This is my first post in about 15 years. I was pretty active back during the Star Wars LD to DVD conversion discussion days. Anyway, I am wondering what the best capturing device would be to capture VHS from my Sony SLV-575UC to my laptop. None of my tapes are commercial, so I am not worried about bypassing Macrovision and I do not plan to convert to DVD or Blu-Ray. I still have my Canopus ADVC-100 from back in the day, but it is Firewire and my laptop does not have that. Would it be better to get something new or get some kind of Firewire to USB adapter? Thanks.
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New threads re "whats best way to capture VHS as of this moment" appear here daily (sometimes hourly): take a quick look at threads posted over the past couple weeks for an overview of current wisdom. The gist: it varies depending on your computer OS, budget, and quality standards. A rare few recent product discontinuations or introductions aside, nothing has changed in 15 years: there isn't much of a middle ground. You either spend a little for minimum quality, or spend a couple grand for "best".
In your particular case, I'd ask are you still satisfied with your earlier captures done with the Canopus? If so, the answer is easy: go on eBay and track down an inexpensive older Win7 or Mac laptop with onboard FireWire. Connect your Canopus and pick right up where you left off. Arguably, nothing you pull together for under a couple hundred today will significantly better what you already have. "Best" requires premium-grade SVHS deck with TBC/DNR ($300-$900 used), external DataVideo TBC-1000 ($600-$1200 used), and another capture device that will likely again perform best on an older Win7 (or even XP) configuration.
EDIT: forgot to answer-
Last edited by orsetto; 1st Jan 2021 at 20:14.
I agree, Pretty much with the headache you get from using a cheap VCR and a 2020 Chinese pseudo capture device in a Win 10 environment you will be better off with your ADVC device in both quality and peace of mind, Unless you want a capture rig for the ultimate results and that doesn't come cheap.
@OP: you can also use the ADVC100 as passthrough (video/audio in and out connections) for any cheap capture dongle you can get hold of, quality would be the same as captured by Firewire though.... without needing Firewire.
I used this once between two vcr's removing the MacroVision !
Last edited by Eric-jan; 17th Jan 2021 at 10:41.
If so you can add FireWire easily.
I added a FireWire card to my desk top for transferring my MiniDVs onto it.
Now you've got me interested in this Canopus gizmo.
I got a $10 Composite-to-USB converter gizmo off Amazon that works great,
and have been capturing VHS footage onto my computer through OBS, however,
since I watched this video, I've decided to get a couple of other different gizmos to try out.
His results were impressive, and I'm hoping to improve on what I've already done.
So far I'm into this whole thing less than $50.
Last edited by Huckleberry; 17th Jan 2021 at 03:49.
Video can look far better, with only slight effort, and proper hardware (including some budget options).
Yes you can post whatever you want but other members have the right to correct or state their opinion, This is not facebook to post your feelings, it is a public forum with a purpose of people helping each other in audio and video topics, If you don't like the help or don't agree with it find some other ways to get help, among them paying someone to take care of the task on hand.
Last edited by Huckleberry; 17th Jan 2021 at 01:27.
Its nothing new, people here have been testing variations on it for years. And you can't just look at his 5-second comparison clips flying by and be wowed: you really gotta pay attention to his disclaimers and caveats, because thats what comes up here constantly using this type of "analog> HDMI converter > gaming capture box" method. He is very upfront that this is a non-standard method, that it works best for his narrow range of needs (brief snips for social media, youTube and vlogs), and that the glitches/caveats make it tedious and sucky for anything that runs longer than ten minutes (or requires decent audio).
HDMI capture boxes aren't intended or engineered to correctly capture VHS, period. They kinda-sorta do it if you make them, passably enough depending what you need in a capture file. But the capture will have hidden defects that can bite you later when you try to use in different way (and that hardware deinterlacing trick he touts makes a hash out of VHS more often than you'd think). Sometimes devices like tablets, phones, TVs and BluRay USB players will vomit on this type of capture: if you plan to play everything exclusively thru your PC outputs, fine, otherwise things can get unexpectedly messy. He isn't entirely correct that "this is exactly how a TV does it," either: just because a signal processing method works well for playing VHS directly to a screen doesn't mean its equally suited for capturing to a game recorder. Depends how you want to play the capture in future.
Note he specifies his HDMI method "is less complicated and more dependable than USB dongles" but also specifies the "bad samples" he shows were not made with a dongle: they were made with an old Panasonic DVD-RAM recorder. BIG difference, apples and oranges: easy to miss as he talks fast. That DVD-RAM method totally sucks for anything but making discs in the dvd video standard to be played only in standalone dvd or bluray players. I often use a similar method (VHS>DVD recorder), but I'm mindful of the limitations and never attempt to use the files in any way but direct disc playback. His "bad" clips look worse than they should because he further converted them from their original crude circa-2005 Panasonic DVD-RAM-recorder nature: it is very very difficult to decently deinterlace and convert MPEG disc format VHS captures into MP4s compatible with phones, tablets or or posting on youTube. Typically, it just goes to sh**.
So if you drop $150 to buy the gear he recommends, bear in mind you may or may not encounter issues that make it impractical or undesirable for your videos. Will it work better than Amazon $10, $20, $30, even $50 USB capture dongles? In some ways, yes: most of those suck and don't work anywhere near as well or as easy as they advertise. Even the best ones will often require a boatload of additional hardware (costing 20x more) before they'll output stable video files. Whatever you decide to buy, make sure to read the Amazon fine print to verify its actually sold and shipped by Amazon itself (not some guy's basement in New Jersey or a warehouse in China: you're gonna want that full USA 30 day return/refund period, so you have enough time to experiment and learn whether the stuff will do what you want and expect). Analog>HDMI converters and generic HDMI game capture boxes change mfrs, circuits, and performance almost weekly: can't rely on getting exactly the same unit as anyone else.
Last edited by orsetto; 17th Jan 2021 at 02:19.
I think I might be onto a different strategy that I was even 20 minutes ago.
I have two Sony MiniDV camcorders, both of which have
analog and 1394 ports, and I put a 1394 card in my desktop.
According to this list, both of mine can convert analog to digital.
Hoping maybe I can just use the camcorder to do the digital conversion.
My apologies to the OP for hijacking his thread!
Well, apparently my camcorders can't be used for analog "pass-through".
They don't have the "AV-DV Out" setting, or at least I can't find it anywhere in the menus.
For now I'll just keep using my RCA-to-USB converter dongle.
It works, and I've only got about 15 or 20 VHS and VHS-C to archive.
Most of my stuff is on MiniDV.
Last edited by Huckleberry; 17th Jan 2021 at 03:58.
No passthrough exists here.
You also cannot skip TBC. That HDMI knickknack isn't immune to dropping frames. It's just another digital conversion device, not any better than an Easycap.
Sure, I can capture with a cheap $10 HDMI converter, and cheap $10 HDMI card, using a $10 Goodwill VCR. But it'll look terrible. You can spend 10x that, still HDMI devices, wrong USB cards, and it'll still look terrible. In fact, I'm planning to do just that, as time permits. Must finished my backlog of projects first.
Raise your hand if you have 50+ capture cards. Not many takers who can actually compare methods.
He was not in that intro actually saying the quality of HDMI was consistently better than USB but that he had less technical problems getting a cap done at all. This is credible and independent of the cap results: enough USB>laptop dongles are so dysfunctional that they barely work, if at all, while a dodgy analog>HDMI converter plugged into an HDMI game cap unit is relatively plug 'n' play by comparison. The quality of the capture is irrelevant to his statement "the HDMI method doesn't crash and burn on the runway nearly as much as the average generic USB dongle". I can practically guarantee this guy was referring to a generic EZcap knockoff and not a USB Live II or other older decent name-brand dongle that you or I or Helen Keller knows to be "superior".
The problems start after his intro, when the initial topic shifts from "technical issues with USB capture vs easier HDMI" to "I Like My HDMI Captures Much Better Than What I Get With A DVD Recorder". To properly understand his youTube its crucial to note the exact nature of his blurry "before" clips, which are somewhat misrepresented if you don't pay very close attention and aren't already versed in various capture methods. He begins his youTube with complaints about generic USB dongles being "difficult" then starts flashing comparisons to his "improved" HDMI captures. The newbie will get drawn right into the visuals and totally not hear him later when he casually mentions the "bad" samples flashing by were done via (crap) Sony VCR to standalone DVD-RAM recorder (almost certainly Panasonic) which were then ripped into Premiere (double yuck).
This does throw his entire presentation out of whack, because it becomes unintentionally disjointed and deceptive. It starts as a comparison of USB dongle vs HDMI capture, but actually does not discuss the technical problems he had with USB capture at all, and does not use comparison examples from those USB captures at all. The bad blurry examples are from a totally unrelated MPEG capture method via recorder, which will absolutely look gross compared to even the worst HDMI capture when they just flash by as snippets in a youTube video. This video misinforms, in that it shows the viewer nothing about his differing results with USB vs HDMI. It would be more accurately titled "Why VHS Transferred To MP4 Via Direct HDMI Game Capture Looks Sharper In youTube Presentations Than VHS Capture To An Old DVD-RAM Recorder Whose MPEGs Are Further Blurred By Re-encoding"
Last edited by orsetto; 17th Jan 2021 at 12:27.
His experience with USB capture is clearly minimal, and as a result he paints all USB capture with a broad brush. He doesn't comprehend that USB is just a communication port. You have good and bad USB, PCI, AGP, PCIe, Firewire, Thunderbolts, etc etc. Same for composite, s-video, component, HDMI etc. The device determines the device quality, not the I/O wires/ports used. He doesn't get that.
the exact nature of his blurry "before" clips, which are somewhat misrepresented if you don't pay very close attention and aren't already versed in various capture methods.
This does throw his entire presentation out of whack, because it becomes unintentionally disjointed and deceptive.
"Why VHS Transferred To MP4 Via Direct HDMI Game Capture Looks Sharper In youTube Presentations Than VHS Capture To An Old DVD-RAM Recorder Whose MPEGs Are Further Blurred By Re-encoding"
My small input would be ... always listen to what lordsmurf has to say, he knows 100% what he is talking about ....
Thank you for all of the replies. I am also going to have to find another VCR, as my Sony SLV-575UC crapped out. It has the dreaded busted blue gear and a couple of other issues. Not sure if it is worth sending off for repair or just getting something else. Researching Sony's and JVC's.
Provided you get hold of a good player, a TBC and all that stuff, what would the recommended dongle/card be for VHS/V8 capture? Lets confine the budget to 100-200 USD, or even less if that happens to be the better option.
I have googled my ass off trying to find the best options and even with 5 years working in a computer hardware stor in the early 2000’s I’m becoming more and more confused the more I search. I used to sell ATI AIW back in the day and even experimented with various analog captures. Using regular playback hardware it never looked any good, and that was before you Iwith the deinterlacing and encoding.
Is it likely that the card/dongle of choice differs depending on your source?
Well I guess there are three scenarios then:
1) A good 4 head VCR and a handheld hi8 with SVideo out
2) SVHS VCR, possibly joined with a Hi8 desktop, both with built in line TBC’s
3) #2 or better, plus a frame TBC.
Most of us have to make-do with #1 or maybe we can get hold of an SVHS if we’re lucky. Most of us, again, are only looking into salvaging home videos, probably happy with an equal quality to what you get when hooking up the original camera, or similar, to a modern flat screen.
I have tried the HDMI bridge solution and although lacking color punch when using composite, it’s quite stable and seems to work ok. The downside is the too high resolution of the HDMI input and off course the lack of support on the various “Chinese” devices.
This method seems to mirror the ES10 route in a somewhat cheap way or?
Anyway. I would love to hear what cards you guys are using, what setup you have upstream and most importantly, the workflow you apply with regards to software and parameters.
to OP: a nice thing of the Sony SLV-575UC is that in the "collum" of connections, the middle one,(check the manual) has no OSD information in the video signal, which is ideal for connecting the video capture device, while other outputs can be used for monitoring functions, with the OSD info,( just a detail...)
Don't expect too much from build-in TBC's, if you can get hold of a good TBC considder yourself as a lucky guy, but a dvd-recorder would be a cheaper and easier option to get hold of, for use as a passthrough.
Last edited by Eric-jan; 2nd Feb 2021 at 04:48.
- the cheapest crap,
- to flawed-but-decent budget gear,
- to ideal (what I use, what many of us use),
- to some fancy stuff that even I cannot afford (mostly because it's not really intended for us, but can actually work nicely for the $$$$).
Don't accuse me of being some sort of video elitist. Not the case whatsoever.
I just point out the pitfalls of various gear and methods, and strengths when present. I'm not some marketing cheerleader ("best thing ever, yay!") working for any of the gear companies (many of which don't even exist anymore).
It was just a joke, Yes I agree cheaper is almost always means crappier (except for legacy second hand used gear), especially if it's a Chinese no name brand for $7.35, I can't even buy lunch for that much anymore.
(i guess we are all elitist, because at some point we have found a way to do it right, and don't look into other methods, that might work, or considder to be true.)
Yesterday I tested the HDMI capture method. (Sorry)
An old JVC Hi8 camera (don’t recall the model but it’s safe to say it’s relatively low end)
A 15 year old recording
SVideo/Comp-HDMI adapter from “amazon”. No settings possible apart from a source selector.
HDMI to USB dongle, most likely the same that is described in this video.
First I tested the camera playback on an older Philips 37” LCD and a Panasonic VT20 50” plasma which had the connections. (Not possible on my newest OLED). The picture was clean but somewhat lacking in color punch, as expected. Minute diff between composite and SVideo, again as expected.
Hooked up everything to my computer (win10) and ran OBS. The video was shot in PAL 4:3 and stretched to 1080p, but I was able to force the capture device to 720x576 50 FPS. Didn’t bother too much with the audio at this point and simply chose CD quality settings.
Recorded using NVenc at 3000kbs and high settings, same resolution. MP4 H.264
The end result was actually pretty decent.
First of all, the tape and camera was apparently still good enough to produce a stable picture and so the system wasn’t challenged very much in that sense. The picture that was shown on the computer screen was rock stable without any lines or frame issues. No traces whatsoever of issues caused by interlacing/deinterlacing, even during rapid movement.
So far the only drawback seems to be with details in high contrast scenes, meaning a tendency to black crush and whiteouts. Colors are just as good/bad as what the camera produced on the TV screen.
If these issues can be tweaked out or significantly reduced, the method seems more than acceptable for your average home video shot by inexperienced people using low end equipment. The worst scenes were bad to begin with, due to being shot towards windows etc.
I’m still going to source a dedicated capture device but for now this setup has mitigated many of the issues I experienced the last time I tried, which was around the same time the tape was made
You loose details because the de-interlacing is crappy, The reason why it is good to use S-Video capture device and capture in lossless is that you have control on what the video should look like, Converting to HDMI on the fly will not only screws up the de-interlacing, every artifact will be baked in that otherwise would have been corrected if you had the master lossless files.
Again a HDMI transfer dongle ? more important in that case is which converter you put in front of that, also again a cheap device, a lot of converters just dont work at all because they go crazy with trying to "handshake" within HDMI or if that's okay, HDCP gets somehow active and it still won't work, the (the devices used) combination is more mis than hit, so it's very important to mention which make and model number converter you used, because there's big chance another user can't recreate the same conditions with another make converter, These HDMI dongles are created for gamers, which the mentioned, sponsored, video is all about.
Last edited by Eric-jan; 2nd Feb 2021 at 16:52.
I have located an unused video processor
Vivanco VCR 3088
Here’s a picture I found online (not the actual unit)
Presumably such a unit would have to rely on a built in TBC to function properly?
It’ll cost me around 50$ to get it. Any thoughts?