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  1. Member
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    I have an ATI 600 and Iím going to be capturing old home video VHS tapes (using VirtualDub with Lagarith). My desired end product are mkv files (to be placed on computers, streamed to HDTV, etc.). Iím currently trying to decide between capturing at 352x480 or 720x480 (thank goodness my ATI 600 doesnít support 704x480 so I have one less option to worry about .

    My current tale of woe started when when I compared a screen shot of my 352x480 capture with my 720x480 capture. Iím comparing the videos after using avisynth to deinterlace them and ffmpeg to convert them to mkvs and set the AR to 4:3 (but I went back and checked the original capture AVIs and saw the same thing there as well when I force VLC to a 4:3 AR). I noticed that my 720x480 capture was just a tad skinnier than my 352x480 capture. To my untrained eye it looks like the 352x480 capture is automagically cropping the 8 pixels of padding on each side of the frame.

    http://www.digitalfaq.com/guides/video/capture-understand-sources.htm looks like it was written by someone knowledgeable in the dark arts of capturing analog video with digital equipment. So when he said ďTRY TO NEVER CROP VIDEO FILESĒ I was ready to follow that advice. This would mean my 352x480 captures have an incorrect AR and I should capture with 720x480. Hooray, I finally made a decision!

    Alas my joy was short lived since I soon noticed jagabo state
    Originally Posted by jagabo View Post
    ...ITU 601 full D1 video uses 720 or 704. For 720 the actual picture is in a 704 subsection and there are 8 pixels of padding at the two sides. So the 704x480 picture is the 4:3 image, the full 720x480 frame is slightly wider than 4:3.
    Now granted I donít correctly understand most of what I read here, but if what jagabo states applies to my vhs tapes, then cropping the 8 pixels of padding off the video and applying a 4:3 AR to the remaining video actually would restore the correct AR to the video (i.e. the digitalfaq anti-cropping statement doesnít apply to padded VHS captures).

    To further add to my analysis paralysis I then did the math and determined that if you have a 704x480 video with a 4:3 AR and add 8 pixels of padding to both sides (giving you a resolution of 720x480) you must use a AR of 15:11 on the padded 720x480 video to cause the inner 704x480 portion of the 720x480 video to have an AR of 4:3. When I compare my 720x480 capture with a 15:11 AR to my 352x480 capture with a 4:3 AR they do seem to have the same width.

    Finally getting to my question, can anyone confirm that with my ATI 600 capture card if I want the end result to have the correct AR I have two main options:
    1. Capture at 352x480 (and have the 8 pixels of padding cropped or never captured)
    2. Capture at 720x480 and use an AR of 15:11 with my final videos

    Iíve attached three files:
    720x480.3s.15-11AR.png //my 720x480 capture with a 15:11 AR
    720x480.3s.png //my 720x480 capture with a 4:3 AR
    352x480.3s.png //my 352x480 capture with a 4:3 AR

    Click image for larger version

Name:	720x480.3s.15-11AR.png
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Name:	720x480.3s.png
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ID:	37468Click image for larger version

Name:	352x480.3s.png
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  2. It looks to me like the device is using standard ITU aspect ratios. Crop to 704x480 (by integer multiples of 2, eg 6+10 or 8+8) and encode 4:3 DAR or 10:11 PAR. There's nothing wrong with cropping as long as you do it correctly.
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    352 carries the same area that 704 covers (note that 352 is exactly half of 704) but at half the resolution (obviously).
    Your capture card is doing the right thing.
    For example, resizing your 720x480 capture to 352x480 would be wrong Ė it would first have to be cropped to 704 and then resized to 352. It is then exactly 4:3, just like 704x480.

    Originally Posted by jimj View Post
    1. Capture at 352x480 (and have the 8 pixels of padding cropped or never captured)
    2. Capture at 720x480 and use an AR of 15:11 with my final videos
    Correct.
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    Thanks for the replies, I think I may actually be starting to understand this now. My card is correctly capturing at both 352x480 and 720x480. Therefore I simply need to decide if I think thereís enough (any) improved quality at the 720x480 resolution to justify the increased file sizes.

    While using the 720x480 video with a 15:11 DAR (if I have my aspect ratio acronyms correct) works, cropping it to 704 is probably the more common way of dealing with this.

    I assume a viable third option would be to use avisynth to convert the video to 640x480 (after cropping). After a quick search in the conversion forum based on this post https://forum.videohelp.com/threads/375770-Ripping-Encoding-old-4-3-TV-shows-%28Aspect-...=1#post2423048 I assume something like this would work:
    Code:
    crop(8, 0, -8, 0)
    Spline64Resize(640,480) # Spline64 (Sharp)
    Any downside to using a 640x480 resolution and skipping the aspect ratio setting? The only downside I can think of is that if it could create a problem if I ever wanted to create a DVD this would probably cause problems.
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  5. Originally Posted by jimj View Post
    Thanks for the replies, I think I may actually be starting to understand this now. My card is correctly capturing at both 352x480 and 720x480. Therefore I simply need to decide if I think there’s enough (any) improved quality at the 720x480 resolution to justify the increased file sizes.
    VHS only has about 350x480 resolution but even if you decide to encode at 360x480 or 352x480 you might still want to capture at 720x480 and downscale yourself because you have more control that way.

    Originally Posted by jimj View Post
    While using the 720x480 video with a 15:11 DAR (if I have my aspect ratio acronyms correct) works, cropping it to 704 is probably the more common way of dealing with this.
    Yes, and some codecs don't support pixel (aka sampling) aspect ratios. For example, MPEG 2 only supports display aspect ratios.

    Originally Posted by jimj View Post
    Any downside to using a 640x480 resolution and skipping the aspect ratio setting? The only downside I can think of is that if it could create a problem if I ever wanted to create a DVD this would probably cause problems.
    For VHS there's really no downside to 640x480 -- except the DVD issue you noted. DVD requires the frame size to be 720x480, 704x480, 352x480 or 352x240. And you can only specify the display aspect ratio as 4:3 or 16:9. Of course, you would want to go back to your original 720x480 or 352x480 source if you were to make a DVD.

    Also be aware that some playback devices only support square pixels. They will ignore the aspect ratio flags and display as square pixels. The media players built into many TVs are notorious for this.
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    Thanks again for all the info. It all makes sense to me except this:
    Originally Posted by jagabo View Post
    VHS only has about 350x480 resolution but even if you decide to encode at 360x480 or 352x480 you might still want to capture at 720x480 and downscale yourself because you have more control that way.
    Are you saying that even when I capture at 352x480 my ATI 600 is really capturing at 720x480 and downscaling it to 352x480? If not I don't understand what additional control this would give me.
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  7. Originally Posted by jimj View Post
    Are you saying that even when I capture at 352x480 my ATI 600 is really capturing at 720x480 and downscaling it to 352x480?
    Actually, many devices capture with even higher resolution (often 1440) and downsize, even when putting out 720x480. Literally capturing at 352 pixels would result in aliasing artifacts.
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    Originally Posted by jagabo View Post
    Originally Posted by jimj View Post
    Are you saying that even when I capture at 352x480 my ATI 600 is really capturing at 720x480 and downscaling it to 352x480?
    Actually, many devices capture with even higher resolution (often 1440) and downsize, even when putting out 720x480. Literally capturing at 352 pixels would result in aliasing artifacts.
    Is there no end to the VHS capturing information rabbit hole!? So in theory, the higher the resolution you capture at the less downsizing should occur which should yield a better picture. To be honest, I'm hard pressed to tell a difference between my 352x480, 640x480 and 720x480 captures (once I have the correct AR). Unless there's something inherently wrong with capturing at 640x480, I think I'm just going to use that resolution for capturing (and not have to worry about setting the aspect ratio, cropping, etc.).
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