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  1. Member
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    Does anyone know of any objective comparisons done between different TBCs?

    I recently purchased a TBC-1000 after reading around sites like this, and have been very unimpressed. Although it does correctly stablise the timing, it is not neutral to the image. After passing through the TBC-1000 I have to then readjust the luma and chroma of the video as it adds gain to both these components taking my image out of Rec. 601 spec. The effect is that skin tones become unnatural and image highlights are crushed. I have also noted that it introduces other artefacts in the form of ghosting, and actually increases the impact of head switching noise.

    Does anyone have any insight on how other TBCs perform in these regards?
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  2. Member hech54's Avatar
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    Nothing is going to magically fix a mess like this if this is what you are referring to:
    https://forum.videohelp.com/threads/361710-Cause-of-Artefact?p=2295506&viewfull=1#post2295506
    TBCs don't work miracles.
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  3. Member 2Bdecided's Avatar
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    Many of us use the line-TBCs built into certain high-end S-VHS decks, and/or the TBC effect present in certain DVD-R machines when looping a video signal through them, and/or the TBCs built in to certain DV camcorders in analogue input to DV output loop through mode (far less common on UK/EU camcorders than American ones). There are some threads about all of these.

    Cheers,
    David.
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    We've had several people post recently about only now wanting to start to transfer their "precious" VHS tapes to DVD. It's really late to be trying to start doing this. Our member orsetto has written extensively in those posts about the realities of trying to do this now, many years after what was the golden age of trying to do this. He's talked about TBCs in his posts. Perhaps he will join this thread and comment or you may search for his recent posts and you can get some information on the subject from them.

    All I can tell you is that all TBCs are not the same and the more expensive ones do a better job. You get what you pay for.
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  5. Member 2Bdecided's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by jman98 View Post
    We've had several people post recently about only now wanting to start to transfer their "precious" VHS tapes to DVD. It's really late to be trying to start doing this.
    Get away with your scaremongering. My kids are still playing/thrashing pre-recorded tapes made in 1989 through a VCR that sits under our TV just for the purpose. Out of curiosity I tried capturing one - using that standard VHS VCR, not one of my "nice" S-VHS machines with line TBC. Apart from where there was physical tape damage, the results were fine. Not perfect, but 100x better than most of the "please help me" samples people post here.

    It would, I agree, have been better to capture everything back when S-VHS VCRs with line TBCs could still be bought new. But it's certainly not too late to start now. Better now than in ten years time.

    Cheers,
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    Originally Posted by hech54 View Post
    Nothing is going to magically fix a mess like this if this is what you are referring to:
    https://forum.videohelp.com/threads/361710-Cause-of-Artefact?p=2295506&viewfull=1#post2295506
    TBCs don't work miracles.
    I never said I was trying to fix this, I said that my TBC was increasing the impact of the head switching noise. My VCR plays back with minimal head switching noise, and passing the signal through the TBC-1000 makes the noise much worse. Even if a TBC doesn't eliminate it, you would hope it wouldn't make it worse. TBCs are supposed to stablise the signal, not degrade it.

    Originally Posted by jman98 View Post
    We've had several people post recently about only now wanting to start to transfer their "precious" VHS tapes to DVD. It's really late to be trying to start doing this.
    I don't need a lecture on the subject, I am transferring tapes I only just acquired. Don't be so quick to judge.

    Originally Posted by 2Bdecided View Post
    Many of us use the line-TBCs built into certain high-end S-VHS decks, and/or the TBC effect present in certain DVD-R machines when looping a video signal through them, and/or the TBCs built in to certain DV camcorders in analogue input to DV output loop through mode (far less common on UK/EU camcorders than American ones). There are some threads about all of these.

    Cheers,
    David.
    Thanks for the input.

    Thank you for the links.

    Does anyone have any experience with TBCs made by Hotronic, Kramer, Tenlab or For.A?
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  7. Member 2Bdecided's Avatar
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    What makes you think you need a frame TBC?
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    Originally Posted by 2Bdecided View Post
    What makes you think you need a frame TBC?
    I need to output frames at a stable rate. It was my understanding that the function of line TBCs were to stablise lines within a frame, not to outputs frames at a stable rate.
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    The TBC-1000 is not a line TBC. It's a full-frame TBC that has very little effect on line-timing problems within frames. It also softens images much more than I would like, so I returned mine. As mentioned earlier, many older DVD recorders from Panasonic and Toshiba used as pass-thru units have line-tbc circuitry as well as some frame-sync functionality that works "better" than a full-frame external tbc. That doesn't include full-fledged shop-level TBC's, which cost 10 times what you paid for yours.
    Last edited by sanlyn; 19th Mar 2014 at 07:23.
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    Originally Posted by sanlyn View Post
    The TBC-1000 is not a line TBC. It's a full-frame TBC that has very little effect on line-timing problems within frames.
    Yep, and I am not trying to fix line timing issues.

    But it is an observation of mine, that among many other signal issues I have had with it, it is also increasing head switching noise. I also mentioned ghosting, and Luma and Chroma gain issues which frankly are worse to me.

    Here is an example of the head switching noise issue. The top image is direct from the VTR, and the bottom image is passed through the TBC-1000. This might not be the best example frame, but it is clear enough.


    I understand that it shouldn't be making any difference, as it does not deal with individual lines. But every frame appears consistently worse.
    Last edited by magikarp99; 28th Jan 2014 at 09:53.
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  11. Mountains of gear vaporeon800's Avatar
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    What is your capture device? It looks like it has better line correction than the TBC-1000.

    I don't know if this is what you're looking for, but I've been been meaning to post these: https://forum.videohelp.com/threads/361978-The-side-effects-of-hardware-filters-%28scre...74#post2297974

    I can send you the ISO that I used, if you would like to contribute to that thread.

    Originally Posted by magikarp99 View Post
    I understand that it shouldn't be making any difference, as it does not deal with individual lines.
    It does, but its retiming isn't as effective as the devices that people here call line TBCs.

    Originally Posted by magikarp99 View Post
    Does anyone have any experience with TBCs made by Hotronic, Kramer, Tenlab or For.A?
    davideck has posted in the past and recently about a couple of those brands. I believe there are some thoughts on a few of them on Digitalfaq somewhere too.
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    I see the same thing that vaporeon800 mentioned. The top image has smoother lines and verticals. The bottom image has a wiggle in one vertical line, one shape at the right looks slightly warped, and there are more jaggies or combing.
    Last edited by sanlyn; 19th Mar 2014 at 07:23.
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    Originally Posted by vaporeon800 View Post
    What is your capture device? It looks like it has better line correction than the TBC-1000.
    I am using a Blackmagic Intensity Pro. It is a fantastic device, and captures perfect, accurate, lossless video. I don't believe it performs any line correction, it requires a stable signal to capture properly, hence the TBC. I see this as a good thing as what it captures it true to what is input.

    Originally Posted by vaporeon800 View Post
    I don't know if this is what you're looking for, but I've been been meaning to post these: https://forum.videohelp.com/threads/361978-The-side-effects-of-hardware-filters-%28scre...74#post2297974

    I can send you the ISO that I used, if you would like to contribute to that thread.
    This is the kind of thing I was hoping someone would post. Excellent! Please do send me the ISO and I'll see if I can sort something out.
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    Originally Posted by sanlyn View Post
    I see the same thing that vaporeon800 mentioned. The top image has smoother lines and verticals. The bottom image has a wiggle in one vertical line, one shape at the right looks slightly warped, and there are more jaggies or combing.
    Agreed. I'll see if I can get a better example of a full frame.

    With further processing of any analogue video, you expect some degree of loss. But I feel the losses I am experiencing aren't really acceptable.
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  15. Mountains of gear vaporeon800's Avatar
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    I've attached it as a RAR to that post.
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    Originally Posted by vaporeon800 View Post
    I've attached it as a RAR to that post.
    Thanks.

    On a side note, would a good line TBC be able to correct head switching noise?
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  17. Mountains of gear vaporeon800's Avatar
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    Not any better than the top screenshot you have there. Here are my adventures in head-switching correction.
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    That's a real shame, as can be seen in my screenshots there is definitely more information to be recovered.
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  19. Member 2Bdecided's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by magikarp99 View Post
    I am using a Blackmagic Intensity Pro. It is a fantastic device, and captures perfect, accurate, lossless video. I don't believe it performs any line correction, it requires a stable signal to capture properly, hence the TBC. I see this as a good thing as what it captures it true to what is input.
    Why, is your source perfect?

    (rhetorical question).

    If you're a perfectionist, you need a line TBC before anything else messes with the sync pulses. Otherwise you might as well use the worst capture device out there.

    Cheers,
    David.
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    Well when my source is an analogue tape of course it isn't perfect.

    But when capturing from a signal generator, it captures a really excellent signal, which indicates my capture card is not introducing any faults.
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    Originally Posted by 2Bdecided View Post
    If you're a perfectionist, you need a line TBC before anything else messes with the sync pulses. Otherwise you might as well use the worst capture device out there.
    Why is this the case? My VCR can produce a very stable image from some tapes without a line TBC. Unless lines need to be resynchronised I would have thought using a line TBC would be a bad thing, as it is another step of lossy processing.
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    Two of the more popular and (almost) affordable frame TBC's are the AVT-8710 and the TBC-1000. I've quoted my '1000' experience. I ended up with the 8710 for several years and still have it, but after using some pass-thru's and some TBC-equipped VCR's I didn't have to go back to the 8710. Anti-Macrovision was its principle purpose. But the pass-thru devices also defeated copy protection on all but one retail tape -- and nothing I tried would clean up the Macrovision effects on that single project, so I gave up. It didn't even play properly in normal mode anyway, much less capturing. The 8710 did have its drawbacks: it didn't soften much, but on some tapes it shot gamma through the roof and generated some bad and incurable dot crawl via s-video but not through composite. When it did work it sent a fairly sharp image. My other equipment has replaced it.

    Two examples of frame flagging and other problems that were fixed with pass-thru tbc's are posted here: https://forum.videohelp.com/threads/360511-Vhs-DVD-clarity-question?p=2287517&viewfull=1#post2287517. I've since acquired a VCR and a more powerful pass-thru that gave slightly better results. A long thread that discusses pass-thru is here: https://forum.videohelp.com/threads/319420-Who-uses-a-DVD-recorder-as-a-line-TBC-and-what-do-you-use. You'll find mention of other devices in several capture and restoration threads.
    Last edited by sanlyn; 19th Mar 2014 at 07:23.
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  23. Member hech54's Avatar
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    WAY too many people here, mainly the same ones over and over and over again, spew the YOU MUST HAVE A TBC kneejerk nonsense.....then newbies fall for it, run out and buy one.....then realize it will not help in their situation.
    The search results are polluted with it.
    Shame.
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    Originally Posted by hech54 View Post
    WAY too many people here, mainly the same ones over and over and over again, spew the YOU MUST HAVE A TBC kneejerk nonsense.....then newbies fall for it, run out and buy one.....then realize it will not help in their situation.
    The search results are polluted with it.
    Shame.
    If you want to generate a legal signal you do need a TBC. No VTR will generate a 100% legal signal from an analogue tape unless it has some form of TBC.

    Originally Posted by sanlyn View Post
    As for head switching noise, I just crop it off and replace it with black border in Avisynth to restore the frame size without affecting the original image aspect ratio. If I have 8 pixels of bottom noise and 4 pixels of black right-hand side border:

    Code:
    Crop(0,0,-4,-8)
    # --- center the image ---
    AddBorders(2,4,2,4)
    If the video is NTSC I will crop it off to prevent issues when authoring a DVD as I capture 720x486. Otherwise, if it is PAL I will leave it, as there is still information in that area even if it is skewed and a black bar seems out of place.
    Last edited by magikarp99; 28th Jan 2014 at 12:20.
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  25. Mountains of gear vaporeon800's Avatar
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    The problem is:

    VCR <original sync pulses> Intensity Pro (apparently fine horizontal line timing but unstable)
    VCR <original sync pulses> full-frame TBC <modified sync pulses> Intensity Pro (now you're relying on the poor line correction of the frame TBC but you have stability)
    VCR <original sync pulses> line TBC <modified sync pulses> full-frame TBC <modified sync pulses> Intensity Pro (now you should have good horizontal line timing, good stability, but you have colored the signal twice)

    If the final option is unacceptable, you can:
    • use a line TBC device that provides very good frame sync functionality and hope that you don't need to use a full-frame TBC on top of it
    • buy a pro brand full-frame TBC that likely wasn't designed with VHS in mind and hope that it can cope with the line timing (the one I have isn't as good as the DMR-ES15 despite having a mode specifically designed for VHS)
    • find a capture card that provides both functions (good luck -- I have one that does line TBC but again not as well as DVD recorders, and it drops frames at tape edit points)
    • find a hardware device that performs both functions and can output a digital signal into your capture card, accepting the caveat that you will have limited ability to make sure levels stay in range
    • replace your VCR with a $300-500 D-VHS model and output HDMI or a W-VHS model with full-frame TBC for $500; hope that every tape plays well on it

    No one ever said perfectionism was easy.

    What's your VCR, by the way?

    If I had the money, I would try out this "digital video stabilizer" since it makes specific claims to remove "flashing, brightening and darkening, blackout, color-shifting, jitter, shake, picture tearing and twisting, line effects, and all other symptoms." You should be able to receive a refund from eBay if it doesn't do every single one of those things, only losing shipping $ and time.
    Last edited by vaporeon800; 28th Jan 2014 at 12:35.
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    Originally Posted by vaporeon800 View Post
    The problem is:

    VCR <original sync pulses> Intensity Pro (apparently fine horizontal line timing but unstable)
    VCR <original sync pulses> full-frame TBC <modified sync pulses> Intensity Pro (now you're relying on the poor line correction of the frame TBC but you have stability)
    VCR <original sync pulses> line TBC <modified sync pulses> full-frame TBC <modified sync pulses> Intensity Pro (now you should have good horizontal line timing, good stability, but you have colored the signal twice)

    If the final option is unacceptable, you can:
    • use a line TBC device that provides very good frame sync functionality and hope that you don't need to use a full-frame TBC on top of it
    • buy a pro brand full-frame TBC that likely wasn't designed with VHS in mind and hope that it can cope with the line timing (the one I have isn't as good as the DMR-ES15)
    • find a capture card that provides both functions (good luck -- I have one that does line TBC but again not as well as DVD recorders, and it drops frames at tape edit points)
    • find a hardware device that performs both functions and can output a digital signal into your capture card, accepting the caveat that you will have limited ability to make sure levels stay in range
    What's your VCR, by the way?
    Aside from the head switching I'm not having any issues worth using a line TBC for, and if as you said previously a line TBC won't improve it, then I would still be in a situation where a full-frame TBC may make the noise worse.

    I don't wish to use another capture card, as my current card couldn't be better at what it does.

    This leaves me requiring a better full-frame TBC, hence my original question:
    Originally Posted by magikarp99
    Does anyone have any insight on how other TBCs perform in these regards?
    Acquiring an 8710 or a pro TBC seems like my best bet. I would sway towards buying a professional device, hence my other previous query:
    Originally Posted by magikarp99
    Does anyone have any experience with TBCs made by Hotronic, Kramer, Tenlab or For.A?
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    Originally Posted by vaporeon800 View Post
    What's your VCR, by the way?
    I am using a Panasonic AG-7350.
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  28. I know that it is tiresome to keep hearing strains of Carole King (it's too late, baby, now , it's too late...) but honestly: it really is too late in some respects for certain people just now attempting certain tasks for the first time.

    While I generally agree with 2Bdecided's point that "adequate" VHS capture is still possible, and will continue to be, problems are now arising for "advanced users" with more perfectionist expectations or OCD hobbies like rare anime. The issue is simple: the high-end or "pro" electronics required to reach top-level capture degrade over time (either thru age, in the case of pro TBCs and fancy VCRs, or thru ever-sloppier mfrg, as with with the current DataVideo TBC-1000 and AVT-8710 mess).

    It is now all but impossible to find a decently-functioning JVC or Panasonic SVHS with TBC/DNR. The closest runners-up are the DVHS models, but these are scarce, overpriced, and in some cases don't have quite as good TBC/DNR performance as the older models. A vcr with built-in line TBC + DNR really helps to pre-clean a lot of crap in typical VHS or SVHS that is much harder to fix in post-capture software, so their decline in availability/reliability is a painful hurdle to many new projects.

    Ditto external TBCs: the two go-to models for VHS have always been the DataVideo TBC-1000 and AVT-8710. Unfortunately, quality control at both firms went into the toilet a couple years ago, so new ones are a total ripoff and the second-hand market has been contaminated with defective units that are impossible to differentiate from good units until you buy and test them yourself. When they WERE better-made, each had its niche: the DataVideo was cleaner and less prone to softening, while the AVT had a very handy (if crude) built-in proc amp. Today, many of them are crap: the AVT blows highlights all to hell while scrambling hues, and the DataVideos don't work at all half the time (and blur out the signal when they do). I've had not one, not two, but THREE TBC-1000s die on me over the past five years: they work fine for a few weeks, I unplug them and set them a side for a couple months, then the next time I try to use them they don't work right at all (no signal, or ghosting, or color smearing, or jitter, or some combination of defects). Its as if they're all fitted with a doomsday clock and degrade to unusability within a year or two of purchase.

    Ex- "professional" TBCs like ForA, I.Den and Hotronic are often no better. They muddy the video noticeably, or their circuits are so dry rotted they add color or luminance defects that can't be corrected. If you're very lucky, you might acquire one at a good price that works reasonably OK. But they aren't optimized for VHS and don't handle it very well. The price gap between new Hotronic and second-hand Hotronic is so huge it beggars belief, which is reflected in the wildly divergent reports of those who've recently tried them with VHS. Some report success, while others were so shocked at the poor quality they connected test gear to make sure they weren't hallucinating the defects.

    So, yeah: if you have tapes with issues, or you want significantly better capture quality than you'd get using a DVD/VHS combo recorder from WalMart- its really really late in the day. 11:59PM, as Debbie Harry famously sang. So be prepared for a lot of aggravation and some wasted money as you try to find the hardware you want in functional, reliable condition.
    Last edited by orsetto; 28th Jan 2014 at 12:54.
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  29. Originally Posted by magikarp99 View Post
    Originally Posted by vaporeon800 View Post
    What's your VCR, by the way?
    I am using a Panasonic AG-7350.
    Ugh. This could be a big contributor to any issues you're having.

    Studio vcrs like the old Panasonic AG-7xxx or JVC-BRxxxx are not ideal source decks for capturing tapes that were not recorded on similar studio vcrs. Just because they weigh 50 lbs and have a half dozen meter readouts, people easily assume they must be WAY better at playback than any mere consumer deck. But they often aren't. A JVC SR-VD400U or Mitsubishi HS-HD2000U will outperform an AG-7350 at concealing many types of tape defect. The AG-7350 can deliver a very clean, very precise signal from top-quality tapes, but isn't so hot playing tapes recorded on typical consumer vcrs or camcorders. The AG-7350 was also a bit of a diva, designed for studio use where it would be on a regular service/maintenance/alignment schedule. If yours hasn't been touched by a tech since 1998, it probably needs a tuneup to wring the best out of it.

    EDIT: re-reading this thread from the beginning, I just noticed you're one of those who have an aversion to any sort of processing. In that case, forget everything I said: processing is a necessary evil if you want to conceal or improve certain aspects of a tape. If you want absolute fidelity without a trace of visible processing, you will probably have to settle for the results you have now with your AG-7350 and Black Magic. You might be able to do some light touch-up with software filters, but any hardware assist will add visible "processing" effects (external "pro" TBCs being the worst offender by far, followed by hardware DNR). There is no practical way to "recover" the head-switching area aside from a couple prototype "software TBC" filters discussed in a thread by vaporeon800. That method may or may not work as you'd expect.

    VHS capture is a damned if you do, damned if you don't (or lose-lose) proposition. I use countless VCRs and outboard boxes, depending on each tape situation, yet long ago forgot why I cared. Pursuit of perfection across more than a few tapes gets real old, real fast.
    Last edited by orsetto; 28th Jan 2014 at 13:46.
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