These aren't exactly fair comparisons, as I changed more than one setting between the two captures. After I did the first "DNR On" capture, I noticed that whites were clipping in several scenes, so I lowered the Contrast control of the ATI 600 USB from 32 down to 25. This was actually an overcorrection, so I have more captures in my future...
But hopefully it shows the clumpy, unnatural look and weird horizontal streaks that result with the DNR of this particular JVC model.
JVC BR-S525U VHS player (no TBC card)
[7-pin to 4-pin S-Video cable]
Panasonic DMR-E20 DVD recorder (for TBC)
ATI TV Wonder 600 USB
Capture A settings:
Brightness 110, Contrast 32, Sharpness 0, rest default
Capture B settings:
Brightness 110, Contrast 25, Sharpness 0, rest default
More junk to come later in this thread.
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Last edited by Brad; 13th Apr 2013 at 15:03.
Way back at the end of 2005, gshelley61 posted some captures of the retail Titanic VHS playing on a JVC SR-W5U.
I picked up a former rental copy of the release from someone on Craigslist to use for comparison to this "best case scenario" VHS capture.
I shifted my capture 4 pixels to the right using AddBorders(4,0,0,0).Crop(0,0,-4,-0) so that it matched. The distortion at the bottom of the frame may be caused by Macrovision, which causes numerous induced errors with the ATI 600. Unfortunately my DVD recorder passthrough doesn't correct for that.
I was amazed by the quality when I saw his screenshots, until I made this comparison. I feel that mine retains more detail (and more noise). The only part that I see being worse is the right side of the gold stick where there appears to be a black halo.
That frame grab from Titanic isn't the best indicator of VCR quality since it's mostly blur. I wonder why gshelley61 picked that particular frame. Anyway, the lack of sharpening halos is a huge plus as far as I'm concerned. To make a VHS picture look DVD-like it should be as free from noise and detailed looking as possible. The W series of VCRs seem to do a great job in that regard.
@jazz57: Sorry for taking ~2 weeks. Initially I got sidetracked pursuing something that I thought would help me grab some better comparison shots. Then time just got away from me.
Answering your specific PM question, the Variable Tracking feature is worse than useless for normal speed playback: it adds tons of dropouts. If VT uses a different head, perhaps it is simply dirty or worn on my particular unit.
I still plan to post useful pictures when I'm able, but in the interim I'll repeat what I said elsewhere in case someone reading is planning a purchase soon: the more closely I look at my 525, the less pleased I am. I don't know whether the other decks in this line share the same flaws, so if you're interested in what they offer and willing to gamble I wouldn't rule them out.
You guys have noted the worst problem. The halos have become more and more obvious to me. If there is a Sharpness control, I can't find it.
I wouldn't bother any more with this beast if I weren't so enamored with its "no head switching noise" feature.
Often the source tape will have a declining MTF as the details get finer and finer. While we can't do anything to improve the resolution of an old VHS recording, we can improve the MTF by applying a sharpening filter (or peaking filter). This will improve the picture as long as we don't go too far. The goal is to keep the MTF near 100% down to the finest details the system can produce.