#1  
12-08-2022, 06:29 AM
haze haze is offline
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Hello friends,

In my naivety volunteered to digitize my mother's home videos from VHS and miniDV over Thanksgiving. Since then, I've been reading the guides, tips, etc. that are available here. I thought this would be an easy project but it's definitely much more complicated than I initially believed.

Anyways, I have most of the hardware and software I need for the project, but I can't swing the thousands of dollars for an appropriate TBC. I understand that the opinion here is that this is not an optional piece of equipment (so please don't yell at me). These videos are REALLY important to my mother, so I decided that I'd take a crack at it without the TBC and if the captures weren't good I'd arrange to have the tapes shipped to a professional digitizing service. If nothing else, we'd have an (inferior) digital copy prior to sending out the tapes.

HOWEVER, by happenstance, I have a Sony DHR-1000 DV tape deck in my possession. I've never used the thing since I acquired it. According to the user manual and specification sheet, the unit does have a TBC feature, but I'm not able to find any further info on how it works, if it's the right kind of TBC, etc. I've read/skimmed the primers on TBC on this forum, but I'm still rather ignorant/confused about the whole thing.

I intend to pass the VHS signal through the Sony and to my capture card. I'm hopeful this will work as intended and improve the capture quality since the hardware is somewhat contemporary and adheres to NTSC format. Anyone have any experience with these Sony units? Will this work the way I want? Any information about this piece of equipment would be appreciated.

Here's a link to the mentioned spec sheet (on ManualsLib). TBC is only mentioned a few times in the user manual and doesn't provide any real information (also available on ManualsLib if you're curious).

Below are a few more details about my intended setup. As far as I'm aware, there aren't any insurmountable compatibility issues.
  • Capture Card: Hauppauge 1187 WINTV-HVR-1250
  • Host PC: Elitedesk 800 G1 (i7-4790, RTX A2000 GPU, 2TB capture drive, Windows 10 Pro*)
  • Capture Software: Lord Smurf's VirtualDub 1.9.X
  • VHS Player: Sanyo DVW-7200*
  • TBC(?): SONY DHR-1000 Digital Video Deck with Remote Control
*I've read that users have mixed success using VirtualDub on modern operating systems. I've run Windows XP (64bit) on similar hardware recently, so I could probably prepare this system for Windows XP (32bit) if necessary with appropriate hardware changes. I'm assuming that I won't need an audio card in this scenario. Suggestions are welcome.

*I'm sure this isn't a quality VHS player (only offers composite video output), but it's what my parents have and it plays all their tapes without issues as far as I know. If upgrading to a better player is warranted, I can probably afford to do so. Suggestions are welcome if something is available.

Thanks for reading!
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  #2  
12-08-2022, 09:39 AM
latreche34 latreche34 is online now
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I don't think TBC is applied in passthrough mode for this deck but I could be wrong, DV decks and camcorders as far as I know don't have this feature for passthrough so you will have to go through DV to get the benefit of line TBC. If you intend to use firewire and capture in DV you may get some sort of signal stabilization at the line level.

https://www.youtube.com/user/latoak34/videos
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  #3  
12-08-2022, 02:21 PM
hodgey hodgey is offline
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I've used the PAL version and yeah it just passes the signal straight through (or does Y/C separation if going composite in -> s-video out which may or may not work better than what's in the capture card.) Even if recording to DV tapes (it doesn't have direct AV in -> DV out like many camcorders) it doesn't do a very good job at handling vhs input and from what I remember lost the signal easily, unlike certain camcorders like the sony digital8 ones which can do a pretty solid job at it. So, unless the NTSC variant is radically different, which I doubt, it won't help much. It's not very good for capturing camcorder miniDV recordings either, struggled with tapes that the sony/canon camcorders had no issues (probably more optimized for DVCAM recordings).

I'd rather suggest trying the dvd-recorder pass-through route as that should help stabilize horizontal wiggle and give a stable signal for the capture card to handle. The one you have should be okay for capturing from the dvd-recorder output from that as long as it allows lossless capture (those capture cards don't work well to capture directly from a VCR.).

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  #4  
12-08-2022, 03:38 PM
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lordsmurf lordsmurf is offline
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Welcome.

Quote:
Originally Posted by haze View Post
I thought this would be an easy project but it's definitely much more complicated than I initially believed.
This is only true when wrong/cheap gear is attempted.

Quote:
but I can't swing the thousands of dollars for an appropriate TBC.
Buy it, use it, resell it.
Quality gear holds value. (Not just any random gear, so don't buy random TBC, or "TBCs" aka not actually TBCs.)

Quote:
I understand that the opinion here is that this is not an optional piece of equipment
Not opinion, but fact.

Quote:
(so please don't yell at me).
Nobody here should ever do that.

Quote:
These videos are REALLY important to my mother, so I decided that I'd take a crack at it without the TBC and if the captures weren't good I'd arrange to have the tapes shipped to a professional digitizing service. If nothing else, we'd have an (inferior) digital copy prior to sending out the tapes.
Just be careful. A lot of so-called "professionals" are quacks, also using junk gear. Vet anybody before giving them tapes, be sure good gear is in use. Perhaps run the gear list by members here, to verify you're not being BS'd.

Quote:
I intend to pass the VHS signal through the Sony and to my capture card.
Many (most?) DV cameras fail to passthrough the TBC like that. The TBC can also be weak, does nothing. And then DV itself downgrades the color quality of the VHS tape, especially NTSC.

Quote:
TBC is only mentioned a few times in the user manual and doesn't provide any real information
That's rarely good. TBC is a loose term, can mean almost anything. What matters is the performance, not the 3 letters.

Quote:
Capture Card: Hauppauge 1187 WINTV-HVR-1250
Verify it doesn't compress in some way, overly aggressive AGC, tinny audio, IRE issues, etc. So many Hauppauge cards do badly, and I forget all of the reasons offhand. Hauppauge also likes to recycle model numbers, so the "same" cards is often not the same card.

Quote:
VHS Player: Sanyo DVW-7200*
*I'm sure this isn't a quality VHS player (only offers composite video output), but it's what my parents have and it plays all their tapes without issues as far as I know. If upgrading to a better player is warranted, I can probably afford to do so. Suggestions are welcome if something is available.
Lousy player. Garbage out (VCR), garbage in (capture card).

Quote:
*I've read that users have mixed success using VirtualDub on modern operating systems.
Not really. VirtualDub is usually fine, AmaRecTV when it's not, never OBS. The issue with "modern" Win10/11 is the OS and the drivers. It's not the card. The card works, the software works, the OS is the problem.

Quote:
Thanks for reading!


Quote:
Originally Posted by latreche34 View Post
I don't think TBC is applied in passthrough mode for this deck but I could be wrong, DV decks and camcorders as far as I know don't have this feature for passthrough so you will have to go through DV to get the benefit of line TBC. If you intend to use firewire and capture in DV you may get some sort of signal stabilization at the line level.
Basic frame sync, but info can still be lost temporally. You can sync lost data. That's jerky in-sync video.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hodgey View Post
I'd rather suggest trying the dvd-recorder pass-through route as that should help stabilize horizontal wiggle
Not just any random DVD recorder, but units known for this unique passthrough, aka Panasonic ES10/15 type. These have strong+crippled line TBC, non-TBC frame sync. It's not a TBC, not a TBC replacement, inferior method, but better than nothing. And here the OP has nothing.

Quote:
and give a stable signal for the capture card to handle.
Since non-TBC frame sync, usually not. And it drops frames internally.

Quote:
as long as it allows lossless capture (those capture cards don't work well to capture directly from a VCR.).
Yep, I think that exact card is a "PVR" type card, compressed only capturing. Fine for the task intended, but that's not VHS capture. Wrong tool, hittinh nails with screwdriver.

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  #5  
12-08-2022, 07:41 PM
haze haze is offline
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Thank you, @latreche34, @hodgey, and @lordsmurf. I've been breaking my head on this during most of limited spare time these past few weeks and I appreciate the help!

Quote:
Originally Posted by latreche34 View Post
I don't think TBC is applied in passthrough mode for this deck but I could be wrong, DV decks and camcorders as far as I know don't have this feature for passthrough so you will have to go through DV to get the benefit of line TBC. If you intend to use firewire and capture in DV you may get some sort of signal stabilization at the line level.
After I saw your comment, I did more reading and this definitely seems to be the case. I apologize for not researching more thoroughly about DV Deck TBC.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hodgey View Post
I've used the PAL version and yeah it just passes the signal straight through (or does Y/C separation if going composite in -> s-video out which may or may not work better than what's in the capture card.) Even if recording to DV tapes (it doesn't have direct AV in -> DV out like many camcorders) it doesn't do a very good job at handling vhs input and from what I remember lost the signal easily, unlike certain camcorders like the sony digital8 ones which can do a pretty solid job at it. So, unless the NTSC variant is radically different, which I doubt, it won't help much. It's not very good for capturing camcorder miniDV recordings either, struggled with tapes that the sony/canon camcorders had no issues (probably more optimized for DVCAM recordings).
Hi hodgey, thanks for confirming this and sharing your experience. A definitive "no" is still better than where I was! As it stood, I was going to haul it across the state only to be disappointed. I rescued this deck from work e-cycle pile, so I'm hoping I can do something interesting with it someday.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hodgey View Post
I'd rather suggest trying the dvd-recorder pass-through route as that should help stabilize horizontal wiggle and give a stable signal for the capture card to handle. The one you have should be okay for capturing from the dvd-recorder output from that as long as it allows lossless capture (those capture cards don't work well to capture directly from a VCR.).
If you're talking about using the Sanyo for this purpose, I don't think it's capable of that. According to the manual, VHS playback is only available through the VHS composite output and the manual makes no mention of copying VHS to DVD. If you mean that I should acquire another piece of equipment capable of doing that, I'm certainly open to the idea! It is quickly becoming apparent that if I'm going to make a serious attempt at this, I need serious equipment upgrades.

I feel a little stuck since I'm leery of buying used equipment as I lack the knowledge/skill to identify the correct components or attempt repair/maintenance on any of this equipment. I'm a little familiar with PC hardware, but analog capture/digital archiving is very much outside my ken. As lordsmurf indicated, even if I went for a digitizing service, I'd have to properly vet the provider which I'm not confident in my ability to do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by haze View Post
I thought this would be an easy project but it's definitely much more complicated than I initially believed.
This is only true when wrong/cheap gear is attempted.
Hello lordsmurf. Thank you for weighing-in. Your expert contributions to this forum are much appreciated!

Regarding the quotation specifically: In my defense, I had been misled by a certain popular retrotechnology YouTuber. This person uses one of those $10 USB dongle-type deals which I'm sure would not meet the criteria of the experts here. So, my initial opinions were based on that person's report.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by haze View Post
but I can't swing the thousands of dollars for an appropriate TBC.
Buy it, use it, resell it.
Quality gear holds value. (Not just any random gear, so don't buy random TBC, or "TBCs" aka not actually TBCs.)
Buying and reselling had certainly crossed my mind. I resolved early on that any equipment I was purchasing for this purpose would be the correct equipment, I was just hoping to utilize as much hardware as I could that I already owned from other projects. Other posts on this forum had really drove home that getting the right TBC is critical.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by haze View Post
These videos are REALLY important to my mother, so I decided that I'd take a crack at it without the TBC and if the captures weren't good I'd arrange to have the tapes shipped to a professional digitizing service. If nothing else, we'd have an (inferior) digital copy prior to sending out the tapes.
Just be careful. A lot of so-called "professionals" are quacks, also using junk gear. Vet anybody before giving them tapes, be sure good gear is in use. Perhaps run the gear list by members here, to verify you're not being BS'd.
This is definitely a concern I have. Part of what attracted me to this project is the problem solving aspect. Most of the critical information isn't widely known and is somewhat esoteric. But, the possibility of misplacing my trust in another party to do the conversion is another thing entirely. Obviously, selecting the wrong provider could result in being out the cost of conversion (not a huge concern) or, most critically, loss of the videos entirely. That would break her heart.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by haze View Post
I intend to pass the VHS signal through the Sony and to my capture card.
Many (most?) DV cameras fail to passthrough the TBC like that. The TBC can also be weak, does nothing. And then DV itself downgrades the color quality of the VHS tape, especially NTSC.
Thanks for confirming this. I admit that had a spent a little more time researching about DV Decks in general I probably could have found the older posts on this topic. I was just excited that I potentially had the necessary equipment so I posted before researching sufficiently. My apologies.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by haze View Post
TBC is only mentioned a few times in the user manual and doesn't provide any real information.
That's rarely good. TBC is a loose term, can mean almost anything. What matters is the performance, not the 3 letters
My thoughts as well. I was discouraged when I couldn't find useful info in the documentation but I thought it was worth seeking confirmation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by haze View Post
Capture Card: Hauppauge 1187 WINTV-HVR-1250
Verify it doesn't compress in some way, overly aggressive AGC, tinny audio, IRE issues, etc. So many Hauppauge cards do badly, and I forget all of the reasons offhand. Hauppauge also likes to recycle model numbers, so the "same" cards is often not the same card.
I admit I'm way out of my element here. I'd been looking at capture cards for other purposes (retro PC refurbish), but I found this reddit thread that indicates that the card can be used for lossless capture. Previous research indicated that this cheaper model passes encoding work to the CPU, so while the Hauppauge WinTV software only allows for MPEG2 encoding, VirtualDub allows for the lossless codec of choice. Unfortunately, it seems Hauppauge made no analog capture cards that offered on-board lossless conversion (I could be wrong).

As far as evaluating the quality of the audio, etc., I'm afraid I'm too far out of my element. It's rapidly appearing that if I do this, I'll have to take the physical tapes to my setup, rather than bringing my setup to the tapes. I had hoped to work out the capture while staying with my parents over the holiday break.

Here's a relevant snippet from the Reddit thread:

Quote:
Capture setup: More complex lossless capture via capture cards
This setup isn't more expensive, but it is more complex, as you'll be capturing via VirtualDub.

Pick up a well supported analog capture card. Common examples:

ATI TV Wonder 600 USB. (driver support can be rough, but people have run it on Windows XP, 7, and 10)

Blackmagic Intensity Pro (or 4k version, whichever has analog input cable)

Hauppauge cards (WinTV-HVR-1250 comes to mind)
At one point, I had found a more-involved thread where the more granular setup of a WinTV 1250 card with VirtualDub had been explained, and I thought I bookmarked it but apparently I did not (maybe I did on another device... I have too many computers). I'll have to find it again because it seemed very helpful.

In preparation for the conversion job, I connected the capture card to a NTSC compliant GPU output to verify that the capture worked. When I saw that it looked particularly awful, I ended up finding the Reddit thread, and later, ended up here. Before falling into this world, I was only vaguely familiar with digital captures and hadn't even considered that the default encoder would be bad on an analog capture device.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by haze View Post
VHS Player: Sanyo DVW-7200*
*I'm sure this isn't a quality VHS player (only offers composite video output), but it's what my parents have and it plays all their tapes without issues as far as I know. If upgrading to a better player is warranted, I can probably afford to do so. Suggestions are welcome if something is available.
Lousy player. Garbage out (VCR), garbage in (capture card).
I kinda figured as much. Unfortunately, I come from a lower-income family so we never bought top-of-the-line anything. I was looking at your gear for sale, and I really don't think I can spend the money for a complete workflow all at once. Do you recommend getting the TBC first since these seem to be the scarcer component? I'm thinking I might be able to get the TBC on credit and pay it off eventually. Seems like any way I go about it I'm in for a longer time line on this project.

Thank you again for your help!

To no one in particular, how much should I expect to pay for a reputable digitizing service per hour runtime?

P.S. Please excuse any errors I made in composition. I'm working off very little sleep at the moment.
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  #6  
12-08-2022, 09:43 PM
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lordsmurf lordsmurf is offline
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Quote:
Do you recommend getting the TBC first since these seem to be the scarcer component?
Yes.
Then VCR, then capture card.

Quote:
Seems like any way I go about it I'm in for a longer time line on this project.
It seem daunting at first, but it does start to get easier, as you proceed through the tapes, and assuming you have the quality gear. Cheap/bad gear is really a main obstacle, why everything is more difficult, results not good.

Quote:
To no one in particular, how much should I expect to pay for a reputable digitizing service per hour runtime?
$15-20 per footage hour. Anything less is usually also using cheap gear.

Quote:
P.S. Please excuse any errors I made in composition. I'm working off very little sleep at the moment.
You're fine.

Quote:
I kinda figured as much. Unfortunately, I come from a lower-income family so we never bought top-of-the-line anything.
Price doesn't always equate to quality. Usually, just not always. Expensive crap exists, as does decent stuff. Some of these was only realized decades later.

Quote:
I rescued this deck from work e-cycle pile, so I'm hoping I can do something interesting with it someday.
It may be useful. There's niche uses, like using as a dedicated rewinder, handling mold tapes (not the god deck), etc. I have several from Goodwill, a whole $9 each. And really not worth more than that, either.

Quote:
If you mean that I should acquire another piece of equipment capable of doing that, I'm certainly open to the idea! It is quickly becoming apparent that if I'm going to make a serious attempt at this, I need serious equipment upgrades.
In that case, "serious", then I'd forego the DVD recorder route. It's really the "duct tape and chicken wire" of video conversion. It works, not as pretty as it could/should be, few gaps.

Quote:
I feel a little stuck since I'm leery of buying used equipment as I lack the knowledge/skill to identify the correct components or attempt repair/maintenance on any of this equipment. I'm a little familiar with PC hardware, but analog capture/digital archiving is very much outside my ken. As lordsmurf indicated, even if I went for a digitizing service, I'd have to properly vet the provider which I'm not confident in my ability to do.
This is where I come in, my posts, or even my marketplace gear (or others with marketplace; including those reselling my gear after completing their projects). It's really a case of VCR > TBC > capture card. Not any random card, but certain items known to give quality. But also from a reputable sources, not random eBay recyclers/resellers with their "tested" (lights up) and "working" (not actually properly working) gear.

Quote:
Hello lordsmurf. Thank you for weighing-in. Your expert contributions to this forum are much appreciated!


Quote:
Regarding the quotation specifically: In my defense, I had been misled by a certain popular retrotechnology YouTuber. This person uses one of those $10 USB dongle-type deals which I'm sure would not meet the criteria of the experts here. So, my initial opinions were based on that person's report.
That guy is an idiot. He thinks he an expert on all sorts of tech, but in actuality many of his videos are a mishmash of myth, misinformation, and nonsense. He's a confused newbie trying to "teach" fellow confused newbies. It's like a toddler trying to teach math. I hate "Google degrees" and the world would be better off if more people would STFU when they didn't actually know something. We can all Google, we don't need rank amateur regurgitators.

On behalf of the internet, I'm truly sorry that you were led astray by his BS.

... but you found us now.

Quote:
Buying and reselling had certainly crossed my mind. I resolved early on that any equipment I was purchasing for this purpose would be the correct equipment, I was just hoping to utilize as much hardware as I could that I already owned from other projects. Other posts on this forum had really drove home that getting the right TBC is critical.
Nobody likes spending money. I know I don't. I even buy store-brand cereal, to save some bucks. But then there are times like this, where you really need the proper tools, and the good tools. It's not even "pro" or "best", just good tools, proper tools, to do the task at hand.

Quote:
This is definitely a concern I have. Part of what attracted me to this project is the problem solving aspect. Most of the critical information isn't widely known and is somewhat esoteric. But, the possibility of misplacing my trust in another party to do the conversion is another thing entirely. Obviously, selecting the wrong provider could result in being out the cost of conversion (not a huge concern) or, most critically, loss of the videos entirely. That would break her heart.
The wrong service can also destroy your tapes due to incompetence and using junk. That happens, and too often. LegacyBox has too many reviews like this, though "oddly" seem to get buried over time (aka probably using SEO services, likely shady ones at that). And then read their Glassdoor and Indeed reviews. It's shocking and revealing at how low-end shops like that operate. Your videos are essentially being handled by interns, or burger flippers that became tape flippers. Not video professionals.

Quote:
Thanks for confirming this. I admit that had a spent a little more time researching about DV Decks in general I probably could have found the older posts on this topic. I was just excited that I potentially had the necessary equipment so I posted before researching sufficiently. My apologies.
No need to apologize, you learned before it was too late, and that's what really matters here.

Quote:
admit I'm way out of my element here. I'd been looking at capture cards for other purposes (retro PC refurbish), but I found this reddit thread that indicates that the card can be used for lossless capture. Previous research indicated that this cheaper model passes encoding work to the CPU, so while the Hauppauge WinTV software only allows for MPEG2 encoding, VirtualDub allows for the lossless codec of choice. Unfortunately, it seems Hauppauge made no analog capture cards that offered on-board lossless conversion (I could be wrong).
No card captures lossless on-chip, it passes uncompressed to the computer, and software (VirtualDub) saves lossless. I don't remember the specifics of that card. That Reddit member is a member here, and he learned much (most? all?) of his info here. I would at least look deeper at the 1250, since he suggested it. There are so many cards, so many versions of cards, that it can be difficult to remember them all after 20+ years. But just know that brand has lots of variables, verify everything if using it.

Quote:
As far as evaluating the quality of the audio, etc., I'm afraid I'm too far out of my element. It's rapidly appearing that if I do this, I'll have to take the physical tapes to my setup, rather than bringing my setup to the tapes. I had hoped to work out the capture while staying with my parents over the holiday break.
Nah, there are more portable setups possible. I have a certain Dell laptop, smaller TBC (green AVT-8710), and small JVC deck as a "portable capture setup". It all fits in a small copy paper box, or large backpack.

Quote:
Here's a relevant snippet from the Reddit thread:
The problem with Reddit is hive mind mentality, and "popular" BS can be upvoted, and quality info downvoted. It's about picking sides, not helping others, not conversing like adults. "Cancel culture" is real there. So while Reddit can have good info, proceed with caution. Vet the authors.

Quote:
In preparation for the conversion job, I connected the capture card to a NTSC compliant GPU output to verify that the capture worked. When I saw that it looked particularly awful, I ended up finding the Reddit thread, and later, ended up here. Before falling into this world, I was only vaguely familiar with digital captures and hadn't even considered that the default encoder would be bad on an analog capture device.
Don't fret. You're reaching the bottom of the rabbit hole you fell into.

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  #7  
12-09-2022, 05:04 AM
dpalomaki dpalomaki is offline
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A quick review of the FSM for the DHR-1000 indicates that the "TBC" is not in the pass-thru signal path.

The pass-thru path (for a composite signal) is roughly
Input -> Y/C separation -> Input/Playback selection switch -> Y/C mix -> character generator -> output.

The chip labeled TBC on the block diagram is a CXD2187AR, it appears to be Sony specific and I cannot find a spec sheet for it. It appears to be used in the record and playback signal paths.

The Manual in the link you provided mentions TBC among the Features, but my 1997 Operating Instructions and FSM do not. I suspect the "TBC" function is to provide jitter free pause, slow motion playback, and implement Y/C delay adjustment, all of which could utilize TBC-like functions.

Since you already have the unit it costs nothing but time to give it a test in both pass-thru and record (to DV tape) and playback modes to see if there is any benefit to you. (But don't count on it. )

Note that old time SD tube type TVs were very forgiving of VHS signal imperfections and often provided some signal clean-up. Capture cards are generally unforgiving, and modern HDTVs can expose all the warts in the signal. Post capture processing can improve the watchability of video.

If considering farming out the digitization as last part of the vetting process send an unimportant tape to your choice to see whether or not they can meet your expectations.
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  #8  
12-09-2022, 07:59 PM
haze haze is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by haze View Post
Do you recommend getting the TBC first since these seem to be the scarcer component?
Yes.
Then VCR, then capture card.
For any onlookers, currently in offline talks with LS for equipment acquisition.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by haze View Post
To no one in particular, how much should I expect to pay for a reputable digitizing service per hour runtime?
$15-20 per footage hour. Anything less is usually also using cheap gear.
My mom has a pile of tapes. I'm thinking at least 40 hours total runtime. If that's my cost (+shipping) then I'm thinking it's financially smarter to try doing it myself with the right equipment.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by haze View Post
I rescued this deck from work e-cycle pile, so I'm hoping I can do something interesting with it someday.
It may be useful. There's niche uses, like using as a dedicated rewinder, handling mold tapes (not the good [sic] deck), etc. I have several from Goodwill, a whole $9 each. And really not worth more than that, either.
Speaking of mold, are there any threads detailing how to check for mold contamination on my tapes and how I might clean the tapes/player if mold is an issue?

Quote:
Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by haze View Post
I feel a little stuck since I'm leery of buying used equipment as I lack the knowledge/skill to identify the correct components or attempt repair/maintenance on any of this equipment. I'm a little familiar with PC hardware, but analog capture/digital archiving is very much outside my ken. As lordsmurf indicated, even if I went for a digitizing service, I'd have to properly vet the provider which I'm not confident in my ability to do.
This is where I come in, my posts, or even my marketplace gear (or others with marketplace; including those reselling my gear after completing their projects). It's really a case of VCR > TBC > capture card. Not any random card, but certain items known to give quality. But also from a reputable sources, not random eBay recyclers/resellers with their "tested" (lights up) and "working" (not actually properly working) gear.
Thank you for volunteering, haha! That being said, I want to spend the goodwill of the forum members wisely. I'm sure even Mother Teresa had her limit.

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I had been misled by a certain popular retrotechnology YouTuber. This person uses one of those $10 USB dongle-type deals which I'm sure would not meet the criteria of the experts here. So, my initial opinions were based on that person's report.
That guy is an idiot. He thinks he an expert on all sorts of tech, but in actuality many of his videos are a mishmash of myth, misinformation, and nonsense. He's a confused newbie trying to "teach" fellow confused newbies. It's like a toddler trying to teach math. I hate "Google degrees" and the world would be better off if more people would STFU when they didn't actually know something. We can all Google, we don't need rank amateur regurgitators.

On behalf of the internet, I'm truly sorry that you were led astray by his BS.
No apology necessary, just wanted to provide some context.

A much better (more honest presentation?) would have been a "Here's what the experts say, but I'm satisfied with this inferior method" sort of video. That being said, younger people rely much heavier on YouTube videos for leisure-time education, so I think an honest attempt at trying to share what you learn as a novice is a valid way of making niche topics accessible to modern audiences. Please note that I'm not defending this video/creator in particular. I do believe that there is a non-zero number of videographers on the platform really do it the "right" way.

Of course, there are likely more informative videos on the topic available on the platform, but the whole "how social media/big tech/algorithms shape human discourse in the modern era" is fraught with points of concern and is certainly beyond the scope of this humble forum topic.

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Buying and reselling had certainly crossed my mind. I resolved early on that any equipment I was purchasing for this purpose would be the correct equipment, I was just hoping to utilize as much hardware as I could that I already owned from other projects. Other posts on this forum had really drove home that getting the right TBC is critical.
Nobody likes spending money. I know I don't. I even buy store-brand cereal, to save some bucks. But then there are times like this, where you really need the proper tools, and the good tools. It's not even "pro" or "best", just good tools, proper tools, to do the task at hand.
Preaching to the choir. My original comment regarding affording the right equipment was in the context of "getting this done over Christmas," but that ship has sailed given the information provided by the kind individuals in this thread.

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Thanks for confirming this. I admit that had a spent a little more time researching about DV Decks in general I probably could have found the older posts on this topic. I was just excited that I potentially had the necessary equipment so I posted before researching sufficiently. My apologies.
No need to apologize, you learned before it was too late, and that's what really matters here.
Thanks for understanding

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I admit I'm way out of my element here. I'd been looking at capture cards for other purposes (retro PC refurbish), but I found this reddit thread that indicates that the card can be used for lossless capture. Previous research indicated that this cheaper model passes encoding work to the CPU, so while the Hauppauge WinTV software only allows for MPEG2 encoding, VirtualDub allows for the lossless codec of choice. Unfortunately, it seems Hauppauge made no analog capture cards that offered on-board lossless conversion (I could be wrong).
No card captures lossless on-chip, it passes uncompressed to the computer, and software (VirtualDub) saves lossless. I don't remember the specifics of that card. That Reddit member is a member here, and he learned much (most? all?) of his info here. I would at least look deeper at the 1250, since he suggested it. There are so many cards, so many versions of cards, that it can be difficult to remember them all after 20+ years. But just know that brand has lots of variables, verify everything if using it.
Hauppauge documentation regarding individual builds/revisions is frustratingly non-existent. Just based on me looking at many different revisions of the same model, it's my belief that the four-digit number (in my case: "1187") is the revision or build number. When I targeted this particular card for the aforementioned other project, I needed a Hauppauge card revision that had component and S-Video connections, PCIe interface, and also had the appropriate internal header for the case front panel connections. For the curious, this case has front panel pass through to the capture card.

I'm willing to go for another card for this digitization project, but ideally, I'd like to use this particular capture card since it wouldn't require building another retro PC just for VHS capture if the capture workflow becomes a permanent part of my hardware collection.

I've read that this model WINTV-HVR-1250 is limited to low framerate (24fps) capture. Reviewing the resources here regarding the All-In-Wonder cards, I'd like to go with the 2006 edition (or other PCIe) if a different card is needed, since I don't have any mobos with AGP. Could someone confirm if these late (PCIe) ATI cards offer ideal quality if I'm capturing with VirtualDub rather than with ATI Multimedia?

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As far as evaluating the quality of the audio, etc., I'm afraid I'm too far out of my element. It's rapidly appearing that if I do this, I'll have to take the physical tapes to my setup, rather than bringing my setup to the tapes. I had hoped to work out the capture while staying with my parents over the holiday break.
Nah, there are more portable setups possible. I have a certain Dell laptop, smaller TBC (green AVT-8710), and small JVC deck as a "portable capture setup". It all fits in a small copy paper box, or large backpack.
I'm more concerned about having the time to inspect the tapes, troubleshoot, and do all the real-time captures than the size/amount of equipment. I'm not opposed to using a USB capture and smaller footprint is certainly easier to manage, but if I'm using a clean install of Windows 10 or booting to legacy OS, I think it would be easier to arrange with a desktop.

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Originally Posted by dpalomaki View Post
A quick review of the FSM for the DHR-1000 indicates that the "TBC" is not in the pass-thru signal path.

The pass-thru path (for a composite signal) is roughly
Input -> Y/C separation -> Input/Playback selection switch -> Y/C mix -> character generator -> output.

The chip labeled TBC on the block diagram is a CXD2187AR, it appears to be Sony specific and I cannot find a spec sheet for it. It appears to be used in the record and playback signal paths.

The Manual in the link you provided mentions TBC among the Features, but my 1997 Operating Instructions and FSM do not. I suspect the "TBC" function is to provide jitter free pause, slow motion playback, and implement Y/C delay adjustment, all of which could utilize TBC-like functions.

Since you already have the unit it costs nothing but time to give it a test in both pass-thru and record (to DV tape) and playback modes to see if there is any benefit to you. (But don't count on it. )

Note that old time SD tube type TVs were very forgiving of VHS signal imperfections and often provided some signal clean-up. Capture cards are generally unforgiving, and modern HDTVs can expose all the warts in the signal. Post capture processing can improve the watchability of video.

If considering farming out the digitization as last part of the vetting process send an unimportant tape to your choice to see whether or not they can meet your expectations.
Thank you for your in-depth report, dpalomaki. I know less than nothing about electrical engineering so thank you for deciphering your documentation on my behalf.

These are good tips regarding testing to verify TBC functionality, but I don't know if the thing even powers on, so I'm going to focus on getting the VHS captures done the tried and true way described on these forums. Again, this is great information you provided.

I'm also aware of the forgiving aspects of CRT televisions. Strangely enough, my rediscovery of CRT displays many moons ago is how I ultimately ended up here. There's some magic in those things. I grew up with CRT televisions and it seems like only yesterday that these were the default rather than a relic of the past. Time sure is a funny thing.

Insofar as sending out a test tape to a prospective digitizer, this is also excellent advice. I'll definitely do that if I go that route, but I'm currently resolute on trying to do this myself with the correct equipment.

Thanks again to everyone that shared their expertise!
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  #9  
12-09-2022, 10:12 PM
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40 tapes is viable for a DIY. There's many valid reason for DIY, you just need to get good gear to do it. Otherwise you'll probably redo it later, waste more time and money (negative economics). And again, good gear holds value, resells.

You current plan and path seems fine to me.

Hauppauge revision is still not complete info, you can have variations within. But it can help narrow down.

ATI AIW PCIe 2006 is (I think) the best of the PCIe. Search forum posts to verify, it's been discussed here within the past 5 years.

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12-10-2022, 07:32 AM
dpalomaki dpalomaki is offline
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Did you mean 40 tapes, or about 40 hours of tape?

Your thread starter said VHS and miniDV, How many VHS, how many miniDV?

For the miniDV tapes you should do a Firewire (AKA IEEE1394 and iLink) transfer. It is lossless relative to the material on tape because it amounts to a file copy process. (If you plan to do any restoration/correction of the miniDV video after transfer to the computer is is best to use a lossless intermediate codec when you start that work.)

A number other factors that can impact your approach -
- do you have a time frame for completion?
- what is the intended final distribution format (DVD, youtube, MP4 on a thumb drive, etc)?
- how much time are you planning/able to devote to this project, including learning curve time (e.g., a labor of love, or just get it done so you can move on to something else more to you liking)?
- what is the condition of the tapes (do they play OK now)?
- is the objective the best practicable restoration of the video, or the ability to view it at about the same quality as when played directly from the VCR to the TV set, or something in between? This relates to the expectation of the ultimate consumers and can impact your investment in time and money.
- What is the likelyhood you would revisit the project at some point in the future to revise or edit it?
- how much upfront investment ($$$) can you make recognizing that you should be able to recover much of it at the end of the project when the gear can be sold.
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12-10-2022, 09:51 AM
haze haze is offline
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Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
You current plan and path seems fine to me.

Hauppauge revision is still not complete info, you can have variations within. But it can help narrow down.

ATI AIW PCIe 2006 is (I think) the best of the PCIe. Search forum posts to verify, it's been discussed here w
ithin the past 5 years.
Thank you. Will search these forums more thoroughly over the next few days. Hauppauge certainly has the most abysmal vendor documentation...

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Originally Posted by dpalomaki View Post
Did you mean 40 tapes, or about 40 hours of tape?

Your thread starter said VHS and miniDV, How many VHS, how many miniDV?

For the miniDV tapes you should do a Firewire (AKA IEEE1394 and iLink) transfer. It is lossless relative to the material on tape because it amounts to a file copy process. (If you plan to do any restoration/correction of the miniDV video after transfer to the computer is is best to use a lossless intermediate codec when you start that work.
I believe there are at least twenty VHS tapes. I figure if all are filled, then that's ~40 hours of runtime. There are only a few DV tapes of which I'm aware. I bought a firewire card for another project, so I thought I might copy the DV tapes right from the camcorder.

Unfortunately, the DV Camera doesn't have an onboard firewire port, only has composite output. I believe the model is a Sony CCD-TRV36. Since it's composite only, I hoped to introduce the DV tapes into the capture flow through an appropriate VHS deck.

Theoretically, I could use the DHR-1000 to capture off the tape directly, or introduce the signal through the composite input on the unit. But as you stated previously, I need to verify that the DV deck is functioning before attempting and that the TBC capability isn't present on the passthrough inputs. I really haven't explored this unit at all so I'm even more ignorant of how it works than the VHS capturing part (if that's possible). So while I'd love to pick your brain about implementing the DV deck, I don't think I've done enough research myself to not waste your time unnecessarily right now. And I don't think it's reasonable to ask you to explain everything to me to accommodate my laziness. For example, I have no idea on what iLink even is.

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Originally Posted by dpalomaki View Post
- do you have a time frame for completion
Prior to my reeducation on the matter, I had hoped to complete the capture process the week of Christmas since I'd be staying with my folks and have basically nothing to do. Given my need for the more expensive equipment, it looks like it will be well into 2023 before I'm ready to actually capture.

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Originally Posted by dpalomaki View Post
- what is the intended final distribution format (DVD, youtube, MP4 on a thumb drive, etc)?
My plan was to get accurate, lossless captures and give the files to my parents to keep on their devices, or on an external hard drive. I was then going to back these up on my home server. Once I had the data safely archived, I was going to try upscaling/restoration as a longer term project. My home system has the capacity to accommodate the bulk, redundant storage of the lossless captures and any versions I've digitally altered. When that was done, I was going to give my folks remote streaming access so they don't have to worry about losing the digital copies.

I've done pretty basic video editing in the past and I think I have the ability to teach myself the necessary skills to complete the "post processing" portion of this undertaking. I'm under the impression that even the high quality NTSC captures won't look great on modern displays and I want my mom to actually enjoy playing these back on her modern TV/laptop.

I'd like to get the upscaled/color graded/whatever'd files done by end of 2024. I figure it'll take some time to do and the only time critical piece is getting the data off the physical media.

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Originally Posted by dpalomaki View Post
- how much time are you planning/able to devote to this project, including learning curve time (e.g., a labor of love, or just get it done so you can move on to something else more to you liking)?
This is definitely a labor of love. I mean, I personally don't have an emotional stake in these videos, but all this money and time is worth it if it makes my mom happy. To her, these are priceless so I want to do the best I possibly can even if it takes years to get it done properly.

And she'll be set on Christmas gifts for many years to come

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Originally Posted by dpalomaki View Post
- what is the condition of the tapes (do they play OK now)?
I haven't inspected the VHS tapes or attempted playback on her TV/VHS player. I know that I need to check for mold and physical damage. Hoping there is a good resource on this forum about how to do it and how to proceed if damage is found. According to her the VHS tapes play back on her VCR/TV but look pretty bad. Whether this is just the 480 signal on a modern display with crappy hardware or if the tapes have degraded, I can't say.

I tested the Sony DV Cam and we played back one of her DV tapes. So I can confirm that the camcorder functions and it's likely that the DV Tapes are in good condition. She didn't have the composite patch cable so we couldn't watch on her system (had to use the awful LCD on the camcorder).

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Originally Posted by dpalomaki View Post
- is the objective the best practicable restoration of the video, or the ability to view it at about the same quality as when played directly from the VCR to the TV set, or something in between? This relates to the expectation of the ultimate consumers and can impact your investment in time and money.
I think I mostly answered this in an earlier blurb. But the end goal is get the digital copies to look as good as possible on modern hardware.

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Originally Posted by dpalomaki View Post
- What is the likelyhood you would revisit the project at some point in the future to revise or edit it?
Definitely will be editing once the original data is safe.

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Originally Posted by dpalomaki View Post
- how much upfront investment ($$$) can you make recognizing that you should be able to recover much of it at the end of the project when the gear can be sold.
Working on this now. Currently in talks with LS for a TBC. Hoping I can get the necessary equipment in the next 3-6 months. Based on what I've seen, It's ~3k for the TBC and then ~2k for the VHS deck. At this point, I figure it costs what it costs, and I can get the equipment, just a question of how long to get the funds together.

Thanks again for the help!
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12-10-2022, 11:43 AM
dpalomaki dpalomaki is offline
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I believe the model is a Sony CCD-TRV36.
Double check the camcorder and the tapes. The CCD-TRV36 is a basic Hi8 camcorder with mono audio and no s-video jack. It can play Video8 and Hi8 analog video. It cannot play miniDV or Digital8 tapes.

Last edited by dpalomaki; 12-10-2022 at 12:17 PM.
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12-10-2022, 12:03 PM
haze haze is offline
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Double check the camcorder and the tapes. The CCD-TRV35 is a basic Hi8 camcorder with mono audio and no s-video jack. It can play Video8 and Hi8 analog video. It cannot play miniDV or Digital8 tapes.
Well this is embarrassing... It's actually a CCD-TRV43. She told me it was a miniDV camcorder and I didn't think to actually confirm. It had a tape inside so I didn't have to handle any tapes or anything when we were checking for functionality.

I'm so sorry about the misinformation. If I had the equipment on-hand I would have caught this problem.
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12-10-2022, 12:40 PM
dpalomaki dpalomaki is offline
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The CCD-TRV43 is a slightly more capable (added steadyshot and laser-link) Hi8 camcorder, still mono sound and no s-video output.

The series TRV36/43 could record in Hi8 mode only if a Hi8-coded tape was used. If a standard Video8 tape was used or LP speed was selected it would record in Video8 mode (lower video resolution potential).

Lack of s-video output argues against using it to playback Hi8 and Video8 tapes for capture.
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12-10-2022, 02:05 PM
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Originally Posted by haze View Post
Theoretically, I could use the DHR-1000 to capture off the tape directly, or introduce the signal through the composite input on the unit. But as you stated previously, I need to verify that the DV deck is functioning before attempting and that the TBC capability isn't present on the passthrough inputs.
My experience with the PAL variant at least as noted is that it's very hit and miss for consumer camcorder DV tapes and frequently had issue reading tapes which played fine in camcorders so I would be hestitant to use it for this purpose, and there isn't any TBC or buffering of the video signal going through it (it just passes the video straight through unlike a TBC or dvd-recorder or similar). So, unless you need to capture DVCAM tapes from professional DVCAM camcoders it doesn't have a lot of use here.

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Originally Posted by haze View Post
Working on this now. Currently in talks with LS for a TBC. Hoping I can get the necessary equipment in the next 3-6 months. Based on what I've seen, It's ~3k for the TBC and then ~2k for the VHS deck. At this point, I figure it costs what it costs, and I can get the equipment, just a question of how long to get the funds together.

Thanks again for the help!
My personal opinion here is that unless you need to handle commercial tapes with copy protection or are extremely concerned about not dropping a single frame, getting one of those 3k TBCs is really not worth it over one of the verified variants of Panasonic dvd-recorder to pass the video through for stabilization you can get for a fraction of that price. Since you are in North Americae a DMR-ES10, ES15, EH50 or EH55 are the typical options. I would at least consider trying that first before investing $3k in a TBC.
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12-10-2022, 02:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by haze View Post
My plan was to get accurate, lossless captures and give the files to my parents to keep on their devices, or on an external hard drive. I was then going to back these up on my home server. Once I had the data safely archived, I was going to try upscaling/restoration as a longer term project.
...and I want my mom to actually enjoy playing these back on her modern TV/laptop.
...but all this money and time is worth it if it makes my mom happy. To her, these are priceless so I want to do the best I possibly can even if it takes years to get it done properly.
... And she'll be set on Christmas gifts for many years to come
... I think I mostly answered this in an earlier blurb. But the end goal is get the digital copies to look as good as possible on modern hardware.


Quote:
I'm under the impression that even the high quality NTSC captures won't look great on modern displays a
Not really accurate. Proper captures, proper processing, and it can look far better than most people think. Video should not have all sorts of errors, as you falsely see in TV shows and movies, or just sloppy conversion work from others.

Quote:
I mean, I personally don't have an emotional stake in these videos,
If these are family videos, your attitude will change over time. I've seen it happens many times, even within the 20 years this site has existed. You'll eventually value the videos. My suggestion is to watch those with your mom, learn the contents. Do it when the conversions are done, don't wait years or decades later, or it may be too late. Lots of regrets on this forum as well.

Quote:
I haven't inspected the VHS tapes or attempted playback on her TV/VHS player. I know that I need to check for mold and physical damage.
Mold is obvious. Do you see anything other than perfect charcoal black on the tapes? Look at the spool from the top, open the tape gate and look. Mold is spores, often white stuff.

Also look for oxide shedding, tape flaking.

Brand helps.
Approx year of tape helps, at worst era (70s, early 80s, late 80s, early 90s, late 90s, 00s)

Quote:
Hoping there is a good resource on this forum about how to do it and how to proceed if damage is found.
It can highly vary, let's cover that only if needed.

Quote:
According to her the VHS tapes play back on her VCR/TV but look pretty bad. Whether this is just the 480 signal on a modern display with crappy hardware or if the tapes have degraded, I can't say.
Probably crappy consumer VCR.

Quote:
Working on this now. Currently in talks with LS for a TBC. Hoping I can get the necessary equipment in the next 3-6 months. Based on what I've seen, It's ~3k for the TBC and then ~2k for the VHS deck. At this point, I figure it costs what it costs, and I can get the equipment, just a question of how long to get the funds together.
Thanks again for the help!
Sometimes various gear is available for lesser upfront costs, but you'll pay for it later in others ways, either disappointment and hassles, or repair costs, or both.

The main problem with analog gear is condition. Everything needs a refurb now.

Also how reputable the seller is. And it's almost always a recycler these days, not a video user, and the person wouldn't know the difference between a TBC and a toaster, much less the specifics of how it works, how it should work, etc. Expect zero support from them. There's just a few of us that work on this gear now, NTSC and PAL.

But that assumes you even know what to buy. Too many people see the three letters "TBC", make assumptions, and buy random gear from random places. So they'll end up with a device made for U-matic, or TBC remote (ie, not a TBC at all), or the flawed version of a model, or simply a bad unit that should have been good.

By simply getting good gear, removing the unknowns, you can now focus on the video. Not simply trying to make random items work.

Many folks that try to go cheap end up giving up (hassles), or regretting it later (quality), or both. I've seen this play out so many times over the year. Posts, emails, PMs, offline conversations.

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12-10-2022, 02:58 PM
haze haze is offline
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Originally Posted by dpalomaki View Post
The CCD-TRV43 is a slightly more capable (added steadyshot and laser-link) Hi8 camcorder, still mono sound and no s-video output.

The series TRV36/43 could record in Hi8 mode only if a Hi8-coded tape was used. If a standard Video8 tape was used or LP speed was selected it would record in Video8 mode (lower video resolution potential).

Lack of s-video output argues against using it to playback Hi8 and Video8 tapes for capture.
Yes, the lack of S-Video is unfortunate. I think I'll plan to focus on the VHS portion of the capture flow, and capture the Hi8/Video8 tapes at that time using the camcorder (just to get something). Then I can make sure they're stored properly and try for a better playback system at a later date.




Quote:
Originally Posted by hodgey View Post
My experience with the PAL variant at least as noted is that it's very hit and miss for consumer camcorder DV tapes and frequently had issue reading tapes which played fine in camcorders so I would be hestitant to use it for this purpose, and there isn't any TBC or buffering of the video signal going through it (it just passes the video straight through unlike a TBC or dvd-recorder or similar). So, unless you need to capture DVCAM tapes from professional DVCAM camcoders it doesn't have a lot of use here.
With the aid of dpalomaki, we've discovered that the other tapes were misidentified and are Video8/Hi8. Next time I have access to the tapes, I'll verify the exact identity of all the physical media requiring conversion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hodgey View Post
My personal opinion here is that unless you need to handle commercial tapes with copy protection or are extremely concerned about not dropping a single frame, getting one of those 3k TBCs is really not worth it over one of the verified variants of Panasonic dvd-recorder to pass the video through for stabilization you can get for a fraction of that price. Since you are in North Americae a DMR-ES10, ES15, EH50 or EH55 are the typical options. I would at least consider trying that first before investing $3k in a TBC.
I think this is a reasonable position. But, I'm not sure how soon I'll sell off the capture setup. I think I'm going to ask family and friends if they need VHS digitization before I do. And we can pass it around, or more likely, I'll handle it for them. Currently, I'm set on getting the TBC. I figure when I resell it I'll get a good part of the money back at least.





@LordSmurf

Thanks for the input. I'll definitely inspect the tapes and report back after the holidays.




Thanks all!
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