I've been trying various ways to capture VHS & betamax with my black magic shuttle but haven't been successful, so wondered if anyone could suggest a setup?
I understand I need a time base corrector for this device and heard that some DVD recorders can be used as a TBC. I tried this out but didn't have any joy, although there may be something I haven't tried I'm unaware. I can get a HDMI signal from a cheap media player which records fine, so I think the device is working properly.
I'm getting bamboozled about the best way to achieve a result as I've spent whole days experimenting and researching methods on youtube, understanding about conflicts like HDCP, trying various scart leads etc, but after 10 years I still haven't managed it.
If anyone could point me in the right direction it'd be really helpful. I'm often testing a lot of methods which have lead me down a few rabbit holes, since I have researched a lot, but there might be a few fundamental reasons for it not working that I'm perhaps unaware of to my knowledge.
Any help will be very appreciated if you get chance to throw any ideas my way.
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Which DVD recorder did you try? Did you confirm that VCR -> DVD recorder -> TV worked?
Which output(s) from VCR and from DVD recorder have you tried?
My own preferred workflow here in NTSC-land is:
S-VHS VCR <YC> SignVideo / Studio1 analog proc amp <YC> Panasonic DMR-ES25 or Philips DVDR3575H <HDMI> HDMI splitter that strips HDCP <HDMI> AVerMedia C027 or C127
(YC = Y/C = S-Video)
It's still not perfect: each DVD recorder has its own quirks, such as varying levels from AGC (both), two blacked-out lines (ES25), etc. And I have to reinterlace 480p to 480i. I think most PAL models allow 576i over HDMI though.
Last edited by Brad; 12th Feb 2020 at 11:19.
50% of the problem is the lack of line TBC in the VCR, the other 50% is lack of external TBC for timing signal correction, You may get away with a good VCR with LTBC and Panasonic ESR15 in the stream, all connections S-Video, otherwise get a capture device from back in the day such as Pinnacle boxes with Windows 7 machine.
[QUOTE=vaporeon800;2573550]Which DVD recorder did you try? Did you confirm that VCR -> DVD recorder -> TV worked?
Thanks, it's a Panasonic DMR-EX79 DVD Recorder. The model number isn't to hand at the moment for the VCR, it's a modern panasonic VCR.
VCR > DVD Rec > TV didn't gain a signal, this is what I tried but I was experimenting whilst being new to testing this method:
Scart cables connecting VHS out > DVD Rec > HDMI out from the DVD Rec > black magic Shuttle.
I realise I haven't been using S-video & have every AV lead necessary other than one of these, so I will get one asap. I've been trying scart and phono out.
Last edited by Neil-Betamax; 13th Feb 2020 at 05:57.
windows movie maker, it we're similar to one of those easycap devices. I also bought an Canopus ADVC 100, never got that to work so eventually chose the black magic shuttle, thinking it'd work like the easycap but with better, uncompressed quality, never realised what I'd need to understand & the extra gear I'd need to get it to work, but its been a few years.
I'm going to go with S-Video, get myself a lead & experiment further. I also have a HDMI splitter so I'll have another try to see if I can get a result with the Black Magic.
I saw a lot of problems with intensity shuttle. Its not a recommended capture card.
Read the comments. Good luck!
If you are planning on converting your old VHS tapes to digital, the Intensity Shuttle will not do this alone. You will also need a broadcast quality Time Base Corrector which are no longer sold on the market. You can try to pick one up on EBAY but I've had no luck finding one. A used TBC will also cost you several hundred dollars. Best bet is to take your old tapes to a company that does this kind of work. It'll probably be cheaper than buying a TBC. Disappointed."
That said, don't connect the vhs.
Just pop in a disc into the dvd player, dvd main menu, can the shuttle pickup anything solid through composite/svideo/hdmi?
If it can't, get a different capture device.
In short, the shuttle wants a perfect signal input or it's going to give you fits.
You need to do that by adding a high quality tbc to the signal before it enters the shuttle most likely.
It also has big quality problems.
I got a tip for using the Shuttle Intensity with a composite to hdmi converter... when using the Marmitek AH31 between your (or any) VCR and the Intensity Shuttle, the Intensity Shuttle is happy ( i did some tests) no TBC needed. TBC's are overrated..... and you really need to know your stuff about TBC's any TBC will not do.... and they are not cheap, yes, it's easy to say you need a TBC
If you read that ad from BH you see they never mention VHS The Intensity Shuttle captures great from the component and HDMI inputs, is my experience.
VHS/BetaMax/V2000 is low video quality to start with, and will not exceed that, investing lots of money into that ?
The Marmitek will output 1280x720p60 on HDMI in 16:9 you need to set 4:3 when encoding to MP4
The Marmitek will accept PAL, PAL60, NTSC and NTSC50 on it's input.
Last edited by Eric-jan; 16th Feb 2020 at 00:35.
Ironically the Marmitek AH31 is a "kind" of TBC.. it first digitizes the composite signal into digital and then outputs that as the HDMI signal. Anything that has to perform the analog to digital conversion first will output a "perfect" signal. Hence the use of DVRs for pass-thru "cleanup". There is no guarantee they will do as good a job as a dedicated TBC for broadcast or commercial use.. or a TBC for consumer use.. but its better than the original raw signal.
Scan converters for projectors and Format transcoders will similarly first digitize the analog input and then buffer it and output a perfect digital or analog signal.
But on the analog input it could reject, frame drop or do other things.. but the buffering will enhance the capture on the digital output by repeating the frame or doubling it.. or whatever it has to do to remain in specification.
Old TBCs would take analog input and provide "perfect" analog output.. and leave the digitization up to the capture device.. this might be what you wanted if you planned to further pass the signal through a standalone proc-amp, or scopes to visualize and set the levels before the signal reached the digitization step.
These days.. with analog TBC's so hard to find.. an analog to digital TBC might be the best alternative.. as long as it has a good reputation.
What about the conversion quality of this Marmitek AH31?
It's a big deal if you know that the Intensity Shuttle only expects a clean signal, i could even fast forward the vhs tape and it kept capturing.
still... my best option will stay my Panasonic ES35V as passthrough, using the component output, (which only few vcr or combo recorders have.)
I still have to test for macrovision with this AH31.... but most of the time you don't need that feature anymore in this time and age
Last edited by Eric-jan; 16th Feb 2020 at 08:17.
TBCs like the commonly used datavideo and cypress units digitize and buffer the signal in the same way really, they use off-the-shelf A/D chips from Philips/NXP to do the job. Difference is that they convert it back to "perfect" analog again rather than output a digital stream over e.g HDMI/SDI/Firewire. Very ancient units used with open reel tape etc may work differently.
TBCs do something on input, during processing, and on output.
Converters don't do that. There's really no separate input/process/output stages to correct/improve the signal. So garbage in, garbage out. And that's not a TBC. Many of those converters just outright rape a signal, especially the cheap HDMI converters.
windows movie maker,
I also bought an Canopus ADVC 100, never got that to work
so eventually chose the black magic shuttle,
I also have a HDMI splitter so I'll have another try to see if I can get a result with the Black Magic
The bottom line is if you buy the BM intensity shuttle for just capturing analog SD formats then just return it if you can because having another lousier device to digitize the analog signal for it means it's not doing its job (digitizing). It's like hiring a plumber to do the job but instead he throws his tools and tells you to do it yourself. There are so many warnings about the BM IS yet people keep buying them for whatever reason.
Thanks again everyone, I've managed to find an S-video lead in my box of many, many leads! So I'll try out what I can from whats been suggested. I'm not too concerned about improving the signal in terms of what a TBC can do, its just so I can get the output to record initially.
I'll be in a position now to test things through with what I have and see if I can get some results.
There's nothing wrong with the Intensity Shuttle, or any BMD device, it does exactly what BMD tells you, for me it works perfect with ES35V as source with a VHS tape in it, this device does not mention it has any TBC function, The problem also is, there are not many good capture devices for a crappy VHS output, they need to make a good VHS player
The point is BM is not the one doing the capturing, another device with a built in ADC is doing the work so what's the point of paying $300 for a port converter?
Also the price is right, for what it can do, + having multiple different in and outputs.
It all depends on your hardware setup, the hardware you can get, and keep experimenting with all options available.
VCR: output - connections & setings
capture device: - chipset - current/new version, interface speed > (USB 3, Thunderbold,PCI,m.2), (virtual/PRoRes)-compressed or uncompressed capture ?
media storage: HDD or SSD & interface speed (again)
Operating System: current version for good hard and software & driver support, enough system RAM
Graphics card: > a good one to unload the CPU
Last edited by Eric-jan; 23rd Feb 2020 at 15:56.
It's so uncanny, because after tons of research I got the Canopus ADVC, couldn't get it to work, then got the Black Magic Shuttle!
Haha, so it appears I've chosen to of the most problematic devices. That said, I'm going to put a day aside this week and try what I can with the hardware I have available. Hopefully I can at least get a signal even if its not perfect, something good enough or as close to the original output I can get
Update - The method worked!
I used the DVD recorder (DMR-EX79) as a bypass from the VCR through scart, S-video out into the blackmagic shuttle and the results are fantastic.
Thanks for your help everyone. Sorry for the delay in response, it took this long to retrieve an S-video lead I have and borrow my Dad's DVD Rec at a good time.
The next stage is to figure out the best process for exporting the compressed files.
If anyone has any tips as for what output format/size would be best for this it'd be helpful.
I've been importing the uncompressed files into Imovie and exporting them to compress the files, then I use MPEG Stream (software) to convert it to a smaller size file whilst trying to retain as much quality as possible. As this is experimentation stage after finally achieving a recordable signal through the DVD like a TBC, I'd be keen to know what process could be best for this purpose.
If anyone would like to suggest a good process for uncompressing these files whilst retaining the quality & dimensions to the best possible size it'd be great to see what ideas people could suggest.
From the blackmagic, uncompressed or prores files at native resolution into an editor.
Generally for vhs capture, a commonly used final output resolution is 720x480.
Obviously, if you're capturing at a higher resolution, you'd retain that during the editing, then compare a 720x480 render vs native capture resolution to see if there's detail loss you don't desire, and choose output resolution based on that.
People say analog vhs/beta generally has no more detail than about 720x480, but your eyes can verify.
For maximum capability, h.264 mp4 files.
H.265 is newer, doesn't play on all media devices (will play fine on pc), but gives you better encodes at the same bitrate as h.264.
The only future codec to think about is mp5 (vvc).
But it's not even out yet.
In the past, you'd have to sit through long cpu encodes, but with today's nvidia/Intel gpu accelerated encodes, you can have very good, fast encodes.
Coupled with h.265, you can get great gpu encodes in minutes vs the old days of sitting hours for cpu h.264 encodes.
As for what you do more than what you're doing now, depends on what you're trying to do.
Simply cuts and edits?
Color correction and grading?
iMovie, Use BM MediaExpress, Set to 8bit NTSC interlaced or PAL interlaced, Don't use progressive, The resulting lossless files are identical to what Vdub outputs in a PC environment, Then if you are not familiar with script software use handbrake and encode to H.264 in a mp4 container without changing anything else unless you want to de-interlace.
@Neil-Betamax you're in luck ! your DVD recorder (DMR-EX79) has also a component video output (the red green blue RCA's at the back) which you can connect to the Intensity Shuttle, This connection is meant for an analog input of a LCD tv/monitor, you can also set this connection to progressive in the system menu of the DMR-EX79, capturing this way saves you to de-interlace in post, you can try this, and see if it's better than by composite or s-video.
In progressive mode i discovered, that Macrovision is rendered useless... that's also an extra bonus. (if needed)
You have to set your settings in Desktop Video Setup and Media Express, for this resolution in progressive mode, and select the component input in the Desktop Video Setup
This DMR-EX79 looks like a fine device ! HDMI will not work most of the time is my experience, a shame my DMR ES35v doesn't have HDMI, because it's easier to switch from mode to mode and you will always see what you are doing, in between on the "flatscreen"
I'm happy i can use component video this way with my Intensity Shuttle, i hope you can also get this to work, the advantage i have i don't have to use any composite connections in my setup, because i use only the VHS-vcr deck of the DMR-ES35V, the DVD deck/MPEG2 i don't use.
Last edited by Eric-jan; 21st Apr 2020 at 15:28.
I would not recommend baked de-interlacing at the source, Analog materials are not alike and they almost all the time need different de-interlacing settings and filters, The one size fits all approach can't be applied here. He will be better off capturing the native content as they are (interlaced) and then later he can decide what to do with it.
Last edited by Eric-jan; 21st Apr 2020 at 15:53.
If you want to compress your un compresed files without adding any effects or edits, there's (a paid) converter, both for Mac and Microsoft available, called UniConverter, it is easy and fast in use, has many options, also the HEVC/h.265 codec which makes even smaller files, it also has color options, crop and tranform/aspect ratio options, in short: a converter, if you want more than that, you should first put your uncompressed video in a NLE and then convert to MPeg4, or use a standard video editor.
Last edited by Eric-jan; 21st Apr 2020 at 16:17.