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  1. Member yoda313's Avatar
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    Ok I think I know the answer but I was wanting to get a consensus on this. I know the "best" methods involve the least conversion steps to preserve video quality.

    I am using a panasonic dvd/vcr combo to output to the pc to capture to dvd (this is for the video tapes that the recorder can't copy on its own internally due to macrovision - I'm dubbing those tapes to the computer and then authoring to dvd). The model number is dmr-es46v.

    My workflow for this is going to be panasonic to usb pinnacle hd stick in top dvd mode (I"m not sure on the bitrate - I may have to scale back to long play for longer movies to fit onto single layer dvds -not sure yet). I'll be capping directly to mpeg2 and authoring with tda 2.0. I am outputting via svideo and rca audio cables to the pinnacle stick.

    My other option is with the hd-pvr. I can go two ways with this - I can capture via svideo and rca audio to the hd-pvr OR I can copy via component cables and rca audio - this has the ability to output vhs via component and hdmi. I know it doesn't make sense to upconvert if I'm going to be outputting to sd-dvd but I'm curious about the hardware encoding abilities of the hd-pvr. I've only used hd sources for the pvr (hd-dvd, hd cable, and ps3/360 output).

    Now the downside of course with the hd-pvr is the required software conversion to mpeg2 for dvd creation. I'll be capping to h264 and then converting that to mpeg2 so I can make a sd-dvd. Now I think I'll end up using the supplied arcsoft software - would avstodvd or something similar be a better choice?

    My instincts tell me that unless the hd-pvr has killer filtering or some other benefit in its hardware that in the end doing a straight cap to mpeg2 with the pinnacle usb stick will be better. I am not sure if there will be any benefit in taking the extra time and effort to capture to h264 with the hd-pvr and then converting to dvd.

    ----------------

    WIll any quality gains by the hauppauge hd-pvr be lost upon conversion to mpeg2 for dvd? Also will it make a difference between using component for vhs or sticking with svideo?

    Thoughts? I do intend on testing both methods. I think I should test with the same video to be sure.

    Like I said I think direct capping to mpeg2 will produce better results since it won't need any subsequent conversions but as I said I haven't done any sd captures with my hd pvr to know for sure.

    Thanks.
    Donatello - The Shredder? Michelangelo - Maybe all that hardware is for making coleslaw?
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  2. I think you'll just have to test the two methods.
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  3. Member yoda313's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by jagabo View Post
    I think you'll just have to test the two methods.
    Yep I'm doing so as I type.

    The HD-PVR is hands down the winner. The quality so far is OUTSTANDING! It's nearly perfect as far as I can tell. I am doing s video right now on the vhs transfer.

    I did a full copy on the same tape via my pinnacle stick and it seemed a bit fuzzed out. The hd-pvr so far is nearly pefect.

    The pinnacle stick was recorded at dvd mode - its top mode not long play or whatever. I checked out gspot and it was a 10mb recording.

    I have set my hd-pvr to 10mb for this trial - it maxes out at 13.5mb. I have been blown away so far by it. Same vcr same tape same connections but the hd-pvr is vastly superior.

    I'll check with a mod to see if I can post comparisons. The title credits were super clear on the hd-pvr whereas any text on the pinnacle was muddied and washed out.

    The only concern I have so far on the hd-pvr is the overscan line. It is clearly visible on the bottom of the picture. This won't be an issue on 4:3 sets of course. But I do have two widescreen tvs. My main hdtv does have a one step fill mode that should cover the overscan without zooming in too much. I am not sure how the overscan will be displayed on the other set - but it also has multiple zoom modes so hopefully one will work.

    FYI this is a 4:3 pan and scan tape.
    Donatello - The Shredder? Michelangelo - Maybe all that hardware is for making coleslaw?
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  4. If you're going to convert the HD PVR caps to DVD MPEG2 you could mask the noise at the bottom of the frame at the same time.
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  5. Member yoda313's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by jagabo View Post
    If you're going to convert the HD PVR caps to DVD MPEG2 you could mask the noise at the bottom of the frame at the same time.
    Good point.

    If I were to use avstodvd is there a masking function with that probram?

    I think I know how to do that in tmpgenc plus (yes I have the full version). You can just bring up the bottom crop like a couple of ticks so that it covers the scan correct?

    I'm in the middle of my first conversion using avstodvd without cropping. Its gonna be about two hours total. I was encoding to fill a dual layer dvd.

    I think what I may do next time if I stick with the hd-pvr is simply use the arcsoft conversion process. I want to see if that takes the high bitrate h264 and convert it decently and quicker than avstodvd with quenc enabled.
    Donatello - The Shredder? Michelangelo - Maybe all that hardware is for making coleslaw?
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  6. Originally Posted by yoda313 View Post
    If I were to use avstodvd is there a masking function with that probram?
    I don't know Avs2Dvd but the AviSynth commands:

    Crop(0,0,-0,-16)
    AddBorders(0,8,0,8)
    Will cut away the bottom 16 lines then add 8 lines to the top and bottom (you have to keep the 480 or 576 line frame height for DVD). This leaves the border on an 8 pixel boundary (for better compression). If you need to crop less you should leave the border at the bottom:

    Crop(0,0,-0,-12)
    AddBorders(0,0,0,12)
    Masking away the noise also frees up bitrate for the rest of the video.

    Originally Posted by yoda313 View Post
    I think I know how to do that in tmpgenc plus (yes I have the full version). You can just bring up the bottom crop like a couple of ticks so that it covers the scan correct?
    If I remember correctly, you have to use the "mask instead of crop" option. Otherwise it will crop and then resize.

    I'll have to try some experiments myself. I have an HD PVR, an old Hauppauge PVR-250, and an ATI 650 USB2 I can compare. Are you using a time base corrector?
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  7. Member yoda313's Avatar
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    @jagabo - thanks for the masking tips. I'll try them on my next encode.

    Originally Posted by jagabo
    Are you using a time base corrector?
    No. But the panasonic I"m using does have internal correction stuff but isn't a full on tbc. It is a very clear picture however. I have gotten a go ahead on the screen caps. The first one will be the pinnacle capture at 10mb/s via svideo:

    [img]airforceon1413pinnacle.jpg[/img]

    The next is the hd-pvr capture also via svideo at 10mb to m2ts:

    [img]airforceone1413hdpvr.jpg[/img]

    The last is the dvd I authored from the hd pvr using avstodvd (without cropping by the way). It was set to max out a dual layer dvd - the file size of the folder is 7.86gb - g spot says 10mbs but that was the original file so I think it is just reading the original bitrate not what avstodvd created

    [img]airforceone1413dvdfromhdpvr.jpg[/img]

    I think this turned out very well. I am definitely pleased with the hd pvr result. Upon closer review however the pinnacle did not do too bad of a job.

    By the way it was to tough to get three seperate files as close as I could to the same spot - even reading the second with mpchc was tough to get the right up tick of the hand.

    Comments? Suggestions?

    FYI I am not in a position to buy a full tbc or any other hardware at the moment. But I think I am satisfied with the results I have been able to get so far.

    Also please note these were done all with base line settings on pinnacle and the hdpvr. I did not tweak any color settings or anything like that.

    EDIT - correction the last picture is the snapshot from the original file that I recorded on the hdpvr - the middle one is from the dvd I created from the hdpvr file - sorry.
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    Donatello - The Shredder? Michelangelo - Maybe all that hardware is for making coleslaw?
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  8. Originally Posted by yoda313 View Post
    @jagabo - thanks for the masking tips. I'll try them on my next encode.

    Originally Posted by jagabo
    Are you using a time base corrector?
    No. But the panasonic I"m using does have internal correction stuff but isn't a full on tbc. It is a very clear picture however.
    Yes, your sample images are pretty clean for VHS. Your player must have some filtering and a TBC/frame-sync.

    Why are there no interlace comb artifacts in the Pinnacle cap? Does it deinterlace while capturing? Maybe that particular frame was progressive (3:2 pulldown) but the sample from the HD PVR had comb artifacts.
    Last edited by jagabo; 1st Oct 2010 at 21:55.
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  9. Member yoda313's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by jagabo
    Yes, your sample images are pretty clean for VHS
    Yes thank you. I am pretty happy with it.

    Originally Posted by jagabo
    Why are there no interlace comb artifacts in the Pinnacle cap? Does it deinterlace while capturing? Maybe that particular frame was progressive (3:2 pulldown).
    I don't know. Here is a gspot snap of the original file (I kept it just in case there were more questions - if you want I can sign up for rapidshare or some share site and upload a short clip of both the pinnacle and the hdpvr cap.

    [img]gspotairforceone.jpg[/img]

    The dvd from the hdpvr cap turned out nicely. I burnt it to a dl and it played cleanly on my xbox 360.

    I am planning on doing a different movie at 5mb so that I can fit it on a single layer disc. My 10mb hdpvr file was 6.8gb and I'm hoping for close to 3.4gb for the 5mb capture. That way upon conversion to dvd even if I max it out for a single layer there shouldn't be too much extra padding for the file. The dvd from the 10mb 6.8gb file came out to 7.8gb from avstodvd using its dvd-9 template. I would hope for a similar performance with a 5mb cap to single layer dvd.

    I'm hoping the 5mb capture should look good also. If so than I won't have to use up dls for vhs captures.
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    Donatello - The Shredder? Michelangelo - Maybe all that hardware is for making coleslaw?
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  10. I tried with the three capture devices I have and found mixed results. The ATI 650 had the sharpest picture with the most detail and fewest artifacts. Unfortunately, it's automatic image adjustments can't be disabled so the video changes brightness, contrast, and saturation all the time and it's crushing darks and lights. The HD PVR and PVR-250 weren't as sharp and clean but didn't have the brightness/contrast/saturation problems. I'll see if I can post some examples later.
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  11. Member yoda313's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by jagabo
    The HD PVR and PVR-250 weren't as sharp and clean but didn't have the brightness/contrast/saturation problems.
    Have you converted the hd-pvr to dvd yet? If so what software? Did you use the arcsoft software or some other encoder?

    I have used avstodvd twice and so far seems to be a good choice. I don't think I'll fool with masking unless I get a really bad overscan on a cap that is just too obvious.

    I did a cap before I went to bed last night at 5mb on the hd-pvr. It looked just as good as the 10mb cap. And actually the capture was a little better than my first capture - it must have been a less used tape - these were movies I bought used at garage sales and book sales.

    I'm very happy with the results I'm getting with the hd-pvr. I just regret the loss of mpeg capturing and the need to convert. But the good thing is it has good image results and that is the most important part.

    @jagabo - please do post the comparisons when you have a chance. I used to have a 250 but sold on ebay years ago.

    Oh and the 5mb capture came in at 4.35gb for a 1hr 51m movie so I may have to do 4.5mb for a longer movie. My goal is to match the captured bitrate to the destination dvd size (under 4.5 for single and under 8 for dl). I am still converting to dvd of course but I want to have it close to the destination size and not be over by too much.
    Donatello - The Shredder? Michelangelo - Maybe all that hardware is for making coleslaw?
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  12. I hardly ever make DVDs anymore. So I haven't made a DVD or MPEG 2 file from the HD PVR cap.
    Last edited by jagabo; 2nd Oct 2010 at 12:54.
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    Hey, yoda.
    Is that tape a retail one?
    The image, at least for me, is really good.
    I wonder if I'll ever get that from my recorded VHS tapes
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  14. Member yoda313's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by caple
    Hey, yoda.
    Is that tape a retail one?
    Yep. Its got the official sticker and original packaging and everything.

    Originally Posted by caple
    The image, at least for me, is really good.
    I wonder if I'll ever get that from my recorded VHS tapes
    Well as they say its only as good as your source. If your source is decent then good capturing equipment will preserve it. But if your source isn't up to par thats all your gonna get.

    I'm just about to finish dubbing my 9th tape since yesterday I've only made one or two dvds so far.

    I think for the ones that arcsoft will make into single layer without coersion I'll do that. For anything over 4gb I'll go the long route and use avstodvd or something else to do either single layer if its close or bite the bullet and use a few dl's for the larger 5+ caps.

    Thanks for all the comments and suggetions.
    Donatello - The Shredder? Michelangelo - Maybe all that hardware is for making coleslaw?
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  15. I'll start uploading some sample images comparing the Diamond ATI TV Wonder USB HD 650 and the Hauppauge HD PVR (and a few other caps too). All my caps are with VirtualDubMod so they include the usual rec.601 contrast stretch. I'm using an old commercial, ex-rental, VHS tape of Queen of Hearts. This was not a great transfer from film. The tape is one of the few commercial tapes I have left and one of the only ones without Macrovision. The VHS deck is an old cheap hand-me-down Toshiba W-602. I used a Panasonic ES15 passthrough as a TBC/frame sync. I adjusted the ATI 650's proc amp settings to best accomodate the input. I could not adjust the HD PVR's proc amp settings. (I'm pretty sure I used to be able to do so but this is a different computer). I left the sharpness settings of the two devices at their defaults. Neither seems to be overly or underlie aggressive in this respect (no oversharpening halos). The noise filters were left at their defaults.

    First the ATI 650 has a problem with its over-aggressive automatic gain control. It sometimes crushes blacks and blows out brights. No amount of adjusting the driver's proc amp controls could fix this.

    Here's a frame from the ATI 650 just after a cut:
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    A few frames later:
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    A few seconds later the levels are ok, you can now see details in the Woman's dress but the picture is over-saturated:
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    The problem is not because of Macrovision (one of Macrovision's techniques is to screw with the AGC circuitry of VHS recorders.) because the same thing happens with several home recorded VHS tapes.

    The sequence from the HD PVR cap was consistent (this is the same frame as first image above, the others were about the same):
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    Colors on the HD PVR are a little under saturated. The reddish color cast is in the VHS recording.

    The HD PVR has more aggressive noise reduction and is less sharp, maybe partly from the intentional noise reduction and sharpening filters, and some from the h.264 compression.

    Here's the same frame from a Hauppauge PVR-250 at 12,000 kbps MPEG 2:
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    From the same VHS deck, recorded on the Panasonic ES15 DVD recorder in XP (1 hour) mode:
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    And played and recorded on a Toshiba DVR620 VHS DVD recorder combo in XP mode:
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    Last edited by jagabo; 5th Oct 2010 at 13:32.
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  16. Member yoda313's Avatar
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    Thanks for the posts jagabo.

    There are color settings and other stuff you can change on the hdpvr. Its in device settings or format settings. I can't remember which.
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  17. Originally Posted by yoda313 View Post
    There are color settings and other stuff you can change on the hdpvr. Its in device settings or format settings. I can't remember which.
    Yes, but they're not working for me anymore.
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  18. Member yoda313's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by jagabo View Post
    Originally Posted by yoda313 View Post
    There are color settings and other stuff you can change on the hdpvr. Its in device settings or format settings. I can't remember which.
    Yes, but they're not working for me anymore.
    Try reinstalling the software. Or have you updated to the latest version?

    Also just on a whim why not try a different usb port? Who knows.... worth a shot.
    Donatello - The Shredder? Michelangelo - Maybe all that hardware is for making coleslaw?
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  19. I hardly ever use the thing anymore. Haven't had time to diagnose the problem.
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    Originally Posted by jagabo View Post

    First the ATI 650 has a problem with its over-aggressive automatic gain control. It sometimes crushes blacks and blows out brights. No amount of adjusting the driver's proc amp controls could fix this.
    This is also true for Ati HD750. Theater 550 don`t have this issue. The reason behind this is that Theater 650 have a new Auto Gain and Auto Color over the Theater 550. There is no user way to fix those. Sometimes is better to feed directly the card with signal from vcr. The negative side will be the TBC errors when regular vcr is used. On vertical synch Theater 650 do a good job but on other dimension do nothing.
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  21. Thanks for that confirmation danno78. The 650 is a good device otherwise but the auto gain problem ruins it.
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  22. I eventually found that using a Macrovision stripper (ie, "video clarifier") eliminated the AGC problem for many sources -- even though the tapes and cable DVR weren't Macrovision protected.
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  23. Member vhelp's Avatar
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    i've always believed that macrovision plays a major rol in this AGC problem, false or otherwise, but that two things play part in all this to some degree: the source equipment and the capture card and driver (macrovision) instructions.

    in all this AGC/macrovision and capture testing nonsense, one other type of test not mentioned is with using a home recording source from:

    dv or hi-8 (analog) -> vcr -> capture card

    the idea is to rule out macrovision from a device that either electronically / hardware enables it (ie dvd player) feeding a clean source, recording it, and then capturing it. then its all about the capture cards driver and macrovision software and how it processes it via AGC, etc. i'm too busy to test this out not to mention my main capture pc has been down for nearly 4 weeks, imaging issues and so on and so forth.

    i have many capture cards and they all seem to have an AGC problem of some sort--so i'm now discovering this in the last 8 months or so. some more pronounced than others. even my directv dvr has a AGC problem with my capture cards, pci, pci-e and usb2 and i have to adjust the color levels during capturing to a comprimise, for each capture equip since each are different and react different as well. but in addition to all that, i've also comprimised with directv's dvr chroma crosstalk problem as well.
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