I did NOT finish my title ENTER key!! Ahh thanks advanced edit!!
My needs are simple, and my 2 hours of readin the forum and several hours searching the web haven't helped much (tho I did manage to stumble on boobs, not because of some odd video editing term, but because I got distracted).
This is what I have currently:
2. Killer Win 7 PC.
3. Composite Output NTSC VHS (don't need s-vid).
4. Ten VHS tapes with hours of personal junk on them (like most of you do/did at one time).
5. A desire to Digitize this junk. (because never know when my friends silly face from 25 years ago might bring tears of joy).
This is what I need:
1. A video capture device.
2. The short version.
I know some of you guys are smarter than 6 of me, and vested in video editing. However my question needs the "laymen" answer, as once I get a leg-up on the what, I can usually figure out the why and how. Not always the who, who is not always applicable.
1. What PC Capture device is ideal.
I want to focus on better quality here since I'm using crap everywhere else. I'll use Amarec, and a ton of time messing about. Simple question I know, apparently the web doesn't think I'm trying hard enough.
I should also note, that while I seem like I should go the "Noob Guy" route with some junky all-in-one package that opens itself, installs itself on my pc and brings along an app buddy or two that hangs out in my tray all day. I'm more of a "I manage the crap outta my kick ass rig and when it slows due to bloatware infestations, I reload my custom day-1 clone when I built the beast to go on running like a King.
So don't be afraid to hit me with a harder bat, I can handle it.
I also have more than $200, but you gear guys always fall for that high price marketing thingy...
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Last edited by Owi; 26th Sep 2016 at 19:38.
I would probably look to a USB to PC option to reduce the budget.
I'm assuming you have a VCR that will work. EZ-CAP, the real one, is one example. Stay away from fakes. !!
If you are a 'purist' and your tapes are top quality, then it can get expensive. There are capture cards and older stand alone devices like DV units such as ADVC . To really work the best, you would need an upscale VHS deck and/or a TBC (Time Base Corrector).$
There are plenty of threads here for these and other options. Other members may have better suggestions.
And welcome to our forums.
Thanks Red. I've seen many threads talking about all of them, about the fake EzCap, Diamond, Haup, etc - however when I've looked for details there's really nothing to go on.
I suppose I should elaborate a bit, maybe it's less complicated than I think it is.... I do a lot of audio work, and hardware is everything - converters, mic pres, etc. I figured it would be similar with the interface for a VHS composite to usb in video - maybe bandwidth, quality components, if there's any 'converters' so to speak etc.
If it's a simple pass-through USB that really just relies on the software/codecs, then the hardware isn't a big deal? Is there any pecking order for those units? Like real ez-cap #1, Haup live 2 #2, Diamond VC500 # 3, etc. In other words, forgetting software, what would be the top 3 composite to USB video interfaces?
This really is not about 'high price gear stuff' but proper tools for the work.
Now your VCR might well play those tapes back to your tv but you could be shocked when you try to digitize them. That is why a TBC is so often recc. You could be lucky and do not require one but the chances are, espec if that VCR has been 'round the block', you will.
And digitizing/capturing is only part of the picture. You must also decide on the ultimate path for the capures beit dvd, pc-based video etc. Post-processing is probably more important than the capture.
10 tapes and a budget of $200. Ok. That is enough for an ezcap116 (bought from the official source) or a Hauppauge usb-live plus a TBC (if you need one). Or simply acquire a dvd-recorder. Copy tapes to disk and edit from there. It is quick 'n dirty but then many capture houses offer just that.
Or for that budget and only 10 tapes why not source a reputable transfer house. You would not need the equipment again and would get little trying to sell them S/H.
Now that you are accustomed to a high-resolution fixed-pixel display two feet in front of your face, you will be shocked at how fuzzy and crappy the VHS image appears, especially when scaled beyond 640 × 480. Every bit of quality you can wring out of the analog playback helps. Assuming you have a reasonably good VCR, the s-video output will be noticeably sharper, with fewer artifacts, than the composite connection.
hehe. good news. if you already have a VHS, and plan to use AmerecTV as your capture software, then you can spend literally $35 and get the I-o Data GV-USB2 capture device and take the $165 you saved and spend it on a nice microphone or whatever floats your boat.
Aww, bummer the price has gone up since I got mine. The secret on these babies must be out. Well, $40 is still a great deal.
There is no one-paragraph short version, and $200 could well be under budget given your apparent opinion that these ten tapes are "junk". Why? Because "junk" tapes are much harder to digitize tolerably than good to excellent tapes.
The reason you don't see a "good-better-best" video capture hardware range similar to whats available for audio is that nobody is doing analog video capture anymore as part of newly-produced projects. Analog audio is still a "thing" but analog video is dead aside from being an overused special effect in music videos or found-footage horror movies. That leaves a handful of laggards who just now decided "hmmm, maybe I should digitize that shoebox full of VHS tapes under the bed" (ten years after everyone else already digitized theirs). The majority of those people won't pay more than the going $30 rate for a USB capture stick, so thats what we have.
Of course there are other factors: earlier "pro" capture cards that installed within a PC were much more expensive, but paradoxically were often not as good at capturing VHS as the current cheapo USB sticks. PC standards changed, Windows OS changed, encoder chips got better and cheaper, laptops proliferated far more than desktops: before you knew it that expensive capture hardware was totally obsolete (as far back as Windows 7). By that time the market at that price level was gone, so those cards were never updated or replaced. A handful of USB sticks took over, and thats that. There were only one or two expensive internal cards that were truly considered "pro" quality anyway, and those are so obsolete they use PC slot specs that don't exist anymore.
The most important elements of the capture chain come BEFORE the capture device. Are your tapes second or third generation dubs or edits? They aren't gonna look too good digitized: in fact they're gonna be borderline unwatchable no matter what you do. One option for improving them is to lay hands on an SVHS or DVHS vcr with built-in TBC/DNR. As you've likely gleaned from the 10,000 vcr threads here on VH, those models clean up and filter out color noise and luma noise that would otherwise waste encoder bandwidth and reduce capture quality. As you've likely also gleaned, actually finding such a vcr that still works 100% is needle in a haystack, and alone might blow your $200 budget.
Next comes the external TBC conundrum. Some USB sticks work well without a TBC ahead of them, others don't: a lot depends on the specific vcr and tapes involved. You'll know you need a TBC if the capture has noticeable video or audio glitches not obvious in the original tape. Unfortunately finding a worthwhile TBC today is no easier than finding a high-end vcr. In most cases you're better off using a dvd recorder as "pass thru faux-TBC" (connect your VCR line outs to the recorder line ins, and the recorder line outs to your capture device). Late-model Toshibas are good for this, and the early Panasonic ES-10 and ES-15 are very popular for fixing atrociously bad third-gen videos.
Lastly you have the quick n dirty options of directly recording to DVD using a standalone recorder connected to your vcr, or connecting your vcr to an old Sony Handycam camcorder that converts analog video/audio line inputs to DV video output over FireWire. The dvd recorder route is better if you want dvds as the final product and don't want to rework them, but a pain if you want to edit after the fact. The Handycam method is the fastest easiest path to a digital PC file, and Handycams have some TBC-like abilities, but you'd need a FireWire connection on your PC and Handycam DV video entails some issues "power user" VH members despise.
If you get more specific about the contents and quality of these VHS tapes, and how you ultimately intend to use the captures in future, others here can give or point you to better-targeted advice. Is all this video personal camcorder stuff? Is it all first-generation or is some of it dubbed? Is it mostly longer-form events running 15 mins or more, or mostly gag reels of short segments? Details like that factor heavily on recommended workflow. Good luck with your project!
Last edited by orsetto; 27th Sep 2016 at 12:14.
Awesome info guys, I appreciate it. Didn't even see that I-o unit when looking around, that might do it.
It's all my own footage I took from the early 90s, mostly good clean tapes, couple overdubs on porn because nothing is more entertaining than interrupting emotional past memories with 2 seconds of John Holmes.
I barely played any of it back until I checked it yesterday, and it looked far better than I expected. I know repeat plays is no good so that's in my favor, and planned that way for the most part.
My intent is to archive it on my rotating three backups (3 separate disks of backups that include personal junk. I considered putting the first 8 years of forwarded jokes when everybody else in the late 90s finally 'caught on' that computers weren't going away, however decided it wasn't worth the 3mb zip file on my 6Tb drives.) So I'm looking for the digital files to hand down to my children, because there won't be any money or property.
My plan is to digitize them is 10 - 20 minute segments, store it away. No plan on post-work cleaning up (unless I have to fool with settings initially to ensure no audio drift). In 20 years I'll have my pet robot run the files through "Google AI Cleanup Wizard"! I just want the best possible copy with what I currently have.
I-O DATA GV-USB2 is probably a good capture device. However it won't magically eliminate the need for other equipment when capturing some individual VHS tapes. Flagging/tearing and waviness are common, but you won't see them on your TV when playing the tape with the VCR. TVs have their own corrective circuitry for analog video input, but capture devices do not have anything similar. The DVD recorders mentioned by orsetto can mitigate these problems much of the time, when used as a pass-through.
Before and after for a wavy picture:
Last edited by usually_quiet; 27th Sep 2016 at 15:37. Reason: grammar
SameSelf is a troll, not a rebel. The moderators have moved some of his threads out of sight, and closed others. Since other members stopped replying to his own bait threads, he has recently adopted new approach to starting arguments. Since there are a lot of VHS questions, he's decided to disrupt any thread where a newbie is asking for help with hardware selection by telling them they will never need anything other than a working VCR and a capture device to make great VHS transfers.
There are visible problems with his captures using the I-O DATA GV-USB2. Although it was pointed out to him in the thread he linked to that his samples are wavy due to a lack of TBC, and whites are clipped, he continues to offer them up as proof of his claims. You'd think someone who says he color grades his camera work with professional software would notice problems like that, but since that runs contrary to his goal of antagonizing the veteran members here, suddenly he's gone blind.
Last edited by usually_quiet; 28th Sep 2016 at 09:54.
Update and a question!
First off, thanks again to all of you, I see everyone trying to be helpful and I truly appreciate it.
I got the I-O device, installed/setup flawlessly both the device and AmarecTV, though my flawlessness is likely to be an abomination of video'wrong' to many of you, still I'm happy.
1. Video and audio look great on AmarecTV capture - perfect sync, 60fps, virtually no waving on the top/bottom, no obvious zaggies. audio sync through entire 4 minute file. H U G E files. Decided, ok... maybe some edits are in store... so then captured a smaller file to experiment with.
2. Installed VirtualDub. Throw my file on there, add Deinterlace filter, increase the saturation just a tad, wowzer Holmes never looked better (for the gals that is... for the gals).
3. Get super pumped, Save the avi, watch it quickly encode with my previously installed x264vfw. Open the new file, instant 80's kung-fu flashback - mouths moving, words completely out of sync... (yes I know it was the english translation in the past, but the flashback happened I tell ya!) So ya, audio off-sync.
4. Start moving things around, clicking check-marks, arbitrarily sliding sliders (well not really, but it felt like that), and no matter what, audio stayed out of sync (15 second file, audio off immediately).
So before I go and do stuff like offsets which I'm fairly sure is a not-so-great-band-aid over the real issue, I'm fairly sure many of you ran into this and likely has an obvious solution, at the very least a few common suggestions with regards to Virtuadub audio syncing to the material.
So please, bat time - I need more help. Sum: VirtualDub won't sync my originally sync'd audio, its like 2 seconds off. X264 codec, de-interlace filter.
Edit: I've decided to put a few bucks toward a video editing software. Probably going to be one of those 2-week hobbies where I'll go nuts then forget I ever even went through that stage, however I'm gonna do it. Was going to grab Corel V9, then saw the quicktime thing and am on the hunt again (I avoided and hated QT even when it was 'cool', like social media the last 10 years!). So any additional recommendations to what commercial video editor a majority of 'in the know' would advise to use? Aside from Premiere/Vegas.
Last edited by Owi; 29th Sep 2016 at 15:44.
Not familiar with AmarecTV so do not know what format it defaults to. 'H U G E' is not much help since video files can be huge. You can throw one of those in to mediainfo and tell us what you see but I do guess it is uncompressed video so, yes, the files will be H U G E.
As for your experience with vd, you are attempting over-kill at capture level ie compression + processing. So you PC is working overtime. Do not capture with a lossy format such as h264 AND attempt deinterlace all at the same time. VHS is an interlaced format and if you do want to deinterlace then do it after capture AND from a lossless capture such as huffyuv or lagarith
Cmon now I even posted my steps there Db -- Hence the steps nose man (what IS that avatar?!!)
I captured first (yes lossless aka H U G E, Lagarith for specifics), and no processing at this level. Videe+Audio in perfect sync on playback. (1)
De-interlace done with the previously captured file. (2)
A slow PC won't cause audio lag at the encoding part, it would just slow the entire process down (I've had a bit of experience with this in Audio commercial editing, but only for my own fun and with existing solid files). My PC is beastly, but that's not really important here. What IS important is why VirtualDub won't keep my audio in sync when encoding to x264vfw (3).
I abandoned VirtualDub for capture because of audio sync problems. Perhaps you're running into a similar bug. If the sync offset is constant, you can fix it under Audio/Interleaving/Audio Skew Correction. I was doing x264 compression with VidCoder until I noticed that it alters video levels, so now I do all x264 encoding with FFmpeg.
Thanks JVR, think Ima do the same.
Pippas, didn't realize that was stuff with *Mr Bean* - one of my all time favs! Lived in Croughton UK for 4 years early 90s in the AirForce, wife is British, I cook roast meals with batter pudding twice a month, make mince pie and proper Christmas cake with marzipan every year!
Where is Croughton (Not that it has anything to do with this topic). Oh I guess you mean RAF Croughton
Apologies for mis-reading your earlier post. I just got the notion that you tried to recapture since the original file was large. But you never did state that the original capture was lagarith whose files are not as H U G E as you think. Now uncompressed is HUGE. Yet you previously stated that you did not intend to do any post-processing which a re-encode/deinterlace is. Hence the confusion.
Also I do expect that my friends on the forum from the other side of the pond fully appreciate the subtle humour that was Blackadder. (And series 4 - where the avatar comes from - also for more specific reasons re WW1 - is one of my all timer favourite tv programs)
Haha no worries mate, I know you were just trying to be helpful. I always loved Bean and British humour in general, however was a bit hard for me to get into BlackAdder I might have to give it another go.
Ya I'd *really* like to get VirtualDub working with the audio sync I'm sure it's a simple thing since it's in sync to begin with before encoding. I'll mess with it some more see what I can come up with, but any help would be greatly appreciated.
That is great to hear! Thanks for posting back your results. So, you've got the I-o Data GV-USB2 and successfully configured AmarecTV to capture to a Lagarith format. You caps look great and everything is in sync. Now, you want to do some post processing on the video before encoding with x264 and are running into problems. Welcome to the wonderful world of freeware. YMMV. But you didn't give up. A little perseverance goes a long way!
You asked about spending some hard earned bux on a proper NLE. Here is what I can tell you. Adobe Premiere Elements, Sony Movie Studio, TMPGEnc Authoring Works, etc., should all be good choices for under $100. All these software have free trials, and I would definitely give them a test run before you pull the trigger because the differences can be profound. But, I don't think they will get you any closer to de-interlacing your captures than you already are with vdub. I have used pro level NLEs for years, but I never use them to de-interlace. Spending money on a good NLE can be worthwhile if you do a lot of editing on your footage (cuts, fades, etc.), but for restoration work, like de-interlacing, they are less than ideal. Pros who do this for a living will actually purchase expensive, third party plug-ins for their NLE when they need to do any restoration work like de-interlacing, noise reduction, etc. And I don't even know if the cheaper NLEs under $100 will even support plug-ins.
I don't have any idea why vdub was messing up your captures other than that it is buggy software that is no longer maintained by its developer. I have only ever used vdub as a player to debug Avisynth scripts—never any of its built in filters. But that brings me to my next point. It requires some heavy lifting, but Avisynth's de-interlacing filter, QTGMC, basically has no rivals. I use it for all my captures and even for interlaced HD content I occasionally come across. And here is the best part, Avisynth is a frameserver. That means you can create a script that de-interlaces your captures and use that script directly as input into Handbrake, ffmpeg, the x264 cli, etc. This means you completely avoid the intermediate AVI that you are currently generating in vdub. If QTGMC is too complex, Avisynth—I think—has some built in de-interlacers like bob and maybe yadif.
So, as you can see, there are lots of options and the important thing is settling on one that works for you which it sounds like you may have already done. Good luck!
Last edited by SameSelf; 30th Sep 2016 at 08:43.
Something to consider which I didn't see anyone else mention...
Another way you can do it, which in the end I found to be my preferred way of converting VHS to digital is to go with a stand alone set-top DVD recorder and not bother using a computer for the capturing portion of this task at all. I went full circle in this area, starting with computer capture devices and then going to the stand alone recorder and in the end it gave me the best results.
The benefits of going this route is that the units are already set-up to give you optimal results without having to dive into complicated software settings, and you can avoid issues with the O/S or other programs on your computer interfering with the capture process, which can cause you to drop frames and create glitchy videos.
Not all DVD Recorders are created the same. This day in age there aren't very many new ones on the market so you may have to look second hand. I had very good results with both JVC and Pioneer units if you can find one.
Once you have your captured video on a DVD, you can bring it over to the computer for further enhancements and editing.
For improving picture quality, I use VidCoder/Handbrake (free software) with some tweaked encoder and filter settings. This may or may not help the quality of the video, depending on the content, but I found for some types of content, the filters could remove a lot of grain and noise from the video. Keep in mind this is going to re-encode the video a second time, which is lossy. You can also convert the DVD content to a file you can use on youtube, your computer or what have you if that is your desired end result.
If you want to author the DVD further, and add some menu's, remove some clips of the floor or the sky, I had very good luck with TMPEG DVD Authoring Works. This is not free software but has the ability for you to make changes to your captured video and only re-encode the portions of the footage that have been edited. This in the end will give you the best quality, and then you can burn the content to a permanent DVD or BluRay disk for archiving.
As for TBC's really these are only necessary if your takes are really badly degraded, and barely playable. For only 10 tapes, I wouldn't bother with it, as they are expensive. These are more for professional conversions, and do require some set-up on their own as far as levels go (best to use a scope). If you have a TBC built into your VCR....fantastic, use it! If not though, both the JVC and Pioneer DVD recorders do a pretty good job of ignoring the errors from the tape.
Something you will want to keep in mind... your VHS tapes are interlaced, 240 lines. Capturing at a higher resolution, will not improve the video quality,and you want to make sure you leave your settings as interlaced when working on the computer, or you will end up getting jerky video.
As for the EasyCap, I own one and they do work and are very inexpensive. The software that comes with them however is quite limited (reflects the price) so if you go this route you will probably want to get something better to work with the video content afterwards. (Corel VideoStudio, Pinnacle, etc)
Hope this helps...just wanted to suggest an alternative approach to this, that has worked very well for me.
"Good enough" is always subjective. If you like the results of encoding to DVD-Video (MPEG-2) and then re-encoding in MPEG-4, that's fine. But if you already have the DVD recorder and are willing to spend an additional $30, you can get a stabilized lossless capture that will be archival quality. You're never going to deal with this videocassette again, so why not make the best digital version you reasonably can?
Most people only care about good enough, and the bar for good enough is usually low. The OP in this thread falls into that category as well. He's using a capture device all by itself and is perfectly happy with what sounds like minor flagging and slight rippling in his captures.
[Edit] Yes I understand that you, JVRaines, are suggesting using a DVD recorder as a pass through plus a capture device. ...but what I'm trying to get across is that because many novices don't know what look for (and aren't interested in being taught), they can't perceive that anything is wrong with the video they have captured, and they won't take any suggestions for improving their captures. Yeah, we're done here.
Last edited by usually_quiet; 2nd Oct 2016 at 15:31.
For instance, I abhor compression artifacts: to me nothing is worse - like blotches of amoeba bouncing around the photo/video - even the small ones bug the crap out of me. To go along with that, I also abhor post noise reduction. On moving video, artifacts and noise reduction jumps out at me like a never-ending fart during a moment of silence. Plus, it's the reason all our kids look like plastic dolls in their school photos.
My 60fps captures are far better than the vast majority I've seen. Fluidity, no tearing/rippling, no flagging, no clipping unless I pointed it at the sun (love to point things at the sun - very good for sensors) and just about a 5-7 pixel minor shimmer at the bottom which I've removed in only a few edits. And that's because, as I mentioned before, I choose the "closest to pro" methodology for making those tapes in early 90s to begin with.
I'm no expert on VHS digitizing. On the contrary, I stated my methodology and equipment I planned on using, specifically to get to those meat-n-taters of what I intended to do. But don't assume I don't know what to look for, aren't interested in learning or taking suggestions, or have poor perception on what my final product is... I asked, learned, and applied in my generic methodology I've always had success in.
... I needed to get the leg up on the what, then figured out the why and how. And yep, the "who" wasn't applicable.
Last edited by Owi; 11th Oct 2016 at 20:14.
Just to be clear, I was talking about actually recording the output from a VCR with a DVD recorder, which I did to a limited extent when I first bought one 10 years ago to make a few of my recorded TV shows on VHS "portable".
Using one of the afore mentioned Panasonic DVD recorders as a pass through device to substitute for a TBC won't introduce compression artifacts, because the video has not yet been compressed. DNR can be turned off with these models. When they are needed to correct a problem, they do far more good than harm, in most cases.
Last edited by usually_quiet; 11th Oct 2016 at 22:10.