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  1. Hello All
    First time poster, long time lurker here.
    I am about to embark on the transfer of PAL VHS tapes (old TV shows and family videos etc) to digital, both for transfer to DVD and to stream from a server to watch on a computer monitor or 42in plasma or some such.
    Some of the advice I've read suggests that Mac's are not ideal for this sort of processes but unless the consensus is that I will see significantly better transfer using a PC and other software I'd prefer to stay with the Mac. All I'm looking to do is have at least the same quality as the original but in a digital format, with unwanted footage cut out.

    This is the equipment I intend to use:

    1) JVC HM-DR10000 D-VHS player. This plays videos well, although not so good for some LP VHS recordings.
    2) EasyCap USB capture device with Empia EM2860/2861 chipset and VideoGlide software connected to the D-VHS via SVHS cable.
    3) Macintosh dual 2GHz G5 with captures being saved onto second internal drive.
    4) Editing will be via iMovie or possibly Final Cut Express (unless anyone can recommend better options)

    My intended plan is:
    1) Capture in a lossless format, YUV422 in VideoGlide at the same resolution as the tape (352x576 for PAL).
    2) Re-encode (I intend to use Handbrake) the lossless capture to formats suitable for streaming and burning DVD's from.

    Does this seem like a reasonable plan? My specific questions are:

    1) Would I be better off capturing at 720x576?
    2) Would it be better to allow the capture device to encode "on the fly" to say MPEG4, H264 or another codec.
    3) Do I need to de-interlace for streaming onto a flatscreen LCD or plasma, or that only applicable to CRT's, or have I got the wrong end of the stick?
    4) During initial tests I have seen artefacts around the edge of the captures, am I correct in assuming these won't be visible when playing back on a TV?
    5) Do I need to worry about how I burn DVD's or should I just let iDVD or ImgBurn do it's stuff.

    Any insights or suggestions greatly appreciated.
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  2. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    1. Yes.
    2. No.
    3. No deinterlace.
    4. Overscan.
    5. Never let software "do it's stuff".

    In addition to what you've read here, you may find some of the guides at digitalFAQ.com helpful.
    Also look in the forum for similar past conversations over workflows and capturing setups.
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  3. Thanks for that.
    So to recap:
    1) Capture lossless at 720x576.
    2) Chop out unwanted footage in iMovie.
    3)Encode to H.264/AVC in Handbrake for streaming onto flatscreen TV. (not much loss of quality, big gain of disk space?)
    4)Use something else to encode to MPEG2 to burn DVD's?

    I suppose the best course of action to do is try out a few methods to see what works best, as long as I keep the lossless files I can throw away the tapes.
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  4. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    No. I would not throw away the tapes. There is always the chance that better hardware can be used later. Once digital, there is little more that can be fixed.
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  5. Best laid plans and all that.......
    So I spent a large part of yesterday capturing VHS using the device listed above using the YUV422 codec. iMovie opens the files and I can trim the clips, but Handbrake won't open the files enabling me to convert, also Handbrake doesn't convert to MPEG-2 for DVD burning. This leaves me having to use iMovie for export, this doesn't offer much in the way of control of the final product.
    I was hoping to capture all I needed first and process at a later date so would like to get the capture right straight off.
    Am I going to be better off capturing future VHS using a different codec? If so what would be most suitable.

    I have read vast amounts here and on other sites and it appears that best practice changes month by month. I also understand there are a number of factors involved in getting an ideal results not least how the results look to my own eyes, but does anyone have tried and tested workflow suitable for my requirements?
    Thanks in advance.
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  6. Member terryj's Avatar
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    Ok, I am by no means an expert on this
    but going back to some of your original questions,
    I'll just give you ideas of a workflow that have worked
    for me these some odd years....

    Originally Posted by Eageleye
    I am about to embark on the transfer of PAL VHS tapes (old TV shows and family videos etc) to digital, both for transfer to DVD and to stream from a server to watch on a computer monitor or 42in plasma or some such.
    So you are wanting to accomplish three distinct things:

    1. Digitize VHS tape footage
    2. Create an intermediate file that will maintain the highest quality so that you can
    stream it to the TV ( uncompressed)
    3. and then later take that intermediate file and burn it (archive it) to DVD.

    So with this info here we go:

    1. Digitizing the footage into a mac:
    I would want the setup to be VCR ( hopefully with TBC onboard) connected to a digitizing box
    and then via FW ( not USB) to the Mac.
    FW, rather than USB, will allow for less dropped frames, as FW has a higher burst rate
    than USB ( 50mb/sec vs. 34mb/sec), which along with a TBC VCR, will yield good to
    better capture results.
    My digitizing box of choice is the Canopus-ADVC-100 or the ADVC-110 box.
    Plays nicely with all macs I've used ( PowerMac, G4, G5, and Mac Pro).

    iMovie is good for capturing, and should capture in the DV Stream codec.
    You can also use Final Cut Express or if you have the cash, Final Cut Pro.
    I've used iMovie and FCP, and just prefer FCP.

    2. Create an intermediate file that will maintain the highest quality so that you can
    stream it to the TV ( uncompressed)
    The Captured DV Stream files, although they eat up ALOT OF HD SPACE, are
    your best bet if your Mac has more than 2GB of RAM and a 1ghz or
    higher processor. ( The DV Stream files will enable you play them directly
    off of a media server Mac ( a mac that is connected directly to a TV)
    or if you have the files stored on your Mac Server, and you have
    Gigabit Ethernet wired in your house, you could play the files off
    the Mac server through a Mac connected to your TV
    over gigabit but that is a different thing altogether)

    Simply put, the DV Stream files are a solid intermediate file that
    will maintain high quality of the captured footage,
    the trade off is that the file size will also be large as well.

    IF you are hard up for disc space ( which in taking on such a project,
    HD space should always be your first concern, over anything else)
    you could choose to once captured into iMovie, to then export and encode into
    h.264, saving on Disc Space, but the trade off there is you will have compressed the files
    somewhat, and that compression will carry over when again
    compressing the file to Mpeg-2 for DVD. I'm not saying it will make it look like
    crap when making the final DVD, but it won't look as good as
    if it were in DV Stream format.

    So in this instance, perhaps you might think about making TWO files,
    one for the media server, and one to author for DVD. THe DV Stream
    is the best to author from of course, and if you make an .h264 encoded
    mpeg-4 file for the media server, you will have suited your needs
    perfectly.

    Currently, I capture to DV Stream, and then run the DV Stream through VisualHub
    to make an iTunes/iPod compatible mpeg-4 file that I can drop on my
    iPod or play on my media server.
    I then go back to the DV Stream file, and use that to encode through Compressor
    ( or if less than hour in length on the footage, I'll simply use Toast)
    to make my Mpeg-2 assets for DVD.


    3. and then later take that intermediate file and burn it (archive it) to DVD.
    again, DV Stream is clean and widely compatible to use with a variety of apps:
    MpegStreamclip ( with the Quicktime Mpeg-2 add-on) can accomplish this,
    as can ffmpegx, or VisualHub. These apps will give you the most control
    over the encoding of the Mpeg-2 assets, outside of (higher costing) apps
    such as Compressor and Sorenson Squeeze.

    IDVD or Toast Titanium will also author
    cleanly from the DV Stream file to DVD, although you won't have much control
    on the Mpeg-2 encoding each of those apps does ( using defined presets
    based more on getting the footage to "fit" within 2hour or 4 hour maximums).

    DVD Studio Pro is another option, but I primarily use it when I want custom controls
    over HOW the DVD itself is authored, NOT the DVD's Mpeg-2 assets.
    For instance, if I want when the DVD to be inserted to play a piece of music,
    vs. just when inserted to present a play menu.

    But in either case, you will be able to make a menu, encode the assets,
    and then burn those assets to disc, accomplishing your task.
    "Everyone has to learn, so that they can one day teach."
    ------------------------------------------------------
    When I'm not here, Where can I be found?
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  7. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by EagleAye View Post
    I have read vast amounts here and on other sites and it appears that best practice changes month by month.
    Not really. People that know what they're doing have used the same methods for 5-10 years now. Not much has changed in the last 5 years especially. People who change their minds regularly generally don't really know what they're doing.
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  8. You have my aims correct and have given some useful ideas there terryj thanks.

    The USB easycap type device and VCR combination I'm using seem to capture the video ok, but then again I haven't capture more than 1/2 hrs worth so far. The relatively small amount of VHS I want to transfer doesn't warrant me splashing the cash on firewire device at the moment, but I could use the pass through function of my camcorder if need be, for firewire input. iMovie doesn't recognise my capture device.

    Would you happen to know what out of the following most resembles the DV Stream file that iMovie encoded captures in, I'm guessing DV-PAL, these are the formats the Videoglide software allows capture in:
    Animation
    Apple Intermediate Codec
    Apple Pixlet Video
    Apple VC H.263
    DV-PAL
    DV/DVCPRO-NTSC
    DVCPRO-PAL
    DVCPRO50-NTSC
    DVCPRO50-PAL
    H.264
    JPEG 2000
    Motion JPEG A
    Motion JPEG B
    MPEG-4 Video
    None
    Photo-JPEG
    PNG
    YUV422 Codec


    Any ideas, out of the choices above, on what the ideal format to use would be and what I might lose by not capturing in lossless (YUV422?) format? 1min 45sec is resulting in a 2.2Gb file.
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