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  1. I'm not familar with either the terratec or pinnacle studio moviebox

    Are there any options for grabster MPEG2 recording? like bitrate ?

    A TBC somewhere in the workflow is almost a must have for decent quality. Unfortunately this is hardware (there have been some inroads in software TBC, but only works in specific cases)
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    i read that capturing with virtualdub would solve the problem of video/audio synch( i get a disynch of mayb 0.04 s when recording one hour)
    yes i can chose bitrate but the quality goes down when i go below the highest setting which is "dvd-hq mpeg2 video 6mb/s cbr 720x576 audio mpeg2 224kbit/s"
    E: would it be much better to connect the vcr to the capture card via s-video cable and not with scart which i use? --i dont own a vcr with s-video, just hypothetically
    E2: uploading on youtube now, or suggest somewhere else =)
    Last edited by megasaja; 17th Feb 2012 at 17:15.
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    sample
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    Was this FLV recorded directly to lossy compression? If so, cleanup with post-processing is impossible. You should capture directly to lossless AVI, clean it up as well as you can, then compress. We still don't know what you want for ultimate archive? PC-only playback? Valid DVD? True, you can get a lot of time of cleaned-up 352x576 DVD onto a single disk at low bitrates. After considerable efforts at cleanup in AVI, results would probably be very slightly better than the UTube clip you posted. It is riddled with compression artifacts. Blown up on HDTV (which already have upsizing problems with small-frame high compressed sources), the results will look worse than the original tape.
    Last edited by sanlyn; 23rd Mar 2014 at 06:43.
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    it was recorded in mpeg2
    i can capture to dv-avi but how do i "clean it up"? what software, what filters do i use? and then what programm do i use to convert it to h.264 ?


    Edit "It is riddled with compression artifacts" the above clip you mean? i would settle for that quality if i could get it in 1GB / hour.
    Last edited by megasaja; 18th Feb 2012 at 15:24.
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  6. Originally Posted by poisondeathray View Post
    Originally Posted by megasaja View Post
    on disc
    care to elaborate on those cleaning up methods?

    So you're using DVD5 media as data disc storage - not an authored DVD playable in a regular DVD player

    Of course the methods used would depend on the source condition. Ideally you would use a TBC + software . Have a look at the various sub forums like the capture forum and restoration forum, or at least post some representative footage. For example , is this professionally shot footage, tripod, rigs with lighting setup? or some handheld home video. BIG difference.

    Even pristine retail VHS tapes have noise and can benefit from processing.

    There is a lot to learn, or were you more interested in a simple solution, not caring much for quality ?


    Edit2: i would call anyone misguided who accepted a ratio of worse than 1dvd/1cassette while digitizing 300 tapes, or just desensitized to producing mountains of electro junk down the road
    This is quite low bitrate; 4hours / 4.37GB is about 2.6Mb/s, not even counting the audio or overhead.

    Everyone has different opinions on acceptable quality or quality loss

    There are a bunch of tradeoffs you'll have to make
    I think it's also worth noting that the WORST Hollywood tends to do is fit 3 hours on a DVD9, and that's using far cleaner footage to start with (and they usually denoise their cleaner source to hell and back too):
    3 hours on a DVD9 = 10800 seconds in 9400000000 bytes -> 75200000000 bits / 10800 = 6962962 bits / 1024 = 6799.77Kb/s, assuming NO audio

    That's compared to what you noted:
    4 hours on a DVD5 = 14400 seconds in 4700000000 bytes -> 37600000000 bits / 14400 = 2611111 bits / 1024 = 2549.91Kb/s, assuming NO audio

    Even with the best source, megasaja can't expect reasonable quality at barely a third of Hollywood's worst bitrate...and even the best VHS is not the best source. As others have said, VHS captures generally mask whatever detail they have with tons of noise, although the type of VHS matters here. It takes a lot of work with a good denoiser to separate the wheat from the chaff (NeatVideo is the best, but it's not free; Avisynth denoisers like MDegrain, MCTemporalDenoise, dfttest, etc. are capable as well). Denoising improves the compressibility of the actual features of your video by reducing extraneous noise information (which takes up a LOT of information, because it's inherently random and hard to encode as a pattern), and if you do it well enough, you can still retain actual detail. A word of advice though: It's easy to denoise blindly, but it takes work to remove noise AND maintain detail.

    Anyway, if you're converting a 2-hour SP tape to a DVD9, I'd like to agree that you should typically strive for a one DVD per tape ratio...assuming it's a first generation commercial tape, commercial broadcast tape, or quality camcorder tape. Heck, if you're converting a 2-hour SP tape to a DVD5, one DVD per tape may still be reasonable for casual viewing (though depending on the importance of your tape, you may want to use more space for a permanent archive). However, second generation (and more) tapes have a lower signal/noise ratio, so they're harder to compress...and the nature of the source material does have a large impact.

    Still, you have to understand that some tapes were actually longer than others, as in containing more tape. An E-240 tape could hold 4 hours of SP and 8 hours of LP footage. That's a ton of analog information, much like burning to a DVD18. Moreover, using LP and EP/SLP speeds crammed more of a signal into the same amount of space by making the signal physically smaller/weaker. This nominally maintained resolution but magnified the impact of noise and made dropouts more common. In contrast, drastically reducing the bitrate of DCT-based digital video compression cannot effectively mimic this technique and maintain any semblance of quality.
    Last edited by Mini-Me; 18th Feb 2012 at 16:11.
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  7. I don't think his expectations are that high, I think he's more willing to trade off quality for compression

    "It is riddled with compression artifacts" the above clip you mean? i would settle for that quality if i could get it in 1GB / hour.
    That would be easy to achieve your goal - for reference, youtube uses about 500-1000kb/s for 480p clips .

    (of course you'll get significantly better results if you jumped through some hoops, captured it properly and cleaned it up properly) . You have to decide where you are willing to take "short cuts". Best practices would dictate that you capture lossless , or at minimum DV-AVI instead of 6Mb/s MPEG2

    To answer your question about encoding software , just use a GUI for x264 e.g. ripbot264, megui, xvid4psp, handbrake, mediacoder, etc....
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    Originally Posted by megasaja View Post
    it was recorded in mpeg2
    At what bitrate? The UTube post that I downloaded is FLV, not mpeg2, so no one can make judgments about what your mpeg2 looks like. I was referring to the Godfather FLV.

    Originally Posted by megasaja View Post
    i can capture to dv-avi but how do i "clean it up"? what software, what filters do i use? and then what programm do i use to convert it to h.264 ?
    I didn't realize you were that new to video processing, but being new is not unusual (everyone in this forum was new at some point, so no matter). The tools you would use are Avisynth and VirtualDub. The latter is probably easiest for newcomers, but a few basic aspects of Avisynth are essential to get where you want to go. These are free software, along with almost all of their free plugins, filters, codecs, and converters. If you want to spend the big bucks you can get into Premiere Pro or After Effects, but that's overkill -- and you'd still need Avisynth and/or VirtualDuib anyway. But starting from scratch is a big step -- not that it can't be done. Shucks, if I can do some of it and the other forum members can put up with my mistakes and silly questions, you can do it as well . But there's a learning curve.

    Originally Posted by megasaja View Post
    Edit "It is riddled with compression artifacts" the above clip you mean? i would settle for that quality if i could get it in 1GB / hour.
    Yes.

    Well...that's rather low quality for DVD, going by the FLV you posted. It has strong macroblocking, aliasing, edge ringing, jitter, jaggies, motion artifacts, ghosting, poor detail (while still looking oversharpened), to mention a few problems. Try getting about 15 minutes of that video onto a disc and see how it looks on your tv.

    Try a couple of introductory links to an older webpage introducing VirtualDub and another that introduces Avisynth. A very general guide to what's involved in video cleanup is the very brief (and somewhat dated but still OK) Digfitalfaq Introduction to Video Restoration and its main page of digital video FAQs.
    Last edited by sanlyn; 23rd Mar 2014 at 06:43.
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    Originally Posted by poisondeathray View Post
    I don't think his expectations are that high, I think he's more willing to trade off quality for compression
    I agree. I somehow made a recent (horrible nightmare) capture look, well, "viewable" as you might recall. I learned a great deal, but I can't say it was the best party-time I've lived through. But with some cleanup, it could be done.
    Last edited by sanlyn; 23rd Mar 2014 at 06:44.
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  10. Originally Posted by megasaja View Post
    AGFA GX E-240 VHS Pal Secam Made in Germany
    Image
    [Attachment 11015 - Click to enlarge]
    like this only 240 minutes..

    €dit: I wanted to store on dvd
    This is problematic. NTSC at SP (120mins) or PAL at SP (180mins) will digitize decently to either a 4.2GB data file (H.264 etc) or 4.2GB MPEG2 standard DVD. The 180min PAL tape is pushing the limit of acceptable digital quality if you insist on fitting the full 180mins onto a single DVD, its usually better to split the tape into two parts using two DVDs. Unless there are lots of advertisements that you can edit out before making the final file: many of us do this. You figure out the running time of the adverts and delete that from your calculation of video bitrate setting. In America, we average 14mins of adverts per hour, or 45mins total for 3 hours. Cutting these adverts would reduce the actual capture to 135 mins, allowing a higher bitrate and much better quality video file than squeezing the full 180mins onto a DVD. The trick here is to adjust your video encoder to a setting optimal for 135 mins, then digitize the entire T180 (resulting in a huge file that could not fit on one DVD). When finished, use your editing software to delete the adverts, and you will be left with a final file that will fit on one DVD. If there are no or few adverts on your tapes, you'll probably need to split the material somehow to not code more than 125 mins into 4.2GB (if the T180 holds multiple half-hour or hour-long shows, split the shows into smaller groups).

    Edit2: i would call anyone misguided who accepted a ratio of worse than 1dvd/1cassette while digitizing 300 tapes, or just desensitized to producing mountains of electro junk down the road
    Don't misunderstand me: I did not call you yourself misguided, I meant only that its a common misconception among all newcomers to digital VHS transfer (that it is a simple 1>1 process, that 1 tape no matter the running time, will fit on 1 dvd). The misconception is natural, it should work that way, unfortunately it doesn't quite because digital video is rather inhospitable to encoding analog VHS. Analog VHS is full of instabilities, distortion and noise that is invisible to our own eyes when watching the tape but VERY "visible" to a digital encoder: the invisible part of the VHS signal sucks up bandwidth at twice the rate necessary to digitize a good DVB-T broadcast. So the "logical" idea of fitting a single T180 cassette with 240 mins of material into a file size that would fit a single DVD is inadvisable.

    Not to say you can't do it: of course you can, many people do- they just don't notice or care that it looks pretty bad, or they give no thought that ten years from now TV displays will change again (as will the manner we store digital files), and those borderline-acceptable 240-min-per-dvd files will be less adaptable than 125-mins-per-dvd. Either way, there is a baseline maximum quality you can achieve at a given file size. A 4.2GB AVI H.264 made from an old 240min VHS is not going to look anywhere near as good as a 240min 4.2GB file you download from the web, that was encoded from commercial DVD, BluRay or current broadcast.

    Originally Posted by megasaja View Post
    on disc
    care to elaborate on those cleaning up methods?
    "Cleanup" generally means "go find a second hand JVC or Panasonic top-line SVHS vcr from 15 years ago that included the built-in TBC/DNR circuits." There are two kinds of cleanup: at the source tape during playback, and later in software using various filter programs. The high-end VCR cleans a lot of the "invisible" analog noise during playback that would otherwise suck up bandwidth during digital encode, allowing you to get a bit closer to your goal of 240mins in a single 4.2GB file. Understand, this will still not be as good as a 125min file: it will be a little better than if you used an ordinary VCR, maybe just enough to be acceptable. Depends on the tapes. You can't imitate the cleaning effect of the fancy VCRs using software: the software tweaks other elements of the video. There is a lot of talk here on VH about these fancy JVC and Panasonic VCRs, they are very popular for VHS transfer: the trouble for YOU would be these VCRs were MUCH more common in North America than they were in Europe. In Germany you may have some difficulty locating a clean functional Panasonic NV-SF200 or JVC HR-S7965EEK (see this VH VCR Guide for other PAL-format TBC/DNR-equipped VCRs).

    Given a choice, in your situation I would probably skip the fancy VCR and buy a BluRay burner for my PC instead. The fancy VCRs are more helpful with faster-speed tapes, 240min tapes may not be improved enough to be worth the expense. You seem more interested in final storage space: since you've now confirmed you want to save the videos as files (not standard playable discs), I think you'd do better with BluRay. A single BDR will hold at least 10 hours of standard-def AVI or H.264 files, enough capacity for each BD disc to store the contents of two or three 240-min tapes encoded at nice quality. You'd need 100 BD-Rs, which would take up less storage space than 10 VHS tapes. Blank BD-R is now priced comparably to blank dual-layer 9GB DVD, but is more reliable for archiving. BD-R might be the magic solution you seek.

    For best results with standard SL 4.2GB DVD, 300 240-min VHS tapes will require 600 DVDs to store at decent file quality. You can squeeze it all into 300 DVDs instead, but you'll probably regret it later. In my own case, I reduce the physical storage space by reusing the plastic 50ct reels the blank DVDs come in for storage. I don't mind flipping thru the discs in my hand to look for a specific recording, and I keep a list of whats contained in each plastic case as an Excel spreadsheet file (making searches for a specific title pretty easy). 600 dvds stored this way take the space of 60 VHS, 300 dvds take the space of 30 VHS: the small space savings of using less discs doesn't seem worth it to me, esp since I may need to rework the files in future for new playback technologies. But if you absolutely must use only 300 dvds, you can lower the encoding quality and go that way if you're prepared to accept the compromises. VHS just never really digitizes that well unless you are an expert video technician with thousands of dollars in hardware/software: using our consumer gear, there are limits to encoding quality. If you want 240mins in a 4.2GB file, go for it, but don't expect miracles: you can't improve it significantly more than what you'd already accomplished when you began this discussion.
    Last edited by orsetto; 20th Feb 2012 at 14:07.
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    new problem: when i transcode from dv-avi to anything else, it turns red..see here
    NOPE - when i upload it to youtube the general redness doesnt show up

    i would never cut away the commercials from 20 years ago
    orsetto, what do you think of the quality in the youtube clip? to me that looks pretty much like the original tape or like the quality you get when you download godfather part 2 from pbay - and someone above said that it would be easy to get that quality 1GB/h
    (megasaja wrote) "i would settle for that quality if i could get it in 1GB / hour."(poisondeathray wrote)"That would be easy to achieve your goal - for reference, youtube uses about 500-1000kb/s for 480p clips ."
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  12. Originally Posted by megasaja View Post
    i would never cut away the commercials from 20 years ago
    I can understand that: I ran into the same issue when I started digitizing my old VHS from 1981 (its hard to believe the changes in advertising over thirty years- the major-company ads in 1981 seem prehistoric today, and the old local business commercials look like todays youTube parodies). I eventually decided to make compilation DVDs of the collected commercials I'd deleted from my projects. Of course, thats a lot more work than just leaving them in and adding jump-chapter marks in the VOB to skip them as desired. Here again it would depend on your priorities: six years ago I was a "purist," if I was to start over today I likely would not go to the effort to cut the ads. I did have the advantage of most of my collection being 120 mins per tape, however. And I mostly encode MPEG2 to make player-compatible DVDs: I'm not too clear on how reliable "chapter marking" is in other types of file. I do know Handbrake carries over chapter points from VOBs when converting to M4V, but its been awhile since I tinkered with other file formats.

    orsetto, what do you think of the quality in the youtube clip? to me that looks pretty much like the original tape or like the quality you get when you download godfather part 2 from pbay - and someone above said that it would be easy to get that quality 1GB/h
    Difficult to say: at smaller viewing sizes it isn't bad, but blown up to full screen on LCD it gets rough. Hard to detect how much of this is attributable to your original file encode, and how much is caused by the secondary youTube conversion. With "Godfather," you're also up against old-school elaborate film-centric cinematography (lighting, optical filtering): this was (and is) beautiful to watch, but can be total hell to encode (requiring larger file size and/or constant fiddling with parameters during the process). Much of it is lost on the original recording to VHS anyway, but whatever remains can still make capturing the tape tricky. Your "Godfather" clip is a very good example of the compromises one needs to trade off: you could "improve" some of the problems by using a TBC/DNR vcr, but the improvements would result in other artifacts that may look worse (color would be more stable and graininess would disappear, macroblocking would be lessened, but overall the image would look artificially retouched ("plastic") and what little remained of the "feel" of the cinematography would be sacrificed).

    As we've all been saying from the beginning: some of these decisions have to be based on personal preference. If that quality is acceptable to you, and you feel you'd still be comfortable with it 5 or 10 years from now, then thats your decision. Giving benefit of the doubt that the youTube conversion made things look a little worse than your original encode, I would have to admit I know many people who would be satisfied with that level of quality (perhaps not on a dedicated large screen TV, but certainly for casual PC viewing). I will not try to advise you further, because I long ago chose not to go the "file" route and prefer to make standard playable DVD conversions (with enough experience and skill, you can get away with compression levels in some other file formats that don't fly on standard DVD at all). Others here have much more experience with the generic file as end goal, and can give you more specific advice for software and settings. I do think if you are satisfied with the quality of your sample clip, it should definitely be possible at a file size of 1GB per hour using the correct combination of tools.

    I occasionally convert or reconvert to make smaller files for travel: in those cases I use Handbrake or CloneDVDMobile to make iPod-compatible files small enough to fit many hours of video into the device. I compress for a compromise between file size and ability to play at decent quality when connected to a standard-sized television or display panel. My lowest-quality source material has been DVDR recorded from American cable TV services, and I have been able to achieve remarkable compression with passable quality (down at about 450MB per hour). I don't think I could equal that compression level if the source was old VHS without a great deal of careful effort, however. And a cursory glance at youTube shows thousands of really horrible attempts.
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    next problem: can't get video and audio in sync -someone knows what 'timing' settings (under 'capture' when you are in capture mode) to use in VDub?
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    To start capture, use the F6 function key.
    Capture audio to uncompressed PCM, 48kHz 16-bit
    Don't use filters when capturing

    Try the suggestions in this post:
    https://forum.videohelp.com/threads/343892-Audio-Video-sync-offset-when-transferring-ta...=1#post2143847
    Last edited by sanlyn; 23rd Mar 2014 at 06:44.
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    under 'audio' 'raw capture format' i have PCM 32000Hz stereo 16 bit
    and nothing else to chose..how do i capture audio in 48kHz?
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    i followed the suggestions from the above thread and started capture with f6/ended with esc..yet
    capturing 1 hour i get slight disysnch of mayb couple tenth of a second(who cares how much -the lips moving and the sound dont fit)

    is there no easy way around this sync problem? like capturing video and audio separate from each other?
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  17. Originally Posted by megasaja View Post
    i followed the suggestions from the above thread and started capture with f6/ended with esc..yet
    capturing 1 hour i get slight disysnch of mayb couple tenth of a second(who cares how much -the lips moving and the sound dont fit)

    is there no easy way around this sync problem? like capturing video and audio separate from each other?
    Heh...the problem is generally BECAUSE the video and audio are separate.

    Is this desynchronization constant (a tenth of a second across the whole capture), or is the audio in sync at the beginning and out of sync at the end?

    If the desynchronization is constant, then odds are the video or audio is getting delayed by some device in your chain. The easiest thing to do in this case is to shift the audio by a constant amount in an editor. (There might be a Virtualdub setting to do this on capture as well, but don't take my word for that.)

    If the desynchronization develops over time, then the problem is either an inaccurate audio clock or dropped/inserted frames. To figure out what's going on, go to the Capture menu and make sure "Show information panel" is checked. Also, go to Capture->Preferences and check all of the information to be displayed in the side panel. Take another capture. What does Virtualdub say about "Frames dropped" and "Frames inserted" at the end? Under the "Sync" heading, what does it say about "VT adjust" and "Relative latency?" What does "Current Error" usually say?

    Also, what device are you using for capture? Are you capturing both audio and video through the same device, or is the audio going through your sound card?
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    ok, now i got 4 hours on 1 dvd without visual quality loss
    used 'Pinnacle Moviebox DV' - recorded in dv-avi format then used the vdub filters 'dynamic noise reduction' and '2d cleaner optimized',
    one after the other, then converted into dvd format with AVStoDVD.(resolution 720x576)

    thx for help
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    Great thread, good posts. And I certainly agree that lossy codecs are sensitive to motion, and the flaws inherent within VHS supplement this havoc on compression.

    But if I may add for the O/P since I gather space saving seems to be an issue. Here's something to think about.

    Capturing to a lossless codec like HuffYUV, albiet the bigger file size, generates arguably the best digital version ceteris paribus with the right settings. You can re-compress to FFV1 losslessly for more space savings later.

    Just with using such high-bitrate means as such you can still store dozens of VHS tapes into a 2TB hard drive that is roughly the size of one VHS tape. From this Source, you can pack even more - several times more - with roughly 98% of that quality by using a high bitrate MPEG-2 at ~12mbps, or even more with DivX/Xvid/x264 at generous bitrates.

    And this hard drive space is only going to get better with modern O/Ses supporting bigger drives at 3TB, 4TB and what will be coming.

    You can always use this content as your Source to encode and play back to DvD, VCD, DivX, mobiles, whatever, and bear whatever quality it yields, but there's little reason today to compress your archived Source, and cherished content, down to blocky mud.

    And IMO this translates to a better peace of mind when you transfer the "fiddling around with settings" and compromises to the playback medium level instead of at the archive level.
    Last edited by PuzZLeR; 31st Jul 2012 at 08:30.
    I hate VHS. I always did.
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