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03-08-2017, 02:01 PM
AlexCatley AlexCatley is offline
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I have been having a clear out and come across various VHS-C ( Mid 80's to Mid 90's ), VHS ( 90's ) and Mini DV ( Very late 90's / Early 00's ) tapes that haven't seen light of day for years.

There is in the region of 100 tapes in total to process, but no doubt that is likely to double before project is finished and everything has been archived.

As a result i am leaning towards doing the transfer and processing myself as it probably the only cost effective option open to myself

My main problem at this stage i have long since misplaced or thrown out any device that is capable of playing any of tthe tapes, therefore i need to acquire the relevant equipment before i can start the transfer from the tapes to PC.

Shopping list for project is as follows
  • VHS-C Video Camcorder ( or would a VHS-C to VHS Cassette adaptor be a reasonable option ? )
  • Good quality VCR ( Assuming quality of VCR will make different to transfer ? )
  • Mini DV Camcorder
  • Capture Card, Leads and Software
As a result i was wondering what would be the best equipment people would recommend or if there anything specific i missed off list that i would help / need?

Budget in mind is £200/£300 however it can be stretched in reason.

Finally PC spec is I5, 32gb Ram, Windows 10 and has spare PCI / PCI E slots and USB 3 connections.

Look forward to your response and thank you in advance.

Kind Regards Alex.

Last edited by AlexCatley; 03-08-2017 at 02:27 PM. Reason: Wrong format listed, 8mm when i meant VHS-C
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03-08-2017, 09:25 PM
sanlyn sanlyn is offline
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Hello, and welcome to digitalfaq.

I suggest that you can pick up many other ideas and sources from browsing the last two weeks or so of forum subjects, where the same or similar question has been covered in detail over three or four threads. I suspect you might have overlooked some recent posts and guides, or you wouldn't have made this estimate:

Originally Posted by AlexCatley View Post
Budget in mind is £200/£300 however it can be stretched in reason.
Stretch that budget by at least a factor of 5, perhaps more if you expect better than barely viewable results. If your visual expectations and tolerance for time and effort is minimal, you won't need the vast majority of articles or guides in this forum. You would be better served by buying a DVD/VCR combo unit for your analog sources and recording directly to DVD, and sending the C, 8mm, and DV sources to a transfer service.

Assuming your requirements are for decent quality, other questions need addressing:

Originally Posted by AlexCatley View Post
Good quality VCR ( Assuming quality of VCR will make different to transfer ? )
Assume that a low quality player gives low quality results. Are those results acceptable? If so, get the cheapest VCR and "C" adapter you can find. Otherwise you might have a look at this thread: http://www.digitalfaq.com/forum/vide...html#post37136.

Originally Posted by AlexCatley View Post
VHS-C Video Camcorder ( or would a VHS-C to VHS Cassette adaptor be a reasonable option ? )
A good C adapter would be more reasonably priced than a C-camcorder in good condition and is likely more available. However, a good C adapter in a cheap VCR is a waste and would probably damage your precious tapes. High-end Panasonic players seem to be the favorites for use with C adapters, but many use JVC SR-V101x or 9600/9800 series VCR's. Users of that line of gear and accessories could probably give you more detail. 8mm video requires a camera that can play 8mm.

Originally Posted by AlexCatley View Post
Mini DV Camcorder
There is really only one quality method for transferring miniDV or other DV sources to a computer -- use a DV camera that can accept the tape, and make a direct source 1:1 transfer via Fire Wire and dedicated DV-import software to DV-AVI video files on a PC. Other methods, despite what anyone tells you, range from inferior to really poor to downright ugly. DV and DV transfer are now legacy issues, where even a used computer with built-in Fire Wire is tough to find. DV itself a PC-playback-only format that's OK for simple cut-and-join edits but suffers quality loss for any other kind of processing and for which DV was never designed in the first place. For any kind of repair work, fancy titles, color correction, valid video levels fix, etc., DV should be decoded to lossless media for serious processing. DV would have to be decoded eventually anyway for encoding to a more universally playable format or for web posting. DV is PC-only, not supported by external players or the internet. There do exist some Android 3rd party translators that will let you play DV directly on small-screen devices, if that's your cup of tea.

Originally Posted by AlexCatley View Post
Capture Card, Leads and Software
Leads: I think you refer to s-video cable? That would be preferred, assuming you have a quality VCR with s-video output. if not you're stuck with composite output and the need for some sort of y/c comb filter device to eliminate dot crawl and other composite defects. Dot crawl and other luminance/chroma crosstalk issues are almost impossible to eliminate with after-capture filters without destroying most of the original detail. One workaround is including one of the few tbc pass-thru devices that include internal y/c filters, such as a Panasonic DMR-ES10, DMR_ES15, or similar device. There are capture cards with decent comb filters, but those that actually work well for lossless VHS transfer will break your £200-300 budget.

Capture cards: there are really only two reasons for using a PC capture card or USB device. The primary reason is for capturing analog sources to losslessly compressed media for cleanup, restoration, edits, high quality encoding, authoring, and special processing for internet posts. The second reason would be to use an MPEG2 or h264 device for capture directly to capture-time lossy formats and authoring/burning to disc. Note that you would not use the second method for restoration or correction work, as MPEG and h.264 are final delivery formats, not edit formats, and require smart-rendering applications for simple cut-and-join work.

Pick a genuinely excellent capture device from this ATI legacy series for Windows XP machines:
or newer alternatives from these makers, available in the UK & Europe:
- Hauppauge 610 USB2 capture stick (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hauppauge-0.../dp/B003Q2ZA36)
- Diamond Multimedia VC500 USB (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Diamond-Mul...mputers&ie=UTF)
- The ATI 600 TV Wonder USB 2, if you can find one.

Software: For simple edits you can use anything you want, but if you want any restoration or corrective work you'll need at least Avisynth and/or VirtualDub. Otherwise you can get any 100-quid or less NLE you want from Adobe or Corel (I would not advise buggy Cyberlink or Nero for anything. Period). The average NLE will let you put a DVD or internet file together with halfway passable encoding, but they are not for proper restoration or multi-format conversion (and don't let them tell you they are!).

Originally Posted by AlexCatley View Post
Finally PC spec is I5, 32gb Ram, Windows 10 and has spare PCI / PCI E slots and USB 3 connections.
You will never use 32Gb of RAM, not even for HD work, but overall your system is perfectly adequate. The only drawback is Windows 10, which is among the least flexible systems for anything other than basic video work. There are many capture hardware and software limitations with Win10, especially when compared to the vast amount of free and paid software and devices that can be used with XP or even Windows7. With Avisynth, VirtualDub, and most capture devices you should use 32-bit. You cannot mix 32-bit and 64-bit processing in the same app or operation, and unfortunately many 32-bit apps and filters will never, ever be available in 64-bit.

Originally Posted by AlexCatley View Post
if there anything specific i missed off list that i would help / need?
The obvious omission is time base correction (TBC).

A good player and line-level tbc can fix many problems at capture time. And there are two types of TBC required for proper capture from analog sources: (A) A line-level tbc corrects scanline timing errors within individual frames and prevents top-border flagging, warped borders, wiggles and notches in vertical lines, and other scanline problems. (B) Frame-level tbc's correct timing signals from frame to frame, preventing dropped and duplicate frames, maintaining audio sync, and preventing frame jitter and other top-border distortion problems.

Scanline sync errors appear as bent, warped, or notched verticals, and/or bent or notched side borders, etc. A common but rather mild example of line "wiggles" produced by typical scanline errors is here: http://forum.videohelp.com/threads/3...=1#post1882662.

More severe examples were posted in an earlier thread. Below are links to 2 samples of scanline and frame timing errors. The "bad" tape sample was played with a non-tbc VCR. While the bad demo looks like a severe case, it's not as uncommon as you'd think. This sort of top-border flagging and frame slippage happens often with old tapes. Some tapes will play without this severity, some won't.

- A1_Sample2_bad.mpg is the original capture encoded to MPEG, with frame size slightly reduced to prevent TV overscan from hiding some of the problems.

- B1_Sample2_fix.mpg is the tape played with a line-level tbc pass-thru device and an external frame-level tbc. The "fixed" sample shown in the link below is a first-stage test repair with only basic denoising, which was improved later with a better VCR but here addressing only specific issues. The tape is no longer available.

Whatever your choices, you havenít told us what you want for final output, video sharing, formats, archiving goals, etc. Much depends on your expectations and how much you're willing to put into a project.
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03-11-2017, 03:03 AM
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lordsmurf lordsmurf is online now
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For 100+ tapes, yes, it can be more effective to DIY. Especially in Europe, where less quality services exist.

Standard advice:
- good VCR with internal TBC for VHS/VHS-C (Panasonic best for -C)
- good MiniDV camera, and most are good
- good external TBC
- good capture card, preferably dedicated offline system (not same one used for internet/etc)

8mm was in title, but not mentioned in thread? And you probably mean Video8 or Hi8, the Sony format for 8mm analog tape. Or did you mean Digital8, which is DV on Video8 tape?

The budget for DIY is about $1k (about £750), but you can always resell items when done with the project. Many hold value.

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