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  1. Member
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    Hello everyone. I am not a newbie to video editing, but new to VHS to DVD conversion process. I would like to first start transfering my VHS tapes (mostly home-made from various camcorders), then later doing it for friends and family (for a minimal fee). I just purchased a second-hand Canopus ADVC-55 A/D converter, and have some software that I might need (will address that later). There will be no very old tapes (most will be 15 years the most). I do realize importance of playback on a good/decent VHS so after doing my research on here (spend a whole day), I got a decent picture of what I need. Here are my questions.

    1. Hardware: I found a JVC HR-S9500U used for sale for $30 locally, but there is a problem with it. Owner claims that on fast-action shots, image is blurred, almost like ghosted. He is not sure what is wrong or if there is any way to fix it. I am wandering if anyone knows what could be causing something like that; maybe it is some kind of a setting that should be disabled, or some basic preventative maintenance (like cleaning a head). Or does that mean that the player has seen its better days? The owner claims it is in Very Good condition physically. He also has a very good Mitsubishi HS-U770U review here towards the buttom of the page (http://www.videomaker.com/article/1743/)](http://www.videomaker.com/article/1743/)[/url]), which he claims cost $900 back in the day. But he is asking $80 for that unit. I was unable to find the specs for Mitsubishi, other then that it has digital frame stabilizer, dual flying erase heads, and auto head cleaning (recently sold ebay listing has some information here http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=250300574560, but JVC definately has TBC and image control options of its elder brother HR-S9600. Any advice, recommendation, or should I keep looking?

    2. Since I have the Canopus Firewire capture that supposedly should take care of TBC and should not have any sync issue. Is that correct? I will try to capture via S-Video if it provides a better quality (I know some of you insist that Composite is just as good).

    3. Software-wise, I have Sony Vegas 6, Pinnace Studio Plus 11, Ulead VideoStudio11, MPEG Encoder 1.5, and TMPGE software, etc. For most tapes, I plan on capturing straight to MPEG2 and then create a DVD menu prior to burning to DVD. My Dell M1530 has Core 2 Duo T8100 with 2.1GHz processor and ATI 8600GT, 4GB of RAM card should have no problem with encoding on the fly, right? Is there any reason (other then significantly improving quality) to capture to AVI and then do any filtering and re-encoding to MPEG2 for DVD? Any other software (Free or otherwise) I might need or should consider?

    Anything else that I am ignoring potentially? Thanks for everyone's time and effort. I know similar questions have been posted and answered (I have read most if not all of them), but wanted to state my case and purpose.
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  2. Personally, I would keep it simple. Get yourself a DVD recorder. Secondly, I wouldn't bother with a defective VCR when there are so many good ones available new and used for dirt cheap.
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  3. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    1. They owner sounds a bit clueless. Fast action is inherent "blurred" on video tape, because it's only being shot at 30fps, especially if it's a consumer camera. There are ways to minimize that, but it's handled during shooting. The DNR can slightly enhance that in theory, but I don't see much temporal noise from the DNR, as it's not crossing that many frames. Honestly, given the prices, I'd buy up both VCRs. I'd consider that $110 well spent, maybe even haggle him down to $100 for both together. That'd be a steal. I'm not sure if the 9500 has all the filters of the 9600+ model machines, but for $30 I'd grab it anyway. (If I had an extra $80, I'd tell you to buy me the Mitsubishi! I'd pass on the JVC because I've already got 3-4 JVC decks, plenty fine in that area.)

    2. False. Wrong. Not at all true. The Canopus device DOES NOT replace a TBC, it's not even close. That's a bad myth that gets passed around even by B&H salesmen. Now then, the device does not lose sync easily (not impossible), but most devices sync fine too. That's one of those boogeymen selling points. It's like saying "buy a Ford because it doesn't eat babies", with the obvious conclusion (from logic, albeit fallacy logic) that other cars from other makers will eat babies -- which is, of course, not true. S-video and composite are not "better" as much as different. Given the choice, s-video is the one you'd want to choose in at least 90% or more of captures. I rarely have to use composite, and when I do, it's due to tape errors that compound worse on the s-video separation. Ideally, you want separated chroma and luma values.

    3. You cannot really capture direct to MPEG with the Canopus device, not in optimal quality anyway. You'd want an MPEG card (ATI AIW Radeon, Hauppauage, Matrox, Canopus MPEG, DVD recorder, etc) for that. Sony Vegas is good for editing DV or uncompressed AVI, not so much MPEG, would re-encode. Pinnacle makes crap. Ulead VS may work for you, I don't have much information on it, although thecoalman here might. Computer specs look great, better than mine. I'd consider an MPEG editor, and my favorite all-around is Womble MPEG Video Wizard for editing MPEG. I use Womble MPEG-VCR most, but the MVW is more versatile if you're only buying one. Coming from VHS, you'll have chroma noise, so I suggest a good DVD recorder to filter the tapes, not just convert as-is. It does just one more step beyond the good VCR. Maybe a JVC 10/100/30/300 series machine or a MV1/MV5 combo (don't use VCR half), or maybe a Toshiba XS series (32/34/35/KX50). Tape also has hiss, some some audio software. I use SoundForge and Goldwave, worth it, but a freeware like Audacity works for some folks here too (I don't like it as much as SF or GW).

    If buying a DVD recorder is not an option, the ADVC device may work for you, just hope the VCR filters well, then capture to DV AVI, editing in Vegas, and export to MPEG-2 2-pass VBR with a good bitrate (there's a guide on digitalFAQ.com that goes over bitrate allocation, also linked to from guides on VH).
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    Wow, this is great information Lordsmurf. I didn't realize that Canopus wouldn't capture to MPEG2 well. Because I am using a laptop, I can't use any of the PCI cards you listed (unless some of them are external firewire cards). Thanks for your recommendation on the MPEG software, I will take a look at that, as well as sound (I used SoundForge and Audacity before). As to the VCR, I would have to visit the seller and see what he means my blur on JVC and compare that to Mitsubishi picture. I would rather not invest in a DVR, unless I really have to. I am still going to author the menus and titles, so if I can capture analog using Canopus (paid only $35 for it shipped), might as well use one device.
    Quick question, what do you mean my "just hope the VCR filters well" is that related to capture by Canopus, or some kind of filters in editing via software? Your advice is well taken.

    Anyone else has hands on with Mitsubishi VCR? Does it has TBC or other advanced features of JVC? Thanks again for your input!
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  5. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    Hauppauge has some external USB2 MPEG cards.

    The good VCRs filter, but noise can still get through. It's one reason to use it in conjunction with other filtering equipment to really try and remove 100% of the noise, and just leave the good image. Without secondary filtering from the DVD recorder, you'll be relying more on the power of the VCR to do all the work.

    I thought you said the Mitsubishi had a TBC? If ti does not, then I would think twice about getting it. It should be obvious on the unit, if you look at it in person. It either has a button on unit or remote, or a menu setting, or it doesn't.
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    Is TBC not the same as digital frame stabilizer? Trying to find specs for Mitsubishi to make an informative decision...
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  7. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    Not necessarily, no, not the same.
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  8. Member olyteddy's Avatar
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    If you want it as MPEG2 then the Hauppauge is a good choice. I've watched and or recorded thousands of hours on mine.
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  9. Member 2Bdecided's Avatar
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    The ADVC300 has a line TBC. The ADVC55, 100, 110 etc do not have any TBC at all. None of them have a frame TBC.

    My ADVC110 doesn't lose sync easily, but most tapes definitely benefit from the VCR's TBC.


    Unless you are looking for a new hobby, going straight to a _good_ DVD recorder via suitable filtering is a lot quicker and easier than going the PC route. Less flexible though, though some people rip the resulting DVDs into their PCs and add menus, simple edits etc. If you want to do anything that would require re-encoding the whole lot (e.g. colour correct), then you might as well stick with the ADVC.

    Cheers,
    David.
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    Originally Posted by 2Bdecided
    Unless you are looking for a new hobby, going straight to a _good_ DVD recorder via suitable filtering is a lot quicker and easier than going the PC route.
    Seconded, and I've tried both methods. I've personally had quite enough of fighting the problems of dropped frames and poor audio sync, and the supposed quality benefit of PC capture is hard to see as well. Plus I'd point out that an HDD/DVD recorder gives you the additional option of a high quality (noise preserving) capture, then burn to RW media (maybe in segments), transferring to PC for additional noise filtering and DVD authoring.
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    Thanks everyone for your input. So what are some good DVD Recorders I should consider? How much should I expect to spend? Will they allow me an option to burning an MPEG2 file, rather then DVD structure files so I can still go ahead and make a nice custom menu?

    As to the Hauppauge external USB capture cards, are we talking about this one (WinTV-PVR-USB2) or are there multiple options and some are better then others? Just found another model, Diamond XtremeTV PVR660 but the ratings on amazon are just ok. Hauppauge WinTV-HVR1950 is more expensive (http://www.compusa.com/applications/searchtools/item-Details.asp?EdpNo=4146199) Any suggestions from actual users? Thanks.
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    Originally Posted by coolmen777
    Thanks everyone for your input. So what are some good DVRs I should consider? How much should I expect to spend? Will they allow me an option to burning an MPEG2 file, rather then DVD structure files so I can still go ahead and make a nice custom menu? Thanks.
    Well, be careful about using the "DVR" term - it's technically correct but most people will think you mean HDD-only recorders as provided by cable companies, or the kind used for CCTV recording. You want a consumer DVD recorder or HDD/DVD recorder.

    I don't know of a consumer DVD or HDD/DVD recorder that gives you the option to copy unstructured MPEG2 files to DVD. The ones I know all create fully compliant DVD Video disks (which you must remember to finalize). This is no problem however - you just use a tool such as DVD Decrypter to rip the disk to the PC, but using a special mode (whose name I can't recall off the top of my head... IFO? Stream?) which gives you the continuous elementary video and audio streams rather than the segmented VOBs. The elementary streams can be plugged directly into any decent DVD authoring app with no further processing required, allowing you to create custom menus etc.

    (ps). In the past when I've suggested this some helpful soul has jumped in to say that you don't need DVD Decrypter to copy DVDs you've burned yourself in a DVD recorder. That is true - DVD Decrypter in this case just provides a convenient tool for copying to PC and extracting elementary streams, in a single easy step.
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  13. Member thecoalman's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by mpack
    , and the supposed quality benefit of PC capture is hard to see as well.
    That's mostly in reference to post capture options. If you're going to capture to DV-AVI then convert to MPEG and discard the capture file you're wasting your time. On the other hand if you're going to archive or want to do post capture processing with software the DV-AVI holds many benefits over MPEG.
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  14. Member
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    Originally Posted by thecoalman
    Originally Posted by mpack
    , and the supposed quality benefit of PC capture is hard to see as well.
    That's mostly in reference to post capture options.
    I've never tried capturing to DV-AVI, but when the source is VHS I doubt it makes any useful difference. I've tried PC capture to lossless AVI (Huffyuv), then post-process on the PC. I've tried a high quality MPEG2 capture, again with post-processing on the PC. The artefacts were different in the two cases, but neither was preferable to the other. I doubt that DV-AVI capture plus post-processing would be any different. So, may as well go with the simplest and most reliable capture method.
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  15. Member 2Bdecided's Avatar
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    Oh, it can look better, if you have hours to spend. DV-AVI from the ADVC devices isn't going to cause dropped frames or audio sync issues either. It's just the time and effort that's a problem. For many people, it means they'll never finish the project, which is a much bigger loss than, say, missing out on 5% improvement in video quality!

    Cheers,
    David.
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