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Last edited by JimTheGreek; 5th Apr 2020 at 10:41.
The old Video8 camcorder I have, giving only composite signal output.
The ezcap128 usb 2.0 video grabber with its digitiser program for MacOS.
RCA cables to connect camcorder with the video grabber.
Maximum quality settings in the digitiser's menu are: H.264 encoding, 720x576 resolution.
All the above are just the equipment I have now. If quality can be much better with something else, I would like to have a suggestion (any camcorder, any other grabber, any cables, or anything else).
I have uploaded two samples but I am not sure my message is in the correct position. I am new here...
- Find where in the capture program you can adjust the controls labelled Brightness, Contrast, Hue, Saturation, Sharpness.
- Are these values currently set to Defaults? If so, lower Brightness by a few points until the black borders on the side are true black instead of the dark grey they currently are. Then lower Contrast a lot, until bright white spots start turning to bright grey. Then raise it back up a few points. You're trying to hit the sweet spot where whites are white but clipping/blooming doesn't occur.
- If in doubt, err on the side of lower than ideal Contrast and higher than ideal Brightness. This gives some wiggle room for post-processing.
Are there other options in the capture program besides H.264, such as YUV422, ProRes, DVCPRO50, etc?
Thoughts on forum etiquette:
You posted the same thing twice (#31 & #32). Baldrick (site owner) might appreciate it if you Advanced Edit your 2nd post, remove the files first (clears some server space?), and then change the content of the post to something like "[double post]".
As a general rule on all internet forums, when you are posting something that isn't directly related to an existing thread, and especially when the existing thread is as old as this (last post before yours over 1 year ago), you should start a new thread in the appropriate subforum instead of posting a Reply. But at this point I'd say we should continue to post in this thread and if an admin wants to split this discussion into a new thread, he can do so.
Last edited by Brad; 5th Apr 2020 at 10:35.
Thank you for your immediate reply! I deleted the files as you advised me. Thank you for your help on that. It wasn’t my intention.
As for the video capturing, I will try those changes. Unfortunately, the H.264 is the only option given on MacOS...even though its looks like there should be more options by clicking on that field....
Wouldn't Hanbreak help to deinterlace the file?
Apart from those, what do you think of the quality? Does it get any better with any other equipment/method?
Shall I send you the changed file again?
Last edited by JimTheGreek; 5th Apr 2020 at 11:02.
Last edited by JimTheGreek; 5th Apr 2020 at 23:38.
Now I learned that you are capturing to Mac OS, I have no experience in that department so I can't help any further, But I can see your disatisfaction with the results is due to combined factors, the composite output, the grabber itself, the software it uses and the setting you are using.
Dellsam34 thank you for your explanation. I understand your point. Besides my set up, what would be the perfect solution (choosing another equipment)? I also have a weaker windows computer but I may use it for that if needed.
Sorry I'm not familiar with mac, so I don't know what would be suitable for that OS.
But most of my captures are done using a newer computer via USB 3.0 using an analog to SDI capture device and a SDI to USB 3.0 adapter, Even though this method is very stable I do not recommend it because the equipment involved are expensive.
I understand what you said with double loss through DV conversion and then to mp4 format or whatever...Although I haven't tried anything alike, I just understand your point.
Given my camcorder model, which doesn't have other than a composite output, and that usb 2 grabber with its software that brings out lower quality results, would you suggest any better grabber in specific? Should I also buy a used old camcorder with S-Video or Component output? Would it make that much of a difference?
What would be a good enough set up to fulfil an average amateur's needs?
Last edited by JimTheGreek; 24th Apr 2020 at 04:06.
The video 8 tape is one analog transfer - image to tape that reduces quality.
The usb 2 grabber is a second analog transfer - input video converted into mpg, resulting in more quality loss.
The more analog to analog transfers, generally, the lower the final quality.
If you capture the analog with a good capture device that can do lossless transfer ( see various threads here ), you can get better capture quality, esp. After post processing of the video (see various threads). Can be a bit of work getting everything, setting up and testing the workflow.
A digital8 camcorder converting the tape directly into dv video can be marginally better than simple analog capture devices, but because video8 is low quality low resolution to begin with, it might look the same https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=1pFLlpbaeYs
Ignore the video jumping, and colors - both have fixes.
Details - that's the sort of difference you'd expect on video8 captures between ok and better capture devices.
Go thru more post processing, that is about what you can expect (use vhs for video8).
Your sample looks like it's interlaced or has no deinterlacing.
That's a problem - gotta fix it.
This explains interlacing.
An example of the other post processing things that can be done to improve the video.
Composite vs s-video.
Can you see the difference?
Do you care?
If you do, you'll need a device that plays the tapes with s-video/dv output (pretty much any Sony Digital8 camcorder or deck). That's the only way to get an output from the tape that's better quality than what you have now.
2. Time Base Correction
Vhs decks typically do not have any way to stabilize the analog signal, some do. If the video isn't stable, the capture isn't as good.
The same can affect any analog video source that doesn't have a time base correction built in like your current camcorder.
If you buy a digital8 camcorder, you'd have to test it - maybe it stabilizes the video, maybe not.
Some people feed the analog signal through a vhs deck that has it, then capture the stabilized signal from it. Others use a proper tbc box.
3. Digital capture
At some point, you'd have to balance cost vs quality.
DV capture from a digital8 camcorder would be a baseline.
It's decent, works cheap, doesn't take much more than the current camcorder. Basically like a decent analog capture that's been stabilized.
For uncompressed high quality capture, some say use what they've used and process like they've done. Tons of threads.
Others have used the Blackmagic Intensity Shuttle ($200-30) and even more expensive uncompressed capture cards ($1000+).
The Shuttle would be the basic lower end uncompressed device to start with unless you're budget is unlimited. It can do 10-bit (rather than 8-bit) uncompressed captures for very high quality video to edit, post process.
If the input video isn't stable, a tbc box (some have gotten away with a hdmi converter https://www.marmitek.com/en/connect/converters/connect-ah31-analogue-scart-to-hdmi-converter/ which will work in a jam) well be needed.
Shouldn't need one given that a Sony Digital 8 ought to have it based on other threads.
4. You'd then setup the Shuttle with the Capture Software included free, Davinci video editor from them, too, free.
Capture from digital 8 svideo to shuttle to 10-bit uncompressed files on desktop, edit in Davinci, output to 10-bit mp4 files.
You're confusing the poster, The TBC inside camcorders and VCR's is called line TBC, it fixes the timing of scan lines, The external TBC fixes the timing of the frames. They are two different features that require different hardware, in most cases ( and I hear Lordsmurf whispering in all cases) you need both.
And no you don't need 10 bit after encoding, 8 bit will suffice or you will have playback issues with some hardware.
Let's say we try to spec out The Best for giggles:
1. Video deck
Let's assume for a moment companies like Sony are putting in better hardware and features to play and record videos into their $$$$ top end video decks vs the consumer gear.
We'll ignore actual performance since one would have to A/B test all the gear to actually determine true performance. However, this assumption holds because why would they do otherwise? Makes no sense as an engineer to design a crappy top end deck.
Something like a Sony EV-S7000 and Sony EV-S9000E PAL decks.
This will give you the added features you don't typically have on consumer gear:
SONY HI8 VCR - EDITING VCR - SONY EV-S7000
Digital Timebase Correction eliminates subtle picture jitter results for tiny variances in tape transport or head drum rotation speed for a clear, stable image, free from shake or straight-line distortion essential for high-quality editing
Digital Noise Reduction improves picture quality by minimizing random video noise that occurs for one field to the next
A low or high level of noise reduction can be manually set depending on picture conditions
Advanced Dynamic Signal Filter continually adjusts picture playback signal for ideal balance of picture sharpness and low video noise
Drop-0ut Compensation Circuitry reduces nearly in half the visible effects of tape drop-outs for a more pleasing picture
Chroma Process Improvement System minimizes color blurring at object edges for more accurate color reproduction and improved sharpness
3-Line Digital Comb Filter Provides clear Y/C (luminance/chrominance) signal separation for minimal picture deterioration due to cross-color and dot-crawl interference
Tape Stabilizer for smoth tape transport and reduced picture jitterCrystal-Clear Picture in still slow-motion frame-by-frame playback and picture search without picture jitter and noise bars
Custom Picture Mode lets you adjust the color sharpness and Y/C delay to suit your own viewing preferences
Or, the Sony GVD-800 Digital 8 Video Walkman VCR.
Digital Noise Reduction When recording, this automatic circuit helps to reduce chromatic noise by up to 20 percent.
Time Based Correction (TBC) By replacing the video signal with a clear sync pulse, timing errors that are commonly seen as jitter in home videos are corrected.
2. Time base corrector, as needed.
Ensemble Designs BrightEye 1 Analog/SDI - SDI/Optical Converter w/TBC
BrightEye is a comprehensive solution to signal acquisition. With analog component, analog composite S-Video (Y/C), and SDI video inputs, it can take on any video source. The built-in Time Base Corrector/Frame Synchronizer provides a rock steady output N even with marginal inputs. The reference input is used to genlock the converter output to house reference such as color black.
3. Video capture
Magewell Pro Capture HDMI 11040 $300
AJA kona lhi $1500
Bluefish Epoch Neutron $1700+
Blackmagic Intensity pro 4k / intensity shuttle
BM decklink pro 8k
$600 12-bit 4:4:4 hdr
4. High quality video cable
Impossible to say which are the best without A/B testing with scopes, but you'd want to look for thick well shielded, oxygen free ones.
Bandh.com carry some pearstone and comprehensive ones.
Shorter = less analog signal loss.
5. 10-bit encodes vs 8-bit
You can see the difference. More shades of colors with higher bits = better encode, smoother color gradients.
Professionals work with 10+-bit monitors and video, so obviously it's better.
For compatibility across the most devices from phone to tablet to pc to media device, 8-bit is the standard.
For playback on newer devices that support 10-bit and any pc/tablet with vlc, 10-bit works fine.
6. H.264 vs H.265
Again, more devices support H.264, but with h.265 being 7 years old and even phones record to h.265 nowadays, it's not uncommon. Like #5 above.
Better quality than h.264 at the same bitrate, handles 10-bit.
7. Uncompressed video captures
Now that you have the video on your pc, you'd want to do some editing and cleanup before final mp4 export (or you can simply keep it as is if you want).
Exporting to another lossy format like mp4 is only needed for playback compatibility on other devices and to save storage space. On a PC, you can keep edited non-lossy 10-bit+ video files and play them for the very highest quality possible.
You'd want to use a video editor that handles 10+ bit videos without loss of quality like Blackmagic Davinvi free.
There will always be those that say you "don't need" or can "get away" with lesser quality equipment and captures for "The Best" capture setup, bit they're just ignoring reality.
No professional Hollywood post shop does that because the difference can be scientifically, objectively measured issuing scopes, video quality analyzers (like the Intel Media quality analyzer), etc.
4:4:4 color space is always better than 4:2:2 which is always better than 4:2:0/4:1:1. Objectively, the differences exist even if you can't see them.
Same with 10+ bit captures vs 8-bit on high quality devices.
Big companies like Sony and Panasonic have been engineering video gear for decades and they know there's a difference - else, why make 14-bit devices if just 8-bit can do for "The Best"?
A great post babygdav, reality is also, most people do not have the best/optimal equipment or computers, btw... this thread/post started in 2018.... and not by JimTheGeek...
capturing uncompressed is not practical if the PC or software is not up to that,(data rate throughput) most of the time the the pro, or semi pro's, already "film" with a (special) compressing codec, which will not put a lot of strain on de recording hardware and also while at work in post, so one has to find the middle of the road between budget and quality.
sometimes a lot of luck finding the right equipment is also a factor in that process,(which is not always available) that makes the journey to a best possible result also kind of a reward.
Where you mention the Sony GVD-800 you can also mention: "any Digital8 camcorder with iLink/Firewire connection" because the Sony GVD-800 is (also) a very hard to find piece of equipment, and the Digital8 feature, and Firewire connection is what is needed in this case.
I just recieved my Thunderbolt 2 to Firewire 800 converter and 800 to 400 adapter, and have a new go to transfering some Hi8 footage, because i first had still a component (YUV) conversion in my "chain" an important fact you also mentioned is the blacklevel (compensation?) which is where it goes wrong with NTSC material, which is not valid for PAL recordings, i remember that on my AVDC100 there's even a DIP switch to set to zero or IRE 7.50 IRE7.5 is needed for NTSC, but this option is not available on miniDV or Digital8 camcorders... this is maybe where NTSC DV transfers goes wrong ?
Last edited by Eric-jan; 25th Apr 2020 at 18:07.
The whole point of "getting away" with something compromised is often due to:
1. Budget. Most people cannot easily afford your top suggestions
2. Sensitivity. If someone truly cannot tell the difference between great and mediocre, or doesn't care, why the expectation that they achieve excellence?
It is always great to recommend the (objective?) best to someone, but to be realistic, it should always be tailored to the situation. It doesn't hurt to say what the benchmark is, even if it cannot currently be achieved, as long as judgement isn't imposed on the choice.
Of course, the flip side is:
1. Certain memories are priceless, and while one might not consider them that way now, circumstances change, and availability of them (at their best quality) may not always be there.
2. Just like circumstances, sensitivities change. People can learn to be more discerning.
It's not ignoring reality, rather it's having differing priorities. The pros do the same, it's just that their bar for compromise is just that much higher (partly due to that budget -or profit- thing and partly due to that sensitivity thing).
That's why real engineers will have so many equivocal caveats, or references to standards, or use case categorizations in their recommendations and specs. The real world is complicated & nuanced.
Any issues with setup that cant be fixed/adjusted for in the playback device can usually be fixed easily in post As Long as the blacks and whites remain within the 0-255 (8-bit) range without clipping.
Otherwise, you'd need additional equipment to bring the levels into the range your devices capture.
Anyways, if you have issues, list out all the equipment you're using, how they're connected, software used.
When you put it like that..... uhhh... no, priorities in life have a certain order and transfering analog video into digital isn't that high on that list, yes, the Intensity Shuttle or the internal Pro version could be the right combination with a TBC, only TBC's are hard to get, you don't buy the Intensity to just use it for it's composite input, that's not smart, the option of component would be better you should "only" have the option of a VCR, combo, or dvd-recorder (for passthrough) that outputs to component video, this option needs no TBC is my experience sofar, an other capture device with component input will also do, i think...
converters to match different connection could also work, but the cheap ones will give quaity loss, or you should try to find a passthrough device that will have the right connections, this comes down to doing some research yourself, in the past there have been many combinations in devices because of adption from revolution in technology to the next one, in europe there was a plan to have PAL+ for that purpouse but it never came.
(The option of using iLink/Firewire for transfering any Video8 format or miniDV is maybe the best option if other equipment is not available)
Like already said, one has to build onto the equipment that's already available, and look into the features of them, supporting modes, different video system formats, filter settings in menu options of a device, all to make a good capture possible, the use of Google to find manuals for that will also help, there are also good Wikipedia "guides" on the different subjects to understand more of the basics to get more insight.
If you do good research, you don't need a lot of money
Last edited by Eric-jan; 25th Apr 2020 at 20:33.
@babygdav: Let me try this for a second time, Sony GVD-800 is no better than any Hi8/D8 camcorder with S-Video out and line TBC, So your assumption of expensive hardware equals better quality is dead wrong, you got called out on it before and you are still repeating it.
Once you output your video8/Hi8 with Firewire you have digital intra frame material which is great for editing, uncompressed capturing gives large files that needs a beefy pc to store to.
DV can be compaired to prores for this reason, DV wil give no loss for VHS/Video/Hi8. any Digital8 camera will do. DV transfer software is rare on the MAC OS i discovered..
iMovie doesn't have good options to set....
I know you are trying to be realistic, @Eric-jan, but REALISTICALLY DV is nowhere near the visible quality of ProRes FOR MOST USERS. Nor is it even close to visibly lossless for (S)VHS/Betamax/8mm/Hi8. It is still older DCT intraframe CBR compression (at low enough bitrate to regularly incur artifacts), it is still 4:2:0 (or even worse, 4:1:1) subsampling, it is still 8bit YUV pixel bitdepth. Those are the facts.
Is it acceptable to the end user? That is subjective, and up to the end user, when taking budget & workflow circumstances into consideration.
It is ok to give that as an option, but one shouldn't conflate that with it being the preferred tacit recommendation. It IS a compromise.
I did not said anything about quality, did I ? ... in that you are correct !