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  1. This year I've finally decided to start capturing all my old home videos. I have about 100 tapes in total, all PAL VHS shot with various camcorders during the 1990s. They are all very precious to me, so I want to do my absolute best capturing them before I throw them away—that's partly why I have been putting it off so long - it has to be done right!

    Now I should say, I did look through the Sticky threads, the Digitalfaq guides, and the Videohelp capturing guides. However, I couldn't seem to find an "overall" guide explaining the whole process. Nor could I find a guide which is particularly up-to-date: most of them are over 10 years old and mainly seem to be geared towards making DVDs. (I'm not looking to author DVDs, I want high quality digital files to be kept on hard drive.)

    So forgive me for making this thread, but I would appreciate a little advice from anyone who can help. For the record, I am completely new to capturing video, though I have a fairly good understanding of working with video files in general (I use Premiere Pro). I also have a high-spec PC and plenty of RAM, so that shouldn't be a problem.

    So here are my 7 questions…

    1. What TBC and capture device?
    Most of the guides I read recommend good TBCs, but I assume these are NTSC ones. (Also, as I said, the guides seem a little dated.) I wonder if anyone can make an up-to-date suggestion of a good TBC and capture device for PAL video? It doesn't have to be brand new models - I am ideally looking to buy second hand to keep the price down. I am hoping not to spend more than a few hundred pounds in total - though if there are cheap products which gives good enough results, that would do. I am looking for a very high capture quality, but it doesn't have to be "100% perfect".

    2. Dual cards?
    When I use the capture card, will I have to take out/disable my existing graphics card, or will they run in tandem?

    3. What cables?
    Something I have not read in any of the guides is what cables will I need? The last thing I want to do is spend a fortune on hardware and then be let down by using the wrong cables! The VCR I intend to use is my old Panasonic S-VHS, bought around the year 2001 (don't have the model number to hand). It obviously has S-video output. Is this the recommended output to use? (Even for normal VHS tapes?)

    4. Cleaning?
    Last year I digitized all my audio cassettes, so I know all about head cleaning of audio cassette players. I have the isopropyl alcohol and the cotton swabs all ready. However, I wouldn't have a clue about how to clean a VCR. Can anyone advise me, or point me to a recommended guide?

    5. Software?
    Which (free) software is the best? Or will this depend on which capture card/device I use?

    6. Resolution?
    Obviously, I want my files to be 576i. But is there any particular recommendation for horizontal resolution? If it makes no difference, I would really love to use 768x576i, which would give me square pixels. I would love that But is there anything I'm overlooking here?

    7. Compression format?
    Finally, after I have remastered/edited the videos, I intend to compress the files, and then delete the uncompressed files. Could anyone recommend the best compression format? I am looking to compress them at maximum quality, so they look virtually identical to the uncompressed original (the video equivalent of a maximum-quality JPEG). I know the files will be large but I don't mind that at all, I have plenty of hard drive space. Also, I don't want the file format to be quickly obsolete! I normally compress using H.264, but is that a good idea for captured video? Any suggestions?

    Thank you for your time, and I appreciate any advice you can give
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  2. Originally Posted by Gameshow Host View Post
    1. Most of the guides I read recommend good TBCs, but I assume these are NTSC ones.
    That just tells me you either didn't read all you said you read, or you didn't understand what you read. And I'll assume you are writing about a line TBC. A very good PAL VCR will have one, or buy a recommended and inexpensive DVD recorder with one built-in and put it in the capture chain.
    2. No, you can have both a capture card and a graphics card. I'd recommend just getting a little USB capture device rather than a capture card.
    3. I only use the S-Video outputs from my PAL VCR. I haven't run into a situation where the picture from composite cables is any better.
    4. Well, you sure wouldn't want to use cotton swabs. There's plenty of good advice here and on YouTube about cleaning the heads of a VCR.
    5. Depends on what you use to cap. When I use my Canopus box to cap as DV-AVI, I use Win DV. When using my USB thing I cap using VDub and cap lossless using the HuffYUV codec.
    6. I always cap as 720x480 or 720x576. So do most others, I believe.
    7. I make DVDs for myself and friends and MP4s for upload to YouTube. the H.264 video you mentioned can be very high quality, lossless even, I believe.
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  3. Member DB83's Avatar
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    In fact the only thing that has changed in the last 10 years is the less availability of internal capture devices.

    And even if you got one you might not be able to get drivers for your assumed up-to-date OS.

    While you can capture Uncompressed, you will not want to unless you want to give 2 gig of your HDD for every second (and a single HDD might be able to handle that anyway). Methinks you are actually thinking of lossless lagarith or huffyuv
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  4. To clean the heads there is the digitalfaq approved method, 99% isopropanol and DSLR sensor swabs/chamois swabs.
    http://www.digitalfaq.com/forum/video-capture/4330-how-clean-vcr.html

    Some discussion on cotton swabs
    https://forum.videohelp.com/threads/371233-Isopropyl-appears-to-have-ruined-my-Hi8-camcorder
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  5. Thank you all, very helpful info indeed!

    Originally Posted by manono View Post
    Originally Posted by Gameshow Host View Post
    1. Most of the guides I read recommend good TBCs, but I assume these are NTSC ones.
    That just tells me you either didn't read all you said you read, or you didn't understand what you read.
    That is correct, I didn't read those guides fully. I read much of them, but quickly came to the conclusion that they were quite outdated. For example, they speak a lot about the ATI "All In Wonder", a range which was popular 10 years ago.

    Originally Posted by DB83 View Post
    In f
    While you can capture Uncompressed, you will not want to unless you want to give 2 gig of your HDD for every second
    Hmmm. Are you saying 7 terabytes for every hour of uncompressed SD video? Surely that cannot be right?

    I just did a search and the people on this thread would seem to be saying it's more like 100Gb per hour, which is fine:
    https://forum.videohelp.com/threads/218832-how-many-GB-s-per-hour-for-an-uncompressed-AVI-file
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  6. Member DB83's Avatar
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    Ok. So maybe I got my minutes and seconds mixed up
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  7. Originally Posted by DB83 View Post
    Ok. So maybe I got my minutes and seconds mixed up
    No problem. Sigh of relief on my part.

    Originally Posted by manono View Post
    And I'll assume you are writing about a line TBC.
    I wasn't necessarily talking about a line TBC. The guide I read on TBCs said that line TBCs "are great at removing visual errors, but do almost nothing for signal purity". I was imagining therefore that I would have to buy a full-frame or professional one, depending on price. But if you are saying that a line TBC will yield good results then I will listen to that.

    Originally Posted by manono View Post
    A very good PAL VCR will have one, or buy a recommended and inexpensive DVD recorder with one built-in and put it in the capture chain.
    Thank you. Would anyone know of a recommended model of DVD recorder?

    But I am still confused about cables. Could you please tell me which kind of cable is best from the VCR to the TBC (or DVD recorder) and which kind of cable is best from the TBC to the capture device.

    And could anyone recommend a capture device?
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    Originally Posted by Gameshow Host View Post
    Most of the guides I read recommend good TBCs, but I assume these are NTSC ones.
    Both the AVT-8710 (in production) and the TBC-1000 (eBay etc.) will auto-detect PAL or NTSC. In addition, the AVT-8710 can be manually dialed into a television system if desired.
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  9. Member PuzZLeR's Avatar
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    I guess I'm the next contestant on "The Seven Questions".

    1. Unless you need to remove MV, just use a DVR passthrough. Line-based is good enough. Also the 8710 and 1000 have issues.

    2. Meh, I wouldn't bother here. Just use a good USB device, which is all you need for VHS (ex: ATI USB 600 (for older systems), Hauppauge USB-Live2, ezcap.tv (the REAL one from the namesake's site) and StarTech SVID2USB2). All do multiple formats including lossless.

    3. Yes, your complete capture chain is only as good as your worst component, and that would include cables. The good news is that it's only VHS here, which will suck at any rate, so even budget cables can do a good job. High-end super-expensive is super-overkill here. However, do yourself a favor and get something in the middle - for reliability, better shielding, and a touch of extra quality, etc. I've been (ab)using Pearstone cables (from B&H) for many years now without issue, which would be my recommendation.

    Use S-Video (Y/C) over composite (RCA) if you have a choice, but I personally have no issue with either (again, it's only VHS). Others will argue that 2nd/3rd/Nth Gen recordings may fare better through composite (which would suck anyway).

    4. A "cleaning tape" can be a variable. Best two methods are running a brand new VHS tape for 20-60 minutes (this gives a few cleanings, dispose when done), or continue to employ your alcohol and swabs and do it manually - yes, plenty of good tutorials on YouTube.

    5. Avoid capture software that comes with devices. Most are garbage IMO, even if the capture device is a good product. I personally use VirtualDub, and capture lossless. But I can only vouch for the devices I mentioned in 2.

    6. Like Manono said, I believe the same. Just capture at full D1 resolutions, 720x576 PAL, 720x480 NTSC, anything more is added duplication. Lossless should give you PAR=1:1, and PAR is easily adjusted for other playback formats.

    7. I've dropped hints already leading up to this. Capture in lossless (but not RGB uncompressed, use YUV YUY2 4:2:2, which is 25%-50% the file size with virtually no quality loss). I like HuffYUV, but others will mention Lagarith or UT.

    DV is good, and so is MPEG-2 if you know what you're doing but lossless is superior. You will get the highest quality, full interlacing (which may be a problem with H.264), good speed (unlike H.264), easy to edit (like DV, and very unlike H.264), also supports many resolutions, fps, etc (unlike DV), and great for archiving (unlike any other). It will also be very flexible in processing (denoising, color, crop, etc) - you can process over and over without loss if you stay in the same color space - the only difference will be the effect of any filter. This is untrue of, particularly, MPEG-2/H.264, which will add generational degradation each pass.

    Using lossless as your Master, you can easily encode for deliverable formats: DvD, YouTube, etc., but lossless is the format you will want to keep it in forever as an archive.

    And don't worry about any obsolescence. Formats like HuffYUV, etc, may come and go, but lossless is still lossless and will never go away - just do a conversion every 5 years if so, and the quality will still suffer no penalty. I use HuffYUV, which is technically dead, but I have zero worry for the long run. I wouldn't feel this secure with lossy formats.

    Sure lossless is bigger in file size, which IMO is the only disadvantage as a capture/acquisition/archive format. However, with today's HDDs this is a small concern - you can still put dozens/hundreds of tapes' content on one HDD with today's drives - you still win big with physical storage. And, as you say, this is precious content. You wouldn't want to use any other format than lossless for such. (At least it's much smaller than raw uncompressed RGB.)

    Did I win, did I win? How many did I get right?

    BTW- I like the nick "Gameshow Host". This is also big in my sense of humor in Real Life, and have done some voice gigs as well.
    Last edited by PuzZLeR; 28th Mar 2016 at 13:10. Reason: Darn - didn't close a bracket. Compilers would've killed me!
    I hate VHS. I always did.
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  10. Member dellsam34's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by PuzZLeR View Post
    Just use a good USB device, which is all you need for VHS (ex: ATI USB 600 (for older systems), Hauppauge USB-Live2, ezcap.tv (the REAL one from the namesake's site) and StarTech SVID2USB2). All do multiple formats including lossless.
    Are those 10bit or 8bit? Do they do 4:2:2 as well?
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  11. Thank you to everyone who has helped. You have all been truly helpful and I am sincerely thankful

    Oh and folks, we have a winner!…
    Originally Posted by PuzZLeR View Post
    I guess I'm the next contestant on "The Seven Questions".
    Congratulations, PuzZLeR! You answered all seven questions correctly, now you have the chance to gamble everything you've won and answer the Bonus Question! What do you think, folks? Should he do it?

    Bonus Question
    Yes, I picked up on your very subtle hint that you think lossless is best. The idea of using lossless is very appealing to me: not only does it provide maximum quality, it also means I'd be able to create remastered copies, while still keeping a copy of the original master files (I already do that with things like old photographs and audio recordings, always keeping the original scan/recording). And as you say, lossless also means you don't have to worry about future-proof issues, since lossless files can be re-encoded without loss of quality.

    But to be honest the idea of keeping lossless files had never even occurred to me because of the huge file size. (And now we're getting to the Bonus Question)… How large are lossless files for SD video? I looked on Wikipedia and from what I can understand they are approximately one third the original file size. Now I don't think I have more than about 250 hours of home videos in total, but if uncompressed video is about 100 gig per hour, then uncompressed would be 25 terabytes in total, and a third of that would be 8 terabytes.

    Even if I'm really conservative and there doesn't turn out to be as much footage as I imagined, and we call it 5 terabytes, that would still be too large for me. (For a start, everything has to be backed up, so it's effectively 10 terabytes when you include backup storage.)

    By the way, my nickname "Gameshow Host" was one I used to use a lot back in the 90s when I first started using the web (I joined this forum back in 2002). It derives from the fact that whenever my friends and I used to mess around with camcorders, we invariably found ourselves doing these strange fake gameshows, and for some reason I was always the host. So, it's kind of ironic that I am now back here, using this old nickname Gameshow Host, in order to restore old videos of me playing a Gameshow Host among other things!
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    So buy four WD Blue 3TB drives for less than $400 and a USB 3 dock for $40 and you are set to back up nearly 6 TB.
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    Originally Posted by Gameshow Host View Post
    Even if I'm really conservative and there doesn't turn out to be as much footage as I imagined, and we call it 5 terabytes, that would still be too large for me. (For a start, everything has to be backed up, so it's effectively 10 terabytes when you include backup storage.)
    If you have a Blu-ray burner try using BD-R DL blank media, They are cheap now and you can backup as BD-R DL DATA, 50GB each disc they are less than a buck a BD-R DL now, You are not going to capture all your tapes in one night, so throughout your capturing process buy media as you need and keep storing in a safe cabinet. Just don't buy Ritek, Verbatim is the best.
    5TB costs you around $100 in BD-R DL media.
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  14. Member dellsam34's Avatar
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    PAL 4:2:2 8 Bit is at about 60 Mbps it came down to 5 GB for every 10min, so you're looking at 30GB/Hour, I just pulled up this info from a PAL VHS tape That I did few years ago using VirtualDub and HuffYUV plug in.
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  15. I agree with everything that PuzZLer recommends, except that you might like to check out capturing to an intermediate codec like Grass Valley HQX or Cineform?
    Both those codecs are free (I prefer HQX myself) and once installed, can be selceted from within Virtualdub. You can make huge savings on file size, compared to uncompressed, without any loss of visual quality.
    As intermediates are intraframe, and are designed for editing they can take many editing generational losses - if necessary - before you'll notice any loss of quality.

    I use an Ezcap 116, and capture using Virtualdub,with Grass Valley HQX as the codec.
    In my own set up, I experience far fewer dropped frames (usually none!) than when trying to capture uncompressed. Files sizes - using the HQX 'standard' setting - are about 6GB per hour. Roughly half the size of DV.

    I save the edited versions as H.264 using the x.264vfw codec from Virtualdub, but keep the HQX files as the 'masters', should i need to redo anything at a later date.

    As I say, that codec is freeware, so maybe try it out and see if you agree about the quality loss (or lack of!) ?
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  16. I am so glad that I asked these questions, and truly grateful for all the excellent advice every one of you has given me, thank you It is very interesting to know

    So for the moment, here is my plan (this also serves as a shopping list for me)…

    My plan

    1. For cleaning, follow the guides given + watch YouTube videos + will run a brand new VHS tape for 20-60 minutes

    2. Two S-Video (Y/C) cables, ideally mid-budget (eg. Pearstone cables from B&H)

    3. For capture device, I will use either hauppauge usb live2, or ezcap.tv (the REAL one from the namesake's site), or StarTech SVID2USB2.

    4. For TBC I will use AVT-8710 or TBC-1000. (Apparently, these have issues, but right now I don't have any other recommendations so they will do.)

    5. Capture with VirtualDub

    6. I'm still undecided about which resolution to capture and will give it further thought. Part of me wants to capture at standard resolution (720x576i ) as it would be nice to have the option to put the videos directly onto Blu-ray without scaling them. However, another part of me wants to capture at 768x576i as I really do love the idea of having square pixels, which would mean I can take perfect still grabs from the video which will not need to be scaled. I'm undecided still.

    7. I will capture lossless using HuffYUV or Lagarith (not DV or MPEG-2 - and definitely not H.264), as recommended by Puzzler. Lossless will be far smaller than uncompressed, but I just cannot capture lossy knowing fully well I'm going to edit and re-save it, it goes against all my instincts!

    8. Next I will do my basic retouching: editing, cropping, noise reduction, sharpen, color correction (all used sparingly, when needed, of course)

    9. When I've done my basic retouching, I don't really need it to be lossless any more, so I will then compress using an intermediate codec (probably Grass Valley HQX, as suggested by Pippas). To me, this seems like the perfect long-term compression solution: virtually identical to the original quality, with relatively small files. Just what I wanted. (I'm the kind of person who stores all his music in high quality lossy form - I like the idea of saving the disc space yet the music sounds identical.)

    10. I will then use BD-R discs to backup (as suggested by Dellsam34) - I had no idea BD-R storage was so cheap and you get 50gig per disc! This is a great idea as I like the idea of backing up onto solid media - hard drives have always made me feel slightly nervous, like it's never totally safe on a hard drive.

    Questions

    3 more quick questions based on things Puzzler said…

    Originally Posted by PuzZLeR View Post
    Unless you need to remove MV, just use a DVR passthrough.
    What do you mean by a DVR passthrough?

    Originally Posted by PuzZLeR View Post
    Just capture at full D1 resolutions, 720x576 PAL, 720x480 NTSC, anything more is added duplication.
    "Added duplication"? Are you suggesting that a capture device will only capture at 720, and digitally scale the image up to 768? That would be horrendous! I would only capture at 768 on the basis that the image is being sampled at my chosen resolution.

    Originally Posted by PuzZLeR View Post
    Capture in lossless… use YUV YUY2 4:2:2, which is 25%-50% the file size with virtually no quality loss
    This business of chroma subsampling is something I know very little about, but I read that you can have "4:4:4" or "4:2:2" or "4:1:1", and that "4:4:4" is better. So my question is: if 4:4:4 is better than 4:2:2—how can 4:2:2 still be lossless? I don't get that.
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    Although you have now decided (with the realisation that you didn't need uncompressed as I inferred way back in the topic) I would not totally discount DV as the capture format.

    Firstly, we are now talking about 13 gig per hour rather than 30-60 gig(depends on colorspace) for lossless. Yes, DV is a lossy format but for VHS you really should not get carried away.

    I do champion the Canopus ADVC 300 which does have a rudimentary line TBC built-in (the lower models do not). Read the forum and there are guys who hate these and some, like me, who do not have the issues that they describe.
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  18. Originally Posted by DB83 View Post
    Although you have now decided (with the realisation that you didn't need uncompressed as I inferred way back in the topic) I would not totally discount DV as the capture format.

    Firstly, we are now talking about 13 gig per hour rather than 30-60 gig(depends on colorspace) for lossless. Yes, DV is a lossy format but for VHS you really should not get carried away.

    I do champion the Canopus ADVC 300 which does have a rudimentary line TBC built-in (the lower models do not). Read the forum and there are guys who hate these and some, like me, who do not have the issues that they describe.
    Mentioning the DV option on this forum is like saying 'light blue touch paper and retire' !

    I've used a Canopus (Grass Valley) ADVC50 DV converter for some 10 years - in conjunction with an old Panasonic DVD recorder as a TBC - and have always been very pleased with the results.... I know some folk on here aren't!

    Recently I tried out an EZcap 116 ( the real one) and was surprised at how good the results could be - very comparable with DV results.

    But......

    1) I tried the supplied software, and captured as mpg2. ... Not good.

    2) I captured as uncompressed through Virtualdub... Not good (too many dropped frames... massive file sizes).

    3) I captured through Virtualdub, using Grass Valley HQX as the codec... Much better results. No dropped frames - 6GB per hour file sizes - Intraframe capture format.
    Downside? -- the need to re-sync audio -- something you never need to do with the Canopus (Grass Valley) ADVC devices.

    So I would say capturing as DV - using an ADVC converter, or capturing as an intraframe intermediate format (using Lagarith - Cineform or HQX) in conjunction with an EZcap USB capture device can both give pretty good results with VHS capture...

    The uncompressed capture option is almost certainly 'overkill' with VHS sources - especially if trying to encode that much information - in real time - causes dropped frames
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  19. Thank you everyone. Just to say I probably won't have internet access over the next 10 days (or longer) so apologies if I go quiet. I will return here when I can. Thanks again.

    Originally Posted by DB83 View Post
    Although you have now decided (with the realisation that you didn't need uncompressed as I inferred way back in the topic) I would not totally discount DV as the capture format.
    The file size of uncompressed doesn't bother me, it's not too bad. 100 gig per hour is fine as I was planning to reamster and compress each video as I went along. Sure, you did mention lossless right at the start of this thread, but I didn't know there was a large difference in file size between lossless and uncompressed, and I even wondered if compressing it might slow things down. But now it has been clearly explained that lossless is much smaller and does not hinder performance, so it makes sense. Thanks to everyone for the info.
    Last edited by Gameshow Host; 30th Mar 2016 at 07:42.
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    Originally Posted by Gameshow Host View Post
    The file size of uncompressed doesn't bother me, it's not too bad. 100 gig per hour is fine as I was planning to reamster and compress each video as I went along.
    You're looking at around 30GB / hour for PAL compressed lossless using HuffYUV compression, Uncompressed is just waste of resources, NTSC should be little less than that. You can use only BD-R 25GB for segments less than an hour.
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    Originally Posted by Gameshow Host
    Oh and folks, we have a winner!…
    Originally Posted by PuzZLeR View Post
    I guess I'm the next contestant on "The Seven Questions".
    Congratulations, PuzZLeR! You answered all seven questions correctly...
    <Jumping up and down for joy - cheesy music playing in background.>

    Originally Posted by Gameshow Host
    ...now you have the chance to gamble everything you've won and answer the Bonus Question! What do you think, folks? Should he do it?


    Originally Posted by Gameshow Host
    Bonus Question
    Yes, I picked up on your very subtle hint that you think lossless is best. The idea of using lossless is very appealing to me: not only does it provide maximum quality, it also means I'd be able to create remastered copies, while still keeping a copy of the original master files (I already do that with things like old photographs and audio recordings, always keeping the original scan/recording). And as you say, lossless also means you don't have to worry about future-proof issues, since lossless files can be re-encoded without loss of quality.

    But to be honest the idea of keeping lossless files had never even occurred to me because of the huge file size. (And now we're getting to the Bonus Question)… How large are lossless files for SD video? I looked on Wikipedia and from what I can understand they are approximately one third the original file size. Now I don't think I have more than about 250 hours of home videos in total, but if uncompressed video is about 100 gig per hour, then uncompressed would be 25 terabytes in total, and a third of that would be 8 terabytes.

    Even if I'm really conservative and there doesn't turn out to be as much footage as I imagined, and we call it 5 terabytes, that would still be too large for me. (For a start, everything has to be backed up, so it's effectively 10 terabytes when you include backup storage.)
    It will vary among content, but, at a rough estimate, I'm doing < 30GB/hr with HuffYUV at 4:2:2 using 720x480 NTSC (similarly to those mentioned, and should be similar with PAL), and this includes muxed uncompressed WAV for audio at 1536kbps/48.0KHz/16bit/2ch/PCM (which is sufficient for audio here).

    Using lossless video is similar to images, and even audio, looking at the Acquisition/Archive -> Delivery/Playback concept.

    Images: TFF/PNG -> JPG
    Audio: WAV/FLAC -> AAC/MP3
    Video: Lossless 4:2:2 -> DvD, BD, DivX/Xvid, H.264, etc.

    For ~250 hours of content, you're looking at ~15TB - with a backup included, with lossless. In DV, a very good secondary solution, you're looking at 6.5TB for the same storage.

    But, I do remind you - this is precious content, and you can at least rest assured that you did everything in your power to rescue this content at best digital quality possible with lossless.

    But, if you do wish to leverage both, and keep the TBs down, can I suggest the Pareto principle and the 80/20 rule (which is, in many ways, a cosmic law)? You will find that 20% of your content is 80% of the worth. If you sort it out this way, lossless for the 20%, and DV for the balance, you're looking at just over 8TB (with backup).

    Originally Posted by Gameshow Host
    By the way, my nickname "Gameshow Host" was one I used to use a lot back in the 90s when I first started using the web (I joined this forum back in 2002). It derives from the fact that whenever my friends and I used to mess around with camcorders, we invariably found ourselves doing these strange fake gameshows, and for some reason I was always the host. So, it's kind of ironic that I am now back here, using this old nickname Gameshow Host, in order to restore old videos of me playing a Gameshow Host among other things!
    Maybe one day you can put some of this on YouTube, and revive the thread with a link.

    I have had the privilege of having this friend in my life who was blind. It was amazing how she could "see" things that nobody else would see, and it was she that told me that I had this secret desire to be an announcer, game show host, infomercial narrator, joker, etc, etc. Just by being around her it was amazing how much I learned about myself that I never knew.
    I hate VHS. I always did.
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  22. Member PuzZLeR's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Gameshow Host
    3 more quick questions based on things Puzzler said…
    Originally Posted by Gameshow Host
    Originally Posted by PuzZLeR View Post
    Unless you need to remove MV, just use a DVR passthrough.
    Originally Posted by Gameshow Host
    What do you mean by a DVR passthrough?
    Passing the signal through a DVR:

    VCR -> DVR -> Capture Device

    There are several DVRs that offer correction to the signal, like flagging, chroma errors, etc. Some well known ones are the Panasonic ES10/ES15 and others if you do a search. Who cares what they do for DvD burning, or TV recording - most of us here get these for their onboard TBC, and filter video through S-video or composite.

    There are way too many issues with the full-framed ones mentioned: bad quality control, overheating, morphing, pattern artifacts unless you run a power cycle, softening, etc. A better one would cost much, much more. The only real advantage they offer over line-based is removing MV - I'd add a Grex in the chain for that, and it would still be cheaper overall.

    Originally Posted by Gameshow Host
    Originally Posted by PuzZLeR View Post
    Just capture at full D1 resolutions, 720x576 PAL, 720x480 NTSC, anything more is added duplication.
    "Added duplication"? Are you suggesting that a capture device will only capture at 720, and digitally scale the image up to 768? That would be horrendous! I would only capture at 768 on the basis that the image is being sampled at my chosen resolution.
    The ones I've mentioned would (if they could go higher than 720 - will test this if you like). We're already quite high at full D1 for VHS anyway, why add more? As per the PAR, I capture in 1:1, and going to DvD, or BD, is easy to adjust to the proper one. As for encoding to other formats, it's easy with playing with the resolution, letterboxing or cropping.

    Width / Height = DAR / PAR

    Originally Posted by Gameshow Host
    Originally Posted by PuzZLeR View Post
    Capture in lossless… use YUV YUY2 4:2:2, which is 25%-50% the file size with virtually no quality loss
    This business of chroma subsampling is something I know very little about, but I read that you can have "4:4:4" or "4:2:2" or "4:1:1", and that "4:4:4" is better. So my question is: if 4:4:4 is better than 4:2:2—how can 4:2:2 still be lossless? I don't get that.
    The much "fatter" raw uncompressed RGB is also lossless at YUV 4:4:4, but VHS’es color resolution is so low (somewhere around 4:0.1:0.1 AFAIK) that RGB would be just that: "fatter", and dropping down to 4:2:2 would make virtually no difference in quality, save you much space, and is certainly enough color info (at least, captured, and for subsampling encoding) when converting to conventional deliverable/playback formats after.
    I hate VHS. I always did.
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  23. Member PuzZLeR's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by dellsam34 View Post
    Originally Posted by PuzZLeR View Post
    Just use a good USB device, which is all you need for VHS (ex: ATI USB 600 (for older systems), Hauppauge USB-Live2, ezcap.tv (the REAL one from the namesake's site) and StarTech SVID2USB2). All do multiple formats including lossless.
    Are those 10bit or 8bit? Do they do 4:2:2 as well?
    I would suspect 8 bit since all my captures are as such, and there is no info confirming otherwise AFAIK. But I would be surprised if any of them have 10 bit depth, which is usually reserved for the more expensive, higher end, content/workflows (we're talking BlackMagic and Matrox pro-territory here), and would be surprised if indeed 10 bit would make a noticeable difference anyway with lowly VHS video.

    All of these though, I can confirm, are fully supported with VirtualDub, do lossless at 4:2:2, full D1, and each even do DV, MPEG-2 and H.264 (such as with x264 VFW).

    Also, each can do NTSC/PAL, except -maybe, but I have to re-test - for the ATI 600 USB, which may be only NTSC.
    I hate VHS. I always did.
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  24. Member PuzZLeR's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by pippas View Post
    I agree with everything that PuzZLer recommends, except that you might like to check out capturing to an intermediate codec like Grass Valley HQX or Cineform?
    Both those codecs are free (I prefer HQX myself) and once installed, can be selceted from within Virtualdub. You can make huge savings on file size, compared to uncompressed, without any loss of visual quality.
    As intermediates are intraframe, and are designed for editing they can take many editing generational losses - if necessary - before you'll notice any loss of quality.
    Such stuff is what the professionals have raved about over the years, but I would think they were more relevant for editing, especially in the days when other formats, such as AVCHD, were very difficult to edit (with the older editors/computers).

    Yes, "visually lossless" is quite true, at least for several generations, however, I have never seen their performance on capturing. Then again, you can still capture to lossless, and use them for the final steps of your workflow, if indeed space savings is desired at a most minimal compromise in quality.

    Also, I don't diss DV at all - this too is a fine format, and the Canopus is a very reliable unit. I will stick with lossless myself, but wouldn't snub those using DV for VHS.

    Originally Posted by pipas
    I captured as uncompressed through Virtualdub... Not good (too many dropped frames... massive file sizes).
    The file sizes are HUGE - maybe your computer couldn't keep up with the larger data flow.

    Again, uncompressed is totally unnecessary in this context anyway.
    I hate VHS. I always did.
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  25. Originally Posted by PuzZLeR View Post
    ]The file sizes are HUGE - maybe your computer couldn't keep up with the larger data flow.
    I think that must have been the case. I did try uncompressed and got lots of dropped frames. Even using Lagarith i got some. I tried HQX as I have used it for AVCHD for some time (I don't like trying to edit long GOP clips!) and was quite pleased with the results. Certainly on a par visually with the DV captures from my Canopus converter.
    I do need to re-sync the audio of course, but then that is one thing you don't need to worry about with the DV converter.

    As it is now a free codec, I suggested HQX as one option to try with a USB converter like the EZcap 116. It only take a couple of minutes to download and install, and if it doesn't give the expected results, there's only a few minutes (and no cash!) lost...
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  26. Originally Posted by PuzZLeR View Post
    <Jumping up and down for joy - cheesy music playing in background.
    Thank you PuzZLeR for all the answers to my questions. You have explained everything very well.

    Given what you said, I will definitely use 4:2:2 since 4:4:4 would clearly just be overkill—just like having too high a horizontal resolution would be overkill.

    Originally Posted by PuzZLeR View Post
    Maybe one day you can put some of this on YouTube, and revive the thread with a link.
    I doubt anyone but me and my friends would find it interesting, but I will bear this in mind, just so you can see what kind of a fool you have been helping

    Which TBC?
    Thank you for your recommendation of DVD recorders such as Panasonic ES10/ES15. Though I am still unsure about this.

    I did a little searching about Panasonic DVD recorders and read some bad things about Panasonic DVD Recorders like the ES10. Apparently, they have built-in DNR and it is quite aggressive, which causes softening of images and ghosting. I also read that they even posterize the image (ie reduce the color palette)! This all sounds pretty scary to me, and sounds just as bad as the problems you listed for "full frame" TBCs.

    Further, I did some reading about "full-frame" TBCs (like the AVT-8710 and TBC-1000) and found that the overheating problem only affects the AVT-8710 (which has a flimsy plastic case and overheats after a few hours). While the TBC-1000 is very robust and doesn't overheat. I also read that the TBC-1000 does soften the image but this is due to the amp, and can be prevented by disabling the amp (not sure how that is done but I will try to find out!). I also read plenty of happy customers with the full-frame TBCs - the problems would seem to be the exception not the norm and are often caused by problems with the original tape/VCR.

    Here is one of the threads I read, to give an example:
    https://forum.videohelp.com/threads/247564-DataVideo-TBC-1000-or-AVToolbox-AVT-8710

    So at the minute I have to say, I am still leaning towards getting a TBC-1000.
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  27. Member DB83's Avatar
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    ^^ But Puzzler already mentioned that for 'home video' you do not need a full-frame TBC such as the TBC-1000 or AVT-8710.

    These units only come in to play when you have commercial tapes that have macrovision (MV) copy-protection.

    The whole point of using a dvd-recorder (only some models) as a pass-through device is that it provides the line TBC which is all that is needed to correct sync issues with the tapes when transferring to the digital realm. In fact (not sure tho) I do not think that a full-frame TBC will correct line sync issues. People on here then use a line TBC for the sync AND a full-frame device for the MV. Home video tapes do not have MV issues.

    What you can do tho is capture some tapes without a TBC. Not always needed. And if you get no issues then no money wasted.
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  28. Originally Posted by DB83 View Post
    for 'home video' you do not need a full-frame TBC
    This whole "line" vs "full-frame" TBC issue is really confusing me!

    On one hand, there seem to be people agreeing with you that a full-frame TBC is really all about MacroVision, and is useless for my purposes. Like this guy says:

    Frame tbc's often have little or no effect on tearing, and even less effect on line sync errors such as wiggly lines and crooked/bent border edges. The main use for frame tbc's is to bypass most flavors of Macrovision and to ensure constant frame output rates for audio/video sync.
    (from http://www.digitalfaq.com/forum/video-restore/5936-panasonic-es10-dvd.html)

    But on the other hand, there seem to be other people who recommend full-frame, like JVRaines earlier in this thread.

    And here are some other quotes which made me wary about using a DVD recorder/line TBC…

    "line” TBCs are great at removing visual errors, but do almost nothing for signal purity … and can sometimes make a signal look worse."
    (from http://www.digitalfaq.com/guides/video/capture-playback-hardware.htm)

    DVD recorder "TBCs" tend to only be good at one thing: removing tearing. They will do next to nothing (or outright nothing) in terms of visual cleaning or signal cleaning in a positive way. This is where we start to enter the land of "it's a TBC because we wrote it on the box". In many cases, the "TBC" is nothing more than a basic frame sychronizer, or circuitry that provides a similar function.
    and

    Some of the DVD recorders do have digital noise reduction (NR), but it can be overly strong. The ES10, for example, over-processes the video with or without the NR feature engaged, causing temporal blurring/ghosting and posterizing/banding the video (compressed color palette). Turning on the NR feature makes it stronger. For this reason, the ES10 is not suggested for use as a TBC replacement, but simply as a box used to address this specific tearing error. Remember that the goal of restoring video is to make it better, not make it perfect -- compared to tearing, overdone NR is the lesser of evils.
    (from http://www.digitalfaq.com/forum/video-restore/2251-tbc-time-base.html#buy)

    …the effects of the Panasonic ES10 DVD recorder's aggressive DNR -- softening and obscuring of fine detail, motion smearing, posterization effects, banding, sometimes ghost trails. There's no way to tone down panny's dnr or make it target certain types of noise. It scrubs everything, without mercy.
    (from http://www.digitalfaq.com/forum/video-restore/5936-panasonic-es10-dvd.html)

    Conclusion
    So my (confused) conclusion is that full-frame TBCs are only useful if you want to circumvent macrovision, and line TBCs are only useful if you want to prevent tearing - and they damage the image. So I am really nonethewiser!

    I once read someone say that you cannot even think about capturing video without a TBC, and a TBC was a necessity and will make a huge difference to the quality. But I'm starting to wonder if that is the case. Maybe I don't need one?
    Last edited by Gameshow Host; 9th Apr 2016 at 17:48.
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  29. Member dellsam34's Avatar
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    Line TBC fixes scanning lines, Full frame TBC fixes frames, Either or both may have some other filters such as chroma filter to get rid of chroma noise, If your magnetic tapes are in good shape, no wear, no edge feathering, no frame jump on the TV screen, you may not need a full frame TBC, But a line TBC is a must, It straighten up scanning lines, No matter how good a VCR is there is always mechanical errors in the scanning drum. You can always turn the TBC off if you want to.
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