I am seeking advice and suggestions for VHS tape to digital transfers. Here is my current workflow:
1. VHS tape is played back on a Panasonic PV-D4744S VCR and is recorded directly (via composite A/V cable) to a Panasonic DMR-ES40V DVD recorder and onto a DVD-R, -RW, or +RW.
2. The disc is then copied into a Windows 7 folder with all of the contents of its VIDEO_TS folder intact. This folder is saved on several external hard drives for safe keeping.
3. I then open and import a copy of the .vob files into Premiere Pro CS6, where I minimally scale the video to eliminate the distortions (“VHS tearing”) on the sides and bottom of the VHS source video. The result is very clear video which fits perfectly in a 4:3 project window on my 16:9 HD computer screen with minimal pillarboxing.
It is at the stage of export where I am stuck.
The final DVDs are going to be viewed on a 16:9 widescreen TV, as well as on an iMac computer. I’ve read much about interlaced scanning (VHS, Laserdisc, TV) and progressive scanning (computer, LCD TVs), but I’m still not sure if I can make a DVD which will look proper on both TVs and computers. In addition to the scaling, I am using Premiere to add chapter makers and poster frames to the video, which I wish to then export to either Encore CS6 or NeroVision – I love Nero’s animated 2D and 3D menu selections. What export settings should I use in Premiere which are closest to the original, imported .vob files? I’ve exported some test videos in MPEG2-DVD format to folders, but they are huge compared to the original DVDs made on the standalone recorder, i.e., 12.8GB on Premiere export compared to the 4.7GB import.
Are there settings to make the Premiere export as close to the original DVD import of 4.7GB without sacrificing quality? Should I simply import the sequence into Encore as a timeline and let it perform the heavy lifting of automatically compressing the files to fit on a 4.7GB DVD? NeroVision seems to not accept the MPEG2-DVD files; it “sees” only the .m2v video files and not the .wav audio files.
In a nutshell:
I want to take a raw DVD-R (or -RW, +RW) recorded on a standalone and copy to hard drive, add chapter markers and minimal scaling in Premiere Pro CS6, then export and burn a DVD that will look good on both a 16:9 TV and computer screen.
I'm trying to get this project finished for a soon upcoming family get together. Any suggestions, tips, and general advice would be greatly appreciated.
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Well IMHO there are several issues with your workflow. Your source vobs are interlaced. If you crop ANYTHING from these you will introduce artifacts in to the video when you play them back on a tv. These artifacts will resemble 'combing' on the moving edges.
Secondly, this cropping alters the dimensions of the source. A dvd MUST have a ratio of 740*480 so while the cropped image looks OK on a monitor when you re-scale that back to 720*480 the image will be slightly stretched.
If you must use an NLE like Premiere a better approach is to mask these edges with a small black border so that the AR is retained at 720*480.
I would also work with a mpeg file and not the vobs. Use vob2meg to create a single mpeg file from the entire dvd.
Export from Premiere as a 16:9 dvd with pillar-boxing. Then the image will look correct on both a 16:9 tv and monitor
Considering that you have a deadline coming up, and considering that from your post you seem to be unaware of some serious quality issues, I'd say you're kind of stuck with the equipment and software you have now. I'd say, too, that recording VHS with a DVD/VCR combo is one of the lowest-quality ways of doing it, especially with the poor playback and damaged tapes you described.
At this point you likely don't have time to learn a better way. But to answer one question: the only way to get a standard structured DVD for burning with the software you're using is to export DVD output without doing anything else to the original. You've been using a computer for a while, so you should know by now that most decent media players deinterlace during play, similar to the way a TV playback setup does does it. If you have a lot of noise or poor quality in what you're seeing now, it's because the original has big problems. It wasn't captured correctly and inferior hardware recorded it, and then more damage was created with the processing you described.
Premiere Pro is good stuff. But you don't have a handle on the technical aspects of your source well enough to use Adobe to its advantage. This isn't the time to go into a crash course on VHS transfer and there doesn't seem to be enough time for you to pick up on it. Without that knowledge and some better methods, What you have now is as good as it will get.
If you have tearing (what we usually call "flagging") in your recordings, it's a common problem that's solved with hardware you don't have. It should be cleared up during recording, not after. Even if you had some of that hardware, you can't use it with a DVD/VCR combo. Likely you have other nasty problems, too -- dropouts, ripples, line sync errors, banding, jitter, macroblocks, chroma bleed, rainbows, edge ghosts, ringing -- just to mention a few bad guys that come with VHS. Premiere can't do anything about it.
When you say minimal scaling, I'm not sure what you mean. Other than a cure for the flagging, which could have been prevented to begin with, basic cut and join for DVD (MPEG2) recordings are fairly simple for smart-rendering editors. If you fix colors or resize, no smart rendering NLE can avoid another noisy re-encode of the entire video. So, short of starting over and missing your deadline it looks like what you have now is what you'll have to live with until you know more about this kind of processing. Meanwhile non-destructive restructuring of the vob's into a solid MPEG2 with something like AVS2DVD is a good idea. You can use smart-rendering apps for simple cuts and joins, get a DVD movie out of it, and use any authoring program to create your DVD folders, chapters, and menus.
To answer the last part (don't have the time to deal with the rest), read up on 16:9 pillar-boxing.
A properly authored 4:3 dvd will also display the same (as long as the OP has the correct playback settings) but most authoring programs will allow you to set the correct pillar-box flags for correct 16:9 playback.
Thank you very much for the replies. I have spent the past couple of years working with HDV footage (using ProRes 422 in Final Cut Pro), 1920x1080p footage from a Canon DSLR, and have dabbled with editing R3D footage from a Red camera, so I am arguably not up to speed yet on the nuances and quirks of working with VHS and DVD. Here are a couple of Program window screenshots from Premiere Pro which I hope illustrate my project more clearly than my explanations:
Original imported .vob file:
Image scaled to eliminate edge distortions:
I am using a 4:3 project sequence.
So. Do you not think that the edited image is stretched ? Look closely at the wheel behind the guy who also looks a little fatter and taller.
Yep. Cropping and resizing has a cost, even if at first the proportional difference seems minor. VHS don't give you much to work with, so maintaining every little bit helps. If you mask edge problems you also avoid rescaling. I notice your pics are screen captures instead of direct frame captures from off the video. BTW, a Premiere curves filter can make short work of fixing the cyan color cast in that shot. Below, the masked, original-proportion 4:3 image with masked borders displayed in a 16:9 frame. BTW, if you hard-encode black pillars as 16:9 display, the video will be letterboxed on an old TV and the image won't fill its frame.
Last edited by LMotlow; 12th Jun 2014 at 20:53.
No. You mis-understand me.
I am not suggesting that the OP hard-codes pillar boxes on to a 4:3 picture to make a 16:9 one.
In the authoring program, quite an old one now called ULead DVD Workshop, that I used quite a lot, it had various 4:3 >> 16:9 options one of which was for pillar-box flags. Now, I will readilly admit it has been some time since I used it and it is not installed on my current Win7 partition (it may not even work for that OS so I could be mistaken with these settings.
The problem these days is that many do not configure their dvd-players/TV's correctly and 4:3 images are stretched across the screen. Like I said earlier, as long as the player/tv are configured correctly for 4:3 output it is the player that will add the bars. There was just this something in the back of my old brain that said that you could set a flag in the 4:3 dvd so it would not stretch if you were lazy in your setup.
I get what you say. But I do wonder: how does the software/player know when to cease and desist with those pillar flags? If the encoding or markers or whatever "know" that the player setup is set for a 4:3 TV, does it say OK, guys, drop the pillar bit. Why go through that much trouble, is what I'm saying. Encode at 4:3 DAR and let it be. Each display system will handle it properly.
Looking at that sample image, it's mighty soft. There's no fine detail, looks heavily filtered. It appears to be de-interlaced too IMO. Just wondering, that's all. I'd advise to not discard the tapes. Something tells me they'll be revisted later.
Last edited by LMotlow; 13th Jun 2014 at 22:37.
I haven't used that program. I use the program DeVeDe (it's originally a linux program) For burning DVD's. You can get it compiled for Windows here tho' - http://www.majorsilence.com/devede
Anyway that doesn't sound right having a 13 gb conversion... even for a dual layer dvd it would need to be like 9.5 gigs... Unless you split it into separate discs...
We know nothing about the original source - runlength etc. And, of course, you can fit more than one hour on to a dvd using a dvd-recorder. For all we know he is using a 3-hour mode. This results in a lower bitrate maybe some 3000 kbps. The mpeg2 export in Premiere is probably full dvd bitrate at 8000 kbps. So its simple maths that the file size will expand greatly.
So to answer the OP's question if he wants the export to resemble the import he must reduce the bitrate. However, as he stated, he is going to use Encore to create the actual dvd so he can let that program do the actual reduction/encoding for him.
With respect, he does not need advice about using any other program since he already had reasonable tools for the job. But do get your maths right. For a double-layer dvd it is 8.5 gig not 9.5.
I want to thank you so much for taking the time to help me with this project.
Each VHS tape has a run time of under two-hours. Original source .vob files were recorded at 8000kbps using Standard Play (2-hour) mode; audio is ac3. The .vob files were originally imported into a Premiere Pro CS6, SD 4:3 project and scaled slightly to eliminate the tearing ("flagging") which was visible around the sides and bottom in the Program window. They were then exported using "MPEG2-DVD" format with the "NTSC High Quality" setting at 7Mbps and Upper Fields First.
-The exported .vob files had (have) horrible interlacing artifacts when played back with Windows Media Player or VLC on my widescreen PC; the sizing does appear correct.
I then imported each .vob into an Encore CS6 project as a Timeline. I burned several test DVD+RWs and -RWs with the same results: They look absolutely great on a SD TV (of course), but the interlacing is terrible, even on stationary objects when viewed on a computer or HD widescreen TV. I have kept the sequences 4:3 and interlaced throughout.
I started anew and skipped Premiere (and the scaling) entirely, using Adobe Media Encoder to directly encode the MPEG2-DVD compliant files; I cropped the image using the "4:3" setting. The subsequent DVD+or-RW test burns yielded the same interlacing issues when viewed on the computer.
These are the test export settings:
I used to import .vob files directly from DVD-RWs into NeroVision (Nero 9), add menus, then burn DVDs which looked really good on both SD TVs and widescreen computers. I haven't used Nero in some time for video, as I have become more acclimated to editing and mastering HD video using Premiere Pro/After Effects.
Any more thoughts and suggestions are greatly appreciated.
note: I am not as pressed for time as I originally appeared to be. I just wish to get this done, and not at the last minute.
Thank you again,
Describe what you mean by "horrible interlacing artifacts". Are they the normal "combing" or something worse ? or aliasing ? Maybe a screenshot or sample would help. How does it compare to watching the original VOB in VLC? Did you activate the deinterlacer during playback ?
but the interlacing is terrible, even on stationary objects when viewed on a computer or HD widescreen TV
The fact is Premiere does a poor job of interlaced scaling. The reason is it does a poor job of deinterlacing. It's not simple to resize interlaced material properly. You need to bob deinterlace, resize, reinterlace . That is done behind the scenes by the software in premiere. You can search, there are many comparisons done. Even the moderators and "experts" at the Adobe forum suggest using avisynth scripts to get proper interlaced scaling
So in this situation , most people would actually do the mask overlay technique to avoid any scaling
VLC's default player setting is 'de-interlace = off'. You can try the various de-interlace settings but if you still get 'jaggies' do not say I did not warn you about the consequences of cropping/resizing.
The bottom noise is a consequence of the video heads. A tv normally over-scans so you would not see that. But to get 'clean' playback on both a tv and a monitor, which does not usually over-scan, you either crop or mask as has already been explained to you. To successfully crop/resize mpeg2 you MUST de-interlace BEFORE cropping and re-interlace when exporting.
edit: pdr was quicker
Hmm, it seems like a lot of these cautions about cropping and rescaling (it's really "resizing" here, not rescaling) kinda falls on deaf ears. So be it. O.P. also mentioned "flagging" on the sides. Personally I've never seen flagging on side borders, but I guess it could happen. You don't have to deinterlace video to crop it, but there are some simple rules about doing it (there are also rules about cropping de-interlaced video, too). The owner might not be aware of cropping-to-spec. Also might not be aware that if noise is cropped off, the frame isn't restored by resizing. It's size is restored by adding border pixels, not by resizing and distorting. Or one could mask, as DB83 says. He's right -- interlaced/telecined video should not be resized.
I'm going along with poisondeathray on the clunky deinterlace via Adobe. There are several paid-for apps that are even worse. And it don't help if the cropping isn't friendly with the colorspace, screwing up a few other things. I'd stick with Avisynth. Right now, though, I think the owner's in a hurry and just might have to live with the consequences for now.-ann's brother
I wish to make sure I have this clear, I am supposed to deinterlace my video first, resize to get rid of bottom noise, then export as interlaced, is this correct? Also, am I not to be using Adobe for all of this? I was under the impression that Premiere Pro and Media Encoder CS6 were "professional level" editing and mastering programs.
Here is a sample of the "combing":
The noise on raw video:
How do I go about the "mask overlay technique"? It has not been mentioned on the Premiere Pro forum.
The end person(s) will be viewing this on an Apple iMac and HD widescreen TV. Would it be important for me to know what player he/she uses on the Mac, and what DVD player they will be using for the TV?
A still image does not convey much. Better to have two video samples. One before the crop and one after it.
Not 'Pro Level' but 'prosumer'. That is something that is available for Jo Bloggs on the street - a little more advanced than a simple video editor.
I do not use Premiere so can not guide you through the process. But it would be much easier just to add a small black border on the sides you wish to mask. I am such that premiere can do that.
No, you should not need to know about the player(s). You are aiming to author compliant dvd. You test that first on your players. If it works it should also work for them. Burn on dvd-R media for best comparability.
And if there is a dedicated Premiere forum, that really is the place to ask. This forum may have a few users. That would have many.
In order to post video samples, I have to first upload them to YouTube or Vimeo, then download them to here, correct?
What do you use, since you do not use Premiere?
1. Premiere needs lossless or uncompressed, period, otherwise it's buggy as hell.l
2. That DVD recorder is blah, and not worth using.
You need to capture directly to AVI for this.
The only thing that is likely to be done "soon" will not be very good. You need a lot more knowledge first. And then video is NOT a fast hobby or career. It takes time.
Avisynth for the best deinterlace/reinterlace, but that's up to you -- especially with noisy video from a DVD/VCR combo. The best dinterlacers also denoise a bit and help avoid jaggies. You crop off the noisy or ragged borders, then replace them with black pixels. On a CRT, black borders a few pixels wide won't be seen due to overscan. If you resize, the image proportions are altered, and resizing always has a quality cost even if it's minor (but with old VHS, the less damage the better!!). On an HDTV and in computer media players, 4:3 video has black borders anyway -- they'll just blend in, and your original image perspective will be unchanged. If you resize, you'll lose sight of the edges anyway on a CRT, and most HDTV's are set with some degree of overscan by default -- so the effort you put into resizing ends up masking some of that resized edge detail on most TV's.
Another way was mentioned (masking) that doesn't affect the central image. So you avoid resizing.
If you encode to standard DVD, it should display correctly everywhere -- Mac, Windows, TV, whatever.-ann's brother
I want to thank you all for the great advice, tips, and suggestions. I finished my VHS to DVD project with surprisingly good results.
I now wish to explore a different workflow using the video capture route. I will post a new thread in the appropriate place pertaining to such, but I have a question I'd like to get opinions on first.
Would a Panasonic AG 1980 SVHS be a solid first step in the right direction? I have a line on one which looks to be in great shape, and has been maintained by someone who cares. I will save the questions regarding a processing amp, my capture hardware options, and whether or not I should get a TBC, since the AG 1980 has one built in.
...whether or not I should get a TBC, since the AG 1980 has one built in.
I have read up on all of the issues related to the Panasonic AG-1980 - recapping nightmares, continual re-repairs, etc., and have decided to hold off on purchasing one. Would a D-VHS unit, such as a Mitsubishi HD2000U work well for archiving VHS to digital?
Lordsmurf's posts (along with others) on Digital FAQ are a veritable treasure trove of valuable information; I wish I would have found them earlier.