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10-16-2022, 11:33 PM
forzato forzato is offline
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Quick summary:
Mother in different state decided to digitalise VHS tapes. I researched several local services nearby and found reasonable places specialising in film restoration as well as clean and recover damaged tapes. The incompetent and rude shop owner tells mum to leave tapes with him for a few hours while he sits on his ass and presses the record button. When she picked up the digital files on a hard drive I assumed everything was fine as she told me the format ProRes 422 (for compatibility with her MAC). Almost 6 months later we meet up and I discover the files are not what I asked for to obtain HQ masters. Worst still the exorbitantly expensive larger video was recorded in progressive (with no deinterlacing) which is an amateur mistake.

Extra details
Prior to this project I researched these forums for gear. My parents are retired and don't have a lot of money and my income is very unsteady. I certainly don't have the spare cash to spend on gear, even if it continues to inflate in prices. I considered sending the tapes across the world to lordsmurf or whoever does the services on this site. However, my mother refused as she didn't want to lose the tapes.

After discovering the tapes had been incorrectly formatted I rung up the store and spoke to the owner. I asked what software (final cut), TBC line (he can't remember), VCR model (it's not important). His attitude immediately changed when I stated my background in VFX, suddenly he became aggressive and deflected the blame. He said VHS quality is so bad that it doesn't matter if he used a TBC, a prosumer VCR, cleaned the tapes or forgot to switch off progressive mode. I stated you can't polish a turd and remained calm suggesting to simply redo the tapes correctly and then I would forgive the AU$300 my mother was charged (yes you read that right). He said it wasn't worth his time and hung up.

Below are the 3 videos meta info summarised. The first file seems mediocre although I'm pretty confident he didn't use a line or frame TBC. I'll share some screenshots as the second video has a copy of the same footage on a separate tape.

Video 1 - Christening
Code:
Format: ProRes
Bit rate mode: Variable
Bit rate : 61.8 Mb/s
Width : 720 pixels
Clean aperture width: 703 pixels
Height: 576 pixels
Clean aperture height: 576 pixels
File size: 10.2 GiB
Duration: 22 min 57 s
Overall bit rate mode: Variable
Overall bit rate: 63.3 Mb/s
Display aspect ratio: 4:3
Clean aperture display aspect ratio: 4:3
Frame rate mode: Constant
Frame rate: 25.000 FPS
Standard: PAL
Colour space: YUV
Chroma subsampling: 4:2:2
Scan type: Interlaced
Scan type, store method: Interleaved fields
Scan order: Top Field First
Bits/(Pixel*Frame) : 5.958
Colour primaries: BT.601 PAL
Transfer characteristics: BT.709
Matrix coefficients: BT.601
Audio Format: PCM
Bit rate: 768 kb/s
Videos 2 & 3 - Home Videos
Code:
Format: ProRes
Bit rate mode: Variable
Bit rate : 59.4 Mb/s
Width : 720 pixels
Height: 576 pixels
File size: 76.6 GiB
Duration: 22 min 57 s
Overall bit rate mode: Variable
Overall bit rate: 63.3 Mb/s
Display aspect ratio: 5:4
Clean aperture display aspect ratio: 4:3
Frame rate mode: Constant
Frame rate: 25.000 FPS
Standard: PAL
Colour space: YUV
Chroma subsampling: 4:2:2
Scan type: Progressive
Bits/(Pixel*Frame) : 5.724
Colour primaries: BT.601 PAL
Transfer characteristics: BT.709
Matrix coefficients: BT.601
Audio Format: PCM
Bit rate: 1 536 kb/s
I would love to name and shame the shop in Launceston Tasmania however we have laws here to protect criminals from slander. After that terrible experience, I was too upset to continue so the files remained in a folder called SQ baby videos. 6 months later, I'm willing to consider one more attempt with a local service near me where I can go in and find out what gear they use and how it will be set up.

-- merged --

Here is a still frame of the same content on two separate tapes. I understand that tapes deteriorate and there might be an issue with how it was transferred originally from my grandfather's video camera.

Third attached image is also from the second tape that was scanned progressive. The shop owner claimed I could just deinterlace it and there would be no artifacts as it's just tagged wrong. I'm not so sure about that as it appears kind of choppy on 50fps footage with QTGMC.


Attached Images
File Type: png christening.00.png (570.6 KB, 13 downloads)
File Type: png home tape 1.00.png (679.1 KB, 14 downloads)
File Type: png home tape 2.png (539.8 KB, 13 downloads)
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  #2  
10-17-2022, 05:41 AM
hodgey hodgey is offline
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It's a bit hard to say too much without an actual clip but can at least see the capture was not done with S-Video out from a vcr as there are "chroma dots". Now that on it's own doesn't automatically made it worthless but on the second image there is a lot more of it than I would expect getting from a decent video decoder. I think it would definitely be possible to get something better with a decent budget setup for not a lot of money (decent hi-fi vcr -> dvd-recorder with jitter correction/tbc stuff -> okish capture device). The person's behavior doesn't inspire confidence either.

The sharp black border on the right (probably on the left as well but the image doesn't extend there) does indicate that it's probably not pure direct vcr->cheap capture dongle setup as capture devices don't typically add borders like that on their own. That's something TBCs (built in or external), dvd-recorders and similar often do. Not spotting obvious compression artifacts either so probably haven't gone via dvd or similar either. Could maybe have been captured from a mediocre dvd-recorder/vcr combo that digitizes internally (hence the added bars) to a capture device or something?

Some of the difference in color between the two first shots may be due to the dubbing process but hard to say from still shots alone, same with whether there is some sort of tbc/jitter correction going on or not. There isn't a lot of motion on the shots but at least on the last shot it doesn't look like it's been deinterlaced so they may be right that it's just mistagged.

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  #3  
10-17-2022, 10:13 AM
latreche34 latreche34 is offline
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Typical clueless/careless individual who's looking for a quick buck, Some of them do show up here and at VH asking questions about capture and they want to do it for money but they don't know what TBC stands for, We warn them to not butcher other people's tapes, that's the least we can do.

https://www.youtube.com/user/latoak34/videos
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  #4  
10-17-2022, 10:27 AM
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kpmedia kpmedia is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by forzato View Post
I would love to name and shame the shop in Launceston Tasmania however we have laws here to protect criminals from slander.
Written word is libel, not slander. And the defense to it is truth.

Libel = "They intentionally screwed up my videos."
Truth = "They screwed up my videos because they are incompetents idiots. And their incompetency at video is proven by being evasive with, or ignorant of, technical information needed to provide quality services."

That's pretty universal to all countries with defamation laws.

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  #5  
10-17-2022, 10:36 AM
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lordsmurf lordsmurf is offline
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Well, now you at least have a bad conversion job done. Perhaps now get the good one?

At very least, get a budget workflow assembled. (Don't forget to check the marketplace, and you can always PM me, as I often have gear not yet listed.)

Too many conversion shops are not run by professionals in any sense of the word. Just random people, giving random quality work, for random amounts of money. They don't care about you or your videos whatsoever. You're just a walking dollar sign. They've not been around for decades, and won't be around for decades more, so reputation is meaningless to them. Nothing but shysters and putzes.

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  #6  
10-20-2022, 11:39 AM
traal traal is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by forzato View Post
I considered sending the tapes across the world to lordsmurf or whoever does the services on this site. However, my mother refused as she didn't want to lose the tapes.
Now that you have a digital copy (substandard as it is), losing the tapes should be less of a concern.

Quote:
Originally Posted by forzato View Post
Third attached image is also from the second tape that was scanned progressive. The shop owner claimed I could just deinterlace it and there would be no artifacts as it's just tagged wrong. I'm not so sure about that as it appears kind of choppy on 50fps footage with QTGMC.
Use Avidemux or similar to extract a short clip without re-encoding, post it here and we'll take a look.
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