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  #1  
10-29-2013, 05:51 AM
mrudic mrudic is offline
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Hey Guys!

Ive been perusing the forums for a while and just need some confirmation about my hardware & software setup for VHS Conversion. i have most of the hardware and software already and had to add on a few things such as the VCR's and the TBC (Which im getting for a steal). Just need some input about anything else i may have forgotten:

I've got about 100 hours of video to convert. I have tapes in all of the following types and play modes: VHS SVHS VHSC & SP/LP.

Im located in Melbourne, Australia (PAL)

Here is my current setup:

Video/Audio Hardware:
2 x JVC HR-S9600EU
2 x Panansonic NV-FS200
Kramer SP-11D
Blackmagic Decklink 4K Extreme
Monster Svideo 200sv cables
Audio Cables (Undecided as yet but have some monster ones lying around)

Computer:
Windows 8
Intel i7 3.6ghz 6core
64g ram
3 x 1tb ssd hd (More to come)
a few 4tb hd's for backup

Software:
Avid Media Composer
Davinci Resolve

Electrical (seperate for computer and VCR equiptment):
Voltage Regulator
Surge Protecting Powerboard

Ive purchased 2 of each VCR's just in case 1 of them breaks down (i went through hell trying to get them from europe, and dont want to have to go through that again if something goes wrong). Im missing the vhs-c conversion cartridge from the above list, but havent decided whether i might just transplant the tapes or not.

Ill be using avid for capture (im very familiar with it) and colour correcting with resolve where required.

The reason ive decided to go it alone as opposed to paying for a service is the services on offer here are pretty crap, overcharge, do not use appropriate hardware, software etc much like the dodgy services you guys have mentioned. Also i dont feel confident in sending my tapes overseas for conversion.

One company I found (purported to be one of the best) quoted me in the $6 - 7k range and refused to tell me what hardware/software/capturing/encoding methods they would be using. For that amount of money, I require detailed specifics and so hence if this project is going to be even 1k over the above amount, ive still won - it hasnt btw lol. (The company also accused me of trying to find out what hardware they had so i could buy it and do i myself) .. i might post about this and other companies/businesses ive come accross later on down the track.

Also I have some experience with digital video editing and colour grading, i just dont have any experience with analogue to digital conversions.

Any assistance you guys can provide me with would be great
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  #2  
10-29-2013, 10:12 AM
DeeSeven DeeSeven is offline
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Hello mrudic,

I can't comment on the hardware as I barely know enough myself but software wise I'd highly suggest using virtualdub. I also was using another program when capturing. Then I switched to virtualdub and have had actually better results with it as you can capture in huffyav which is uncompressed.

Also you might want to switch your capture card to a ATI TV Wonder HD 600 USB PC, haven't dealt with blackmagic but ati 600 usb is a great capture card with no hiccups
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  #3  
10-30-2013, 02:41 AM
Jarvis Jarvis is offline
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Welcome! I'm always compelled to help out a fellow Aussie. I'll go through this list and offer my thoughts. Given I don't know the specifics of your video experience, though, I'll be assuming a few things; please don't be offended if I assume incorrectly.

Playback hardware -
2 x JVC HR-S9600EU, 2 x Panansonic NV-FS200

Providing they are in top condition - this is IMO the best combination of VCRs. In fact, I have almost the same setup (2x NV-FS200, 1x HR-S9600EU, 1x HR-S7600EU). Be aware, however, of the common problems of each model; the NV-FS200's capacitors, and the HR-S9600's Dynamic Drum. Make sure to test and research your units, you can ask for help here if you need issues identified/resolved. Also be sure you've read up on the most optimal use of each model for playback quality.

Capture hardware -
Your set up is impressive. To paraphrase a line I read here once, it's a bit like an atom bomb killing a bed of ants. Ironically, it could actually work against you in some respects.

Kramer SP-11D: Is this new or used? Either way, considering you don't have experience with A>D conversion, I'd say you've got your hands full learning a pro TBC like this. I would've suggested a simple, no-frills unit like the Datavideo TBC-1000 instead (actually that's the only one I would suggest).

I assume the motivation here is that by using a TBC with proc amp and SDI out, the signal is stabilized and corrected while undergoing only one A>D conversion. While it's the ideal method, having more than one A>D conversion isn't a deal breaker, much less even noticed as long as no artifacts are being added; thus, if your setup changes here, you should still be just fine.

Blackmagic Decklink 4K Extreme: A serious piece of gear. I'm going to assume it reflects your skill level, and that you're acquainted with it in regards to capturing and editing. Just be aware that Blackmagic cards expect broadcast quality and will reject unstable analog signals, so it's a good thing you obtained a full-frame TBC because you will need to use it.

Software -
Honestly, I'm not convinced these are the right choices. Perhaps if you've worked out the kinks, okay, but allow me to bring up some concerns.

Windows 8 is first on the list. I haven't kept tabs on it in regards to video software and hardware support, but in any event, I'd be wary of working on this project on that OS. Especially if you wind up using something a little more legacy. Win7 is still the go-to option for modern video setups anyway. Avid and Da Vinci may be industry standard, but not necessarily ideal in the context of consumer analog capture and restoration. I also doubt you'll find much support for this kind of workflow in the hobbyist video communities, which are of the greatest benefit in this field.

The most recommended method, which you may or may not be familiar with, utilizes Virtualdub for capturing to an efficient, lossless format (eg. HuffYUV, UT video), and Avisynth for restoration. For advanced colour correction you can include the use of an NLE, though one that works natively in YUV (like Edius) is best. This will give you a complete package, with a support base that knows how to resolve the common issues associated with consumer analog footage. Avisynth, in particular, is a powerful tool here. Lossless cutting can be done with most anything.

Cables - Forget Monster. My pick is Blue Jeans Cable . Great quality, far more affordable, and a well respected company. You'll often find them recommended by those in the know.

Electrical - Get a UPS. If you haven't already, research on how to hook everything up eg. plugging everything into the same circuit, keeping all power away from signal cables etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrudic View Post
Im missing the vhs-c conversion cartridge from the above list, but havent decided whether i might just transplant the tapes or not.
Didn't see it in the list, but I'm guessing you mean the C-P7U that's usually mentioned. That's not the only good one though. The Panasonic VW-TCA7E, the original adapter that came with my camcorder, is also of excellent build quality and has always treated my tapes well. Definitely try to get your hands on one.

Well, I'll leave it there for now. I'm sure others will have more to add (or correct me). Good luck!
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  #4  
10-30-2013, 02:51 AM
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An an off-topic note, this forum blocks some Australian ISPs -- BY TOTAL ACCIDENT! -- and I'm trying to resolve this. Some ISPs there are possibly using Chinese IPs, and I'm trying to figure them out. What's odd is the fact that the Australian folks DO NOT use a blocked IP themselves, but something must be routing through something else and caused this. I'm not 100% sure how ISPs work in Australia. If either of you knows anything about weird ISP stuff, or being blocked by sites, let me know.

Site Staff will get to this question in a few days.

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  #5  
01-26-2014, 04:57 PM
mrudic mrudic is offline
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yeah I'm not too sure about the australian IPs….I'm still getting my gear together for my set up and just checking in to see if any staff have answered my question lol
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  #6  
01-29-2014, 07:54 AM
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Not sure about the Kramer TBC for VHS work.
Not sure about the Blackmagic card for capturing VHS video.

It may be fine. More reseach would be required. Some TBCs and Blackmagic cards can be quirky. Even though it's some of the best gear out there, sometimes it's not perfect for certain workflows.

Monster cables are not always beset -- even if they're most expensive. But those may also be fine. Just watch for that. Ironically, in my experience, the best s-video cables are the cheap ones that came free with the VCRs back in the day. Those have outlasted all my fancy Monster/etc gold-plated cables. Go figure!

As long as audio cables are well-shielded, that's all that matters.

Windows 8 probably isn't going to work. Most all hardware works best in either Windows XP or Windows 7. Those other computer hardware all looks good. Honesty, it's maybe even overkill!

Excellent software. But that's going to come after VirtualDub and Avisynth, if there's any restoration involved. Avid is for editing, and has minimal restoration tools. Davinci is for color, and is generally the last stop. (VirtualDub may or may not be used for capturing, depending on the capture card.) The order of things really depends on the video itself.

Basic "surge protectors" are useless. Get a UPS.

Importing VCRs from another country is fun, isn't it! () So much can go wrong, but it's entirely worth it.

For VHS-C, either
(1) Repack the VHS-C clamshells into VHS clamshells.
(2) Find a JVC C-P7U metal adapter and ONLY use it in Panasonic hardware (never JVC VCRs!!!)

That's terrible about the video transfer service! What goons! We'd always tell other what we doing if they asked. Most of this forum is, in fact, us giving away our "secrets" on how to do video work. But that's never been a big concern, because it's still not easy to do, and requires a hefty hardware investment. Most people don't want to do that. The ones who seek quality, at least. It's sad how many people out there just butcher their videos without care.

This question was in my queue, but was archived by accident as already answered. Oops. Didn't mean to ignore you.

I think we fixed the Australian IP issue. So far, no blockage reports in the last two months.

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  #7  
01-30-2014, 02:47 AM
mrudic mrudic is offline
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ok ill order the recommended tbcs, and also the recommended capture cards as well just in case and test everything out and compare everything before i do the final transfer

Importing vcrs……that was the biggest hell on earth i have ever experienced…maybe ill write a few notes in a post in future for anyone else (especially for people in Australia) trying to acquire the same hardware as I have, and the round about way of doing it.
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  #8  
01-30-2014, 04:25 AM
Jarvis Jarvis is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrudic View Post
ok ill order the recommended tbcs, and also the recommended capture cards as well just in case and test everything out and compare everything before i do the final transfer.
Based on many reports about the Datavideo TBC-1000, it appears to have some QC issues and is also no longer produced. It might be a pricey gamble on the used market these days. The other popular option, AVT-8710 is even more of a gamble due to mostly defective units now.

Instead, I advise you first try the very affordable Panasonic DMR-ES10 (or ES15) DVD recorder, in passthrough mode. Typically used for its built-in line TBC, it does also include frame sync and has been confirmed to send a signal that Blackmagic cards accept. Also ignores macrovision (in passthrough). Just leave its NR filtering off as it is undesirable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrudic View Post
Importing vcrs……that was the biggest hell on earth i have ever experienced…maybe ill write a few notes in a post in future for anyone else (especially for people in Australia) trying to acquire the same hardware as I have, and the round about way of doing it.
Sorry to hear you had a hard time with it. I didn't experience such hell myself, though initially it was a bit tricky. For those interested, here is my little guide:

1. The first problem is that no good PAL VCRs are available in Australia, ever. They are however available in Europe, which brings me to the second problem - not many sellers will ship these VCRs outside of Europe. The listings won't even show up on ebay.com.au, so you need to search ebay.co.uk and ebay.de sites. In the case of the latter, use google translate to understand the listings.

2. Before you even consider bidding or buying, check if shipping is available to Australia. Most of the time it's not - but there are workarounds. Before you do anything though, message the seller and very politely ask if they would be willing to ship to you. You would be surprised how often this actually works. Whether they are or not, though, is unimportant because...

3. You can use a mail forwarding service. It's just a storage facility you can have your items shipped to, for those purchases where international shipping is not an option. The company then ships it to you at a (much) cheaper price than what most sellers would charge you. Personally, I have used Alfasent for UK orders and was very satisfied.

4. Of course, if you choose mail forwarding, make sure you ask the seller in advance whether its okay to provide them with an address different to your eBay account. I always make a point of being polite and responsible with purchases to ensure everything runs smoothly.

5. There is a whole lot to say about buying practices that I won't get into here, but the most important one is checking the seller's ratings. If there are any negatives at all, which there shouldn't be, make sure you go through them. The most common blunder is poor shipping, and for old and sensitive devices such as VCRs, it can make a huge difference. Be sure you are buying from a seller who provides warranty as well.

There may be other points I've neglected to mention, but it's not a bad start.
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  #9  
01-30-2014, 05:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jarvis View Post
Based on many reports about the Datavideo TBC-1000, it appears to have some QC issues and is also no longer produced. It might be a pricey gamble on the used market these days.
I'm not aware of any credible reports that show the TBC-1000 to have any serious flaws. Yes, there is a small variation in the chips (the model is at least 15 years old!) which can lead to slight softness and other oddities. But I've not seen or heard of those in 5+ years now. Even then, it was the unit with the issues, not the model.

The AVT-8710 post-green models, sadly, had model-wide issues. Not sure if it was ever corrected. Older ones are fine.

Quote:
Instead, I advise you first try the very affordable Panasonic DMR-ES10 (or ES15) DVD recorder, in passthrough mode. Typically used for its built-in line TBC, it does also include frame sync and has been confirmed to send a signal that Blackmagic cards accept. Also ignores macrovision (in passthrough). Just leave its NR filtering off as it is undesirable.
The ES10 has some pretty severe side effects than make it even less transparent that a flawed TBC. The worst of them is posterizing (color palette compression). Using it for non-passthrough needs is not suggested.

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  #10  
01-30-2014, 06:27 AM
Jarvis Jarvis is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
I'm not aware of any credible reports that show the TBC-1000 to have any serious flaws. Yes, there is a small variation in the chips (the model is at least 15 years old!) which can lead to slight softness and other oddities. But I've not seen or heard of those in 5+ years now. Even then, it was the unit with the issues, not the model.
I know all about the potential issues of this device and have followed all the discussions and modifications posted on this forum. I own the TBC-1000 myself but I was - for once - lucky to get a good unit (and for half price due to an inventory error!) IMO it does its job well while retaining fidelity.

I see no reason to question credibility of claims though that it colours the signal too much, regarding softness or incorrect levels. It just shows variability in the units which indicates a QC issue. Based on that, I would not seek it out on the used market (seen what they're selling for now?) when there are far cheaper devices pretty much guaranteed to work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
The AVT-8710 post-green models, sadly, had model-wide issues. Not sure if it was ever corrected.
As far as I know, it wasn't. This one I did not get lucky on and it's the worst TBC I ever used.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
The ES10 has some pretty severe side effects than make it even less transparent that a flawed TBC. The worst of them is posterizing (color palette compression). Using it for non-passthrough needs is not suggested.
Here at DigitalFAQ is the only place I have seen this claim. Tests have been performed, and reports made, by reputable members over at VH with no signs of posterisation. I too own the ES10 (PAL) and have seen no such thing - I can perform tests for you if you'd like. At the very least this model (or rather the ES10-25 line up) deserves another look from you.
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  #11  
01-30-2014, 09:24 AM
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By "credible", I mean that a thorough process of elimination has not been followed. It's not scientific, but rather a hasty knee-jerk reaction. This happen far too often with video hardware. That's been my observation for 10+ years now. And sometimes, even I've been guilty of it. (Thorough testing, but apparently not thorough enough!)

I need to grab some samples from an ES10 sometime. Most of the palette compression happens in shadows. It can be hard to see on some sources, and obvious on others.

When it comes to the TBC-1000, you also have to consider age (wear and tear). It may not be QC at all. Again, it's never been thoroughly tested to my satisfaction. I've tested several unit exhaustively and never observed anything major, and I'm hesitant to claim I observed anything minor. Remember that I could not use a TBC-1000 for years, because of my location. It was a power issue with TVA 126W power. Many would have assumed it was the unit -- even me! -- had I not seen it on other power grids.

At worst, it has some claimed softness issues. But I tend to think this is part of a larger analog issue, much like variation between VCRs. I can even run the same tape twice, and come up with different values at times! (This happened just yesterday.)

Repeat after me: "Analog is chaos!"

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  #12  
01-30-2014, 12:56 PM
msgohan msgohan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jarvis View Post
Also ignores macrovision (in passthrough).
Not true! Tapes that trigger the garbled Macrovision reaction of the ATI 600 still do so when passed through the ES15.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
I need to grab some samples from an ES10 sometime.
Please do (or suggest a particular movie or test pattern that will show the effect).
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  #13  
01-31-2014, 05:31 AM
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kpmedia kpmedia is offline
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We're still doing those VCR tests that we all talked about months ago here on the forum. (I believe it was your idea, and an excellent idea at that!) It actually forced us to locate some equipment flaws from our then-recently-moved workflows. I bet Home Alone would work for this as well, as it has plenty of dark scenes.

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