I bought a cheap VHS-to-Digital capture device from Encore Electronics and got what I paid for: crappy results. Below is a video which highlights my main problem: wobbly/shuddering video, esp noticeable when there are on-screen graphics.
So, can anyone suggest a USB-based grabber which provides a stable picture? I've heard good things about Honestech 5.0, but was wondering if there was a less expensive (yet reliable) option out there. Thanks.
+ Reply to Thread
Results 1 to 22 of 22
Thread: Reliable USB capture devices?
You need a "line time base corrector" to get rid of that "jitter". Many S-VHS decks have a line TBC. Some DVD recorders have a line TBC that can be used in pass-through mode (ie, you don't have to record with the DVD recorder, just pass the video signal through it).
I doubt it. When I hook up the same VCR to a TV and play a tape, there's no on-screen jittering whatsoever. Only when I use the USB grabber do I see this anomaly.
So instead of expensive software like Honestech, I might be forced to buy an even more expensive VCR? Swell.
Or a separate TBC.
In the future, avoid the issue by recording the stable broadcast signal to a computer, not a mechanical VCR. Your cheap Encore Electronics device should do OK with that.
I don't use the VCR for recording. I'm just using it to transfer old VHS tapes to digital (mpeg format).
PS: the video you showed is worse than normal for non-TBC capture. The VCR probably needs general servicing (cleaning, guide alignment and lubrication).
Try a different VCR if you can.
I have an admittedly cruddy backup VCR and noticed the same "jittering" problem, hence my suspicion of the Encore grabber--the common thread. Either that or I have two flawed VCRs.
My little Hauppauge USB2 capture does pretty well even with a VHS tape from the 90's and a mediocre Panasonic VCR:
The new WinTV7 appears to be OK software but besides it not working with older Hauppauge cards...it also lacks the intricate encoding options of the old versions. Your encoding choices are "Good, Better Best".....no bitrate choices as far as I can see unless these options are really buried in there somewhere.
Right now I'm using Magix Movie Edit to capture MPEG2, and VirtualDub to capture (almost) lossless AVI(just experimenting really).....but at least the USB2 can do both....my old Hauppauge card can only do MPEG2.
Encore allows me to record in the following formats: avi, mpeg2, mpeg4, wmv, dvd, vcd, and hidvd. Are you saying that no such options exist with your unit? If so, that would be a problem.
Although the software that comes with it is not wonderful, the Hauppauge USB-Live2 is good capture hardware, based on the results I have seen others get with it, but I do not expect it to eliminate the problems I saw in your YouTube video.
hech54 video exhibits some chroma bleeding. That defect and some other color problems is due to the nature of VCRs and VHS, so don't blame the capture device if you see some. This page illustrates typical color problems seen with VHS captures http://www.doom9.org/index.html?/capture/chroma_artefacts.html
hech54 has been lucky if he used no equipment other than a PC, the Hauppauge USB-Live2 and a typical consumer VCR. I do think is very likely that both your VCRs need maintenance, as was suggested earlier in this thread. ...but the problem could also be related to the condition of the tape itself or the design of your VCRs.
This is what I'm using.
Panasonic NV-HD620(European version).
SCART OUT to cinch cable.
Try taking two captures (same VCR or different) and aligning them temporally:
If the wiggles and such appear in very different places or with vastly different magnitudes, even when you're comparing the same frames, then they're likely caused by your capture device or the playback of your VCR's.
The fact that your squigglies don't appear on your TV may be significant:
Are you using a tube TV or newer LCD/plasma model? The errors may be harder to see on tube TV's. Some newer TV's might incorporate time-base correction, but mine doesn't, and my TV shows whatever waviness is on my tapes. If you can't get the errors to show up on any TV (new or old), it really might be a problem with your capture device. In that case, it's worth trying a different one before blowing tons of money on other equipment.
Otherwise, it looks like you're dealing with time base errors that need to be solved by a "line TBC." What's going on is this: The recording VCR was supposed to record 29.97 FPS (or maybe 30000/1001 FPS?) with 525 lines (assuming NTSC), and it was supposed to time each line exactly. However, the moving parts involved (among other things) made the actual timing of the recorded signal inexact. To compensate, the VCR embedded vertical and horizontal sync information indicating where each frame and line within ACTUALLY begins. When a VCR plays it back, the mechanics alter the timing of each frame and individual line again. Your capture card is fed one line at a time in a constant stream by the analog signal, but the timing of the lines can be messed up.
The embedded sync information says where each frame and line actually begins, so it can be used to realign each frame and line, and this process is called "time base correction." Unfortunately, most capture devices don't actually use this information, and they just digitize the signal in a naive clockwork fashion. Personally, I think the manufacturers were out of their freaking minds when they omitted such an important correction, but only the most expensive capture cards provide limited TBC functionality.
Instead, you need to fix the errors earlier: Full frame external TBC's like the AVT-8710 and TBC-1000 are meant to sync frames and provide a steady signal with perfect timing to your capture card...but they REALLY skimp on the horizontal correction, and they generally rewrite the sync information in a "perfectly timed" location in the signal without actually moving the rest of the corresponding line as much as they should (http://forum.videohelp.com/threads/195954-Problem-With-DataVideo-TBC-1000).
Therefore, you only have a few options for fixing the squigglies:
- Certain high-end S-VHS and D-VHS VCR's have fantastic line or field TBC's built in. The Panasonic AG-1980/AG-5710 and many JVC S-VHS units falls into this category, but they're hard to find in good condition and have their own issues, and shady JVC's S-VHS can be hazardous to your tapes. The Mitsubishi HS-HD2000U and JVC D-VHS units are newer and reportedly avoid most of the problems the vintage units have.
- Certain DVD recorders have very good line TBC's (and more) built in. The most popular units are the Panasonic ES-10/ES-15 and Toshiba DR and RD-XS series. According to some pictures and videos sanlyn posted, the Toshibas are a bit better. Neither are quite as effective as the VCR's I mentioned though (especially the AG1980), and from the looks of your clip you might need something stronger for full correction. I personally own a Toshiba RD-XS34 and a Philips DVDR3475 (from the DVDR3475/DVDR3575/DVDR3576 series). The Philips is better at correcting time base errors (flawless in my experience, and at least as good as the AG1980), but it has a nasty AGC problem, so you can only effectively use it if you buy a proc amp too and reduce the contrast before the signal reaches the Philips unit. There may be other "hidden gems" among DVD recorder units too, but that's a game of trial and error.
- Certain DV camcorders have very strong line TBC's built in, so they're another option (http://forum.videohelp.com/threads/271552-Digital-camcorders-that-have-analog-pass-thru-TBC). They can be expensive and hard to find though, and certain ones may have other issues including AGC blowouts...or hypothetically, dropped frames leading to A/V sync loss. I haven't read anything specific about particular units, just FUD, but you never know. You also may or may not like the DV compression they use upon capture.
Last edited by Mini-Me; 9th Mar 2012 at 12:36.
Analog CRT TV sets have fast follow line by line sync that tracks the timebase errors. Capture devices have a slower sync lock so the waviness (line to line offsets) gets sampled in against a stable clock. In other words, it gets cooked into the capture.
Digital TV sets are much like capture devices so the waviness gets displayed at 480/576 lines. LCD and plasma sets upscale SD to HS screen resolution so the jitter gets averaged into a blur when upscaled H and V.
I think you may be getting over technical with this problem. It could simply be that you are leaving some of the capture leads too near to other power leads, power supplys. Try making sure the leads are as short as possible, capture in s-video if possible and route the leads away from all other equipment. Maybe use different USB ports. I get reasonable results with a Kworld Usbgrabber and Pinnacle producer 8 capturing in SD/s-video/mpeg2/1844Mb/Hr. Pinnacle maxed out on quality settings.
Still SD .. in 2012 igh:Corned beef is now made to a higher standard than at any time in history.
The electronic components of the power part adopted a lot of Rubycons.
I've tried multiple USB ports, but to no avail. When I read the reviews of Encore at Newegg and the like, no one mentions having a "picture shuttering" problem like mine, so maybe it's the VCR after all. There are times, however, when it works perfectly:
But 95% of the time I get results like this, usually in the middle to upper portion of the screen.
Last edited by slats7; 11th Mar 2012 at 17:48.
You should post your original caps here. Youtube re-encodes everything so it can be difficult to separate what's caused by Youtube and what's wrong in the original video. The closer your videos are to what you captured the easier it is to see what's wrong.
The jitter in your first video was worse than usual but otherwise your problem looks like typical time base errors. Adjusting the tracking on the VCR might help a little. A different VCR or capture card might work a little better. But the real solution is a time base corrector.
I guess the cheapest strategy is to find another VCR and go from there.