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  1. Member
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    Hello.

    I have several VHS tapes with my family records. Since the tapes tend to deteriorate with time, I decided to capture them three years ago. As these tapes are located in another town, I wasn't able to use my desktop PC and was forced to use a laptop together with an USB capture stick. Spent some time capturing and finally I made a bunch of video files containing my precious records. I don't have any plans to visit this town soon so I need to work with captures I already have. That's why I placed this topic in the conversion forum and not in the VHS capture one.

    So, what's the problem? I have these files laying on my HDD and occupying 120+ GB of storage space. I haven't touched these files since I captured them. They are so massive that I'm not able to backup them anywhere. I clearly need to encode them and backup in a safe place (a cloud storage, another HDD, etc., more is better).
    The source format is: HuffYUV video, interlaced, 4:2:2 color subsampling, WAV audio.

    My aim is to make these videos smaller so I will be able to backup them. These records are really important for me so the strict requirement is not to make the video quality ever worse. Of course, any lossy codec has a quality impact, but there are ways to minimize it. In audio coding we have a term called transparency and this is what I'm targeting here. My plan is to deinterlace, denoise videos (to make them more compressible), crop them a little and encode. Still, the less space the result will occupy, the more options I will have for the backup location.

    The first question is how to encode these files. Option number one is to make a lossless version (FFV1+FLAC) to store on the HDD and a medium-quality lossy backup version. Haven't seem anyone keeping a lossless VHS capture but it's still a case. Option number two is to make a single high-quality lossy version. This option is certainly preferred if it's possible to maintain visually unchanged quality.

    The second question is a video codec. I don't have any compatibility requirements so any option will suit. This basically means choosing between AVC and HEVC codecs. Again, does using a more recent one (HEVC) will benefit in a case of a VHS record?

    The third question is which encoding tool will suit the best. I've already tried the Handbrake tool. It has a pretty decent denoise filter called NLMeans. The documentation says that the filter has even a separate VHS preset, through I wasn't managed to find it in the interface. Still, the resulting video contains noticeable amount of noise which certainly affects codec efficiency. Another issue with Handbrake is that it uses a poor AAC encoder (faac). Also I've found some AviSynth scripts designed specially to clean up VHS, but I haven't tried them as I'm not sure I'll gain a better quality and compression ratio with them. Another option is the good old ffmpeg command line tool.

    The fourth question is a tool to do an A/B testing to control the video quality. Such tool is really necessary for me to be calm about the resulting file.
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  2. Short response to your very long first post.

    First, you sound like someone who knows quite a bit about video and doesn't really need someone else to tell them what to do.

    Second, I am not sure why, in this day and age of TB+ hard drives, 120 GB of video files would present a problem for archiving purposes. Those caps are your master files. Are you planning to nuke them? I would work to find a way to back those up as-is or just leave them where they are at. Why are they suddenly a problem?
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  3. Member
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    Use Macrium Reflect Free to clone or image [or both] to other media.PLEASE read the manual first,even though Macrium is simple to use.
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  4. Member
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    Originally Posted by h31 View Post
    ... and was forced to use a laptop together with an USB capture stick.
    Certainly not optimal, people in the German doom9/Gleitz board spent a lot of efforts in producing a guide for people with higher demands and better hardware. But well, as you said, not the main topic here.

    Originally Posted by h31 View Post
    The first question is how to encode these files. Option number one is to make a lossless version (FFV1+FLAC) to store on the HDD and a medium-quality lossy backup version. Haven't seem anyone keeping a lossless VHS capture but it's still a case.
    It is not that uncommon, indeed. Some people may put external HDD's into safe places. They will have enough space even for lossless masters.

    Originally Posted by h31 View Post
    Option number two is to make a single high-quality lossy version. This option is certainly preferred if it's possible to maintain visually unchanged quality.
    If "visually transparent quality" is enough, I would recommend this way as well.

    Originally Posted by h31 View Post
    The second question is a video codec. I don't have any compatibility requirements so any option will suit. This basically means choosing between AVC and HEVC codecs. Again, does using a more recent one (HEVC) will benefit in a case of a VHS record?
    Probably not much. The main advantage of HEVC over AVC is in higher resolutions. Disadvantages instead are higher efforts of the encoding process (higher energy and time consumption) and reduced compatibility (to edit them later, you will need a tool which can decode your material; some might implement AVC but not HEVC, who knows, could be too complex to support, or too expensive to license...)

    I believe compressing your material with x264 and CRF 6..12, maybe with a profile for fast decoding (shorter GOPs, few B frames, few references like Blu-ray or DXVA compatibility), should produce a "semi-master" which will be easy enough to handle. AVC even still supports interlacing, you may not even have to process it all right now. If you ever decide to encode it as DVD Video, it can stay interlaced. Many TV sets have good interpolation techniques of old SD material.

    Originally Posted by h31 View Post
    The third question is which encoding tool will suit the best.
    Often a matter of taste. Different tools have different concepts of user interface and workflows. Regarding AviSynth supporting tools, StaxRip x64 and MeGUI are probably among the most recommendable. MeGUI is more detailed, flexible, and technically oriented, IMHO.

    Originally Posted by h31 View Post
    The fourth question is a tool to do an A/B testing to control the video quality. Such tool is really necessary for me to be calm about the resulting file.
    Since Roberto J. Amorim's audio codec surveys, I know there ABX test tools for audio encoding; but some people have discussed this topic for video as well. I found some in the hydrogenaud.io and doom9 forum.
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  5. Dinosaur Supervisor KarMa's Avatar
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    Staxrip has a pretty nice tool for comparing two identical videos but which have been filtered or encoded differently.
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  6. My favorite method of comparing videos is with AviSynth and VirtualDub, along with Windows' built in magnifier. I create a script like:

    Code:
    v1 = AviSource("original.avi")
    v2 = AviSource("encoded.avi")
    Interleave(v1,v2)
    Then open the script with VirtualDub. The script interleaves frames of the two videos so as you step through the video you can flip back and forth between a frame of the source and a frame of the encoded video. Using the screen magnifier you can examine minute details.

    To compare the two video side by side use:

    Code:
    v1 = AviSource("original.avi")
    v2 = AviSource("encoded.avi")
    StackHorizontal(v1,v2)
    Or use StackVertical to see them over/under. This is useful for problems that are only visible in motion.

    Sometimes I need to compare two encoded videos to a source and use script like:

    Code:
    v0 = AviSource("original.avi")
    v1 = AviSource("encoded1.avi")
    v2 = AviSource("encoded2.avi")
    Interleave(v0,v1,v2,v0)
    With that I can easily flip back and forth between a frame of the the source and the first encoded video, or the first encoded video and the second encoded video, or the second encoded video and the source.

    Another thing you can do is subtract one video from another, pixel by pixel:

    Code:
    v1 = AviSource("original.avi")
    v2 = AviSource("encoded.avi")
    Subtract(v1,v2) # really v1-v2+128
    Where the videos are identical you get a flat grey image, where they differ you get some variation (lighter or darker). You can amplify the differences with something like:

    Code:
    v1 = AviSource("original.avi")
    v2 = AviSource("encoded.avi")
    Subtract(v1,v2)
    Levels(120,1,136,0,255)
    You can also interleave the differences with the videos themselves:

    Code:
    v1 = AviSource("original.avi")
    v2 = AviSource("encoded.avi")
    Interleave(v1, v2, Subtract(v1,v2).Levels(120,1,136,0,255))
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    Your total storage will decrease to around 80 GB if you re-encode to FFV1. Is that too big to back up?
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    Thank you for the answers! You really help me.
    Looks like StaxRip tool suits me the best.

    Originally Posted by SameSelf View Post
    Second, I am not sure why, in this day and age of TB+ hard drives, 120 GB of video files would present a problem for archiving purposes. Those caps are your master files. Are you planning to nuke them? I would work to find a way to back those up as-is or just leave them where they are at. Why are they suddenly a problem?
    Originally Posted by JVRaines View Post
    Your total storage will decrease to around 80 GB if you re-encode to FFV1. Is that too big to back up?
    It's not a problem fo me to store them on the HDD. But if they were 10 GB in total, it would be possible to backup them to Google Drive. 80 GB means that the only option is to store them locally or buy some cloud storage, which is quite expensive.

    Originally Posted by LigH.de View Post
    Certainly not optimal, people in the German doom9/Gleitz board spent a lot of efforts in producing a guide for people with higher demands and better hardware. But well, as you said, not the main topic here.
    I was very curious about how much the capture device distorts a video, so I've tried to capture an output of the DVD player. The video was obviously not ideal but it was incomparably better than the VHS cassettes (ever when I played them directly on a CTR TV set). You are right, it's not optimal, but achieving a better quality will require me to spend a lot of time and money.
    I know there are several video studios in the town which can capture my tapes and write then on DVD. I asked them to make a cassette-to-cassette copy at the time when VHS was still relevant and the resulting quality was really disappointing.

    Originally Posted by LigH.de View Post
    Originally Posted by h31 View Post
    Option number two is to make a single high-quality lossy version. This option is certainly preferred if it's possible to maintain visually unchanged quality.
    If "visually transparent quality" is enough, I would recommend this way as well.
    The only thing that concerns me is that maybe in 5-10 years we'll have a wonderful restoration algorithm, and lossy compression will make it inapplicable. I know it's hard to predict such thing, we can only guess...

    Originally Posted by LigH.de View Post
    Probably not much. The main advantage of HEVC over AVC is in higher resolutions. Disadvantages instead are higher efforts of the encoding process (higher energy and time consumption) and reduced compatibility (to edit them later, you will need a tool which can decode your material; some might implement AVC but not HEVC, who knows, could be too complex to support, or too expensive to license...)

    I believe compressing your material with x264 and CRF 6..12, maybe with a profile for fast decoding (shorter GOPs, few B frames, few references like Blu-ray or DXVA compatibility), should produce a "semi-master" which will be easy enough to handle. AVC even still supports interlacing, you may not even have to process it all right now. If you ever decide to encode it as DVD Video, it can stay interlaced. Many TV sets have good interpolation techniques of old SD material.
    Why do you think the "light" profile is a better choice? I am pretty certain that in 5-10 years all my devices will be powerful enough to decode H.264/H.265 with any possible set of options. I'm not going to was these videos every evening, just keep them and be sure they're safe.
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  9. Member
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    Originally Posted by h31 View Post
    The only thing that concerns me is that maybe in 5-10 years we'll have a wonderful restoration algorithm, and lossy compression will make it inapplicable. I know it's hard to predict such thing, we can only guess...
    Well, I rather believe in Claude Shannon's Theory of Information than in "CSI: Mandelbrodt"...



    I already witnessed a few of such ideas in the last 10 years, and I doubt the next 10 years will surprise me. Lost details stay lost. "Restoration" is guessing; as educated as it may be, it will never know.


    Originally Posted by h31 View Post
    Why do you think the "light" profile is a better choice? I am pretty certain that in 5-10 years all my devices will be powerful enough to decode H.264/H.265 with any possible set of options. I'm not going to was these videos every evening, just keep them and be sure they're safe.
    It doesn't matter much how long it takes to decode frame 290 in a 300 frame GOP. But quantization errors will have propagated more during 290 frames than during 9. More P and B frames per GOP will increase encoding efficiency, but limit quality preservation. You want either a final compression or an edit master. Their requirements are contrary.
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    Originally Posted by LigH.de View Post
    It doesn't matter much how long it takes to decode frame 290 in a 300 frame GOP. But quantization errors will have propagated more during 290 frames than during 9. More P and B frames per GOP will increase encoding efficiency, but limit quality preservation. You want either a final compression or an edit master. Their requirements are contrary.
    Sounds right. Thank you, LigH.de!
    Will try to encode several scenes with different options. Also I've decided to keep master copies on the HDD and reencode them using FFV1. 80 GB is not too much nowadays, and I will make a separate copy for cloud storage.
    If you have a time-tested AviSynth script tuned for VHS denoise and deinterlace - I will be glad to see it
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    Me not.

    But if anyone knows how to handle VHS in AviSynth, that may be Fizick.
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  12. Originally Posted by h31 View Post
    If you have a time-tested AviSynth script tuned for VHS denoise and deinterlace - I will be glad to see it
    There is no one-size-fits-all. Different VHS sources require different kinds of filtering. In addition, there are a ton of denoisers and different people prefer different ones and different ones for different kinds of sources. As for deinterlacing - single-rate, double-rate (bobbing), IVTC, unblending, what? Yours is a question with no answer or with a thousand answers. If you have a question about a specific source, then provide 10 well-chosen seconds of it for advice.
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