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  1. Banned
    Join Date: Oct 2004
    Location: New York, US
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    My cable provider requires either their SD-digital box or their HD box. I cannot receive any cable channels of any kind with any other device. That's true in most areas of the U.S. today. I already have an outboard QAM tuner and an HD tuner for PC. They won't pick up anything off the cable line since last Fall. Atlona makes a HD->SD downsampler via component and/or s-video that outputs the correct frame size from an HD box , but it doesn't outwit copy-once protection. Macrovision is not what the cable sources are using; if it was plain Macrovision, I'm already able to play protected material and record it to my PC or another recorder (the VHS of "LILI" has Macrovision, as do many retail DVD's that I've backed-up to disc).

    The PAL DVD is the same poor PQ as all other DVD versions.

    Got me off-topic again. By the time I went thru all the trouble you describe, I'd have what I have now.
    Last edited by sanlyn; 14th Nov 2011 at 12:54.
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  2. The Hauppauge HD PVR ignores all copy protection signals when recording from component, s-video, or composite.

    I wouldn't be surprised if TCMHD shows an upscaled SD video from a 1" tape on the HD channel. Still, it will probably be better quality than what you have. We don't get TCMHD though.
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  3. Banned
    Join Date: Oct 2004
    Location: New York, US
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    Yes, I've seen that product earlier. Sounds like a good idea for future use. All I need is:

    - a good 256MB graphics card
    - a good BluRay player, and more good component cable for it (no HDMI, please).
    - 50 feet of good component video/audio cable (throw the OEM wire away)
    - or, 50 feet of good USB
    - a good BluRay burner
    - the Hauppauge
    - learn to work with h.264 & software
    - about $850, give or take a few bucks
    - the hope that copy-once is ignored
    - Hide the AMEX card bills from my wife. But, then, I can't hide it online at the AMEX site.

    s-video and composite outputs from my cable box are, of course, useless. They output a 16:9 broadcast as 480i, letterboxed (At least my Samsung tuner let me output the whole 16:9 image full-frame, squished into an SD 4:3 box, but I could tell the Toshiba to flag it for 16:9 display. Worked beautifully). TCM and others broadcast a 4:3 image as 16:9 pillared - so the output from s-video and composite is a 4:3 box, both pillared and letterboxed. Weird. Tiny. There's no way the wife will let me keep a PC on the floor by the HD box, and I'd have to hide the 50-foot cable. Cheap cable is out (that includes Monster, Belkin, and any brand that coats copper wire with silver or uses "PRO" in the model name); I've had too much bad experience with cheap cable. It defeats the purpose of buying decent equipment in the first place.

    But would the Hauppauge ignore copy-once? I'd have to look that up. Past experience with friends tells me the copy-once signal is on all outputs of Cablevision's HD box, including component. I realize it's not the box that imbeds that signal, it's done at some stage before it gets to me.

    Meanwhile...TCM does broadcast a low-bitrate version of just about everything. And the NTSC and PAL DVD's still look worse than the VHS. Resolution isn't everything. Graphics pros would say that it's not #1 on the priority list for overall PQ (and consumer LCD displays are proof of it).

    And meanwhile..yes, I could record the VHS thru the critter to h.264. But I could also afford an After Effects upscaling plugin (just barely).

    So, yes, in the long run I'd go for it. But I'm retired. I'd go to work, but commuting to a decent job between here and China or Pakistan would be a real hassle. I'm still waiting for all those American millionaires to get more tax breaks so they can create all those jobs they haven't been creating for the past few years with tax breaks they already have.
    Last edited by sanlyn; 14th Nov 2011 at 14:53.
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  4. Member
    Join Date: Sep 2011
    Location: NTSC
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    Oh, I understand the physical setup issue. I just moved my cable box to the computer room for the show I wanted. Of course that means people complain about not getting the HD channels. Of course if I wanted a more permanent arrangement, I can rent another HD box for a month, for $10.

    The copy-once your talking about is generated by the box; since it receives a digital signal, it has to generate the analog signal that indicates the copy-once. It could be CGMS that's doing it; macrovision might cause the DVD recorder to put up some such error screen as well, don't really know. Whenever I've seen Macrovision it's either the brightness going up and down slowly, or colored lines for 4 lines at a time. Both can be removed in Avisynth easily. Some cards will refuse to record at all if it detects Macrovision.

    And when I say you can record directly from the box, it's possible if it has firewire - in fact it's FCC required that this be possible.
    Read more here http://home.comcast.net/~exdeus/stbfirewire/

    As far as TCM looking bad; the SD channels are low-bitrate. I record from the HD version; even if it has to be through the s-video, because it will be less blocky (even if the same material is on both channels).
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  5. Banned
    Join Date: Oct 2004
    Location: New York, US
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    Meanwhile,. thanks to all who contributed (and beat me over the head), I just IVTC'd the titles, cleaned up the remaining booboo's, denoised and color corrected it, and got it into MPEG. So segment #1 of the new version of "LILI" is done. Only 150 or so more segments to go. But first--those other two projects I have to finish before Christmas.

    poisondeathray, I took your suggestion for antiflicker filters on the hue changes. Didn't work perfectly, and the end and start fade-in/out in black threw off DeFlicker a bit, so I spliced the cleaner parts into the titles with Avisynth dissolves. Hues still change, but not so much, and the filter spread out the duration of change so it's less obvious and more subtle. Thanks for the idea.
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  6. Banned
    Join Date: Oct 2004
    Location: New York, US
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    I understand what you say, jmac698. But the logistics and the $$$ aren't debatable. Start with a 22-foot wall unit that can't be moved, then add a wife and a small co-op apartment. With my part-time PC repair work, the money issue could be solved during the coming months (I don't spend my working wife's wife's income for this stuff. She works hard for it, and - besides - it's hers). It's inevitable I'll have to go into HD video work in a big way sooner or later (sooner is preferred), but it just has to wait for now.

    I don't know what Comcast policy is, but Cablevision is doing all it can to prevent consumers from copying anything, period. And the TV/component makers don't help.

    As for component TV: I wouldn't have to keep others from watching the big plasma or the LCD in HD. They're both fed thru a CE component distribution amplifier, and I have unused outputs available. The LCD TV is hooked to both the SD and HD boxes. If the HD box is recording one channel, people can watch something else thru the SD box and the SONY, which is fed by a DENON upscaling receiver (that Anchor Bay chip does a beautiful job, too. Viewers can't tell the difference).

    But all this is slowing me down.
    Last edited by sanlyn; 14th Nov 2011 at 15:26.
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  7. Member
    Join Date: Sep 2011
    Location: NTSC
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    No prob; I'll give up on the suggestions. We all gotta live with what we got for now
    How do your titles compare to this though?
    http://screenshotcomparison.com/comparison/94356
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  8. Originally Posted by sanlyn View Post
    Yes, I've seen that product earlier. Sounds like a good idea for future use. All I need is:

    - a good 256MB graphics card
    - a good BluRay player, and more good component cable for it (no HDMI, please).
    - 50 feet of good component video/audio cable (throw the OEM wire away)
    - or, 50 feet of good USB
    - a good BluRay burner
    - the Hauppauge
    - learn to work with h.264 & software
    - about $850, give or take a few bucks
    - the hope that copy-once is ignored
    - Hide the AMEX card bills from my wife. But, then, I can't hide it online at the AMEX site.
    All you really need is the HD PVR and few USB repeater cables. For a one time capture you could move the computer for few hours and you wouldn't even need the cables. You can capture from the USB port and write the data directly to a TS file with a minimal CPU and any GPU (the GPU isn't even involved). You can use an AviSynth script to open the video file and downscale for DVD.

    Yes, the HD PVR ignores CGMS-A and Macrovision.
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  9. Banned
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    Originally Posted by jagabo View Post
    All you really need is the HD PVR and few USB repeater cables. For a one time capture you could move the computer for few hours and you wouldn't even need the cables. You can capture from the USB port and write the data directly to a TS file with a minimal CPU and any GPU (the GPU isn't even involved). You can use an AviSynth script to open the video file and downscale for DVD.
    But I still need $$$ for the Hauppy. That copy of After Effects took almost 3 dozen PC repair jobs to pay for. No monee, no tickkee.

    Originally Posted by jagabo View Post
    Yes, the HD PVR ignores CGMS-A and Macrovision.
    Then it's in the bag, I'll be getting it sooner or later.
    Maybe the wife would accept a bare-bones PC ....? Little guy, it would fit on the 2nd shelf behind the doors. Just barely. I was looking at parts on newegg a few weeks ago.
    But I'd still need $$$ for the device.
    Why downscale? I could store the video on HDD until I scavenge the rest of the stuff. But that graphics card -- 125MB. Slow.
    It's an idea, anyway.
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  10. Banned
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    Originally Posted by jmac698 View Post
    No prob; I'll give up on the suggestions. We all gotta live with what we got for now
    How do your titles compare to this though?
    http://screenshotcomparison.com/comparison/94356
    Never fear. I'll get to HD, all right, and the Hauppy looked good when I first saw it. But gotta have a little more coin-of-the-realm, first.

    Patience, and I'll get up a title cap in a bit. Does that web page work? Cable-vs-VHS: if there are two pictures there, very little difference between them.
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  11. It doesn't take a powerful graphics card to play 1080i30 or 720p60 video. Every $35 card now has hardware h.264 decoding. All the current Desktop IGP units all have it too. Even without hardware h.264 decoding any dual core desktop CPU can handle them.
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  12. Member
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    Location: NTSC
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    Actually that's mislabelled, it's the same picture I'm just wondering if this version is any better than the ones you've seen on TV before, do you think it's the laserdisc version? Anyhow that's what seems to be on TCM these days.

    The point is, if that version is no better, there's no point is waiting until Feb. It doesn't have any color changes or spots in the titles though.
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  13. Banned
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    Originally Posted by jmac698 View Post
    No prob; I'll give up on the suggestions. We all gotta live with what we got for now
    How do your titles compare to this though?
    http://screenshotcomparison.com/comparison/94356
    The suggestion was OK, I just can't do anything about it in the really-right-now-immediate future. But the Hauppy seems like a good idea. Now for the title pic you mention on the 'net:

    Originally Posted by jmac698 View Post
    Actually that's mislabelled, it's the same picture I'm just wondering if this version is any better than the ones you've seen on TV before, do you think it's the laserdisc version? Anyhow that's what seems to be on TCM these days.

    The point is, if that version is no better, there's no point is waiting until Feb. It doesn't have any color changes or spots in the titles though.
    I have no frames from my VHS titles. The tape was damaged, the titles wouldn't play. I'd fast-forward the tape to a point just past the titles, then slo-mo back until I hit the point where titles faded to black. My captures started from that point. That's why I'm borrowing titles from a cable broadcast.

    The TCM cap on the 'net doesn't look like the LD version I saw 'way back when, or any other version I've seen, including my TCM recording in June 2010. Maybe that's from an early tape?

    internet image:
    Name:  cable titles.jpg
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    TCM titles I recorded off SD-digital cable June 2010:
    Name:  TCM Title.jpg
Views: 44
Size:  29.7 KB

    PBS title I'm working on, recorded directly off SD-digital cable line (not thru the box), Nov 2006:
    Name:  PBS_Title.jpg
Views: 39
Size:  37.6 KB

    Here's a scene comparison on near-end of LILI project I'm trying to finish now (only 4.5 minutes of video left to go). NOTE: none of these shots have had any color work or processing so far. Obviously the VHS version has some red chroma bleed requiring a bit of work (that's why we love Panasonic VCR's, right? The JVC was worse... :

    TCM broadcast:
    Name:  TCM-1-dance.jpg
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    PBS broadcast:
    Name:  PBS-1-dance.jpg
Views: 39
Size:  45.0 KB

    VHS capture:
    Name:  vhs-1-dance.jpg
Views: 43
Size:  41.0 KB

    But TCM, PBS, and my tape had the same spots:
    TCM:
    Name:  TCM_SpotR.jpg
Views: 235
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    Last edited by sanlyn; 14th Nov 2011 at 22:05. Reason: fix techy jargon typo.
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  14. Originally Posted by sanlyn View Post
    Why downscale?
    I thought you main interest was making a DVD.
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  15. Banned
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    Location: New York, US
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    I'll have an SD-DVD from the VHS (two versions, in fact). So why downscale an HD recording? The idea of the Hauppauge setup is to record off HD cable. And as I said earlier, this whole business about the Hauppy and cable TV is off-topic anyway. I started the thread to get some ideas on how to improve the VHS transfer (and got some good ones, too). I think at this point we should drop the subject of capturing HD to ready-made DVD and go back to fixing the VHS transfer.

    Ed: I got some good decisive info from the discussion, though.
    Last edited by sanlyn; 14th Nov 2011 at 22:00.
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  16. Member
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    Ok I have one more idea - I have a technique for improving the quality of low-bit rate digital captures, if you have several of them.
    To explain how is a bit technical, but some frames are less blocky than others. I can combine the less blocky frames of several recordings. It works, but in your case the sources would all have to be matched. Just a thought, probably doesn't matter now. I realize you have to move on to other projects.

    Interesting comparison.
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  17. Member 2Bdecided's Avatar
    Join Date: Nov 2007
    Location: United Kingdom
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    "Proper" films on DVD in NTSC land are 24p, with soft pulldown flags added to tell the player to pump it up to 60i. So the actual encoded video is progressive, and the player interlaces it (for an interlaced output, e.g. composite video), or repeats entire frames for 60p, or (rarely) outputs it as-is for 24p.

    There's very simple software available to do this. You encode to 24p, use DGpulldown, and as if by magic you have a DVD-ready 24p with pulldown flags video file that any DVD authoring software will accept.

    This is absolutely the way to go. The alternative is sending 60i video which happens to contain 24p content with pulldown (i.e. actual repeating fields) to an MPEG encoder. This gets encoded as interlaced, some fields get encoded twice - it's a huge quality hit. Only complete amateurs (and many TV stations!) do it like this. Quality hollywood DVDs don't use this method.


    It's also essential (IMO!) that you IVTC your 60i capture to 24p for processing. Most of the noise and spot removal tools expect to see individual film frames. You're feeding them video fields with pulldown. They're seeing repeating fields (i.e. seeing the same film frame twice or even three times), and they think "ah well, if this little 'fault' is on two separate frames of film, it can't be a 'fault', it must be real, so I won't remove it". So you're left with a huge manual clean-up job. Whereas if you give them individual film frames, they'll be able to deal with spots, scratches, hairs etc that only affect one frame.



    The only time this golden advice doesn't apply is when you don't have a recoverable 24p source. If it's been field blended, or scanned on an old telecine with badly aligned fields, or .... then other methods are needed. But I think what you have here is pretty standard stuff.

    Hope this helps.

    Cheers,
    David.
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  18. Banned
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    Originally Posted by 2Bdecided View Post
    "Proper" films on DVD in NTSC land are 24p, with soft pulldown flags added to tell the player to pump it up to 60i. So the actual encoded video is progressive, and the player interlaces it (for an interlaced output, e.g. composite video), or repeats entire frames for 60p, or (rarely) outputs it as-is for 24p.
    I wish that were always true, but often it isn't. You're right, that's the way its done if it's done "properly", as I've learned in this thread. I just find myself working with a lot of improper sources, and players that aren't very talented at doing the proper thing.

    I understand what you're saying, 2Bdecided. My impression of what TMPGenc Plus is doing is this: if you tell TMPGenc your input is non-interlaced progressive and you want 3:2 pulldown, it will interlace the results. If you say the input is already interlaced and you want 3:2 pulldown, it doesn't interlace - at least, it didn't perform a hard interlace on the ITVC'd clip in this case and didn't insert extra frames. I just had to spend a little time learning to jiggle the settings from the way I used to do it.

    I've already decided (no pun intended ) to make a new IVTC version of this video. I started that process on the new version. Next time I find myself working with a VHS or recording that has a structure like these, I'd IVTC first. As for making it purely progressive, I tried a quick clip yesterday with an older (2001) player, a cheap $30 Colby, and an old CRT TV. Playback had problems. The COBY froze up. Many of my acquaintances and family members still use equipment like that (and they won't change their minds about it), which is why I drove with some clips to my in-laws' house last nite to test.

    I have yet to transfer a VHS without having to cut it into dozens or hundreds of segments for color grading, noise problems, and frame damage. There's always lots of color grading and repair to be done on VHS, scene-by-scene (and often frame by frame); some if it's done in AviSynth, some in VirtualDub, some in TMPGenc's advanced color controls, and soon I'll be doing some in After Effects. Sometimes I'm running segments on 3 PC's at the same time. Sometimes denoisers and encoding have to be adjusted scene-by-scene. Clips are rendered to m2v/wav individually and joined later with an MPEG editor and often some audio re-processing. I know that many people take a VHS capture in one big chunk and send it thru a one-step utility. That's not the way I do it.
    Last edited by sanlyn; 30th Dec 2011 at 11:25.
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  19. Banned
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    Originally Posted by jmac698 View Post
    Ok I have one more idea - I have a technique for improving the quality of low-bit rate digital captures, if you have several of them.
    I have about 1500 of them. Good idea, too, but it has to wait. A new thread with your expertise on the subject should be most instructive (not kidding, either. I'd be a step-by-step participant).
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  20. Banned
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    OK, folks, you talked me into it. It better work with XP Pro. Have my sites sets here (maybe by April/May):
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/583569-REG/Hauppauge_1212_HD_PVR_USB_Video.html

    More research needed. Newegg has a 27% complaint rate on this critter. Admittedly, 1 reviewer at B&H complained it didn't have a hard drive. Holy smokes! Talk about not even reading the basic specs!

    Now, jeez, BACK TO WORK. I gotta finish version #1 by Dec. 15.
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  21. I use it with XP Pro SP3.
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  22. Banned
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    My wallet is doomed.

    What I really want it to record 30 Rock and Mentalist in 16:9. Can't do that since ye olde cable company made my Samsung HD tuner useless.

    Before last September, my HD tuner and RD-XS34 recorder gave me video that displayed like this on a 16:9 TV:

    Name:  wide.jpg
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    If I made that recording today, it would display like this:

    Name:  notwide.jpg
Views: 42
Size:  29.8 KB

    Phooey.
    Last edited by sanlyn; 15th Nov 2011 at 12:01.
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  23. Banned
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    Ok, so on this VHS restoration (remember that?): I have a number of scenes in the VHS and cable versions where color and luma values in the original YUY2 are banging against the right-hand side of histograms. I'm able to fiddle with ColorYUV luma OK and reign it in to 16-235, fixing some crushed blacks and fried highlights. But this does nothing for u and v colliding into the bright side of the histogram. Gain and offset just screw up everything across the board. Or does ColorYUV chroma contrast do something I'm not aware of?

    This sample has luma doing OK (the image is unaltered in other respects). I know, it has other problems I can fix later. Bright blue contrast is off the chart. I've always had problems controlling specific color ranges in YUV. With scenes like this, once I bring it into RGB or MPEG I lose bright detail in some colors.

    Name:  tooblue.jpg
Views: 37
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  24. You use off_u/v to set the white balance. Use cont_u/v to change the saturation.

    Use VideoScope("both", true, "U", "V", "UV") to see graphs of the U channel on the right, V below, and the UV vector graph at the bottom right:

    Click image for larger version

Name:	color.jpg
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ID:	9629

    Grayscale has U and V channels set to 128:

    Click image for larger version

Name:	grey.jpg
Views:	35
Size:	95.9 KB
ID:	9630

    Ie, the U and V channels are flat planes of 128.
    Last edited by jagabo; 15th Nov 2011 at 16:18.
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  25. Banned
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    OK, I'm keeping that offset and cont action in mind (thanks, best explanation of those two I've seen), and in AvspMod getting used to the vectorscope. I think the v-scope works better for this sort of balancing act than the histogram or others.

    Gettin' there, jagabo. This one's kinda fiddly, blue/green are spread from end to end, but it's coming along. I had my proc amp going during capture, but this shot sneaked up on me. The next scene doesn't have enough blue. I hate VHS.
    Last edited by sanlyn; 15th Nov 2011 at 17:20.
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  26. It also looks like the vscope graph of the V channel is tilted. The right side is drooping lower than the left side. A simple off_v won't fix that.
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  27. Banned
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    Mm, the only ColorYUV statement going when I made that cap was ColoYUV(off_y=4,cont_y=-10). I didn't even need the -10. Luma is well below 235 without it. I just read vectorscope's doc and searched a bit on doom9, but nothing told me what a slant or slope means. End-to-end I understand.

    I was getting odd results with "offset". I ended up playing with gain + contrast, and having to tweak a tiny bit with offset to stay above the dark end. I'm assuming the vertical tick marks in the sides of the V scale are . . . well, come to think of it, I don't really know what they are.
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  28. Member
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    Maybe use tint?
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  29. Banned
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    Tint, I think, goes back a bit. What I recall of that function, I'd have no idea how to adjust the settings. The only color that's actually wacky here is blue. I'm still fiddling, though The original blue started out at 255 (and probably "raw" values higher than that), but I have it down to 241 now. Lots of interruptions here at home tonight. ....Woops, there we go -- down to 237 max. Look at the white shirt in the image. Blue 237 is still some 20 points higher than green and red.

    There are other whites and some grays, all too blue but getting better. The street, I think. should be close to gray (that's a guess, but who ever heard of a blue street? The village is French, so you never know). But I'm getting closer. I'll keep at it. Back in a bit.
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  30. Banned
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    FInally got bright blue under control without totally wrecking the other colors. Thanks for the tips. offset worked OK at the dark end, but bright and midtone responded mostly to gain and contrast. Gotta go forage for food now. I'll tweak it in RGB.
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