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  1. Originally Posted by videeo View Post
    So... When I setup the ES20 for pass-through are there any settings I should look out for? I haven't used a DVD recorder before...

    I'll be connecting via composite output on the VCR to the ES20 (rear input). Then s-video output on the ES20 to the capture card.

    Anything I should look out for on the capture card settings (Diamond ATI 750 HD USB)?
    Assuming you're using Virtualdub, the most important setting to look out for is probably this:
    After going to File->Capture, go to the Audio menu (I think) and disable audio playback during capture. Back when I used my TV Wonder 650, I got massive frame drops until I did that, even on a fast computer. Disabling audio playback is annoying, but it won't affect audio capture. (I'd be more precise about the name of the setting to disable, but I'm away from my capture computer at the moment.) My current All-in-Wonder setup doesn't have any problem with audio playback, but that's because audio is captured through my sound card.

    If you ever get any dropped or duplicate frames (Virtualdub keeps track of how many are lost or inserted on the PC side of the equation), try the following settings: http://forum.videohelp.com/threads/343892-Audio-Video-sync-offset-when-transferring-ta...=1#post2143847

    Also, go to Video->Capture Pin (I think) to make sure you capture at the resolution and colorspace you want (probably 720x480, YUY2). You can set the software proc amp from here (more on that in a second). I forget exactly where to go to set the input, but make sure you select the correct one (S-Video vs. composite). Go to Video->Compression (I think) to pick the codec Virtualdub will encode your captured stream with. I use ffdshow's Huffyuv in YUY2 mode (you may have to download and install ffdshow-tryouts).

    As far as the software proc amp is concerned, it's pretty handy. (It's also high-quality: It either uses great dithering or takes effect before quantization to 8 bit channel depth, because I never see any image or histogram degradation from it.) Hopefully your TV Wonder 750 will have a working Video->Levels dialog box so you can make adjustments while previewing your video input...if not, you'll have to set the proc amp non-interactively from Video->Capture Pin (I think). It's more of a hassle, but you have the same controls at your disposal.

    To set your software proc amp, you may find it helpful to hit Video->Histogram and watch the histogram at the bottom. The red part on the left side shows the black that's pushed below the visible level (luma 16 = RGB {0, 0, 0} for typical playback), but it's not lost forever even after you capture it unless it's totally cut off on the left. The red part on the right side shows the white that's pushed above the visible level (luma 235 = RGB {255, 255, 255} for typical playback). Technically speaking, your VCR will likely clip whites to some degree, and the TV Wonder's AGC will do the same...but as long as you don't let anything get cut off, you won't clip any more.

    Brightness is an additive control, and it affects both ends of the spectrum equally. Set brightness first (then tweak afterwards once you have good ballpark brightness/contrast levels). You don't want a whole lot of red showing, but black levels can be tricky to set, because the head switching noise at the bottom of the picture is very black, often much darker than the darkest black in your actual video. If there's a hump on the left followed by a dip, followed by a rise that leads into the rest of the histogram, I'd probably start the blue part of the histogram at the beginning of the rise and keep the leftmost hump and dip in the red. If you have the brightness so high that the head-switching noise is "in the blue," you'll end up with a washed out picture without any true black in the actual video content.

    If you have trouble finding the right black point and you're afraid of black crush, try going to Video->Cropping and temporarily cropping out the head-switching noise and borders. This will give you a clearer idea of what the histogram looks like for the real picture. Just make sure to uncrop afterwards unless you want to capture with strange frame dimensions! I've forgotten before, and it cost me a few hours of redos.

    Contrast is a multiplicative control. Adjust contrast so that no white value ever goes into the red range...or at least not by much. You'll want to avoid blowing out your whites any more. (That said, there might be superwhites in your head noise too; if so, you'll hopefully be able to differentiate them from the actual signal. This may be worse if you increase the proc amp's sharpness.) After you change the contrast, you may have to tweak brightness again to bring the black point back where it was...then tweak contrast again, etc. The adjustment should get smaller and smaller each time though until you arrive at the settings you're looking for.

    When you set your proc amp settings, make sure to use a tape that has lots of dark and bright scenes, so you get a good idea for the full range of video signal coming from your equipment. Keep in mind that the optimal settings will likely differ if you switch VCR's or introduce any new equipment to your chain (different TBC, etc.). Moreover, consumer camcorders tended to be terrible about following standards, so if you capture home movies from different camcorders, so you may have to switch up your settings when you put in a movie made by a camcorder different from the last one. All that said, the AGC in your TV Wonder should keep these adjustments smaller than they might be for me (AGC meddling occurs before the signal ever reaches the software proc amp).

    Once you're ready to capture, go to File, then um...Set Capture Name maybe? I forget the exact name, but anyway, this lets you say where you want to save your capture and under what file name. Then hit Capture->Start Capture (or something similar), and your computer will go to work capturing the input, encoding it, and saving it to your drive. You can manually stop it at any time with the same Capture menu, and you can set a timer in the Capture->Stop Conditions (or is it Tools->Stop Conditions?) dialog box.

    Quick tip: Once you're done with your settings, exit out of capture mode and exit out of Virtualdub, then restart Virtualdub. That way, you can be sure your settings will stick. It's annoying messing with tons of options only for Virtualdub to crash without ever saving your settings.
    Last edited by Mini-Me; 4th Apr 2012 at 12:24.
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  2. Originally Posted by videeo View Post
    So... When I setup the ES20 for pass-through are there any settings I should look out for? I haven't used a DVD recorder before...
    Disable the noise reduction filter in the DVD recorder. It causes ghosting. At least the one in my ES15 does.
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    Thanks, that's a great tutorial on setting the levels Mini-Me. Yes, I'll be using VirtualDub for capturing.

    On the ES20, do I just power it up and just pass-through the signal, or do I need to be in a certain mode to ensure that the TBC is on?
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    Last edited by sanlyn; 21st Mar 2014 at 19:31.
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    Not sure about the ES10 or ES20, however on the Panasonic DVD recorder that I have the S-Video outputs have two controls for the Black Levels. It depends on the video which settings looks best. It is Light or Dark. If I want the middle level you have to record to that DVD recorder. (Not sure about the ES20 unit) Never record in 2 hour mode. Either XP mode or FR mode, more than likely this unit will only be used as a passthrough.

    You can also play with aspect ratios 4:3 and 16:9

    The DNR feature on these recorders are not the best, just turn it off.

    1st thing you want to make sure is that you get a good signal via the s-video cables. You just need to check the picture when it is being played on the TV.

    Again PLEASE CHECK YOUR PICTURE WITH YOUR S-VIDEO connections make sure you are getting a good clean signal. Bad Cables may = Inference.

    Sound wires, again make sure they are good, they don't have to be gold plated, your free cables you get from comcast may not be the best.

    You are running wires through 3 or 4 different units....
    Sometimes you miss a connection so make sure both channels of the audio are working.


    VCR to ES20 to PC

    If you use an external TBC in the mix.

    NOTE:
    if you only send a video signal to the external TBC.

    (Very good chance it will un-sync the audio by a few frames, you need to check this and make sure it is in sync)

    The good news is the problem is normally a set amount of frames....Lets say it is 7 frames out of sync...Than you just move the audio by that amount.

    For me it is easy to sync the audio, however for the avg user it may be a very hard to re-set, figure out the sync point or impossible to detect.

    If the video is totally messed up with the audio sync

    (for example)

    At the start it is off by zero frames and at the end of the video it is off by 1 minute. You have a problem and need to re-do the video and figure out were it got messed up.


    I have never used the ES10 or ES20, but I got my Panasonic DVD recorder back in 2007. On a few tapes I was having tracking problems at the bottom of the screen. Than by mistake I was using the unit to record something else, than played back a tape with bottom picture tracking problems. On the playback the screen was cropped different and the picture was perfect, no tracking issues. Plus the unit has a Digital Tuner and I always like the sharp picture of that PANASONIC DVD RECORDER.

    I still use that recorder a lot for recording DIGITAL TV.

    FINAL NOTE:
    The picture tearing at the top of the screen, I have only seen JVC decks have this problem, my PANASONIC VCR's, it has never happened....

    QUESTION:
    How is the picture on the SR-W5U/SR-W7U units?
    How do VHS tapes look?
    How does the higher end stuff play back?
    Do the videos have normal VHS errors? Or do they play back like DVD's?
    Last edited by Deter; 5th Apr 2012 at 21:51.
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    ES20 arrived. Here is a raw capture (DNR off) from the park bench scene posted earlier. The signal is a lot more stable, and the left border is pretty much a straight line, the right border is better, but not completely straight. I tested out the DNR, and it wasn't that great as noted earlier for this source. I am much happier with the capture, there is some annoying combing in some areas when the clips I tested are IVTC'ed. I'm thinking there still must be some alignment issues with lines within the frames causing it. Could a better VCR or source help? What do you guys think?


    test-19-es20-snippet.avi
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  8. VInverse() is good at getting rid of residual combing artifacts after IVTC.
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  9. Originally Posted by videeo View Post
    I'm thinking there still must be some alignment issues with lines within the frames causing it. Could a better VCR or source help? What do you guys think?
    I see that crap a lot as well. For some reason the fields aren't always aligned properly within the frames. It's nothing to do with TBCs, or with VCRs, I don't think, as I've seen it on three of them and two of the VCRs are outstanding. If it's bad I use QTGMC, select the better of the two fields/frames in a pair, and then decimate if needed. If that residual combing isn't bad then I use the same as jagabo recommended, vinverse.
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  10. It's caused by horizontal sync time base errors. Remember fields are recorded sequentially on VHS tape. So the two fields that comprise the frame have different horizontal jitter. Hence the residual comb artifacts, even if the IVTC is perfect.
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  11. Originally Posted by jagabo View Post
    It's caused by horizontal sync time base errors.
    Then a TBC should correct it, shouldn't it? I'm running two, both a line TBC in the VCR as well as an external frame TBC. If I'm reading what you're saying about the cause correctly, the line TBC in this Panasonic VCR should fix it. But it doesn't. It fixes a lot, so it's not as if it's broken or of poor quality or anything like that. I don't think.

    And if you're also saying a VHS tape stores fields rather than frames, then thanks because I didn't know that.
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  12. Originally Posted by manono View Post
    Originally Posted by jagabo View Post
    It's caused by horizontal sync time base errors.
    Then a TBC should correct it, shouldn't it?
    TBCs aren't perfect. There's still a little jitter left, even in the best of circumstances. With second or third generation tapes they may do little. If the jitter is embedded into the signal they can do nothing.

    Originally Posted by manono View Post
    And if you're also saying a VHS tape stores fields rather than frames, then thanks because I didn't know that.
    All interlaced analog video (ie, all standard definition video) is transmitted as a continuous, linear, one dimensional signal; one scanline at a time, one field at a time. It travels over composite or s-video cable as scanlines and fields.

    http://zone.ni.com/devzone/cda/tut/p/id/3020
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    VHS is a linear analog recording of that analog signal onto tape. On playback the player just reads that signal off the tape and sends it down the cable. The TV scans that signal onto the two dimensional screen as scanlines and fields, making a picture. A capture device captures two successive fields and weaves them into frames.

    When a VHS tape is recorded and played back the speed of the rotating drum that reads the signal varies a little bit. This causes the duration (position and length as seen on the screen) of each scanline to vary:

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    A line TBC works by digitizing the sync pulses as well as the picture information between them. It then measures the distance between successive sync pulses and stretches or shrinks the entire line to match the standard.
    Last edited by jagabo; 7th Apr 2012 at 06:55.
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    The picture looked ok to me, it had a slight flicker (which could be caused by a poor or lose cable)

    Don't have the codex for this type of AVI file, played it in Virtual Dub.

    Please understand when you play VHS recordings on a TV, you don't see the excess scan lines.

    It looked pretty normal.

    You normally have scans lines at the bottom of the picture, and the edges are usually never perfect, even on digital stuff. Most of the time it makes no difference.

    However if you want to watch it on your PC and never be bothered by the scan lines, than just add boarders like so. Personally I don't do this cause the playback is for the TV and you always lose 5 to 10% of the picture, depending.




    Attachment 11857
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    Originally Posted by Deter View Post
    Please understand when you play VHS recordings on a TV, you don't see the excess scan lines.

    You normally have scans lines at the bottom of the picture, and the edges are usually never perfect, even on digital stuff. Most of the time it makes no difference.

    However if you want to watch it on your PC and never be bothered by the scan lines, than just add boarders like so. Personally I don't do this cause the playback is for the TV and you always lose 5 to 10% of the picture, depending.
    The sides will still be visible since black bars are on the sides of the frames. The uneven border will show, at least on my TV when I playback MPEG2. I mentioned the left and right sides since I take it as an indicator of how well the line TBC is able to get the lines to the theoretical width along the whole frame.

    So I was able to borrow a nice JVC unit with TBC. It's a nice unit with low mileage. It seems like it is more capable than the ES20. I have not tried the ES20 in series with the JVC unit yet (I only have 1 s-video cable), it might be too much processing...

    I did some color filtering (along with noise filtering) with MSU Color Enhancement with it set to darken highs and brighten lows a little. I also turned on color enhancement to the first level and activated auto levels. If I look at what it does on a frame-level basis, I think it does an OK job especially considering it is more automated. However, when I play back the clip, I notice that there is a temporal aspect to it, where it takes a frame to adjust to a scene change. It also looks like its doing some other fluctuations with levels as well. I was wondering is there another tool (VirtualDub or AviSynth) that can provide an adaptive technique of color enhancement and levels, while also being clever in detecting scene changes, but remaining stable? I have attached a clip below. It was captured in AUTO mode, would it be better to capture in EDIT (it seems a bit more noisy)?
    Attached Files
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    Originally Posted by sanlyn View Post
    What is the "theoretical width"?
    Who knows, but if all the lines are all the same, then I should end up with straight sides on the frames.

    Originally Posted by sanlyn View Post
    With two line tbc's in tandem, the second tbc will see few, if any, line errors. But the ES20 will add its own processing to the image and might help correct some audio sync timing if the VCR gives you a problem there.
    I did another test with both in tandem and the JVC in EDIT mode. It is attached.

    Originally Posted by sanlyn View Post
    It didn't look OK to me.
    You're right, I tested it on my TV and it didn't look good. At this point I don't really trust my eyes since I keep trying to correct colors and then when I check on my TV, it looks bad. I guess I need help here. I think overall if I can clean up a little noise and fix the levels and color, it should look good.

    Originally Posted by sanlyn View Post
    Many people prefer the characteristic "look" you get with this combination of player and filters. The advantage to processing your own video is that you get to do what you want with it.
    If I can do it better than automated tools...
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    Last edited by videeo; 10th Apr 2012 at 21:06.
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    I found my laptop can output s-video, so I am now able to get real-time feedback on the changes I am making to color.

    It seems when I recompress using Lagarith, the color somewhat gets faded, is there a way to fix it?
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    Thanks sanlyn...

    Originally Posted by sanlyn View Post
    Use YUY2 for analog capture, not YV12. I know you're going to YV12 for processing anyway (some plugins work in YUY2), but YUY2 captures more video info. Open the clip in VirtualDub and move one frame at a time, you'll see what I mean. Then use SeparateFields() and you'll see some bad stuff.
    I think I did use YUY2 with the HuffyUV codec. This clip I probably saved with Lagarith, which is the default codec I am using after cutting clips to post or after doing some processing. The color issue I mentioned earlier with Lagarith is bothering me, if I save in HuffyUV, it does not have the faded output as compared to the output preview in VirtuaDub before re-compressing. In Lagarith I am saving as YV12.

    Originally Posted by sanlyn View Post
    test-32-jvc-edit-es20-snippet.avi has serious problems (field parity, among other things) and does not IVTC properly. Some bad color, especially at scene changes. The video looks soft and over-processed (thanks to JVC, mostly). There is no reason to use two tbc's and it's causing problems.
    Here is the script I just used to check out what you are talking about:

    Code:
    #- ----------------------------------------------
    #   Source is progressive hard-telecined 3:2 YV12
    #- ----------------------------------------------
    
    AviSource("G:\VIDEO\test-32-jvc-edit-es20-snippet.avi")
    
    #- -------------------------------------------------------
    #   Inverse telecine/decimate. Result is progressive video
    #-  in its original state as 23.97 fps movie film
    #- -------------------------------------------------------
    AssumeTFF().TFM()
    TDecimate()
    
    #- -------------------------------------------------------
    #   RGB conversion for VirtualDub. Omit if not wanted
    #-  and then save as YV12.
    #- -------------------------------------------------------
    
    ConvertToRGB24(matrix="Rec601",interlaced=true)
    I see what you mean, could it have been caused because I happened to cut this clip in a bad spot? I didn't think that was possible if I was working with a lossless file, but maybe the IVTC routine got tripped-up this time.

    I'll post another clip with all the JVC stuff disabled (if possible).
    Last edited by videeo; 11th Apr 2012 at 13:50.
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    Here's another "raw" snippet from the JVC in EDIT mode. I am now noticing the levels "pumping" on scene changes, but it might be from the capture card since I saw some commentary about it here in the forums. It could be from the JVC though since I haven't noticed it being this intense before.
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    Last edited by videeo; 11th Apr 2012 at 21:46.
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    Here is an mpeg of the tandem setup that is IVTC'ed and has some noise and color filtering. One thing I noticed is the file played over s-video through my laptop looks different than when I play the same file through my PS3. I think I'm slowly going insane...

    At this point I'm thinking I should figure out what setup I should use to get the best capture. I think I would rather trade less noise / stability with as little detail lost as possible over color issues, since those seem to be easier to fix in the long run. So I'm thinking it is either between tandem with JVC in EDIT or the JVC in EDIT on its own.
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    For fun I tried the DVD burning capability of the ES20 to see how it looked, and it wasn't too bad. Since the tape is 50min long, I could burn it in XP mode. I viewed the DVD on my Macbook and noticed the color looked warmer than on my Thinkpad, so that machine is definitely not the one to use for final mastering. I burned it with th JVC in EDIT mode, but if I do it again, I would try AUTO mode.
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    sanlyn, did you see the mpeg that I posted? Are there still field parity issues? I'm thinking maybe where I cut the clip tripped-up the IVTC because I didn't see it happen when I processed the full capture (as posted).
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