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  1. Member VideoTechMan's Avatar
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    Okay I ran into a roadblock somewhat...I have been searching on the topic for awhile on capturing/transferring but I need a little help in this area in regards to what device is best.

    For S/VHS, would it be better to capture the video through a different capture device rather than going to the DV conversion route to the PC? I don't plan to put anything onto DVD right now, just to capture the raw video to the PC, post TBC for processing later in NLE software.

    DV is obviously simple and just transferring the data as DV-AVI. Hi8 and D8 tape transfers can be done via the camcorders.

    But for VHS capture, what is the best codec to capture to? I read that HuffyYUV was pretty good to do this with, and should S/VHS material be captured as lossless? As for resolution, would it be best to capture as 720x480 or 640x480?

    In addition, if VHS has to be captured separately without the AD conversion via Firewire, what would be the ideal capture card to use in this case? It would be simpler in a way to run the S/VHS video signals to the DV2000 deck and from there it will run to the PC, but obviously will be in DV-AVI format. I used to use Scenalyzer to do the DV transfers and worked well.

    Looks like it will be in my best interest to get a TBC to get the cleanest signal as possible so may check into the AVT-8710 I read about. Funny, I still have the Sima 'video enhancer' device that did well for defeating the Macrovision tapes but of course is no TBC.
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  3. Member VideoTechMan's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by sanlyn View Post
    Originally Posted by VideoTechMan View Post
    Looks like it will be in my best interest to get a TBC to get the cleanest signal as possible so may check into the AVT-8710 I read about.
    A frame-level TBC like the AVT-8710 or TBC-1000 doesn't "clean" analog sources. They are used principally to correct frame timing and a/v sync problems. Analog tape would benefit more from a line-level TBC or a line-tbc pass-thru device. Some pass-thru devices also help cut many forms of copy protection.
    Yeah, that's why its been said to use both a line and full-frame TBC....getting one of the JVC machines with line-based TBC, and then the TBC-1000 for the full-frame.
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  5. Member VideoTechMan's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by sanlyn View Post
    You have mentioned 4 tape sources: VHS, SVHS, Hi8 and D8. Most would advise capturing those sources to lossless YUY2 AVI to retain the most in color information for archiving. If you're playing with a camcorder, many of these have a line tbc, many don't.

    A JVC player of the type you mention coupled with a TBC-1000 will result in a soft image with much missing in terms of fine detail. But many JVC users prefer the "look' you get with that gear. If your sources are not commercially produced retail tapes, adding a full-frame TBC is a waste unless the tapes are seriously damaged. Even then, you'd get more from a line tbc than from the AVT-8710 or TBC-1000. I would recommend a Toshiba or Panasonic DVD recorder of 2002-2005 vintage as a pass-thru line tbc device; these are more flexible and more advanced than worn-out and relatively primitive tbc players from early VCR's.

    I spent the most portion of last night reading on capturing and what the best methods were to achieve this. Now I do have two D8 camcorders, which do have line TBC and DNR, but those only work when playing back a Hi8 or D8 tape in the camera...no effect on the passthrough.

    The Panny ES10 I have read was one of the best DVD recorders to use for transfers, but would still need to pass the data to the PC. I do have some old tapes (some dating to the late 70's) and in decent condition.

    The ATI 600 USB I have read was one of the most recommended devices to use to capture analog sources since you can capture lossless with it, and the fact that its best to do it on an XP machine, as compared to Win7.

    I'll continue to research further to see what the best route to take.
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  7. Member 2Bdecided's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by sanlyn View Post
    You have mentioned 4 tape sources: VHS, SVHS, Hi8 and D8. Most would advise capturing those sources to lossless YUY2 AVI
    No one in their right mind would suggest capturing D8 to anything other than DV-AVI, because that's what the data is!

    As for the other formats - if you want to capture them to digital and sit on the files for years, the "best" choice is lossless - if you have the storage space available to keep all the captures and a backup of them during that time, and can capture to lossless without problems. This assumes your next step will (eventually) be restoration and editing.

    Some rare problems are best solved by capturing the same tape (losslessly) multiple times.

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    Originally Posted by sanlyn View Post
    DV_AVI = YV12 (4:2:0). YUY2 is 4:2:2. I'd rather archive with more color info, even if all those media are originally stored as YV12. Most people I talk to would archive as YUY2 or even RGB. Matter of choice. Don't get so upset.
    It's not just a matter of choice. To "capture" in YUY2/RGB, etc from a DV/D8 source, one has to go CameraAnalog out->CapcardAnalogIn->A/Dconverter->Encode2File. This is a MUCH more lossy, ruinous process than just storing the direct YV12 bits from the DV transfer. Direct transfer preserves as much color/resolution as is possible just as it is.

    I can't believe you'd even suggest that to someone!

    Sure, you can always Up-convert YV12 to YUY2 after capture, if you want to waste the space (because don't kid yourself, you are NOT generating any NEW information by storing it in a LARGER format). That's like telling people to take simple SD captures and, without any enhancement processing, storing them at HD resolution because now it's "HD"!

    Yes, it makes MUCH sense to raise the quality of YV12 to YUY2 if you are just about to do something like complex editing or compositing or when saving an edited master, but otherwise you are wasting your time and your disk space.

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  11. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by sanlyn View Post

    The title of the thread has to do with VHS capture. If I had DV, I'd likely stay with DV all the way, as you suggest, especially using the playback setup you describe. I wouldn't capture/encode DV the way you suggest, unless the source just didn't mean that much and didn't require repair or enhancement. Space is irrelevant to me when it comes to PQ: no one keeps all the intermediate cleanup steps anyway. Some don't even clean up, period.

    Tape is tape, whether it's VHS or DV. Some people don't see tape noise or damage, some people actually enjoy watching it on their HDTV. It depends on how you work and how much the source means to you. I have a niece whose college graduation was recorded on DV by a "pro" who was paid good money in 2002 to produce visual crap and bad audio. The tape has been played so many times it looks like VHS on a cheap VCR at 6-hour speed on budget Radio Shack tape. Her dad paid $500 to have the same analog crap transferred directly to digital DVD crap. I worked on that original DV on and off for 3 years, first in YUY2, then in YV12, then in RGB. Despite all the conversion "damage" you mention, that ceremony looks more like clean DV today than it did when new, and people at the big dinner don't turn green and blue. I shoulda charged her dad the same 5 c-notes plus a second mortgage for that, but I got paid in the time it took as a learning experience. People have been capturing DV and everything else analog from webcams and VCR's, to YUY2 for years; as far as I can see, the improvements outweigh the cost of those conversions if you do it right and take your time. Everyone doesn't do everything that way (who has the time or inclination for all that?). There's the quick and easy that most people use for most sources, and I've been known to record beat-up old VHS directly to DVD (OMG!). 90 minutes, and its done. But there are those few sources where it just eats away at you every time you see it because it isn't what you think it should be. That's the stuff and the methods I'm talking about. If the O.P. thinks the shorter and/or more direct way is suitable, that choice is always available; and there's nothing wrong with doing it the way you want it done.
    Skipping VHS capture for the moment, I don't get what you are saying about DV format (MiniDV, Digital8, etc). Or do you mean something else when you say DV?

    DV camcorder capture over IEEE-1394 can be done live or off tape with no loss. Any extreme noise from tape would show as pixelation, not noise in the picture. The camera section can and does produce noise but this has nothing to do with the DV YV12 format. I think I'm safe in saying there is no advantage to analog capture to YUV2 from a DV camcorder especially given the poor analog output performance from typical Sony DV cams.

    As for audio, the the DV format supports stereo 16bit 48Kbps PCM (max DVD quality) or 4 channel 12bit 32Kbps PCM. Unfortunately 16 bit is usually a user selection. Either produces good audio. The camera mic may be crap.

    My point is the DV recording and IEEE-1394 transfer to a file is effectively a lossless path. Analog capture should be avoided.
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    DV-AVI is a compressed format (lossy), so I wouldn't have a problem capturing in YUY2 to where I can preserve as much of the color detail as possible. Either way, capturing losslessly would make it easier to edit in the NLE's later on once I get to work on the video.

    I managed to grab an ATI 600 USB on Amazon so once I have that I may run some tests with it using VirtualDub with the Huffyuv codec and see how well it turns out.
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  14. Member VideoTechMan's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by sanlyn View Post
    I hear the 600 is OK stuff. I'm still back in 2004 myself, with old All In Wonders. They won't last forever, though, and I already had one mishap with an AVG-equipped motherboard and some local wind damage on the power lines. So I'm now on my remaining spare mobo (thank heaven the AIW is still intact!). Some people go YV12 all the way, others try to keep all the info they can in capture. You pay your money, you make your choices. If I'm going to have to do major color correction in RGB, I cap with YUY2. Eventually the captures I want to keep forever in their original form get saved as uncompressed YUY2. And, yes, it takes a lot of double-sided DVD discs to save all that for extra backup. It depends on how much you value those choice originals you end up keeping.

    I find editing in NLE's to be terrifically annoying, but people like 'em. Avisynth and VirtualDub are more comprehensive for noise and other cleanup. Ever try to repair bad or missing frames, projector hop, motion artifacts, ringing, chroma bleed, rips, comets, spots, aliasing, banding, VHS tape noise, etc., in an NLE? Some people do (OMG, how can they stand it?!). That's why many go to AVI to work those problems out in Avisynth or VirtualDub. DV sources won't have all those problems, but some do. VHS is a horror no matter how you look at it. I'm learning to do color work and some VHS repairs now in a non-NLE (After Effects Pro. It's a pip). Broken, damaged sources don't fare so well in an NLE like Premiere or Vegas, though each has their advantages for assembling a video.
    This. I want to learn color correction myself, as I feel its a critical skill to learn when doing video on the professional level. So for that to work, I wouldn't have a problem capturing these sources in uncompressed AVI to get the job done right. Aiming to be a professional video editor, I need to learn the process so that I can do the job as best as I can.

    Hard drives are cheap nowadays, even post-flood pricing. For DV sources, for the stuff that matters to me, I most likely would capture it as uncompressed and do whatever work was needed to the file. Though DV is already compressed when its recorded I am not certain if the PQ would be any different when capturing as AVI.

    But since the focus is on VHS, for those most likely I will capture all of those uncompressed since there will be work needed to be done on them. Plus, it will give me the chance to learn new editing and processing skills in what it means to do color correction, fixing bad frames and other issues...
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  15. Member 2Bdecided's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by VideoTechMan View Post
    For DV sources, for the stuff that matters to me, I most likely would capture it as uncompressed and do whatever work was needed to the file. Though DV is already compressed when its recorded I am not certain if the PQ would be any different when capturing as AVI.
    Just stop right there. This is insane. What sanlyn is saying is insane.

    For DV sources (and Digital8 is DV data) you capture to DV AVI. That is a lossless capture of what is on the tape (unless the tape transport is broken!). You can do no better.

    Capturing to uncompressed / decompressed>lossless is worse*. Not only are you creating much larger files for zero benefit, but you're using some specific DV decoder to create them. Did you check which one? Did you verify the colour matrix, colour subsampling, and levels? Most DV decoders have bugs. You should use Cedocida when you need to decode DV to work with it. But don't decode when capturing. It's insane. It's pointless. It's stupid. Can I make this any clearer?

    (* - this is assuming you capture viIEE1394/Firewire. If you capture DV via composite to a lossless file, this is just an abomination.)

    The next stage, after capturing DV-AVI, can of course be a lossless/uncompressed file, after you've done some processing and don't wish to compromise the result. I commonly work with DV and HDV, and the intermediate steps are almost always lossless. Sometimes I archive the finished result as lossless too, but when I'm sure I'm finished I sometimes encode it to high bitrate MPEG instead because it's takes too much space to keep many hours of lossless HD around.


    I can't think of any workflow where DV source > processing > lossless output is inferior to DV source > uncompressed capture > processing > lossless output.


    Nothing I've said relates to VHS capture.

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  16. Member VideoTechMan's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by 2Bdecided View Post
    Originally Posted by VideoTechMan View Post
    For DV sources, for the stuff that matters to me, I most likely would capture it as uncompressed and do whatever work was needed to the file. Though DV is already compressed when its recorded I am not certain if the PQ would be any different when capturing as AVI.
    Just stop right there. This is insane. What sanlyn is saying is insane.

    For DV sources (and Digital8 is DV data) you capture to DV AVI. That is a lossless capture of what is on the tape (unless the tape transport is broken!). You can do no better.

    Capturing to uncompressed / decompressed>lossless is worse*. Not only are you creating much larger files for zero benefit, but you're using some specific DV decoder to create them. Did you check which one? Did you verify the colour matrix, colour subsampling, and levels? Most DV decoders have bugs. You should use Cedocida when you need to decode DV to work with it. But don't decode when capturing. It's insane. It's pointless. It's stupid. Can I make this any clearer?

    (* - this is assuming you capture viIEE1394/Firewire. If you capture DV via composite to a lossless file, this is just an abomination.)

    The next stage, after capturing DV-AVI, can of course be a lossless/uncompressed file, after you've done some processing and don't wish to compromise the result. I commonly work with DV and HDV, and the intermediate steps are almost always lossless. Sometimes I archive the finished result as lossless too, but when I'm sure I'm finished I sometimes encode it to high bitrate MPEG instead because it's takes too much space to keep many hours of lossless HD around.


    I can't think of any workflow where DV source > processing > lossless output is inferior to DV source > uncompressed capture > processing > lossless output.


    Nothing I've said relates to VHS capture.

    Cheers,
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    That's what I thought. So DV sources will be transferred to DV-AVI as it should be. Its mostly the VHS sources that may benefit from the uncompressed capture, at least from the stuff I want to keep.
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    Originally Posted by VideoTechMan View Post
    That's what I thought. So DV sources will be transferred to DV-AVI as it should be. Its mostly the VHS sources that may benefit from the uncompressed capture, at least from the stuff I want to keep.
    If you use a DV camera to capture analog, the analog video is converted to DV format. From then on you deal with it as DV video. In no cases should you capture off the analog outputs of a DV camcorder.
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  20. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by sanlyn View Post
    How does one capture "in analog" to a PC?
    S-Video to a capture card for one.

    PS: all my non-pro Sony DV camcorders suffer major black and white level errors over composite or S-Video.
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    Originally Posted by VideoTechMan View Post
    Okay I ran into a roadblock somewhat...I have been searching on the topic for awhile on capturing/transferring but I need a little help in this area in regards to what device is best.

    For S/VHS, would it be better to capture the video through a different capture device rather than going to the DV conversion route to the PC? I don't plan to put anything onto DVD right now, just to capture the raw video to the PC, post TBC for processing later in NLE software.

    DV is obviously simple and just transferring the data as DV-AVI. Hi8 and D8 tape transfers can be done via the camcorders.

    But for VHS capture, what is the best codec to capture to? I read that HuffyYUV was pretty good to do this with, and should S/VHS material be captured as lossless? As for resolution, would it be best to capture as 720x480 or 640x480?

    In addition, if VHS has to be captured separately without the AD conversion via Firewire, what would be the ideal capture card to use in this case? It would be simpler in a way to run the S/VHS video signals to the DV2000 deck and from there it will run to the PC, but obviously will be in DV-AVI format. I used to use Scenalyzer to do the DV transfers and worked well.

    Looks like it will be in my best interest to get a TBC to get the cleanest signal as possible so may check into the AVT-8710 I read about. Funny, I still have the Sima 'video enhancer' device that did well for defeating the Macrovision tapes but of course is no TBC.

    The best results I found for capturing SD composite video was a Sony Camcorder. You can set most of them to an external video source, and then connect the HandyCam to a PC/Mac via Firewire.
    I did this with a Sony HC96 and TRV480.
    There is lag of about 1 to 1.5 seconds from what the composite source plays and what the Camcorder displays - but the audio and video are in sync - I think there's some processing going on, hence the good quality.
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  23. Member techiejustin's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by sanlyn View Post
    I agree. I'm talking about sources, DV or VHS, that need some work. I mean serious work, not just playing. There is such a thing as damaged and/or poorly made DV. They're posted on this forum and elsewhere frequently. I previously mentioned an example. On that project I worked with a borrowed Aiwa DV camera and the DV source, not with the DVD transfer which was hopeless. The Aiwa's output was composite and s-video, so we used s-video thru a line-tbc pass thru into an All In Wonder and captured to lossless YUY2. But here, the O.P. has a camera with IEE1394; so go straight to a DV copy (not a "capture"). Sorry, now that I see you posted a direct quote I didn't notice he was talking about the DV originals, I mis-read and thought he was referring to VHS.

    Now, what would you do with a DV source that was stored in the trunk of a car for 4 years and played thru IEEE1394 with torn frames and line timing problems?
    I would take the tape and put it in another device, and put the questionable source on eBay.
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    Originally Posted by sanlyn View Post
    I agree. I'm talking about sources, DV or VHS, that need some work. I mean serious work, not just playing. There is such a thing as damaged and/or poorly made DV. They're posted on this forum and elsewhere frequently.
    Analog input or the camera output get converted to digital DV format in the camcorder, then transferred as a digital stream over IEEE-1394 Firewire. That 8bit YCbCr DV stream is the best you will get from that camcorder. All Digital8/MiniDV camcorders have IEEE-1394 out.

    But here, the O.P. has a camera with IEE1394; so go straight to a DV copy (not a "capture")
    Actually it is a digital stream capture to a file at the computer disk. There are no files on DV tape, just in/out clip points located by timecode. When you select play, the stream is read off tape and passed over the Firewire cable. This is different from a file based flash card which does store clips as files on a formatted disc.

    Since DV transfer is a stream, it is subject to frame loss if the data flow to disk is interrupted.

    AVCHD cams also stream data off the flash card when USB is used. In that case the data stream is also subject to frame loss. To get an OS "file transfer" you need to use a flash card reader at the computer.
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    Originally Posted by sanlyn View Post
    Now, what would you do with a DV source that was stored in the trunk of a car for 4 years and played thru IEEE1394 with torn frames and line timing problems?
    ...but they wouldn't be analogue problems. There wouldn't be anything for a TBC to fix. The analogue output containing the wrecked signal would have been generated with digital precision!

    But for tapes that don't play properly on one DV camcorder, I try another DV camcorder! (I have six now). LP is an obvious trouble zone, but sometimes even SP tapes are recorded so far off spec that there are problems. The adventurous can adjust a DV camcorder to play the incorrect tape better. The less adventurous can buy cheap machines from eBay and see which works best!

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    Originally Posted by sanlyn View Post
    Damaged tape always looks damaged in any device. You'd need a line tbc to fix it.
    Not necesarily true for DV. The error correction code intrinsic to DV tape (and other digital tape sources) can usually completely fix mild/minor errors, as long as the playback device is ALSO well-maintained. If you have a borderline or crappy playback device, this compounds the errors, making it possibly more uncorrectable.

    Uncorrectable DV usually shows up (as edDV mentioned) as large block pixilations, frozen slices, or BLANKS. It really doesn't show up as the usually "analog" artifacts you see in bad VHS, etc: flagging, color bleed, streaking. That's because it is NOT analog.

    Back to that analog business...

    A component/composite/S-video type of capture card is basically an Analog->Digital converter for video. An Analog signal comes in, a Digital signal/file comes out (saved). So DV video must make a "DETOUR" into analog land if you send it out of the camera via component/composite/s-video and then make a second "DETOUR" back into digital land to be saved on a computer.

    These DETOURS are ALWAYS detrimental to the quality of the signal, no MATTER what the source or quality of the chain (though some are obviously better than others). This is because of irreversably lossy colorspace conversions and because of requantizing of "guessed" resolution.

    A VHS source is ALREADY analog, and if you want it on a computer, you have to make it Digital, so there's no getting around at least one of those "DETOUR"s. In that case, you want it to be the best chain it can be, because you know you're already losing something - purely in process of capturing it.

    DV is (or should be) Digital on tape->digital out via firewire->digital in to file on HDD. No detour, no loss in the process. Whatever was captured should still be exactly there. And whatever was "lost" in the creation of the YV12 signal WITHIN THE CAMERA has already happened and you can't get that back, so what you've got is the best that it can still be. Only way to get better is to go with a less lossy, more professional digital format: DVCPro50, HDCAM, Red, etc. (I always though the Andromeda-hacked HVX100s were pretty cool in this respect - Un-debayered Uncompressed RGB!)

    But if you have a BAD DV tape, the tools to fix it are RARELY the same tools one would use to fix VHS problems, because the artifacts are of a completely different nature. As with most things digital, it usually either works great or not at all.

    @sanlyn, hearing those "horror stories" about some bad DV professional tells me that this person wasn't really a pro at all, just a pro poser, and likely captured via analog - exactly the way we've been saying it shouldn't happen!

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    Originally Posted by sanlyn View Post
    Yep, I think we all have the same idea. At last. I'm out of breath.
    I forgot what we were arguing about.

    I think I got lost at huffYUV.

    FWIW I store all of my old analog 8mm tapes as uncompressed DV on two external hard drives. When the time comes to screw with the footage I don't want to have to mess around with codecs. Hard drives are cheap and these are my memories.

    Also, I'm on a mac so codecs can be a hemorrhoid.
    (I still can't figure out how to save a video as huffYUV in iMovie)
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  30. Member edDV's Avatar
    Join Date: Mar 2004
    Location: Northern California, USA
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    Originally Posted by techiejustin View Post
    (I still can't figure out how to save a video as huffYUV in iMovie)
    You can't.
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