I've read countless threads on this forum regarding the process of digitizing analog tape-based video. So far I,ve accumulated lots of information but I'm having trouble narrowing it down to a workflow fitting my needs and limitations. Therefore I would be grateful if someone could evaluate my plans regarding what hardware and software to use.
The goal is to shoot a music video for my band on Hi8 and then edit with modern software. The reason for shooting Hi8 in 2019 is purely aesthetical. It has a certain analog look that we miss albeit with a somewhat acceptable resolution. The video is to be released online if everything works out right so there will be a need for deinterlacing.
In short, I want to capture a digital version of the footage as true to the original tape as possible in terms of visual quality. I also want progressive video files that work well in Adobe Premiere for editing.
I have to keep costs at a minimum so buying tons of dedicated hardware won't be possible.
Anyway, here's my gear and planned workflow:
Camera/VCR: Sony Handycam CCD-TRV85 (Records Hi8 XR, XR = 10% increase in "luminance detail" over standard Hi8) (NTSC!)
Capture device: Hauppauge USB-Live2 (Will be using s-video straight from the camera)
Capture software: (I'm planning on using VirtualDub to capture lossless HuffYUV, AVI)
This is where I'm getting sort of lost. Is virtualdub and huffyuv obsolete today? Any recommendation on how to best capture an edit-friendly file format via the Hauppauge? What visual quality can I expect? As said the goal is to keep the analog look of the footage so I'm thinking a lossless capture would be best to avoid any compression messing with the inherent grain of the Hi8-footage(I know from experience that color grading highly compressed video = disaster.) Any recommendations in terms of resolution? Best method for deinterlacing?
Have I got this right or am I completely lost?
Thanks in advance!
Edit: I'm not trying to improve the quality (stabilising, noise removal etc.) I wan't to capture analog video in all its glory with the flaws intact. The main concern is avoiding any digital artifacts when capturing.
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Last edited by High On 8; 10th Jan 2019 at 06:48.
HuffYUV is an intraframe codec and thus quite suitable for editing. You shouldn't have any trouble with a reasonably fast processor. Watch out for audio sync problems in VirtualDub; many users, including myself, experience random offsets of captured audio streams. Your biggest challenge will be finding a deinterlacer that you like. Interlaced video never looks the same after it is taken to progressive format because you have to throw away resolution in one form or another.
Consensus is that QTGMC is the best deinterlacer if you have the patience for it. The only advantage of YADIF is that it's much faster. Unfortunately, it performs poorly on diagonal lines in the image.
Avisynth+ x64 QTGMC on fastest preset isn't shabby.
I don't really like slow settings anymore, dislike the blur filter.
I saw a video comparing the different QTGMC-settings and I agree on the blurring not looking very good. I prefer analog video with its flaws, like grain, still visible. I won't try to improve the looks of the capture because in my opinion that can't be done digitally without introducing digital crap to the video. However deinterlacing is a necessary evil. Are there any good guides you know of explaining the basic steps for deinterlacing with QTGMC in Avisynth? I've never written any code so I expect I wouldn't be able to figure it out completely by myself.
Last edited by High On 8; 14th Jan 2019 at 00:26.
High On 8,
I too have a soft spot in my heart for Hi8! I recently digitized almost 60 Hi8's from the 90's and early 2000's and am planning on incorporating a lot of that footage (especially of a radio show I used to do) into a video podcast. Anywho, on the topic of deinterlacing, QTGMC can indeed be good, but for editing in Premiere, I just drop the interlaced AVI clips into a 1080p60 timeline and Premiere converts each field into a frame. (You'll also need to zoom in with the clip's motion settings.) Speeds things up A LOT. It looks great, and as much like an old CRT as possible in the digital world. QTGMC creates detail where there was none in order to smooth out jagged edges. But you don't see those jaggies at regular 60fps (60 fields per second back in the day) anyway. QTGMC is great if you plan to use your Hi8 footage in slow motion clips BUT... In the old days any slow motion or freeze frame from a tape was one field at a time and the jaggies were there anyway. To me, just converting each field to a frame in Premiere is the most authentic look you can get.
In addition to simply dropping interlaced clips into a 1080p60 timeline in Premiere, I also zoom in to crop off the head switching noise at the bottom and slightly ragged edges around the sides and top, even though that results in a touch of detail loss. I like the edge-to-edge coverage, much like an old CRT overscanning.
Here's a finished YouTube video I uploaded recently of a family Thanksgiving in 1998. It was shot on a Sony CCD-TRV65 using the anamorphic 16:9 mode. All I did on it besides letting Premiere do the 1080p60 trick is fix some out-of-range luminance.
Good luck and have fun on that Hi8 project!
There's a difference between preview deinterlacing and render deinterlacing. Only so many algorithms out there and Premiere Media Encoder must be using one of them.
Premiere is weird. If you drop an interlaced 60i clip (59.94) into a 30fps timeline (29.97), it throws away one field and you're left with a half resolution, chunky looking image. But if you put the 60i clip into a 60p timeline, it just doubles up each field and makes a pretty nice, unadulterated 60p video. You would think such a major editing suite would use at least a basic motion detecting deinterlacer like QTGMC for 60i to 30p conversion, but no. I tried Re:Vision Effect's deinterlacer, but for some reason it starts skipping frames on longer clips. Making everything 60fps looks more authentic and smooth anyway. Once i learned that, I stopped caring about deinterlacing so much. EXCEPT... Facebook doesn't allow 60fps yet, so there I just do a field blend out of Premiere and be done with it. Facebook's compression is so awful it hardly matters.
When previewing in the little Program window, Premiere just shows a 30fps video, even if it's a 60fps timeline. Not sure how to get around that.
leeoverstreet that video looks really good! I can't really see any artifacts from the deinterlacing. There's something unique with the way analog tape-based video looks, just like film it has its own character that modern digital cameras don't have. I'm definitely going to try your Premiere method and compare with QTCMT.
Anyway, I just finished my first tests and the results are way better than I expected. I captured some test footage through Virtualdub and a Hauppauge usb-live2 (s-video). Went with Lagarith this time. I tried deinterlacing in Virtualdub using the Yadif preset and the results are definitely acceptable. However, due to the intentionally "hard to deinterlace" nature of the footage some artifacting was visible. I also tried QTGMC after some trouble with getting Avisynth to work. I used the "slower"-preset since the tutorial I followed used that. Also, I had to use Huffyuv since I couldn't figure out how to encode Lagarith in Avisynth. I'm going to try the other presets later. Nevertheless, the result looks very good in my opinion.
Here are the tests, both Yadif and QTGMC. There were some inserted frames during the capture hence some stutter.
Note, video was compressed before uploading to Vimeo.
High on 8,
With all those thin, sharp lines in every direction on that crane structure, and the unsteady motion, you've definitely found a deinterlacing torture test! What you've ended up with there is probably as good as can be expected, at least without an enormous amount of tweaking that probably wouldn't be worth your time. That appeared to be 60fps, yes? I wish Vimeo had an equivalent to YouTube's "Stats for Nerds" so I could see all that kind of stuff. As long as you're going from lossless to lossless when deinterlacing, you can then edit the deinterlaced file in Premiere with no worries. For me, I decided the benefits of QTGMC didn't quite justify making all my editing / work flow take even longer, so I just drop the original interlaced clip into a 60p sequence in Premiere and be done with it. Although like I said before, needing slow motion might change that for me.
I'd love to see the result of some of your editing of a music video, as I will eventually be doing something quite similar (we had live band performances on our radio show back in the day)! If you think about it, leave a link here when you have something.
Thatís what I suspected; I canít seem to find many examples online of Hi8 looking that much better than what I came up with.
Itís 60fps indeed. Iím surprised at how well QTGMC works. It actually renders in near-real time on my old computer so time consumption isnít a big issue. However Iím still eager to try out your method in premiere.
Iím actually going to shoot a music video for another band this coming week. Iím hoping itíll work as a way to practice for the upcoming music video for my own band. Iíll post a link when itís done.
On the topic of video , I have yet another question regarding hi8. My camera has an option for shooting widescreen. Iím confused by whether itís true widescreen maintaining the vertical ďresolutionĒ(meaning the sensor would have to be wider than 4:3) or if itís cropped or even worse squashed to fit in a 4:3 frame. The reason Iím asking is that Iím unable to try it out for a while due to working all the time...
I'm surprised that you are still using a Hi8 camcorder in 2019. If you have the shooting skills and software editing you should work in 4k and make money on youtube videos if your band makes great material worth monetizing on online platforms.
High on 8,
I betcha your TRV85 will shoot anamorphically. My TRV65 from 1998 does. There are three shooting methods in the menu: 4x3, 16x9 letterboxed, and 16x9 anamorphic. I'm not home to look right now so I can't remember exactly what Sony calls those settings. I think maybe the letterboxed one is called "cinema." You'll know you're in the right anamorphic mode when the image in the 4x3 LCD screen is squished horizontally, as opposed to letterboxed when in the non-anamorphic mode. Also, when in anamorphic mode, there's no anti-shake image stabilization, so take that into account when deciding how to shoot (tripod, steadicam, handheld, etc.). And don't forget some capture systems and file formats may not handle 16x9 720x480i correctly. I have a Matrox MX02 mini which has a specific setting for widescreen (anamorphic) standard definition. Premiere then handles those files just fine if you either manually choose widescreen when creating a sequence, or creating a sequence from the file with a right click.
Speaking of Premiere, my method of deinterlacing with Premiere simply line doubles each field, which is what old CRTs sorta did (with the help of your eyes) and what standard def inputs on HDTVs do today. QTGMC does some motion analysis to try to guess what pixels SHOULD be in between each field line, and can generate a slightly better result, especially if you do slo-mo. Just like slo-mo on a 4 head VCR, you'll see the chunky nature of each line-doubled field by my method. In one sense it's super authentic. But viewing in normal speed at 60fps, it's hard to tell the difference unless you have a lot of very thin horizontal or diagonal lines / edges. Maybe take all that into account when deciding whether to add the time and complexity to your deinterlacing and editing.
And dellsam34.... He chooses a Hi8 for artistic / nostalgia reasons. Art, baby!
I chose NOT to use QTGMC after looking at the workflow that would give me. So I'm not the one to ask. I have, however, used Handbrake with a couple of different settings to do something similar. You can set videos to encode to a specified frame rate of 59.94 using Yadif deinterlacing with the "Bob" setting. Everything I read says QTGMC is a touch better, but harder to use and slower, thus my hesitancy. It's also hard to find any good tutorials on how to implement QTGMC. Thus I chose to give up a potential bit of quality in favor of simplicity of workflow and pretty darn good results.
Here's my YouTube channel where all my recent standard definition analog tape conversions were done with the "throw it in a 1080p 59.94fps Premiere sequence" method.
High on 8...what did you manage to use?'Do I look absolutely divine and regal, and yet at the same time very pretty and rather accessible?' - Queenie
Dellsam34, I donít like the look that current digital cameras produce, it lacks character. I prefer older analog cameras, they have certain qualities that canít be reproduced digitally. If I had the money I would shoot on film but Iíll have to stick to analog tapes for now. Iím more into the aesthetic side of film/video and less interested in resolution etc.
Turns out the camera has options for both anamorphic and letterboxed. Iíll try it out as soon as I can and to how it turns out.
I think Iíll continue using QTGMC since I need 60fps to be able to get it down to 24fps. However, if Iím doing a 30fps project Iíll definitely use your method in premiere. It would save me some time and effort. The videos on your YouTube channel looks really good so if doing a 30fps project thereís no reason to use QTGMC in my opinion.
High On 8,
Just to be clear, the videos on my YouTube channel that are from analog videotape are all uploaded at 1080p60 or 720p60. I use a 60fps (59.94, actually) sequence, and export to a 60fps mp4 video file. On YouTube, only videos that are 720p or higher resolution can be 60fps, and that's why I do that upconversion.