I am close to having a setup for digitizing my VHS. I wanna run it by you. Please tell me where you see errors in the idea, or where you have better ideas (reasonable ones at reasonable prosumer cost).
JVC S7600U VHS DECK. Output via S-Video/RCA.
Input to: JVC GR DVL915 MiniDV Camcorder. Output via FireWire 400, adapted to FireWire 800.
Input to: MacBook Pro 2012 (has FW800 port).
Here are some questions:
On the VHS DECK, should TBC, or NOISE REDUCTION be enabled?
On the CAMCORDER, should TBC be enabled?
On the CAMCORDER, do I need to record to MiniDV first, then playback into the Mac, or can the video stream pass through? And if I have to record to MiniDV first, is there a loss in quality? (Yes I know VHS is bad enough as it is, but I’d still like to know if I’m losing quality on the MiniDV.)
On the MACBOOK, is there a quality difference if I capture with QuickTime versus Premiere Pro?
On QUICKTIME or PREMIERE, do specific capture settings need to be created for VHS, or will the software automatically capture the native input quality? I want the image size and quality to be as native as possible.
On QUICKTIME or PREMIERE, what file format and compression setting would you recommend? I keep my audio archive in WAV format because I don’t want compressed material. From what I gather, there is no WAV-equivalent for video. But hopefully there is something with great compression (or no compression) with a reasonable file size. (In professional media industries, they often use dnxHD175x codec, and the 30 min file is around 50gb. That’s definitely way unreasonable for me, especially considering it is VHS footage.)
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Yes, always enable TBC unless it has rare side effect that makes the image worse.
For SD, the files will never be 50gb/30min.
ProRes422 is about 30gb/hour at SD max res 720x480/576.
Also, do NOT enable noise reduction. All processing in the VCR, other than TBC, should be off.
This also includes any enhancement circuitry, most of which adds sharpening, something which actually destroys detail. If you want to add some sharpening, do that after you have finished transferring and editing your video.
I just looked at page 26 of the manual for your VCR and under the menu setting for "Picture Control" is the Edit control. As you will see if you read that page, this should be turned ON when editing tapes. It is somewhat backwards because turning it ON actually turns OFF the enhancement circuitry. The difference in doing this is actually quite large and is one of the several reasons why you get a better result when using better VCRs (the cheap ones don't let you turn off this enhancement.) With a good tape, where TBC sometimes doesn't do much, this change always improves the result.
1. Turn off NR.
2. Turn off enhancements (the "edit" switch).
I stand by #2, and I assume Lordsmurf has no objections to that.
As for #1, I am not as certain as to whether you will get better, or worse results with NR enabled. It most certainly will depend on the nature of your deck. On my various decks, the built-in NR does nothing but smoothing and kills detail. It most definitely needs to be off. One of my units is a very similar JVC to the one you're using. However, try it yourself: capture 10-30 seconds with it turned on; rewind; and then capture the same section with the NR turned off. Make sure to use video that has a lot of details. Then, put both captures on your timeline and A/B between them. Do details disappear? Does the NR video look better?
I have stated on previous occasions when this has come up, that digital algorithms can do a much better job of noise reduction, simply because they have so many different ways to attack the problem and can do it in non-real time whereas in the analog realm, signal processing is relatively crude and must be done as the video plays. However, it is possible that, since the circuits inside the VCR have access to the signals in their rawest form, that they might be able to do things better. Having said that, I'm not sure I'd believe that unless I saw an actual before/after example, and then compared that to what I could do with a few AVISynth plugins.
So, for me, the jury is still out on #2, until I see a before/after example. I'm not saying Lordsmurf is wrong, only that I don't remember ever seeing such a before/after test so I have no way of knowing for sure. NR definitely ruins things with my JVC VCR.
Last edited by johnmeyer; 12th Sep 2018 at 21:37. Reason: clarity
My only addition would be that AUTO/NORM (a term that flips based on calibration, which should be OFF for most models) should be ON in most cases. Yes, try it off (EDIT), but what will likely happen is that the image chroma noise increases dramatically, and lots of errant noise comes back into the picture. And again, far too many people confuse fine noise with "detail".
EDIT was never intended for use in playback mode. Read the manual. It was for analog editing. Digital capture is playback, not editing.
Looking at it another way, there was a lot of noise suppression added for playback because, as we all know, VHS video looks really bad compared to the original OTA video. The designers therefore added circuitry to mask these artifacts during playback.
And yes, those little noise specs do sometimes provide the illusion of more detail, but removing those dancing dots with analog circuitry always kills detail. It has to, given how it is done.
I stand by my recommendation: do a capture with and without the NR enabled, and with and without the Edit switch turned on (although according to JVRaines, that cannot be done independently on this deck). Then, compare the results. Don't listen to any of us, but instead see for yourself.
I'd be interested to hear what you find.
Last edited by johnmeyer; 15th Sep 2018 at 15:19.
I know, my dear. But I did not say that NR and Edit have to be used at the same time. I said that NR and TBC have to be used at the same time.