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05-20-2018, 01:33 AM
woodepgh woodepgh is offline
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I gave up on the Windows world 10 years ago, so was distressed to read all of the negative comments about capturing with a Mac. The best that I can do is try to do my VHS to digital captures with my Parallels version of Windows 7, so with fingers crossed I downloaded and installed VirtualDub and Huffyuv as recommended by all of the forum experts. Well, I kinda sorta got it to work, but with some definite issues. There is certainly better clarity and less compression artifacts than I was getting with Premier Pro or iMovie, but it is stretching out the 4:3 video into widescreen, resulting in extra fat family members. It is also not capturing the audio from the capture device, but any room sounds via the built-in microphone on my iMac. I've looked for options to change the aspect ratio and audio source, but I am not finding an answer.

Just a few comments on how I have this set up - which I know I will be told is not optimal...
JVC HR-S8000U SVHS VCR is connected via S-Video connection to either a Panasonic min-DV or a Sony Digital 8 camcorder, and passing the signal through the DV connector to the Thunderbolt port on my iMac. My iMac is of recent vintage, so I don't have a firewire port. This setup works great when capturing with my Mac software (except the video quality due to the substandard .dv or .mov capture format). I understand that using these camcorders as a capture device is not optimal, but the live capture preview screen in Premiere Pro and iMovie show a quality level totally acceptable to me, but the captured FILE quality is severely downgraded below what is actually captured from the camcorder. To me, this indicates that the video degradation is due solely to the software that I am using to save the capture.

So, do you guys think that I can fix the aspect ratio and audio issues, or is the Parallels path not a viable way to go?

Thanks so much in advance.

Ed Wood
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  #2  
05-20-2018, 03:22 AM
woodepgh woodepgh is offline
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Partially answered my own question by looking at the developer's notes for VirtualDub. Apparently, it does not support any connectivity with DV devices, so I found an old Dazzle capture device in my cable drawer & tried that. The good news is that it produced an excellent quality video (in comparison with previous attempts) and in the correct aspect ratio. However, I still am unable to capture the audio portion of the recordings. To add to my misery, I have also now discovered that Premiere Pro will not open AVI files, even though it is supposedly compatible. I tried recapturing with the various available codecs in VirtualDub, but with no luck. Thanks again for any suggestions.

Ed
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  #3  
05-20-2018, 06:06 AM
hodgey hodgey is offline
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For capturing DV on windows, WinDV is a good alternative.

I know you could also manually copy out the raw .dv files from older versions of iMovie from the project folder, don't know if that's still possible. Otherwise when exporting these apps often wants to transcode (and alternatively deinterlace in bad ways) to some other format, often with sub-par quality which isn't ideal.

As for .avi and premiere, I don't know how it deals with .avi files, but you can convert them to .mov without re-encoding the actual video data with e.g the newest versions ov Virtualdub, with ffmpeg, and many other tools. MacOS is stupid when it comes to .avi files for whatever reason, it almost seems intentional on apple's part. Virtualdub should be able to capture the audio as well from the dazzle, so maybe some of the settings are incorrect? Granted without any sort of TBC, the video may be more jittery when using the dazzle compared to capturing via DV, depending on the devices used.
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  #4  
05-20-2018, 08:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodepgh View Post
The best that I can do is try to do my VHS to digital captures with my Parallels version of Windows 7
So, do you guys think that I can fix the aspect ratio and audio issues, or is the Parallels path not a viable way to go?
Nope. Trying to capture in non-native Windowsw (ie emulation, like Parallels, Virtualbox or VMware) does not work. It needs direct hardware access, not an abstraction layer middleman.

I was it did.

Quote:
Just a few comments on how I have this set up - which I know I will be told is not optimal...
Yes.

Quote:
an old Dazzle capture device in my cable drawer & tried that. The good news is that it produced an excellent quality video (in comparison with previous attempts) and in the correct aspect ratio.
How old? Which unit?

Quote:
However, I still am unable to capture the audio portion of the recordings.
I'm not surprised. Again, the hardware issue, will not work well (or at all) in emulated OS environment.

Quote:
To add to my misery, I have also now discovered that Premiere Pro will not open AVI files, even though it is supposedly compatible.
AVI is a wrapper. Mac needs the codec installed. Mac software can usually read wrappers like Quicktime, AVI, MP4, MKV, etc. But the codec inside is what matters. Unfortunately, Mac doesn't play nice, and so most codecs do not work with it.

Quote:
I tried recapturing with the various available codecs in VirtualDub, but with no luck. Thanks again for any suggestions.
Uncompressed YUY2 will work, but a 75gb/hour file is ugly. And that data rate may have I/O issues, so dropped frames.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hodgey View Post
MacOS is stupid when it comes to .avi files for whatever reason, it almost seems intentional on apple's part.
I'm not anti-Mac, quite fond of my Mini. But for video it's a POS OS. Jobs pissed off a lot of video companies in the late 90s, and they all bailed to Windows. Mac started to right their wrong in the 2000s (DVD Studio Pro, Adobe Premiere), then doubled down with the head-in-sand attitude (no Blu-ray, software discontinued, Mac Adobe version crippled compared to Windows). And yes, many difficult video aspects are indeed intentional. Jobs wanted it to not work. He was an ass.

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  #5  
05-20-2018, 08:07 PM
woodepgh woodepgh is offline
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Hodgey,

I can and do retrieve the .dv files from iMovie, but the quality of the saved files is significantly inferior to the captured video stream from the camcorders. Thatís why I am trying to find a lossless process that doesnít involve Premiere Proís .mov files or iMovieís .dv files. Your suggestion of converting .avi to .mov without re-encoding will definitely be something that I will look into if I can resolve the audio issues.

Lordsmurf,

You are telling me something that I was expecting but hoping not to hear - that the Windows Parallels environment would not work. The Dazzle unit came bundled with the Pinnacle Studio 8 (I think) software. The model name on the bottom is DVC100 Rev 1.1. It was the second Dazzle unit that I had bought over the years, and videos that I captured with it back in the day are markedly better that the same videos that I am trying to capture today with Premiere Pro or iMovie. If I remember correctly, the box was labeled as Dazzle HD, but I wonít swear to it.

Do either of you think that WinDV may work in Parallels? If itís freeware, I suppose it is worth a shot. I may have to live with the crappy .dv files when all is said and done, as I have no intention of trying to build or buy a Windows PC.

Thanks for your help!!!

Ed
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  #6  
05-20-2018, 08:41 PM
hodgey hodgey is offline
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Maybe a silly question, but are you sure the .dv files have degraded quality, or if it's the software used to play it back that handles them badly? The dv format isinterlaced, so the visual quality on a modern LCD screen can vary a lot depending on how it's dealt with. It would be rather odd for iMovie to recompress the videos in the .dv format.

I couldn't really find much info on firewire media devices on parallels, though WinDV is free, so it's simple enough to try. Alternatively, if it's not supported in parallels you could also run a linux distro (e.g Ubuntu) from a usb stick (not through parallels) and capture using the dvgrab command-line utility to grab the raw DV data. It's readily installable through the package manager on most linux distributions. You may need an external disk to write to though as only macOS can write to the macOS file system. (You may even be able to use the dazzle on a live linux system though that's a bit more difficult to set up.)
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  #7  
05-20-2018, 10:31 PM
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Even if it does "work", timing will always be a problem, as well as I/O for writing into a virtualized HDD. Perhaps with SSD, the I/O can be eliminated, but timing delays are still present. I don't know of any OS that can nest an OS while maintaining the full timing speeds for audio and video. The abstraction of the hardware won't play nice, or at all.

Video capture is unfotunately one of the things that cannot be virtualized. I wish it wasn't the case. Otherwisewe'd have happy Win7/8/10 users with an ATI AIW card (or whatnot) using XP in a VM.

Trust me, I've tried, and each time failed. I've tried a lot of things, including hacking OS and drivers, when it comes to video capture. VM is a non-starter, brick wall is hit almost immediately.

I've never read about or seen any success in VM capturing video.

One of the few possibilities is from using Empia-based USB, and the actual audio/video is wrapped in the eMPIA chips/drivers. So you don't need actual drivers for the video/audio chipsets, rather just eMPIA, which communicates and relays in hardware. I've not attempted this yet, just hypothesis, but you don't have anything eMPIA anyway. I'd hate for to buy something that may not work.

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  #8  
05-21-2018, 12:46 AM
woodepgh woodepgh is offline
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Hodgey,

I donít know what is causing the poor video quality, but I assume that it occurs between the time that the video stream is visible on the preview screen and when it completes the capture and is saved to a dv file. There is a night and day difference in quality. Since you asked, I looked at the video with Quicktime, Roxio Video Player, and VLC. Surprisingly, VLC had the best result - slightly sharper and more color saturation. I donít know if VLC adds these or not, but it is an improvement.


Lordsmurf,

I dug into the recesses of my junk closet and pulled out a box of my old old obsolete software packages. I found the software that came with the Dazzle, which actually was Pinnacle Studio HD version 14WW. I installed the software on my Windows 7 virtual machine for grins, and amazingly it actually worked! I also found my old copy of Final Cut Express 4, and installed it on my old Mac Pro. It also works. I am not going to be so bold as to suggest that the results of either of these methods will be better or worse than just using iMovie or Premiere Pro, until I have a chance to do some comparison tests. If they are not dramatically better, I will probably not use either one since they are both a real pain to use. But at least I have a couple of potential options. Iím also going to try a 2-step process of copying the contents of a VHS tape to a Mini-DV tape, and then transferring the contents of the newly created mini-DV tape to Premiere Pro. I have no idea if bypassing the ďpass-throughĒ function will make a difference, but worth a try.

Ed
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  #9  
06-06-2023, 01:38 PM
whitehusky whitehusky is offline
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I know this is an old thread, but in case anyone finds it, want to share my positive experience doing this. I've been successfully capturing raw footage from VHS/S-VHS with VirtualDub running in a VM using a Startech USB3HDCAP device via both component and S-Video input. Works perfect - and I'm saving uncompressed using the lagarith codec in an AVI container. (Which I then transcode virtually losslessly to ProRes 422HQ with ffmpeg.) I'm running it in a VMWare Window 10 environment. for some reason, I never could get it to work in Parallels - VDub never displays the video, no idea why. But works perfectly fine in VMWare.
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  #10  
06-06-2023, 02:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whitehusky View Post
I know this is an old thread, but in case anyone finds it, want to share my positive experience doing this. I've been successfully capturing raw footage from VHS/S-VHS with VirtualDub running in a VM using a Startech USB3HDCAP device via both component and S-Video input. Works perfect - and I'm saving uncompressed using the lagarith codec in an AVI container. (Which I then transcode virtually losslessly to ProRes 422HQ with ffmpeg.) I'm running it in a VMWare Window 10 environment. for some reason, I never could get it to work in Parallels - VDub never displays the video, no idea why. But works perfectly fine in VMWare.
You had better scrub that video tediously before claiming it works. Odds are high that there are random glitches, easy to miss with a cursory glance at the footage. You'll miss glitches without an actual watch, or at very least a tedious detailed timeline scrub.

Not seeing the VirtualDub preview is one of multiple problems when trying to display through an abstraction layer.

Direct hardware access is required for proper capture. I wish that wasn't the case, but it is.

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  #11  
06-06-2023, 03:15 PM
whitehusky whitehusky is offline
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Oh I have! I've been doing it this way for about a year now, and used the video in a variety of ways, including scrubbing though hours frame-by-frame splitting them up in some cases. They've been perfect. The only issue I've seen so far is an audio sync issue with one tape (of hundreds), which I'm sure isn't a result of this setup. And, occasionally random disconnects from USB, but then I just restart the capture.
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