I am attempting to convert some 20-30 home movies to digital and I had a few questions about the method I am taking. I know this is a rabbit hole.
-I am reading that despite being a professional editing program, Adobe Premiere Pro is not great at capturing. All of the other recommended software on this site and the linked DigitalFAQ seem to be Windows only and very old recommendations. Is there any alternative software that I should use in lieu of Premiere strictly for capturing before dropping into Premiere to edit? ***I am on a Mac***
-Would a professional series JVC S-VHS player with TBC/NR negate the need for an outboard TBC such as the AV Toolbox AVT-8710? Or would I still want an outboard one regardless?
Thanks for any advice you can provide.
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Premiere is moderately strict about control track inconsistencies -- as it should be. Some folks put it down for that.
Many versions of iMovie handle DV just fine -- but it varies dependending on the iMovie version and the OS version. Newest versions automatically convert everything to ProRes. Quicktime Pro will also work -- But not QTX. It must be 7.x or lower.
Unless your tapes are really a mess a built-in TBC should handle it.
Thanks a lot for responding.
What do you mean by control track inconsistencies? Doing tests everything was captured into premiere without issue, but I didn't go back and examine the files. What would I look for to determine whether I am fine with this or if I should opt for iMovie, or would that be advised regardless?
My iMovie is 10.0.9 and Yosemite is 10.10.5. So would there be any settings I would need to adjust to get the ProRes which I imagine would be a high quality format? I didn't see any sort of real import settings.
And yeah the tapes aren't too bad so maybe an external TBC isn't needed.
Thanks again, really appreciate it.
I don't know where you are getting this "PPro can't capture well" BS - I have NEVER had any trouble capturing with it (PC or Mac, DV & HDV & Analog) with versions from 1997 to CS6. Only exception being where the tape is corrupted (with control track discontinuities/gaps) or worse.
IIWY, since you have a Mac, I'd cap AND edit in PPro or AVID MC (if you can REALLY afford it), or FCP/FCX (if you can afford that), or iMovie (if you can't afford the others).
Do what you can afford, but for "optimal" captures, using a Line TBC (usu. built into better VCRs) -AND- a full-frame TBC (external box) is recommended (as necessary per each cap).
Yeah, it was my thinking that a professional grade program like Premiere would be one of the better ways to go for capturing. I didn't even consider otherwise until I saw an article found through a link on this site: http://www.digitalfaq.com/guides/video/capture-dv.htm so I thought it was at least worth inquiring about. I'm 100% fine with doing it in Premiere as I am familiar with it and have Adobe CC.
I had also read that DV is not an ideal (not bad, not great) capture format for analog VHS (again, found through that same site, so salt as necessary) but it seems to capture any other way would tack on an exorbitant amount of money for extra equipment. Not looking for UltraHD, just decent as I can get old VHS is fine.
And yeah I'll look into doing the S-VHS w/TBC and an outboard box. Thanks a lot for helping me clear some of that up.
There are varied opinions on this here, but I'll try to sum up with my take on it:
DV is an SD codec technology with good points (low horsepower requirements, easy editability) and bad points (mediocre compression efficiency, colorspace limitations). All depends on what you are going to do with the VHS caps.
Remember, VHS doesn't even meet the full SD spec: sort of like 4:3 250x480 using 4:1:0 color. You'll never get HD quality out of it, much less UHD.
So if your intent is to capture, and edit, but not really process, and archive to DV or encode to another similar format, DV is a great match and is more than capable.
If your intent is cap, edit, process, convert to best possible SD quality available (given the source) and possibly many other formats, you should capture via analog card and save as uncompressed/losslessly-compressed.
If your intent it cap, very simple edit, No Processing, and author/burn straight to DVD, you could cap to DVD-compliant MPEG2.
If your intent is just to cap and view, with no editing or processing or converting, you could cap to AVC-in-MP4.
Thanks. Yeah I'm just looking at the best quality I can get given the source and not getting crazy pricewise for a relatively small number of tapes. I was figuring capture and basic edit, not sure about any sort of processing, but then just store it digitally as well as burning to DVD.
As far as capturing I currently have an ADVC-55 DV capture device but since I have a MacBook Pro I can't really do a capture card meant for desktops. I am certainly open to some sort of device that would capture to MPEG2 or a higher quality lossless or uncompressed format. The only other thing I've really seen that would capture to a better format at a somewhat reasonable price is the BlackMagic Design Intensity Shuttle but since it is USB 3.0 it would not work on my 2010 laptop. Is there any other sort of device you would recommend?
I may be okay with the ADVC-55, JVC Professional S-VHS, AVIT-8710 and Premiere but I just want to have explored all options before undertaking it.
Thanks again, this is lots of good information.
That article in Digital FAQ applies to capturing from DV tape, not VHS tape. DV is a digital format, already in DV format, and only requires a copy (literally) to your hard drive. This with firewire is the only bit-for-bit digital-to-digital accurate solution for DV tape. Using an Adobe editor is unnecessary, and can change the quality with certain settings.
VHS is a different animal entirely. Very different. We're talking about analog-to-digital, and a complete science at that.
Cornucopia made some great recommendations, but I'll add a few of my own.
DV is still IMO a great capture medium for VHS. Digital FAQ is very much against it for VHS, of which I disagree. If you know what you're doing with color space conversions, DV is just fine for VHS.
However, if you want the ultimate, use lossless (ex:HuffYUV at 4:2:2) - bigger file size than DV, but worth it. You can get the highest quality, have complete flexibility to do processing, less problems with color spaces, and with HDD space so hugely available now there's little excuse to not use and archive with it, especially when it's only 30, but very precious, tapes.
As for the inconsistencies, and TBCs, here's my view.
You will always have inconsistencies with VHS. Every time you play it, it will reveal different white spots, different "tracking bursts", dropped frames (depending on the system), flaws, fuzzies, artifacts, etc, and all kinds of other random quirks, no matter what VCR you use. You have less control of it than the weather pattern itself.
The best solution for this, is with multiple captures and median methods. You capture 3 or 5 times (odd number), and use an algorithm that takes the median pixel, and the result is much cleaner and more consistent. This I believe is necessary for good quality VHS caps. (Thanks AJK for this baby. )
As for the TBCs, I personally recommend a line TBC (if no MV is present). A good one is a pass-through DVR, such as the Panasonic ES10. I also believe onboard TBCs on certain VCRs are more harmful than productive. I personally avoid them.I hate VHS. I always did.
HuffYUV mentioned but as far as I can tell that is a Windows only thing. Am I wrong on that, or is there a good Mac alternative? Also would such a lossless format necessitate a different capture device? While I am willing to invest lots of time and some money I am not quite willing to pony up for a new computer to allow for internal capture cards and the like. But if there is software that will play nice with Mac, import into Premiere and would require an outboard device similar to the ADVC55, I might be game for that. If not you have at least encouraged me that DV is not the awful format I had begun to fear. Thanks again, I feel like I'm finally getting a good picture of how to go about this.
Yes, any lossless format is fine, since, ceteris paribus, they're all equal in quality (because they're all lossless ). They may vary in compression or speed however, so make sure your setup can accomodate the size, and make sure your computer can handle capturing to that format without dropping frames, etc.
You can still use DV if setting up lossless is becoming a headache. I find the quality difference between DV and lossless just a few percentage points off only. I use lossless only because I'm picky, and don't mind the extra space it needs.
As a suggestion, since HDD size is huge today, and you're capturing only less than 30 tapes. As for the multiple captures I mentioned earlier you would need AviSynth and a PC for this since I know naught of a similar method otherwise, but it still wouldn't hurt to capture your content at least three times each. You will find with VHS, each capture may have its unique quirk, and only frames from another capture can fix that. You can always merge them later if you get around to using a PC. (But capture them all at the exact same settings.)I hate VHS. I always did.
If you like, I can post a short clip or two, captured under the same circumstances, but one in DV and the other in lossless, to show quality differences.I hate VHS. I always did.