Ok - based on what Ive read the couple days Ive explored this forum, I should say, I KNOW I am late in the game for doing this task.
I am an audio guy professionally but my experience with video are just the quick times the video department delivers as we mix audio. So I know technology stuff, but video is something I Am just starting to learn about. I have a few projects I want to do to get my feet wet and this is the first one.
So I have a LOT of old VHS Tapes - mostly things I taped off of TV that I cant replace commercially - and would like to archive into my new Macbook Pro and do some basic editing to sort through it and archive it to DVD or whatever, hoping to learn some video editing basics in the process.
I have a fairly old Panasonic VHS > DVD recorder I got about 10 years ago and never got around to doing this till now. I am unhappy with how it works for this task and dont want to use it to record- but could use it for VHS playback (it has composite, component, S Video, and HDMI outs).
So Ive looked into capture devices and I have found this is pretty complicated due to the nature of old VHS video playback being fairly unstable - lots of people seem to have problems with various capture devices and such.
So far - I just bought a BlackMagic Intensity Extreme (used) and I am HOPING TO use my VHS/DVD recorder to PLAYBACK The VHS, into the Blackmagic and then into my computer and capture it all in there. I have learned through my research that I will likely need a TBC to put inline so the Blackmagic wont drop video due to unstable playback.
Now for my questions.
I am looking at getting the AVT-8710 TBC I see online everywhere. But the more I look into it - I see reports that they commonly have bad chipsets. I also just see a lot of people saying they just still have problems. So is this still the best TBC to get in the 200-300 dollar range and how would I know if it has a bad chipset?
In general - is this all I should need? I see a lot of things online for VHS machine recommendations - but should my VHS unit be as good as any since its not THAT old and does S-Video?
Is there anything simple I should be getting to improve the quality of the video off these old tapes - that wont cost me 1000 dollars?
I dont need them to be great and so far playback on the VHS unit I have is satisfactory. But if anyone has any tips beyond what I have already said...
To be clear, I havent rolled on anything yet - as I JUST got the thunderbolt cable and the Blackmagic box yesterday but I am just trying to get a handle on what to expect to need.
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This absolutely MUST go into our Mac forum if you are capturing to a Mac. It's a common newbie mistake. That overrides EVERYTHING else about 95% of the time. I'll ask a moderator to move your post. You won't get the proper help otherwise.
EVERYTHING is going to be harder using a Mac. I'm actually writing this from a Mac so I'm not some anti-Mac guy. But it's the truth.
I will tell you that I feel very strongly as do many others here if not most others here that at this point in time you should just use ANY VCR you have access to that works well and trying to be the "recommended" models is a fool's errand. Those old "recommended" models were recommended 10+ years ago (look at the dates on the websites that recommend old specific models) and those models were never built to last this long. At this time the "recommended" models are all falling apart rapidly and if you get one that actually works, which is harder to do every day, it may not be working for that much longer. Repairs are incredibly expensive and don't last. I've heard of some desperate people with more money than sense who will buy 2 or 3 of these at a time, all of which may be broken, and strip them for enough parts to get one working one built. Obviously that shrinks the pool of "recommended" VCRs which is why many of us just say to use whatever you've got that works fine. And in my opinion, most of the "improvements" that can be done are VERY marginal indeed. Is it really worth spending many hours to make a video 2 or 3 or 5% better? Other than a TBC, if you need one, very little improving can be done on the hardware side and you'll have to spend time doing re-encoding with software filtering to improve things. You may be shocked at how marginal the improvements really are.
One of our best experts here on the subject doesn't post much any more, but I feel pretty strongly that he does newbies no favors by continuing to insist that they buy and use those rapidly disappearing "recommended" players and insisting that he regularly gets "DVD quality" out of VHS tapes. Maybe HE does - MAYBE - but will YOU? Probably not. At this time, realizing you are really late to be doing this and just being glad to get what you can and not have it be terrible are realistic goals. Expecting to have DVD or even better clarity is not.
I see that the AVT-8710 is a full frame TBC - and I was under the impression that without it, I will likely have flashing picture or something to that effect as the Blackmagic capture box will not likely work perfectly without it.
So are the "line" TBCs only in certain VHS playback units? And are they more geared then for improving picture quality?
I am most worried just about my picture playing smoothly through the Blackmagic to capture than I am making some great looking picture. What I see playing on the VHS player to my tv is not fantastic but its good enough for me - as long as its not flashing to black and such like I read so many people have issues with.
Anyway, I dont expect to make some great looking picture out of the old tapes - I am just hoping to get what I see playing out the VHS machine to my TV currently. Its not great but its good enough for my archiving purposes. I have stuff from 1984 that is really not great - but if I can just get as good as my VHS plays it - Ill be ok with it. I just want it to go ok and not get flashing picture and such. If there was something else easy to obtain and not too much money - that would improve the picture then sure I might add it, but as you are saying it doesnt sound like thats an easy goal to obtain.
I just want to dump this stuff in a computer so I can edit it and learn some basic editing - rather than use the DVD burner which is very limiting and wasnt even working to my satisfaction.
I appreciate your feedback very much.
Better in our Mac Forum. Moving you.
How many people do you know who don't work in the industry who just for the heck of it spent thousands of dollars (or the equivalent in your currency if different) for software for a hobby? Yes, there are production houses that use Macs and they pay for the privilege. For normal users EVERYTHING is harder to do on a Mac. If you don't get that, then you don't have enough "normal person" experience. Macs typically have only one or two tools at most for everything and if one of those doesn't meet your needs, you are out of luck. Windows is where the choices are, especially for low cost choices. But for a production house with money to spend, again not something Joe Blow down the street would do, yes, there are professional tools for Macs.
You may wish to at least tell what country you live in and for sure mention it if you live in a PAL country but have NTSC tapes to capture or vice-versa as that adds a layer complexity to the task.
Ahhh ok. I live in the US. And for the record(as I thought was obvious) I have ZERO "normal person" experience with video work other than my peers - some of the audio guys who do video work at their homes. Look. Im a PC guy and have been my whole life. But I recently bought a Macbook Pro and EVERYONE I know around me that does audio or video work - uses mac - like I would say 99.9 percent.
But I dont have any idea what this is relevant to or even moving this to a mac forum - as my questions had nothing to do with the computer format I was using - but the equipment used BEFORE getting it into the computer.
I just want to get a decent VHS signal from my old tapes - into a computer and all the research Ive done looking on this and that other website mentioned - tells me this task needs certain gear to do it properly (besides the computer)
Yes, line TBCs are a rarity and found on relatively high-end SVHS VCRs, but cheap DVD recorders with line TBCs can be easily found and added into the chain.
But I recently bought a Macbook Pro and EVERYONE I know around me that does audio or video work - uses mac - like I would say 99.9 percent.
Thank you - I get it. Yes - I am not interested in any heavy cleaning or restoration - just using decent gear to get it into the computer. When I started looking into the BlackMAgic capture boxes - I started seeing all sorts of stories of picture that flashes to black and lost frames - and the answer seemed to be TBC's so I was trying to just make sure I have the right gear to do this properly.
You mentioned in a lot of old posts things about TBCs and fixing problems people had digitizing old VHS tapes - as I saw people buying Blackmagic capture boxes who are expressing problems and people are recommending they get TBCs.
I am simply trying to find out if I need a TBC like the AVT 8710 to reliably get my signal through the capture box into the computer - and if I do - how do I know if it has defective chipsets or not - which you mentioned in your old posts.
I was also asking if there was any reason to look for a different VHS player than the one I have - a Panasonic VHS to DVD DMR-EX475V that I have barely used.
Thanks for any clarity you can give me on these things.
So you just ordered the Blackmagic, or you already have it in your possession?
I assume you mean DMR-EZ475V. According to the manual, the HDMI output supports 480i and will display VHS when DVD functions don't override the priority output. You might try capturing that before buying more hardware. If they included line TBC in that model, the limiting factor would be the analog VCR section itself.