Hey everybody. Reading around the forum I saw some great information so I figured I'd join the crowd and hopefully find some answers of my own.
I brought my JVC HR-S3600U out of storage for some VHS conversion. It has S-Video so I figured it would be great for capture so after watching tons of do's/don'ts videos regarding how to clean a VCR, I cleaned the heads (99% isopropyl alcohol and printer paper, the rest of the components with cotton swab and 99% iso) and was off to the races. In addition to the annoying "video calibration" popup that sometimes rears it's ugly head to ruin captures, I realized something after already capturing a couple dozen tapes:
The picture quality is super, mega, ultra soft. I figured I had a decent-ish VCR and that old VHS was bad in general so I didn't know the quality was much, much worse that what's possible. I know this because the whole "video calibration" thing was driving me so nuts that I borrowed a random VCR from my mom's closet and cleaned it. It's a 4 Head Panasonic PV-V4620-K. Just RCA jacks, and the picture quality from it is so much better I couldn't believe it. I did an RCA vs S-Video test on the JVC and the difference was negligible, but the Panasonic RCA vs either of those JVC results wasn't even close. I really want to get the best quality I can for my captures so now I don't know what to do.
Is there any way to:
1) Increase the sharpness of a VCR? The colours all sorta bleed into each other so things are all soft. For example, text on a street sign will be illegible on the JVC, but not too shabby on the Panasonic. The JVC plays tapes just fine (other than the popup), but it very soft/fuzzy/colour-bleedy.
2) Get rid of that "video calibration" stupid popup that ruins captures with my JVC
Not sure what to do because I'm afraid to buy a used VCR online because of the wildly varying, upside down results of the two VCRs I have access to, plus I don't know if it would make enough of a real world difference to justify the cost, since I can get decent results with that RCA Panasonic right now.
Any insight would be greatly appreciated. The road to getting even to this point was really long and arduous, but I'm so close now. Just this final hurdle.
Our website is made possible by displaying online advertisements to our visitors. Consider supporting us by disable your adblocker or try PlayON and record Netflix, HBO, Hulu, etc! :)
+ Reply to Thread
Results 1 to 20 of 20
S-video (2 cables) should give you better quality than composite (1 cable) signals and component (3 cables) better still.
Sounds like a problem with the JVC.
But other members here can probably give you better information.
And welcome to our forums.
Yes, use Edit mode. I can turn auto calibration off, but I leave it on as it does not popup on the screen when it's doing it.
EDIT mode disables all the NR filters.
I almost always leave it on. Turning it off defeats part of the purpose of having the quality S-VHS VCR.
You get full noise with it off.
Thanks so much for all the quick replies.
Oh man, this is painful to admit but I'm not sure I went through the menus on the JVC. When I said my journey has been arduous, I mean I've gone through so many products and manuals and settings and all of that, but I may have not done the menu on the JVC. I'm using a Sony Digital8 camera as my converter and I've gone up and down that thing with menus, and I've had to deal with problems from Premiere Pro and iMovie (I actually have only had success with a old version of iMovie on my old laptop since my stupid 2016 MacBook pro only has USB Type C ports and I can't figure out how to connect a firewire camera to it). I've purchased those ghetto $75 capture devices that only capture with low bitrates, and I've tried Hi-8 camera's (I also had tons of Hi-8 to capture) and all kinds of stuff. I've googled manuals up the wazoo for so many of the things I've tried, but I don't think I did for the JVC because it just "worked" so I thought the problems were all further on down the chain.
Now it's VCR to Digital8 camera to iMovie 9 (2013 version that doesn't play sound during capture) in default .dv format, then move my external drive to my new laptop to convert to .mov using Quicktime at the same bitrate because my old laptop gives me an error message at the end of conversion.
This has been a long, long process but I've finally got a system that works, minus the VCR quality. I'll try some tests today or tomorrow. I really, really hope I'm just an idiot and it's some setting like NR making it soft.
Don't assume that digital processing will be better. Try different settings to see what looks good. By definition, "noise" is not "information."
Lordsmurf and many other JVC fans just love blurry foggy misty video with no detail. Detail hurts their eyes and forces them to focus to see it, even if it was there. They have no concept of proper modern 21st century noise reduction but but prefer to soften video with JVC players until it looks like mush. Use your Panasonic and learn to denoise properly to retain as much detail as possible. On the other hand if you like JVC, by all means use it until you go blind looking for better results with it.- My sister Ann's brother
Except many of the (analog?) NR circuits within the players also have access to additional in-deck information: RF envelope, capstan/servo, headswitching, crystal timing, etc.
So they can often be more intelligent in the way that they process such things as dropouts & skew.
As Cornucupia says, there are aspects of the video signal that cannot be accessed by software post-capture. NR is not something to be addresses whenever you want. Software is not, and never has been, a magic fix-all. Software has limits, always has, always will.
"Detail" is also often confused with noise.
Yes, sometimes a JVC is too harsh. But often it is not. And sometimes it's not enough. It's the 3 bears. In those instances, it should be turned off, or just use another deck entirely (Panasonic).
You must also realize that my experience entails thousands of tapes, from all over, not just my own collection. Sometimes you do run into a video collection that does entirely hate JVC, or Panasonic. Those are outliers, not the norm. Sometimes I read JVC hate, but I have a strong suspicion that it's from somebody that owns one of the outliers. Tapes all react different.
Age also plays a factor, condition plays a factor. I've seen bad used JVCs with near-gone head wear.
Model plays a factor. Some JVC models are known to be softer than the others.
So if you get a not-great model, used with wear, I can entirely see that you'll get a hazy soft image. But it's because that exact VCR sucks, not because JVC sucks.
Remember, I've been using JVCs for well over 20 years now.
[Attachment 46386 - Click to enlarge]
[Attachment 46387 - Click to enlarge] I did some tests and hopefully the attached pics show up large enough to tell, but:
UR=JVC S-Vid NORM,
LL=JVC S-Vid SHARP,
LR=JVC S-Vid EDIT.
Those modes do make a large difference. You're right lordsmurf, I now just have to choose which of the 4 bears I like best. I'm still blown away though that in side by sides it's not in any way obvious which photos are RCA and which are S-Vid. Interesting comments about NR. I think I'll play around with these clips in Premiere Pro or DaVinci to see what the overall best look I can get it. Turns out I did go through the menus before, but the manual says stuff like "Use Edit when you dub tapes" so I had no idea what that even meant. Thanks for the detailed explanations. Thanks so much for all of you who told me to check the different modes because I'd totally forgotten about that. Back when I was going through the modes it wasn't about image quality, it was to figure out why I had trouble capturing audio properly (which turned out to be Premiere Pro's problem which is why I'm using that old version of iMovie and such a ridiculous workflow.
What I'm seeing is more aggressive sharpening in the Panasonic output. This is accomplished by circuits which exaggerate the boundaries between light and dark areas in the horizontal direction. Some sharpening is performed by the video camera and inherent to the recording. The rest is configurable in VCR playback. You'll notice that there are bright halos around the lettering in the Panasonic frame, while the JVC-Sharp frame exaggerates the dark band to the right of the sign. Once this sharpening takes place, it is difficult to undo in the digital version, so make sure you are happy with the look.
There are people around here that you can learn a lot from, but the first thing you learn from them is that they assume no one else knows anything, they can't possibly learn anything from any other source, and they they listen only to themselves.
This may surprise your socks off but I tried those exalted JVC's. Six of them. three complete and very expensive professional rebuilds and three completely new units, all six of them right off your recommended high-end list that has made suckers of so many other people over the years. I really believed that nonsense from your posts and thought the fault was mine. Boy, those JVCs were six really really really bad mistakes and total wastes of time, money, and effort, not to mention a couple of prized tapes permanently crippled by one of those damn machines. And in fact the only machine that will track those damaged tapes successfully is one of my Panasonic AG-1980's. With the 1980's I'm even able to read the fine copyright detail in the film credits, which was always just a blur on any JVC. After recapturing hundreds of hours of tapes that were made into soft-focus mush by those JVC's, I finally found out what what was really on those tapes by using other players, even cheaper midstream players that made JVC look like the over-rated toys they really were. You can make all the condescending apologies and fantasy claims you want for that JVC "magic" you say you've achieved, but you've never shown your supposedly superior JVC results anywhere that I know of for the past 10 years, and what I've seen from others in these forums never did anything to support your claims.
Last edited by LMotlow; 6th Aug 2018 at 21:59.- My sister Ann's brother
but you've never shown your supposedly superior JVC results anywhere that I know of for the past 10 years, and what I've seen from others in these forums never did anything to support your claims.
Using a worn model, you say?
I think I'll go with the JVC on Edit Mode since I'm still enamoured (rightly or wrongly) with the fact it's S-Video, it's almost as sharp as the Panasonic, yet with less noise so I'm sure I can get the Panasonic sharpness in post if I want that extra little bit. Still, this has been quite the learning experience. Thanks so much for getting me over the final hurdles ya'll. Superimpose off, Edit mode sharpness, S-Video. Done.