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11-11-2022, 07:36 AM
ajp_anton ajp_anton is offline
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I'm in the process of digitizing some old VHS tapes.

I already own an old VCR and capture cards, but the quality wasn't really any good, so I started researching and ended up on this forum. My VCR is a Panasonic SJ216 and that's the first one I decided to replace. I ordered a JVC HR-S9600 from Ebay, which is supposed to be serviced/seller refurbished and comes with a 2y warranty. However as a "poor student", this already made a big dent in my budget so I'm a little reluctant on spending much more. The VCR I figured I could sell once I'm done with all my (and my friends') tapes (around 50 maybe).

From what I understood, the TBC in the VCR takes care of line sync, making vertical straight lines actually straight. Then there's "frame-based TBC" that avoids frame drops. At the moment (while waiting for the VCR to arrive) I figure I can deal with this in post processing by capturing each tape multiple times. As long as each frame is captured at least once, I already have software that averages the captures and syncs them up around any frame drops. It might require more time and work, but those TBC's are really expensive!

For the capture cards, the best one I have is a Winfast PxDTV2300H. It's a PCIe card which also does component 480p60/576p50 so you'd think that it's been engineered for more than just plain 480i/576i? Also when using VirtualDub, it lets you choose between a few different color formats and resolutions, as well as some other settings like sharpness. Not all cards let you do this, which is a sign that at least some thought has been put into designing this card.

Is there anything seriously wrong here that needs to be addressed immediately, or any low-cost "good bang-for-the-buck" improvements that you would recommend?
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  #2  
11-11-2022, 01:12 PM
lollo2 lollo2 is offline
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Quote:
As long as each frame is captured at least once,
If there is a problem in the tape (i.e. a major timing issues or a drop), that frame will never be captured. If it is marginal a frameTBC may or may not capture it. If it is very marginal a re-capture without a frameTBC can get it.

Quote:
I already have software that averages the captures and syncs them up around any frame drops
Although Median plugin has an internal routine trying to align the captures with dropped frames, its goal is to reduce the random noise averaging multiple captures, not to fill the dropped frames, where it may fail.
The operation to rebuild the full frame sequence using multiple captures in a safe way should be done manually frame by frame, sequence by sequence.

Quote:
...Winfast PxDTV2300H. It's a PCIe card which also does component 480p60/576p50
I am not familiar with that card, but component and p60 or p50 are not the native parameters of VHS signal and should be avoided.

Quote:
Also when using VirtualDub, it lets you choose between a few different color formats and resolutions
There is only one resolution and color format to choose, YUV and 720x480 or 720x576

Quote:
as well as some other settings like sharpness. Not all cards let you do this, which is a sign that at least some thought has been put into designing this card.
Many cards allow that, and for most of them, like yours, it is a basic "digital" processing

Quote:
Is there anything seriously wrong here that needs to be addressed immediately
Not really. With a fully working JVC HR-S9600 you have one of the best player. Be sure to do not use too much the fast forward and fast rewind to do not break the Dynamic Drum mechanical parts.

If you are satisfied with your capture card ok, otherwise give a try to a IOdata GV-USB2 or a Hauppauge USB-Live 2.

If you see a major problem in the captures, a frameTBC could be added, but it is out of your budget and as said before it cannot be replaced by anything.

A channel on S-VHS / VHS capture and AviSynth restoration https://bit.ly/3mHWbkN
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  #3  
11-11-2022, 06:49 PM
ajp_anton ajp_anton is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lollo2 View Post
If there is a problem in the tape (i.e. a major timing issues or a drop), that frame will never be captured. If it is marginal a frameTBC may or may not capture it. If it is very marginal a re-capture without a frameTBC can get it.
I think this is something I'll just have to live with. With my old VCR, it looked like frame drops mainly happened between different recordings, where they don't matter that much anyway. The audio goes out of sync, but that's relatively easy to deal with compared to if major framedroppage happened in the middle of a clip. I think I encountered only two or three such events in my tapes so far, which means I can just brute-force through them with manual Avisynth magic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lollo2 View Post
Although Median plugin has an internal routine trying to align the captures with dropped frames, its goal is to reduce the random noise averaging multiple captures, not to fill the dropped frames, where it may fail.
The operation to rebuild the full frame sequence using multiple captures in a safe way should be done manually frame by frame, sequence by sequence.
I'm using the Median plugin (assuming you're talking about Avisynth?) as the part that actually calculates the median, but for finding framedrops and syncing different captures I have written my own helper scripts. It's not fully automatic, but it requires very little manual work. I might have to re-write some of it though as it was quite custom-made for the kind of video my old VCR produced.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lollo2 View Post
I am not familiar with that card, but component and p60 or p50 are not the native parameters of VHS signal and should be avoided.
I meant that since the card can do p50/60 via component, it's not just any cheap garbage you can find for $10. It also (likely?) shares its tuner/ADC between its different inputs (composite, S-video, component), so it's built to handle higher frequencies, so 576i isn't at the limits of what it's designed for. Not sure if this kind of thinking is applicable to all it's doing, but it feels like it shouldn't struggle with ghosting on sharp edges for example.

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Originally Posted by lollo2 View Post
There is only one resolution and color format to choose, YUV and 720x480 or 720x576
Yeah that's the only format one *should* choose, but this card also allows for various narrower horizontal resolutions, as well as many different YUV formats (UYVY, YUYV, YUY2, YV12 (bad for interlaced, I know) etc.). I have another cheap capture card that doesn't allow anything other than the defaults, so I assume this is coming from the actual card and not just VirtualDub's post processing. And again, the fact that the card actually supports many different formats makes me think it's at least designed better than the cheapest ones.

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Originally Posted by lollo2 View Post
Many cards allow that, and for most of them, like yours, it is a basic "digital" processing
This I'm actually not sure about, but I was pretty sure that when I tested this on the cheaper card, it made no difference, while on this card it does. Oh well, it's just another feature that I'm likely not going to use. Not sure how I would test whether it's digital post processing or an actual setting for the tuner.

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Originally Posted by lollo2 View Post
Not really. With a fully working JVC HR-S9600 you have one of the best player. Be sure to do not use too much the fast forward and fast rewind to do not break the Dynamic Drum mechanical parts.
That's reassuring, thanks. So "slow" FF/REW (where you can see the picture go by quickly) is better for the tape? That's good to know!

Quote:
Originally Posted by lollo2 View Post
If you are satisfied with your capture card ok, otherwise give a try to a IOdata GV-USB2 or a Hauppauge USB-Live 2.
How good are USB 2.0 capture cards really? Do they actually stream over 20MB/s of continuous data reliably, or do they resort to compression? Though I'm guessing a good ADC overshadows the losses from high-quality compression.

Last edited by ajp_anton; 11-11-2022 at 07:18 PM.
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  #4  
11-11-2022, 06:54 PM
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lordsmurf lordsmurf is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajp_anton View Post
I'm in the process of digitizing some old VHS tapes.
I already own an old VCR and capture cards, but the quality wasn't really any good, so I started researching and ended up on this forum. My VCR is a Panasonic SJ216 and that's the first one I decided to replace. I ordered a JVC HR-S9600
Great move there.

Quote:
from Ebay, which is supposed to be serviced/seller refurbished and comes with a 2y warranty.
eBay is usually the worst place to get anything, lots of lying sellers. (However, are you PAL, and did that come from VCRshop?)

Quote:
The VCR I figured I could sell once I'm done with all my (and my friends') tapes (around 50 maybe).
Correct. The quality gear (VCRs, TBCs, capture cards) has resell value.

Quote:
From what I understood, the TBC in the VCR takes care of line sync,
No, not correct. Prevent dropped frames, prevent loss of sync, and many more issues, is the job of the external frame TBC. Not line.

Quote:
making vertical straight lines actually straight.
Correct.

Quote:
Then there's "frame-based TBC" that avoids frame drops. At the moment (while waiting for the VCR to arrive) I figure I can deal with this in post processing by capturing each tape multiple times. As long as each frame is captured at least once, I already have software that averages the captures and syncs them up around any frame drops. It might require more time and work, but those TBC's are really expensive!
That doesn't work. At best, not reliably, messy. At worst, lots of work for literally zero improvement. Software cannot take the place of a TBC.

Quote:
For the capture cards, the best one I have is a Winfast PxDTV2300H. It's a PCIe card which also does component 480p60/576p50 so you'd think that it's been engineered for more than just plain 480i/576i? Also when using VirtualDub, it lets you choose between a few different color formats and resolutions, as well as some other settings like sharpness. Not all cards let you do this, which is a sign that at least some thought has been put into designing this card.
Leadtek was a middling card in the 2000s (not bad, not excellent), but probably somewhat superior to most of the crap available new now.

Quote:
Is there anything seriously wrong here that needs to be addressed immediately, or any low-cost "good bang-for-the-buck" improvements that you would recommend?
There are some budget frame TBC options that can be pursued.

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  #5  
11-11-2022, 07:18 PM
ajp_anton ajp_anton is offline
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Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
eBay is usually the worst place to get anything, lots of lying sellers. (However, are you PAL, and did that come from VCRshop?)
PAL, yes. I bought this VCR from this store. I hope I didn't throw money down the drain =).

Quote:
Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
No, not correct. Prevent dropped frames, prevent loss of sync, and many more issues, is the job of the external frame TBC. Not line.
That sounds like what I meant, but I probably used the wrong terms.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
That doesn't work. At best, not reliably, messy. At worst, lots of work for literally zero improvement. Software cannot take the place of a TBC.
If I find a tape that just keeps dropping frames to no end, that's where I'll have to give up and wait until I can get a TBC (or re-consider the importance of that particular tape). But if the number of dropped frames (after syncing up multiple separate captures) is low and they don't come in long bursts, software can at least interpolate those frames. It's not perfect and it requires manual work, but it's a tradeoff. And it depends on how big that "if" is... With my old VCR it was still somewhat manageable and I'm expecting this new VCR to at least not fare any worse. I haven't yet looked at all my tapes though, but hoping for the best.
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  #6  
11-12-2022, 05:00 AM
lollo2 lollo2 is offline
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Not sure how I would test whether it's digital post processing or an actual setting for the tuner.
No tuner is involved in analog signal capturing. "Sharpening" is not a digital post processing of the capture software, but a setting on the internal circuitery of the card after A/D conversion (inside or outside the A/C chip I do not know, it depends on the hardware).

Quote:
That's reassuring, thanks. So "slow" FF/REW (where you can see the picture go by quickly) is better for the tape? That's good to know!
Well, in fact the DD system is always on, except when you play the tape at normal speed. Do not abuse it. If you need to position a segment for capture better to use a raw VCR to place the tape more or less at the desired position, and then the S-9600 at normal play for fine positioning.

Quote:
How good are USB 2.0 capture cards really? Do they actually stream over 20MB/s of continuous data reliably, or do they resort to compression?
Bandwidth is not an issue.

A channel on S-VHS / VHS capture and AviSynth restoration https://bit.ly/3mHWbkN
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