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  1. Member
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    Hello all - I'm new here, and this is my first post.

    As so many others, I've got a stack of VHS tapes that I want as files on my computer.
    I've tried some things, but I find that it's not easy to get it right.

    The first thing I did was to by a Razer Ripsaw USB3.0 capturing/streaming card, as I wanted some F1 races from my Cable DVR to my PC (which I managed to do, shockingly).
    The Razer also has the option to capture via component connectors, so I bought a box that was supposed to convert SCART to component.
    This didn't work at all, so then I bought a Diamond VC500 Usb2.0 capture unit.

    Software-wise I've tried Razer Cortex (the software that accompanies the Ripsaw), OBS Studio, EzGrabber and Cyberlink PowerDirector 11.

    I've done some captures with the VC500 in mpg at 720x480 at 8000kbps/25fps and sound at 256kbps in stereo.
    Of the software I've mentioned, only Cyberlink seems to work, and the successfull captures were done with that program.

    My PC has a 3830k CPU and 32Gb RAM. I'm running W7 x64.

    When I run my VHS-tapes on my TV via SCART, they are really nice and 100% stable. But through the VC500, there are stripes that shake and quiver in the picture, and this of course affects the captures in the same way. This led me to read about Time Base Correctors, but that shouldn't be neccessary as the tapes play perfect on my TV.

    The best way I've found now is to hook the VCR up to a DVD-recorder, record the contents to a DVD and then make an ISO image to have on my PC.

    So my question is: Isn't there a good way to capture my tapes onto my PC that produces a "perfect" result? And if there is, what do I need?

    Thanks.
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  2. Member DB83's Avatar
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    A few mistakes here.

    1. If you are capturing PAL tapes and Norway (if I read you right) is a PAL country the you should be capturing at 720*576 25 fps. I suspect that most software baulks at your non-standard capture settings.
    2. There is no digital conversion when playing the tape to a tv - which also has circuitry to prevent the shake you are seeing. So a TBC is a very relevant additional piece of equipment

    But depending on your dvd-recorder you could use that as a pass-through device eg VHS >> DVD >> capture device >> PC. And the shake could well vanish since the dvd-recorder then acts as a TBC.
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  3. Member
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    Originally Posted by DB83 View Post
    A few mistakes here.

    1. If you are capturing PAL tapes and Norway (if I read you right) is a PAL country the you should be capturing at 720*576 25 fps. I suspect that most software baulks at your non-standard capture settings.
    2. There is no digital conversion when playing the tape to a tv - which also has circuitry to prevent the shake you are seeing. So a TBC is a very relevant additional piece of equipment

    But depending on your dvd-recorder you could use that as a pass-through device eg VHS >> DVD >> capture device >> PC. And the shake could well vanish since the dvd-recorder then acts as a TBC.
    Thank you so much for that.
    And I'm sorry - the captures I've made are indeed 720*576; not what I wrote.

    The tip to use the DVD-recorder as a pass through was really smart. I'll try that, thank you.
    As I said, the tapes play perfect on my TV, but it's not as perfect on the dvd-recorder. The edges are fine and the picture is dead stable, but there is a line at the very bottom that comes out very blurry that's not there if I play a tape directly on the TV. What could that be?

    I've hooked the VCR to the VC500 and the dvd-recorder using an s-vhs cable, as I find that the picture is somewhat clearer than using the yellow composite plugs even if the tapes are not s-vhs. What would typically give the best/sharpest picture on standard VHS between yellow/composite, s-vhs and SCART?
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  4. Mountains of gear vaporeon800's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by FVH View Post
    As I said, the tapes play perfect on my TV, but it's not as perfect on the dvd-recorder. The edges are fine and the picture is dead stable, but there is a line at the very bottom that comes out very blurry that's not there if I play a tape directly on the TV. What could that be?
    https://bavc.github.io/avaa/artifacts/head_switching_noise.html

    I need to update the article with my new experiences adjusting the switching point of VCRs to avoid the artifact.

    The only reason it's not showing on your TV is overscan, i.e. your TV is cropping the image.

    What would typically give the best/sharpest picture on standard VHS between yellow/composite, s-vhs and SCART?
    S-Video (aka S-VHS cable). SCART could be the same quality in an ideal world, but S-Video is easier anyway if your VCR has it.
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  5. Originally Posted by FVH View Post
    ...but there is a line at the very bottom that comes out very blurry that's not there if I play a tape directly on the TV. What could that be?
    It's called 'head-switching noise' and all VHS tapes have it when captured. The reason you don't see it when watching on your television is because of the overscan.
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  6. Member DB83's Avatar
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    That line at the very bottom that comes out as you say 'very blurry' is the VCR head noise. Perfectly normal for a VHS to Digital capture.

    It might not even show up on the tv from the capture due to overscan where the tv does not show all the lines from a broadcast. Several methods exist to remove it if it really annoys you. But I have never been bothered by it.

    The correct term is s-video. Not s-vhs And that is always the preferred option since the video signals (chroma and luma) are now separate (that's what the 's' stands for)
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  7. Mountains of gear vaporeon800's Avatar
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    Funny how we all responded within 6 mins of each other.

    Originally Posted by manono View Post
    all VHS tapes have it when captured.
    Provided they aren't 2nd-gen, it isn't part of the signal on the tape and can be avoided. For the three people who care enough to bother with such hardware tweaking to save a few lines.

    Before:
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Name:	AVIA Sweep 50 recorded to VHS - PV-S4670 unadjusted.png
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    After:
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Name:	AVIA Sweep 50 recorded to VHS - PV-S4670 PG Shifted.png
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    (not the same frame so ignore the different chroma filtering)
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  8. Member
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    Thank you all for your very useful inputs and link. I'll look into all of them.
    I'll try the dvd-recorder pass-through once I get home - I'm off to Florence, Italy tomorrow morning to attend the MotoGP race at Mugello.

    I'm a bit of a motor sports fan, and all the tapes I'm trying to convert are F1 races I've taped way back when that was the common way to preserve TV broadcasts.
    And of course, I want them captured the best way I can (besides handing the tapes in at some professional facility).
    You have helped med along the way with your tips - thank you all.
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  9. Originally Posted by vaporeon800 View Post
    ...it isn't part of the signal on the tape and can be avoided. For the three people who care enough to bother with such hardware tweaking to save a few lines
    I, for one, am very interested in saving a few lines. Your link mentioned both capping 486 lines and cropping away the bottom, but also "this sets the switching point 1.5H lower than normal, completely eliminating on-screen switching noise."

    Are you saying this is something we can do ourselves? Is this something you did to be able create that second picture? Are there instructions or schematics anywhere?
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    According to the BAVC article, there are only three VCR models that provide this adjustment through the menu.
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  11. Mountains of gear vaporeon800's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by JVRaines View Post
    According to the BAVC article, there are only three VCR models that provide this adjustment through the menu.
    I wrote the Can it be fixed? part of the page. It's still true that only those 3 are known to offer a menu setting, but since then I've played around with some VCRs that have a trimpot to set the head-switching point. This allows arbitrary adjustments, unlike those 3 JVC beasts that only allow a few presets via the menu. A lot of newer VCRs only have an automatic adjustment that sets it to spec, though.

    Originally Posted by manono View Post
    I, for one, am very interested in saving a few lines. Your link mentioned both capping 486 lines and cropping away the bottom, but also "this sets the switching point 1.5H lower than normal, completely eliminating on-screen switching noise."

    Are you saying this is something we can do ourselves? Is this something you did to be able create that second picture? Are there instructions or schematics anywhere?
    Yes to the first two questions. That third paragraph in the article doesn't apply to this method. The only previous discussion about this that I'm aware of was in this old thread of mine (post #68 is the next relevant post). Though I did just accidentally find a Sencore Tech Tip about setting the switching point to spec, which runs down the technical details involved.

    Over the past 2 weeks, I recorded a bunch of stuff with the intention of putting together a tutorial video. I haven't begun synching the footage and editing yet, though.

    The three models I have tweaked so far:
    1. Panasonic AG-1980
    2. Panasonic PV-S4670
    3. Citizen JVHS6989B (garbage, standard "VHS HQ", mono)
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  12. Cool, then we can assume you'll let us know when it's available? I have a prosumer PAL Panasonic NV-HS860. What you did with your Panasonic AG-1980 should also be applicable for the 860, I would think.

    I apologize to FVH for hijacking his thread.
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  13. Member
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    Originally Posted by manono View Post
    I apologize to FVH for hijacking his thread.
    That's quite alright. The more info we can gather in this thread regarding this, the better.
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  14. Member
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    I would think all you have to do is read the service manual, which may outline the procedure. Alternately, scan the circuit diagram for the appropriate trimpot near the heads, possibly on the amplifier or servo boards.
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