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  1. Member
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    Hello,

    I have some old VHS recordings (vacations, parties) that are very important to me and I want to convert them to a digital portable format (not DVD), because I want to edit them first.

    I want the best image quality possible.

    As I don't have any VCR device, I am paying for this conversion as a service.

    I asked for the films to be ripped to Xvid (with high quality settings). But the guy insists that Xvid is not the best format, because it gets compressed and that will affect quality.
    But, he says, WMV (with "High Quality PAL 720X576" codec default settings) will give me the best quality possible.

    Well I think this is a bit strange, since I always believed the WMV is good for the web, mail and portable devices (because of the smaller size files)... but not for high quality video editing.

    What do you think?
    Thanks!
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  2. DV tape or DV AVI
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  3. Member
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    I guess that won't be possible, because the film I want to convert has more than 60min. And the resulting file has to fit on a regular 4Gb DVD.

    Any ideas?
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  4. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    You don't "rip" VHS, you transfer it.

    XVID is a stupid choice
    WMV is even more asinine.

    If you really want "the best image quality possible", then you would use DVCPRO50. Next best option is either DV25, or even a good high-bitrate DVD-Video.

    Aside from DVD-Video with max'd bitrate, nothing will fit on a 4GB DVD disc.

    "the guy" sounds like one of those people who barely as a grasp of video, yet tries to run a service with this limited knowledge. I can't stand those people.
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  5. Break it up into 20 minute segments and use as many DVDs as necessary. You're going to be editing so you don't care how many DVDs it comes on.
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    I understand that VHS is at best equivalent to MPEG1 quality. From what I've seen of other folk's videos, that's an optimistic estimate of the first order. I would not go overboard on quality unless you want to preserve the crap and noise for posterity in HD. All I would do is to record the video at a higher quality (bitrate) than what I want the final edited version to be. I would have thought MPEG2 is fine (say 8Mbps). No sync problems, easy to edit, standard format (not a flavour of the month).

    I think XviD gets a lot of bad press for the wrong reasons. The main problem is that it's generally used with extremely high compression. A dvd may be 7GB of mpeg2 and is itself compressed video. What gets posted on the Web is a 700MB XviD file. These files are not bad but when you look closely at frames, they suffer from chronic colour puddling and pixelation due to the high compression. Ditto mkv video from HD sources. The faults are not so noticeable at playing speed due to persistence of vision.
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    Originally Posted by Starman*

    I think XviD gets a lot of bad press for the wrong reasons. The main problem is that it's generally used with extremely high compression. A dvd may be 7GB of mpeg2 and is itself compressed video. What gets posted on the Web is a 700MB XviD file. These files are not bad but when you look closely at frames, they suffer from chronic colour puddling and pixelation due to the high compression. Ditto mkv video from HD sources. The faults are not so noticeable at playing speed due to persistence of vision.
    JaVo2004 said he wants to edit the video. Although you may get acceptable results with XVID for playing, it is a bad choice for editing.
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  8. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Starman*
    I understand that VHS is at best equivalent to MPEG1 quality. .
    That's not correct.
    Read this: http://www.digitalfaq.com/guides/video/capture-understand-sources.htm
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  9. Member edDV's Avatar
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    PAL VHS is very different from MPeg1. It is sent at 576i with about 3MHz of luminance bandwidth. As such, optimal capture should equal or exceed 352x576i (640x576i is enough).

    The ideal capture card would low pass filter luminance above 3MHz since only noise exists at higher frequencies. Unfortunately, most capture cards don't low pass filter.

    Once captured, VHS quality benefits from levels adjustment, color correction, noise reduction and some image sharpening.

    Interlace should be maintained. After processing, DV-AVI or DVD MPeg2 at 720x576i at >6Mb/s would be a reasonable archive output target. 352x576i @ 4Mb/s would probably look as good for distribution. As VC-1 and h.264 interlace are prefected, those might be appropriate in the future but I'd stay with MPeg2 today.
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    Originally Posted by lordsmurf
    Originally Posted by Starman*
    I understand that VHS is at best equivalent to MPEG1 quality. .
    That's not correct.
    Read this: http://www.digitalfaq.com/guides/video/capture-understand-sources.htm
    I don't see anything in that article that contradicts my statement. It says it's difficult to compare. What I wrote came from an article I read a long time ago and refers to subjective comparison. An mpeg at 1% quality is going to be worse than VHS. You can only compare typicals of the period when Mpeg1 and VHS were peers.

    VHS tapes that I've seen from the public at large are chronic quality with the whole gamut of video problems. Lousy definition to boot. Most people transferring to digital don't have the time to address these problems and it just ain't worth it. If you want the works, you are going to have to pay for it.

    My comments about XviD were related to the video guy's comment in the original post.

    Since most people use VBR for audio in XviD that almost totally rules out using for editing. I've yet to find an XviD on the Web that opens properly in VirtualDub(Mod).

    I use CBR audio in XviDs so they are editable. I avoid low bitrate XviDs with VBR. I just loaded an NTSC XviD movie I made into Vegas and it seems OK to me for editing, perhaps a bit slow to start playing at a new cursor location. Seems to work fine cutting to a short clip. I didn't try rendering an output.
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  11. Member edDV's Avatar
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    The OP has family VHS camcorder tapes that tend to be higher quality source if shot in reasonable light. His goal was "best image quality possible" and that ain't xvid. The quality choices are 576i DV or DVD.
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  12. Xvid with all I frames and a target quantizer of 1 is of similar quality and just as editable as DV. Nearly as big too.

    MPEG1 resolution can also be 720x480/576 just like DV. It can also be set to all I frame output where it will give similar quality and be just as editable as DV. It doesn't support interlaced encoding though. If you use it on interlaced material you will get blurring of colors between the two fields.
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  13. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by jagabo
    Xvid with all I frames and a target quantizer of 1 is of similar quality and just as editable as DV. Nearly as big too.

    MPEG1 resolution can also be 720x480/576 just like DV. It can also be set to all I frame output where it will give similar quality and be just as editable as DV. It doesn't support interlaced encoding though. If you use it on interlaced material you will get blurring of colors between the two fields.
    But MPeg1 and xvid are more difficult to encode or more importantly difficult to play back when interlaced. These codecs effectively require deinterlace which is destructive. My point is to stay with interlace DV or DVD MPeg2 which will produce superior playback from both current and future display processors.

    A good quality evaluation proxy today (MPeg2 vs xvid) is to play the VHS transfer to a 100/120Hz HDTV and watch motion and artifacts. Future TV processors will do better from interlace source.
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  14. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Starman*
    Originally Posted by lordsmurf
    Originally Posted by Starman*
    I understand that VHS is at best equivalent to MPEG1 quality. .
    That's not correct.
    Read this: http://www.digitalfaq.com/guides/video/capture-understand-sources.htm
    I don't see anything in that article that contradicts my statement. It says it's difficult to compare. What I wrote came from an article I read a long time ago and refers to subjective comparison. .
    Then you didn't read very carefully. Read it again.
    Whatever article you may have read long ago was clearly wrong, then. MPEG-1 cannot adequately maintain all the data available in a VHS tape. You are wrong, it was wrong, that is not factually correct in any way.

    I really hate it when people argue over something for which they haven't a clue. "Some article I think I read one time" is not a valid source of knowledge.

    Some of your advice lately has been solid crap. (Example: suggesting codec packs -- completely stupid.)
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    Of all the options mentioned so far, the one that best matches the OP's stated aims (as opposed to second-guessing them) is DV, with DVD MPEG2 a reasonable second. DV will degrade the image the least, and will be the most editable. DVD MPEG will be pretty close in quality, and substantially smaller in file size, but is a bit less amenable to editing. It's important to recognize that choosing a format that seems, in some sense, overkill, is important because you may be performing several operations on the file, and some of those operations may be lossy. Starting off with the best possible transfer gives you the necessary additional margin to enable the final result to look about as good as allowed.

    You say that the result has to fit on a 4GB DVD. That's entirely feasible. Transfer to, and edit in, DV, then perform a final transcode to DVD. The output will be close to perceptually lossless. Of course, this workflow involves two steps.

    If you have a smart MPEG2 editor, and the edits you want to perform are basically localized to simple cuts and splices, you might be able to get away with transferring to and editing in MPEG 2 directly.

    Since personal tastes differ widely, I recommend trying both approaches on short segments. Good choices are scenes with a lot of high spatial frequency content, and lots of motion. Those in combination constitute a good stress test for the encoders.
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  16. Member rhegedus's Avatar
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    Capture in DV, edit then encode to DVD.
    Regards,

    Rob
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  17. Member
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    Originally Posted by lordsmurf
    I really hate it when people argue over something for which they haven't a clue. "Some article I think I read one time" is not a valid source of knowledge.
    That's rather presumptive and rude, considering I took the time to read the article you mentioned. That article is now "Some article I think I read one time" so I guess is of no value?

    Quoting the first table:

    Format:
    VHS

    Analog
    Measurement:
    Up to 3.0 Mhz (very weak), 240 lines of resolution, interlaced

    Digital
    Equivalent:
    250x480 to 300x480 interlaced

    Audio and
    Other Info:
    29.97fps NTSC, HiFi audio about 44.1kHz, 4:2:2 sampling

    Suggested
    Capture Size:
    352x480

    Could you quote from the article to enlighten me on what I missed?
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  18. It's pointless to argue about MPEG1 can "capture" all the information in a VHS tape unless you specify what resolution and bitrate MPEG1 you are talking about. If you are talking about 352x240 1152 kbps VCD -- no that is not sufficient.
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  19. Member rhegedus's Avatar
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    I remeber an post here from about 5-6 years ago about VHS capture and encode. I think the consense was that the end-product mpg should be half-D1 and around 3000kbps.

    Yup, here it is https://forum.videohelp.com/topic127563.html#388369
    Regards,

    Rob
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  20. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Starman*

    Suggested
    Capture Size:
    352x480

    Could you quote from the article to enlighten me on what I missed?
    I'd argue for "best quality" and if you intend to filter, direct capture to 352x480 may be insufficient unless you analog low pass filter luminance to 3MHz before A/D. Although the VHS luminance rolls off at 3MHz, there is considerable higher frequency noise that is captured (27-54MHz sampling is typical) that should be filtered out digitally before down sampling to 352x480i. The high frequency noise will produce alias products if sub-sampled.

    For this reason I'd argue capturing at 640x480i, 704x480i or 720x480i* before noise reduction, color correction and edge enhancement. Then output to 352x480i.


    *For important family material, one might consider saving the original unfiltered capture as the "archive".
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    Originally Posted by jagabo
    It's pointless to argue about MPEG1 can "capture" all the information in a VHS tape unless you specify what resolution and bitrate MPEG1 you are talking about. If you are talking about 352x240 1152 kbps VCD -- no that is not sufficient.
    I'm not arguing (just debating). I really don't care about MPEG1. The reason I quoted from the article was because that article was suggested by others to me as refuting my earlier comments! I was merely asking what in the article was relevant. You'd have to go through the thread from the start; please don't jump in part of the way. I stand by everything I said in my first post.

    I'm very pragmatic. I watched a VHS tape the other week and was quite impressed with the quality. FROM THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROOM!!
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  22. Member T-Fish's Avatar
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    i captured mine with huffyuv @ 720x576.
    (huffyuv = lossless)

    if you wanna edit, id capture to DV and edit, then encode to a dvd compliant mpeg2 stream.
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    I have to stir the pot a bit more. The reason I mentioned MPEG1 was to try and put some perspective on the quality of video we are talking about. We are not talking broadcast quality video or benchmark tests, we are talking home movies, analog, to magnetic tape, consumer quality equipment.

    Javo2004 is paying to have the work done professionally, which is a very different situation than if you are doing it at home at no cost. Any unusual methods (for the pro) may involve extra costs for little return in quality. I have no idea how the pros charge but it's a factor to take into account.

    I wonder how many contributors have looked closely at VHS home video lately? It boggles my mind that anyone would think it's great quality. It definitely improved over time with technology.

    A few comments have been made about the virtues of VHS with no regard to the vices. VHS may be able to do this or that, but it can definitely add humungous gobs of video noise to a recording. The main faults I've seen on my recordings and others are colour banding and general colour noise, grain, posterizing, edge halo. Varies depending on tape and recording device.

    I haven't done a comparison for MPEG1 but did one for MPEG2 a few years back. I connected my analog camcorder consecutively to a vcr and to my PC, recording in MPEG2. There was no comparison in quality. I'm not talking about definition, I'm talking about the amount of crap on the videotape recording. The same was true for the recording on the camcorder's tape although it was cleaner. I would surmise the same is true of MPEG1.

    If I were Javo2004 I would take tomlee59's two options to the pro and get prices. I'm not sure I would use that pro however.
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  24. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    The more you type, the dumber it reads.

    MPEG-1 doesn't support interlace, therefore it is insufficient to maintain the quality from a VHS tape.
    It's really that simple, end of story.
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    Originally Posted by Starman*

    I wonder how many contributors have looked closely at VHS home video lately? It boggles my mind that anyone would think it's great quality. It definitely improved over time with technology.

    A few comments have been made about the virtues of VHS with no regard to the vices. VHS may be able to do this or that, but it can definitely add humungous gobs of video noise to a recording. The main faults I've seen on my recordings and others are colour banding and general colour noise, grain, posterizing, edge halo. Varies depending on tape and recording device...
    Many factors put stress on encoders. Resolution is certainly one, but another is the SNR of the source, as well as the spectral content of the source. Even low-res sources, such as VHS, can require surprisingly high data rates. One (and there are others) significant cause is typically the relatively high noise. Encoders that attempt to represent this noise accurately essentially use up too many of the allocated bits to reproduce noise, leaving fewer bits to encode the parts that the human visual system is most interested in. Although methods such as employing prefiltering prior to encoding can materially improve the results, it remains true that it is rarely sufficient to capture directly to a standard that is only comparable to the source in fundamental quality limits (think about what happens when copying a VHS tape with another VHS recorder; the generational loss is significant). So, even though VCD-like MPEG is often described with the sound-bite "VHS-like quality", one may not reliably infer that one may then capture to VCD-like MPEG directly from a VHS source without significant quality loss. You want the capture to be capable of a much higher quality so that the overall end result is close in quality to that of the original.
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  26. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Starman*
    I'm very pragmatic. I watched a VHS tape the other week and was quite impressed with the quality. FROM THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROOM!!
    I don't think anyone is talking about recording new material to VHS. We are talking about archiving and restoring VHS material from years ago.
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