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03-16-2017, 02:23 PM
Bobban Bobban is offline
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Hi all!

I am thinking of upgrading my hardware for capturing and restoring VHS tapes. I just wanted to check here before I make any purchases. Previously I've tried a USB capture device, though I'm not 100% satisfied with the DV codec AVI files. Plus the built-in TBC function of my VHS seems to need a boost sometimes.

So I want to capture PAL VHS in uncompressed quality through S-video, using my Windows 7 computer, with this setup:

JVC HR-S8500 SVHS Player (owned)
AV Toolbox AVT-8710 (looking to buy)
ATI TV Wonder HD650 video card (looking to buy)
Acer Predator G3610 with Intel Core i7, Windows 7 64-bit, Geforce GTX670, 10 GB RAM (owned)
Virtualdub software (owned)


Would I be able to capture uncompressed AVI files with this??? Or should I go for another type of video card? And would you recommend any changes and/or additions?

Last edited by Bobban; 03-16-2017 at 03:20 PM.
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  #2  
03-16-2017, 03:29 PM
sanlyn sanlyn is offline
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Hello, and welcome.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobban View Post
I am thinking of upgrading my hardware for capturing and restoring VHS tapes. I just wanted to check here before I make any purchases. Previously I've tried a USB capture device, though I'm not 100% satisfied with the DV codec AVI files.
For Windows 7, today's recommended USB devices can capture to losssless AVI using VirtualDub or similar software. Don't capture "uncompressed". It's too slow and CPU intensive, and unnecessary. Use a lossless compressor such as huffYUV or Lagarith and capture to YUY2 lossless.

VHS should not be capped to DV or other lossy codecs. DV was never designed as restoration media and represents a quality loss with analog source. Those sources have enough defects of their own without adding lossy compression artifacts to the mix.

The ATI 650 USB has serious AGC issues that can't be defeated and will ruin your captures. The PCI version is recommended. The problem with capture hardware is Windows 7, as most of the good stuff of yesterday was designed for Windows XP (which is still the recommended capture platform for flexibility and reliability, not to mention compatibility with many more capture devices). The ATI 600 USB is still recommended and there are drivers available for Win7. The Diamond VC500 USB might be an easier load to handle despite its clunky operation during capture and has performance similar to the ATI line. Don't waste your money on the USB version of the 650.

The days of the best of the XP capture devices ended a few years ago with the demise of VHS, but people still hunt them down and build nice capture systems around them. What is available new today is either USB with a few very decent contenders, some older PCI cards that are getting difficult to find, and very pricey devices that are not optimized for analog capture regardless of their advertising hype.

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Plus the built-in TBC function of my VHS seems to need a boost sometimes.
I don't know what that means. What causes you to think it needs a boost? Your VCR is a good one with a capable line-level TBC. However, it isn't a frame sync TBC like the ACT-8710. Unfortunately a brand new 8710 will likely be problematic; for the past several years after being hijacked by a new owner there are too many reports of bad chips and shoddy construction. If you can find an older black-and-green original still in working order, you'll be better off -- but they won't be cheap and people fight over them. There are inexpensive ways around frame sync besides an external tbc or the 8710, but if tape copy protection is an issue you just might have to bite the bullet for a properly working frame tbc as the only way out.

VHS has lots of problems, many of which can't be repaired with VirtualDub alone although you will still need it. I suggest that you might look into Avisynth as well. You don't have to be a guru with it and it can be used on a very basic level, but it can fix things that VirtualDub can't, and vice versa.

Last edited by sanlyn; 03-16-2017 at 03:59 PM.
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  #3  
03-17-2017, 12:44 AM
Bobban Bobban is offline
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Thank you so much for your quick reply!

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Originally Posted by sanlyn View Post
Hello, and welcome.

For Windows 7, today's recommended USB devices can capture to losssless AVI using VirtualDub or similar software. Don't capture "uncompressed". It's too slow and CPU intensive, and unnecessary. Use a lossless compressor such as huffYUV or Lagarith and capture to YUY2 lossless.
I currently have a Pinnacle usb-510 but was never really happy with its performance, and couldn't get it to capture anything beyond DV or crappy MPEG-2 (and only through the oh-so-annoying Pinnacle Studio software). Maybe I haven't synced up VirtualDub and huffYUV...

Quote:
Originally Posted by sannlyn
The Diamond VC500 USB might be an easier load to handle despite its clunky operation during capture and has performance similar to the ATI line.
Would this be preferable to the Pinnacle one I have? In other words, would it be worth replacing in terms of quality/stability or would it basically do the same thing?



Quote:
Originally Posted by sannlyn
don't know what that means. What causes you to think it needs a boost? Your VCR is a good one with a capable line-level TBC. However, it isn't a frame sync TBC like the ACT-8710.
Well, I found that on some tapes, having the TBC/DRN on will cause the image to bounce, which is a nasty side effect that doesn't otherwise happen. Buy maybe this can be avoided/fixed in a better way than trying to find a working ACT-8710 or TBC-1000?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sannlyn
I suggest that you might look into Avisynth as well.
Yup, Avisynth is already a part of my workflow. I use it to stabilise chroma, edge smooth, remove blended frames in animation, de-interlace etc. Great tool
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  #4  
03-17-2017, 03:08 AM
sanlyn sanlyn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobban View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by sanlyn View Post
The Diamond VC500 USB might be an easier load to handle despite its clunky operation during capture and has performance similar to the ATI line.
Would this be preferable to the Pinnacle one I have? In other words, would it be worth replacing in terms of quality/stability or would it basically do the same thing?
Many other readers as well as yours truly have had their rounds with Pinnacle. I wouldn't wish the experience onto anyone. The VC500 USB has been popular for lossless capture for several years, is similar in appearance to devices like the ATI 600 or Hauppauge 610 USB's. The Diamond comes with its own edit/capture software, which you can avoid without ever missing it. But you do install its basic EZGrabber driver. You configure that driver for lossless AVI output, then turn on VirtualDub capture. ATI capture cards and USB's come with some good capture software and its own decent MPEG encoder but otherwise is ideally suited for VirtualDub and lossless AVI.

Capturing with VirtualDub offers more features and precision. Settings depend on the capture device. Because most USB devices have their own audio sync builtin, VDub's audio sync isn't used and requires settings that you wouldn't use with AGP, PCI, or PCIe cards. There are other differences with other capture hardware. A recent settings guide goes into great detail: http://www.digitalfaq.com/forum/vide...-settings.html.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobban View Post
I found that on some tapes, having the TBC/DRN on will cause the image to bounce
I had an NTSC version of the 7600 VCR and didn't have that experience, but I've read that it happens. A frame tbc would help, but finding one that hasn't been burned out or doesn't cost a king's ransom is difficult. Many people use a very few recommended legacy DVD recorders (Panasonic DMR-ES10 or ES15) for line tbc and frame tbc pass-thru. The VCR is connected to the DVD-R, the DVD-R is connected to the capture device. So video "passes through" the device whose tbc functions are applied to the signal. Not many DVD machines can be used for pass-thru. A long thread with many posts, tests, and graphs is here: https://forum.videohelp.com/threads/...hat-do-you-use.

A pass-thru offers line and frame sync. The ES10 has a fairly powerful line tbc, its frame sync is also decent but won't defeat Macrovision. Pass-thru does work, but frankly you're bound to encounter a tape sooner or later that requires a full-fledged external frame tbc like an AVT-8710 or TBC-1000, both of which were optimized for analog capture. Pass-thru units differ for PAL and NTSC, so don't try an NTSC version for PAL capture.

Meanwhile your 7600 likely needs tracking adjustment and alignment, but finding good service is a tough search of its own.
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  #5  
03-18-2017, 04:52 AM
Bobban Bobban is offline
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Thanks for the new info! I'll definately try the Diamond and get rid of my Pinnacle once and for all, then.

I looked around at that thread, and from what I can gather the could be a slight downgrade in color etc. but otherwise the ES10/ES15 seems like a very good option as an additional TBC pass-through! And they are MUCH cheaper and easier to get your hands on as well, so maybe I'll start with that. Then the new workflow would be:

JVC HR-S8500 SVHS Player (owned)
Panasonic DMR-ES10 or ES15 (looking to buy)
Diamond VC500 USB (looking to buy)
Acer Predator G3610 with Intel Core i7, Windows 7 64-bit, Geforce GTX670, 10 GB RAM (owned)
Virtualdub software (owned)


I'll do some tests with different settings once I've gotten a hold of the new hardware. In the meantime, can I ask for suggestions for the settings of the VCR? In terms of B.E.S.T. picture system, TBC/DNR, Digital 3R and so on?
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  #6  
04-01-2017, 08:04 AM
Bobban Bobban is offline
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Update: I got my ES15 in the mail yesterday and hooked everything up. It all works like a charm Now it's on to AVIsynth and filtering - the fun part! Thanks again for all the help, sanlyn!
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