I'm not sure if this the correct site to post this...but not sure where else to post it or a more appropriate forum.
I am trying to digitize my old VHS tapes of our family. I am using a VC500 to do the capturing and found out about VirtualDub (if there is something newer/better please let me know) as the video capture software. I am trying to encode the video into a lossless format so I am using x264vfw which has a "Single pass- lossless" option. Everything seems to be working but on the output file I can't tell if it is recorded "lossless". Is there a way to validate that it is indeed recording it in the lossless format? I see no reference about it being recorded as "lossless". I only see H264 - MPEG-4 AVC (part 10) (H264) http://imgur.com/a/jF4FM.
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Using the tool called "Mediainfo" it shows the "Encoding Settings:".
Encoding settings : cabac=1 / ref=3 / ..... qp=0
I feel at this point it is enough validation that it is indeed recording the files as "lossless".
Should I be using another lossless format than this x264? Is there a better way to clean up this video (e.g. cleaning up all the fuzz and stuff?). I don't expect 1080p but anything would be beneficial.
I'm not sure why you think you need lossless. You are capturing VHS, and whatever artifacts you might get from a simpler-to-use lossless codec will not be noticed given the massive artifacts inherent in VHS. I just did another large project, involving about fifty tapes, and I can honestly say that, during several days of restoration efforts, I never once saw any issue that made me say, "wow, I wished I saved this using a lossless codec."
I ended up filling up two 2 TB drives, even with a lossy codec, so for me, all that extra storage space would be a PITA, especially since I like to keep copies of everything, as I go along, because I can't afford to spend the time to re-capture everything, should a hard drive fail.
Be careful with x264vfw lossless. If you're capturing YUV 4:2:2 it will be converted to YUV 4:2:0 before compression (losing half the vertical color resolution) and if you don't force interlaced mode the chroma of the two fields will be blurred together.
Use a real lossless codec that works in YUV 422 mode like, Lagarith, UT Video Codec, or even the old Huffyuv (the last doesn't have an installer that works with 64 bit Windows so you have to go through some manual installation steps).
My opinion is that you are going to convert these tapes once for all posterity, so you might as well do the best job you reasonably can. Disk space is so cheap these days, there's no reason to throw away data. The restoration tools may improve ten-fold in the future but they won't be any help if you've thrown away the information they could have used.
I have no argument for doing the best job that you can ...
... but ...
you actually need to do tests to see if you can spot any real differences between one approach and another. If instead you capture using lossless or uncompressed, without doing tests, you potentially are creating all sorts of unnecessary hurdles, causing you to take more time, without any commensurate returns.
In this case, "doing tests" would mean encoding 30-60 seconds of selected footage (meaning a variety of different scenes) using different codecs. Then, watch the video on a big screen, and see if you can spot anything as the video is playing. There are always differences, of course, and if you look at a blown up section of a still-frame grab of the video, you will probably see them. However, you can also see tremendous artifacts if you do a capture of OTA TV, about the best HD quality you can get, and yet despite all those artifacts, it looks quite good as you watch it.
You ask what codec I use. It is the much-despised (on this forum) DV codec. Why do I use a codec that does such violence to chroma? Because it doesn't matter for NTSC analog video, due to how the chroma information is encoded (the old joke is that NTSC stands for Never The Same Color). The advantage of DV is that the capture is bulletproof: I've been doing it since the late 1990s and never dropped a frame. I just finished a huge project yesterday where I captured almost 30 VHS and original 8mm tapes, using DV. I had zero problems with the capture, as usual, and because DV is trivial to smart-render (i.e., do cuts-only edits without degrading the video), I can breeze through this huge project (30+ hours in total) with very little effort.
So, I fully agree that the end quality is always the most important thing, but so is getting to the end of the project. I never get side-tracked when using my trusted old workflow.
And yes, I've done a few captures with more modern capture equipment and by the time I get to the final delivered result, I'll be darned if I can see any differences that actually matter.
Thank you for the detailed reply. Unfortunately a lot of that is over my head. I understand the basics of avi being a container and then you having your codecs and the compression etc. But as for knowing the ratios and the other ins and outs of the codecs and editing them and stuff I don't know a thing about it. But I get your point of getting through something and with "reasonable" quality ofnVHS.
I wanted to minimize the amount of times i played these tapes as they are on their last legs. So didn't want to go through 30 different codecs testing if I could help it. I'll look into the DV format. I just want something that retains good quality video, will be around and supported in 20 years. I'm not *as* concerned with space as I have a 30TB NAS that I can keep stuff on but do get the point of not needlessly wasting space for no apparent quality improvement.
Few more questions for everyone. My VCR i'm using only has the standard AV jacks (red white yellow). Would it be worthwhile trying to find a VCR with SVideo or component?
While we have a discussion going on quality, I also have little digital video recorder (sony tvr-320) as well. It has a an SVideo out and what I believe is firewire it says it is "i link" or something. Will the quality be any different in using the firewire or the SVideo? As for codecs/compression to use with this, would it be worthwhile in using lossless for this or sticking with the some lossy codecs that were suggested?
Lagarith crashes VirtualDub. UT seems to work and Huffyuv seems to work. UT doesn't seem to work on playback using anything I have (VLC, etc) I know it doesn't really matter as it is just for archival, but if I can't get it to play with stuff in today, how easy will it be to get a codec to play in 2037? Grass Valley crashes saying "Video compressor error: An unknown error occurred". Huffyuv seems to work as does x264.
I hate to say it, but if I'm having trouble getting these things to work now (doesn't support windows 10, is buggy crashes), how am I really supposed to expect that this will work _AT__ALL_ in 20 years?
In 20 years, they will still be around, because they are open source (or at least UT and huffyuv are, lagarith is closed) . It's not some closed , obscure, or proprietary format that will suddenly have no support once someone decides so (such as some Apple controlled formats).
I'm using VLC 2.2.4, which is the latest version on Windows 10.
Edit: Looks like it isn't support in 2.x but is in 3.x on a nightly build https://forum.videolan.org/viewtopic.php?t=123945. I am going to try it and see.
Last edited by kur1j; 19th Mar 2017 at 14:44.
I selected "UtVideo YUV422 BT.709 VCM". What are the differences in UtVideo YUV420 BT.601 VCM, UtVideo YUV420 BT.709 VCM, UtVideo YUV422 BT.601VCM and UtVideo YUV422 BT.709 VCM?
Edit: Using UtVideo YUV422 BT.601VCM VLC 2.2.4 seems to be able to read it.
Last edited by kur1j; 19th Mar 2017 at 14:52.
420 is 4:2:0 chroma subsampling, 422 is 4:2:2 chroma subsampling
601 is for SD, 709 is for HD by convention
You should be using YUV422 BT.601 for SD captures
Also, UT Video can be compiled cross platform . If "Microsoft" goes bankrupt or maybe moves to cloud and you don't want a cloud OS or whatever, you can still run it for both encode/decode on Linux, Mac . There is a ffmpeg variant for both encode/decode. Whereas something like lagarith is windows only encode (but ffmpeg can cross platform decode)
I hate to tell you this but Lagarith, UT Video, HuffYUV, Grass Valley and the old v1.?? MagicYUV (assuming you're strictly a home user) all work very well with 64-bit Windows 10 and Virtualdub. They also all seem to work (with the exception of Lagarith) with the newer Virtualdub FilterMod update/follow up. Sounds like you've got other issues with your system. Just to rub things in a bit deeper, they also all work very nicely with both VLC and MPC-HC. Sorry. (You are using the 32-bit version(s) of Vdub?)
Grass Valley HQX here on 32 bit Windows 10 no problems at all.....
Another alternative codec you might like to try is Cineform HD which comes with the free GoPro Studio software... Regarding its 'long term viability' ?...-- well, this might be an important indicator:
You might also like to look at capturing with AmaRecTV software?.... I find there are fewer issues with audio sync than with Virtualdub
Even though you need to buy the AMV codec if you want to use that particular codec, it works fine as a free program with both Grass Valley and Cineform HD codecs (and I dare say most of the other codecs mentioned in this thread) .....
Last edited by pippas; 19th Mar 2017 at 16:42.
Thank you for the detailed reply. Unfortunately a lot of that is over my head
While you may have lots of storage, you ideally always should have any digital asset, whether music, photos, video, or documents, in more than one place. Digital media is unique in that one point of failure (your hard drive) will wipe out all of your media, forever, unless you have it in more than one place. By contrast, if you damaged a negative, only that one photo or movie would have been compromised. Thus, storage size always matters, because you need at least 2x the storage capacity that you initially think you might need in order to make sure your media will actually be around in twenty years.
P.S. I just saw the post about Cineform. That is excellent advice and I totally agree with it. Cineform is an absolutely fabulous lossy codec, and if you use one of the higher quality settings, it becomes very, very difficult to find any differences or issues compared to the original. FWIW, before GoPro bought Cineform, this codec cost close to $1,000, depending on the version you got. It is quite professional.
Last edited by johnmeyer; 19th Mar 2017 at 15:43. Reason: Added P.S. to respond to post made while I was typing.
Trying to do a test capture with the codec crashes VirtualDub 64bit with the following error.
I was using UtVideo YUV422 BT.709 VCM. It is confirmed here (https://forum.videolan.org/viewtopic.php?t=123945) that it doesn't work on VLC 2.2.4. 3.x+ is required (which isn't out and is only available as a nightly build).
For Grass Valley:
Downloaded it from here: https://www.videohelp.com/software/Grass-Valley-HQX-Codec
selected the "Grass Valley Lossless" compression. (I had to checkbox "Show all codecs, even if they may not work) to find it.
Ran it and got this error. "Video compressor error: an unknown error occurred (may be corrupt data). (error code - 100)
I googled around for the error message but seems pretty generic. The grass valley website does not show support for Windows 10 officially either.
Have you actually first hand gotten them work with Window 10 Pro 64 bit, VirtualDub 64bit? If you have let me know, would be interested in seeing how you fixed it.
I was talking about your comment "You ask what codec I use. It is the much-despised (on this forum) DV codec. Why do I use a codec that does such violence to chroma? Because it doesn't matter for NTSC analog video, due to how the chroma information is encoded (the old joke is that NTSC stands for Never The Same Color). The advantage of DV is that the capture is bulletproof". I'm not familiar with the "DV codec", "violence to chroma" references.
Crash reason: Integer Divide-by-Zero Crash context: An integer division by zero occurred in module 'Veedub64'... ...while compressing frame 0 from 02ef0008 to 02157980 using codec "GoPro CineForm Codec (x64) v9.2.1" (VideoSequenceCompressor.cpp:619). Pointer dumps: RAX 00010000: 00000000 00000000 6bd3b117 0100e672 ffeeffee 00000001 00010120 00000000 RSI 02ef0008: 237223d4 237223d4 237223d4 237223d4 237223d4 237223d4 237223d4 237223d4 RSP 05969ae8: 00000000 00000000 00000000 00000000 00000000 00000000 00000000 00000000 05969b08: 00000000 00000000 b46026e9 0000adcc 00000001 00000000 7ad219b0 00007ff8 05969b28: 00000003 00000000 00000108 00000000 0000045c 00000000 02c2059c 00000000 05969b48: 9ee2dfd2 00007ff8 02c217e8 00000000 02c207e4 00000000 02c20001 00000000 R13 00456960: 00000000 00000000 00000000 00000000 00000000 00000000 00000000 00000000
VirtualDub or Amarectv for video capture? I believe those only put video in avi containers and no mkv files. Will I just have to dump it to a lossless avi with either of those and then encode again into mkv?
I have also had a LOT better luck with all of the codecs working in Amarectv. All of the ones that Virtualdub crashed with that I spoke about earlier seems to work just fine. So it definitely isn't my system but Virtualdub.
Because it is the codec used by virtually all SD digital camcorders, for almost a decade. It was used not only by camcorders labeled as DV camcorders, but also by the Sony incarnation called "Digital 8." Given that these camcorders were sold by the millions for almost a decade, up until HD really started to take off, there is no other single codec that has encoded more consumer video. When consumer video first changed from analog to digital, almost all camcorders were DV (there were a few disc-based camcorders that used MPEG-2). It was a universal standard. However, when HD came along, every manufacturer started coming up with their own codecs and variations. Instead of a single standard, you can now get cameras that use all sorts of different codecs, frame rates, resolutions, and other variations. In addition, there has been a proliferation of codecs used for streaming, as well as intermediate codecs (like Cineform). Because the percentage of the market that uses each codec is relatively small, it becomes a lot more difficult to predict what codec will likely be easily available, or actually built into some devices (like your TV set, or Roku) twenty years from now.
DV will survive. It may be pretty old and there are definitely better alternatives for some projects, but give what you are doing, and given what you have stated as your goal, DV is a really good alternative for you to consider.
A decoder for FFV1 will probably still be easily available in 20 years. But it's not a very fast encoder -- so you may have problems with video capture. If you want to use it you could always capture with a faster lossless codec then reencode to FFV1.
I agree that DV will most likely still be easily available in 20 years. But other open source codecs may not. Are you prepared to archive and port the source to whatever computer and video system you have then? Or are you willing to recompress your files periodically with whatever codec/container is prevalent at the time?
ffdshow (or still maintained at least) and can't find one, so I find it ironic that all of these archival places are choosing FFV1 but no one is developing a VFW interface for windows.