VideoHelp Forum
+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 2
1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 30 of 47
Thread
  1. Member
    Join Date: Sep 2006
    Location: United States
    Search Comp PM
    To anyone who has experience with a Panasonic AG-1980 - would it be worth spending $300 for a restored one ("restored" = all capacitors replaced)?
    Quote Quote  
  2. Member
    Join Date: Oct 2004
    Location: Freedonia
    Search Comp PM
    Hopefully orsetto will respond, but I can tell you briefly that the general consensus is that the repairs typically don't last long, so unless you have money to burn and can keep paying for repairs or buy other repaired ones to replace this when it goes bad, probably not.

    It's starting to get old saying this, but it still bears repeating. This is a really late date to suddenly be waking up and saying "Oh crap! I better capture my precious VHS tapes NOW!" You don't post much so I guess you don't read here regularly, but you are YEARS - yes YEARS - late to this party. Yes, it's better to do it now than 2, 3 or more years from now, but the sad truth is that the "recommended" VCRs from 10 years ago are now dying and falling apart. They weren't built to last this long nor was it even intended that they be used until the end of time. They were often made with shabby components that need replacing now and repairs usually don't last because these are usually not quality machines to begin with in terms of how they were made, not how they performed at their best. Really, unless you have buckets of money to throw at this project, you'd be better off to get a cheaper but still functional VCR and use that to transfer your tapes. VHS can be an absolutely abysmal storage media and to spend multi-hundreds of dollars on VCRs to try to improve quality on what may be badly recorded tapes to begin with rarely makes sense. Sometimes we even get posts from numbskulls who bought a whole collection of VHS tapes 20 years ago of some TV show that has long been out on DVD and it makes no sense at all to record all those video tapes when they could just buy the DVDs and get on with their lives, but they look at the hundreds of dollars they spent on the tapes as a cost they MUST recover, whether it makes sense or not, so they try to record them. And if you are trying to record commercial tapes you'll have the "fun" (not really) of dealing with Macrovision. If the number of tapes you want to capture is low, like 2 or 3, and they're homemade, it would make more sense to pay a commercial service to do the work for you.
    Quote Quote  
  3. Member
    Join Date: Sep 2006
    Location: United States
    Search Comp PM
    Thanks for that feedback - I really appreciate it, I hardly ever post here but am getting back into conversion.

    I already have a Canopus ADVC300, but my VCR is just a cheap commercial version from the late 90s - I was looking into a professional one with TBC and it looks like the AG-1980 is the first thing everyone talks about on these forums.

    Not sure if it's worth mentioning, but I have the previous Adobe Creative Suite and a lot of graphic design experience (the relevant part is AfterEffects). It seemed to me, though, that I'd have to get a better VCR to get a better AVI file out of my tapes.

    I looked around at professional services and the cost is high enough to make you puke - I don't think I could consider it since I have somewhere around 200 VHS's that I wanted to make a hobby out of transferring to AVI and restoring.

    I did have all of the concerns you've mentioned - buying old tech from the 80s that is already weathered down from decades of use. It's a shame that there are no brand new units being made anymore.
    Quote Quote  
  4. Member
    Join Date: Oct 2004
    Location: Freedonia
    Search Comp PM
    Well, more accurately the AG-1980 is what everyone TALKED (past tense) about in this forum, but that advice is like 10 years old. The only people who still talk about it are your many clones. Honestly, we have seen some kind of explosion here this year where every 2 or 3 weeks we get a post EXACTLY like yours from some guy who just now has woken up to the idea of saving his precious tapes.

    I've got to be honest with you - I don't think there is a snowball's chance in hell of a repaired VCR lasting through 200 tape captures. Maybe. But probably not.

    Really - TWO HUNDRED tapes? How many of those are on DVD and you're just too cheap to buy the DVDs because you spend $20-30 years ago on each tape? It's your time and your money, but do you not value your spare time at all? Maybe you don't. At this point it makes no sense at all to capture stuff you can easily buy on DVD and you should just prioritize your captures to stuff you really don't want to lose like precious family videos rather than some tape with Dr. Who (or whatever) on it that you're too cheap to buy on DVD because it cost you $30 each tape 20 years ago. If you've got 200 family videos to capture, I really don't know what to tell you except, again, you probably should prioritize as that's just a ridiculous amount of stuff to capture and deal with. Many times men erroneously think that they are doing their family some kind of gigantic favor by spending 10+ hours per tape to capture massive amounts of stuff and in the end NOBODY ever watches it again. But it's your time and effort, not mine, so do what you want.

    AVI is very vague. Depending on a lot of factors like what codec you want to capture to and encode to you may be going to an awful lot of effort to end up with poor quality copies of those tapes any way.
    Quote Quote  
  5. Member
    Join Date: Sep 2006
    Location: United States
    Search Comp PM
    hah - do you think I'd waste my time for simple movies on tape?

    Everything I own is either home movies (weddings, childhood movies, etc) or more notably, things taped from TV 20+ years ago with the original commercials on them. In many cases, many of the TV tapings are rare and I might be the only one in the country who has a few of these things still preserved on VHS (used to tape things multiple times per week in the 80s and keep them). I'm working on a site dedicated to this - I've actually had one for over 10 years that has been bringing in a side income for me, and it is going to be rebranded and given a lot more attention.

    The purpose of what I do doesn't matter - I'm really looking to see what hardware is best for what I'm looking to do.
    Quote Quote  
  6. Member 2Bdecided's Avatar
    Join Date: Nov 2007
    Location: United Kingdom
    Search Comp PM
    Originally Posted by jman98 View Post
    Many times men erroneously think that they are doing their family some kind of gigantic favor by spending 10+ hours per tape to capture massive amounts of stuff and in the end NOBODY ever watches it again.
    I tell anyone who will listen that the most useful thing you can do is edit it down to the absolute best bits. By all means transfer everything and restore everything if you want - but people will only ever watch that edit, and if you don't make that edit, they'll never watch any of it.

    Cheers,
    David.
    Quote Quote  
  7. Member PuzZLeR's Avatar
    Join Date: Oct 2006
    Location: Toronto Canada
    Search Comp PM
    Yes, it is 2014 in the timeline of VHS capture.

    Bad news: Jman98 pretty much covered it. And I agree that the AG-1980 is a bucket of snakes. Mine has many "moods" - color instability, dropouts on every Tuesday (or was it Sunday?), whites so bright that all adjacent colors are absorbed by them, and more and more - the excitement never ends from the flaky/failing capacitors.

    Don't get one. A seller may say it "works", but I can make a similar claim with mine if I'm feeling shady. These units were made for regular maintenance that no longer exists. Even if you do get one that was "restored", it will go bad again after some 20-30 tapes.

    Could you imagine driving a '96 vehicle that has had no oil change or tuneup in 10, or even 2, years, and has an odometer of 500,000 miles? It may "run" but you will have problems. Suppose the mechanics that service them are in short supply, or super expensive to employ?

    Even if you do score some maintenance/servicing on the vehicle - another 5000 miles and...

    You get the idea. Pass on the 1980 - said from one who owns one. They're not that great anyway. Over-rated.

    Good news: Hard drives are bigger than ever, processors/RAM are faster/more efficient than ever, software is better than ever.

    This means that you don't need one of these so-called "super" VCRs today IMO. Their "great" features were mostly filters that smoothed noise, or jitter, or sharpened artificially, and was hi-tech for the 90s, and even some 5-10 years ago, but such features can be equaled or (significantly) bettered with post-processing today.

    This includes the AG-1980. After post-processing, my "commonplace" VCRs, which are a Panasonic 4521, and a Memorex 4046, put it to shame.

    All you need now is a good clean 4-head, HiFi, stand-alone "ordinary" VCR from a good brand like Sony, Toshiba, Panasonic, etc, and a bit of knowledge of Avisynth, and even Neat Video, and you're good to go. Capturing to lossless formats is not awkward any longer when you can affordably purchase convenient 4TB HDDs today. Lossless gives you that flexibility to post-process (but so does DV).

    If you can get a new one, or three, such VCRs, you're all set, and better off, and you'd still be ahead by a couple of hundred dollars compared to your prospective purchase of the AG-1980.
    Last edited by PuzZLeR; 26th Apr 2014 at 03:58.
    I hate VHS. I always did.
    Quote Quote  
  8. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
    Join Date: Jun 2003
    Location: dFAQ.us/lordsmurf
    Search Comp PM
    Originally Posted by jman98 View Post
    Hthe general consensus is that the repairs typically don't last long.
    No.

    A quality repair, to replace all caps, makes the machine good as new. It can last another 5-10 years. Longer, if you opted for the more expensive capacitors.

    $300 can be a steal (great price!), but it depends on what exactly was repaired.

    We discuss repair jobs like this all the time over at the digitalFAQ.com forums. A dedicated repair forum exists now because of Panasonic VCRs, JVC DVD recorders, etc. They can all be fixed good as new.

    Originally Posted by jman98 View Post
    Well, more accurately the AG-1980 is what everyone TALKED (past tense) about in this forum, but that advice is like 10 years old. The only people who still talk about it are your many clones.
    No.

    AG-1980P decks (and several JVC HR-S and SR-V decks) -- not to mention the PAL variants -- are essential to quality professionals and serious hobbyists. Those are the best equipment that exist for capturing purposes. It was true in the 1990s, the 2000s, and now in the 2010s. There is not better equipment for this task.

    I actually find your statement somewhat insulting.
    Last edited by lordsmurf; 27th Apr 2014 at 21:56.
    Want my help? Ask here! (not via PM!)
    FAQs: Best Blank DiscsBest TBCsBest VCRs for captureRestore VHS
    Quote Quote  
  9. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
    Join Date: Jun 2003
    Location: dFAQ.us/lordsmurf
    Search Comp PM
    Originally Posted by PuzZLeR View Post
    All you need now is a good clean 4-head, HiFi, stand-alone "ordinary" VCR from a good brand like Sony, Toshiba, Panasonic, etc, and a bit of knowledge
    No, no, no, no, no!

    That looks terrible. Many tape errors cannot be fixed in software. Quality capturing must start at the VCR!

    It feels like this forum has taken a step back in knowledge in my absence.
    Want my help? Ask here! (not via PM!)
    FAQs: Best Blank DiscsBest TBCsBest VCRs for captureRestore VHS
    Quote Quote  
  10. Member PuzZLeR's Avatar
    Join Date: Oct 2006
    Location: Toronto Canada
    Search Comp PM
    Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
    Originally Posted by PuzZLeR View Post
    All you need now is a good clean 4-head, HiFi, stand-alone "ordinary" VCR from a good brand like Sony, Toshiba, Panasonic, etc, and a bit of knowledge
    No, no, no, no, no!
    Yes, yes, yes. The key word was "now" in my post.

    But, if you do get lucky, or have mega $$$ to burn, assuming you do find a "super" VCR that is in excellent working order, it's not as big a deal any more. Most super VCRs produce better quality from internal filters - denoisers, artificial sharpeners, brighter colors, and others - most can be rivaled in software, and more realistically now with mega computer hardware available now. Even crosstalk from composite captures can be easily removed if you don't have an s-video deck, and any white/silver snow dots that show up from cheaper VCRs can be cleaned with median methods.

    As well, we all know that the super JVCs have issues (smoothing of video, tearing, plasticky output, overcompensating internal line TBC that creates MORE jitter, etc) and the Panasonic AG-1980 (assuming it's not a battered unit in 2014) has that DNR that can't be turned off and a sharpener that fries video. The AG-1970, another super VCR, plain sucks. I have all three.

    And you can't argue with the fact that much of the picture integrity is compromised by these filters. And, all those filters on super VCRs are old-tech - like 10-20 years old now. Yes, an advantage is that they're internal at playback, but they are so inferior compared to modern external methods that one needs to reconsider them.

    Originally Posted by lordsmurf
    That looks terrible. Many tape errors cannot be fixed in software. Quality capturing must start at the VCR!
    Yes, the dirty output from an "ordinary" VCR, with all that noise, dot crawl, chroma dancing, yaddy yah, does not only look terrible, it can make you want to puke. Without post processing, a "super" VCR kills an ordinary one.

    But if you're willing to go through the headaches of post-processing, that gap closes considerably since much of that can be corrected.

    If you don't want to post-process, you are better off with a (working) super VCR. So I will partially agree.

    Yes, quality capture must start at the VCR - but all you need is a good tracking VCR and a good sharp picture with details. A good brand 4-head VCR can accomplish this, and post processing can take care of much else.

    And post-processing doesn't work as well when there's already been a layer of filtering from a super VCR. I personally prefer to work with a clean (albiet dirty) slate.

    Originally Posted by lordsmurf
    It feels like this forum has taken a step back in knowledge in my absence.
    No. The reliability of the VCR, and the tech for it today, is one step back now in 2014.
    Last edited by PuzZLeR; 27th Apr 2014 at 23:49.
    I hate VHS. I always did.
    Quote Quote  
  11. Member PuzZLeR's Avatar
    Join Date: Oct 2006
    Location: Toronto Canada
    Search Comp PM
    Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
    Originally Posted by jman98 View Post
    Hthe general consensus is that the repairs typically don't last long.
    No.

    A quality repair, to replace all caps, makes the machine good as new. It can last another 5-10 years. Longer, if you opted for the more expensive capacitors.

    $300 can be a steal (great price!), but it depends on what exactly was repaired.

    We discuss repair jobs like this all the time over at the digitalFAQ.com forums. A dedicated repair forum exists now because of Panasonic VCRs, JVC DVD recorders, etc. They can all be fixed good as new.
    Assuming the repair facility is knowledgeable, has parts available in 2014, is honest, then maybe you may have a point.

    I personally don't trust them.

    At any rate, weren't some models, particularly the AG-1980 made to be serviced, much like a vehicle, every so often (much less than 5-10 year intervals)?

    Originally Posted by lordsmurf
    Originally Posted by jman98 View Post
    Well, more accurately the AG-1980 is what everyone TALKED (past tense) about in this forum, but that advice is like 10 years old. The only people who still talk about it are your many clones.
    No.

    AG-1980P decks (and several JVC HR-S and SR-V decks) -- not to mention the PAL variants -- are essential to quality professionals and serious hobbyists. Those are the best equipment that exist for capturing purposes. It was true in the 1990s, the 2000s, and now in the 2010s. There is not better equipment for this task.
    Without post-processing - yes. With post-processing today, I repeat, the quality difference gap closes considerably.
    I hate VHS. I always did.
    Quote Quote  
  12. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
    Join Date: Jun 2003
    Location: dFAQ.us/lordsmurf
    Search Comp PM
    Originally Posted by PuzZLeR View Post
    As well, we all know that the super JVCs have issues (smoothing of video, tearing, plasticky output, overcompensating internal line TBC that creates MORE jitter, etc)
    No. I have no idea where you get that.
    - Sometimes, yes, it's rare, the TBC can cause more damage than it fixes; mostly tearing. The tape signal is too fubar. That exists on all other VCRs and external TBCs too.
    - "Smoothing" is often false observation.
    - Vertical "jitter" (not technical jitter) is rare as well, most often seen on S-VHS-ET playback. I've almost never seen it on straight VHS or S-VHS.

    and the Panasonic AG-1980 (assuming it's not a battered unit in 2014) has that DNR that can't be turned off and a sharpener that fries video.
    This is wrong. The AG-1980 filters can all be turned off. The sharpener's "0" (unity) setting is actually below 0 on the slider. It has halos and pumps up noise ("detail") at or above 0. Sometimes that's desirable, however, as VHS can do with some more detail. You likely have bad caps in your unit, if you're having errors that "fries" video. (I've seen it myself. It was bad caps that did it. Fix it. I did.)

    The AG-1970, another super VCR, plain sucks. I have all three.
    The AG-1970 indeed is not great. Better than a normal VHS VCR, but not great. I'd pay under $100 for one at most.

    And you can't argue with the fact that much of the picture integrity is compromised by these filters. And, all those filters on super VCRs are old-tech - like 10-20 years old now. Yes, an advantage is that they're internal at playback, but they are so inferior compared to modern external methods that one needs to reconsider them.
    I don't agree at all.
    1. VHS is a 35+ year old format. VCRs in the late 90s and early 2000s were the peak of performance.
    2. No, software HAS NOT been able to 100% replicate VHS filtering yet. And it probably never will.
    3. Calling these "super VCRs" is honestly showing lack of knowledge about the hardware.

    But if you're willing to go through the headaches of post-processing, that gap closes considerably since much of that can be corrected.
    What you call "headache" I call the video capture process. If you want a quick/cheap method, fine. But don't dare make it out as if proper methods are outdated or not suggested.

    If you don't want to post-process, you are better off with a (working) super VCR. So I will partially agree.
    Post-captured footage still often needs processing. But at least now, you can make a tape look better than the original, using hardware. Most of the VHS flaws are now eliminated. That's always the goal of RESTORATION (this forum) -- which I helped found FYI, more than 10 years ago -- not half-ass "conversion".

    good tracking VCR and a good sharp picture with details. A good brand 4-head VCR can accomplish this, and post processing can take care of much else.
    No. Tapes all get "the wiggles" that need to be straightened out. There also a severe chroma issue. Both of these are inherent to the format. All tapes have them. You can't say otherwise.

    And post-processing doesn't work as well when there's already been a layer of filtering from a super VCR. I personally prefer to work with a clean (albiet dirty) slate.
    No. You start with the VCR, removing as much as possible in the analog domain. Only them can many be addressed in the digital domain.

    Originally Posted by PuzZLeR View Post
    Assuming the repair facility is knowledgeable, has parts available in 2014, is honest, then maybe you may have a point.
    Capacitors are always going to be available. Modern electronics all require them.

    At any rate, weren't some models, particularly the AG-1980 made to be serviced, much like a vehicle, every so often (much less than 5-10 year intervals)?
    No. The caps issues was unforeseen back in the late 90s. Many items are affected by bad caps -- not just VCRs, or even this brand of VCR. Other that that, routine cleaning is needed, and watching the head wear.

    ___________

    I'm really just dumbfounded that I even have to have this conversation.

    One of my first posts back, and it had to be this. I'm disappointed.

    I don't like buying the hardware and maintaining it -- and paying for it -- any more than anyone else. If easy software methods existed, great, I'd be doing it. But it does not. (And to be honest, I'd be without a career if video was an easy task. But video is not quick nor easy. It is what it is.)

    If you want to do a good job, buy the tools. For VHS, that means good VCRs and TBCs -- among other items.

    If you don't care how your output looks, then fine, do whatever. (I'm just glad that I don't have to watch it.)

    I don't wish to come off rude here, but some of your hard assertions require equally harsh rebuttals.
    Last edited by lordsmurf; 28th Apr 2014 at 02:21.
    Want my help? Ask here! (not via PM!)
    FAQs: Best Blank DiscsBest TBCsBest VCRs for captureRestore VHS
    Quote Quote  
  13. Member
    Join Date: Mar 2011
    Location: Nova Scotia, Canada
    Search Comp PM
    Finding someone who can replace capacitors is pretty simple. But what about the mechanical side? 30 years ago a good video service shop would have two techs. One who understood the electronics (which goes way beyond caps) and a mechanical whiz for the transport.

    How many people nowadays can deal with VCR mechanics?
    Quote Quote  
  14. Looks like this discussion is continuing from the other thread.

    Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
    - "Smoothing" is often false observation.
    - Vertical "jitter" (not technical jitter) is rare as well, most often seen on S-VHS-ET playback. I've almost never seen it on straight VHS or S-VHS.
    Despite having mostly positive comments about JVC decks, I must say the smoothing is real - I don't know what else this observation could be. I've found that simply not all video is suitable for JVC filters. Secondly, the vertical "jitter"/bounce is by no means rare IME, I've seen it on straight VHS, SP and LP. But since it's only common on one of my JVCs, it's probably linked to model and/or condition.

    2. No, software HAS NOT been able to 100% replicate VHS filtering yet. And it probably never will.
    No. Tapes all get "the wiggles" that need to be straightened out. There also a severe chroma issue. Both of these are inherent to the format. All tapes have them. You can't say otherwise.
    No. You start with the VCR, removing as much as possible in the analog domain. Only them can many be addressed in the digital domain.
    Other than line correction, which filters can software not replicate? As practical as internal filtering is, it seems crude next to the level of refinement that s/w offers. I also think that post-processing is most effective with a "clean" slate. The more raw info = the more s/w has to work with = the better the results.

    But to my main point, regarding prosumer VCRs in 2014. The prosumer VCR seems to have been recommended for three reasons, them being a) line TBC, b) picture filters, and c) build quality. Literally all those reasons are in question now.

    Line TBC - There is a total consensus here on using the DMR-ES10/15 DVD recorders instead, which you recommended yourself. Powerful line TBC and frame sync in a device that's cheap, plentiful, and has no cons other than the extra A/D. Passthrough has been widely tested and reported clean.
    Picture filters - Again, I don't consider internal filters as significant unless it's for practical reasons, or capturing directly to a delivery format. Software is far more advanced in this area.
    Build quality - The only thing that matters IMO. Sadly, these VCRs are in questionable shape today. Some are just fubar. I consider myself lucky to have even found a reputable seller (eventually) that was also a tech - it's the only reason I know how good these models can get. And even harder than finding a good unit is finding someone able to service such complex units.

    Lately I've been on the Videokarma forum (which seems to be occupied by techs) reading up on alternate options - plain but reliable models that are well-built and easily repairable. I believe that's the way to go. For a newbie I'd recommend a simple S-VHS VCR that tracks their tapes well; it may be what they already own. No need to get involved in this money pit unless you run a conversion service.

    I don't like buying the hardware and maintaining it -- and paying for it -- any more than anyone else. If easy software methods existed, great, I'd be doing it. But it does not. (And to be honest, I'd be without a career if video was an easy task. But video is not quick nor easy. It is what it is.)
    Indeed. All the more reason not to make such an investment - you are an expert. Even if Joe buys the kind of h/w you have (as many of us have), does not mean he can get expert results. But he can get much improved, good results, at a fraction of the price and risk. All I say here, I say with respect, we just disagree on this.

    PS: HERE is a good post by Orsetto for all to read, on the topic of AG-1980 repairs.
    Quote Quote  
  15. Member PuzZLeR's Avatar
    Join Date: Oct 2006
    Location: Toronto Canada
    Search Comp PM
    Originally Posted by SixFiftyThree View Post
    Looks like this discussion is continuing from the other thread.
    Just for the record, the thread fragments SixFiftyThree is referring to are here:

    http://forum.videohelp.com/threads/226218-Panasonic-AG-7750-is-it-worth-it-for-VHS-DVD
    I hate VHS. I always did.
    Quote Quote  
  16. Member PuzZLeR's Avatar
    Join Date: Oct 2006
    Location: Toronto Canada
    Search Comp PM
    Originally Posted by lordsmurf
    I don't wish to come off rude here, but some of your hard assertions require equally harsh rebuttals.
    I'm not offended at all. I'm enjoying a learning process on my end as well, so thank you for coming back and chiming in.

    But I'm not convinced – not that you’re wrong – but many of my points are about the current era of failing VCRs. I can’t encourage others, with a good conscience, to get a high end VCR today when it’s likely they can acquire a Pandora's Box.

    I do however take back the term “super” VCR, meant no offense, just lacked the proper terminology for them (yet the term "super" comes in some ways from the "S" in "S-VHS").

    Originally Posted by lordsmurf
    I'm really just dumbfounded that I even have to have this conversation.

    One of my first posts back, and it had to be this. I'm disappointed.
    I'm sorry you feel that way, but things have changed, and will continue to. But this is not any personal attack on you, or who's right or wrong. But from my point of view, many of the experts' claims/warnings, albiet many valid at start, have been quelled.

    We know that the dispute against using (NTSC) DV for VHS was only a decoder problem of older software as the 4:1:1 format is more than sufficient for VHS'es low color space. We also know that ATI-recommended capture hardware is very good, but is problematic in modern systems, and having an ATI-only stance is not correct any longer when good comparable tools have come out since (ex: the REAL ezcap.tv and USB-Live2). As well, the claims of DVR pass-throughs, like the ES10, having posterization/DCT artifacts, have been proven unfounded (as even I believed this at first).

    So I'm not convinced 100% with capture methods demonstrated some 10 years ago (even when they were awesome back then) being all that better than newer methods in recent years, especially with playback hardware aging, being extinct new, or endangered since (and I include proc amps, detailers, and TBCs too).

    Originally Posted by lordsmurf
    Originally Posted by PuzZLeR
    good tracking VCR and a good sharp picture with details. A good brand 4-head VCR can accomplish this, and post processing can take care of much else.
    No. Tapes all get "the wiggles" that need to be straightened out. There also a severe chroma issue. Both of these are inherent to the format. All tapes have them. You can't say otherwise.
    No, I can’t say otherwise, but I'm not convinced that having a high end, or professional, VCR would be a cure here either, or much progress in the way of improvements with such flaws inherent in source no matter how good the VCR is.

    If you have a VCR that tracks well (as "straight" a picture as can be possible given the nature of tape) and minimizes tape drift, and has good sharp details – which a good model “ordinary” VCR (likely from a good brand) should do - I really (honestly!) can't see what more you'd need at the capture level, when much else can be enhanced in post-processing – including emulating/surpassing the processing filters under the hood of a high-end VCR.

    Most will agree - today - that denoising at the software level is vastly superior to those wares available at the internal level.

    I have already proven in an adjacent thread that much of the shaking/shimmering can be corrected somewhat (but I'd say more "well-hidden" ) in post-processing, if it’s minimal from a good commonplace VCR.

    http://forum.videohelp.com/threads/226218-Panasonic-AG-7750-is-it-worth-it-for-VHS-DVD

    So can many chroma issues too if one wishes a demonstration.

    I’m not going to say which is “better” (high end VCR or ordinary VCR) but honestly, the net result after good post-processing from an ordinary good clean VCR's output - hypothetically, even IF inferior - will NOT be significantly inferior.

    Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
    Originally Posted by PuzZLeR View Post
    As well, we all know that the super JVCs have issues (smoothing of video, tearing, plasticky output, overcompensating internal line TBC that creates MORE jitter, etc)
    No. I have no idea where you get that.
    - Sometimes, yes, it's rare, the TBC can cause more damage than it fixes; mostly tearing. The tape signal is too fubar. That exists on all other VCRs and external TBCs too.
    - "Smoothing" is often false observation.
    - Vertical "jitter" (not technical jitter) is rare as well, most often seen on S-VHS-ET playback. I've almost never seen it on straight VHS or S-VHS.
    No, it's not rare. The higher end JVCs tend to be guilty of yielding an over-processed look under the guise of “clean”, “crisp” and “colourful” as well as that jitter too, and it’s not just lonesome me that makes this claim (depending on tape of course). Needless to say, this can be destructive for some captures.

    Also, when I lose the cute girl's freckles I'm not too impressed (want a sample?), especially when a commonplace VCR, at a fraction of the price, is showing them clearly.

    Yes, the tearing exists on other VCRs, but many do much better with this problem, on many particularly older tapes, than the JVC high end units.

    Originally Posted by lordsmurf
    and the Panasonic AG-1980 (assuming it's not a battered unit in 2014) has that DNR that can't be turned off ...
    This is wrong. The AG-1980 filters can all be turned off.
    Then please show me how to disable it so I can get better quality from those captures the DNR ruins on several tapes. As well, I’d like to know what the other "features", such as the "AUTO/WIDE/NOR" and "DETAIL/NOR/EDIT" do when I believe they are 99% useless. Also, the internal field-based TBC of the 1980 is just that – useless – and a scrambler of fields in that it almost always outputs the wrong field order, which can be disastrous in an editing workflow. Furthermore, back to the JVC a moment: if you can show me how to disable either the TBC or the DNR, so each can work unilaterally upon user choice (which is a pain on many tapes otherwise) it would make for a better VCR.

    Honestly, using these VCRs - not just their quirks but especially in tandem with their defects today - can make me hate my life.

    Originally Posted by lordsmurf
    Originally Posted by PuzZLeR
    ...and a sharpener that fries video.
    The sharpener's "0" (unity) setting is actually below 0 on the slider. It has halos and pumps up noise ("detail") at or above 0. Sometimes that's desirable, however, as VHS can do with some more detail. You likely have bad caps in your unit, if you're having errors that "fries" video. (I've seen it myself. It was bad caps that did it. Fix it. I did.)
    It’s easy to blame it on a failing part. Wait, it’s 2014 – you have a point, which is my point too in my assertions.

    Regardless, the 1980 can acquire detail from sharpening, but there's a huge frying effect which begins at about the 60%-80% slider mark (depending on tape) which defeats the purpose. I don't think this is capacitor-only related.

    Even worse, at even lower slider levels, there definitely is an inflection point in the sharpness slider where the curve reveals no further detail, only noise. The sharpness beyond this lower point, well before the frying later, is artificial, not natural to detail, and also can be damaging, and unnecessary when it can be bettered by a number of AviSynth methods or VirtualDub filters if one wishes a sharper look. Or you can use a detailer in the chain.

    Conventional wisdom, in some opinions (but not necessarily mine), does dictate that most sharpening shouldn’t be done at the capture level anyway, only after in post-processing. (Not my words here.)

    Having said that, even if my 1980's sharpener is, or isn't, dysfunctional, it would still be in question, and arguably un-necessary today if not counter-productive.

    Originally Posted by lordsmurf
    Originally Posted by PuzZLeR
    The AG-1970, another super VCR, plain sucks. I have all three.
    The AG-1970 indeed is not great. Better than a normal VHS VCR, but not great. I'd pay under $100 for one at most.
    I spent about $40US late 2013 for it which I believe is S&D market rate currently (but more than that on S&H, which, as you know, is a SUPER HEAVY unit, as well as the AG-1980). Not crying over a few bucks, but it was a waste of time since the employment I give it now is to only be a rewind/forward/cue machine to save wear-and-tear on my other VCRs I actually WANT to use for capturing.

    And the AG-1970 has a horrible picture that is inferior to many good ordinary VCRs. It really is bad. Saying “not great” is a complement.

    Originally Posted by lordsmurf
    And you can't argue with the fact that much of the picture integrity is compromised by these filters. And, all those filters on super VCRs are old-tech - like 10-20 years old now. Yes, an advantage is that they're internal at playback, but they are so inferior compared to modern external methods that one needs to reconsider them.
    I don't agree at all.
    1. VHS is a 35+ year old format. VCRs in the late 90s and early 2000s were the peak of performance.
    2. No, software HAS NOT been able to 100% replicate VHS filtering yet. And it probably never will.
    And post-processing doesn't work as well when there's already been a layer of filtering from a super VCR. I personally prefer to work with a clean (albiet dirty) slate.
    No. You start with the VCR, removing as much as possible in the analog domain. Only them can many be addressed in the digital domain.
    Today, in 2014 especially, computer software can tremendously outdo many from those internal VCRs' that is tech from as early as the mid-90s - especially when post-processing has a developmental advantage of 10-15 years since (and counting) - an eternity in computer resources tech (as do denoisers and sharpeners mentioned previously and many color enhancers too). Some high end VCRs would add extra RAM to process, which would be petty for today.

    Yes, I will not argue when you say it is better to start with the VCR itself. This is Golden. Having such filters at the playback level is truly an undisputed “home advantage”.

    This is Golden however only if the internal filters aren’t mediocre or bad in some cases (depending on tape). Such VCR filters, and their techniques, are not only old, but they’re very fixed and limited parameter-wise, and no longer as effective as modern ones. Worse - many are failing from aging units.

    My point, and analogy, is that if the "home team" has vastly inferior, and aging, players, it becomes more appealing to don the "road team’s" uniform instead when they have far superior players now - even if you have to get it done in a foreign stadium (external medium).

    Originally Posted by lordsmurf
    Originally Posted by PuzZLeR
    But if you're willing to go through the headaches of post-processing, that gap closes considerably since much of that can be corrected.
    What you call "headache" I call the video capture process. If you want a quick/cheap method, fine. But don't dare make it out as if proper methods are outdated or not suggested.
    Yes, using the term "headache(s)" was inappropriate, when, if you have passion for it, it's a Labor of Love. But I do believe when working with many high end VCRs today - that have a high probability of being abused and failing units currently – it would indeed be a major headache.

    You can give me the best capture workflow - and I know you can better than most in the entire world - but if the playback unit has problems, and most will, it's all moot.

    Originally Posted by lordsmurf
    Originally Posted by PuzZLeR
    ]If you don't want to post-process, you are better off with a (working) super VCR. So I will partially agree.
    Post-captured footage still often needs processing. But at least now, you can make a tape look better than the original, using hardware. Most of the VHS flaws are now eliminated. That's always the goal of RESTORATION (this forum) -- which I helped found FYI, more than 10 years ago -- not half-ass "conversion".
    And I thank you. Much of my confidence in post-processing was indeed from the mentioned knowledge bases.

    Originally Posted by lordsmurf
    Originally Posted by PuzZLeR View Post
    Assuming the repair facility is knowledgeable, has parts available in 2014, is honest, then maybe you may have a point.
    Capacitors are always going to be available. Modern electronics all require them.
    Originally Posted by PuzZLeR
    At any rate, weren't some models, particularly the AG-1980 made to be serviced, much like a vehicle, every so often (much less than 5-10 year intervals)?
    No. The caps issues was unforeseen back in the late 90s. Many items are affected by bad caps -- not just VCRs, or even this brand of VCR. Other that that, routine cleaning is needed, and watching the head wear.
    Sorry my friend, but this I don’t believe.

    I wasn’t referring to simply replacing a capacitor or three.

    I’m referring to the boards themselves, which are full of capacitors, and are not available new any longer. In the days then, boards would need to get swapped every so often, and I believe much more frequently than 5-10 years. But this was not a problem since they were so available, as well as the servicing for them. When one would die out, no problem. Swap it. Easy fix.

    But today? With no such boards available new from a factory process long gone? I’m sure you looked under the hood of a 1980. Are you kidding me?

    Yes, you can get it brand new again for another 5-10 years (if that long) if you replace a board. Today it would be replacing capacitors, one by one, and would be at par with brain surgery. And it wouldn’t be nearly as reliable as an OEM procedure.

    And outsourced it would be an expensive, ongoing, and never-ending procedure, that is if it’s effective and from an entity you can trust. I simply wouldn't bother.

    You can recommend it. I won't. Good luck.

    Originally Posted by lordsmufl
    I don't like buying the hardware and maintaining it -- and paying for it -- any more than anyone else. If easy software methods existed, great, I'd be doing it. But it does not. (And to be honest, I'd be without a career if video was an easy task. But video is not quick nor easy. It is what it is.)

    If you want to do a good job, buy the tools. For VHS, that means good VCRs and TBCs -- among other items.
    I wasn’t saying anything was easy, or using any quick fix. It took me months to develop post-processing techniques and many, many late nights. I would not hesitate to warn others of this too.

    I was merely pointing to a reasonable alternative route to get, arguably, at worst, comparable quality given the available resources today.

    Computer resources (CPU, RAM, HDD space, software, etc) have increased greatly. VCR resources (supply, reliability, tech, TBCs, proc amps, etc) have decreased greatly. You can’t argue with this fact. The "X" on this graph couldn't be anything less than apparent.

    I’m sorry we disagree my friend. I mean no disrespect, especially when many of your posts were/are indeed very useful to me over the years, and from those found in searches themselves. Thank you for that.

    My frustrations are mostly based on failing units today (and certainly have nothing to do with you). And I'm not saying such units wouldn't be an excellent choice otherwise for a number of particular workflows.
    Last edited by PuzZLeR; 29th Apr 2014 at 15:19.
    I hate VHS. I always did.
    Quote Quote  
  17. A little more to add, seeing as the discussion has broadened in scope.

    Originally Posted by PuzZLeR View Post
    We also know that ATI-recommended capture hardware is very good, but is problematic in modern systems, and having an ATI-only stance is not correct any longer when good comparable tools have come out since (ex: the REAL ezcap.tv and USB-Live2).
    Something of interest - I use the ATI-600 for lossless capturing, and have always thought the EzCap inferior - though never used one. But based on a comparison I've recently seen, quality looks identical. They may be based on the same chip, as the 600 was the only TV stick that wasn't an original ATI design (compared to 550, 650, 750). Unlike the ATI, however, the EzCap continues to receive official support. I may get one and compare its performance sometime. I can't claim that it's on par till I do (though I'm hopeful). Perhaps a user of it may offer more insight.

    So I'm not convinced 100% with capture methods demonstrated some 10 years ago (even when they were awesome back then) being all that better than newer methods in recent years, especially with playback hardware aging, being extinct new, or endangered since (and I include proc amps, detailers, and TBCs too).
    As an example of exactly this, I don't even have experience with the recommended standalone proc amps or detailers (Elite, Signvideo) because it proved impossible to obtain PAL units. After a while I just gave up, and I'm glad I did. I don't doubt their effectiveness, but they too reportedly had side effects. It's just too much A/D for me, unless the capture card's proc amp isn't enough or a different workflow is required. To date, the only external proc amp I've used is on the CTB-100.

    And don't even get me started on external TBCs. It's a problem with no reliable or affordable solution. The previously mentioned DMR-ESxx machines will optimise the signal enough by providing frame sync, but if dealing with MV issues, you're screwed. You can either spend hundreds on a used, discontinued Datavideo, or spend hundreds on a new AVT-8710 which will likely be defective as they mostly are now. This is another area where new solutions are required, because the h/w that was recommended is no longer ideal in one way or another (or in many).

    No, I can’t say otherwise, but I'm not convinced that having a high end, or professional, VCR would be a cure here either, or much progress in the way of improvements with such flaws inherent in source no matter how good the VCR is.
    Well no, in this case a prosumer VCR does provide the cure since it has line TBC and chroma noise suppression to specifically resolve those problems. It is not only the thing capable of resolving them however. Agree with your other points about using an ordinary, well-tracking VCR. Ideally it would also have ability to adjust the picture (most do).

    And outsourced it would be an expensive, ongoing, and never-ending procedure, that is if it’s effective and from an entity you can trust. I simply wouldn't bother
    Agree. Still, I could adopt the opposite point of view and say OK, perhaps you guys still have some good techs available for a reasonable price. But for anyone outside the US with PAL machines? Nope. The cost of shipping a unit like that, back and forth, and the cost of repairs, is simply prohibitive - not to mention a waste unless it's for a profitable conversion service.

    Computer resources (CPU, RAM, HDD space, software, etc) have increased greatly. VCR resources (supply, reliability, tech, TBCs, proc amps, etc) have decreased greatly. You can’t argue with this fact. The "X" on this graph couldn't be anything less than apparent.
    Worth repeating.

    Lastly, on the topic of your AG-1980. I own a couple of NV-FS200s, the closest PAL counterpart. They are similar but not identical. To describe my settings - I don't have"DETAIL/NOR/EDIT" for instance, but rather "NOISE FILTER/OFF/EDIT" in addition to the big picture slider. "NOISE FILTER" does as written, it's a crude noise filter that the manual recommends for 2nd gen tapes (it is compounded with the DNR). "OFF" disables the noise filter, but keeps the DNR. On either setting, you can still additionally control the sharpness with the slider. "EDIT", however, disables both the slider and DNR, for a fixed, raw output.

    Regarding the TBC, it is independant of the DNR, unlike JVC's. I actually consider the NV-FS200 TBC very effective, without the issues that you brought up. I have seen it malfunction though with strange results. I also don't recommend pushing the slider for sharpness, as it already oversharpens at mid/neutral. Given this model's long production run, I think year plays a large role in performance, as my two units perform very differently to each other in general and I'm assuming production gap is the reason. I have a lot to say about this model but will have to end it here for now.
    Last edited by SixFiftyThree; 29th Apr 2014 at 21:14.
    Quote Quote  
  18. Member turk690's Avatar
    Join Date: Jul 2003
    Location: ON, Canada
    Search Comp PM
    Originally Posted by PuzZLeR View Post
    Today it would be replacing capacitors, one by one, and would be at par with brain surgery. And it wouldn’t be nearly as reliable as an OEM procedure.
    I replace capacitors, some boards have hundreds of them, in my line of work. Not really brain surgery, you just have to have a deft weller hand. In fact, 80s and 90s electronics are easier to tinker with because they don't have SMDs yet. Last year I replaced all electrolytic caps in someone's intermittent JVC s8000, which were originally 85°C, with new smaller genuine panasonic & rubycon 105°C types, and polyester-film types. Sprang back to life as if it were the 90s again
    Stop feeling suicidal just because he unfriended you on fezbuk.
    Quote Quote  
  19. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
    Join Date: Jun 2003
    Location: dFAQ.us/lordsmurf
    Search Comp PM
    We know that the dispute against using (NTSC) DV for VHS was only a decoder problem of older software as the 4:1:1 format is more than sufficient for VHS'es low color space.
    No. It wasn't just a decider, and the issue a color loss. DV was never intended to convert video, and this is the harsh side effect of using it as such.

    but many of my points are about the current era of failing VCRs
    I think you're being overly dramatic. There world of VHS is not a junkyard from some post-apocalytic movie. There are just as many good decks (of the good models) as there are bad. It just happens that many are now hitting that 10-year mark for bad caps, and need a quick fix.

    We also know that ATI-recommended capture hardware is very good, but is problematic in modern systems, and having an ATI-only stance is not correct any longer when good comparable tools have come out since (ex: the REAL ezcap.tv and USB-Live2).
    Real or fake, EzCap is terrible. It has a whole list of flaws. What you need to understand is that video capturing is "time locked" (to borrow from Doctor Who!) It will always be 2006 for analog video. Nothing better really existed beyond that date. It only gets worse. You need Windows XP systems for the best results and software. But this should not be an issue -- build a cheap "old" computer for capturing.

    As well, the claims of DVR pass-throughs, like the ES10, having posterization/DCT artifacts, have been proven unfounded (as even I believed this at first).
    It appears to be a deck-by-deck issues, not a model issues. Panasonic DVD QC strikes again. Others have seen this as well. It's not just me.

    Most will agree - today - that denoising at the software level is vastly superior to those wares available at the internal level.
    I would suggest that software NR has been better since 2001. But the reason you use the S-VHS decks is (again) chroma and jitter. Feel free to turn off NR if you hate it -- but most people do find it useful, especially on 1-pass DVD recorder methods.

    So can many chroma issues too if one wishes a demonstration.
    I can too, but better chroma NR is still do via hardware. Maybe in another 5-10 years that will change. It took 5-10 to get the tools we have now. I remember what it was like 15 years ago.

    The higher end JVCs tend to be guilty of yielding an over-processed look under the guise of “clean”, “crisp” and “colourful” as well as that jitter too, and it’s not just lonesome me that makes this claim (depending on tape of course). Needless to say, this can be destructive for some captures.
    The JVC has truer colors than a Panasonic, FYI.

    Yes, the tearing exists on other VCRs, but many do much better with this problem, on many particularly older tapes, than the JVC high end units.
    Again, I think you're overstating things for the melodramatic.

    As well, I’d like to know what the other "features", such as the "AUTO/WIDE/NOR" and "DETAIL/NOR/EDIT" do when I believe they are 99% useless.
    It's a long story. In short, Panasonic never used them either. Those are useless.

    Also, the internal field-based TBC of the 1980 is just that – useless – and a scrambler of fields in that it almost always outputs the wrong field order, which can be disastrous in an editing workflow.
    Then your deck is defective. I've seen what you're describing, on a deck with fubar caps.

    Conventional wisdom, in some opinions (but not necessarily mine), does dictate that most sharpening shouldn’t be done at the capture level anyway, only after in post-processing. (Not my words here.)
    Honestly, aside from slight dedicated detailer use, sharpening is not suggested. It depends on mode, content, and condition. Sometimes the Panasonic or JVc sharpening is good. But in most cases, leave it alone. All you do is increase ringing.

    And the AG-1970 has a horrible picture that is inferior to many good ordinary VCRs. It really is bad. Saying “not great” is a complement.
    Again, if you are having "horrible" picture, it's likely caps.

    Today, in 2014 especially, computer software can tremendously outdo many from those internal VCRs' that is tech from as early as the mid-90s - especially when post-processing has a developmental advantage of 10-15 years since (and counting) - an eternity in computer resources tech (as do denoisers and sharpeners mentioned previously and many color enhancers too). Some high end VCRs would add extra RAM to process, which would be petty for today.
    Your only argument so far is it's "old" and "does stuff" better. What I don't get is your argument is counter-intuitive. You suggest it's harder, then instead suggest doing EVEN HARDER stuff in software. Yes, hitting 'play' on a good VCR is loads easier than running Avisynth/VirtualDub. Home users must REALLY love video to go that route!

    I’m referring to the boards themselves, which are full of capacitors, and are not available new any longer. In the days then, boards would need to get swapped every so often, and I believe much more frequently than 5-10 years. But this was not a problem since they were so available, as well as the servicing for them. When one would die out, no problem. Swap it. Easy fix.
    Needing to swap boards is rare. They're not consumer crap, and do not die that easy.

    post-processing
    This is driving me nuts now. Post-capture processing? Post-editing? "Post" is big. Your source is already a "post" of some kind.

    VCR resources (supply, reliability, tech, TBCs, proc amps, etc) have decreased greatly.
    This doesn't make any sense. The hardware from the peak era of analog is all still viable. Studios still rack this gear.

    I’m sorry we disagree my friend. I mean no disrespect, especially when many of your posts were/are indeed very useful to me over the years, and from those found in searches themselves. Thank you for that. My frustrations are mostly based on failing units today (and certainly have nothing to do with you). And I'm not saying such units wouldn't be an excellent choice otherwise for a number of particular workflows.
    I think you're just trying to push analog video into the 21st century, but the brakes have been on for years now. You can call things "old" all you want, but it's not true. Even many Avisynth/VirtualDub porcessing is "old" as well. Some are even older than the equipment you're railing against. So, you're whole argument sort of flops.

    I still remember when ATI and Matrox did the whole "with new CPU/RAM/computers, you'll get more power!" But that wasn't true either. The speed of newer computers were completely meaningless, as this is video and not software.
    Last edited by lordsmurf; 5th May 2014 at 09:20. Reason: typos
    Want my help? Ask here! (not via PM!)
    FAQs: Best Blank DiscsBest TBCsBest VCRs for captureRestore VHS
    Quote Quote  
  20. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
    Join Date: Jun 2003
    Location: dFAQ.us/lordsmurf
    Search Comp PM
    This is another area where new solutions are required, because the h/w that was recommended is no longer ideal in one way or another (or in many).
    The best gear is all second-hand now. There's several TBC-1000's on eBay right now, and tend to be at all times. Quite a few stores have them new (old stock) -- just not B&H and a few major chains that once carried them.

    Regarding the TBC, it is independant of the DNR, unlike JVC's. I actually consider the NV-FS200 TBC very effective, without the issues that you brought up.
    The Panasonic TBC is "full field" (multi-line). It has it's uses.
    Want my help? Ask here! (not via PM!)
    FAQs: Best Blank DiscsBest TBCsBest VCRs for captureRestore VHS
    Quote Quote  
  21. Member PuzZLeR's Avatar
    Join Date: Oct 2006
    Location: Toronto Canada
    Search Comp PM
    I think you're being overly dramatic.
    Ranting is more accurate.

    After many recent posts saying these units are failing, and after purchasing 5 such units myself, 2 dead, 2 still failing, 1 defective as you say, then especially more-so when I purchase 2 common VCRs, that work very reliably, and with every tape, and after post processing produce excellent results.

    What's funny is that I can sell off the 3 remaining high-end units as "working" if I want to be shady, just like those sellers doing it right now all over eBay. So I still say to the O/P - Buyer Beware.

    But even you agree with me, at least somewhat, here, and in the other thread, about issues:

    It appears to be a deck-by-deck issues, not a model issues. Panasonic DVD QC strikes again. Others have seen this as well. It's not just me. ... Then your deck is defective. I've seen what you're describing, on a deck with fubar caps. ... Again, if you are having "horrible" picture, it's likely caps. ... You likely have bad caps in your unit, if you're having errors that "fries" video. (I've seen it myself. It was bad caps that did it. Fix it. I did.) ... Many items are affected by bad caps ... JVC QC was poo-poo on the SR-V10 and 101 (rebadged 7900). It can still be bad. I had to fix 1-2 "new" ones myself. The VCR is fine, and JVC took a heavy beating for the EOL final models.
    And this is interesting:

    There are just as many good decks (of the good models) as there are bad. It just happens that many are now hitting that 10-year mark for bad caps, and need a quick fix.
    The quick fix is not easy today.

    And there are many, many, many more good working common VCRs, from good brands, available, even sold new in chains only a few years ago, even sold new today from many sellers at a fraction of the price and headache. This is a much more reliable choice today.

    This is driving me nuts now. Post-capture processing? Post-editing? "Post" is big.
    Yes, I talk about it lots since I love the results!

    In the context of our discussion, it’s the cleaning up of the dirty signal found from an ordinary composite VCR: crosstalk, much more noise, chroma dancing, snow dots, etc., all easily corrected and net result closes the quality gap considerably between them and using high end VCRs.

    And I'm probably driving you nuts about failing high-end VCRs, but this is now all over the place. Then again, they drove ME nuts. I honestly, honestly wish I could use a high-end VCR, and would consider your advice, but I just haven't had any luck with them, and know my fortune won't change for the better in 2014 and on if I continue purchasing them.

    I think you're just trying to push analog video into the 21st century, but the brakes have been on for years now.
    Breaks are fine. Failures are not and my push isn’t choice, since the thought of software methods for an analog format do seem rather unnatural. I admit. Which leads me to my next point…

    Your only argument so far is it's "old" and "does stuff" better. What I don;t get is you're argument is counter-intuitive. You suggest it's harder, then instead suggest does EVEN HARDER stuff in software. Yes, hitting 'play' on a good VCR is loads easier than running Avisynth/VirtualDub. Home users must REALLY love video to go that route!
    If these high end VCRs worked today as they did 10-20 years ago, I wouldn’t bother with post-processing. Some, but not like this, when now I have to clean out all that “dirt” from commonplace VCRs.

    Disregard for the moment which methods/output/result I prefer. What I’m really advocating is certainty and stability in this day and age.

    Yes, post-processing is a commitment. It lengthens the workflow cycle. But it gets the job done today instead of messing with a high-end unit that is very likely flaky. But after learning a few post-processing techniques, it becomes rhythm and easy, and unattended work in batches, etc. And it gets the job done and avoids the variables added, even at the micro level of tape to tape, from using a high-end VCR.

    The commonplace VCRs I have work every time.

    And you can get 3-5 of them for the price of one high end VCR, and diversify your portfolio, increase certainty and results. Invest in post-processing today! A financial planner would love these words.

    I still remember when ATI and Matrox did the whole "with new CPU/RAM/computers, you'll get more power!" But that wasn't true either. The speed of newer computers were completely meaningless, as this is video and not software.
    True - higher speed doesn’t make many of the post-processing filters more effective. However it makes them more realisitic to employ, and more horsepower in CPU/RAM motivates development into new ideas/revisions/tunings not dared attempted before.

    For example, how motivated would the team at Neat Video be with home/biz computer resources available, say, in 2001, and how eager would its target audience be to use software that processed a two hour VHS capture in “only 400 hours”? Or what would H.264 development be like in 1986 with encode times of 1f/HOUR on an XT?

    Video processing was around a while, but it’s ever more realistic today on a home setup.

    You can call things "old" all you want, but it's not true. Even many Avisynth/VirtualDub porcessing is "old" as well. Some are even older than the equipment you're railing against. So, you're whole argument sort of flops.
    It wouldn’t flop if I can make the counter-argument that s/w is only as old as its latest version, and most of the good s/w tools – origin notwithstanding - with subsequent revisions over time are 10-15 years up on any VCR tech. That, and the advancements in computer hardware to make it possible.

    No. It wasn't just a decider, and the issue a color loss. DV was never intended to convert video, and this is the harsh side effect of using it as such.
    I’m not going to get into the decoder issue that’s been rehashed a thousand times. But what is the "harsh side"?

    Yes, DV was intended to be a camera format, and edit friendly, and it’s quite fixed, and never meant for VHS, but that doesn’t mean it can’t do VHS regardless. Quality differences between DV and lossless are so minor for low-band VHS in final result, especially as a final archival file.

    What is it we’re all missing?

    Something of interest - I use the ATI-600 for lossless capturing, and have always thought the EzCap inferior - though never used one. But based on a comparison I've recently seen, quality looks identical. They may be based on the same chip, as the 600 was the only TV stick that wasn't an original ATI design (compared to 550, 650, 750). Unlike the ATI, however, the EzCap continues to receive official support. I may get one and compare its performance sometime. I can't claim that it's on par till I do (though I'm hopeful). Perhaps a user of it may offer more insight.
    The ezcap.tv (the real one) uses an EMPIA 28XX chipset, a similar architecture to the ATI 600’s 2880. I have both devices, and my quality tests show no conclusiveness of any being better. I do believe default proc amp settings (sharp, sat, cont, etc) may be different at the chip level, which can be adjusted.

    However a huge advantage the ezcap.tv has is that it works in modern systems without issue, and has current and active support for it. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it.

    Real or fake, EzCap is terrible. It has a whole list of flaws. What you need to understand is that video capturing is "time locked" (to borrow from Doctor Who!) It will always be 2006 for analog video. Nothing better really existed beyond that date. It only gets worse. You need Windows XP systems for the best results and software. But this should not be an issue -- build a cheap "old" computer for capturing.
    The flaws I believe you refer to are clear with the fakes, but I don’t understand which flaws with the real one. I do notice there may be an oversharpening with the ezcap.tv, but that’s just a default setting that can be adjusted.

    As for "time locked", I do agree up until maybe even 2007, but that doesn’t mean comparable products, haven’t come out since. Not necessarily better, so you have a point, but still new.

    Yes, I love my dedicated XP capture box with the ATI 600, that I use, but, honestly, can only recommend this setup with the fact that both device and O/S are discontinued.
    I hate VHS. I always did.
    Quote Quote  
  22. Member PuzZLeR's Avatar
    Join Date: Oct 2006
    Location: Toronto Canada
    Search Comp PM
    Originally Posted by turk690 View Post
    Originally Posted by PuzZLeR View Post
    Today it would be replacing capacitors, one by one, and would be at par with brain surgery. And it wouldn’t be nearly as reliable as an OEM procedure.
    I replace capacitors, some boards have hundreds of them, in my line of work. Not really brain surgery, you just have to have a deft weller hand. In fact, 80s and 90s electronics are easier to tinker with because they don't have SMDs yet. Last year I replaced all electrolytic caps in someone's intermittent JVC s8000, which were originally 85°C, with new smaller genuine panasonic & rubycon 105°C types, and polyester-film types. Sprang back to life as if it were the 90s again
    I think you're talking about I/Cs, those more commonly found in the JVCs. What about the discrete components in the Panasonic AG-1980?
    I hate VHS. I always did.
    Quote Quote  
  23. Member Deter's Avatar
    Join Date: Dec 2007
    Location: United States
    Search Comp PM
    I fixed two of these units over the winter it took me at least 4 months, was it worth the time? The answer was no. But neither machine had a picture to start with so they were built from the ground up.

    Is it worth $300 ? It is worth $1,000 to get one of these units working correct.

    It is a dead market, aka VCR's, they were never supposed to be re-built when they first made them. So who really knows how to fix them? They will tell you they can to get your money, but the odds are they never truly fix the machine.

    My own AG unit I repaired twice it cost me around $700 and I did all the work, but this machine is a powerhouse unit. I will sell that one but nobody would pay the price it is worth.
    Quote Quote  
  24. Member Deter's Avatar
    Join Date: Dec 2007
    Location: United States
    Search Comp PM
    FYI The Panasonic Broadcast decks have a built in defect in the TBC it creates small vertical lines in the picture, using pass-through devices it is possible to record the tape to digital with out really being able to see this artifact. These are the higher end decks not the 1980 unit.

    To this comment about DETAIL/NOR/EDIT, These are not worthless buttons on the JVC deck, it has a strong effect on the sharpness of the picture, and because of the DNR, some of these tapes can look a tad dull.

    I have said many times it depends on the tape which machine will look the best JVC or AG. At the same time I use the 9800 and the 1980. I found some of the lower JVC models are not as good. Like the 7900 or the two clone Pro-Decks of this model. The 9500 and 9800 to me are pretty much the same machine; same with the 9900. Would say use the 9000's series.
    Last edited by Deter; 15th May 2014 at 19:34.
    Quote Quote  
  25. Member PuzZLeR's Avatar
    Join Date: Oct 2006
    Location: Toronto Canada
    Search Comp PM
    Hi Deter. Don't get me wrong, I would take the advice of Lordsmurf, and others, if I could. I would indeed spend $1000US on a Panasonic AG-1980 if I knew FOR SURE that it is FULLY working/restored.

    I was never looking for a "cheap" solution when I already bought 5 high-end VCRs in recent years. But much of my goodwill has expired after all 5 of them had/have severe problems (2 dead now). And I no longer trust any seller, or repair service, especially since I know I too could sell my 3 remaining high-end VCRs easily as "working". (No, I won't though.)

    But it's not the money, it's the time wasted, and headaches I've been through, on this gear, which I believe are highly more prone to failure and defects. I've moved on. My house will start looking like a museum of dead tech if I continue buying them.

    I've played around again with the 1980's AUTO-WIDE-NOR and DETAIL-NOR-EDIT switches. Even though they may "work", they may as well not. Yes, I think you CAN remove the D/NR from the 1980 (is that what it does?) but the picture is horrid. The 1970's Noise Filter also worsens the picture.

    Speaking of D/NR, or internal TBC, on the 1980, or even the high-end JVCs or Mitsubishis, they can actually do more damage than good on many tapes. But disabling them makes these VCRs no better than an ordinary VCR, so what's the point?

    Maybe there is an advantage to using a high-end VCR, but is it huge enough to go through the trouble and expense? I honestly haven't seen it as long as an ordinary good clean VCR can capture a well-tracked picture and with sharp detail. I still see issues with line correction with any VCR I've used, and all somewhat corrected with an external line based TBC (such as the Panasonic ES10/ES15). Anything else is pretty much repairable in the software stage afterwards (noise, crosstalk, chroma dancing, small jitters, random spots, etc.)

    As well, these high-end VCRs offer features that are so outdated, not just their filters. For example, who does editing in the analog stage today? Who cares to record with them either?

    I may have offended some people who are passionate about these units, but that was not my intent. I still find good uses for my high-end VCRs, but honestly, my life's been so much easier since I purchased two nice, clean, 4-head, ordinary backup VCRs (no combo units) - at a fraction of the price (although money wasn't the reason), and many are available brand new today. After years of this project moving on and off, it's finally on a roll now. I'm in the final stretch now, and will finally be done this year.

    I hate VHS. I always did.
    I hate VHS. I always did.
    Quote Quote  
  26. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
    Join Date: Jun 2003
    Location: dFAQ.us/lordsmurf
    Search Comp PM
    Originally Posted by PuzZLeR View Post
    I hate VHS. I always did.
    Just FYI, we agree on this.

    I remember being pissed at the quality issues back in 1992, when I started in seriously on this hobby (later a career). Thankfully, quality was easier to obtain in later years, because of hardware like the one in the thread (AG 1980), and others (JVC, etc), plus some of the Avisynth/VirtaulDub methods you like. Without ALL of these tools, VHS would still be crap. Now it's less than crap. It's tolerable.
    Want my help? Ask here! (not via PM!)
    FAQs: Best Blank DiscsBest TBCsBest VCRs for captureRestore VHS
    Quote Quote  
  27. Member PuzZLeR's Avatar
    Join Date: Oct 2006
    Location: Toronto Canada
    Search Comp PM
    Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
    Originally Posted by PuzZLeR View Post
    I hate VHS. I always did.
    Just FYI, we agree on this.

    I remember being pissed at the quality issues back in 1992, when I started in seriously on this hobby (later a career). Thankfully, quality was easier to obtain in later years, because of hardware like the one in the thread (AG 1980), and others (JVC, etc), plus some of the Avisynth/VirtaulDub methods you like. Without ALL of these tools, VHS would still be crap. Now it's less than crap. It's tolerable.
    Since I can remember, as a kid, working with VHS has been one of the evils of my life since the 80s. Even my harshest words can't justify how I feel about this format for all these years.

    I even remember being one of those freaks, back in the 90s, that had three VCRs in a chain for edits (one for playback, one to play a tape of black footage for transitions, and another to record) with multiple displays. Even when my timing skills became impeccable it was a frustrating, time-consuming, annoying and lossy endeavor. Any project I managed to "complete" still sucked, even in the standards of that day.

    At one point, I said "Screw it. New digital methods will come out one day.", as I noticed with audio, images and documents (CD, MP3, JPG, PDF, etc) - it was inevitable for video. It would be like cutting open a tape, splicing together, clean and easy, without any damage.

    Early digital capture methods for video in the late 90s, and early 2000s, unfortunately sucked. (Yes, there were tools that captured through the printer/parallel port back then to MPEG-1, which cost $400 - can it get worse?) We still had to wait.

    And disappointment, after disappoint, still followed. It either still didn't work, or still looked like garbage, no matter what you did. Lots of burning/melting of products that I hated. (Samsung and GE VCRs. Dazzle anyone? The latter smelled the worst.)

    Until now.

    With my fully equipped dedicated XP box for capturing, and my latest PC for processing, and huge hard drives, and all the amazing capture and software tools available now to make it look (at worst) decent, I've made it a commitment to finish with this format in 2014 when I rescue my content still on it.

    It's got to end. I've spent one too many decades with this format. I think I will burn my tapes and VCRs when I'm done - they can actually burn in purgatory and perdition for all I care. This will be more pleasant than selling them off (which is another reason I won't, as mentioned in my last post). I don't need the money.

    And, since today is my birthday, I've now made it my signature on VideoHelp till I'm done - "I hate VHS. I always did." No birthday gift would be better than ending with this format this year.

    I hate VHS. I always did.
    Last edited by PuzZLeR; 18th May 2014 at 08:56.
    I hate VHS. I always did.
    Quote Quote  
  28. I figured out what the AUTO-WIDE-NOR switch is supposed to do. It has nothing to do with filters. The purpose of the switch is to set a 16:9 widescreen flag on the tape for anamorphic recordings. Its only used when recording tapes and apparently some devices can read the flag and set the video output accordingly.
    Quote Quote  
  29. Member PuzZLeR's Avatar
    Join Date: Oct 2006
    Location: Toronto Canada
    Search Comp PM
    Very perceptive, especially since most here don't record with these units and will easily miss this.

    I'm investigating the DETAIL-NOR-EDIT switch. Not clear on any significant differences between "DETAIL" and "NOR", but EDIT suggests that it could indeed be some form of disabling the D/NR.

    But it's overly grainy/noisy, and has artifacts.
    I hate VHS. I always did.
    Quote Quote  
  30. Originally Posted by Deter View Post
    FYI The Panasonic Broadcast decks have a built in defect in the TBC it creates small vertical lines in the picture, using pass-through devices it is possible to record the tape to digital with out really being able to see this artifact. These are the higher end decks not the 1980 unit.
    The Panasonic AG-DS545/550/555/840/850? Could you expand on this?
    Quote Quote