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    Hey there, new user here with some questions regarding a few pieces of hardware I've come across. As far as this is of interest, the reason I consider this equipment is that I've been planning to rip a collection of some personal vhs-recordings (i.e. rather important ones to me), of which most are about 10-15 years old with a few ones looking pretty worn-out. Quite a few of these tapes also suffer from excessively saturated colors (mostly reds) which is due to a fault in our camera that became more notable over time, so this could also be something to take into consideration.

    EDIT no. 2: Lordsmurf has conveniently provided answers to most of the earlier questions in this topic over at the digitalfaq forums.

    [answered questions]
    First off, I've come across the JVC HR-S85000. I can get this from someone for about 210 dollars (converted from euros). Judging from an online fact sheet it indeed seems to have all the nice features I could want for optimizing my video capture. Most notably it's said to have a Digital TBC, which I think would justify it's relatively high price. However I'm still not certain whether these models actually have full-frame TBC's, or just the kind of TBC function that's nothing to get too excited about. Furthermore, this particular vcr has been used, so I'd also like to know if there aren't any durability issues with these machines.

    Related to this issue I was wondering if an external TBC (currently I'm looking into the TBC-1000) could add any additional stability to the setup even when the jvc supports the function already. I've understood from one of lordsmurf's posts that integrated TBC's and external ones do different things to improve the video quality altogether, but does this mean that if I want good image quality and a stable signal to prevent out-of-sync issues I'm theoretically better off with a setup in which both types of TBC's are active?

    The other vcr I could buy is a portable (used) JVC BR-6200EG, which is sold quite cheap considering what they must have cost originally. Would it be worth owning one though, or is there nothing about them that a good-functioning consumer-grade Sharp (like the one I have) can't do already?

    Well that's all equipment I could find for the time being (stuff like this is apparently pretty rare in pal territory). I had originally added some questions about a good capture device as well, but then the forum ate my post due to a cookie error, so I'll probably start about that once I've gotten some enlightement on above issues. In any case, many thanks in advance for your attention for my questions.
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  2. Member lacywest's Avatar
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    This has been a popular question in the past.

    For my needs I use a Mitsubishi HS-U748 ... I play my VHS tapes and record them to a Panasonic EH50 to the internal harddrive ... from their I do the commercial editing.
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    Originally Posted by lacywest
    This has been a popular question in the past.

    For my needs I use a Mitsubishi HS-U748 ... I play my VHS tapes and record them to a Panasonic EH50 to the internal harddrive ... from their I do the commercial editing.
    Thanks, I appreciate your answer. My questions were meant to be a bit more specific than 'what hardware configurations would work?' though. This is simply because I'm restricted to the hardware that's actually available to me, and for those I noticed I had to start a new topic.
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    One reason I answered ... to keep your post up at the top for other persons to see .... they might have a better answer
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  5. Of the options you have available, the JVC HR-S8500 is the better choice. Its TBC and color-cleaning circuits are the best possible treatment for worn or oversaturated tapes, short of using custom-programmed video filters on a PC. The TBC built into the VCR is not full-frame, it serves mostly to clean and stabilize the signal as it comes off the tape heads, and in many cases this is sufficient to get a good DVD capture. You may do very well simply connecting the HR-S8500 to a standard DVD recorder. Note the JVC HR-S8500 is quite old now, and VCRs can drift mechanically as they age. Ask if the seller will let you play one or two of your tapes to be sure this HR-S8500 is in good working order. If it seems to need repairs, negotiate a lower price.

    The DataVideo TBC-1000 is a dedicated full-frame external TBC, whose sole function is to rebuild standard sync: it has no significant impact on image quality and may in fact soften it a bit. The DataVideo was once considered a vital accessory for converting VHS to DVD, but today it is less crucial. Most modern DVD recorders are more stable handling VHS input, they don't drop frames or lose sync as much as the older DVD recorders once did. I would suggest trying the JVC HR-S8500 by itself first with your oldest. most worn tapes: if they transfer to DVD with no issues, you don't need the DataVideo. If you do encounter loss of sync, then yes you may need it. Using both the DataVideo and the JVC tbc together can result in very soft video which can be undesirable, you may need to switch off the TBC in the VCR when using the DataVideo. The TBC-1000 is usually more helpful when copying tapes to a PC, because PC encoder boards are often more sensitive than DVD recorders. You would also need the TBC-1000 to transfer any "protected" pre-recorded tapes in your collection: the TBC built into the JVC will not clear that for you.

    The portable JVC BR-6200EG is probably not worth buying unless you get it very cheap. Portable mechanisms are difficult to repair and the basic playback design of professional portables is less compatible with tapes recorded on consumer machines (in other words yes, your Sharp would likely work better).
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    Thanks, that was a very helpful answer indeed. I guess I should have elaborated a bit on my project though. I actually don't own a dvd-recorder, since I'm planning to archive my homemade movies to harddisk in the highest (storable) quality possible (for this purpose I'll probably end up capturing in huffyuv and compressing the material to h264 or dv-avi). If I get your explanation right, in this case an external TBC would indeed prove itself useful to prevent off-sync issues. However the information you provided has also made me wonder whether it wouldn't be better to leave out an external TBC altogether and instead stick to the dynamic audio resampling function in vdub or even buy a HDD recorder that can keep things in sync without 'softening' the image? In any case, I'd still feel safer having a TBC around should the need for it to be used arise so I'm still looking for one.

    Since I lost the auction for the tbc-1000, I continued my search and found two other ones up for sale. It would be very nice if someone could state any differences between these two devices, and why it would probably want to go with a particular one, if it matters much.

    The first one would be the TBC-enhancer by Electronic design, which also seems to have some easy to operate proc. amp functions. (it's sold for about 180 euros, which sound attractive for something with these functions).

    The second option is a For.A FA-310P, which is also said to have options for color color correction and adjusting black and white levels. This one is sold a bit cheaper (160 euros).

    Back on the subject of what a TBC can do for me, I was curious how it could affect the need for certain software-based timing corrections when capturing to a PC? During my previous capturing attempts for example, I noticed there was a constant need for audio resampling, and at every 'unsmooth cut' (which are relatively abundant in my recordings) virtualdub had to insert a few frames in order to keep the estimated error minimized. With two of my tapes (from 1997) this indeed seemed to yield perfect sync (at least where it mattered). However, with one particular video (which dates from half a year later, but is more played) resampling and inserting frames would likewise occur to keep the error fluctuating around a value of 0 ms, but on a rewatch the audio was obviously lagging regardless (also delaying the audio with a negative value would just cause vdub to add another 50ms to the error which it would then proceed to correct). This is why I would like to know if I still need to rely on such shaky timing corrections when including a TBC in the setup. Alternately, in consideration of tapes for which the TBC may turn out to be too detrimental for the image quality (so for which I'd prefer the TBC to be switched off), I wondered if adding a decent capture card that supports audio capture would be likely to prevent this type of miscalculation error by virtualdub? I guess the question here is whether it's the tape or the seperate capture devices that are apparently causing the program to screw up on resyncing.

    Finally, this also brings me to the question what capture devices would be good recommendations for me. As for requirements, I simply would like one that keeps things well-timed, doesn't force compression, and doesn't add any saturation or other flaws to the capture. In other words, a good one. Or perhaps I should consider a HD recorder after all?

    Oh and, I do feel like apologizing for posting this wall of text and asking so many questions. It seems that with everything I learn about this stuff more simply come up. This post does pretty much wrap up all that I've been pondering about up to this point though. Needless to say any responses would be much appreciated as always.

    EDIT:
    Just now I've also run into a Panasonic AG7350 that is stated to be in good shape. Does anyone know how this vcr would match up against the earlier mentioned JVC S-VHS HR-S8500?
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  7. The Panasonic AG7350 would not be a good choice. Like the portable JVC you were looking at, the AG7350 has the "professional" video head size which can add 50% more spurious image noise when playing tapes that were made on ordinary narrow-head consumer VCRs. The TBC and noise reduction circuits on this model were expensive optional daughtercards that are usually missing from second-hand units. The Panasonic NV-SF200 (something like that, the exact model name escapes me but its definitely 200) is probably the best PAL-format semi-pro VCR released by Panasonic and is much more suitable for playing consumer tapes. It has built-in TBC and noise reduction similar to the JVC 8500, but different enough that many people find it helpful to keep both the Panasonic and a JVC for tape dubbing. They are complementary decks: tapes that don't play well on one will often play nicely on the other.

    If you will be using a computer to encode the video then yes you will likely also need an external TBC, analog>digital transfer on the PC is much more sensitive to timing errors and other issues that crop up during VHS playback. There are only three external TBCs worth looking for on the new or second-hand market: the DataVideo TBC-1000, the CBT-100 (aka AVT-8710), and perhaps the Hotronic AP41 if you find a PAL-compatible version. These are all modern, compact TBCs with updated "fast" circuitry designed specifically to correct VHS errors. The DataVideo and the Hotroonic also include S-video connections, which minimize sharpness loss. Avoid old, used, large "professional" studio TBCs: these tend to be electronically burned out, and they were designed primarily to handle the comparatively "easy" timing errors found in U-matic, Betacam and 1" professional video sources. They often bog down with the constant stream of random crap coming off consumer 1/2" tape formats, and their image processing is too crude and blunt: you can lose a LOT of video quality by running VHS thru an old studio TBC. Few of them have S-video connections, most are limited to BNC composite and studio multipin sockets.

    I do not have enough experience with VHS-to-PC transfers to risk advising you on your more detailed PC encoding questions, in my own work I prefer to use DVD/HDD recorders. Others who see this thread and do have substantial PC encoding experience will eventually contribute some answers. You might also consider sending a PM to LordSmurf referencing this thread (if he doesn't notice it within a few days himself). LordSmurf is one of the most accomplished analog>digital restoration experts here on VH.
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    Wow, again many thanks for your detailed and relevant answers, orsetto. Indeed it would be nice if the almighty smurf or another expert would also pop in to answer some of my questions specifically related to the capture card and perhaps explain the 'uncurable' audio lag I've experienced with my current equipment, but for the moment I've got some good guidelines for buying a vcr and tbc which are my primary goals right now.

    Inferring from what you've told me though, it doesn't seem that the TBC-enhancer would be such a bad choice. The reason for this would be that I've managed to get a hold of the manual, and it practically states that the machine is actually intended as a prosumer device, which is further made obvious by the easy to understand controls and the presence of an s-video connection on the tbc-enhancer itself. However I'm still a little concerned about the fact that the machine dates from 1995, and I'm not sure if this would practically classify it as a worn/outdated device, for example because it's framebuffer is considered too small by today's standards. To be more specific about the latter, according to the manual it's only 1,5 MB large which allows it to store 3 half frames in memory, whereas (if I'm not mistaken) most of the recommended vcr-systems support 2 or 4 MB TBC-memory. On the other hand though, I don't intend to let my videos run through the device for hours, and so far the problem with my vids seems to have been that frames were always 'too far apart' from one another (if I get this correct from the fact that vdub would often insert frames) rather than too close, which I understood could cause an overflow of the buffer.

    Just so it could provide another indication of the tbc's usefulness, I've contacted the owner about the amount of hours he thinks the device has been in use, although it's uncertain whether he knows that because he told me his reason for selling the thing is that he couldn't use it for his own purposes with NTSC-video after he had bought it on e-bay. Furthermore I've asked him to test it with an old self-recorded PAL VHS, which is pretty much the closest alternative to dragging my videos across the country for testing them at his place. Anyway, I hope this will enable me to get a step ahead in my decision-making as well.
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    Mentioned in PM -- but apparently not in any of the posts -- is the desire to convert VHS to an HD format (i.e., Blu-ray). Don't do it. Convert to 720x480 at most, and then author into whatever you want (DVD or Blu-ray, doesn't matter). Keep it at max SD resolution -- HD is going to be more of a problem than it's worth. It'll likely look WORSE too, at 720 or 1080 HD res.

    There's a lot more to say here, but it'll be several days before I can get to it.
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    Sorry, I meant HDD with that, as in ripping to harddisk. I actually read enough into this to know I shouldn't be blowing up the resolution beyond the 720x576 standard for PAL..

    Thanks for pointing it out regardless, and of course for actually taking the time to go into this stuff more deeply. I seriously appreciate it a lot. Looking forward to your next reply then!
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    Thanks a lot. Although it will take a few days before I can get around to responding. Would you like me to reply here or continue the discussion at the digitalfaq forum?

    Quick note though, if I'm not mistaken the Radeon graphic cards only has a S-video in connector. The problem with that would be that for some more recent camera tapes (which I inconveniently forgot to mention), I'll need to have the option to transfer composite video as well. In this scenario I guess it would make more sense for me to look for a device that supports both types of input instead, so any suggestions would be welcome here.
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    Originally Posted by Kereellis
    Quick note though, if I'm not mistaken the Radeon graphic cards only has a S-video in connector. The problem with that would be that for some more recent camera tapes (which I inconveniently forgot to mention), I'll need to have the option to transfer composite video as well. In this scenario I guess it would make more sense for me to look for a device that supports both types of input instead, so any suggestions would be welcome here.
    The Radeon AIW capture cards have a dongle with composite and s-video inputs. If you did find a high-end JVC VCR (and if it still works), it would have both of these outputs.

    There are such things as composite-to-s-video converters. Avoid them at all cost, they are really really really Bad Things, except for very expensive electronic models. I've found other ways to go from composite to s-video, some of which are rather complicated. The best comp-to-s-video conversion I've seen and used so far is the AVT-8710 TBC (at B&H Photo in their Pro Video department); just about every other device I've used has had detrimental effects on composite input, and I discovered this peculiar talent of the AVT quite by accident. BTW, the AVT-8710 seems to inflict very little (if any) damage on tape input sources, and I still don't see any effect on digital input sources. My first TBC was the TBC-1000, which I returned because it definitely blurred the source; B&H exchanged it with the AVT-8710, and I've had no complaints with it.

    The s-video output circuits on most (but not all) good quality DVD recorders is better than any plug-in s-video conversion you're likely to come across. Many times I've used a Toshiba DR-4 or RD-XS34 recorder to take input from VHS tape on a composite cable (and sometimes I've even had to use the VCR's RF cable. Yikes!), but I normally use the recorders as pass-thru devices -- that is, I feed VHS composite into the recorder but I don't record anything; instead, I then connect the recorder's s-video output to a PC and capture either to AVI or MPEG on the computer. This makes use of the Toshiba built-in Y/C noise filter and line-level TBC, both of which can clear many VHS source problems that look pretty bad in digital formats. And I'll add to that: the Toshiba line-level TBC used as a pass-thru device was more effective with analog and digital tape than any VCR with built-in TBC I've seen, including my two JVC 7600 tape players that often won't play damaged tapes with their TBC turned on.

    I'll be the first to admit that recording sirectly from tape to DVD is the quickest and most convenient way to to it, but I've never been able to correct "problem" sources once they've been compressed to DVD. I almost always record to AVI and use VirtualDub for cleanup. Yes, it does take more time and effort.
    Last edited by sanlyn; 20th Mar 2014 at 16:16.
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    Originally Posted by sanlyn
    The Radeon AIW capture cards have a dongle with composite and s-video inputs. If you did find a high-end JVC VCR (and if it still works), it would have both of these outputs.
    That dongle would be the Asus Vivo right? I happen to have an Asus Radeon 9600 XT installed, but given my experience with it's capture abilities I was somewhat surprised to see it mentioned as a renowned capture device in lordsmurf's post. Admittedly I have only been able to test the Asus Vivo with composite input (as I lack any S-video devices), but I booked significantly worse results with it than with my easycap usb device. Not only it would add a lot of saturation (purple tones), but it would also slightly stretch the image horizontally making it look blurry. Well, for the first problem I suppose I could somewhat do some tweaking with the capture settings (if I'd see a reason to favor the Radeon over the usb stick that is), but the second one is pretty unforgiving. Considering these flaws caused by capturing with the Vivo, it seems to me that either using S-video input with ATI MMC doesn't cause these problems, or I'm really better off just resorting to my easycap. By the way, if anyone's interested I could post some screencaps which clearly show the differences.

    Originally Posted by sanlyn
    The best comp-to-s-video conversion I've seen and used so far is the AVT-8710 TBC (at B&H Photo in their Pro Video department); just about every other device I've used has had detrimental effects on composite input, and I discovered this peculiar talent of the AVT quite by accident.
    This is a pretty interesting mention. Since the AVT-8710 is said to be a rebranded CTB-100, would it then seem likely I can use this TBC as a passthrough device for the composite output of my video camera (in the case that I do end up using a S-video capture device)?

    Another key point for me in deciding on whether I should go for a CTB-100 rather than the TBC-enhancer would be whether I could find a dedicated, affordable proc amp device, since I wouldn't really want to give up the basic proc amp functions the enhancer offers. I've no idea what models to look out for though (or where to look for that matter, ebay only seems to have way too expensive proc amp gear up for auction right now), so any advice on this would be more than welcome. The extra budget I'm willing to spend on a proc amp would be about a 150$, which I hope would be enough for a non-pro, but still pretty decent device.

    Originally Posted by sanlyn
    The s-video output circuits on most (but not all) good quality DVD recorders is better than any plug-in s-video conversion you're likely to come across.
    Right now this isn't my most urgent question, but since I keep hearing good things about the line tbc's of some dvd-recorders, I was wondering if there are any HDD-recorders that are renowned for their filtering/ signal corrections? For several purposes I've been thinking about purchasing such a machine later on, not necessarily for this project, but perhaps for archiving some tv recordings directly to harddisk, or as a throughput device for future camera recordings etc.

    Again my thanks to everyone for their input I think I'm slowly getting there by now, at least theory-wise. Sadly, the recommended vcr's still prove impossible to find (and I suppose noone here would be willing to part with their precious high-end PAL JVC's either, right..?), but at least I know what to desperately attempt to track down now
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    The ATI dongle is simple hardware; all is does is feed input to your graphics card. I never had problems with MMC on any AIW card except with default settings, but who uses those? Properly set and unfiltered, MMC records quite well and challenges pro cards costing much more. I haven't used MMC for years. I input to the AIW, view and capture with VirtualDub, then filter and do other processing later. Almost every analog source I've archived required post-capture cleanup -- sometimes painfully extensive -- before storing to DVD. Note: if you don't have a genuine ATI 9600, MMC might not install on the Asus. Haven't heard anything either way, however.

    Originally Posted by Kereellis
    Another key point for me in deciding on whether I should go for a CTB-100 rather than the TBC-enhancer would be whether I could find a dedicated, affordable proc amp device, since I wouldn't really want to give up the basic proc amp functions the enhancer offers.

    The extra budget I'm willing to spend on a proc amp would be about a 150$, which I hope would be enough for a non-pro, but still pretty decent device.
    Save the $150 and stick with the CTB-100. Cheapo proc amps are hardly better than the TCB's built-in controls, which are klunky to operate but seem to inflict very little damage. I have a PA-100 proc amp; I did choke a bit when I paid for it, but it's a beautiful machine. I wouldn't want to work without its luminance meter, which in itself would be expensive. One can survive without a full-scale proc amp, but a good TBC is more essential, especially when dealing with copy-protected sources. IMHO no proc amp color adjustment is as effective as post-capture color correction on a computer. Proc amps with extensive color correction are incredibly expensive, along with the studio gear required to calibrate them properly.

    Originally Posted by Kereellis
    Right now this isn't my most urgent question, but since I keep hearing good things about the line tbc's of some dvd-recorders, I was wondering if there are any HDD-recorders that are renowned for their filtering/ signal corrections?
    I don't think the filters are so great, but many HDD and non-HDD recorders have effective line TBC's. Not all of them can be used as pass-thru devices, however -- i.e, you play a source "thru" the device but you don't record with it; you feed the recorder's output to another device such as a PC. Or you can just record into the DVD recorder itself. Toshiba and Panasonic recorders have decent line-level TBC's, though Pannies tend to apply TBC to Line 1 only. I can't vouch for pass-thru with other brands. I use a Toshiba or a Panny for pass-thru when recording to my PC. The non-HDD Toshiba RD-4 or later and their HDD recorders have the same TBC and filters. ES10, ES20, RD-XS34, etc., can be found used -- even if their drives are busted they still work for pass-thru.

    You can chain together a line-level TBC and a full-frame external TBC. Some users have VHS tape so damaged that both types were needed. If you do so, make sure the full-frame TBC is 2nd in line; if you feed a signal to a full-frame TBC first and then to a line-level TBC afterward, the line TBC won't "see" anything wrong with the signal, and thus will do nothing. Correct line level first, then full-frame, then proc amp if you get one.
    Last edited by sanlyn; 20th Mar 2014 at 16:17.
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    Originally Posted by sanlyn
    Save the $150 and stick with the CTB-100. Cheapo proc amps are hardly better than the TCB's built-in controls, which are klunky to operate but seem to inflict very little damage.
    Did you mean to say that a tbc like the ctb-100 or tbc-1000 comes with basic proc amp functioning? The reason I'm checking this would be because I haven't heard of these devices being multifunctional. Secondly, I noticed that lordsmurf often advocates it's better to clean up as much mess as possible during the pre-capture process rather than afterwards. I'm not sure if this rule fully applies to el cheapo proc amps, but in the same line of thought I reasoned that even a simple machine that can alter RGB values could be useful as part of my ripping gear lineup. In addition the tbc-enhancer also has an option to adjust color shifting, which sounds like something that would be harder to correct in software (in that it might cause worse trade-off errors there). Then again, I'm just doing some inferring, so do correct me if necessary.

    I'm also still curious about my fairly crappy results when capturing with the 9600XT. For comparison to the results of the humble easycap I have uploaded the couple of screens below from an older homemade VHS tape ripped to uncompressed avi in vdub. These caps were made when playing the tape on a low budget vhs though, so I should warn that the quality looks unnecessarily more terrifying than the original. Nevertheless the problem that occurs on the radeon stands out even here.

    First off the usb-stick capture:


    Here's the one made through the Asus Vivo:


    What surprises me most is the horizontal stretching causing blurriness in the lower one (especially notable when looking at the timer: this has nothing to do with the tape obviously), which is clearly not very attractive to deal with during post-processing. Unless anyone has some suggestions on how to circumvent this error, I'm actually inclined to just use the usb stick, which seems to do a better job here. In spite of this, are there any reasons that I'm not seeing why I shouldn't? Would it really be a loss not to be able to use the s-video cable when I'm just ripping mere vhs-sources for example? (Seeing as for my higher quality camera tapes I'm stuck with composite anyway).
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    The problem come from poor performance of comb filter or damage card. The first generation of ADC from ATi (Rage Theatre cipset) don`t do well with the composite entry. Both caps show chroma noise, but with ATI is higher. Another problem with ATI image is time base errors. This card is more sensitive to these errors.
    My hint is to use s-video connection an old AIW or VIVO cards. Similar issue with ATI 9200 VIVO.

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    Originally Posted by Kereellis
    Did you mean to say that a tbc like the ctb-100 or tbc-1000 comes with basic proc amp functioning? The reason I'm checking this would be because I haven't heard of these devices being multifunctional.
    Both TBC's have basic image controls -- very basic: Brightness, Contrast, Sharpness, Color, Tint. They don't generate their own noise the way cheaper units do, but don't expect to get the power of controls on a $500 -> $10,000 device. I've used the AVT's tweaks for VHS and tv shows with mild but visible color problems.

    Originally Posted by Kereellis
    Secondly, I noticed that lordsmurf often advocates it's better to clean up as much mess as possible during the pre-capture process rather than afterwards. I'm not sure if this rule fully applies to el cheapo proc amps, but in the same line of thought I reasoned that even a simple machine that can alter RGB values could be useful as part of my ripping gear lineup. In addition the tbc-enhancer also has an option to adjust color shifting, which sounds like something that would be harder to correct in software (in that it might cause worse trade-off errors there).
    True, do as much cleanup as possible in the initial hardware pass, but don't use cheapie devices with image adjustments that create problems of their own. At least AVT/CBT or SignVideo and up are effective pre-digitizing aids. I'm not sure what you mean by "color shift". If you mean chroma shift (bleeding and/or shifting of pixels, usually red, to the left or right of other pixels), most proc amps that you and I could afford won't have such full-scale RGB adjustments. If by "shift" you mean color imbalance toward one color (too green, too red): a Tint control can adjust the overall Red/Green YUV balance, but it can't perform a three-color RGB balancing act in hi & lo ranges at once, can't adjust midtone levels alone or make multiple RGB changes in multiple directions, and so forth.

    Example: how would you use a Tint and contrast control to adjust an incoming VHS image that typically has overly red midtones, crushed green in the shadows, too much blue in highlights, a depressed midrange, and over-fed brights? You'll need expensive studio gear to make such multiple corrections -- or you can do the best you can with basic image and black-level controls during capture, and fix the rest in software.

    Originally Posted by Kereellis
    I'm also still curious about my fairly crappy results when capturing with the 9600XT. For comparison to the results of the humble easycap I have uploaded the couple of screens below from an older homemade VHS tape ripped to uncompressed avi.
    I see the stretching effects on both captures, but in different areas. In the USB cap, look at the slightly bent pole at bottom-right, and the dents in pillars and edges of buildings and windows on both captures. Wrinkled verticals are typical of tape players (Please note: a full-frame external TBC will not eradicate the wrinkle problem. For that you need a line-level TBC). Ditto for chroma noise, which exists in different flavors in both captures. The USB image seems to get murky in shadows and has softer edges as well as vertical ghosting. Overall the ASUS has less ghosting, better contrast, and more saturated color. But...As this is VHS source, consider that VHS never plays a tape the same way twice. Unless the two captures had more severe differences than shown here except for the streaking you mention, I'd say it's nearly a toss-up. If EasyCap works, use it. From what I've seen in posted reviews, 75% of EasyCap users reported serious problems. Another note: when I use my DVD recorders for pass-thru with Toshiba's Y/UV 3D filter on and line-level TBC, much of the ghosting, bleed, and other noise are considerably reduced, and vertical wrinkles get difficult to see.

    As for the ASUS' darkish horizontal ripples and crinkles: I've never had that problem with an ATI. This is the first time I've seen it, anywhere!! Did you notice similar effects in the USB capture? I have no info to impart on those streaks, as I've never seen anything like them from any capture card. You might consider that the ASUS is not a smurf-recommended ATI All-In-Wonder. It is based on an ATI chipset, but it's not an ATI Radeon 9600-XT AIW. In 2004 the ASUS cost less than the AIW but slightly more than the ATI-based Sapphire. The latter was closer to a bonafide AIW but had horrible software. The ASUS seems to have a problem with red that I never saw on any of my 5 versions of the AIW. Remember, too, we're comparing hardware that costs a fraction of a pro-grade ATI FireGL.

    The caps are not in 4:3 aspect. I don't know that capturing in the native 4:3 (NTSC 640X480) would make that much quality difference. Those horizontal lines look like interlace problems to me.

    danno78's composite image has higher contrast and snappier color, and even if it looks a bit overdone it has more perceived sharpness than the s-video image. The time-date stamp in the composite has color noise, but the same time-date in S-video is more jagged. But we're comparing JPG images that IMHO don't seem so different aside from s-video's obvious advantages over noise. But, well. . .Even if the s-video image might be "cleaner" it looks a little limp and unexciting next to the composite. I'd expect more improvement with s-video beyond noise reduction alone. Having tried dozens of s-video cable I've stuck with a cheapie "economy" s-video wire from cablesforless.com that outclassed the $300 Cardas I tried and even the $35 Belden product sold by bluejeanscable. In the UK I understand that Profigold and Chord make superior s-video wire. Many will claim the wire itself makes no difference. I disagree.
    Last edited by sanlyn; 20th Mar 2014 at 16:17.
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    Thanks again for your very detailed response Sanlyn. Know that although I read it very carefully, for now I lack the time to respond to all points you made, so I will just select a few of the issues that may need clarification.

    Originally Posted by sanlyn
    I'm not sure what you mean by "color shift". If you mean chroma shift (bleeding and/or shifting of pixels, usually red, to the left or right of other pixels), most proc amps that you and I could afford won't have such full-scale RGB adjustments.
    Yes, I meant the function to correct chroma shift. The tbc-enhancer seems to be able to shift back colors in place, even though it's an affordable 200,- euros something device. The manual mentions the device can vertically and horizontally adjust the overall placement of colors in the image to correct the bleeding effect that is caused 'when copying Pal tapes' (well since my videos have that effect all over I assume it just happens 'like that' as well, although it could have been caused by copying from the s-vhs cam). That said, the TBC-enhancer may not offer a very advanced chromo shift correction, but I guess it could be useful as long as there's an equal shift of all rgb-values (with the same x,y offset) throughout the image.

    Originally Posted by sanlyn
    I see the stretching effects on both captures, but in different areas. In the USB cap, look at the slightly bent pole at bottom-right, and the dents in pillars and edges of buildings and windows on both captures. Wrinkled verticals are typical of tape players (Please note: a full-frame external TBC will not eradicate the wrinkle problem. For that you need a line-level TBC).
    Heh, I wasn't actually concerned with the minor distortions that occur because of tape replay.. I just took these for granted as I wasn't comparing replaying modes here. Just take a look at the black sidebars that are much smaller in the Asus vivo capture, although both are set to cap at the same resolution. If you need to question which device seems to be more spot on with the original aspect ratio, you need just compare the time stamps which is just the lg's OSD I switched for both replays. If you'd save the image to your pc for a bit and switch between them you could see exactly what's happening there (and in the rest of the image), which is basically horizontal stretching to an aspect ratio by the AIW that is completely undesired.

    Originally Posted by sanlyn
    Another note: when I use my DVD recorders for pass-thru with Toshiba's Y/UV 3D filter on and line-level TC, much of the ghosting, bleed, and other noise are considerably reduced, and vertical wrinkles get difficult to see.
    I'm still thinking of going for that pass-through option here.. I have a pretty well-shaped jvc 7950 with line-level TBC correction now, but at first sight the internal TBC caused a more severe response to bad parts of the tape, where it would throw in some superimposed noise signal at a point. Perhaps a good line-level external tbc theoretically can't fix problems as well as at the source, but I've come to wonder if the trade off errors may be less worse in that case.

    Originally Posted by sanlyn
    As for the ASUS' darkish horizontal ripples and crinkles: I've never had that problem with an ATI. This is the first time I've seen it, anywhere!! Did you notice similar effects in the USB capture?
    As you can see up there, nope.. I don't really see it happen in other screens I made either. That or it's just hard to tell apart from interlace, as far as it isn't. Mind that these were captured from a low end lg. The shot is actually moving (not too fast but still), and it's much easier to see the actual interlace in captures from my Sharp.

    Originally Posted by sanlyn
    I have no info to impart on those streaks, as I've never seen anything like them from any capture card. You might consider that the ASUS is not a smurf-recommended ATI All-In-Wonder. It is based on an ATI chipset, but it's not an ATI Radeon 9600-XT AIW.
    Um, how could I completely make this sure? I still have a card with specs somewhere and certainly this says I have the 9600-XT. It was built in by the shop I bought it from though, so naturally if there's a way of checking I would like to do that.

    Originally Posted by sanlyn
    The caps are not in 4:3 aspect. I don't know that capturing in the native 4:3 (NTSC 640X480) would make that much quality difference. Those horizontal lines look like interlace problems to me.
    Interlace technically isn't a 'problem' right? So I'm not too bothered with it for now (ultimately I might just deinterlace upon replay in MPC, or rewatch the end results using tv-out). At this point I just wanted to make sure I capture things the way they are replayed (and filtered by the tbc etc.), and then experiment from there onwards. By the way, these captures are at 720 x 576 for a reason, the screens are supposed to be from PAL video after all. I hope I at least did that much right
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    I too, Kereellis, have been busy with several new projects handed me by my lovely wife, whose talent for dreaming up such things is...um, prodigious(!). Meanwhile. . .

    I'm unsure of the reasons for the poor ASUS performance or what internal settings it might have. I can assure you none of the five ATI capture cards I owned (I still have 3) has ever behaved so badly. The streaks, however, do look like interlace/deinterlace problems.

    If you want to replicate the effect, use AviSynth or VirtualDub to de-interlace and then re-interlace an interlaced source. You'll see very much the same artifacts in the resulting video. If your source is interlaced, and you intend to use it as an interlaced video, don't de-interlace. If you feel you need a progressive-only version for certain uses, save your interlaced original for future work.

    On occasion I've had to use both a line-level and a full-frame TBC to get a viable VHS recording, but not always. By a happy accident I made another discovery with pass-thru's: I was trying to record a badly aged retail VHS tape that was copy-protected. My old JVC 7600 VCR has a line-lvel TBC that would clear up some problems, while the full-frame AVT-8710 would undo protection. But the tape was in such bad shape that the JVC generated digital noise and blocky colors (yes, many special features in those JVC's were digital devices), and it kept rejecting the tape. Turning off the TBC functions allowed the tape to play, but this defeated the purpose of using the JVC since its output is merely average with its TBC disabled.

    So I hooked another VCR (Sony SLV-585HF) to the composite input on my Toshiba RD-XS34, turned on the Toshiba Y/C filters, fed the signal out of the recorder's S-video output, thru my AVT-8710 TBC, into my PA-1 proc amp (for severe black-level problems on this tape), and then to my ATI capture card.

    Halfway thru this 90-minute tape, as I studied my monitor for the 5th time recording this disaster, I noticed that much color noise and other grunge caused by copy protection gradually dissipated -- on many tapes, the protection signal doesn't run the length of the tape. But the time was getting onto 2:30 AM and I couldn't stay awake, so I put the 2nd half off until next day.

    Before I was fully awake next day, I reconnected all these gizmos, but in the maze of wires I connected the s-video output from my RD-XS34 to the proc amp and then directly to my ATI card -- I'd bypassed the external TBC altogether. As I watched my monitor I was pleased to see that within a few minutes after the last remnants of Macrovision disappeared, the video looked much better. By the end of the session, I was quite pleased -- until I noticed I hadn't connected the TBC!!

    I had to pinch myself (well, not literally). Did I even get a recording? I played the AVI -- yep, the video looked just fine, all 26-GB of it. Perhaps this tape wasn't copy protected ?? I tried to record directly to the Toshiba, but the recorder refused to record it. I tried the same thing with my Panasonic recorder; it, too, played-thru but wouldn't record. Then I tried recording directly from the VCR to the ATI card; true to form, ATI allowed me to view the tape in media players but wouldn't relay a clean signal to VirtualDub; it came thru as "scrambled static". So...the tape really was copy-protected.

    I dug up more copy-protected tapes. They wouldn't record on either recorder. But they recorded onto my PC when using the recorders for pass-thru, without the AVT-8710 in circuit yet with the advantages of the recorders' filters and line-level TBC. They also recorded to another DVD recorder after passing-thru a first DVD recorder. However, no recorder would record from a player-only machine; the tapes would record only after pass-thru from another recorder's TBC, or thru the AVT .

    This "find" wasn't a cure-all. I encountered other tapes that required both TBC's, for various reasons.

    Sorry for that lengthy nonsense. . .

    I'm unfamiliar with the TBC-enhancer you mention, but in ObamaLand it would sell for around $475, which ain't a $90 Walmart Special. I suspect the unit would be worth a try.

    The actual capture size is a matter of preference. And I have to remember that we're dealing with PAL, not NTSC.
    Last edited by sanlyn; 20th Mar 2014 at 16:17.
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    Seriously, go

    good VCR
    > full separate TBC
    > good proc amp
    > ATI AIW capture to YUY2 uncompressed AVI
    > clean-up in VirtualDub (ColorMill probably a good candidate)
    > encode MPEG-2 for DVD in good encoder (MainConcept if $$$, TMPGEnc Plus and wait if only $) see guide here
    > author in a non-encoding authorware to make DVD (TAW), see guide here

    Be wary of reverse interlace off ColorMill, weird stuff. Had to Restream fix a few times!

    Use s-video in 99% of transfers.

    Asus above appears to be enhancing the chroma noise, nothing more.

    I'd opt for a Dazzle box at Best Buy (the $80 one, not the $50 one), and use AVI captur in Pinnacle Studio 12, before I'd use an EasyCap. I have what appears to be a Tevion OEM of the EasyCap, thing barely works. Still checking facts on that, not sure it's OEM. Not given up on testing yet either. Still not eliminated chair>keyboard interface error as a problem. I know the Dazzle works. It won't clean anything up, but then again neither would an ATI (well, it could if you used ATI MMC 8.x with VideoSoap, which is generally best saved for grain noise -- VirtualDub still removes it better).

    Well, all the time I have for this post for now.

    Good luck, hope the info I have helps.
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    Thanks again for your input. I see you recommended the Dazzle as a capture device, but I don't really need the mpeg2 hardware encoding it offers, unless that's the recommended standard for pc-playback. Admittedly I am considering encoding to something like xvid, div-avi or h264 (during post-processing, at highest bitrates), because currently I can't see myself getting the amount of TB's required for archiving the hours of recording I have to do in uncompressed format. Are there any encoding types specifically useful for pc-archiving purposes?

    What kind of problems are you experiencing with the easycap? Did the capture with it (vide: earlier post at the videohelp forums) look like it was causing any problems? The advantage in using one for me would be that I already got one. Audio capture needs a work-around though. Rather than using composite, it only works when I connect a line-in cable to the sound card.

    The borders on the capture of my asus are significantly smaller than the easycap's. thus the horizontal:vertical ratio should be off right? It's exactly what looks like is going on too, which becomes notable if you download/switch between the images I posted. Also focus on the osd-timing indication, it's easier to tell the problem there than from the video-reproduced image. In any case, I've decided not to stick with this card. It just causes unnecessary and most likely incurable problems from what it looks like.

    Do you know of any proc amps that can correct chroma shift (as in bleeding and stuff) like the tbc-enhancer? Moreover would it's ability to only reposition reds, blues and greens collectively be useful? I do remember reading that bleeding tends to occur on all colors, even though it's mostly the reds that become notable. If that theory is correct wouldn't the basic (collective) chroma shift correction of the tbc-enhancer sufficient? The point is, I probably don't want to see blues and greens shifted to a different position if only the red is out of place, but I'm not sure if I should be concerned about it.
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    I happened to have come across a Datavideo tbc-3000. I wonder if these are known to have quirks sometimes like some of the tbc-1000's are said to have. Could someone tell me if the tbc-3000 seems like a good addition to my capture setup, and about what would be the value of it?
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    Noone? I kind of have to decide quickly. Also, I already contacted the seller about the condition, but he might not know about it or not have paid too much attention to quirks that lower the quality.
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  24. All TBCs have quirks, right on up to the $5000 pro models. Consumer tape formats are always going to be marginal sources capable of triggering TBC "quirks", so just learn to live with it and work around it as it comes up. In terms of what a consumer can actually buy at a reasonable price, the DataVideo line is very decent and well-made. The TBC-3000 should be fine if you get it at a good price- its been discontinued but some shops still offer it for $599 new. Its a dual channel TBC which means it can handle two VCR inputs simultaneously, the proc-amp functions are operated by pushbutton and likely have simialr bandwidth to the fiddly switches on the AVT-8710. The market for second-hand TBCs fell through the floor earlier this year, until recently the TBC-3000 would have sold used on eBay for close to the new price but today I would not pay more than $250-300 for one based on current resale factors (you might get less than $200 for it). Everythings relative: a good TBC suitable for consumer sources in excellent condition is hard to find and may be worth more money if you really need it for your project. Any depreciation can be amortized over multiple tapes as part of the cost incurred to transfer them.
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    TBC prices when up, actually --- not down.
    This is due to more limited supply and still moderate demand.

    TBC-3000 is closer to $700+ now.
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    Thanks again, and sorry for having urged you guys.

    The price asked is pretty reasonable, considering how much trouble I've had finding a tbc thus far. If the seller is going to confirm it works properly, I decided to just take the risk. If some tapes trigger quirks with it, I suppose I could still look for a professional to take care of those instead.
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