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05-26-2024, 10:53 PM
Zillerdude Zillerdude is offline
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Hello all,

I am currently studying film in college and I've been looking into trying to rescue some tapes. I have a handful of movies that only exist on VHS and I figured I would try archiving them. I've been perusing this site for a few months now doing research and today I finally became a member so I can take this seriously.

So, to cut to the chase, I managed to get a SVHS machine, the JVC SR-MV40u. Facebook Marketplace seller, very little usage, and was mostly kept in a box. Got it for $80. While it's not listed among the top recommended machines in the buying guide, lordsmurf did consider this a B+ machine, and for the price I think that's good enough.

So here is where I could use some consultation. Since my SR-MV40u has TBC, will I still need an ES10/15? I know passing the signal through an ES10/15 will likely ruin the color, but it offers an extra layer of pseudo-TBC, so I am wondering if it is necessary or not. If I need one, I will buy one, if its to the detriment of preserving the quality of the tape in the archiving process.

If you guys DO recommend that I get an ES10/15, which one should I get. As I understand there are differences between the two and they might give different results. Given that, which one will pair better with an SR-MV40u?

The next thing I need help on is figuring out the best capture device for my situation. For starters, I need to make it clear that I cannot buy or build another computer. What I have is what I have. Money is not a huge issue, but it is still an issue. I can buy an ES10/15 if needed, and I can buy a capture card, given I can find ones for a reasonable price, but sinking money into a another computer is unfortunately out of the cards. I'm in college, I live in a small apartment, I don't have space or the money for another computer. This really sucks because I know most of you recommend a Windows XP or Windows 7 machine from the get-go.

Currently, the PC that I have is a Dell XPS 8950, and my specs include an RTX 3070 graphics card, and an i9 processor. I am also using Windows 11. Yeah, I know. Not a friendly machine for analog sources. But hopefully this helps narrow down what capture device will work with my machines and my PC.

With that being said, what do you guys recommend I do? What capturing device will make this process work? Also, given the computer that I have, what program should I use for recording the tape to? VirtualDub?

That's where I'm at right now. If it means anything, I've attempted a VHS capture previously, and I was able to get a successful capture (in that I got a tangible video file out of it). I did it with a regular consumer-grade Samsung DVD/VCR combo unit, using a Roxio Easy VHS capture device. The actual software that came with the Roxio DVD didn't work for some reason (I think its because Roxio wasn't compatible with Windows 11 yet) but the actual capturing function still worked, so I used the Roxio device to send the signal to OBS, for which I was able to successfully record and archive one of my tapes.

Needless to say, the results I got from that capture was cruddy. So, trying to improve my setup, I hope I am on the right track, and I hope I can get some help in finding the right gear and get a decent transfer without putting me in crippling debt.

Thanks for reading, and I hope to hear from someone soon.

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  #2  
05-27-2024, 08:37 AM
aramkolt aramkolt is offline
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I think you made a good call on that SR-MV40 - that'd probably go for more like $250-$300 on ebay in working order, probably more if the capacitors were replaced (There's like 30-40 of them that I replace as a standard). Unfortunately they used almost exclusively ELNA, Lelon, and Su'scon caps in these units. I've collected several parts units and have always paid more than you have in non-working condition haha. Just a heads up that there are several capacitors that like to go bad on them and you'll know this has happened if it stops booting up completely and is stuck at initial power on with "loading" being constantly displayed. I think 3 out of the 4 units I have show very dim displays - guessing due to being powered on for a long time after the capacitors failed possibly damaging the vacuum display as changing capacitors doesn't seem to bring back the brightness like it does on some other VCR models. Luckily, the front display doesn't actually affect the function at all.

This site tends to have a more negative view of the "professional" JVC series to include yours and the DV/VHS combo units as they were more targeted towards institutions that were more likely to use them a lot if spending that kind of money. The few parts units I've obtained show very little evidence of use other than maybe being plugged in continuously in standby. The paint they used on the top metal shell was of poor quality and that tends to scratch or peel on the SR-MV40 in particular, so units that look like they've had a rough life can appear pristine inside oddly enough. I probably would not recommend the SR-MV series if you don't ever plan on changing the capacitors - but for your project, if it's just a few tapes and you can then sell it when you're done, odds are that it'll be fine for short term use.


But back to the rest of your hardware chain - You most likely will not need an ES10 or ES15 with that VCR's line TBC active - You'll know if you do need it if you see wobbling or a warped image which is usually towards the top of the screen. If you're seeing vertical jitter or a lot of dropped frames, that's when a frame TBC really becomes necessary.

I'd say see how the DVD recorder capture looks compared to what you got in OBS.... but you mentioned that you are capturing movies - which probably means macrovision - hence the internal VHS to DVD-dub method probably isn't an option - though you might be able to use the VHS side to play out to a device that strips the macrovision and then feed that back into the DVD recorder input as the VCR and DVD sides I believe can operate independently and have separate inputs and outputs. Sounds pretty odd to even try, but these units had some unique features such as dual tuners so that you could even record two different live TV shows at the same time (one recorded to DVD and one recorded to VHS).

Now as far as what device to use to strip macrovision - people here will say to use one of the recommended TBCs (Green AVT box or TBC1000) - but those are most likely out of the budget based on your original post. Macrovision removal isn't really a TBC specific thing, but if you did find a commercial TBC to try that was reasonably priced, the feature you want is called "vertical blanking" - that essentially overwrites the area to where macrovision lives to all-black (ie blank) lines. Closed captioning also lives in the same area, so if you're trying to preserve that, it gets more complicated because even the recommended devices can knock that out as well. Certain TBCs will allow you to decide exactly how many lines to blank so that closed captioning is preserved, but again, probably out of budget.

I see a few potential options in your budget:

1. ADVC-100 which can be tricked into allowing macrovision and capture to a DV stream - in which case you'd also need a firewire PCI card for your PC - this method will be shot down by most here because DV will lose half of the horizontal color data compared to a more traditional capture and the output is perhaps a little blocky, but that seems to vary on how much different users are bothered by it. Tradeoff is that you'll never have audio sync issues with it and the file sizes are easier to work with - Something like 14GB/Hr if I recall correctly. There are lots of ADVC-110 comparisons to traditional capture methods out there - I'd suggest watching some on either YouTube or here and decide if it's worth the extra expense and complexity for the bump in quality that you may or may not find to be significant.

2. Sima Copy Master + the DVD recorder inside the SR-MV40 - This just removes the macrovision encoding so that you can feed it back into your DVD recorder. Before trying this path, try a hope VHS tape to verify that you can play the VHS and feed the output externally from the VHS side to the DVD side. That'll also prove if the DVD recorder part works before you pursue that path. I say Sima Copy Master over some of the other devices because it has S-Video in and out that you can use.

3. Same as #2, but using a Brighteye TBC 5 - These sometimes pop up for sale on ebay in the low $100 range and do have a frame TBC, proc amp (for adjusting video levels), and vertical blanking that can be enabled or disabled. I believe the reason they aren't on the list of recommend TBCs here is that they are Composite video only (no S-Video).

4. DVK-100 or DVK-200 will both strip the macrovision and work as a frame TBC. My understanding is that they can't be used in this way with VCRs that don't have line TBCs (or without passing through a ES10/15) as the signal coming out isn't "stable enough" for the DVK not to choke.

For a traditional capture using your existing PC, the main readily available budget capture card I'd consider is the IOData GV-USB2 or the Startech USB Video Capture based on this review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zcpbnU63_kY - I'm aware that these are technically not recommended cards, but many people have them and like them a lot. If for some reason you didn't like them, you can return it for a full refund since you'd be buying through Amazon, so there is really no risk there. I don't know that you can capture macrovision with them though - though in the video reviews by "Reasonably British" , they presumably are doing just that. The other issue I've heard with using a modern PC for capture is that you may not be able to see dropped frame statistics in some cases (so you won't really know that it is dropping frames during the capture), but I haven't tested that myself yet. OBS actually has dropped frame statistics during capture too, but again, haven't tested it myself. Also am aware that OBS isn't recommended either, but sounds like you do have some experience with that already.

Last edited by aramkolt; 05-27-2024 at 08:53 AM.
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  #3  
05-27-2024, 11:21 AM
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lordsmurf lordsmurf is offline
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Welcome.

Replying as I read...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zillerdude View Post
Hello all,
I am currently studying film in college
Enjoy college while it lasts.

Quote:
and I've been looking into trying to rescue some tapes. I have a handful of movies that only exist on VHS and I figured I would try archiving them. I've been perusing this site for a few months now doing research and today I finally became a member so I can take this seriously.
Admirable.

Source?
- How many tapes?
- What recording mode are your VHS tapes? SP, LP, EP/SLP, or a mix? If mix, % of each?
- What % of your VHS collection is from a camcorder, a VCR, and retail?
- What era are your tapes from, % of each? 70s, 80s, 90s, 00s?
- Are you aware of any problems with the tapes? Either with the signal, or physical? (mold, etc)

Quote:
So, to cut to the chase, I managed to get a SVHS machine, the JVC SR-MV40u.
That is a good model -- not necessarily the exact unit. Condition matters.

Quote:
Facebook Marketplace seller, very little usage, and was mostly kept in a box. Got it for $80.
This is always BS. "very little usage" is laughable, as the VCR is 20 years old, and has likely changed hands multiple times already. It's rare to find VCRs from the original owners these days (and many sellers even lie about that now).

Not that "usage" matters anyway, as the machine degrades, used or not. Rubber, grease, etc. It always needs maintenance before given any real usage (or it will often damage/eat tapes). Did you open it yet, see how much dust, dirt, grime exists? Condition of rubber bands, grease, etc? Yet, that is daunting to newbies, and easy to screw up. If you DIY, go very slowly, never assume anything (for example, don't guess at which way to turn something, or it'll probably break off).

$80 is a bargain, even for a "for parts" donor deck. So, regardless, great deal.

Quote:
While it's not listed among the top recommended machines in the buying guide, lordsmurf did consider this a B+ machine, and for the price I think that's good enough.
The MV40 is sort of the "beta test" version of that form factor deck series. These were not sold to home users, but to gov/edu (like you college sports programs), from places like CDW. Not Best Buy, Circuit City, etc, nor even B&H. So, overall, it's probably B- condition, due to who owned then, how these were used. This was a smaller production unit, and most failed from heavy use (often due to non-video hamfisted users at gov/edu).

When the unit is "good", most get B+ to A- at best (see my VCR grading/tracking scale). Essentially issues with anything other than SP tapes, because the heads are worn. (Tracking has a relationship with head wear.)

So I'd expected it to settle in that B+ range.

Quote:
So here is where I could use some consultation. Since my SR-MV40u has TBC, will I still need an ES10/15?
No, but...

The ES10/15 is a strong+crippled line TBC, with non-TBC frame sync. It's best used only for anti-tearing, as tearing is a harsh error that S-VHS VCR TBCs usually cannot fix. The ES10/15 is a DVD recorder with heavy aggressive NR (even when "off"), posterization, etc.

Right now, the MV40 has line TBC, and will override the ES10/15 unless VCR TBC turned off. First line TBC wins in a workflow, same for frame TBC. You cannot stack like TBCs (only line+frame can be stacked, and should be stacked).

But you currently lack any frame timing correction. ES10/15 is pretty crappy at this, as mere non-TBC frame sync is not corrective, but rather "burns in" to force clocked output. So, ideally, you want at least a weak frame TBC, but nothing weak TBCs have multiple errors as well (especially facing nth gen sources). It's why actual quality frame TBCs are always suggested, those "just work".

Quote:
I know passing the signal through an ES10/15 will likely ruin the color, but it offers an extra layer of pseudo-TBC,
Not color per se, but color palette compression (ie, posterization). And no, no "extra layer" exists, first line TBC in workflow wins, second does absolutely nothing. (Crude analogy time: it's like using two condoms. That doesn't work, and can actually make matters worse.)

Quote:
so I am wondering if it is necessary or not. If I need one, I will buy one, if its to the detriment of preserving the quality of the tape in the archiving process.
Only for anti-tearing.

Quote:
If you guys DO recommend that I get an ES10/15, which one should I get. As I understand there are differences between the two and they might give different results. Given that, which one will pair better with an SR-MV40u?
If you need a unit for anti-tearing, the ES10 is a tiny % stronger. Remember to route audio through ES10/15, it inserts about half second delay.

Quote:
The next thing I need help on is figuring out the best capture device for my situation. For starters, I need to make it clear that I cannot buy or build another computer. What I have is what I have. Money is not a huge issue, but it is still an issue. I can buy an ES10/15 if needed, and I can buy a capture card, given I can find ones for a reasonable price, but sinking money into a another computer is unfortunately out of the cards. I'm in college, I live in a small apartment, I don't have space or the money for another computer. This really sucks because I know most of you recommend a Windows XP or Windows 7 machine from the get-go.
What about a laptop for $250'ish?

Quote:
Currently, the PC that I have is a Dell XPS 8950, and my specs include an RTX 3070 graphics card, and an i9 processor. I am also using Windows 11. Yeah, I know. Not a friendly machine for analog sources. But hopefully this helps narrow down what capture device will work with my machines and my PC.
If that's Win11 Home, you're in for a world of hurt, as you cannot disable some of the "noise" that interrupts captures. You have limited options here, certain Pinnacle, perhaps a certain ATI clone (I've yet to test), or try the meme'd cards (and those are mostly for PAL anyway).

Quote:
Also, given the computer that I have, what program should I use for recording the tape to? VirtualDub?
That's the tool to us. Ain't broke, nobody ever fixed it.

Quote:
That's where I'm at right now. If it means anything, I've attempted a VHS capture previously, and I was able to get a successful capture (in that I got a tangible video file out of it). I did it with a regular consumer-grade Samsung DVD/VCR combo unit, using a Roxio Easy VHS capture device. The actual software that came with the Roxio DVD didn't work for some reason (I think its because Roxio wasn't compatible with Windows 11 yet) but the actual capturing function still worked, so I used the Roxio device to send the signal to OBS, for which I was able to successfully record and archive one of my tapes.
Needless to say, the results I got from that capture was cruddy. So, trying to improve my setup, I hope I am on the right track, and I hope I can get some help in finding the right gear and get a decent transfer without putting me in crippling debt.
Yep, as is expected. Low end all around. Quality is craptastic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aramkolt View Post
Just a heads up
There are a lot of things that can, and usually do, go wrong in these units. Far more than just caps. In fact, I'd say caps is a minority type error, and the easiest to fix. Yeah, caps = easy, so you know you're in for some work.

Quote:
This site tends to have a more negative view of the "professional" JVC series
How did you arrive at that wrong conclusion?

The "Professional Series" is just the continuation of the HR-S7800 into the SR-V10, which branched out to the various combos sold via CDW to orgs/gov/edu. Quality of "early combos" was a nightmare, and many weighed so much that there own weight destroyed them eventually. But the latter can be fine, though most are generally "ridden hard, put away wet". If you put in the work to restore the units, assuming it can be restored, you'll get a great unit.

Quote:
institutions that were more likely to use them a lot if spending that kind of money.
Yep, $2k+ each, at a time when the DD model 9900/9911 were available for under $1k, and 7900 was about $500 tax/shipped.

Quote:
The paint they used on the top metal shell was of poor quality and that tends to scratch or peel
Nope, paint was fine, no different from any other VCR. The difference was the users were mostly idiots, non-video coaches, secretaries, students, interns, etc. It wasn't their gear, so zero care was taken. Drop it, beat it, whatever. This isn't unique to VCRs, but anything in an office. Printers, vending machines, etc. Complex expensive equipment with numbnuts operators.

Quote:
on the SR-MV40 in particular, so units that look like they've had a rough life can appear pristine inside oddly enough.
Rarely. It happens, I've seen it. But very rarely.

Quote:
I'd say see how the DVD recorder capture looks compared to what you got in OBS....
These are LSI chips, it will be vastly better. OBS is the wrong tool for analog videotape capturing; you may as well use VLC Player or Word for capturing tapes, also the wrong tools.

Quote:
but you mentioned that you are capturing movies - which probably means macrovision - hence the internal VHS to DVD-dub method probably isn't an option -
Correct, unfortunately no TBC can be injected between the combo'd unit. It was never really intended for VHS>DVD as it was as separate DVD record/play and VHS record/play.

Quote:
Now as far as what device to use to strip macrovision - people here will say to use one of the recommended TBCs (Green AVT box or TBC1000) - but those are most likely out of the budget based on your original post.
Yes, and to add, do not buy the "black" AVT-8710 because it's "cheap" (relative). Those are flawed bad models. Yes, people buy and sells them, but they don't know any better (seller sees $$$, buyer is still uneducated).

Quote:
Closed captioning also lives in the same area, so if you're trying to preserve that, it gets more complicated because even the recommended devices can knock that out as well. Certain TBCs will allow you to decide exactly how many lines to blank so that closed captioning is preserved, but again, probably out of budget.
CC gets complex. In general, the capture for CC isn't the same as the capture for video. Those CC have to be extracted as subtitles anyway.

Quote:
1. ADVC-100 which can be tricked into allowing macrovision and capture to a DV stream
This is not true. ADVC boxes are just dumb boxes, and can (and do) drop frames, have audio sync errors, etc. It's 1990s tech, that had minimum specs of Pentium II, and Pentium III was recommended. But 200 (Y2K), it was already obsolete as a method. Yes, some people "still use them", just like some people still have land lines and no cell/mobile phones.

Quote:
- in which case you'd also need a firewire PCI card for your PC - this method will be shot down by most here because DV will lose half of the horizontal color data compared to a more traditional capture and the output is perhaps a little blocky, but that seems to vary on how much different users are bothered by it.
Correct, lots of loss, lots of artifacts. I'm not aware of anybody that accepts blocks anymore, and many never did.

Quote:
Tradeoff is that you'll never have audio sync issues with it and
This is a myth, and it was started by the Canopus marketing dept. They did not understand the DV spec, and misused the term "audio lock". To not lose sync is not what that means.

Quote:
the file sizes are easier to work with - Something like 14GB/Hr if I recall correctly.
It's precisely 13gb/hour.

But "easier to work with" is untrue, as NLEs are starting to not natively include DV codecs anymore. Because again, it's 1990s tech that was obsoleted entirely in the 2000s. Right now, we're in a tech paradigm shift in many ways. Firewire/IEEE1394 is being deprecated as well, finally, and "adapter" methods are failing. Being in an OS for 25+ years now is ridiculous.

With this person being on Win11, these ancient methods could literally cease working any day now. One update, and boom, gone.

It'd be different on legacy hardware (though still not suggested). But that's not what we have to work with here.

Quote:
There are lots of ADVC-110 comparisons to traditional capture methods out there - I'd suggest watching some on either YouTube or here and decide if it's worth the extra expense and complexity for the bump in quality that you may or may not find to be significant.
The does not work, because Youtube also compressed the color and data to 4:2:0 max (not 4:2:2 "uncompressed" from tape equivalency).

Quote:
2. Sima Copy Master + the DVD recorder inside the SR-MV40 - This just removes the macrovision encoding so that you can feed it back into your DVD recorder.
No, these never worked. Sima was the consumer brand of Cypress, and these pseudo TBCs "removed" anti-copy (Macrovision, etc) with side effects and artifacts. The MSRP on these was stupid high, only about $100 away from an actual Cypress TBC at the time. This junk was sold at Best Buy and Circuit City.

Quote:
4. DVK-100 or DVK-200 will both strip the macrovision and work as a frame TBC. My understanding is that they can't be used in this way with VCRs that don't have line TBCs (or without passing through a ES10/15) as the signal coming out isn't "stable enough" for the DVK not to choke.
But it must be modified, correct I/O used (there are many, and it can vary per version/unit), and locking it down is suggested (as the buttons and dials can be a bit to free to move by accident). This is a good option, but it's the sort of item that I must see "in person", not amount of online Q&A really helps. This is one of the budget items that I have in the marketplace forum.

Quote:
For a traditional capture using your existing PC, the main readily available budget capture card I'd consider is the IOData GV-USB2 or the Startech USB Video Capture based on this review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zcpbnU63_kY
Random Youtube advice, from random people -- especially somebody using an AI British voiceover -- are never what you want to follow. While those videos are entertaining, I can tell the person is very new to video. It's not much different than a Youtube teenager that reviews things he just bought, having no experience with any device. No context, no experience, no vetting.

Quote:
- I'm aware that these are technically not recommended cards, but many people have them and like them a lot. If for some reason you didn't like them, you can return it for a full refund since you'd be buying through Amazon, so there is really no risk there. I don't know that you can capture macrovision with them though - though in the video reviews by "Reasonably British" , they presumably are doing just that. The other issue I've heard with using a modern PC for capture is that you may not be able to see dropped frame statistics in some cases (so you won't really know that it is dropping frames during the capture), but I haven't tested that myself yet. OBS actually has dropped frame statistics during capture too, but again, haven't tested it myself. Also am aware that OBS isn't recommended either, but sounds like you do have some experience with that already.
I don't really like "I don't know, but I read this from ___ (unknown random person), and he says blah blah blah". Telephone gamed advice sucks.

It's not about "popularity", but performances and facts. The "popular" item is a random POS from Walmart, Best Buy, or Amazon, and it results in the crap quality this person has already seen. Too often, "popular" is due to ignorance, lack of research/education. And thus why "popular" items become unpopular, fall out of favor, because the smart people eventually called BS, and the dullards masses paid attention.

For a non-video comment on a current popular "it" trends, look at the injectable "weight loss" diabetes drugs. That will not end well. It may take a few years for the popular/unpopular cycle, but people will eventually learn how those work (and don't work), and we're going to see a lot of deaths eventually (as it prevents adequate nutrition). Sad but true. Calling it now.

The "AI" thing is already getting flack finally, as it's screwing stuff up more than not.
https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2024...arch-for-good/

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