Hello, I am new to all of this.
I am hoping you can give me some advice/wisdom that will save me some mistakes/headaches and really, really hopefully also save me time I don't have to research and become an expert. I am basically asking for some handholding.
I have 40+ vhs, and 40+ other mixed type old camcorder tape styles(I still have the original camcorders for these) I would like to convert.
I have 5 goals:
1. OK quality - I would like it somewhat near the source quality - I don't need the best. I tried Honestech vhs to dvd and saw a big quality drop.
2. digital archival - I would like to save in a future-ready format
3. basic editing - I would like to be able to extract or cut out portions occasionally
4. dvd creation - I would like to be able to create dvds from edited video to give to parents / siblings
5. fairly easy - I don't want to become a pro - easier the better
I am not sure what I would be willing to budget. Maybe ~$500? Especially if it made things easier.
I have a decent i5 win8 pc.
I also recently picked up a phillips DVP3355v VCR, that I could return having not used it yet.
So first question on this journey... what should I buy?
-- Thank you very, very much for your advice.
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I was careful to choose the highest quality settings. I tried the same home video tape and vcr directly to the tv and it was much much better picture. Somehow there was quite a bit of loss of quality using the honestech system... I had hoped it would be close to the original which is all i really need.
Thanks. It sounds like you are implying that the honestech device/software from your experince might be a workable solution - that would be great, since I own it. So about those settings... Lets see:
capture format: mpeg-2 file (25gb)
quality : best
video standard: ntsc
recording resolution : 720x480
video device : HT VIDBOXNW06 (this is what the software must identify the included honestech hardware device as)
input: composite (I used as best quality cable as I could find, and tried a few different pair - was fine when directly connected to tv)
video standard (autodetected by software) : ntsc_m
signal detected (auto) :1
lines detected (auto) : 525
input : vcr
video proc amp: default all settings - did not touch
Thanks for your help!!
Well you are using the correct-est( ) and the easiest codec for what you want to do.....I'm just having trouble believing that one "USB type Capture Device" can be that much different from another. On the other hand I'm in Europe and we happen to have a plethora of good quality VCRs still available to us. Even though the Philips unit you bought is a "combo", it is brand new so you may want to fire it up to see if it makes a difference(combo units are notoriously crappy).
This is a tough call.
A 25GB file? I'm guessing this was one tape you captured and it was originally recorded in LP or even SLP mode? I've never had much luck capturing/recording(DVD recorder) those. To me they often exhibit the same behavior you are describing, look better playing than they do capturing.
A tough call indeed.
Burn a DVD and watch it on the same TV. Does it still look worse than the source? If so, in what way? If not, job done
I really don't want to troubleshoot the honestech solution any further since I can't imagine anything that would make it work better.
I really want advice on what to buy for a optimal solution given my requirements.
Before giving you some suggestions, I'm going to say something that you should consider for the future. I've never bought anything from Honestech nor would I. I will tell you why. Yes, we have had people who post here about their crap asking various questions about it, but none of our experienced users use their stuff. In life, I've noticed that the more people tell you that they are X, making sure that all the time they tell you just how X they are, the odds are really good that they are not X at all. That's why I simply cannot take a company seriously that calls itself Honestech.
To be blunt and hopefully helpful, your goals are a bit contradictory. If you want #5 then #2 and #3 are less reasonable goals. If you want a lot of editing control, then it becomes a whole let less easy and a whole more "You've gotta learn a bunch of stuff to do this". Decide what is the most important to you. If you really want it easy above everything else, then buy a standalone DVD recorder and connect your VCR to it. DO NOT buy a VCR/DVD recorder combo. I don't want to overwhelm you with techno-stuff, but there is a problem you can have with VHS tapes and it can only be solved by putting a device between the VCR and DVD recorder. You cannot do this with a combo unit. Magnaovox pretty much is the only company left in the DVD recorder market in the USA/Canada. WalMart sells them. I think one of their models still has limited editing capabilities. This is the easiest way to do things.
If you want to record to your PC first and edit there, you can do it, but it becomes a lot more time consuming and less easy. Some of the better video capture cards now only can record in H.264. That meets your requirement for future proofing, but H.264 is not valid for DVD, so you'll have to convert the videos to MPEG-2 so you can make DVDs. More work that way. Maybe something like Cyberlink's PowerDirector can kind of bridge the gap you have of needing to edit and maybe convert captured videos, but I do all this stuff using free tools and my way is complicated, so I can only offer PowerDirector as a vague suggestion.
You may want to look at something like the Canopus / Grass Valley ADVC-110 and store your files as DV. It meets none of your individual requirements precisely, but may serve them overall quite well.
You can edit without loss of quality and make DVDs quite easily.
Ahem, well, last things first:
Which reminds me:
Given those points, I don't think you'll have to spend $500. Of course, that would get you one very nice VCR from several shops that rebuild old high-end units and sell them at a premium. But finding a really spiffy one would be a journey in itself.
So far, only jman98 has mentioned a tbc. Yep, you'll need one for VHS -- a line-tbc device of some kind will be necessary. Unfortunately, every capture guide on the 'net looks like something from 1998. Many haven't been updated since 2005 or so. The reason for that is because the old hardware still isn't surpassed, and the principles of getting good video haven't changed. Keeping only the principles in mind and ignoring hardware that isn't sold at BestBuy any more (if it ever was), you might wanna spend some time browsing these few short articles on the basics of decent video processing. The basics, as I say, are still in force. Start here: http://www.digitalfaq.com/guides/video.htm.
And good luck.- My sister Ann's brother
It does an excellent job at capturing, with a constant rate that fares much better than any USB 2.0 device. This is evident when capturing difficult formats such as VHS. Regarding the often criticised DV colorspace, VHS doesn't offer enough color to lose in the DV format, so the criticism is irrelevant.
If you are willing to put in an extra step, using a TBC in the chain can improve the PQ considerably. You can use specific DVD recorder models in passthrough for this purpose, which have a line TBC built in. The most popular are DMR-ES10 and ES-15, and luckily for you they are cheap.
With a budget of $500 you can easily afford this method, with some to spare that I'd recommend spending on good quality cables from BJC.
Yep. I figured the VHS-to-DV and Canopus crowd would jump right in on this. Funny how they skip town when the user realizes that DV is PC-only playback and the ugly VHS artifacts on DV are the devil to clean up. I have a cousin in the pro VHS transfer business who won't accept analog-to-DV work, he'd have to charge too much for time and labor to get what his clients want in a DVD or BD-R disc. You'll have to re-encode DV anyway for any other output type. The ATI 600 or earlier AIW were specifically designed for what you want to do with your VHS originals. The Canopus is DV all the way, period.
But it's your video.- My sister Ann's brother
It is your video. Treat it nicely.
Yep. No surprise, that one. And as with everyone here, I do respect your opinion on that, but....
So what you're trying to sell is that DV is so wonderful and superior that the entertainment industry, when they were engineering the standards and methods for commercial disc, broadcasting in both SD and HD, and movie reproduction and archiving, decided that the perfect encode and format for those ventures was...what? DV? No way. They completely ignored DV and went with MPEG2 and h264, along with other and far superior stuff. I know a lot of paid amateurs who will capture a wedding VHS tape to DV and actually charge real monmey for it. But a better pro shop wouldn't be caught dead doing it. I've had dealings with several pro's who'll have none of it.
So I don't buy your quality argument. Having tried both methods myself with good hardware and software, I'd go with any of several other ways for home-made analog source. Yeah, DV shoots well with less noise, not that it's perfect, and copies perfectly with something like WinDV. I'd refrain from bringing up the ADVC110 as some kind of super thingie. I tried it. Never again.
DV fans like to flaunt it as the best of everything. But it's a lesser player in many respects as a source, a capture medium for analog or DVD, an archive medium, and after converting it to other more usable and portable formats it looks like an amateur rush job every time. I've seen plenty of posts and hands-on samples that prove it. If you look at the way DV was developed, you'll see that it was always designed as a shooting format, nothing else. It wasn't even designed for editing, with NLE's that do it coming along as an afterthought. Using it for analog conversion and for source to re-encode elsewhere is a backwards hack hawked by outfits like Canopus to compete clumsily with other and better methods. Further, if you try to convince anyone that two lossy encodes are as good as or better than one, you've lost your case at the start. Even at high bitrates, analog to DV displays some really annoying compression artifacts -- DV encoding doesn't handle interlace as well as MPEG2. Even original DV source shows this problem to a greater or lesser degree depending on the gear used to shoot it, and a VHS recording of a telecined movie captured to DV falls apart with DV compression and DV's screwy field reversal.
MPEG2 is a specific compression method, a very specific codec. DV is an open form and everybody has their own ideas about what "DV" is supposed to look like: Canopus, Sony, Canon, Matrox, etc. What I have seen over the years of VHS captured to DV with the gear and software you mention leaves me with no choice but to strongly disagree with you 100%. The stark, raw, denuded, etched "VHS to DV look", the mosquito noise, clumsy motion handling, blown-out highlights, color matrix differences, and noisy interlace displayed by what you recommend ain't what I'd recommend for the O.P.'s tapes.
I realize that people here have a love thing with DV, and videohelp is reknown these days as hog heaven for DV-only fans and multiple re-encode freaks. I'd rather the O.P. make up his own mind rather than have others ascribe their viewing standards to him. As it is, having never captured VHS to a computer he's in for a shock anyway. As far as telling him what to do, I'd still recommending he capture to lossless or to high bitrate MPEG2 (with something other than a ADVC110) if DVD is to be the final format. If he captures analog to DV that's his choice. It's the O.P. who will live with it, not you or me.- My sister Ann's brother
Some camcorders which do analogue in > DV out are more forgiving of VHS sources than the Canopus ADVC110 is.
The ADVC110 is very accurate in its conversion.
Some camcorders have TBC built in, and some denoising and some level processing. Mostly, with VHS, this is all helpful to have. Connecting an ES-15 to an ADVC110 gives a similar effect.
The ADVC110 on its own will give you a "warts and all" capture. An accurate copy of a flawed VHS source. Without a TBC, it might be fine but it might be horrible. Without getting the levels right, it might be fine (if they're already fine), but it will be horrible if they're not.
LMotlow, are you sanlyn re-incarnated?
Can't be. He was obsessive but mostly right. You're obsessive but mostly wrong.
DVDs use MPEG-2 because it's a lower data rate than DV. It's an inter-frame codec. It's a delivery codec, not a production codec. When people use MPEG-2 for production, they use it at 50Mbps I-frame only - like DVCPRO50. At double the bitrate and virtually the same encoding, it's better quality than DV. The max 9Mbps MPEG-2 on DVD isn't.
As for the failings you've had with DV, I can only imagine you did something very wrong. While lossless is better, for real-time capture DV is better than DVD-MPEG-2. End of. No comparison.
While you'd think lossless-to-DVD would be visibly better than DV-to-DVD, when the source is VHS it's impossible to see the difference. The real quality hits are with the VHS part, and the DVD-MPEG-2 part. The DV part is mostly blameless. There's a thread showing a comparison: enjoy the 200% zoomed in freeze-frame where the lossless-vs-DV differences are still virtually invisible. Try that with DVD-MPEG-2-vs-lossless and the differences are much greater, especially on B-frames.
MPEG2 is a specific compression method, a very specific codec.
Yep, I followed his posts for a long time. Learned plenty. Learned from your work, too. What I said about DV and Canopus was paraphrased from lordsmurf. Maybe I'm him? Somebody even said I might be gShelley, if I got the name right (probably not, it's been a while). I guess west Tennessee mavericks like sanlyn who went to the same college might think alike in some ways ? ? ?. PM'd with him at the AfterEffects forum for a while. I think that's him using the moniker LemMotlow over at doom9, so I didn't use it the same way here.
I have to stand by what I wrote. Been there myself with lots of equipment. I don't even work tape-to-DV captures from forum posts or clients, having learned my lesson. The O.P. and everybody else can do what they want. If some of those vids from joeconvert are DV to begin with, of course, he should stick with WinDv for those.- My sister Ann's brother
We've got people who like using DV and people who don't. I don't care either way. I don't own a camcorder so I've never used it. I've done ALL of my VHS captures, EVERY one, lossy using either MPEG-2 (in the past) or H.264 (currently). That's enough to make some people, like sanlyn, just start grabbing their chests.
Look, most people just want to get their videos copied and saved onto a longer lasting media of some kind. Most people watch EVERYTHING there is in 16:9 on their TVs at home so old 4:3 shows/movies look horribly wrong and they don't care. Most people just are not that fussy. If someone is fussy then yes they can do lossless under AVI if that makes them happy. I object to us telling new people here "You simply MUST do this incredibly complicated and time consuming and space consuming process or it's not worth doing". That was sanlyn to a tee. At this point in my life, the few VHS tapes I really want to save, I just want them copied. Recording them to my PC with H.264 and highish bit rates (my Colossus tops out around 16000 Kbps) is good enough for me. I'm not interested in spending 3+ hours PER TAPE working on them with various filters to make them look 2-3% better. Sure, there are people who spend whatever it takes for really minor improvements because it's worth it to them. We had one nut job who was so quality conscious that after a year since his first post, his thread had almost 1000 posts in it, many from sanlyn and others trying to "help" him, and the guy admitted recording NOTHING because every time he started, he got pissed off about the quality and gave up and started completely over.
Then we have the guys who bought the complete collection of some TV show on VHS years ago, like say Star Trek The Next Generation, and even though it's in BluRay now in much better quality, they want to record all 100 or whatever tapes they have because they are too cheap to just buy the BluRays. And we have the guys who have many dozens of home movies they are convinced they can't live without or old TV show recordings and at best after they go through all the trouble to "save" this stuff, it gets watched maybe ONE time. Yes, one time - by them. NOBODY else will ever watch it. So in all you have to decide just how much time it's worth it to you to spend on this task and avoid the insanity of never being satisfied with your results. At this point as little as I do this, I'm just glad I can do it and I'm not going to spend hours upon hours filtering and re-encoding for a 2-3% improvement. If DV gets the OP where he wants to be and efficiently meets his needs, more power to him.
And by the way LMotlow, sanlyn was gone by May I think so I don't know where the hell you are coming from in saying you followed him for a long time, but yeah, you seem to be someone who's been here before and rejoined under a new name. And being in Tennessee is YOUR problem, not mine, but hey, at least you're not from Alabama. Am I right? You know I am.
Help me make my old format (Vhs/other) conversion project easy.
I agree, jman98. I've got several hundred obviously crumby looking TV shows off cable and VHS transfers that look worse. Like you, 90% of what I have is there for the content, pimples and all. I've seen classic "restorations" on TCM and whatnot that didn't look any more restored than the garbage in the can a few feet from me now. I should know better than to argue with that, guess I'm just stubborn, because every time a newbie trips into this joint and starts screaming "best quality I can get" they get the same answer: who gives a dam? Maybe joeconvert does give more than dam about some of it, in which case he ought to have the option of getting something better for stuff that counts. If none of it counts, get a DVD recorder and have at it, why struggle re-encoding all that crap from DV to give DVD's to his folks? That VHS->capture card -> DV -> re-encode DVD just sounds like make-work to me, and the DVD's will look the same if not worse.
I hate like hell to disappoint anybody around here, but have you ever tried to search this forum if you're not a member? Give it a shot. Bring some coffee and your worry stone. Went through the archives back to 2004 using Google, what a PITA. BTW sanlyn went bananas earlier than May, I was browsing one of his posts when I saw them start to disappear every day. I first tripped over this place in early 2006. Decided Googling this joint was the pits and gave in to sign up and add yet another password to my long list. Sorry you're confused about that, but not sorry for echoing some of what I learned here the past 8 years about video processing. Getting tired of this you-must-be-somebody-else malarkey because I might think like "whoever" and not like "us". If I quote from a Manono post, what would you be saying? There's been some really bright folks around here since 2004 that I saw, but the current crew is more contentious and bah-humbug than what I've seen in the past. No wonder some old pros don't come here any more.
You know, this same debate comes up every two weeks around here, along with almost daily instant playbacks of "why doesn't my 4:3 movie fill up my 16:9 TV?" or "how do I convert this 10GB video so it fits on a floppy disk with no quality loss?" Signing up finally got me past all that repetitive silliness without using "Next Post" and "Previous Post" as a non-member and ending up nowhere.
This has nothing to do with the O.P.'s initial post. He now has several way to go. What he does is up to him.
And god bless us, every one.- My sister Ann's brother
Especially the "it gets watched maybe ONE time. Yes, one time - by them. NOBODY else will ever watch it."
I guess it depends on the value attached to old tapes. The O.P. mentioned camcorder tapes and permanent archive, so I guess he means some of the tapes have personal or family importance. No info from the O.P. about that, but I don't think the camcorder was used to record a bunch of TV shows.
Manono has the right idea. 40-plus tapes could be a lot of trouble, but if they're of passing interest just get a DVD recorder and make quick work of it. We haven't heard back from joeconvert about what's on the tapes.
Looks like we might have scared the O.P. away ???- My sister Ann's brother
DV's screwy field reversal.