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03-06-2012, 07:16 PM
GROw GROw is offline
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I found the following thread, 1000 vhs tapes to digital and found it really useful. It raised a few questions about my planned workflow for a project to archive/digitise a collection of VHS tapes from the resources I have available to me.

I run Ubuntu 11.10 and have access to a Mac running Lion. I am looking for some advice on what's the best from the transferring and encoding options available to me. The thing that most motivated me to ask this question is in a post in the above mentioned thread it's mentioned that ffmpeg doens't have a good encoding engine. This caused me some concern because I'd been planning on using it via command line in Ubuntu.

Another point that caused me to question my existing workflow was the mention of VHS-DVD being a method to avoid. It took me a while to realise that what was meant by this was transferring using a device that encoded the input directly to a DVD format and not leaving raw output. Do I have this right?

I'm using a Canopus ADVC-100 using S-Video for the input and ieeee1394 for the output.

In Ubuntu I've been using Kino to transfer the vhs to a .dv file. So far the dumps I've been getting are approx 10GB/hr of tape, does this sound reasonable?

After reading your guide on good practices I realised I could just use dvgrab from the commad line to limit systems overhead and the potential of lost frames etc.

Does anyone have any experience with the quality of the output of dvgrab in comparison to what's available on the Mac?

My next question is....ffmpeg (Ubuntu) vs MPEG Streamclip (Mac). What's my best option here. Or is there another someone could recommend.

I'm able to encode to h264 using libx264 through ffmpeg on Ubuntu, does this still come under the banner of 'wouldn't recommend ffmpeg' mentioned in the above mentioned thread? Or has it improved that comment?

Lastly, are there any recommendations for the settings I should be looking at adjusting/sing when trying to achieve an optimal result for playback over a home network via uPnP to a 42" tv?

Thanks in advance for any help that can be offered.
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Someday, 12:01 PM
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03-07-2012, 06:24 AM
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The ffmpeg inferiority discussed in the other thread (1,000 tapes) is specific to H.264 (MPEG-4), not MPEG-2 as required for DVD-Video. However, that said, ffmpeg still isn't the best. MainConcept is best, however that's commercial software, and seeing how you're going after Linux (maybe Mac) workflows, it's probably best to stick to open source software. ffmpeg MPEG-2 is based on libavcodec, which isn't 100% the same as ffmpeg. Avidemux uses libavcodec (not ffmpeg), and the MPEG-2 output is quite decent -- surely enough for any home user. For that matter, I've used it a number of times for personal projects, and have no complaints.

Here's the Ubuntu Avidemux page: http://manpages.ubuntu.com/manpages/...videmux.1.html
Avidemux download: http://avidemux.sourceforge.net/download.html

Whatever you use for capturing, be sure it reports dropped frames. It doesn't matter if that's via CLI or GUI. Just as long as it's there. Otherwise you're forced to guess, in which case you'll want to use the lowest resource tool available. WinDV does this for Windows XP. I've never tried to run WinDV in Wine, and doubt it would work, but it's something you should at least attempt. Come to think of it, I don't think I've ever run Wine in Ubuntu. (I mostly use Ubuntu for servers.)

I've you're not using MainConcept for H.264, use x264. If using ffmpeg, be sure it's using x264 as the actual encoder.
Never use Quicktime's H.264 -- it's horrible.

Most times, "optimal playback" is simply a matter of bandwidth. Don't encode with more bitrate than you can push locally. It helps to have a gigabit network, not a now-obsolete 100mbit local net. Or Wireless N, for wireless devices. For image quality, that gets complicated. To keep it simple, use a template aimed at quality, and just don't try to overcompress. There's a battle between too much bitrate, and not enough. Test to find the sweet spot.

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03-08-2012, 04:04 AM
GROw GROw is offline
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Thanks for reply, it's been really helpful in developing my knowledge of the encoders and how programs are using them.

I installed a copy of avidemux and it's encoding options are certainly the best of any GUI I've seen so far on Ubuntu but I ran into an issue with it not being able to open the dv file that had been created by Kino. I did find out that it cannot handle dv AVI Type 1 so automatically assumed that this is what Kino had output from the transfer but checking the options for it found that it should have been a raw dv file.

I've used dvgrab to explicitally save the output to raw dv format but Avidemux still can't open it. Possibly more searching required there.

I'm also going to be searching for ways to add x264 and others to Kino. Kino's a great program, simple to use etc and does offer a monitor of dropped frames, very configurable and the easiest thing I've found to use so far. Although if I could get Avidemux to open my dvs I might say the same about it.

I did check out Handbrake, it also offers x264 and a clean interface and will most likely be my go to program failing the above mentioned options.

I'll post back here when I've found a result I'm happy with.

Thanks again for your advice.
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03-08-2012, 10:06 PM
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Originally Posted by GROw View Post
I'll post back here when I've found a result I'm happy with.
Please do.

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ffmpeg, mac, mpeg, streamclip, ubuntu

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