This card sounds way too good to be true, especially for the $199 MSRP (easily found for $189). Their suggestion of capturing "older DVDs" doesn't ease my worries of snake oil.Archive Old Tapes and DVDs
Preserve your most valuable video forever!
Rescue your old VHS, BetaMax video tapes and DVDs by making digital archives with Intensity Pro 4K! If your DVDs get scratched or your old tapes deteriorate and break you could lose important video memories forever. And as tapes get older, it’s harder and harder to find working decks to play them back! Intensity Pro 4K captures better looking video than other solutions because it includes a professional, broadcast grade time base corrector to help stabilize video from poor quality tapes, like VHS and older DVDs. You can even adjust the audio and video levels before you capture so that your video looks as good as possible. Files can be saved as either uncompressed or compressed video so your valuable video is preserved forever!
Anyway, I will order one tonight and report back, unless someone tells me not to bother.
This UK store states:
They also note a driver issue and call the fan "noisy", so presumably they're honest and not just trying to push the thing out the door.Built-in Timebase corrector - unheard of in a card at this price. Increasingly we are getting people with capture problems using old VHS tapes and decks. The solution is always to add a timebase corrector between your source and the capture card. The Intensity Pro 4K has one built-in an in our tests was able to capture from a particularly "ropey" VHS tape using a very old VHS player which the original Intensity Pro and Intensity Shuttle could not do.
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Last edited by Brad; 12th May 2015 at 13:21. Reason: Change title for clarity now that I've tested it.
I'm almost tempted to buy one, the part about working with that list of pro caliber software is very intriguing.
I've been testing the card for the past 2 hours or so, plus the time it took to compose this. Bottom line, it definitely isn't the be-all end-all for VHS capture. Screenshots will come later, but for now I'll share my thoughts.
Lines in my test VHS captures aren’t straightened nearly as well as the DMR-ES15/25 or the HS-HD2000U. In addition to less stability throughout the picture, there is a notable curve at the top. Near the bottom, there is slight instability and one of the lines often has a little black piece that extends from the right border. It's a shame, because the Panasonics have other issues I've noted before and the Mitsu forces DNR.
The top and bottom three lines of every NTSC capture are inexplicably blanked. WTF? Essentially what you get is an off-center 720x480 frame letterboxed in a 720x486 frame. You have to crop 9 lines off the top to get rid of the added black and the VBI, compared to 3 with the old Intensity Pro. This vertical displacement was extremely visible when I viewed test patterns through my TV using the the card's HDMI output at 480i.
Macrovision content triggers the same bloom / blow-out / clipping of brights as with the Panasonics and some other capture devices.
The comb filter is 2D, with plenty of rainbowing and dot crawl.
That UK store said this on their "read before ordering" page, and I’m really glad that they pointed it out because I would have been stuck otherwise.
Possible problems with analogue capture
This is the first version of the drivers for the Intensity Pro 4K and of course it has some teething troubles. The only problem we have encountered so far is with analogue capture via SVIDEO and composite. If you capture analogue through component it will work every time. If you plug in composite or SVIDEO it will probably not show a picture. If you plug-in component and then switch to composite it will work. We have communicated this bug to Blackmagic who will hopefully fix it in a future driver. We do not know when this will happen.
It is completely unable to sync to the HS-HD2000U's menu, instead dropping all frames and showing black with intermittent audio. I assume the menu is 240p.
Media Express captures don't use dropped frame markers. Instead, drops are replaced with digital blackness (at 16). I guess that's a plus if you want to detect and replace missing frames using optical flow in Avisynth? When VDub is used to capture, there are black frames marked as keyframes and some others marked as dropped. I also saw one regular frame before a black frame that was duplicated as a keyframe when I used Media Express, and duplicated as a dropped frame when I used VDub.
When video is unstable, like at the start of my camcorder test tape where the recording begins, it's relatively slow to come out of this black state and display video again. So, you'll miss archiving some frames here and there. With this tape, the Panasonics are able to decode video 22 frames earlier than this card. Admittedly, not all of these frames are really in a watchable state. At least one of my capture devices also decodes frames that this card won't, but jerky motion results because it immediately drops frames in such areas.
I'm getting Y/C crosstalk with two of the three S-Video cables I've tried, and the third shows some sort of interference pattern in flat areas of test patterns. They don't show these issues with other capture devices, but the chroma resolution of the Intensity Pro 4K also seems to be superior so perhaps the problem was simply hidden by blur.
There are no Proc Amp controls through DirectShow. The BMD Control Panel offers a Video Levels adjustment of Video and Chroma (or Cb/Cr independently) in units of dB. Applying this with VirtualDub's capture window open freezes the preview; choosing Disconnect+Blackmagic WDM Capture from the Device menu brings it back.
I'm not sure about the fan noise. The system I installed it in has noisy fans to begin with. At least so far, I haven't noticed any additional whine, thankfully.
This post has mostly been a bitch-fest, but the general quality and dynamic range with unprotected content are very good, if not exceeding the other devices I have then at least matching them, I think.
I’m using Blackmagic Desktop Video 10.3.7 on Windows 7 x64. (32-bit Windows versions can’t be used, BTW.)
The visible chips on this card are:
Analog Devices ADV7180 (10-bit CVBS/YC/YPbPr ADC with ADLLT giving "mini-TBC functionality" -- their better chips have "advanced TBC")
Analog Devices AD9984A (10-bit YPbPr ADC)
Analog Devices ADV7393 (10-bit CVBS/YC/YPbPr DAC)
I suppose the 2160p30 HDMI input & output chip is what's sitting under the fan.
Thanks for the heads up and all the details. Sounds like typical BMIP nonsense with VHS.
BlackMagic's user forum is full of complaints about the software. I would wait six months and few more driver releases before I even got near this card. And for Pete's sake, the retailer has to warn you that it might not work with composite or s-video?? No reputable manufacturer would release a product this way.
By way of explanation, not apology, Blackmagic gear is aimed more towards pro users (and college-age-Peter-Jackson-wannabes) than home users. For their target market, 4K was becoming an urgent necessity and composite and s-video are almost irrelevant (they will no doubt fix it so their suggested workarounds are no longer necessary.) NOBODY actually uses their editing software
But they actually make a point of pitching VHS capture in their advertisement. And then they leave it sort of broken because, hey, it's almost irrelevant. That's just not the way to make a good impression on a customer, pro or otherwise.
First of all thanks for for the mini review, I, and I am sure other, appreciate it!
Yes drivers are sometimes a problem with Blackmagic.
A few months ago one of their drivers could cause a serious windows instability, and the bad thing was it was easily testable if they checked the Windows 'driver test' option (don't enable if you do not know what you are doing!). Anyway that is long fixed (more or less silently).
Hopefully the kinks can be removed, it is still on my maybe-want-to-buy list but I wait a bit to see how the issues work out.
One question for vaporeon800:
Does it use the proper BT.601 color space for VHS?
The fan is atrociously loud. Don't believe anyone who says otherwise. It sounds like a leaf blower howling 24x7. If you don't believe me, I've prepared a video which makes it (unfortunately) LOUD and clear. http://dropbox.com/sc/pnb5wbc3hyum0i1/AACa2X2gIWgaLjSbjqH5rxuQa
The only option I can see to turn the fan speed down ONLY appears when the card is UNPLUGGED (in the Desktop Video Pref Pane), and besides, it's greyed out anyway. You can't make this stuff up. When the card is plugged back in, all those extra generic options disappear. What the hell?
(Mac OS X 10.10.2)
I meant to follow up on this ages ago, but I got sidetracked by trying to chase down the weird issues I'm seeing on test charts. Even a new 10' S-Video cable from Blue Jeans Cable ($50 all-in) didn't get rid of the interference pattern I mentioned earlier.
For now, a screenshot comparison to show how ineffective this "broadcast grade TBC" is at straightening out line jitter.
On the left is the Intensity Pro 4K, on the right is the DMR-ES25's HDMI output, and between them are two other capture cards. I cropped off the garbage at the top of the IP4K's frame, and there is padding added to all of these to align them.
There has been one update to the drivers since the release of this card: Blackmagic Desktop Video v10.4. I installed it a few days ago. The new version of the utility is kinda nicer-looking than the old one.
The issue below, which I wrote up but never posted, has been partially fixed with this version:
The gain controls are saved independently for each type of analog input, but they are only actually functional when component is selected, and component’s settings override the other two. In other words, with S-Video coming into the card, I can choose component from the dropdown and scroll the gain all the way down to -1.80dB, causing the display to turn completely black. Then I choose S-Video from the dropdown, and I can move the slider anywhere from the default of 0dB all the way to +1.80dB. All that happens is that the blackness is briefly filled in with little white flicker lines any time one of these non-adjustments is made. (These blips also appear when the gain is adjusted for component.)I say partially because while the controls can now be used with each analog input type selected,
The trick to use component’s adjustment interactively with the proper S-Video display turns out to be choosing component from the dropdown, then going to the Video Levels tab WITHOUT hitting OK or Apply. Then I can tweak and capture as desired, just so long as the BMD Control Panel is never closed. Can we fire some QA people?
- these aren't saved independently,
- they've removed the option to independently adjust Cb & Cr from the composite and S-Video input controls,
- the “Chroma” control of the latter two inputs is tied only to the “Cb” adjustment of the component input.
The numbers are also buggy as hell, as what you get after hitting “Save” isn’t often what you actually chose.
I've been unable to capture from any HDMI sources at all using this card. I guess it's karma for reading other people's posts complaining of the same and assuming they had no idea what they were doing (capturing wrong res, HDCP'd sources, etc.). I have years of experience capturing HDMI and troubleshooting with my cards, and nothing I've tried has succeeded.
With the previous driver, I had HDMI passthrough with no problem even while Media Express showed blackness. I assumed the new driver would show me my HDMI source in Media Express. Instead, now the passthrough isn't working either!!
Meanwhile, I can't even use the other HDMI capture card installed in this system while the Intensity Pro 4K is in it. Any time it's plugged in, my AVerMedia C127 disappears from Device Manager altogether. I don't even understand how that's possible. Is my BIOS hiding it from Windows? I would expect at least a yellow exclamation mark.
If I remove the IP4K, the C127 is back and good to go. I tried reinstalling the drivers for the C127 while the IP4K was plugged in, which didn't do anything.
I also talked to Cody Miller about the 4K (has like every Blackmagic card, the god of the capturing world) when it was released and he said he has had no problems with it under OS X. Been capturing Prores 4444 with Deep Color output over HDMI flawlessly.
Thanks for the suggestion, I'll try it out.
Some screenshots that better demonstrate the off-center, letterboxed image from S-Video (and composite) input. Compare it with the proper, vertically complete 720x486 frame from a different capture card. Also note the "interference pattern" I mentioned before. Both captures used the same cable from BJC.
It even letterboxes static coming from a VCR's tuner, which otherwise fills the frame including the vertical blanking interval.
Turns out that YCbCr HDMI video capture works okay. I had thought my WD TV Live was set to that, but I guess not.
Everyone seems to agree that RGB HDMI input is broken with v10.4. Following the lead of others, I've downgraded to v10.3.7 and now I can capture in 10-bit RGB using Media Express just like them. And just like them, that's the only functional option for RGB sources. When the other capture formats are selected, the preview goes to black. And the DirectShow filters only offer YUV options, so for now we're stuck capturing uncompressed with enormous bitrates using Media Express. For me, that means the card is still useless since I don't have the SSD space for that, nor a RAID setup. 8-bit RGB 1080p59.94 would be bad enough, but 10-bit is just cruel.
Meanwhile... a person might assume that an unqualified "480p" in the specs means that Blackmagic supports both 480p29.97 and 480p59.94, but neither is actually provided as an option. 480p59.94 input from HDMI is interlaced by the card and captured as slightly-letterboxed 486i59.94.
TheThrillness: Disabling my USB3 fully didn't bring back the other capture card, and the two cap cards plus GPU are the only cards in this system to begin with. Oh well.
For what, HDMI?
Blackmagic keeps disappointing in their low end products.
Let's hope their video assist is going be the exception.
Of the devices I've tried, I still prefer the Diamond VC500 (which you also own) for stabilized VHS sources. But if you're happy with the passthrough from your Panasonic DMR-EH59, an HDMI capture from it would be slightly preferable.
I continue to throw money away exploring other options for direct capture of unstabilized VHS. There are discontinued foreign cards that claim to include TBC functionality. One uses the Panasonic chip and seems to perform the same as their DVD recorders, but unfortunately that includes their faults. The others have been blah so far. I also got another card that I'm quite pleased with for retail tapes, but lines aren't straight with my camcorder tapes.
The EH59 does not suffer banding like the ES-series, but it has contrast issues that are uncorrectable should things be blown out. That DVD recorder produces the best quality noise reduction and line straightening I have seen, even better than the fabled JVCs, but the IRE problem ruins some captures. For passthrough it is much better than the ES-15 as long as the clipping isn't too bad. The EH59 also serves as a frame sync, better than my TBC-100 in several cases.