I have acquired some hardware for capturing, restoring, and archiving some old family VHS tapes. I have spent a lot of time reading so many posts here, and digitalfaq.com, to decide on the best hardware to get at the best price. Luckily, I got some really good deals on all of this for around $500 total:
JVC HR-S9911U S-VHS VCR
DataVideo TBC-1000 Time Base Corrector
Elite Video BVP-4 Video Processor
Studio 1 DR-1000 Image Enhancer
ATI TV Wonder 600 USB
My question is, in what order would be the best to arrange these in my workflow? Would it go:
VCR > TBC > BVP-4 > DR-100 > ATI 600 > AviSynth > VirtualDub?
Thanks for all the help and great information. I guess VHS capturing doesn't change much over time, because I have found lots of great info that is nearly 10 years old now.
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Last edited by chase317; 11th Mar 2014 at 14:28.
Use the JVC in "Edit" mode. If you're family tapes were recorded at 6-hour EP speed, the JVC is less than ideal for those tapes.
You don't need a TBC-1000 for family videos. Used to defeat VHS copy protection. Will soften the image and causes other problems. See other threads on the subject.
Use the BVP-4 to correct black levels and prevent clipped brights. Stay within the 16-240 range during capture. If you're thinking of using the BVP-4's sharpener, don't. It sharpens noise. You'll never get rid of it.
Once you see what the Enhancer's sharpening does to tape noise, you'll never use its sharpener again. If you're using the Enhancer to fix color, etc., we all wish you luck. VHS tape, especially home-made user-photographed stuff, changes color and brightness every few seconds. The enhancer won't help. All it will do is drive you crazy. Enhancers were OK back in ye olde CRT days of yore, but you won't like the ugly things that today's TV's can do with its effects.
Capture to lossless YUY2 thru VirtualDub capture, using huffyuv or Lagarith compression. If you capture to DV with your ATI 600, someone else will have to help you clean it up.
Be prepared to learn Avisynth and do a lot of cleanup.
Last edited by sanlyn; 19th Mar 2014 at 02:26.
I got the TBC for a steal, so maybe it will come in handy someday... it didnt come with a power supply, but I found one that was a match in my box-o-stuff in the basement.
Most of the tapes are in SP mode, thankfully. I will be capturing to lossless, with huffyyuv.
Last edited by chase317; 11th Mar 2014 at 15:01.
TBC's primary purpose is to FIX the timing of the signal (hence the name) so you have a nice, ROCK SOLID & rectangular image with which to view, capture, etc.
Do the tapes need that? Some less, some more, but ALL tape-based analog formats are improved when their timebase is restored to a form of pristine, pre-recording signal (not that there ever would be a perfect restorative process). Even professionals, using professional equipment and professional (analog) recording formats would as a RULE pass their tape playback through a TBC. It just makes sense.
So, for you, this shouldn't matter whether your tapes are home movies or not. In fact, I'd say that there is a good likelihood of home movies not being recorded as well as Hollywood movies (equipment-wise), so the need to use a TBC might be greater.
Now, AFA Macrovision goes, TBCs do remove that, but only as a byproduct of it's main function (fortuitously for you). So, if you need it for H'wood movies great. Even though you don't directly need that function for home movies (because home VCRs are not designed to ADD macrovision, so they shouldn't exist on your tapes), what often happens - and you can find many threads here that go into this - is that a home movie tape may have certain properties to it that a capturing device mistakenly "assumes" is supposed to have been Macrovision, and will not be able to correctly work with. TBCs are vital to fixing this problem.
Otherwise, I would agree about the sharpening & other suggestions. Not 100% familiar with that TBC you mentioned, but many/most good TBCs already ALSO have a ProcAmp (processing amplifier), which is what you need to adjust the video/color levels. So if your TBC has a decent one, you could do without getting an extra device just to do that part. But let's say you don't.
Your chain order would then be:
VCR -> TBC -> ProcAmp -> Capture device
And you would do ALL your NR once you've got a digital file.
There are some good analog NR possibilities out there, but they are professional devices (usually incorporated as part of a pro TBC or similar) and are $$$. You should do just fine doing it digitally.
Last edited by sanlyn; 19th Mar 2014 at 02:26.
I also have a Hotronic AP41 with s-video y/c in and out. I havent tested it yet compared to the TBC-1000, other than make sure the svideo signal went in and out, which it did.
Any of this equipment that i dont need or dont like will most likely go on ebay.