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  1. I've been experimenting with my setup and doing some test captures, and thought there was a chance some on this forum may like to play along at home. The source is a relatively noisy but fairly stable off-air VHS recording, and the end result is a Lagarith capture via a Hauppauge USB-Live2. But what hardware have I used in between? Well, in the interests of science and impartiality, I'll leave it a little while, and if there's any interest in this thread, I'll give all the details then.

    There follows 10 screenshots - each from a slightly different setup - and attached below that are 10 corresponding video samples for your perusal. (I realise these are big files so this may be overkill, but take your pick.) Each of the samples have been through a "Direct stream copy" in VirtualDub to match their starting point, so they can easily be dropped into the NLE of your choice and compared by eye and with whatever scopes you like. The files are 25fps PAL, 4:3, interlaced (upper field first), YUY2, with no audio.

    Which is your favourite? Any and all observations and opinions will be interesting to read, and I'll do my best to answer any questions you may have.

    Screenshot A
    Image
    [Attachment 50136 - Click to enlarge]


    Screenshot B
    Image
    [Attachment 50137 - Click to enlarge]


    Screenshot C
    Image
    [Attachment 50138 - Click to enlarge]


    Screenshot D
    Image
    [Attachment 50139 - Click to enlarge]


    Screenshot E
    Image
    [Attachment 50140 - Click to enlarge]


    Screenshot F
    Image
    [Attachment 50141 - Click to enlarge]


    Screenshot G
    Image
    [Attachment 50142 - Click to enlarge]


    Screenshot H
    Image
    [Attachment 50143 - Click to enlarge]


    Screenshot I
    Image
    [Attachment 50144 - Click to enlarge]


    Screenshot J
    Image
    [Attachment 50145 - Click to enlarge]
    Image Attached Files
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  2. Mountains of gear vaporeon800's Avatar
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    Something wrong with one of the heads on the VCR that recorded this? Even-numbered fields look less noisy. Odds play back with more noise, more halos, more rainbows, more wiggle... The alternation during the crowd shot at the end is fantastic.

    And a minor thing I noticed: at least with some of the files, at the top of the screen, in the middle, there are a few lines with an artifact that alternates between green and magenta every frame.

    Now the meat. Hopefully I didn't typo any of the letters. It was fun, but I should get to bed now, so I can't go any further.

    ---

    A, B, J were played back on VCR1, using the composite output.
    - A: heavy rainbows
    - B: minimal rainbows, notable 3D comb filter errors (dots in saturated colors and especially along the head-switching noise)
    - J: tough to tell comb filtering through the diagonal mess

    VCR1 has better dropout compensation than VCR2 (seen at 0:08).

    C, F, H: VCR2 adds halos and a sort of diffuse outline
    D, E, G: VCR2 sharpening increased; more halos, less diffuse-ness
    (VCR1 is not halo-free, mind you.)

    Except for A & B, all of the samples are shifted down 2 lines via added black (1 line per field). E & F have Widescreen Signaling (WSS) added to the first half of analog line 23, which I have seen with samples from PAL LG DVD recorders.

    A, C, D are direct to capture device from VCR: the head-switching area extends all the way from the left to the right edge, which violates analog blanking.

    A, D have wiggles. C has fewer wiggles, so C has VCR TBC on.

    Much less rainbowing with C, D compared to A so I will assume that VCR2's S-Video output has been used.

    F is VCR TBC & DVD recorder TBC both used.
    E is VCR TBC off & DVD recorder TBC used.

    H, I are also VCR TBC on, but I can't guess what's in between the VCR and the capture device.

    G straightens lines below the head-switch point, so VCR TBC is off and a different TBC is used. Panasonic passthrough?

    The frame that's numbered 316 in the others is missing from H, and the complete file is 1 frame shorter.
    Last edited by vaporeon800; 18th Sep 2019 at 02:52.
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  3. That's sensationally impressive, vaporeon800 - you're right about practically everything, you've spotted just about all that I wanted to bring up, and you've even raised a couple of points I hadn't noticed! I'll address your post straight under this one, but first the explanation...

    I used two tape decks for these samples - one VHS and one SVHS:

    VHS = Sharp VCMH704
    SVHS = Panasonic NV-HS1000

    I also used two DVD recorders for passthrough:

    Sony = Sony RDR-GX350
    Pana = Panasonic DMR-ES10

    Where I list either [Scart|Composite] or [Scart|S-Video], I'm using this style of 'breakout' cable:

    Image
    [Attachment 50584 - Click to enlarge]


    The point really is that the VHS and Sony are consumer-level products which I bought for normal consumer reasons way back, while the SVHS and the Pana are more recent purchases and my attempt to upgrade specifically for capturing. How do they compare? Here are the chains I used for the above samples:

    Capture A
    VHS - [Scart|Composite] - Hauppauge

    Capture B
    VHS - [Scart|Composite] - Sony - [S-video] - Hauppauge

    Capture C
    SVHS (TBC&AI on) - [Scart|S-Video] - Hauppauge

    Capture D
    SVHS (TBC&AI off) - [Scart|S-Video] - Hauppauge

    Capture E
    SVHS (TBC&AI off) - [Scart|S-Video] - Sony - [S-video] - Hauppauge

    Capture F
    SVHS (TBC&AI on) - [Scart|S-Video] - Sony - [S-video] - Hauppauge

    Capture G
    SVHS (TBC&AI off) - [S-video] - Pana - [Scart|S-Video] - Hauppauge

    Capture H
    SVHS (TBC&AI on) - [S-video] - Pana - [Scart|S-Video] - Hauppauge

    Capture I
    SVHS (TBC&AI on) - [Scart|S-Video] - Pana (front) - [Scart|S-Video] - Hauppauge

    Capture J
    VHS - [Scart|Composite] - Pana (front) - [Scart|S-Video] - Hauppauge

    (The AI switch is supposed to be a one-stop-shop for the SVHS's optimal settings - the jury's very much still out on that particular claim - and it overrides certain settings made elsewhere. It's recommended to be used in conjunction with the TBC, so I've basically treated them as one - either both on or both off.)
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  4. Originally Posted by vaporeon800 View Post
    Something wrong with one of the heads on the VCR that recorded this? Even-numbered fields look less noisy. Odds play back with more noise, more halos, more rainbows, more wiggle... The alternation during the crowd shot at the end is fantastic.
    I think you're right - it's part of the recording rather than a playback problem. That wasn't part of the test, though.

    And a minor thing I noticed: at least with some of the files, at the top of the screen, in the middle, there are a few lines with an artifact that alternates between green and magenta every frame.
    I hadn't even spotted that, and now I can't unsee it! No idea what can cause that - some sort of chroma shift? I'm not going to lose any sleep over it, though.

    A, B, J were played back on VCR1, using the composite output.
    100% correct.

    - A: heavy rainbows
    That's the direct capture, so I suppose that makes sense.

    - B: minimal rainbows, notable 3D comb filter errors (dots in saturated colors and especially along the head-switching noise)
    That's going through the Sony, which to my eyes improves the picture (over a direct capture), but also introduces problems. I think there may be level issues with it in that it dulls the highlights slightly, and going from a very light picture to black usually results in an intermediate navy blue frame. (The latter's not evident from these samples, of course.)

    - J: tough to tell comb filtering through the diagonal mess
    Yes, I and J are the only samples going through the Pana's front inputs (one composite, one S-video), which are fundamentally broken. I've no idea whether this is a problem with my specific one, or whether the ES10 has this issue in general.

    VCR1 has better dropout compensation than VCR2 (seen at 0:08).
    YES. This has been a real bugbear of mine, ever since I got the SVHS. In fact, it's almost a deal-breaker - for all the problems the VHS has, the intrusive glitches served up by the SVHS are just about enough for me to go with the former. Am I mad for thinking that way?

    C, F, H: VCR2 adds halos and a sort of diffuse outline
    Those are the ones with the TBC and AI switched on.

    D, E, G: VCR2 sharpening increased; more halos, less diffuse-ness
    TBC and AI off, which means that the Sharpness slider kicks in. Now, there's a notch that causes the slider to come to rest in the centre, which led me to assume that was the neutral position (and that's how all of these were captured). Now I'm not so sure.

    (VCR1 is not halo-free, mind you.)
    I've searched the menus for a sharpness or noise reduction setting, but there isn't one. It's probably set to artificially sharpen slightly. (That said, some of the ghosting may be poor reception when recording. So many variables!)

    Except for A & B, all of the samples are shifted down 2 lines via added black (1 line per field).
    Those are the direct captures. Looks like both my DVD recorders do the two-line shift.

    E & F have Widescreen Signaling (WSS) added to the first half of analog line 23, which I have seen with samples from PAL LG DVD recorders.
    Both SVHS through Sony. Strange.

    A, C, D are direct to capture device from VCR: the head-switching area extends all the way from the left to the right edge, which violates analog blanking.
    Absolutely - well spotted!

    A, D have wiggles. C has fewer wiggles, so C has VCR TBC on.
    Ditto

    Much less rainbowing with C, D compared to A so I will assume that VCR2's S-Video output has been used.
    Indeed - always S-video where possible.

    F is VCR TBC & DVD recorder TBC both used.
    E is VCR TBC off & DVD recorder TBC used.
    Yes. Well, it's the Sony DVD recorder, so whether that counts as a TBC or not is up for debate, but in essence you're right.

    H, I are also VCR TBC on, but I can't guess what's in between the VCR and the capture device.
    It's the legendary ES10!

    G straightens lines below the head-switch point, so VCR TBC is off and a different TBC is used. Panasonic passthrough?
    There we are.

    The frame that's numbered 316 in the others is missing from H, and the complete file is 1 frame shorter.
    Yes - well spotted (again). I found this particularly ironic as, on paper, H should be the most stable of all the captures (SVHS, TBC, ES10...), yet it's the only one that skipped a frame.

    Thanks for taking the time to download, watch, and reply. Do you find any of the above surprising? I'm still tinkering and trying to get the best setup that I can, so any and all suggestions will be gratefully received and considered. I may even post a couple more samples. You have been warned!
    Last edited by Mr Chris; 18th Oct 2019 at 17:16.
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