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  1. Member
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    I've been prepping to buy a new capture card/VCR/TBC setup (TBC debatable) to make new digital masters of old VHS I have.

    I don't have a bottomless fund to use.

    I've read lots of posts here, and appreciate the time and thoughtfulness you've all put into them, particularly about Blackmagic's Intensity 4k and the Diamond VC500/Theater HD 750

    I'm going back and forth, minute-by-minute, between these 2 (still open to others).

    1) Should I really believe that a $40 Diamond card can do analog-VHS capture as good as the $180 Blackmagic? People seem to make a huge difference between the PCI-E and USB versions of the Diamond? Is there really a difference now w/ the faster MOBOs/USB ports/CPUs?

    2) On *any* cap card I use, if my source is 525/625 NTSC/Pal, I absolutely cannot "line double" or cap it at 2x the input signal rez, correct? (I can read your mind..why would I want to?). Its kind of like "genclock" sync where I can never cap higher than the detected source signal?

    3) If I have "clean", relatively low-played VHS tape sources that track well, and the player is decent (still looking between S-VHS JVC and S-VHS Panasonics, was a bit shocked to see how much I'm going to have to shell out), do I really need a full-frame TBC in-between? That 'built-in TBC' on the Blackmagic is BS, right?

    4) If you were stranded on a desert island, w/ only a powerful computer, good cables, a good VHS deck, and your priceless VHS tapes to cap, what single capture card would you choose, and why? The screenshots of the weird "486i" bug on the Blackmagic 4k irritates me, and the AGC bug on the AVC500 (ATI Theater 750 family) of cards.

    5) I'm going back and forth between budgeting this project. How much is too much? Idk. On the one hand, the best hardware in the world won't improve on VHS, and I have to live w/ that. On the other, I'm a bit anal about all this, and don't want to trust someone else (capturing house/3rd party) to do it for me. I'll lay awake at night wondering if they did proper de-interlacing, if there's dropped frames, if the gain could've been higher on the analogue signal, etc. Even if my most-trusted best friend was an experienced video editor, I guess I still want to do this myself.
    ^^^^I know you guys can't make that decision for me, but I was wondering if you had a little more data to share, that can help me decide.

    I appreciate your time and energy,
    Much appreciated!
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  2. Formerly 'vaporeon800' Brad's Avatar
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    Throughout your post, you seem to confuse the Diamond VC500 with the Diamond/ATI 750, so I'll address that first. The VC500 is USB-only and is Conexant Polaris-based, with no AGC pumping. The ATI 750 comes in USB and PCIe flavors, and they do differ for some odd reason. It has nothing to do with speed; it's all about the video decoder chip and/or drivers.

    1) When a line TBC is used, the VC500 is superior to the Intensity Pro 4K for VHS. Without one, the VC500 is bad, so arguably the IP4K could be better in that case. The IP4K isn't an expensive card when you consider that it captures 2160p30 HDMI. It's actually a budget UHD capture card. And Blackmagic's poor tech support shows us what they think of their low-end users.

    2) I'm not sure what you mean by 2x the input signal res. Capturing at double the vertical resolution would only worsen the picture quality due to scaling. Each scanline is a discrete unit, separate from all the others. If you mean double the horizontal, everything oversamples and then scales down to 720 anyway. VHS horizontal resolution is below 360. You can see this yourself by taking a 720x480 capture and scaling it down and then back up.

    3) You will get dropped frames, at the start and end of recordings if nowhere else. If you don't mind the stutter there, you might get away without full-frame TBC. Note that the Panasonic DMR-ES15 (among other "good" models) provides frame synchronization in addition to line TBC. The only downside compared to an external full-frame TBC is that Macrovision is re-inserted. The "TBC" of the IP4K does "mostly" prevent dropped frames -- by replacing them with pure black.

    4) If I could find a good price on an S-Video proc amp, I might just go plain S-VHS machine -> proc amp -> known-good passthrough DVD recorder -> HDMI capture card. I thought I found a nice one, but it arrived nonfunctional and apparently unrepairable.

    5) Is a 20% improvement worth $500 to you? Yes? What about 10%? 5, 1...
    Last edited by Brad; 20th Mar 2016 at 21:11. Reason: Add sentence regarding Panasonic's frame sync
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    Much thanks in the reply vaporeon800.

    Ok, so the Diamond ATI 750 and the VC500 are different chips, I got confused on that. I was under the impression they were both based on the ATI 750 chipset. I can see now they absolutely are not. The ATI 750 HD even sort-of flirts w/ the idea that I can do 1080i or 720p? I'm sure the VC500 cannot do that, whatsoever.

    The ATI 750 continually boasts "12-bit Resolution Audio and Video Decoder".. should I listen much to that?
    Do you know what the bit-rate is on the VC500? 10-bit? 8? I also understand a high-performing 8-bit DAC w/ great contrast, stability, etc. is preferrable to a crappy 12-bit DAC. Interesting that the IP4k says 10-bit video DAC?

    So, the ATI 750 has the AGC bug, and not the VC500?
    I have a friend who used to work for Polaris

    1) I guess I have to get a TBC, thank you

    2) I've got it down now, thanks to you and others: capture native, do 'cleaning' + 'enhancing' post-process in a good video program

    3) "The only downside compared to an external full-frame TBC is that Macrovision is re-inserted", I guess I don't understand the sentence. A drawback to using TBC is it *WILL* perpetuate the Macrovision plague, or it *WILL NOT*?
    Guh--- "IP4K replaces dropped frames w/ pure black". Doesn't sound like you're a fan

    4) re: proc amp, would you consider the AV Toolbox AVT-8710 as a valid and functional proc-amp (in addition to TBC)?

    5) Yes, $500 would be worth a 20% improvement. Thanks for helping me quantify my subjective/abstract thoughts on this.
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    I guess I'm coming-off very confused, sorry.
    YUY2 is color-lossless(full, not limited range) 4:2:2 10-bit video?
    There's no such thing as 8-bit YUY2?
    And the VC500 can do 4:2:2 YUY2? 10-bit?
    Thanks for all the help!
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  5. Formerly 'vaporeon800' Brad's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by BilboFett View Post
    The ATI 750 HD even sort-of flirts w/ the idea that I can do 1080i or 720p?
    That's just the tuner, where it copies the pre-compressed MPEG-2 data stream from an HD broadcast.

    The ATI 750 continually boasts "12-bit Resolution Audio and Video Decoder".. should I listen much to that?
    Do you know what the bit-rate is on the VC500? 10-bit? 8?
    Bit depth, not bitrate. The VC500 ADC is 10-bit, but both of them can only capture 8-bit files. (DAC is the reverse direction and doesn't apply here: digital-to-analog converter.)

    So, the ATI 750 has the AGC bug, and not the VC500?
    The AGC problem with the ATI 750 is somewhat debated, but the VC500 doesn't have this issue.

    "The only downside compared to an external full-frame TBC is that Macrovision is re-inserted", I guess I don't understand the sentence. A drawback to using TBC is it *WILL* perpetuate the Macrovision plague, or it *WILL NOT*?
    The DVD recorders adhere to copy protection. A Macrovision signal passed through a DVD recorder will have fresh Macrovision. A Macrovision signal passed through an AVT-8710, TBC-100,0 etc. will be clean of the "plague".

    would you consider the AV Toolbox AVT-8710 as a valid and functional proc-amp (in addition to TBC)?
    No.

    Originally Posted by BilboFett View Post
    YUY2 is color-lossless(full, not limited range) 4:2:2 10-bit video?
    YUY2 is uncompressed 8-bit 4:2:2. It can hold either full or limited range, but you should aim for limited.

    An equivalent for 10-bit is v210.
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    vaporeon800 thank you for your response. I'm soaking it all in. I'm guessing you seem to have some electrical engineering background (solder, flux, capacitors/resistors, etc?) and know what cards use what chipsets, etc?

    It seems like you like the VC500? I want to capture uncompressed 4:2:2 10-bit NTSC (and possibly PAL). I do not want a DV or MPEG2 card.
    People are recommending ATI 600 USB and ATI AIW (AGP only version?) and I feel like I'm screwed because I'm on Win10 w/ a 2016 MOBO :/

    As for all I've posted, I feel like I may be asking the wrong questions.

    1) Do *ANY* SD capable NTSC/PAL cards do 10-bit (or 12-bit) video (ADC) on capture? Or are all the files 8-bit w/ maybe higher processing? Even if I get an HD/4k card that can do SD? As a side-note on the HD/4k question, the consensus I seem to be getting is the HD/4k manufacturers are neglecting/going cheap on the SD inputs on the cards?

    2) And on the 8/10/12bit thing.. I believe any TBC w/in my price range will only be able to do 8bit?
    So I'm kind of wondering what the point would be even if I knew for a fact I had a "10-bit" card if the TBC is sending 8-bit video to it?

    3) I also got a little frustrated reading about TBC's that boasted "400 lines" or "3.54 Mhz", which according to my friend who has a background in SD broadcast format, "400 lines is quite low for SD", and he's seen some studio equipment that had a 6Mhz bandwidth, and "3.54Mhz is disappointingly low" There was a much-more expensive TBC that boasted an "industry breakthrough of 500 lines frequency response time!"
    Do the TBCs do 4:2:2? 4:2:0? Idk?
    And I don't even know what any of the TBC's (or capture cards for that matter) S/N Ratio is. The Ambery (an AV Toolbox AVT-8710 clone) says its 50 dB? Is that good? Poor? Idk. Am I missing something?
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  7. Formerly 'vaporeon800' Brad's Avatar
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    I know less than zero about EE.

    Most of the chipset identification is freely available online, thanks primarily to the Linux community. They need to know the chipset in order to write drivers or make existing drivers work. For obscure or new devices, sometimes there is no info out there. In this case I tend to look for clues in Windows driver INF files. For all-in-one chips, the name is often plainly stated there.

    Yes, I like the VC500 -- but only when it's fed a line-TBC'd source via the S-Video input. In every other case, it sucks hard. The comb filter is awful, so the composite input is useless.

    Regarding >8-bit capture, I commented on it in the DigitalFAQ version of this thread. 10-bit S-Video capture is only available using "pro" type devices from the likes of Blackmagic, AJA, MOTU, Matrox. There's also a $479 Magewell card, but it only does 10-bit in 4:4:4, which is even less-supported by software than 10-bit 4:2:2 is. The only 10-bit 4:4:4 lossless codec I know of is FFV1, and it's very slow even on 8-bit 4:2:2. (This card doesn't support 2160p on the digital side, BTW.)

    Originally Posted by BilboFett View Post
    As a side-note on the HD/4k question, the consensus I seem to be getting is the HD/4k manufacturers are neglecting/going cheap on the SD inputs on the cards?
    Of the 10-bit options, I think only Blackmagic is accused of that. But if you look at support forums for the others, it's clear that VHS capture is absolutely not the intended use case for them. The manufacturers' staff inevitably responds to any issues by instructing the user to add a TBC.

    Originally Posted by BilboFett View Post
    2) And on the 8/10/12bit thing.. I believe any TBC w/in my price range will only be able to do 8bit?
    So I'm kind of wondering what the point would be even if I knew for a fact I had a "10-bit" card if the TBC is sending 8-bit video to it?
    Indeed, and this problem goes all the way back to the VCR if it includes any digital conversion of any kind. Even Betacam decks only included 8-bit TBCs.

    3) I also got a little frustrated reading about TBC's that boasted "400 lines" or "3.54 Mhz", which according to my friend who has a background in SD broadcast format, "400 lines is quite low for SD", and he's seen some studio equipment that had a 6Mhz bandwidth, and "3.54Mhz is disappointingly low" There was a much-more expensive TBC that boasted an "industry breakthrough of 500 lines frequency response time!"
    This goes back to point 2 in post #2 above. Note that measuring horizontal resolution this way (lines = "TV lines" = TVL) is not the same as pixels.

    The maximum for the VHS HQ extension is 250 lines, and S-VHS/Hi8 is 400 lines. Betacam SP is 340 lines, and NTSC broadcast is 330 lines. Where exactly are you going to get a source that requires more than 400? Keep in mind that even if you have a camcorder original "400-line" tape, you're limited by what the sensor was actually able to accomplish. The only SD sources with 500 lines are digital, and the resolution is only utilized if the content has been well-mastered.

    Where did you pull the 3.54 Mhz figure from? That's not 400 TV lines.

    Originally Posted by BilboFett View Post
    Do the TBCs do 4:2:2? 4:2:0?
    They should all do 4:2:2.

    Please quit worrying about the numbers so much. This all goes out the window when you see just how poor a VHS signal is, regardless of how much overhead you throw at it.
    Last edited by Brad; 23rd Mar 2016 at 01:43.
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    hey Brad / vaporeon800

    Updates!

    1) I have the Panasonic AG1980 on its way, *tried* to get the JVC HR-S9800 and 9600, 3 different listings, and got beaten out on Ebay

    2) I scored a brand new ATI 600USB and used 600 PCI-e, I realized I had no more PCI slots, so I just did the USB.
    I guess the USB 600 vs the PCI 600 use completely different chipsets.. any pref between the two, and why? Does one do something the other can't? Is it arguably the same image quality?

    3) Just got it working GREAT in Win10 x64! (installed w/ Vista SP2 compat as administrator)
    HP Envy 750
    Intel i7 chipset
    USB 2.0 ports
    Tested in Vdub 1.10.4 (latest as of now from Sourceforge), 32bit and 64bit.
    The ProcAmp settings work too

    *I have not tried to get the tuner/MPEG2 functions going yet (not as interested in those)

    4) I also got an AVT 8710 TBC

    Thanks for all the tips and help!
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  9. Great read! Was about to start a thread about using my Mitsubishi SVHS/Pioneer DVD Recorder as a TBC to my Avermedia capture card.
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  10. What's wrong with the Magewell? I have heard some good things about it.

    https://www.amazon.com/Magewell-Capture-HDMI-Video-Card/dp/B019M5IB2C
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    Originally Posted by Hypersonic1 View Post
    What's wrong with the Magewell? I have heard some good things about it.

    https://www.amazon.com/Magewell-Capture-HDMI-Video-Card/dp/B019M5IB2C
    In his reply vaporeon800 mentioned various makers for professional capture solutions supporting 10-bit S-Video capture, plus the $479 Magewell Pro Capture AIO, not the $299 Magewell Pro Capture HDMI in your link.

    The OP asked about using a HD/4k card for 4:2:2 YUY2 10-bit S-video capture from a VHS source. FWIW I don't think either of the above Magewell cards could do what the OP wanted.
    Ignore list: hello_hello, tried, TechLord, Snoopy329
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