No luck on the capture thread so I'll try here. Just looking for some quick advice. I am currently capturing my family's home VHS tapes. I am content with my equipment as I have already went down the rabbit hole researching solutions on that front. However even though I thought I had improved my setup, it appears that the newer captures have far less contrast/color than the previous attempts. Now I do not know whether these newer captures are more "accurate" or not but I just thought I would ask what everyone thinks of this difference as it is very noticeable and I want to solve it before moving forward. I imagine I can play with color in premiere later but I want to get the best, most accurate capture first using the equipment I currently have.
Old Capture Setup
Panasonic DMR-EZ47V--->Canopus ADVC-55--->HDD/MacBook Pro (Mid-2010)
New Capture Setup
JVC Super VHS SR-V10U-->AVT-8710 TBC--->Canopus ADVC-55--->HDD/MacBook Pro (Mid-2010)
Video Calibration 'On'
Video Stabilizer 'Off'
Digital R3 'Off'
Digital TBC/NR 'On' (Green light lit/selected)
I will post screenshots of the old capture first then the new one.
And here is one of the black screen before a video starts:
As you can see the black level is much deeper and the contrast seems greater in the older captures despite the fact that I was told that the Panasonic VCR was one of the worst.
Is this a more "accurate" picture that I am seeing in the newer captures?
I tried playing with the contrast/color/brightness settings on the AVT-8710 but the differences seemed negligible and the buttons on that thing seem to only respond to input about 10% of the time.
Should I look into one of the Panasonic ES-10 DVD Recorders everyone raves about, or would that be for a different problem?
Any advice on this is greatly appreciated.
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Levels difference like that are common with different processing/capture setups. Although the new caps have worse black levels they have much less horizontal time base jitter. The levels are easily adjusted in software. Time base jitter cannot be fixed after capture.
Thanks a lot, I didn't even pick up on that. Also good to know I can play with the color in premiere after capture. Would you recommend playing with the settings on the AVT-8710 during capture at all, which is tough given that there is no display, or just leave it on default?
JVC vcrs often play a tad lighter than Panasonic, but I've never seen a difference of this degree (esp with the JVC TBC/DNR active). The SR-V10U isn't one of JVC's best efforts, but it certainly shouldn't be this far off from your Panasonic unless the Panasonic is running darker than normal.
Have you tried removing the AVT-8710 from the chain? It is a problematic unit at best, and a headache at worst. The type of device that should be used only when absolutely necessary (if you're getting a lot of dropped frames, etc without it, then you do need it). If removing the 8710 brings your black levels back to previous appearance, you'll know for sure it is the culprit, if not, then the JVC is simply playing much lighter than your Panasonic. The AVT occasionally solves some problems at the cost of introducing others, which may or may not be acceptable depending on particular tapes and connected hardware. It pays to test a few mins of each tape with and without it if time permits.
Last edited by orsetto; 1st Sep 2016 at 22:13.
As I recall, the reset black level is too high on the 8710. ("Brightness" = black level, "Contrast" = gain) So yes, you probably need to decrease the Brightness setting a few notches, and then increase Contrast a touch to get a good range. I think I also needed to pump up the saturation ("Color") a bit on mine.
Last night, I opened up the unit and glued tiny foil squares to the button plungers. Works much, much better now.
Those samples look more neutral than either of the earlier ones.
Your EZ-48 would work fine as a passthru device, reconditioning the video signal somewhat. Whether it would be comparable in effectiveness to the AVT8710 depends on the specific tapes. The EZ-48 passthru should fix everything but the most extreme sync defects, and even then there's no guarantee the AVT would really do any better (some AVTs are great, many aren't: sample-to-sample variation is a big issue with these units).
The Panasonic ES-10 and ES-15 are highly effective one-trick-ponies: they are superb at correcting massively poor tapes plagued by geometric distortions like flagging at the top of the frame or washboarding verticals. But some people find they muddy the overall video, and keep them in reserve only for special cases. Later recorders like your EZ-48 or Toshiba DR-430 are not as effective with terrible tapes, but much cleaner with normal tapes. Evaluation of these various recorders for passthru is highly subjective, you can't know if they'll suit you until you try them.
Don't forget the JVC DNR circuit (that gets activated whenever you turn on the TBC) is also very good at repairing distortion and smoothing wiggles, with normal to moderately poor tapes. The VCR TBC by itself is sometimes better than doubling down with the added AVT8710. Depends on your tapes and capture encoder. If your encoder is hypersensitive to frame sync, you'll need to connect a passthru recorder or the AVT8710.
Last edited by orsetto; 2nd Sep 2016 at 22:07.
- Remove four screws from the bottom of the unit.
- Gently separate the halves.
- There is a cable going from the bottom half to the top half. Disconnect it from the top half.
- Remove two screws and pull out the circuit board in the top half.
- The buttons are a single rubber membrane that lifts right out.
- I cut tiny squares out of aluminum duct tape and left the paper backing on. Then I glued them onto the plungers with white glue. Make sure the channels aren't obstructed with glue so the plungers can travel up and down.
I would say most of the tapes are in good to moderate condition, as far as I know none of them are outrageously terrible. I think I may opt for the EZ47 as a pass-through from the JVC with the TBC active to do a little clean up in lieu of using the AVT8710 since I can't exactly monitor the adjustments I have done and need on that box itself. Thanks again.
Hey everyone, thanks for all the help so far. Not sure if anyone is still getting notifications on this but I just had a final couple questions. I added a Panasonic EZ-47V into the chain in lieu of the questionable AVT-8710. So the setup is basically as follows:
JVC SR-V10U--->Panasonic EZ-47V--->ADVC55--->HDD/MacBook Pro
- Edit Mode
- Video Calibration 'On'
- Video Stabilizer 'Off'
- Digital R3 'Off'
- Digital TBC/NR 'On' (Green light lit/selected)
Black Level Control
*I wasn't sure about the black level settings but a cursory search seemed to indicate lighter on input and darker on output so that's what I went with.
Since you all notice the finer points (horizontal time base jitter) I might not I am wondering how this setup compares to my previous tests of JVC & AVT and JVC (no AVT). If this looks good it may be what I stick with. If it looked better without the Panasonic and just the JVC alone then I'll go with that. Thanks again for all the help and I look forward to hearing your thoughts.
Time base looks ok. But you still need to adjust the black level. Your images should look more like:
[Attachment 38697 - Click to enlarge]
[Attachment 38698 - Click to enlarge]
[Attachment 38699 - Click to enlarge]
I made the same adjustments to all three images -- simulating what you might get using a single adjustment to the capture device's video proc amp.
And video samples are always better than images.
Gotcha. How would I accomplish this using my existing equipment (I'm assuming I want to do this before the capture software)?
The capture device is a Canopus ADVC-55 and has no such adjustments on it, more of a plug and play type deal.
I could adjust the input/output black level on the Panasonic DVD Recorder pass-through for a darker output.
The only device I have that has more fine tuning type adjustments is the AVT-8710 TBC, which wasn't in these last samples and seemed to greatly lighten the image last time I incorporated it. I could incorporate it back into the chain and play with the settings but idk if I would put that after the Panasonic? And if at that point it would become overkill having the video pass through two different devices.
Or is this something I should mess with in software later?
The images you adjusted are definitely richer and more what I imagine the image "should" look like, just not sure how to get there. Thanks again.
The video proc amp would be part of the capture driver. I'm not really familiar with the ADVC55 -- I don't know if it has any proc amp controls. If not, you can invest in an external video proc amp. Or just adjust levels in software after capturing. Or, maybe set the DVD recorder to the darker settings.
I just got a DMR-ES15 and it's bumping up the gain about 4 IRE with the recommended settings (Darker/Lighter). Haven't opened it up yet to see if there's a trimmer to fix it. Setting the output to Darker would be an overcorrection in my case. I have a dedicated proc amp anyway.
NA87's black level is so high (at least with this tape) that removing the NTSC IRE setup won't put him below IRE 0 (at least for the picture content, maybe the borders). In fact, it's only about half what he needs.
Last edited by jagabo; 24th Sep 2016 at 21:57.
I am fine if I need to do a little bit of adjustment in post but I want to try and get the best possible input using my existing equipment. I would love to get a dedicated video processor but I don't think that is in the cards at present given I already invested in a questionable quality AVT-8710 before I got my hands on the JVC with TBC.
I can take the Panasonic out of the chain and just go with the JVC by itself which I showed samples of in post #8. I guess whichever samples you all think look the best or would be the best to work with are what I will go with unless there are any other settings or equipment changes you would try given my existing equipment.
I'm at the point where I'm fine with changing a few settings or switching things around but I'm willing to settle for the best I can get with what I have. Thanks again.
The first setting determines how the video is converted from analog to digital. Darker removes the North American NTSC 7.5 IRE "setup", lighter is used for Japanese NTSC which doesn't include the setup. Normal digital YUV video has black at Y=16, and full white at Y=235. If you don't remove setup from NA NTSC your black level will be too high (hence you want to make the black level "darker"), about Y=32, instead of Y=16.
The second setting determines whether NTSC setup is added to the analog output when converting digital to analog. If your digital video has a correct black level (Y=16) darker will lave the black level too low for NA NTSC.
So a round trip using lighter/darker delivers the same analog output as the round trip using daker/lighter. What differs is what levels the intermediate digital video had.
Of course that will raise new questions of incorporating back in the AVT, or just keeping the Panasonic and I assume switching it back to Darker Input/Lighter Output.
[Attachment 38712 - Click to enlarge]
Last edited by NA87; 25th Sep 2016 at 19:58.
I think switch 2 should be set to on for North American NTSC sources. But their documentation isn't clearly worded. Set it to whichever position gives the darker black level.
Your experiment is interesting though. My guess is that the digitization is performed at the lighter setting, then if darker is selected the values are scaled to the darker range. After processing, for lighter output, the range is digitally scaled again. That would explain the banding. So for those using the recorder only for passthrough (not recording to DVD) it's best to use lighter/darker.
I ran into the same banding issue with Darker/Lighter - it's less noticeable with Lighter/Darker. A good way to see the differences is to take some stills of the same frame and flip back and forth between them.
Edit: Added a couple stills from my own capture project. NilsDarkerLighter.png and NilsLighterDarker were captured with those settings. If you save them locally and flip back and forth you'll see the difference. Pay particular attention to the areas highlighted in red boxes in NilsHighlighted.png. The capture settings were otherwise identical on those. Only the ES15 black level settings were changed.
This post contains the video samples I pulled those from: https://forum.videohelp.com/threads/379545-Need-some-help-with-capturing-NTSC-video-TBC...=1#post2453605
Last edited by CED; 27th Sep 2016 at 09:28. Reason: Add Images
Hi everyone. Thanks for all your assistance on this project. Switching dip switch 2 to 'on' on my capture device seems to have made a huge difference. Since I can't invest much more time at the moment I think I'm ready to make a decision on a default setup to do these tapes. Maybe in the future I can invest a $1k plus on a PC and better equipment but I just want to get these tapes digitized now in case something happens. I'm down to three possible approaches (really only 2) and I would just like your opinions on which to go with. I'm looking for what is the most 'accurate', least time base jitter and which you would go with. I can play around in post but I want the best source to work with.
JVC SR-V10U Settings:
Video Calibration 'On'
Video Stabilizer 'Off'
Digital R3 'Off'
Digital TBC/NR 'On' (Green light lit/selected)
JVC-->Panasonic DMR-EZ47V(Pass-through)-->ADVC55--> MacBook Pro
Panasonic Black Level: Lighter/Darker*I can reverse this if need be, it seems there is a bit of a debate
No Panasonic Pass-through
I don't really think this one looks too good as it seems to be brightening the image too much but I just thought I'd throw it in
Let me know what you think. Thanks again, your advice has been invaluable.
I think B looks the best overall. I have a JVC VCR with the built in TBC and it does an excellent job. All the external TBCs I've tried have had some issue (banding, jaggy lines, etc).
There's some noise present (visible in the final image), but there are tools others have shown me here that can clean that up.
I agree, B retains slightly more detail than A. It also has a little more noise -- but you can reduce noise in software more easily than you can restore detail. The horizontal time base jitter from your VCR isn't bad so the DVD recorder isn't necessary.
All processing devices cause some undesired changes. So generally speaking, it's best not to use a device unless the benefits it provides outweigh the damage it causes. One thing to consider though: These three images indicate you don't need the DVD recorder's line TBC, but if the time base of your tape isn't always so clean the DVD recorder's line TBC may come in handy. The damage it causes is very minor so you might be better off leaving it in the chain. The AVT8710 doesn't appear to provide any benefits but is ruining the black level.
And yes, changing switch 2 on your ADVC55 has definitely improve the black level.
To be fair to the AVT8710, it has a built-in 5-parameter processing amplifier. Yes, the default is too bright, but that's what the buttons are for. Mine actually does a decent job on the wiggles, though not as good as the Panny or the JVC's TBC. Regrettably, it has the freezing field defect so I can't use it very often.
Looks like B is the winner. Thanks everyone.
As far as noise and stuff I'll see if I run into an issues or things I can address in post. I'll reintroduce the Panasonic should I have any issues screwing up my capture or dropping out or what not.
I'd love to use the AVT-8710, especially since I spent money on it. I got it to handle TBC duties for the Panasonic before I got my hands on the JVC with TBC built-in. Unfortunately, given that there is no display to indicate parameter adjustments, I don't always even know if my presses are being registered.
Thanks again for your help everyone.