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  1. Novice
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    Hello. I finally managed to purchase an ATI TV Wonder HD 600 and it works great for watching TV with Windows Media Center! However, the real reason I purchased it was to convert VHS camcorder tapes from the late 90s and early 2000s to digital format. I installed VirtualDub and Huffyuv, but so far the only thing I've done is simply set the compression to Huffyuv. What am I specifically supposed to do in order to get everything set up properly in VirtualDub for capture. I'm new to all this, so it would be great if someone can list everything step by step in order to ensure that I get the best quality possible with audio in sync, no skipped frames, etc. Thanks!
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  2. vanished El Heggunte's Avatar
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    ZEROth steps: start VirtualDub, menu "File", item "capture AVI"

    IF the capture device and its DirectShow driver is working OK, then you can select it in the "Device" menu
    (assuming that VirtualDub could not detect it automagically).
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  3. Member PuzZLeR's Avatar
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    ...and continuing on...

    Video->Preview (so you can see what you're doing)
    Video->Video source (and select what you're using, which should be either "Composite" or "SVideo")
    Video->Capture filter...->Video Proc Amp tab (defaults are usually fine, but I like a bit of sharpness to 3)
    Video->Compression->HuffYUV v2.1.1->Configure->anything "best" (but usually no difference regardless)
    Video->Set custom format->set your resolution and YUY2 YUV 4:2:2 interleaved

    Capture->Disk I/O->12MB chunk size, 24 chunks in buffer, don't check "Disable Windows write buffering" (these settings help tremendously in preventing dropped frames)
    Capture->check "Autoincrement filename after capture" (this is important to prevent accidental rewriting over your captures)

    Of course, these are my preferred settings, and much depends on your region too (resolution, fps). You may need to also look into other settings, stop conditions, experiment with preview if it doesn't lag your system. As well I prefer capturing audio uncompressed through the sound card.

    Oh, and BTW, DO "Enable audio capture" along with your settings. And DON'T "Enable audio playback" since this tends to drop frames.

    Also experiment, experiment, experiment first before you do real captures!
    I hate VHS. I always did.
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  4. Novice
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    Thanks! I have been reading this guide http://www.digitalfaq.com/guides/video/introduction-record-capture.htm and I don't plan to do any editing for my camcorder tapes (and I don't see the point in doing so since the point of me doing this is to archive a tape for future viewing in digital format). Does that mean I shouldn't capture in AVI? Does capturing directly in MPEG result in lower quality than AVI?

    If I do choose to capture in MPEG for DVD, what is the best program for doing so in my case?
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  5. Originally Posted by Duder_Me View Post
    Does capturing directly in MPEG result in lower quality than AVI?
    Much lower quality since the AVI codec being used is lossless.
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  6. Novice
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    Originally Posted by manono View Post
    Originally Posted by Duder_Me View Post
    Does capturing directly in MPEG result in lower quality than AVI?
    Much lower quality since the AVI codec being used is lossless.
    So if I want both, is it best that I capture twice, once for AVI and once again for MPEG-2 DVD, or convert AVI to MPEG-2 later?
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  7. I'm a Super Moderator johns0's Avatar
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    Convert avi to mpg or mkv.
    I think,therefore i am a hamster.
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  8. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by manono View Post
    Originally Posted by Duder_Me View Post
    Does capturing directly in MPEG result in lower quality than AVI?
    Much lower quality since the AVI codec being used is lossless.
    It's NOT much lower -- it fully depends on several factors.
    Yes, it can be lower.
    But then again, it can be almost transparent.
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  9. I'm a Super Moderator johns0's Avatar
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    Another program to capture with is virtualvcr,better than virtualdub for me.
    I think,therefore i am a hamster.
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  10. Member PuzZLeR's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Duder_Me View Post
    Originally Posted by manono View Post
    Originally Posted by Duder_Me View Post
    Does capturing directly in MPEG result in lower quality than AVI?
    Much lower quality since the AVI codec being used is lossless.
    So if I want both, is it best that I capture twice, once for AVI and once again for MPEG-2 DVD, or convert AVI to MPEG-2 later?
    I do multiple captures on a tape (ex: for median methods), but not for the reason of different formats.

    Capture once with lossless AVI (like HuffYUV), THEN convert it to MPEG-2/DvD AFTER with a good MPEG-2 encoder. This is much better quality than direct-to-MPEG-2 captures. But you shouldn't delete the HuffYUV file either - this is your archive.

    Besides, you'll be hard-pressed to find any good direct-to-MPEG-2 capture tools. They will not be without issues. Even so, capturing to MPEG-2 directly, even with a good tool, will reveal lots of artifacts, like ringing and blockiness.

    From my experience:

    CAPTURE -> Lossless -> encode to MPEG-2

    is higher in quality than:

    CAPTURE -> MPEG-2
    I hate VHS. I always did.
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  11. Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
    It's NOT much lower -- it fully depends on several factors.
    Okay, usually much lower. If he's capping at 15000kbits/sec then maybe it's not so much lower quality.
    Yes, it can be lower.
    Yes, it is lower. Always. And usually much lower. Next you'll be arguing a DVD recorder is a fine way to cap from a VCR.

    However, I do now see he doesn't plan on doing any editing of the capture. I conclude he doesn't care much about the final quality so for him maybe going direct to DVD compliant MPEG-2 video (no 15000kbits/sec) is enough. But the quality will be much lower as compared to a lossless capture.

    On the other hand, in his first post he says "...so it would be great if someone can list everything step by step in order to ensure that I get the best quality possible...". And for that requirement lossless AVI following the steps PuzZLeR outlined is the answer. Unfortunately, he can't have it both ways.
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  12. Member PuzZLeR's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
    Originally Posted by manono View Post
    Originally Posted by Duder_Me View Post
    Does capturing directly in MPEG result in lower quality than AVI?
    Much lower quality since the AVI codec being used is lossless.
    Yes, it can be lower.
    It will always be lower with MPEG-2, and much lower in many cases where there is high motion (ex: sports event) or camera panning (ex: home vids). And blockiness and ringing can show up even at broadcast level bitrates (15-20 mbps).

    Originally Posted by lordsmurf
    But then again, it can be almost transparent.
    For near-still video only (ex: like a person making a speech). Again, I still see artifacts with MPEG-2 even so.

    Originally Posted by lordsmurf
    It's NOT much lower -- it fully depends on several factors.
    No and yes as stated. But MPEG-2 captures will always be inferior to lossless captures with any case.

    *EDIT: Excuse the redundancy in post - just now realized that Manono and I posted nearly the same time.
    Last edited by PuzZLeR; 25th Jun 2014 at 01:22. Reason: Excuse the redundancy in post.
    I hate VHS. I always did.
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  13. Novice
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    Thanks for the answers! I guess I will end up converting to MPEG-2 after capturing in AVI with VirtualDub. By the way, is Nero Burning ROM 6/Nero Express (2003-2007) good for converting to MPEG-2/DVD or is there better software out there that I haven't heard of?
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  14. Member PuzZLeR's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Duder_Me View Post
    Thanks for the answers! I guess I will end up converting to MPEG-2 after capturing in AVI with VirtualDub.
    Good idea, but let me comment further why it is.

    If you start with HuffYUV, a good lossless format, you have options and flexibility. You can better edit (especially with advanced editing and NLE), crop, and filter it to clean it up, and adjust the colors, etc, with much less, or no, penalty. If you were to post-process MPEG-2, especially in subsequent steps, you will do a ton of damage in the process.

    Also, the HuffYUV file can be a valid Source (especially if you decide to throw out the tapes). You can archive this file, and restart with it, if you need other formats in the future, or conduct further adjustments in the video. If you restart with an MPEG-2 archive, you've already lost alot of quality along the way.

    As well, the guide you posted states "You gain no benefits" starting with a lossless format and encoding to MPEG-2. Yes, it's an extra step, and yes they include an asterix, but IMO this is not a good idea unless you truly desire some convenience and are lazy.

    Also, keep in mind, capturing to MPEG-2 directly disables many good features of the MPEG-2 format during capture, and you will need much higher bitrates to get anything decent out of it (and starts to defeat much of the purpose of using MPEG-2 captures anyway). Keep in mind, the MPEG-2 encoders under the hood of many capture devices, doing it "on the fly" can never compete with a good stand-alone MPEG-2 encoder after the fact. (BTW - Don't these capture devices start with lossless in the process regardless?)

    If the file size of HuffYUV bothers some, then get more HDD space today - they are cheaper than ever and can still hold hundreds of VHS tapes' content in a smaller space. Or you can archive HuffYUV after to smaller lossless formats, or DV, or high bitrate MPEG-2 AFTER you've processed it.

    Originally Posted by Duder_Me
    By the way, is Nero Burning ROM 6/Nero Express (2003-2007) good for converting to MPEG-2/DVD or is there better software out there that I haven't heard of?
    I wouldn't recommend using Nero to create the MPEG-2 streams. You should use a good MPEG-2 encoder beforehand for this. There are several, but a good free one is HC Enc.

    However Nero is quite good at authoring your DvD after you have your A/V streams ready. (I still use NeroVision myself for this.)

    All-in-ones usually aren't the best solution for high quality. I personally conduct several steps with separate tools: capture, edit, encode video, encode audio, convert to DivX/H.264 or author, etc.
    Last edited by PuzZLeR; 25th Jun 2014 at 11:08. Reason: Grammar
    I hate VHS. I always did.
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  15. Novice
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    I captured a TDK Hi8 MP 120 tape, with the video being recorded in 2006-2008 (yes, obsolete technology for it's time, but that's irrelevant) with a duration of 1:13:41 and with the VirtualDub settings as mentioned above. I specifically chose this tape since there wasn't anything really significant on it. I'm sure glad I chose this tape first, since I probably would have gotten extremely frustrated if I had captured an important tape first due to how many glaring problems there were.

    For starters, the color was a little washed out/saturated compared to what was being displayed on the camcorder's screen. I was having difficulty comprehending whether or not the camcorder was displaying the accurate colors or if VirtualDub was. I even had the same saturated look when I plugged in the camcorder into my Sharp Aquos HDTV. I will have to plug in my camcorder into my Sony Trinitron CRT TV to determine otherwise. It's not a huge deal breaker, but it just seems as if the colors have a richer look to them on my camcorder's display.

    Second, my father had purchased the camcorder (Sony Handycam CCD-TRV45E July 1998) overseas (I think Malaysia), and we used NTSC tapes on it, but the VTR SET in the menu was set to "ON PAL TV." I noticed this in the middle of capturing, and I changed the option to "NTSC 4.43," but it didn't seem to make a difference.

    Unfortunately, there were even worse problems present. The video was somewhat vertically stretched, both in the capture preview in VirtualDub and the saved AVI file, with a significant portion of the bottom cropped off. In addition, when viewing the AVI, the audio is at a hilarious high pitch, as if someone inhaled helium.

    There was one dropped frame, but that was my fault of tinkering with the composite cables while capturing because the video in VirtualDub kept displaying a black tint randomly at times, so I was trying to fix it (which I think I did), but on the camcorder display it was fine. So that was only a mere anomaly.

    Is it just me, or is the video supposed to playback at a high FPS (when I think high FPS, I think 60 FPS or over in video games)? It sure seemed as if the AVI played back at a slightly lower FPS. That's another problem.

    Either I capture the tape again without changing any settings in VirtualDub, or I change some settings to reflect the faults in the captured AVI (which I have no clear idea on how they all properly work). This is turning out to be a lot harder than I thought it would be. What am I supposed to do exactly?

    EDIT: I used a USB extension cable that's about a foot long with my ATI TV Wonder 600 USB. This might have something to do with it, but I'm not sure.
    Last edited by Duder_Me; 25th Jun 2014 at 19:09. Reason: Important information left out
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  16. Novice
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    Bump?
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  17. Member
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    Originally Posted by Duder_Me View Post
    I captured a TDK Hi8 MP 120 tape, with the video being recorded in 2006-2008
    That camera records video8, not Hi8 regardless of what the tape says.

    Originally Posted by Duder_Me View Post
    the color was a little washed out/saturated compared to what was being displayed on the camcorder's screen
    Washed out and saturated mean exactly opposite things. In either case, don't trust the camera's viewfinder.

    Originally Posted by Duder_Me View Post
    we used NTSC tapes on it, but [B]the VTR SET in the menu was set to "ON PAL TV."
    That camera can playback either PAL or NTSC -- all your other issues are common symptoms of having gotten the tape signal and playback reversed.
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  18. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by PuzZLeR View Post
    Keep in mind, the MPEG-2 encoders under the hood of many capture devices, doing it "on the fly" can never compete with a good stand-alone MPEG-2 encoder after the fact. (BTW - Don't these capture devices start with lossless in the process regardless?)
    This simply is not true. I'll take a Matrox MPEG capture over a CCE or TMPGEnc encode, for example.

    Again, MPEG can be worse, but it can also be the same. You must consider the content, specs, hardware/software used, etc.

    I like this site, but again, for some odd reason, it's getting a very warped idea in the last year or two in my absence. Remember the forum mod, BJ_M, who also worked pro in video for a studio? Or gshelley the TV engineer? (And many more.) We'd ALL tell you that this idea that MPEG=poo is silly, and not at all realistic. It's an oversimplified amateur understanding of the format. I hate to seem elitist, but it gets old for those NOT in the field to tell me things that are NOT true.

    If you want the oversimplified version, yes, AVI=good, MPEG=bad. But it's not that easy. Not really.

    With this hardware (ATI 600), knowing nothing of content, MPEG @ DVD bitrate may be the same or only slightly reduced as compared to AVI-encoded-to-MPEG. And again, that heavily depends on the encoder and its setting. MPEG @ Bluray specs may be nearly transparent to the AVI-to-MPEG -- again, depending on content. Their is a huge time increase using the AVI method (3x-4x minimum), for what may be little or no gains. The major benefit to AVI is 100% prevention of loss, for further restoration or editing, which is not part of his workflow. So both are workable methods.

    Had this person expressed any interest in restoration or editing, then I'd have quickly said AVI as well. But not for simple archiving.

    But take heed: Again, you MUST consider the source issues -- chroma noise, etc. (Honestly, use a really good S-VHS VCR.)

    This is why I rarely give generic advice.
    Last edited by lordsmurf; 26th Jun 2014 at 17:54.
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  19. Novice
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    Hello. Thanks again for the suggestions. As for my problems mentioned above, I managed to restore the tape's uncropped picture by going into Video->Capture filter and changing the format from NTSC to Unknown since I don't know what the real format is and Video->Set custom format to change the resolution to 640x480 because the video won't display/capture in the preview at 720x480 with the Unknown setting. I also set the VTR set back to PAL TV to see if it would make a difference in audio pitch, but it hasn't helped.

    So far, my only gripes right now are the high audio pitch, the format (NTSC, PAL-B,C, etc. , Unknown?), and the resolution.
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  20. Member
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    Duder, you really need to learn what you have. Nothing should be unknown. Your tape is either NTSC or PAL. Whatever it is, you should be outputting and capturing the same all the way down the line. If you want to post some samples with moderate motion about 10 seconds long, we can help. Right now you seem to be flipping switches without a clue.

    (BTW, I would listen to anything Lordsmurf has to say about video capture.)
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  21. Member PuzZLeR's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
    Originally Posted by PuzZLeR View Post
    Keep in mind, the MPEG-2 encoders under the hood of many capture devices, doing it "on the fly" can never compete with a good stand-alone MPEG-2 encoder after the fact. (BTW - Don't these capture devices start with lossless in the process regardless?)
    This simply is not true. I'll take a Matrox MPEG capture over a CCE or TMPGEnc encode, for example.

    Again, MPEG can be worse, but it can also be the same. You must consider the content, specs, hardware/software used, etc.

    Originally Posted by lordsmurf
    I like this site, but again, for some odd reason, it's getting a very warped idea in the last year or two in my absence. Remember the forum mod, BJ_M, who also worked pro in video for a studio? Or gshelley the TV engineer? (And many more.) We'd ALL tell you that this idea that MPEG=poo is silly, and not at all realistic. It's an oversimplified amateur understanding of the format. I hate to seem elitist, but it gets old for those NOT in the field to tell me things that are NOT true.
    No, not "elitist" but arrogant, and set in your ways. You say, say, say, thread after thread, but you don't prove.

    Oh, and by the way MR.Lord of Captures, I went to the same graduate school as the prez, and founder, of Matrox, in Montreal, at my alma mater. He, himself, would disagree with you too.

    So, go ahead, VideoHelp. Heresay this genius. Buy your burnt out VCRs, ghosting TBCs, don't use quality software like Neat Video to process, and don't use DV video - use MPEG-2 where the dude's head is all blocky even at 25mbps. Listen to his logic and pull your hair out as you wonder why your VHS capture project is driving you nuts, and NOT getting done.

    Have a nice day.
    I hate VHS. I always did.
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  22. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    No, not really set in my ways. I try to keep on top of trends.

    The President of Matrox probably has a degree in business or marketing, and knows quite a bit in that field. But it's not video. Using the product, and being president of a company that makes them, is two completely different animals. Same goes for studio heads. Great people, but when it comes to the nitty gritty details of formats, codecs, etc -- they've got no idea. Not their cup of tea.

    I'm not trying to piss you or anybody else off, but a lot of what I read here lately is completely opposite of the facts and real world. It didn't used to be this way. You need good hardware, good software, good methods/workflows, and good knowledge to make judgement calls. I didn't know some of this either, 10-15 years ago myself. But now I do, and have been doing it for years now.

    Nobody is blocky with MPEG -- certainly not 25mbps. Source notwithstanding. That's just hyperbole.
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  23. Novice
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    Originally Posted by smrpix View Post
    Duder, you really need to learn what you have. Nothing should be unknown. Your tape is either NTSC or PAL. Whatever it is, you should be outputting and capturing the same all the way down the line. If you want to post some samples with moderate motion about 10 seconds long, we can help. Right now you seem to be flipping switches without a clue.

    (BTW, I would listen to anything Lordsmurf has to say about video capture.)
    I think I definitely have a PAL camcorder since my father purchased this camcorder when he was in Malaysia in the late 90s. The tapes on the other hand must have been purchased in the U.S., no doubt about that. The tape I'm talking about was purchased and recorded on in the mid-late 2000s. The disparity between the formats may not have been a problem back then with viewing the tapes on a television, but it's severely beginning to show right now when trying to capture them to a digital format. I will try to upload a sample later today.
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  24. Member
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    Doesn't matter if the camera records PAL, it can play both. But you must choose the output type in the menu. You need to match tape to playback to capture for best results.

    This really isn't hard, it's either NTSC->NTSC->NTSC or PAL->PAL->PAL There's only two possible correct choices. Anything else should look or sound obviously wrong.
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