Hi! I've begun trying to record old VHS tapes to my hard drive in order to create DVDs for my parents that will work in their no frills standalone DVD player. I've had no issues with recording the videos as MP4 files and the quality is about as good as viewing the tapes with a VCR, which is about as good as I expected.
The problem is that when I try to create a DVD with a structure that will be playable in an older DVD player the quality drops drastically. I've tried burning lengths from 5 minutes on a single DVD to lengths as long as 1 hour and 20 minutes, and each looks equally horrible. The picture quality of the MP4 files isn't anything spectacular, but they look fine for analog recordings. Whe I try to create a DVD (vob files) the picture looks a bit like it was painted with water colors.
DVDFab8 QT is what I was using to convert the MP4 files, and I even tried recording the videos as wmv and using WMC to burn the DVD with the results being as dismal as using DVDFab.
Is there a better way to do what I'm trying to do? One that won't be more expensive than just taking them to a pro to do?
I hope that's enough info, but of course I'm happy to provide more (obviously a true noob at this!).
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Did you say what you're using to get the videos from tape to the computer? You seem to have a choice of formats so choose a lossless one, if possible, something like Lagarith or Huffyuv. Or even DV AVI or very high bitrate MPEG-2.
As for converting to DVD, if you don't know how to do it manually maybe try Avs2DVD. DVDFab is a decent decrypter but you shouldn't use it for anything else.
We had better start at the begining.
1. What is your capture device ?
2. Capture at mp4 !!! What is the codec ?. Better still forget about mp4 as you have already comprimised the capture with heavy compression.
The MINIMUM capture codec should be Mpeg2. If you have plenty of disc space then capture lossless with huffyuv or lagarith
Use AVStoDVD to author the dvd
Use imgburn to burn the resultant folders to the disc
Use quality blank media. DVD-R has best compatabilty but check with parents that they can play these in their player.
Never record old VHS -- especially home-made VHS -- to lossy encoded formats like mp4, mpeg, divx, etc. To say they look "about as good as viewing the tapes" would be a judgment that many here would strongly disagree with. There's no way VHS recorded directly to lossy video could look "as good as" the originals.
I realize that many people subject VHS to this sort of destructive "digitizing", but that isn't the recommended method. If you must record to DVD, then record directly to MPEG2, which is the only digital medium that can be used for DVD. Encoding to mp4 and then re-encoding to MPEG entails two encoding stages: the first loses about 30% or more of the original VHS data and imbeds tape noise as artifacts, and then the second stage makes the artifacts worse and loses another big percentage of the first stage recording.
Video encoding is not like ZIP or WinRAR, which are lossless compressors. Video encoding is an entirely different process.
The preferred method is to capture VHS to YUY2 AVI using real-time huffyuv or Lagarith lossless compression, clean up the capture as needed, then encode to MPEG and author to DVD. As most people have no intention of putting that much time into any digital transfer, you're better off recording to MPEG and then authoring that capture to DVD.
Ed: Good heavens, 3 similar replies within 4 minutes !!! Hm, this must seem like an onslaught to the O.P. Sorry, Don, but I think you get the idea.
Last edited by sanlyn; 11th Feb 2013 at 17:55.Our inventions are wont to be pretty toys, which distract our attention from serious things. They are but improved means to an unimproved end. -- Henry David Thoreau
I never expected so much fantastic information so quickly! Must be what someone dying of thirst in a desert must feel like when stumbling on an overflowing well.
I will start my project over and make use of everyone's suggestions, all of which makes perfect sense of course.
I readily admit that I'm clueless when it comes to video capture and editing, and I appreciate all of the terrific suggestions!
Downloaded VirtualDub, figured out how to use it in a basic way (sort of) and installed Lagarith codec, which I selected in VirtualDub. 1hour 20 minute VHS tape turned out to be about 60 GB when captured, but wow, it looks much better than the results that I was getting trying to figure it out on my own. Found this post by Jagabo regarding basic settings for VDub, and it's looking really nice!
One more time, muchas gracias, I'd still be floundering pn my own without the quick advice.
Good work. I-hr 20-min tape at 60GB for Lagarith .... sounds about right, maybe a bit over (I would have figured 45 GB but you're in the ballpark). If you have any questions about cleanup, encoding, etc., you're in the right forum.Our inventions are wont to be pretty toys, which distract our attention from serious things. They are but improved means to an unimproved end. -- Henry David Thoreau
So a month and a half later and I'm still fumbling around after having tried about 57 dozen different combinations of inputs, software and settings.
I'm getting there, but I had a question about VDub if any can answer (and I'm sure that someone can). When I capture to AVI the file is unusable by any software that I try except for VDub. Once I "save" the video to .avi using VDub, I can of course use any software to view it, although now the file size is doubled. Reason for this? And bear in mind that I'm a biomedical engineer not a sound or video engineer.
By the way, I'm using two external drives for the capture, one powered and one not, and I haven't dropped a frame.
How thought we were winning here but we seem to be back to first base.
What did you change ? What software are you trying to use ?
Lagarith is a lossless codec but if you simply 'saved' your file in vdub then you probably used the default which is uncompressed and then the files will be much bigger.
There really did not appear to be ANY reason to make these changes whatever they are.
Echoing DB83: You say you captured to AVI with Lagarith, which should be a YUY2 AVI. You have Lagarith installed, so most media players should be able to play it (if you're using an old VLC Player, get the new one. They have their own Lagarith that works). You can open Lagarith YUY2 AVI directly in VirtualDub, but remember as stated that if you "Save as AVI..." without telling VDub what you want, it's saved by default as uncompressed RGB -- a bigger file. But we don't know what you did in VirtualDub, so can't advise how you should save it if anything was changed.Our inventions are wont to be pretty toys, which distract our attention from serious things. They are but improved means to an unimproved end. -- Henry David Thoreau
Sorry, it was just an idle question and I've found that the intial .avi will play in some software like AVStoDVD but not in others like WMP. It's no matter either way, just curious.
The trouble that I'm having lately is that the sound goes slowly out of sync as the video is captured. It sounds fine while the capture is going on, but when I watch the newly created .avi capture in VDub the sound gets more and more out of sync as the capture plays.
I'm using a JVC HR-A43U (junk, I know but it's what I have) with the composite video streaming into a HVR-1850 and the sound streaming into the onboard mic input. My other choice for a VCR is a Sharp VC-A582 which I'm sure is just as crappy.
My rig is:
AMD Quad Core
4GB DDR2 800
GTX 650 ti OC (not sure if the vid card matters)
And twin WD 7200.12 500 gigs
W8 and latest drivers for all hardware
I've left all of VDub's settings on default except for:
44100Hz 16 bit mono
Set for 1 onboard mic input
Do Not Resync
Compression Lagarith Lossless Codec
Using video levels to adjust the levels and the video comes out looking pretty good (no one here is a videophile), it's just the problem with the sound that's pestering me now.
I've since switched to capturing on an internal SATA, doing the first capture now, see if that helps. I also switched to one of my faster desktops.
The biggest problem is obviously the operator. I am unfamiliar with digital video and VDub has a steep learning curve for the true newbie. Whatever I'm doing wrong takes me hours to figure out when you guys would see it instantly.
I see what you're saying about saving to .avi though, I had been saving it as uncompressed RGB. At some point I must have reset it to default and forgot to change it back. Now a 21 minute file saved as AVI is about 12.5 GB.
Thanks for the help!
When I switched to a different desktop I had to "install" VDub and I made sure to leave all settings default except for what I listed above and the sound is perfectly synced now on the single 21 minute vid that I just captured and saved "as AVI" using Lagarith LC. I must have changed something on my other setup that goofed the captures that I was attempting.
My problem seems to be solved, thanks again for taking a look and posting suggestions!
Second update: I wanted it too much I guess, and there isn't really enough video to tell easily, but the sync is still off. 15 minutes in and the sound is about half a second off, just enough to be really noticeable. Luckily it's footage of a parade and there's only about 2 seconds of anyone talking into the camera. Well, there was until I cut it out. That's 21 minutes that I won't have to deal with at least.
Last edited by Non Quixote; 4th Apr 2013 at 04:32.
In watching the capture I've noticed that the Video compression ratio goes from 1.9:1 to 2.0:1 to 2.1:1 and finally to 2.3:1 while the audio compression remains at 1.0:1. Is that normal?
At this point no one knows what your video looks like, and it's difficult to keep track of what you're doing. You should start by cutting a few seconds of your captured AVI and posting here, or everyone is just guessing and shooting blind. You can cut a few seconds of your captured, unprocessed AVI in VirtualDub. Before saving it, go to "Video..." -> "direct stream copy", then save the cut portion as AVI. You can post up to 100mb, but a few seconds of huffyuv or Lagarith YUY2 shouldn't be that big. There are far too many possibilities afoot for anyone to give you detailed advice.
Last edited by sanlyn; 4th Apr 2013 at 11:27.
I've got the sound problem dealt with, and this time it seems to be working okay. Oddly all I had to do was leave the audio set to the 96KHz default and it records fine.
I do have a problem with this save though, and any advice would be appreciated. The VHS copy itself is pretty awful, and I'm just looking for "best possible" here. Any way to get rid of some of the green shift on the left and the red shift on the right? Thanks!
Last edited by Non Quixote; 5th Apr 2013 at 03:40. Reason: Corrected embedded video
We can't do anything with uTube video. If you want info about how to download original, unprocessed capture samples just ask.
The uTube sample looks like a scene with mixed lighting. You have green on the left, red on the right, crushed detail together with over- and underexposed areas.
It hadn't occurred to me that they simply had red and green lighting in the video, I guess because some of the other tapes that I have also show at least some green shift on the left even when the scene is one shot outdoors. When I have an example of what I mean I'll upload it and post the link. Thanks for the response!
Thanks for getting up the sample. uTube does too much processing of mounted videos for proper analysis -- even when they seem to "look good". Haven't had time get deep into your upload, but it displays the heavy grain and coarse noise common to consumer cameras in dim light. That stuff is a big headache. Others and I will give it a closer look.
After another quick look: Actually, you do have a problem you had not noticed. The sample is interlaced, with an odd distortion of the left border (and it's obvious that a tbc is needed here) -- unless that's a large chunk of furniture on the left, but it shouldn't be moving with the border itself. IF you separate the interlaced fields and play field-by-field, you see the reason for the flicker: there is a deeper green shift in the odd fields, while the even fields have less green on the left and more red on the right. When the interlaced video plays, the on-and-off shifts look like flicker. There's also uneven movement of the tape, and odd fields actually "lean" toward the left, so the two fields are poorly aligned within the frame.
Click to view a slightly bigger pic:
That appears to be a player problem.
There are some clever masking ideas that could be used in Avisynth or many NLE's, but the frames would have to be deinterlaced and the odd and even results treated differently, then interlaced again. Hmm. Can't say I've seen this before. But it would be better to try this tape on another player and see if the problems repeat themselves.
ED: ANd as you play this clip you might note how the date characters at the bottom shift position (along with other objects in the picture) and wobble left and right. You need a better player.
Last edited by sanlyn; 5th Apr 2013 at 19:12.
Do all shots/tapes exhibit the same color problems? Or is it just this one shot? It's possible to make some improvements but it won't be easy. Here's the top field on the left, the bottom field on the right, and scope traces of the the U and V channels below:
The color shift across the frame is because of the tilt in the traces. Those frames are an average of 8 separate frames to reduce the inter-frame variations. But with individual frames the scope traces bounce up and down. The approach to fixing the video would be to de-flicker the bouncing of the chroma channels, then un-tilt them. Then look at that big droop in the channels at the left edge.
But the first thing I'd try is a different VCR.
I tried the second low end VCR that I have access too and the shot looks the same. I was about to get most of the red and green out of the shot by applying some filters and playing with the levels. The shot looks a little washed out now, but a lot better than it did, which is about the best that I can get I think.
Thanks for all of the advice, it was a big help!
I guess the camera just had problems with the low light scenario. Here's a little adjustment to compensate for the green to purple shift across the frame (original on the left, processed on the right):
I was working only with the bottom field because the top field needs a different adjustment. Still not perfect but much improved. From here you can work out the details for the top field, then use regular proc amp adjustments and noise reduction.
AviSource("Sample.avi").AssumeTFF().SeparateFields().SelectOdd() org=last mask=ImageSource("mask.png").ConvertToYUY2(matrix="PC.601").BilinearResize(720,240) ColorYUV(off_u=20, off_v=20) Overlay(last,org,0,0,mask) ColorYUV(off_u=0, off_v=-6)
Last edited by jagabo; 7th Apr 2013 at 07:41.