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  #1  
03-02-2020, 11:49 PM
BringOutYrDead BringOutYrDead is offline
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Hi there everyone, I decided to bite the bullet and just ask my questions.

I was inspired by a colleague of mine to digitize all of my family's old home videos and give them to my family as gifts on flash drives. After watching a youtube video (this one, which I'm sure you get questions about every few weeks) and getting crappy results (I was using an EZCap card... smh), I found your website and I've decided to upgrade my gear and maybe set up a better and smoother workflow for myself. I've got about 40 VHS tapes to back up, 20-30 Hi8 tapes, and a few others that I'm sure are hidden away at my dad's house. I don't have a ton of video editing experience, but I'm a fairly technologically savvy engineer (not for software), so I catch on quickly.

A lot of our home videos have been shot on home camcorders that aren't particularly amazing quality, and from the camcorder was transferred to VHS's back in the early 90s, so there's some loss in quality right from the get-go. I guess I'm wondering if it's worth getting a real quality setup if I know the source material probably isn't great in the first place, and what the price point is that would max out something with not-so-great analog in the first place. I'm probably willing to spend up to $1000, with the expectation that I end up selling equipment back at some point, probably on this forum.

Here's my gear, with some questions:
VCR: Hitachi FX695 -- From research this is an awful player, but I found it at a thrift store for about $10. My dad also has a JVC HR-D9600U sitting at his house that I started with, but it powers off whenever I try to rewind, fast forward, or if it plays continuously for at least an hour, so using it has been a pain to say the least. When I captured side-by-side with the JVC, I didn't notice a drastic difference, but maybe it's my novice eyes. It was also a short period of time. It's also only got component cables and no S-video output. I haven't been able to find any information about this player or whether it has its own internal TBC and see if I should get it repaired, or if I should just buy a new VCR set-up entirely.

TBC: None, as it looks like all the good ones are totally sold out right now. See my comments above -- if these tapes were shot on crappy handicams and then trasnferred to VHS's, I'm not sure if a TBC would even improve the signal strength that well. I found 4-5 of the VHS's in a box next to a bunch of magnets, and a TBC probably can't fix a problem that huge. I'm wondering if there is a device that is good enough to get the bare minimum cleaned up without trying to make the picture absolutely pristine?

Capture Card: Diamond VC500, which has been a massive improvement from the EZcap card. I've heard "it's good enough", but is definitely not the top qual.

And some general questoins:

For my Hi8 tapes, I am not 100% positive what camera they were recorded on or which camera I could play them back on, but i know they are at my dad's house so at least I have some method . If the VCR has a TBC, does it make sense to go through input ports on the VCR and capture from there, or to skip the VCR entirely and go directly form the camcorder to the capture device?

I've been capturing on VirtualDub using Lagorith -- once the video has been captured, I really haven't used any of the post-capture filters in VD other than the "deinterlace" filter. Which filters are "mandatory" to you? I also see a lot of mentions of Avisynth but no easy guide for how to use it -- can someone point me in the correct direction? What is Avisynth good at that Virtual Dub fails at, and vice versa?

What's your opinion on the best way to capture videos with drastically different color and light settings? I tired using the histogram feature but it's hard to balance when the lighting is so different at different moments -- I've got tapes where we are indoors blowing out a birthday candle (the only source of light) and then immediately cuts to a bright sunny day outdoors, which makes it hard to capture properly. Can this just be fixed post-capture, or do I need to put on different capture balancing settings while pausing/starting the capture over and over again when the light shifts?

I'm sure more questions will pop up, but appreciate any help I can get!
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  #2  
03-04-2020, 06:40 AM
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lordsmurf lordsmurf is offline
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Q: Is this VCR worth repairing? (Hitachi FX695)
A: No.

I vaguely think the Youtube user "The Oldskool PC" is a member of this site -- and he should know better. That Youtube guide has lots of problems.

With a $1000 budget, I can easily help you put together a nice setup. No need to randomly buy crap. You can PM about this, as I still have a few (very few!) components left/available (as seen in the marketplace subforum), and then can direct you to the other items you'll want to get.

The VC500 is too variable to safely buy, if unwilling or unable to run lots of tests. I wish it were not the case, but we have too many sample captures in the forum showing issues, with the worst probably being overaggressive AGC errors. The card must have some sort of production changes. Both jwillis and myself have seen this behavior.

All VHS has grain and chroma noise, and homeshot video has white balance issues. So those are usually some baseline filters to run. Also masking overscans.

The problem with clip tapes is as you state -- lots of varied quality clips. You must sometimes multi-capture a bad tape. Other times, just pick best median values. You'll often have to chop up the clips, and restore each separately. Tedious, but that's the nature of video.

- Did my advice help you? Then become a Premium Member and support this site.
- For sale in the marketplace: TBCs, workflows, capture cards, VCRs
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  #3  
03-08-2020, 09:29 AM
BringOutYrDead BringOutYrDead is offline
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Thanks LS. I know the Hitachi is a piece of crap -- when it comes to repair, I was actually asking about the JVC HR-D960U that's sitting at my dad's house. I can't find any info on it online. As I said, it's got composite cables and no S-video, so I'm kind of wondering... is there a point?

Thanks for the other info -- I'll shoot you a PM shortly.
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03-08-2020, 05:37 PM
latreche34 latreche34 is offline
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To know if a VCR worth repairing you have to know what the fault is, If it just needs maintenance like dried up grease, worn out belts, fuses or bulged capacitors? maybe. But if it needs mechanical parts or major electronics repair then it's up to you to make that decision. If you don't know what's wrong with the VCR, neither do we.
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03-08-2020, 09:15 PM
BringOutYrDead BringOutYrDead is offline
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Latreche, I'm not asking how to fix the VCR. I'm asking: Even if I could fix the JVC HR-D960U to perfect working condition again, would it be any good?
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03-08-2020, 10:01 PM
latreche34 latreche34 is offline
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Again, no one has that answer because no one knows what's wrong with the VCR. For example if it has the DD system failure then the answer is no it is not repairable. The only way to know is send it out for assessment and they will tel you what's wrong with it and how much it would cost to fix, It will however cost you at least $250 in assessment fees and round trip shipping even if you decide not to proceed with the repairs.
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03-09-2020, 10:57 AM
hodgey hodgey is offline
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A quick google would suggest it's an older hi-fi unit with some editing features like a jog/shuttle wheel. Doubt it has DD. May have some coolness/sentinental value, but if the goal is a good capture vcr money would better spent on a new one.
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03-10-2020, 10:33 PM
BringOutYrDead BringOutYrDead is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hodgey View Post
A quick google would suggest it's an older hi-fi unit with some editing features like a jog/shuttle wheel. Doubt it has DD. May have some coolness/sentinental value, but if the goal is a good capture vcr money would better spent on a new one.
That's the info I'm looking for! Thank you.
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  #9  
04-03-2020, 10:17 PM
americano_br americano_br is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lordsmurf

I vaguely think the Youtube user "The Oldskool PC" is a member of this site -- and he should know better. That Youtube guide has lots of problems.
Hello,

My name is Rafael and I am new to the forum.

I have been reading up on the process of VHS-to-digital conversion, and, based on your posts and replies, you seem to be very, very knowleadgeable.

Just like the previous user, I have also come across that youtube guide posted by 'The Old Skool PC' and I was intent on following its instructions in the conversion of my family's old vhs tapes, until I read your commentary on the inadequacy of the guide for that activity.

If you wouldn't mind me asking: what are the most egregious faults with that guide?

And, what would you recommend on the software-side for the capturing and editing of vhs tapes? I am trying to execute this process on a mac connected to a ADVC-110.

I'd be very glad for any direction that you could provide.

Thank you so much. Please, be safe.
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