VideoHelp Forum

Our website is made possible by displaying online advertisements to our visitors. Consider supporting us by disable your adblocker or Try ConvertXtoDVD and convert all your movies to DVD. Free trial ! :)
+ Reply to Thread
Page 2 of 3
FirstFirst 1 2 3 LastLast
Results 31 to 60 of 72
Thread
  1. Dinosaur Supervisor KarMa's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    US
    Search Comp PM
    I will often capture VHS tapes with x264 in AmaRecTV. x264 (which conforms to the H.264 standard) can capture interlaced content and I normally do this as a lossy method of recording tapes; in order to cut the bitrate in half of what something like Lagarith would encode at. For lossless I would go with Lagarith or the handful of other lossless only codecs. Lagarith will often output ~25-30GB per hour of SD YUY2 content, so if I'm ok with some minor loss then I go with a CRF of around 10 in x264. x264 is CPU driven only, and can't be used with any external game recording hardware that I know of which uses their own hardware encoding chips. Hardware encoding, whether it be on external hardware or GPU driven, is generally considered worse than CPU driven codecs.
    Quote Quote  
  2. Originally Posted by usually_quiet View Post
    Originally Posted by CaptainCatholic587 View Post
    Hi usually_quiet, thank you so much for your response!! I am in the process of downloading the Codecs you mentioned at the moment! I will try them all. So far, StreamCatcher doesn't recognize HuffYUV (at least not that I can tell), so I will give the other ones a shot. If that doesn't work, I'll try some of the other software you mentioned, starting with VirtualDub. I had never heard of MediaInfo, that looks like a great tool, I'll be sure to check it out!

    About the last setting I'm unsure about in Stream Catcher is the Video Deinterlacing feature. The default setting for Video Deinterlacing is "High." Other options are "Medium" and "Low." (There is no option to turn it off). I assumed I'd keep it on "High," but after reading more about it, it seems as if most people recommend not doing any deinterlacing during video capturing for VHS's. Would you agree? (I gotta be honest though, I did some tests using "High" versus "Low" video deinteracing, and I really didn't notice any difference).

    Thank you so much as always for sharing your wealth of knowledge!! I definitely have a lot to look into before proceeding.
    Based on what you are saying, it appears that Stream Catcher is designed to be used only for capturing video games as progressive, H.264 video so it is suitable for posting on websites. ...and yes, progressive, H.264 is not recommended for VHS capture. For best quality, VHS should be captured as interlaced video, and in a lossless format. If someone wants to de-interlace and re-encode to H.264 to post their home video on the web, that should be done after capture because the best deinterlacing methods and higher-quality encoding can't be done in real-time.
    Thank you guys all so much for all of your help! I sincerely appreciate the information and advice. usually_quiet, I just downloaded VirtualDub and did a few tests with "direct stream copy" and also with the lagarith codec. I was able to get it to work, which was great to see. However, I did experience several dropped frames and major issues with audio/video syncing (also, the audio changed in pitch throughout). I don't have a TBC, so I'd imagine that's why. Also, you're right, the file size was massive (1.63 GB for only a 1.5 minute video clip - that'd be about 120GB for a 2-hour video).

    Interestingly, I think I've changed my goal - I actually noticed very little quality difference between the lossless VirtualDub capture and the mp4 "near-lossless" capture using the StarTech USB3HDCAP and Stream Catcher. In fact, it was hard to tell much of a difference at all. While I certainly would value having lossless captures of all my own videos, I'm actually now fine with "settling" for the near-lossless captures with the USB3HDCAP. For my purposes, I'm thinking it's not worth the extra effort to try to get totally lossless captures, especially given that I'm fine with the minor quality difference. So I'm going to stick with the USB3HDCAP captures for now.

    If anyone else is in the same situation as me and just looking to digitize their home videos and want great quality, I'd definitely recommend the USB3HDCAP - it's relatively cheap, extremely easy to use and provides great quality captures. I'll include the settings I'm going with below for anyone in the same boat (these are super detailed notes so any noob like me can follow them, haha).


    Required Settings on my Toshiba D-VKR3SU DVD Recorder-VCR

    A) To begin, make sure the StarTech USB3HDCAP is unplugged from the computer and turned off.
    B) Then, connect the Toshiba VCR Player to the StarTech USB3HDCAP via S-Video cable and composite cable (just the white and red audio cables, not the yellow video cable since you're using the S-Video cable).
    C)Then, turn the Toshiba VCR Player on.
    D) Now, connect the StarTech USB3HDCAP to my computer via the provided USB 3.0 cable. It was very important to follow these EXACT steps, or else I was getting a blue screen error message (aka the Blue Screen Of Death). This is due to a glitch in Microsoft Window's software that can't seem to be fixed.
    E) Next, open up Stream Catcher. This will allow you to use your computer monitor as a "TV Screen" to see what the Toshiba VCR Player is "doing." (It'll also allow you to see the menu of the Toshiba VCR Player).
    F) Then, press "menu" on the Toshiba remote. That will take you to the following screen below.
    G) Select "Setup." Once in the "Setup" screen, there are only 3 categories that matter: 1) System, 2) Audio, and 3) Video. Make sure to select all of the settings below.


    1) System:
    Video Input: S-Video

    2) Audio
    Digital Output: PCM
    DTS: Off
    Dynamic Compression: Off

    3) Video
    TV Aspect: 16:9 Wide
    Black Level: 0 IRE
    3D Noise Reduction: Off

    H) Now that we are good with the Toshiba VCR Player settings, it's time to check out the settings for the StarTech USB3HDCAP device. Take a look at the home screen for Stream Catcher below. You're going to click on "Settings." Make sure to have the following options selected under "Device Settings."

    1) Device Settings
    Video Standard: NTSC
    Video Source: S-Video
    Video Deinterlace: Low
    Video Aspect Ratio: 4:3
    Video Property: (*More on this in a second*)
    Audio Source: Line-In


    K) After selecting these settings, click on "Video Property" in the "Device Settings" menu. Once there, select the following options:


    2) Video Property (Under Device Settings)
    Contrast: 40
    Brightness: 50
    Saturation: 50
    Hue: 50
    Sharpness: 10
    *Note: These are all the default settings, which are what you want to make an exact copy of the original VHS footage!

    L) Now go back to "Settings," and this time click on "Record Settings." Make sure all of the following options are selected:

    3) Record Settings
    Record File Type: MP4
    Record Audio Format: AAC
    Record Resolution: High
    Record Mode: Lossless
    Record Quality: *All 10 blocks filled in*
    Record GOP: 1


    Using these settings on both my Toshiba VCR and the StarTech USB3HDCAP has provided fantastic quality captures of my VHS videos and I'd recommend them to anyone. After I capture the video, I have been using LosslessCut (a free program) to trim the beginning and end of the videos. I definitely wouldn't have figured all this out without the help of everyone here! In particular, usually_quiet I can't thank you enough for responding to all of my posts with such helpful information.
    Quote Quote  
  3. About the only question I have left (and I'm not sure if this makes any difference) is regarding the VHS tape itself. For example, I've read that, before recording, it's best to fast forward the VHS tape to the very end of the tape, and then rewind it to the beginning to "pack" the tape.

    After doing this, would it be better for me to capture the entire 2-Hour VHS tape at once? (i.e. just hit "play" and record the entire two hours of footage at once?). Or would it be better to record let's say 15 minutes at a time, then stop the tape, and then continue with recording?

    I wasn't sure if this would make any difference in the quality. I'm using LosslessCut to split up the footage anyway, so I'd be fine with recording 10 minutes at a time or whatnot in separate recordings if that would be better.

    Thanks so much again!
    Quote Quote  
  4. Originally Posted by CaptainCatholic587 View Post
    For example, I've read that, before recording, it's best to fast forward the VHS tape to the very end of the tape, and then rewind it to the beginning to "pack" the tape.
    I do two complete fast forwards/rewinds. But yes, it's a good idea.
    After doing this, would it be better for me to capture the entire 2-Hour VHS tape at once?
    Yes, definitely.
    I'm using LosslessCut to split up the footage anyway...
    I cut my tape captures using the Trim command in AviSynth scripts, since it's all going to be reencoded anyway from the lossless AVI I capped.
    Quote Quote  
  5. Originally Posted by manono View Post
    Originally Posted by CaptainCatholic587 View Post
    For example, I've read that, before recording, it's best to fast forward the VHS tape to the very end of the tape, and then rewind it to the beginning to "pack" the tape.
    I do two complete fast forwards/rewinds. But yes, it's a good idea.
    After doing this, would it be better for me to capture the entire 2-Hour VHS tape at once?
    Yes, definitely.
    I'm using LosslessCut to split up the footage anyway...
    I cut my tape captures using the Trim command in AviSynth scripts, since it's all going to be reencoded anyway from the lossless AVI I capped.
    Nice, good to know - I will definitely start doing two complete fast forward/rewinds (I guess I'll first rewind it to the very beginning if it's not already rewound... and THEN do two complete FF/RW's if that's what you mean, haha). And I'll definitely do the full 2-Hour capture at once. Thanks so much for your help!!
    Quote Quote  
  6. Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    San Francisco, California
    Search PM
    Retensioning videotape does not provide as much benefit as for audiotape. For one thing, print-through is not a problem unless you have a linear audio track. For another, as long as the tape is not grossly miswound, it will be pulled in precise sync by the capstan servo locked to the control track. This is quite unlike audiotape, which depends on the capstan alone and can suffer wow and flutter with a bad tape pack. So it's a tradeoff against tape wear. I generally skip winding back and forth unless the tape is shedding, in which case the action encourages loose bits to fall out instead of clogging the heads.
    Quote Quote  
  7. Originally Posted by JVRaines View Post
    Retensioning videotape does not provide as much benefit as for audiotape. For one thing, print-through is not a problem unless you have a linear audio track. For another, as long as the tape is not grossly miswound, it will be pulled in precise sync by the capstan servo locked to the control track. This is quite unlike audiotape, which depends on the capstan alone and can suffer wow and flutter with a bad tape pack. So it's a tradeoff against tape wear. I generally skip winding back and forth unless the tape is shedding, in which case the action encourages loose bits to fall out instead of clogging the heads.
    Very interesting! I am entirely unfamiliar with audiotape. I didn't think about the wear and tear on the VHS tape. Thank you very much for the information!!
    Quote Quote  
  8. Now that I'm thinking about it, I am trying to make sure my computer is entirely inactive during my video captures (aside from doing the capture itself obviously). During my 1st capture, I disconnected from the internet, I made sure that my computer wouldn't go to sleep during the capture, and I closed out of all other applications. Is there anything else I should be doing that anyone would recommend?
    Quote Quote  
  9. Originally Posted by CaptainCatholic587 View Post
    Is there anything else I should be doing that anyone would recommend?
    https://forum.videohelp.com/threads/104098-Why-does-your-system-drop-frames
    Quote Quote  
  10. Member Cornucopia's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Deep in the Heart of Texas
    Search PM
    Originally Posted by CaptainCatholic587 View Post
    Originally Posted by JVRaines View Post
    Retensioning videotape does not provide as much benefit as for audiotape. For one thing, print-through is not a problem unless you have a linear audio track. For another, as long as the tape is not grossly miswound, it will be pulled in precise sync by the capstan servo locked to the control track. This is quite unlike audiotape, which depends on the capstan alone and can suffer wow and flutter with a bad tape pack. So it's a tradeoff against tape wear. I generally skip winding back and forth unless the tape is shedding, in which case the action encourages loose bits to fall out instead of clogging the heads.
    Very interesting! I am entirely unfamiliar with audiotape. I didn't think about the wear and tear on the VHS tape. Thank you very much for the information!!
    I have to partially disagree.

    (Analog)Videotape video exhibits wow and flutter also, it just takes the form of a less stable timebase, especially at the head switching & vertical interval, and especially with formats that slower tape speeds (so it goes increasingly worse with betacam, betamax, vhs sp, vhs lp, vhs slp/ep). You can see its effects with a cross-plus monitor arrangement).
    This can be alleviated by a line TBC.
    Exercising the tape makes for less inertia, which should make for a less variable path speed, as well as less wear & tear on the transport mechanism.

    As far as shedding goes, exercising the tapes AWAY from the capstan & heads allows you to find out which tapes are prone to shedding ahead of time (time enough to perform preventative stabilization measures) and without hurting the critical deck sections.

    Scott
    Quote Quote  
  11. Originally Posted by jagabo View Post
    Originally Posted by CaptainCatholic587 View Post
    Is there anything else I should be doing that anyone would recommend?
    https://forum.videohelp.com/threads/104098-Why-does-your-system-drop-frames
    Awesome, this list was extremely helpful! Thank you!! I didn't think about restarting or turning my computer off. I'll be sure to do that. Anyone have any experience with one or the other being better? (i.e. turning off for an hour vs. restarting). Great stuff, thanks again!!
    Quote Quote  
  12. Originally Posted by Cornucopia View Post
    Originally Posted by CaptainCatholic587 View Post
    Originally Posted by JVRaines View Post
    Retensioning videotape does not provide as much benefit as for audiotape. For one thing, print-through is not a problem unless you have a linear audio track. For another, as long as the tape is not grossly miswound, it will be pulled in precise sync by the capstan servo locked to the control track. This is quite unlike audiotape, which depends on the capstan alone and can suffer wow and flutter with a bad tape pack. So it's a tradeoff against tape wear. I generally skip winding back and forth unless the tape is shedding, in which case the action encourages loose bits to fall out instead of clogging the heads.
    Very interesting! I am entirely unfamiliar with audiotape. I didn't think about the wear and tear on the VHS tape. Thank you very much for the information!!
    I have to partially disagree.

    (Analog)Videotape video exhibits wow and flutter also, it just takes the form of a less stable timebase, especially at the head switching & vertical interval, and especially with formats that slower tape speeds (so it goes increasingly worse with betacam, betamax, vhs sp, vhs lp, vhs slp/ep). You can see its effects with a cross-plus monitor arrangement).
    This can be alleviated by a line TBC.
    Exercising the tape makes for less inertia, which should make for a less variable path speed, as well as less wear & tear on the transport mechanism.

    As far as shedding goes, exercising the tapes AWAY from the capstan & heads allows you to find out which tapes are prone to shedding ahead of time (time enough to perform preventative stabilization measures) and without hurting the critical deck sections.

    Scott
    Gotcha, I'll keep doing rewinds and fast forwards then - thank you for the info!!
    Quote Quote  
  13. Hello everyone!

    I have just about finished capturing all of my VHS tapes from 1986 to 2002 using the StarTech USB3HDCAP and my Toshiba VCR player. It is coming along wonderfully!!!

    Now I'm ready to move on to VHS-C tapes that were taken from 2002 to 2011. I do still have the original video camera that filmed these tapes, the JVC GR-SXM240u. However, unfortunately, it appears that this camera cannot be used in the capture process, as there are literally no inputs or outputs on this camera.

    I'm looking to obtain the best quality capture for these videos. Given that the original video camera can't be used, which of the following 2 options would provide the best quality capture?

    1) For me to purchase a different VHS-C camcorder (a model that has S-Video capability) to use for capturing these videos.

    2) For me to use an adapter combined with my Toshiba VCR player. I do have the JVC C-P7U Cassette Adapter, which is actually the original adapter that came with the JVC camcorder. I used to use it all the time to watch the videos on my TV, and I never had a problem with it eating the tapes or anything of that sort, at least not 15 years ago).

    I did some research on this message board, and it seemed like people were conflicted over whether adapters were "good" or not. I'd like to see what everyone who's been following this post thinks!

    If you do think I should go with #1, could you please recommend a specific camcorder model? And if you do think I should go with #2, could you recommend a specific adapter, or is the one I currently have sufficient? (Also - quick note if it matters, I'm assuming all of my VHS-C tapes contain "mono" videos, as there is only one microphone on the camera).

    Thank you all so much again for all of your help!!! I wouldn't have ever gotten this far without the help of everyone here.

    Have a great weekend everyone!
    Tony
    Quote Quote  
  14. Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    San Francisco, California
    Search PM
    Originally Posted by CaptainCatholic587 View Post
    I do still have the original video camera that filmed these tapes, the JVC GR-SXM240u. However, unfortunately, it appears that this camera cannot be used in the capture process, as there are literally no inputs or outputs on this camera.
    I'm looking at the manual and it shows s-video, composite, and mono audio outputs under the connector cover which is on the right side just below the viewfinder.

    Image
    [Attachment 45288 - Click to enlarge]
    Quote Quote  
  15. Originally Posted by JVRaines View Post
    Originally Posted by CaptainCatholic587 View Post
    I do still have the original video camera that filmed these tapes, the JVC GR-SXM240u. However, unfortunately, it appears that this camera cannot be used in the capture process, as there are literally no inputs or outputs on this camera.
    I'm looking at the manual and it shows s-video, composite, and mono audio outputs under the connector cover which is on the right side just below the viewfinder.

    Image
    [Attachment 45288 - Click to enlarge]
    No kidding, I can't believe I missed that!! Thank you so much JVRaines, I really appreciate you finding that!!

    Would I be correct in assuming that it would likely be better for me to capture using the original JVC GR-SXM240u for capturing as opposed to my JVC C-P7U Cassette Adapter combined with my Toshiba VCR?

    To be honest, I feel like it'd be easier to capture with the JVC C-P7U Cassette Adapter and my Toshiba VCR since that's more similar to what I've been doing all along. However, I'll certainly capture from the original camera if it'll deliver better quality. What exactly are the benefits from capturing from the original camera?

    Thanks so much again for all the help!! I can't believe how much I've learned from the support of this board.
    Quote Quote  
  16. Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    San Francisco, California
    Search PM
    As rule of thumb, it's better to play back on the device which made the recording. Very small differences in tape path alignment and tension can introduce errors. However, if the camcorder has gone out of alignment since the recordings were made or is otherwise degraded, that would be a reason to use the VCR. Another reason would be if the VCR has superior signal processing. I would try both and pick the one with the best picture. If there is no difference, then I would pick the most convenient one.
    Quote Quote  
  17. Originally Posted by JVRaines View Post
    As rule of thumb, it's better to play back on the device which made the recording. Very small differences in tape path alignment and tension can introduce errors. However, if the camcorder has gone out of alignment since the recordings were made or is otherwise degraded, that would be a reason to use the VCR. Another reason would be if the VCR has superior signal processing. I would try both and pick the one with the best picture. If there is no difference, then I would pick the most convenient one.
    JVRaines, thank you very much for all your help and advice!! I will take a tape, capture it with both the original camera and then the VCR, and then compare the two. I'll go with the best one. Thanks again!!
    Quote Quote  
  18. Hi Sorry to burst your bubble VHS 480p 576 .
    Not 1080 and never will be . They are mostly composite / if some where recorded on a pro camera via Svhs then 625 either way no component capture thatís for the likes of Umatic / Sp Betacam & pro level stuff not consumer grade .

    They will some come out well but would try source a better quality deck if u wanna enhance
    Playback . SISO if you know what that means.

    Regards
    Adrian


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Quote Quote  
  19. Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    United States
    Search Comp PM
    Originally Posted by Adrian Hepker View Post
    Hi Sorry to burst your bubble VHS 480p 576 .
    Not 1080 and never will be . They are mostly composite / if some where recorded on a pro camera via Svhs then 625 either way no component capture thatís for the likes of Umatic / Sp Betacam & pro level stuff not consumer grade .

    They will some come out well but would try source a better quality deck if u wanna enhance
    Playback . SISO if you know what that means.

    Regards
    Adrian


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    It's too bad that you didn't read this thread carefully enough to make an informed reply.

    First, the OP is using a capture device that can capture at both HD resolutions (via component) and SD resolutions (via composite or S-Video). He's using this device to capture the HD programming recorded by a paid TV service's DVR in HD resolution as well as to capture the output of a VCR and a VHS camera at SD resolution and deinterlacing on the fly.

    Second, since the OP uses American spelling conventions, he probably has NTSC VHS and VHS-C tapes, which would be captured at 720x480.
    Last edited by usually_quiet; 5th May 2018 at 10:53.
    Ignore list: hello_hello, tried, TechLord
    Quote Quote  
  20. My reference was to Composite Capture part
    No doubt the device is capable but
    If the source is Svideo granted the results will be better, But normal composite is good but not Hd by any stretch .

    Upscaling wonít change quality much
    Composite is composite but good luck
    I capture via Black Magic Intensity shuffle
    To pro Res 422 Hq results are good but even if I bump up Res And code to H264 the source
    Resolution is the source resolution..

    Depends on Your Deck Quality TBC
    And how well the tape held out.

    Have a good weekend .


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Quote Quote  
  21. Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    San Francisco, California
    Search PM
    Originally Posted by Adrian Hepker View Post
    My reference was to Composite Capture part
    No doubt the device is capable but
    If the source is Svideo granted the results will be better, But normal composite is good but not Hd by any stretch .
    Thanks for setting us straight.
    Quote Quote  
  22. Hello everyone! I hope everyone had a great holiday weekend!

    I have been plugging away capturing more VHS videos via my StarTech device. However, the more I look at the videos I've been capturing, I'm questioning the brightness/contrast settings I've been using in StreamCatcher.

    I'm thinking that the captures I've been doing are a bit darker than the original VHS tapes. In fact, many of the interior footage is quite dark. So I think I'd like to set the "Brightness" value in StreamCatcher to a higher value. Currently, on a scale of 10 to 100, the Contrast value is set to "40" (which is the default value), and the Brightness is set to "50" (which is also the default value).

    I think I'd like to keep Contrast at "40" but crank up the Brightness to "60." I was comparing what it'd look like to set Contrast to 50 and keep Brightness at 50 (also Contrast at 50 and Brightness at 60), but 40 and 60 seems to look the most natural.

    However, I don't want to diminish the quality of the video or lose any details by making it too bright. I also realize that the video can appear different on different monitors/TV screens, etc. Is there any way to figure out whether my settings are optimal or not? I wasn't sure if there was any software out there that was capable of telling me what "values" I should be setting everything at. I've been reading over this thread http://www.digitalfaq.com/forum/video-capture/6685-understanding-setting-brightness.html but it is quite over my head haha. It sounds like there is software capable of giving information about "safe zones" and such. That sounds extremely useful, though I am not sure where to "start" with that (i.e. which software to download, where to learn what it all "means," etc., as this is all "Greek" to me, haha).

    Any help is much appreciated as always!! Thanks again and I hope everyone is doing great!
    Quote Quote  
  23. Hello all! After doing tests with multiple settings for brightness and contrast on my home videos, I think I've finally just about narrowed it down. I ended up cranking the brightness up to "60" in StreamCatcher, and now I'm just trying to decide between setting the contrast to "25" and "30." I think I'm leaning toward "25," but wasn't sure if anyone had any advice on which "looks" better. Here is a brief video comparison between the two:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=66Q1r2oi0Bo&feature=youtu.be

    Any feedback would be greatly appreciated!! Thank you so much again!!
    Quote Quote  
  24. Originally Posted by CaptainCatholic587 View Post
    I'm thinking that the captures I've been doing are a bit darker than the original VHS tapes.
    Are you assuming the brightness/contrast/levels on the original tapes is good? You shouldn't.
    ...but 40 and 60 seems to look the most natural.
    'Look'? So you're eyeballing this? And your monitor is calibrated? Don't eyeball anything.
    Is there any way to figure out whether my settings are optimal or not?
    You make short test captures from different parts of the tape and check using histograms or (as I do it using AviSynth):

    ColorYUV(Analyze=True).Limiter(Show="Luma")

    The main idea is to not blow out the whites or crush the blacks so you can fix what needs fixing after the capture. As for the sample, even 30 is still too low for the contrast. And the black levels are way too low, although most of it can be fixed afterwards.
    Quote Quote  
  25. Originally Posted by manono View Post
    Originally Posted by CaptainCatholic587 View Post
    I'm thinking that the captures I've been doing are a bit darker than the original VHS tapes.
    Are you assuming the brightness/contrast/levels on the original tapes is good? You shouldn't.
    ...but 40 and 60 seems to look the most natural.
    'Look'? So you're eyeballing this? And your monitor is calibrated? Don't eyeball anything.
    Is there any way to figure out whether my settings are optimal or not?
    You make short test captures from different parts of the tape and check using histograms or (as I do it using AviSynth):

    ColorYUV(Analyze=True).Limiter(Show="Luma")

    The main idea is to not blow out the whites or crush the blacks so you can fix what needs fixing after the capture. As for the sample, even 30 is still too low for the contrast. And the black levels are way too low, although most of it can be fixed afterwards.
    Hi manono, thank you very much for your response! You make a lot of great points, the brightness/contrast levels on the original tapes certainly is far from perfect. My monitor is somewhat calibrated (I just calibrated it via the basic test on Microsoft Windows), and I've been eyeballing what it looks like on my 2 desktop monitors, a laptop screen, and also on my TV screen (via WDTV).

    However, as you said, I'd love to go about it in a more technical way. I am completely unfamiliar with using histograms to check the brightness and contrast levels and don't really know where to start or where to find them. However, you mentioned AviSynth - I am at work now so I can't download it and play around, but I will look later at home. Is it free software with histograms that I could use to check the brightness levels?

    As for editing the videos in post-production to really make them look sharp, I would absolutely love to do that, but unfortunately I don't think I'll ever have the time to do that for all my videos. I have 45 two-hour VHS tapes to convert, and also 75 thirty-minute VHS-C tapes to convert, so it's a ton of footage, and I also have 3 little kids of my own now which give me very little time to do anything, hahaha. So unfortunately, I'm probably just going to have to settle for whatever my video captures will give me, so I am looking to just get the best quality capture possible. I would be very happy with an "exact copy" of the original VHS tapes, despite the fact that the original would look a lot better edited in post-production.

    Like you mentioned, I never in a million years would have considered setting the contrast to "25." That would be insanely low in a video-editing program. However, in the software I'm using (StreamCatcher), I think the numbers are all very arbitrary, hence why I'm eyeballing it. For example, the default settings were 50 for Brightness and 40 for Contrast. That was supposed to give me an "exact" copy of the original VHS, but it's far from an exact copy - it appears incredibly dark (far darker than the original tapes are) and somewhat completely oversaturated (the whites are definitely blown out). But when I cranked the contrast down to 30 and 25, it happened to look a lot more like the original VHS footage. Although it's still definitely not quite there. Like you mentioned, "25" appears too dull, and "30" seems to make some of the whites a little blown out.

    But I really like the idea of using histograms. I will try that out tonight - and AviSynth should be all I need for that? Does it have any instructions to teach how to use the histograms?

    Thanks so much for your help, I really appreciate it!!
    Quote Quote  
  26. Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    College Station, TX, USA
    Search Comp PM
    I recently started looking at video on an old fashioned [Waveform Monitor] and its quite useful to me. They can be bought cheap on eBay, but if you get one you'd want to try to do a local pickup or find one on craigslist... they tend to be made of glass and heavy.

    "Brightness" sets the bottom (or floor) for blacks, "Contrast" sets the top (or ceiling) for whites.

    Normal VCR signals get a "boost" in the black level automatically called ironically "IRE setup, or pedestal" this makes blacks look slightly more gray than black and raises white levels all over the picture making it appear brighter.

    Video cameras normally [do not] have the "boost" unless specifically configured with a special "IRE, setup, pedestal" switch because its usually assumed the user will offload the video over a DV (consumer digital video) firewire connection (ieee1394).. and sometimes this specifically gets lost in manufacturing due to priorities by the camera makers in that era.

    The result is without "IRE setup" boosting the overal image will look darker... people with an in-between gadget called a "proc-amp" can insert that boost manually, or people can turn up the "brightness" while turning down the "contrast" (on their monitors) to protect blacks and whites from overshooting their limits (called clipping).

    But doing this "reduces" dynamic range and tends to "drain the color" from the image.. turning up "saturation" artificially boosts the reduced pallete left in an image but can worsen "color fringing" noise.. its a trade off.. the best thing is (if you can) to fix the problem on the input not the output of the signal to the capture device.

    Thats a whole lot of technical terms.. most of which you can disregard.. unless you take an interest in whats actually going on and want to prevent a fairly common problem with using a video camera for playback. Video cameras.. while expensive.. were a rushed design job at the time and sometimes they left off important controls.. like a "setup switch". I do not know if your camera has such a "setting" in one of its onscreen menus, or inside the little trap door next to the video connectors.. but it would be worth looking for that switch.. if it exists for your camera.

    One thing you have in your favor is, JVC championed the "setup" switch in all of their Prosumer Video Cameras.. claiming they never made a "good" camera without the option.

    JVC made a hilarious.. highly technical video on their website.. trying to explain it as a "major" advantage they had over their competition for your money. It was hilarious not because of the accuracy or content.. but because they thought tha average user could understand what they were saying.. that and all the cartoon animations it had in it.
    Last edited by jwillis84; 6th Jun 2018 at 11:47.
    Quote Quote  
  27. Originally Posted by jwillis84 View Post
    I recently started looking at video on an old fashioned [Waveform Monitor] and its quite useful to me. They can be bought cheap on eBay, but if you get one you'd want to try to do a local pickup or find one on craigslist... they tend to be made of glass and heavy.

    "Brightness" sets the bottom (or floor) for blacks, "Contrast" sets the top (or ceiling) for whites.

    Normal VCR signals get a "boost" in the black level automatically called ironically "IRE setup, or pedestal" this makes blacks look slightly more gray than black and raises white levels all over the picture making it appear brighter.

    Video cameras normally [do not] have the "boost" unless specifically configured with a special "IRE, setup, pedestal" switch because its usually assumed the user will offload the video over a DV (consumer digital video) firewire connection (ieee1394).. and sometimes this specifically gets lost in manufacturing due to priorities by the camera makers in that era.

    The result is without "IRE setup" boosting the overal image will look darker... people with an in-between gadget called a "proc-amp" can insert that boost manually, or people can turn up the "brightness" while turning down the "contrast" (on their monitors) to protect blacks and whites from overshooting their limits (called clipping).

    But doing this "reduces" dynamic range and tends to "drain the color" from the image.. turning up "saturation" artificially boosts the reduced pallete left in an image but can worsen "color fringing" noise.. its a trade off.. the best thing is (if you can) to fix the problem on the input not the output of the signal to the capture device.

    Thats a whole lot of technical terms.. most of which you can disregard.. unless you take an interest in whats actually going on and want to prevent a fairly common problem with using a video camera for playback. Video cameras.. while expensive.. were a rushed design job at the time and sometimes they left off important controls.. like a "setup switch". I do not know if your camera has such a "setting" in one of its onscreen menus, or inside the little trap door next to the video connectors.. but it would be worth looking for that switch.. if it exists for your camera.

    One thing you have in your favor is, JVC championed the "setup" switch in all of their Prosumer Video Cameras.. claiming they never made a "good" camera without the option.

    JVC made a hilarious.. highly technical video on their website.. trying to explain it as a "major" advantage they had over their competition for your money. It was hilarious not because of the accuracy or content.. but because they thought tha average user could understand what they were saying.. that and all the cartoon animations it had in it.


    Hi jwillis, and thank you so much for your very helpful response!! That is some very interesting information. I will definitely have to take a look at my JVC camera for the set-up switch you mentioned, it'd be great if it had one.

    However, this is my fault for talking about numerous things on this same post and making it confusing, haha - I'm actually in the process of capturing videos from 2 different "time periods" filmed on 2 different cameras. While I am capturing some home movies from 2000s (75 half hour VHS-C's filmed on a JVC), I'm also capturing 45 two-hour tapes that were filmed on a Panasonic camera from the 1980s. The Panasonic camera unfortunately doesn't have an S-Video connection, so I've been capturing the VHS tapes from that camera via a Toshiba VCR.

    In order to prevent clipping, I have been turning the brightness up and the contrast down in the capture software I'm using (StreamCatcher). However, my Toshiba VCR does actually have an option in the menu screen for IRE. I currently have it set to "0," which according to the manual is "the standard NTSC reference black level for consistent brightness/contrast across all sources." I do have the option of changing it to "7.5," which the manual states "will enhance the black level for increased brightness/contrast when viewing DVDs." Would you recommend that I switch it to 7.5?

    Also, you mentioned that it'd be better for me to fix the problem on the input and not the output. Would it be better for me to see if I could change the brightness/contrast levels on the VCR itself rather than adjusting it in my capture software (StreamCatcher)?

    Thanks again for your detailed message, I really appreciate it!
    Quote Quote  
  28. Originally Posted by CaptainCatholic587 View Post
    Is it free software with histograms that I could use to check the brightness levels?
    Yes, completely free. And with a pretty steep learning curve. I don't use any of them, but I expect NLEs have them available as well. If you want to use the Histogram in AviSynth, after you figure out how to open your video you add the line:

    Histogram

    to your script.

    ...but unfortunately I don't think I'll ever have the time to do that for all my videos.
    Then about the best you can do is to find some sort of a happy medium by setting brightness and contrast as best you can, but what the sample on YouTube shows isn't it. And why the black bars on the sides? Is that some sort of limitation of your capturing device?

    Would you recommend that I switch it to 7.5?
    Yes, as that's the US NTSC standard.

    http://www.glennchan.info/articles/technical/setup/75IREsetup.html
    Quote Quote  
  29. Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    San Francisco, California
    Search PM
    It's best to use the 'scopes in your NLE or the histogram function of Avisynth. These will show you the actual levels that you are stuck with in the digital domain. A video oscilloscope is a great toy, but (1) you cannot assume a used scope is in good calibration, and (2) it only shows you what is going into the converter. There is nothing wrong with using your eyes, either. Although not optimal, adjusting levels to maintain dark and light detail will not hurt you if your monitor is in poor calibration.
    Quote Quote  
  30. Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    College Station, TX, USA
    Search Comp PM
    However, my Toshiba VCR does actually have an option in the menu screen for IRE. I currently have it set to "0," which according to the manual is "the standard NTSC reference black level for consistent brightness/contrast across all sources." I do have the option of changing it to "7.5," which the manual states "will enhance the black level for increased brightness/contrast when viewing DVDs." Would you recommend that I switch it to 7.5?

    Also, you mentioned that it'd be better for me to fix the problem on the input and not the output. Would it be better for me to see if I could change the brightness/contrast levels on the VCR itself rather than adjusting it in my capture software (StreamCatcher)?

    Thanks again for your detailed message, I really appreciate it!
    Basically "YES" you do want to turn that "on" to 7.5.

    If you have the option/equipment or skill to "fix" the Black and White levels "before" capture its always best. If you do not then you can sort of fix it afterwards in software with a penalty.. some quality will have been lost.. and you can't "make up a loss".. that's permenant.

    Mostly people worry about the Black and White levels.. and choose to forget about Color problems until they try to fix it in software after capture. Flipping an IRE set-up switch is low effort and worth your time. A proc-amp, scopes and learning to use them take a lot more time and effort.

    If you had to "Settle" for a B&W image with sound.. its better than nothing. It won't be that bad.. but its an example of setting priorities and expectations.

    Ultimately there is an infinite amount of time and money you could spend "perfecting" everything.. but the enemy of the "good" is the "perfect".

    At some point you just have to choose to do the "easy" things you can do to improve the picture and decide its "good enough".
    Last edited by jwillis84; 6th Jun 2018 at 19:43.
    Quote Quote  



Similar Threads