After a long time schooling myself on capturing, buying up equipment and getting comfortable with it, I'm feeling just about ready to start on this long overdue project. All I need is a few more items and a little more preparation before I dive into it. I know the hardware, software and workflow, at least enough to get things moving. But there is something which I have neglected to invest time into until now - setting it all up.
Before I continue, I should mention that this will be a studio just for personal use, family and friends at most. Since it's non-commercial work then I'm hoping to minimize the costs, especially since I've already spent more than I projected (bad buys) - but I'm also not opposed to forking out on something that's worth it and provides a more hassle-free experience.
Now although I've done a fair share of testing, it has admittedly been done with poor practices. Examples include using whatever cheap cables and adapters I found at my local store, hand-me-downs, and connecting my equipment anywhere I could within the small space I had for it. It wasn't ideal, but I managed with the limited options I had at the time. Now that I'm able to move forward, I'd like to do it the right way, and avoid as many unwanted surprises as I can.
I've done some research on this topic already, but as with anything technical, it can be overwhelming and even confusing at first. It's hard to make sense of advice such as using the shortest connections possible, but keeping everything away from everything else. At this point, I've put so much time into learning about video and capturing that I have little patience for roaming vast amounts of sites again. It'd be nice to cut some corners for once, so I'd greatly appreciate it if you guys could save me the trouble.
As a bit of a perfectionist, I'm doing my best to tame the obsessive tendencies when restoring video; I've settled on a balance between quality and efficiency, and looking to maximize both using good practices (not that I intend to rush it). The end result will be a compromise but nonetheless something I should be satisfied with. Your help in answering my questions, and some Do's and Dont's for organizing and handling my equipment, will ensure that.
A well debated topic it seems. I'm going to replace the word "best" here with "reliable" instead, since I don't want to imply that I'm after the most expensive cables, or that they're even any better. So in your experience, which cable brands have proven to be reliable for your extensive capture work? As I'm particularly concerned about cable noise, I want to make sure it's an issue I don't run into. Durability is also a factor, as long as it's reasonably priced. I would like recommendations for S-Video, RCA and Component.
For DV transfer, I'd also like a recommendation for Firewire cables. Although it's just transferring data, I don't want to skimp on quality in any area of my work; I'd rather invest in something well-built in the first place, rather than having to work out the kinks later on.
Adapters & Power
Because I live in Australia and all my high-end VCRs are imported from Europe, I've had to use adapters to plug them into Australian sockets. My Euro hardware is 220-240V and therefore compatible with the 240V Australian standard. It's worked without any issues. However, it concerns me that I know next to nothing on this topic and I'm wondering if there's anything I need to be aware of.
Likewise for power boards and hardware of that nature, which I know little about except that it's apparently best to plug everything into one board, and keep power away from signal cables. Some basic info on the procedures above would put me at ease.
Here are links to what I currently use:
Adapter - http://dicksmith.com.au/product/M732...travel-adaptor
Power board - http://dicksmith.com.au/product/M740...ay-surge-board
Please let me know if I need better devices, what features to seek out when buying, and particular brands if possible. Currently I'm considering buying a UPS board for max protection.
Putting it together
This final step is one I've been looking forward to.
I believe I have adequate space for everything, but would like to keep the studio as small as is practical. Basically I'd like advice on the layout, and how to best connect, power and place my hardware, for maximum safety and minimum interference. Ease of access and interchangeability is important also. Recommendations for office/studio furniture to aid in this project would be helpful as well, especially if there are options designed for this kind of work or otherwise very suitable for it.
Here is the list of equipment that I need to organize; it's not all that I own or will be using for my work, but only items that are relevant to this discussion.
- 2x VCRs in place at all times. My primaries are HR-S9600 & NV-FS200, but I have a total of 7 to choose from if need be. A solution to swap them out efficiently would be nice.
- 2x DVD recorders; a DR-M100 that I already own, and a DMR-ES10 that I plan to purchase.
- ADVC-110 with power supply
- 32" LCD TV - not ideal, but will suffice for now. Unfortunately I can't make it a permanent part of the studio, and will have to move it out regularly, so I'd like my setup to accomodate that. I also have a 55" LCD to view captures on, but cannot use it for monitoring at the moment.
- U2711 27" IPS panel
- 1x PC tower (with Datavideo TBC-100)
- eSATA hotswap enclosure
- Eventually a library of external drives that require robust storage
Also, I've read that speakers should be kept well away from A/V equipment, but this won't be an issue as all sound will be monitored on headphones.
Displays & colour accuracy
I've reviewed much of my personal and family footage and while it can certainly be improved (what can't?), I've not seen anything that probably couldn't be solved with software. I could be wrong, but it looks acceptable and there's none of the ghastly colour issues I've seen posted around on forums. Some moderate correction in post should do the trick. I've therefore chosen to skip the proc amp and have a shorter capture chain, so I don't require an accurate monitor.
My IPS panel, which is good to begin with and great when calibrated, will be used for all editing/correction and should provide me with the results I'm after. Having said that, it'd be naive of me to think that I won't run into any issues I'm unequipped to handle. If that's ever the case, I'm under the impression that Sign Video proc amp would be a good choice, providing I can find one along with a healthy CRT.
This post is quite the wall of text, but I wanted to give a good insight into what I have, know, and need help with. I think I've covered everything for now. No doubt I'll run into some issues, but with good knowledge and good practices, I expect there will be less of them.
I've chosen to focus on one thing at a time, so making good captures is my only concern right now - editing and encoding will bring a new set of challenges, but I've already done some considerable studying on it and based my capturing methods around that. There is still advice on certain things I need to seek out, but I'll get around to that later as the project progresses.
As always thank you for your wonderful site, which has lead me in the right direction from the start. I look forward to your feedback guys.