I'm posting this in hopes of helping those, like me, who have a lot of video to capture, but not a lot of time. In trying to learn about capturing and restoring VHS over many months, I have what I feel is a good way to do it. No, it is not perfect. It is however what I think would be acceptable to a lot of people. Some of us do not have time to spend hours or days tweaking and perfecting just a few minutes of video. I think it is great that there are those who put in so much time and effort into getting the best quality, but not everyone can do that and that is OK.
Things to keep in mind:
- I'm capturing interlaced, top field first, NTSC VHS
- They are not film based, so there is no telecine
- I just use a Roxio usb capture card. No, it is not 1 of the recommended ones, but it works for me.
- I just have a standard JVC VCR with no TBC or S-Video output. I use composite video.
- I use AmaRecTV as my capture program. I have zero issues with dropped frames or audio sync. I never could get VDub or anything else to work.
- I use Lagarith as my lossless codec and in the end convert with x264 to save a lot of space. Yes there are purist who would not recommend that, but there is no way I would ever have enough space for 100 hours or more of lossless video.
- I use VirtualDub with Avisynth to trim and filter the lossless video.
- There are better, more time consuming methods that can be used to squeeze out more quality.
Step 1: Capture with AmaRecTV - Set AmaRecTV to 640x480 29.97fps and set Lagarith to YUY2.
Step 2: In VDub set Lagarith to RGB. Set VDub to Fast Recompress. Open your avs script with VDub. Here is the script I use:
Avisource("path to video") #insert path to the video
Trim(x,y) #replace x with the desired start frame and y with the end frame
Crop(8,8,-8,-8) #Crops off area that would normally be covered by overscan
QTGMC() #Deinterlaces More on this below
AddBorders(8,8,8,8) #Add a black border around video to replace what was cropped off. This is the correct way to do it. It avoids resizing and an incorrect aspect ratio.
ConvertToRGB24() #I use Neat Video to remove noise and it works in RGB so I go ahead and convert it. Yes NV could do it, but I prefer to go ahead and do it.
Now I know some would say to not deinterlace. Yes, the video technically loses quality when you do it, but QTGMC gives excellent results. Every display (PC or TV) that I have seen being sold today is a progressive display. Yes, they do play interlaced material. They may also do a great job at deinterlacing. However, I am converting with x264 and it (as far as I know) requires progressive material. I just use the default preset. The default setting with QTGMC is "slower", so some might want to use faster presets.
Step 3: For this is use the 64bit VirtualDub. It is faster for filtering with Neat Video. Open the video directly with VDub. Set Lagarith to YV12. YV12 is needed for when I convert to h.264 video. Set VDub to Full Processing and add the Neat Video filter. NV is great and may take some time to learn. I admittedly have more to learn about it. There are tutorials on the NV website that explain things very well.
Step 4: I convert to h.264 video with x264 using Handbrake or MeGUI.
I know these samples are not perfect. This video is probably one of the lower quailty ones that I have. I think they are pretty good for someone who does not have hours to spend tweaking a few minutes of video when they have many many hours to capture and convert.
Captured.avi is the original captured file. There is a lot of noise. I believe it was recorded that way. I can't be sure because is was many years ago. Crop, QTGMC, Borders.avi is the result of step 2. NeatVideo.avi is the result of being filtered with Neat Video. It could probably use more work. Like I said, I have more to learn about NV. Handbrake.mkv is the final conversion to h.264 with Handbrake.
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Last edited by Micheal81; 30th Jul 2016 at 02:49.
Last edited by Micheal81; 30th Jul 2016 at 04:58.
Any particular reason you separate steps 2 and 3 with an intermediate file rather than running NeatVideo on the QTGMC script directly? You could potentially combine all of steps 2-4 if you incorporate your NeatVideo settings into your AVS, though this may be more trouble than it's worth since you would also have to learn a different x264 frontend.
It's surprising that you get perfect audio sync without dropped frames, unless you avoid capturing unrecorded portions etc. My last test of AmaRecTV showed that it dropped frames without reporting them.
x264 does support interlaced encoding, though Handbrake doesn't offer a checkbox for it.
Vdub 32 bit is required for step 2 and I use Vdub 64 bit for Neat. 64 bit Neat is faster. If I combine the steps, using just 32 bit VDub, I'm thinking it would be a greater total time. I really haven't tested that though. I like to break it up into steps so my PC is not tied up so long. It takes many hours to deinterlace and many more to denoise.
Well so far, I have used this method on 3 5-6 hour VHS tapes and have had no dropped frames or sync issues. I just let the tape play all the way through over night.
Last edited by Micheal81; 30th Jul 2016 at 14:50.
Just checked Captured.avi and Handbrake.mkv. There is a lot of horizontal jitter. Adding a passthrough line TBC will only cost you money, not time. Not sure whether even they can completely stabilize the image, given the interference-ridden cable TV source, but there should be an improvement.
The black level is also way too high. Except for the bottom 3 lines, the lowest Y values are brickwalled at 24 instead of 16 or below. It looks like the Brightness control on the capture device was raised.
Fixing this is simple enough. Adjust by eye assisted with a histogram/waveform, with one setting for each separate TV recording.
You said adjust to 16 or below. Your screenshot shows 0. Is better to make it 16 since it is a TV source? Am I misunderstanding?
I had thought of buying a Panasonic ES10 to use as a passthrough. The prices on Ebay are not too bad.
Last edited by Micheal81; 31st Jul 2016 at 01:17.