I've been fiddling around with my capturing setup again, and I thought perhaps some here may find the results of my experiments interesting. I'm using:
JVC HR-S9600 S-VHS for playback
Panasonic DMR-ES10 for passthrough
Hauppauge USB-Live2 for capturing
Following on from this thread more than a year ago, I've captured the same clip on this JVC deck in multiple ways. These are raw captures, with absolutely no further processing added, and simply trimmed using VirtualDub's "direct stream copy". The only problem is I think I've worn this particular stretch of tape thin, so please use these to judge overall picture quality, drop-out compensation, and things like that, rather than stability (which we'll get to later). There are frames or fields missing in some of these first eight samples, but that's not really representative of my overall experience.
Firstly, two captures without the ES10 in the chain - just the JVC plugged straight into the Hauppauge (always S-video), once with the TBC on and once with it off. The JVC is in EDIT mode, and always is unless otherwise stated. Screenshots here, video samples attached below.
01 Axl direct, TBC ON, EDIT
[Attachment 55187 - Click to enlarge]
02 Axl direct, tbc off, EDIT
[Attachment 55188 - Click to enlarge]
Now the same thing, but adding the ES10 into the chain:
03 Axl TBC ON, EDIT
[Attachment 55189 - Click to enlarge]
04 Axl tbc off, EDIT
[Attachment 55190 - Click to enlarge]
Now the same as previous, but with the so-called B.E.S.T. mode enabled. (That's its name in PAL regions - I think it's called something else in NTSC models.)
05 Axl TBC ON, EDIT plus BEST
[Attachment 55191 - Click to enlarge]
06 Axl tbc off, EDIT plus BEST
[Attachment 55192 - Click to enlarge]
What do you think? I'm not keen, so that's the last we'll see of B.E.S.T. mode in this test. Now let's compare EDIT mode versus NORMAL mode. 03 and 04 above are in EDIT mode; the following are the same in every other respect, but switched to NORMAL mode.
07 Axl TBC ON, NORMAL
[Attachment 55193 - Click to enlarge]
08 Axl tbc off, NORMAL
[Attachment 55195 - Click to enlarge]
Let's explore this further with different clips. These next four are worth lining up in an NLE, zooming in to 400% on that grating and dartboard behind the presenter, and comparing. These two are EDIT mode with the TBC on and off:
09 CITV TBC ON, EDIT
[Attachment 55197 - Click to enlarge]
10 CITV tbc off, EDIT
[Attachment 55198 - Click to enlarge]
And these two are in NORMAL mode with the TBC on and off.
11 CITV TBC ON, NORMAL
[Attachment 55199 - Click to enlarge]
12 CITV tbc off, NORMAL
[Attachment 55200 - Click to enlarge]
I just happen to have an ancient test card on a tape, so same again. EDIT mode:
13 Test card TBC ON, EDIT
[Attachment 55201 - Click to enlarge]
14 Test card tbc off, EDIT
[Attachment 55202 - Click to enlarge]
15 Test card TBC ON, NORMAL
[Attachment 55203 - Click to enlarge]
16 Test card tbc off, NORMAL
[Attachment 55204 - Click to enlarge]
Taking stock so far, to my eyes the best-looking chain is to have the TBC switched on in EDIT mode. However, this also comes with a downside, which I posted about here a while back. That is to say, switching on the TBC also enables the unit's noise reduction filters, which can cause a sort of temporal smearing that's sometimes noticeable at scene changes. Turning the TBC off reduces the problem so that it's rarely noticeable to me on playback.
That said, turning the TBC off comes with its own problems, including the obvious slight overall reduction in picture quality (as evidenced above), and also the stability of the playback. You're going to have to trust me on this, but I did a few stress tests of capturing entire four-hour tapes in one go; those with the TBC off tended to either skip or duplicate a frame on average every 12 to 13 minutes or so, even though I was using a relatively pristine tape. With the TBC on, the capture was rock solid, with the only variations (versus with TBC off - I lined them up in Premiere) coming around breaks in the recordings.
Back to downsides of having the TBC switched on, things get a bit iffy when it comes to rather more battered old tapes. We're sticking with EDIT mode here, going through the ES10, and the TBC is on:
17 Alice TBC ON, EDIT
[Attachment 55205 - Click to enlarge]
See all those single-field up-and-down jumps in the video sample? (Do they have proper name, by the way?) Well, let's turn off the TBC and see what happens:
18 Alice tbc off, EDIT
[Attachment 55206 - Click to enlarge]
What an improvement! It's not quite perfect, but that, in a nutshell, is the ES10 earning its keep. Feed it a dirty signal, and it stabilises the picture superbly - far better than I'd have imagined - but it does have to be a dirty signal. Feed it something already TBC'd and it doesn't detect anything that needs stabilising. The trade-off of picture stability versus overall quality is a bit of a quandary, especially when you factor in those occasional skipped/duplicated frames, but in all honesty I'll take the non-jumpy version every time, regardless of the other issues introduced.
So, in conclusion, EDIT mode, TBC on if the tape is in good condition, and you'll get fantastic captures, as long as you can live with that temporal smearing. If the tape is less well-behaved, EDIT mode, TBC off gets the best results possible.
Agree or disagree? Am I going wrong anywhere? Should I be adding anything to the chain after the ES10 to help matters when the JVC's TBC is off? Any further observations or suggested improvements will be very welcome.
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What an effort Mr Chris.
I'll be keeping my ES-15 on all the time then!
As far as I know but not sure B.E.S.T "Biconditional Equalised Signal Tracking" works on recording, Tapes that were not recorded using this feature you wouldn't see any change. Kind of like tape equalization for different tape formulations for audio tapes.
Last edited by dellsam34; 3rd Oct 2020 at 00:51.
After reading the manual I partially take that back, The B.E.S.T works on pre-recorded tapes or tapes recorded on other VCR's but the improvement is much greater if the tape is recorded that way and read that way than just read that way. It has something to do with the magnetic characteristics of such tape formulation so that the playback heads can apply different current settings and look for the highest output signal for a given tape formulation, The whole process takes few seconds to complete before the adjusted playback "improved" starts.
With a different but maybe similar VCR, JVC HR-S9500MS, I find that the best setting on my recordings is B.E.S.T. on, TBC/NR on, EDIT off, D3R on
I use a Hauppauge USB-Live2 for capturing in HuffYUV with AmarecTV under Windows 10.
I guess the grainy rockconcert has it's grain from the transmission "quality" ? because the other set of samples don't have this...
That's interesting - if EDIT mode is off, does that mean you prefer NORMAL? Or one of the SOFT/SHARP options? Personally, I'm not keen on the D3R feature with any of them.
I should also have mentioned that I only capture S-VHS tapes recorded on the same machine with B.E.S.T. on, that's why I use it when capturing. And
as said, in my case the best (to my eyes) image is obtained with TBC/NR on, EDIT off, D3R on.
I doubt that's the case, but I'm going to do some tests anyway...
Don't expect too much improvement on quality of the Axl recordings, what you try on that, you will also loose in detail and resolution at the same time.
the only things i try are: to do some color correcting, most of the time there's also more noise in the darker area's of any video image, the final codec compression will smooth out these in a certain degree.
I think the BEST feature on playback does some adjustment to noise reduction and sharpness/detail enchancer, which may not come through in EDIT mode since that disables those things as far as I know. It's possible it does something with the rf equalizer as well but that's harder to tell.
I did a quick test on my HR-J658EH, which has the same main Video IC as the HR-S8500 and HR-S9500 and related on a very worn tape with weak signal strength. The first is with B.E.S.T on, second is with it turned off after first playing a freshly recorded tape with best enabled. I tested with just turning best off after the first recording with the tape still in but I seem to have not recorded that. I will have to re-check to be sure, but it seemed the adjustments done by BEST on the fresh may not have been reset after putting in the worn one again. Only the SVHS-models in this and earlier ranges like the S9500 and S8500 had an EDIT mode option, so this is not with EDIT on, and it was only an. On HR-S9600 and lower models in the range they added the picture mode settings with edit, auto, soft to all models.
[Attachment 55415 - Click to enlarge]
[Attachment 55416 - Click to enlarge]
(The contrast is slightly different in the two pictures, not sure if it was the Pioneer DVR or capture card AGC that caused that. I didn't alter anything other than trimming the first field of the clip so the fields were in phase as this from a telecined movie.)
There is a technical guide for the 9500 series floating around which describes some of the new stuff introduced in that series. It refers to an older technical guide for a description of the BEST system but I have not been able to track that one down:
See the Technical Guide (VTG82081) of the HR-VP830U/E939EG/J936MS for details of the best
The question is, once a recording has been made with any sceme, what should one do during playback ? will any feature used in playback mode, make it worse or improve on it ?
i guess you don't know from old recordings with what feature they where recorded, so once you think "you have it" an other recording will prove you wrong, transferring analog video stays a difficult task if you go deep into the details, i try to have a routine, and try to accept that some recordings are not of top quality, and am thankfull that i still have these recordings.
btw. a lot of movies are also on DVD BluRay, Torrent, or some rare material is also available on Youtube, rare material are mostly tv productions that the studios themselves have deleted, due to re-use of tape media, and live, not stored broadcasts. one should share such material
(when you have a SCART only vcr, be sure to have a good SCART cable, otherwise always use the RCA/minidin (when available) connections)
Last edited by Eric-jan; 11th Oct 2020 at 09:32.
I think the BEST feature on playback does some adjustment to noise reduction and sharpness/detail enchancer, which may not come through in EDIT mode since that disables those things as far as I know...
Yes, in my captures I see a (small) difference if BEST is on or off; it seems to me that with BEST on the noise is slightly reduced, but I may be wrong.
As usual, the best way to proceed is to make some experiment and judge by yourself, without following generic recommendations!
[Attachment 55434 - Click to enlarge]
[Attachment 55433 - Click to enlarge]
The Thunderbirds (TOS) is even available on BluRay.. and is way too sharp, on BluRay you see (too) many details
Last edited by Eric-jan; 11th Oct 2020 at 15:01.
The Thunderbirds (TOS) is even available on BluRay..
Unfortunately BRs are cropped to fit 16:9 ratio