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  1. Member
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    I recently purchased an Elgato Game Capture HD with the goal of converting some old home videos to digital. Most of them were on video8 cassette tapes and the rest were on VHS tapes. While recording these I ran into an issue where the Elgato software will lose signal from the playback device.

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    This happens whenever there is a break in the playback from the tape. Some examples:
    • Breaks between scenes
    • When I fast forward or rewind
    • Resuming playback after being paused
    • Playback comes to a defect in the tape where the picture gets messed up for a split second

    This can be very frustrating because it can take 5-10 seconds to reacquire the signal.

    The VCR I am using is a Samsung dvd-v3500. Here is the user manual and some other information. Also here is the manual and user guide for the Elgato Game Capture HD. It is primarily meant for capturing gaming footage, but it also has an adapter for composite and component input.

    What would you recommend I do? Is there some other software I could use with the Elgato that would not drop the signal due to hiccups in the playback? I searched around a little but couldn't find much.

    Or maybe there is there some device I could run the video through to eliminate the glitches and make the source constant?

    As you might be gathering I don't know much so any help would be greatly appreciated.


    Thanks!
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  2. That's a common problem with many capture devices, especially HD capture devices where SD capture is tossed in as an afterthought.. You'll need a full frame time base corrector like the Datavideo TBC-1000 or AVTool AVT-8710.

    Or return the El Gato and get a US$40 SD capture card that doesn't suffer from the problem (sorry, I don't know which ones). Then get a used DVD recorder like the old Panasonic ES10 or ES15 (US$100 these days) and use it in passthrough mode for the line TBC function. You'll get far better captures.
    Last edited by jagabo; 9th Jul 2016 at 17:16.
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    Thanks for the reply. The reason I purchased the Elgato was that it could also record from HDMI. Since I probably won't be capturing much SD footage after I am done with this project, I needed the extra compatibility so that I would be more likely to have a use for it after I am done. I obviously should have done some more research.

    I would prefer to stick with this capture card since it is supposedly one of the best HD capture devices for the cost. I am having issues trying to justify the purchase of a $300 TBC for this one time project though. Is there any other uses for a device like this besides cleaning up signal from VHS players?

    I guess buying a different capture card + the DVD recorder you mentioned would actually be cheaper. I may be off though, but from what I have been reading from posts on this forum, most DVD recorders and VHS players have line TBC which doesn't do much whereas a dedicated full frame TBC does more thorough work. Is this true or would I get better results using a DVD recorder in passthrough mode connected to a cheaper SD capture device like you suggested?
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  4. Originally Posted by dakotasamuel View Post
    I am having issues trying to justify the purchase of a $300 TBC for this one time project though. Is there any other uses for a device like this besides cleaning up signal from VHS players?
    For a home user, not really.

    Originally Posted by dakotasamuel View Post
    I guess buying a different capture card + the DVD recorder you mentioned would actually be cheaper.
    Even without the DVD recorder you can get better results than with the El Gato. Or just buying a DVD recorder with line TBC and recording 1 hour per disc will give you results better than the El Gato.

    Originally Posted by dakotasamuel View Post
    I may be off though, but from what I have been reading from posts on this forum, most DVD recorders and VHS players have line TBC which doesn't do much whereas a dedicated full frame TBC does more thorough work.
    The two types of TBCs do very different things. A line TBC cleans up the horizontal jitter common to all consumer analog video tape formats.

    https://forum.videohelp.com/threads/306272-Computer-video-capture-vs-vcr-to-dvd-combo?p...=1#post1882662

    But if the signal is too distorted, or completely lost, the line TBC will output a distorted signal or no signal at all.

    A full frame TBC produces perfect horizontal and vertical sync pulses when the source is very distorted or even if the source is completely lost. The picture it puts out may be a blue screen, a distorted picture, or whatever the last good picture it received -- but the sync pulses will still be perfectly formed. Distortion of the sync pulses is what causes devices like the El Gato to lock up. Think of it like this, a full frame TBC is basically a video capture device with concurrent video output. Even when the source signal is lost it continues putting out a good video signal -- just like your computer continued putting out a perfect signal to your monitor even though the El Gato was locked up. The picture in the El Gato software may have been messed up, but the timing of the DVI/HDMI/DP signal remained perfect.

    Full frame TBCs usually do not include line TBC functionality.

    If you have just a few non-commercial tapes to digitize you're better off just sending them to a professional service.
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  5. Formerly 'vaporeon800' Brad's Avatar
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    The DMR-ES15 does frame sync in addition to line TBC.
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    So, if I ditch the Elgato and pick up a SD capture card like the ATI HD 600 ($20 on Ebay) and a Panasonic ES10 like you suggested I should be good? It won't have the issue of locking up and missing several seconds of recording or would I need to purchase a full frame TBC to eliminate this problem? I understand it still won't record the parts where there is no signal, but once the signal is back it will pick it up immediately?

    Also, what are your thoughts on the VCR I am using? Maybe it would make sense to just buy a better one with built in line TBC?

    In the end, I might do the other thing you suggested and just send the videos to a professional, but I want to be better able to weigh my options.
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  7. Formerly 'vaporeon800' Brad's Avatar
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    DVD-VHS combos are generally regarded as the worst VCRs. I've only ever tried one unit, very briefly, myself.

    The ES10 alone should fix it, though I can only personally speak to the ES15 and ES25. The advantage of the SD capture card is that you aren't forced into hardware H.264 compression.
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  8. Originally Posted by dakotasamuel View Post
    the ATI HD 600 ($20 on Ebay)
    Be careful with the ATI devices. Many of them suffer from automatic gain problems that can't be disabled. They often brighten or darken the picture, sometimes based on picture content, but sometimes for no apparent reason. Check these forums for the different models. And they may be difficult to get working on operating systems newer than Windows XP.

    Originally Posted by dakotasamuel View Post
    Also, what are your thoughts on the VCR I am using? Maybe it would make sense to just buy a better one with built in line TBC?
    A S-VHS deck with line TBC in good working condition will probably cost you $300. You may be able to recoup most of that when your done, if it's still working. But that won't help with signal drops. You'll still need a full frame TBC.
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    From searching around the forums it looks like the ATI 600 USB is the most commonly recommended capture device. I haven't really found any others that everyone says is good. What would you recommend instead? I came across this thread comparing some screenshots from different capture cards. I am assuming this is just a test during certain conditions, but the ATI 750 USB is the highest rated one and it looks like it doesn't have the issue with drivers that the ATI 600 does. However, I have seen some other people that say the ATI 750 and all other ATI models are not anywhere as good as the ATI 600.

    I was planning on buying the Panasonic AG1980 VCR but after reading this somewhat depressing post by orsetto and similar ones, I am starting to think that might not be a great idea. I am probably going to just search around some local second hand stores and Ebay and try to find decent VCR that is quality and working.
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  10. Originally Posted by dakotasamuel View Post
    From searching around the forums it looks like the ATI 600 USB is the most commonly recommended capture device. I haven't really found any others that everyone says is good.
    The main thing that makes the ATI 600 USB good for analog video capture is the sharp picture without oversharpening halos. But that doesn't really matter with VHS which has low resolution and a ton of noise.

    Originally Posted by dakotasamuel View Post
    I have seen some other people that say the ATI 750 and all other ATI models are not anywhere as good as the ATI 600.
    The 750 has AGC problems. The picture will darken and lighten, often for no apparent reason. The 650 models do the same. Only the 600 is free of the problem. Be careful there is more than one ATI capture device with the model number 600 -- be sure you get the right one. Which I believe is "ATI TV Wonder HD 600 USB".

    Originally Posted by dakotasamuel View Post
    What would you recommend instead?
    Happauge still makes a decent analog video capture cards capable of raw YUV 4:2:2 capture. There's also the EzCap device. Beware of the fake EasyCap devices which are mostly trash. Buy directly from EzCap.tv.

    Some devices compared:
    https://forum.videohelp.com/threads/360704-2013-my-video-capture-device-comparison-scre...ht=ati+600+750
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    I've had good luck with the StarTech USB2SVID2 once I figured out how to decrease the audio input level.
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  12. Formerly 'vaporeon800' Brad's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by dakotasamuel View Post
    I came across this thread comparing some screenshots from different capture cards. I am assuming this is just a test during certain conditions, but the ATI 750 USB is the highest rated one
    I thought the red text and post #14 there would be enough to warn readers away. Do you have any suggestions for how I can make it more clear that I don't recommend it?
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    Originally Posted by vaporeon800 View Post
    I thought the red text and post #14 there would be enough to warn readers away. Do you have any suggestions for how I can make it more clear that I don't recommend it?
    Haha, well it would have but I didn't read down to post #14, and also I am a newb who just ignores words and terms (such as vertical jitter) that he doesn't understand. Not your fault.

    I think I am going to go with the ATI 600. Thanks for all the help!
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    I thought I had it all for vhs capture; JVC SR-MV50 [s-vhs deck w/TBC]. S-video so I don't have to worry about dot crawl, TBC for no dropped frames, but I'm getting loss of signal. I realize dvd/vhs combo units aren't generally the best quality.

    Do I still need a full-frame TBC? Would I still have TBC on? How come items like AV Tool AVT-8710 go for almost $1000? And this is for a "parts-only" unit.

    Work flow: Win 10. Capture card is Osprey 827e. I'm capturing with VirtualDub Huffyuv. I've learned my lesson capturing with uncompressed thanks to Lordsmurf & jagabo.
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  15. Originally Posted by clashradio View Post
    I thought I had it all for vhs capture; JVC SR-MV50 [s-vhs deck w/TBC]. S-video so I don't have to worry about dot crawl, TBC for no dropped frames, but I'm getting loss of signal. I realize dvd/vhs combo units aren't generally the best quality.
    Couple misunderstandings here.

    First, the canard of "combo units are terrible" really depends on the combo model, how it will be used, and user expectations. The JVC-SR-MV50 happens to be quite an excellent combo deck, much better than average. The embedded VCR is roughly equivalent to the JVC SR-V101 standalone VCR, one of the last (if not THE last) of the JVC SVHS with premium TBC/DNR. This embedded VCR also has improved tracking performance over many earlier, "classic" standalone JVC vcrs. As for the embedded DVD recorder, again its a variation of an excellent standalone, the JVC DR-M100. This DVD recorder includes the coveted LSI-brand MPEG encoder chip and JVC's exclusive, proprietary VHS input noise filters, making it the top-of-the-line option for those who require or prefer their VHS be digitized directly to standard DVDs playable in ordinary DVD or BluRay players.

    However, the JVC SR-MV50 used strictly as VCR source for a PC capture system is subject to all the same aggravating issues that would plague any other JVC, Panasonic AG1980 (or whatever standalone VCR) if the capture device is one of those PITA models that chokes to death at the tiniest flaw in a VHS signal. The "TBC" in these VCRs is more accurately described as a "line TBC": this circuit is more akin to a noise reduction device, reducing visible flaws like wiggle, jitter and flagging. The VCR built-in line TBC has little to no impact on the "invisible" VHS signal flaws that make capture cards choke, drop frames or otherwise crap the bed.

    Do I still need a full-frame TBC? Would I still have TBC on?
    Apparently, yes and yes.

    If you're unlucky enough to suffer dropped frames and audio sync drift with your capture system, the only thing that will cure it is adding an external frame TBC between VCR and PC. Frame TBCs regenerate clean sync signals on the fly, feeding the capture card the unrealistically "perfect" signal it needs to avoid capture errors.

    How come items like AV Tool AVT-8710 go for almost $1000? And this is for a "parts-only" unit.
    For the same reason used Leica M6, Nikon F6 and Mamiya RB67 film cameras are now selling for double what they were last year: skyrocketing demand and dwindling supply of long-discontinued items. Prices of TBCs and high grade VCRs have been on the rise for several years anyway, but the current "bubble" of thousands of buyers with disposable income being bored out of their minds during pandemic lockdowns has really blown asking prices into la la land.

    Most of the second hand AVT-8710s are garbage. The company began cutting corners and wrecking the circuit about halfway thru the several years of production: it can be very very difficult to determine which example might be decent vs which is junk that will make the signal worse. Good condition TBCs compatible with VHS capture are so scarce today virtually nobody who bought one when they were affordable would dream of parting with it now: they're irreplaceable. So the majority of second hand offerings at obscene asking prices are trashed. Caveat emptor.

    If you're gonna gamble $600 to $1200 on a used TBC, roll the dice with a DataVideo TBC-1000 instead of the AVT. DataVideo had more consistent quality control over the years and a more rugged design to begin with. They can suffer from electronic defects like blown power caps or loose wiring between boards, but this is easily fixed by a competent computer repair shop if necessary. The basic TBC design did not vary nearly as much as the AVTs: a functioning DataVideo can at least be relied on as a proper frame TBC, whereas you never know WTH any random AVT is actually doing to your signal.

    A less expensive alternative to DataVideo or AVT might be a used DVD recorder model known for quasi-frame sync capability when a video signal is passed thru its input and output jacks. Panasonic ES10, ES15, ES20, ES50 etc are popular for this, as are various Toshiba XS models. Depending exactly how twitchy your capture card is, one of these dvd recorders may be enough to stabilize the signal at a fraction of TBC prices (esp if you pick a recorder with dead dvd drive, which litter the market). Note some recorders (esp Panasonic ES) have counterintuitive, arcane settings that need to be adjusted perfectly to get the cleanest signal output: search topics like "Panasonic dvd recorder pass-thru" for complete details.
    Last edited by orsetto; 9th Apr 2021 at 12:31.
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    Thank you for your detailed explanation orsetto. Good to know the SR-MV50 is a decent model in using for playback/capture.

    La-la land is right; $2000 for the 8710, $1000 for a parts-only TBC-1000.

    I'm waiting for the remote control to arrive any day, but one trick I haven't tried yet is turning on the video-stabilizer mode. In reading at Digital FAQ Lordsmurf has a list of tips for vhs capture, plus TBC info. Seems if you have this mode on, it turns off the TBC. I can't access the menu w/o the remote. If this doesn't help I'll have to enter La-La land.
    Last edited by clashradio; 9th Apr 2021 at 13:37.
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  17. If you don't already have the instruction manual for your JVC SR-MV50, download a PDF copy of it from this link. The settings menus can take awhile to figure out, it helps to have the manual as reference.

    While you wait for the remote to arrive, note it is not required for switching the TBC on and off. As with nearly all other premium JVCs, you'd normally toggle the TBC/DNR feature on and off via the front panel "TBC" button (located directly under the power button on this model). There are many discussions re "activating the video stabilizer feature automatically turns off the TBC, argh", but that isn't intended to be the normal way you control the TBC: use the front panel button to do it more directly. The video stabilizer is a controversial JVC feature: most of us find it is rarely of significant help to a tape. More often it just shuffles playback problems around, and using it always deactivates the TBC/DNR circuit (which is typically much more useful). If you aren't trying to capture a tape that absolutely requires the stabilizer (few do), keep it turned off.

    Adjusting picture parameters of JVC vcrs is tricky: instead of obvious, clear settings things tend to be inter-related. The front panel TBC button is an all-or-nothing kill switch: if set to off, all TBC and most noise reduction is disabled. If the button is set to on, you can tinker with some aspects of noise reduction and picture detail in the menu system. As example, following LordSmurfs recommendation you'd usually want to set the JVC picture detail control to "NORM". But the "NORM" setting of some JVCs is unavailable unless you turn off the "video calibration" feature first (with calibration active, "NORM" is replaced by "AUTO"). Going the other direction, setting the picture control to "Edit" drops noise reduction to minimum levels while keeping the TBC active: some really blurry tapes may benefit from this setting. You'll need to experiment with various combinations: very different tapes may look better at very different settings. LorSmurf's recommended JVC defaults should work well most of the time unless a specific tape has unusual characteristics..
    Last edited by orsetto; 9th Apr 2021 at 15:29.
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    Thanks for the link to the manual. Do you know how to clear the counter? Can't find it in the manual or remote.

    The remote arrived. I turned video stabilizer-on, and I was able to capture w/o any loss of signal. I'm not saying this is the fix, as I believe it's probably better to have the TBC on but in this case having the stabilizer on (which according to page 45 in the manual it shuts off the TBC, and is for vertical vibration) I didn't have any dropped frames or signal loss. I'm still open to purchase an external TBC if I can find one and not have to sell the farm.
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  19. Formerly 'vaporeon800' Brad's Avatar
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    Even though I have an analog Waveform Monitor; and can now digitally capture the Vertical Blanking Interval easily, as well as raw CVBS waveforms with some difficulty, I still haven't been able to determine what JVC's Video Stabilizer actually does at a signal level.

    Maybe if I ever invest in a Digital Storage Oscilloscope, things would be more clear. The other three ways of examining the signal have failed me thus far.
    (Formerly vaporeon800)
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  20. Originally Posted by clashradio View Post
    Thanks for the link to the manual. Do you know how to clear the counter? Can't find it in the manual or remote.
    Its buried so crazy deep in the manual, I ended up guessing how to do it. Once you figure it out yourself, it becomes easier to find in the manual (d'oh!): just press the CANCEL button on the remote when in VCR mode with the counter display showing.

    The remote arrived. I turned video stabilizer-on, and I was able to capture w/o any loss of signal. I'm not saying this is the fix, as I believe it's probably better to have the TBC on but in this case having the stabilizer on (which according to page 45 in the manual it shuts off the TBC, and is for vertical vibration) I didn't have any dropped frames or signal loss. I'm still open to purchase an external TBC if I can find one and not have to sell the farm.
    That's great news! Sometimes you get lucky: the stabilizer almost never does anything useful, or if it does it fixes one thing while messing up another. You caught a real break there.

    If you're quite sure you aren't getting any frame sync issues in the capture with the stabilizer active, you might be able to skate by without investing in a TBC. Yes, the "rules of capture" state you always need a TBC for reliable results, but more often than not capture is unpredictable voodoo. If your card is satisfied by the stabilizer, then you can just go that route unless/until you hit a run of tapes where that workaround fails.

    However... before you capture a whole bunch of tapes by this method, run some comparison tests where you eyeball how they look playing directly into your TV (bypassing the capture gear). Check how they look with the stabilizer, then try turning it off and seeing if theres a dramatic improvement with the TBC/DNR active instead. If it looks much better with TBC/DNR, and you have a lot of similar tapes, you'll probably find it worthwhile to invest in the external TBC (or dvd recorder pass thru) so you can avoid the stabilizer and enable the JVC TBC/DNR. Better to know at the start of the project than discover it halfway thru and have to start over because you're dissatisfied. The whole point of having a premium JVC is the TBC/DNR circuit that cleans up grain and color streaking: if that can't or won't be used you can save a lot of money buying a simpler, cheaper JVC SVHS model like 3900 or 5900 that only includes the stabilizer (no TBC/DNR). Of course, if you got the SR-MV50 at a steep discount it doesn't matter as much.
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  21. Originally Posted by Brad View Post
    Even though I have an analog Waveform Monitor; and can now digitally capture the Vertical Blanking Interval easily, as well as raw CVBS waveforms with some difficulty, I still haven't been able to determine what JVC's Video Stabilizer actually does at a signal level.

    Maybe if I ever invest in a Digital Storage Oscilloscope, things would be more clear. The other three ways of examining the signal have failed me thus far.
    I haven't looked at it with a scope, but after accidentally making a tape with the head switch point in the middle of the video a while back, I did a test on the JVC I got with video stabilizer, and you can see that it seems be creating a sync or at least blanking around the head switch point. The TBC function in my jvc SHVS camcorder seemed to do this as well, in addition to tbc stuff. I made this small example for a yt video I'm making:

    stabilizer.mp4
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    The Stop button on the remote says "stop/clear" but that didn't clear the counter, even when holding the button for a few seconds, but "cancel" did the trick thank you.

    Looks like I'll need an external TBC after all; I'm having loss signal issues with a different tape.

    Good call on viewing with and w/o the TBC. So far I've only viewed this via PC capture. I'll test with my Sony crt tv.

    I thought the head switch noise was always on at the bottom? I'm surprised you were able to capture that with no issues. A scope would be neat to see what's going on.
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  23. The head switch will normally be at the bottom, when recording on a vcr the vcr will (try to) lock onto the incoming video and adjust the relationship between video signal and drum accordingly (you can sometimes see on tapes directly dubbed from another tape that the head switch point takes a few frames to move down to the correct place where a dubbed recording starts). What I did with that tape was record it on a "pro" VCR (Panasonic AG7350) which allows you to use a separate sync input to lock the servo to (normally used to synchronize to some reference back in the day in e.g a studio). So, if the sync input doesn't match the normal video input, and the VCR is set to sync to it, you get the head switch in some random place rather than were expected when recording.

    I passed the video through a Pioneer DVR-440 DVD/HDD recorder for stabilizing things when recording that from what I remember. The vsync (start of field/frame) signal is intact so it didn't cause capture issues even directly to the capture card. When recording directly to the capture card took like a third of the frame for the card to recover from the head switch and the border to be in the right place, and it was of course more wiggly, while the dvr only needed a few lines for the video to become straight. The panasonic DMR-ES10 and EH57 did even better at it and seemed to recover pretty much instantly. I tested a few different things to see how they reacted to it, as it's was a pretty interesting test, but I think most of those ended up lost in a hdd crash.
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    Ok I think I have seen the head switch noise go from top to bottom before. I haven't seen a dupe-tape in years so I forgot what that looks like.

    I had a Pioneer blu-ray recorder I bought for it's 3d comb filter for pass-through, but it didn't have the remote and I couldn't access the menu so I sold it. I do have a Toshiba dvd recorder (again for it's 3d comb filter). I'll test and see if this helps. I realize it's not a Panasonic DMR-ES10. I also have an EVAL 7842 board which has a killer 3d comb filter. It also has TBC, just not sure if it's line-based or full frame. The board is finicky and capturing with it is even trickery for me sometimes.
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    Ok I ran the JVC through the Toshiba RD-XS32 dvd recorder for passthrough and I didn't lose signal. I originally purchased the Toshiba for it's 3d comb filter, didn't know it has TBC.

    Do I disable the 3d comb filter on the Toshiba? (since I'm using s-video, not composite). For output from the Toshiba to my cap card I'm using component.

    Do you recommend turning on TBC and turning off video stabilizer on the JVC?
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  26. Brad (above) has recommended Toshiba XS in the past as an excellent passthru cure for sync loss issues: glad it seems to be working for you. In my experience, such dvd recorders have noticeably cleaner output than most TBCs, so if you can get away with using a recorder instead you save a lot of money and get nicer results with the bargain.

    Re the various settings: nobody can truly tell you what will be best for your tapes. We can suggest in a general way, but each of us has different tapes and perceives results a little differently. The best advice is to select a representative tape segment that you know really well, and try various combinations of setting until you hit on what looks best to you. The only "must" is the baseline steady sync: everything else is subjective taste. One person's "noiseless and smooth" is another's "unacceptably blurry", one viewer's "realistic detail" is another's "gawdawful noise and grain". Then you have people who literally break out in hives and need to be hospitalized if they notice the slightest trace of (gasp!) "sharpening halos". Getting too OCD can burn thru a lot of time with little productive output (most of us been there/done that).

    I'm not a fan of the JVC stabilizer feature, but it does seem your specific tapes benefit from it. Run the same clip with stabilizer on and no TBC/DNR, then vice versa. Whichever setting looks best should be your default. The Toshiba applies its version of frame sync, mild line TBC and a smidgen of its own noise reduction during pass thru, this may let you deploy the JVC stabilizer while regaining some of the lost TBC/DNR thru the Toshiba. Conversely, running the JVC TBC/DNR and the Toshiba simultaneously might deliver extra-clean output. Won't know until you try.

    The setting of the comb filter in the Toshiba is probably ignored by its SVHS connection, easy to verify with an on vs off comparison. Use what looks best.
    Last edited by orsetto; 11th Apr 2021 at 23:00.
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  27. In theory the 3d comb filter is not be involved in s-video signal path. But reality may differ. I would just find some sharp colorful material (use an old DVD player as an s-video source if you can) and verify there's no difference between comb filter on and off.
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  28. Originally Posted by clashradio View Post
    I also have an EVAL 7842 board which has a killer 3d comb filter. It also has TBC, just not sure if it's line-based or full frame. The board is finicky and capturing with it is even trickery for me sometimes.
    The ADV7842 chip on it does include both, with the frame part needing external memory, so I would think in the setup on EVAL board it does. No idea how it's best configured for tapes, but I know some other users here have used it with tape captures.
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