Earlier I tried a device called ADS Video Xpress to transfer tapes from my VCR to files on my computer (.mpg format), then I used Windows Movie Maker to edit the files, and Windows DVD Maker to burn the discs. I notice significant loss of quality using this process. The old VHS tapes look better then the discs. But I'm not sure which step along the way caused the loss of video quality.
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I only put 2 hours onto a DVD. I don't have a TV tuner card. The ADS Video Xpress I use has these specs:
- Captures video at resolutions up to 720 x 480 (NTSC)
- Connects to Windows XP or Vista machines USB 2.0 port
- Integrated input connections with RCA and S-Video and Right and Left audio RCA
- Video is sent over the USB cable uncompressed so you have the highest quality possible
- Video Formats: MPEG1 and MPEG-2
I don't need a solution that repairs bad video, just one that is fairly lossless.
Do you think a TV tuner card is what I need?
Your ADS Video Xpress does not have a line TBC.
Two hours of non time based corrected and non noise reduced VHS video at 720x480 is too much. Try one hour.
A line TBC is necessary because the spinning VHS drum does no maintain exactly the same speed all the time. That means every scanline is a slightly different length and their position shifts a little left and right randomly. That is a killer of MPEG compression because a large part of MPEG compression is skipping parts of the frame that haven't changed from frame to frame.
Noise reduction is important because random noise in VHS tapes means every pixel is slightly different from frame to frame, even in a perfectly still shot. Again, this kills MPEG compression, for the same reason.
For 2 hours of video you should use half D1 (720x352) not full D1 (720x480), especially without a TBC or noise reduction. You don't lose much because VHS barely has that much resolution anyway. Half D1 is fully DVD compliant.
It sounds like going directly from VCR to DVD is the cleanest solution. Would the data on the DVD necessarily then be in UDF format?
Given a choice of many formats to capture the VHS to my hard drive (avi, mpg, and many other formats) which is the best format to choose?
i know its 480 line to keep interlace but fastest or best if i don't drop frames ?? is there any difference ??
YUY2 is closest to what's in an analog signal. Capturing uncompressed YUY2 is a little too much data to store reliably in real-time. Using HuffYUV is a very fast codec and reduces the amount of data that is written to the disk from about 75 GB/hr to 35 GB/hr. That reduces the possibility of dropping frames without degrading image quality in any way. I'm assuming here you plan on filtering and editing the video after capture. And the size of the capture files don't matter.
I would capture at 720x480 even though the actual resolution of VHS is closer to 352x480. If you need to put 2 hours on a single layer DVD you can reduce the resolution to 352x480 as the last step before MPEG encoding.
But you're stressing about the wrong thing. The single most important part of capturing VHS is getting a good S-VHS deck with a line TBC.
If you can't afford that you can use the best VHS deck you have and something like a Panasonic ES15 DVD recorder in pass-through mode to clean up the time base. The ES15 will take the incoming composite signal from the VHS deck, clean up the time base, and output a clean composite signal you can capture on the computer.
The ES15 also has a noise reduction option but I find it's too aggressive and results in a little temporal ghosting.
Last edited by jagabo; 23rd Dec 2010 at 07:31.
Regerding encoding to mpeg 2 from any source, here is a tip: MSU Denoiser helps with the compression. Visually doesn't really filter much, but it really helps with the mpeg 2 compression. Just add this filter to your filters list
I believe my VCR has TBC (Sony SLV-R5UC which is S-VHS).
I tried two consumer external video capture devices (ADS Video Xpress and Dazzle DVD Recorder Plus) between this VCR and my computer and had too much loss of quality on the video.
I am now considering purchasing a used DVD recorder that has S_Video input, a large hard drive, and good editing capabilities before burning the disc. I heard that some of the Panasonic DMR series had these capabilities. I am just trying to find a solution where the DVDs I create do not have noticeably worse video than the original VHS tapes.
Does this sound like a good solution?
If your S-VHS deck has a line TBC then there's no reason the other capture devices should have delivered poor quality. Both appear to have s-video inputs. SD analog video capture has not advanced much in the last ~10 years. Unless those devices have external noise, or false macrovision problems they should be acceptable. It looks like both can capture as YUY2 (or other YUV 4:2:2) format and store in an AVI container. You could then filter and convert to MPEG with HcEnc or another MPEG encoder. Doing that potentially can get you better results than a DVD recorder. Of course, if you just want to save time the DVD recorder will probably give you acceptable results.
Do you still have any samples of caps from those devices? Can you post some images or short clips that show the problems?
I have not found a way to make ADS Video Xpress put anything but .mpg files on my hard drive. Dazzle DVD Recorder Plus gives a choice of .mpg or .avi but I don't see a way to choose a flavor of .avi. The file size of the .mpg files for a VHS tape nearly 2 hours long are about 5 GB and the file size in the .avi format are about 25 GB. I have no idea how to tell it to use YUY2 format.
Also, I am not sure the Sony SLV-R5UC VCR really has TBC. One person commented on the internet that it has TBC, but I have seen other comments that the machine probably predates TBC technology. The manual that came with my machine is dated 1990.
I guess I need to find a video capture device (or a video capture card for my computer) that can capture as YUY2 in AVI.
VirtualDub will capture from either device. From its main window select File -> Capture AVI.
The vertical edges look fine to me, but the total resolution of the video does not look as clear on the DVD as on the original tape. So I guess the problem is something other than TBC. I have been using Windows Movie Maker to burn the discs, and it just says that it burns 150 minutes onto a disc. You cannot choose XP, SP, LP, etc. So far, I have been burning about 2 hours onto a disc. I don't know if Movie Maker switches modes to XP under the covers if you give it less than 1 hour to record.
VirtualDub didn't complain right away about not being to capture is a good sign. It may be just a matter of getting your settings right. Did you see the video in VirtualDub's capture window? Some things to try:
1) Use Device -> ??? to select the capture device. You'll see Microsoft WDM Image Capture, probably something that contains the name of the device your capturing from, maybe a few other things, Screen Capture, and Video File. Try the different devices until VirtualDub doesn't complain. You may not be able to tell if the particular device is working correctly until the other settings are adjusted.
2) Select Video -> Preview to be sure the preview window is turned on. Also try Video -> Overlay.
3) Use Video -> Source -> ??? to select the input on the capture device. Composite, s-video, tuner.
4) Use Video -> Capture Pin... to select the Color Space. Look for YUY2 or some other YUV 4:2:0 variant like UYVY, YV12, etc. Use RGB as a last resort. Make sure the output size is set to 720x480 or 704x480. Video Standard should be NTSC_M and the frame rate should be 29.97.
5) You may also need to set Video -> Crossbar to the correct input. Similar to step 3 above. In the right hand pulldown (Output) select Video Decoder Out, then select the input with the left pulldown (Source). Then select Audio Decoder Out in the right pulldown and the correct audio source in the left hand pulldown.
By now you should definitely see something in the preview window. If not try playing around with the Preview Windows settings (step 2).
6) Select Video -> Capture Filter. Among the tabs in the dialog you may find Video Proc Amp. Those may let you adjust the brightness, contrast, hue, saturation, sharpness, etc. Just keep that in mind in case you need to make adjustments when you're ready to capture.
7) Select Video -> Levels. You may or may not find brightess/contrast controls there too.
8) Select Video -> Compression. Capturing uncompressed YUY2 is too much data for most hard drives to store reliably in real time. You'll want to use a fast compression codec like HuffYUV. I highly recommend you get HuffYUV and use that. Another fast compression codec is Pic Video's MJPEG codec. Once you've installed those they should appear here. Use the Configure button to configure any settings particular to the codec.
9) Use File -> Set Capture File to select the location of the capture file. It's not recommend you capture to the boot drive because Windows will be fiddling with that every now and then. Also, don't use an external USB drive, it will be too slow. If you only have one drive you'll have to live with that.
10) Make sure Audio -> Enable Audio Capture is enabled (assuming you want audio).
11) Use Audio -> Raw Capture Format to set the audio format. Most likely you'll want PCM 48000 Hz, stereo, 16 bit. Maybe 44100 Hz.
12) Audio - Compression... should be set to No Compression (PCM). Most audio compressors aren't optimized for speed. So compressing while capturing can cause dropped frames.
13) Select Capture -> Timing... set Resync mode to Do Not Resync Between Audio and Video Streams. This is another cause of dropped frames.
14) Disable Audio -> Enable Audio Playback. This is a major cause of dropped frames, in my experience.
15) At this point you should be ready to capture. For testing be sure your source isn't macrovision protected (ie, don't use a commercial video, use a home video recording) tape. And use a tape that's in good condition so you don't have problems with signal dropouts. Select Capture -> Capture Video to capture some video. Watch the dropped frame counter. It should show no, or very few, dropped frames.
16) Press Esc or Capture -> Stop Capture to stop capturing. Take a look at the file you just captured. Does it look OK?
Once you have capture working well you can look at changing some of the above settings. Ie, you may want to enable audio playback so you can hear what's being captured, turn on the Audio -> Volume Meter, re-enable Audio/Video sync, etc. If you start seeing dropped frames go back and turn off the feature that's the cause. Use the Video Proc Amp or Levels control to adjust the picture.
The preview screen showed the video fine while it was recording. It was when I played the file later that I could hear the sound but only got a green screen. I will try the things you mentioned.
for what it's worth :http://avisynth.org/oldwiki/index.php?page=Convert
You can also edit the registry to force your system to use HuffYUV as the system YUY2 codec. Look under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Drivers32 (the location will be different for Win9x). You should find a string named VIDC.YUY2; its value will vary according to your software and hardware configuration (for example, installation of an ATI All-In-Wonder Radeon set this to ATIVYUY.DLL). Change this to huffyuv.dll and HuffYUV will be called upon for YUY2 conversions. Encoding quality from an Avisynth script with TMPGEnc is much better with HuffYUV as the YUY2 decoder than with some other codecs; with ATIVYUY.DLL, for instance, subtle color variations became posterized. Acceptable results were possible with the ConvertToRGB filter, but this increased encoding time substantially as TMPGEnc needed to convert back to YUV as it encoded. Changing the system YUY2 codec to HuffYUV eliminates the expensive (and lossy) YUV->RGB->YUV conversion while maintaining the quality of the encoded output.
Even if VirtualDub is the right software for me, I still need to find a good capture device. I returned the Dazzle DVD Recorder Plus because it crashed my computer every time I tried to burn a disc using its software, and the video image had loss. However, all four edges of the video screen were sharp and clean. With the ADS Video Xpress the bottom and right edges of the video screen were wavy and flickering using the same VHS tape as input. I noticed this same problem on the VirtualDub preview screen using this device, so I don't want either of these capture devices. I need to find a better capture device, or a capture card for my computer that has S-video and R&L channel audio inputs. Any suggestions?
Last edited by jagabo; 25th Dec 2010 at 18:08.
I am using Vista 64 bit. I have not been able to find where I can change the system YUY2 setting.
I installed USP3 ports to my computer a while back and have a 2TB USB3 hard drive I use for my video editing. Perhaps this capture device would produce the best quality conversion from VHS for me, it has the inputs I need (S-Video, 2 channel audio):
Does anyone know if this would produce good video quality?
I just spoke with the technical support for the Intensity Pro capture device from BlackMagic Design. That device, and the software that comes with it, captures uncompressed AVI files. I would then need to find software that could edit/convert/burn those files.
Given the choice of capturing video to DV or MPEG formats, which would be the best video quality?