matter that the DPS is 10 bit since the overall color depth will be constrained to the lowest bit depth analog to digital converter in your chain. The internal TBCs and ES15 I do not believe have posted specs that really disclose that.

There's a pretty interesting video here on the DPS475 here, though I'd jump to about 1:10:00 mark to see the quirks section. Most of the video is live demoing how to make audio connectors for them which I'd think they could have done in 5-10 minutes, but somehow took most of the video haha. Still good content though: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j1uzNuFdN08
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12-06-2023, 07:06 PM
peahix peahix is offline
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Thanks! Yes, I watched that DPS475 video you linked to awhile back. Thought about making audio connectors for mine but just never got around to it. I'm not much of a tech. I can do simple things, but real repairs I leave to the pros. Can you recommend anyone in SoCal who'd be qualified to have a look at my 475, ie the caps etc? Thanks also for the info on the S-Video. I previously was using the S-Video in (from the ES15) but switched to component, assuming that'd be better, but it sounds like consensus is it's not, so I'll go back to S-Video.

Since you seem to have alot of experience with the DPS475, do you have any recommended default setting tweaks for it?

Unrelated question about Video8/Hi8/Digital8/MiniDV: I have several different camcorders that I use to transfer these formats, and on every one of them, the color is more saturated on the camcorder's screen than it appears on any monitor I'm watching the captured video on (ie, when I'm not processing the signal in between the camcorder and capture). Is it simply how those camcorders were made, with saturated displays? Or is it possible that I'm losing something in capture?

Quote:
Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
The line TBC in the JVC negates needing ES15 for anything. The ES15 will override the JVC, of the JVC can be allowed to function without the ES15. Only 1 TBC of a type can exist, and last one wins. JVC and ES15 both line TBC, so last in chain functions.
I'm a bit confused. In an earlier comment, you said that the ES15 is not a TBC, but here you're saying it is a line TBC. Can you clarify?
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  #16  
12-06-2023, 08:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peahix View Post
Unrelated question about Video8/Hi8/Digital8/MiniDV: I have several different camcorders that I use to transfer these formats, and on every one of them, the color is more saturated on the camcorder's screen than it appears on any monitor I'm watching the captured video on (ie, when I'm not processing the signal in between the camcorder and capture). Is it simply how those camcorders were made, with saturated displays? Or is it possible that I'm losing something in capture?
DV will heavily desaturate colors. So what are the exact "several different camcorders" is use, and how are you transferring footage.

But in general, yes, LCD preview screens are all over the place, in terms of values. Not just color saturation, but exposure, white balance, etc.

Quote:
I'm a bit confused. In an earlier comment, you said that the ES15 is not a TBC, but here you're saying it is a line TBC. Can you clarify?
It's not a TBC.
It's not a line TBC.
It's a DVD recorder.

That recorder contains a certain Panasonic chip that has line TBC. However, that line TBC is also crippled (anti-copy fears), and has defects (but is less bad that others in the chip model line). Normally, these sorts of chips only work internally to pass video from A to B, not input to ouput. But this unit engages TBC on input, and it passes to output, which is unusual. But for us, it's a good thing.

But in addition to the benefits/drawback of the line TBC chip, you also get all the drawbacks of the recorder's other chips and processing. So not just line TBC, but posterization (color palette compression, a type of digital banding), bad levels (typical Panasonic brightness/contrast and sometimes green hue issues), few others.

It can make video worse, not just better. So it's a tool in the video tool chest, not some always-on item in the workflow. Unless you're just trying to cheap out, in which case this is better than nothing. Buit it's not ideal, not best, not a TBC at all. TBCs should be transparent (fix issues, not add), this is anti-transparent (fixes plus adds).

Does that make more sense now?

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  #17  
12-06-2023, 09:46 PM
peahix peahix is offline
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Thanks again. The camcorders I have are all Sony's, some Hi8, some Digital8 with or without backward compatability, and some MiniDV. I capture in different ways. MiniDV and Digital8 I always capture via firewire. For Video8 and Hi8, sometimes I capture via S-Video, and sometimes I capture via firewire on the backward compatible camcorders. I've noticed desaturation in all cases compared to the screens on the camcorders themselves.

Thanks for clarifying on the ES15.
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  #18  
12-07-2023, 09:16 AM
7jlong 7jlong is offline
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I always assumed camcorder screens set at default were a lot like TVs set at default - bright and saturated to stand out at the store, but most requiring even a rough adjustment immediately after purchase. I've never had a TV that I didn't have to tone down a bit to keep the newscast from looking like it was being given by oompa loompas.

MiniDV or Digital8 through FW is bit for bit (dropouts aside), no different than the old data tapes, but with the added bonus of picture to watch while it happens instead of a boring progress bar. Nothing is lost. I'd look for a screen adjustment on your cams.
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  #19  
12-07-2023, 12:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 7jlong View Post
MiniDV or Digital8 through FW is bit for bit (dropouts aside), no different than the old data tapes, but with the added bonus of picture to watch while it happens instead of a boring progress bar. Nothing is lost.
Yes, but it's only true for DV/D8 transferred digitally.

Analog Hi8, Video8, VHS, etc -- that all gets degraded, the color information is cut in half (for NTSC), from 4:2:2 to 4:1:1. The outcome is lost color, desaturation, tint/hue shifts, gray blotches replacing fine color detail, and odd stairstep/etc in certain color intensities. It's ugly stuff when viewed larger than a tiny preview window or cell phone, when shown on an HDTV of even modest size.

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  #20  
12-07-2023, 12:57 PM
7jlong 7jlong is offline
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Thanks, that's why I specifically said "MiniDV or Digital8 through FW". As in FireWire. Not analog. I personally would not run analog formats through DV to capture them, and therefore did not comment on it.
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