I am having an apparent problem with the quality of the media that I am copying from my miniDV camera. My understanding is that copying the media from the camera via firewire would yield the best results because it is lossless. However, I am puzzled by my results.
My camera is a Panasonic miniDV Camera model PV-GS36. I connected it to my laptop (a Dell Precision M4800, i7 Quad) via an 1394b card made by StarTech. I used WindDV for copying the content from the camera without problems. When I played the resulting AVI using VLC, I noticed that, in some scenes, the video was very grainy; in others the colors looked faded.
I thought that it might be lack of light or some other factor intrinsic to those scenes and decided to compare it with the original video from the miniDV tape. So, I connected the camera directly to my laptop via a USB capture device (Diamond VC500) and used OBS to play the content. I made sure that the playback window had the same dimensions as the one I used to play the AVI in VLC.
Contrary to my expectations, the video in those problem scenes was much clearer when played directly from the miniDV camera. The colors were well defined and deeper, and the video had none or almost no grainy aspect to it.
I attached two images to this post. The image FromMiniDV-2 corresponds to an image from the video played directly from the miniDV camera. The image FromAVI-2 corresponds to (approximately) the same image when played from the AVI file. Notice that the first image in much more clear: you can see more detail, less grain, more contrast, etc.
I would appreciate any insight on what might be going on.
Some thoughts and questions:
- I wonder if the camera is applying some filter to video as it plays it out. If so, would it be better for me to capture the video via the USB capture device?
- Another thing that I noticed is that the DATE overlay is only displayed in the video played from the camera. How can display the DATE in the video that I copied to the laptop?
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That is unfair comparision since the camera will transpose the DV recording to composite for the usb version.
The two screencaps do not help either the DV version will not be what was transferred to the PC - it has been enlarged. 4:3 DV will display at 640*480 (NTSC) and 768*576 (PAL)
If you are not prepared to upload a direct sample of the recordings at their original resolution then at least post the screen caps that way.
That's not directly from the camcorder, It is converted from DV to analog and the USB capture device will convert it back to digital, in the process everything is off scale, luma is too dark, chroma is pumped up, details washed out, and OBS is not an analog capture software. The firewire file is more realistic to what is actually on the tape, Keep in mind that DV is as good as the imaging sensor that captured it, most consumer miniDV camcorders recorded shitty videos especially in low light.
As to why the date stamp is not shown? that is normal for all camcorders, Analog output is for displaying pictures and menus but firewire is for pure video display or capturing, there is nothing you can do about that.
Date stamp: my editor (Movie Edit Pro) can extract the date/time from any point in the AVI when you're editing it, creating a title that overlays on the video.
WinDV will produce the filename with the date of shot, so when you are editing it, you can see what date it is. I'd then just create a title, being the date, for a few seconds and have it then disappear. You don't want the date on there for the whole movie; looks ugly.
WinDV gave you an exact copy of what's on the DV tape. Your analog capture is at least two steps away from what's on the tape: a digital to analog conversion by the camera, and an analog to digital conversion by the capture device. Both of those steps changed the video. You could easily filter the DV video to make it look more like the analog cap if that's what you want.
Thank you very much for your responses. I have some questions/comments:
@DB83: I was puzzled by your second comment that suggested that the DV version might not have been what it was transferred to the PC. Did I understand you correctly? All I did was to play the resulting .AVI file via VLC. I thought that the miniDV was 4x3. Isn't that the case? Maybe the issue was the screen capture, I just did a printScrn and cropped the window around the file. Which brings me to the last question: What would be the best software to use to cut small snippets of video to upload as samples.
@dellsam34: I get it. You are saying that the camcorder converted and potentially enhanced the image for display, correct? Your second point is that the .AVI file I transferred from the camera via Firewire/WinDV is exactly what the camera captured, good or bad.
@Alwyn: thank you for the information on the Date Stamp and Movie Edit Pro. I will look into it. I did not pay attention that WinDV adds the shot date to the file name. If I want to use that approach, I will need to re-transfer the miniDVs I did so far because I transferred them as one large file instead of multiple ones.
@lordsmurf: I don't want to start a big discussion on this topic here but why don't you like OBS.
@jababo: Very clear comment. How do I go about learning what filters to use to enhance the video I captured? I think I need some filter to remove noise to take care of the grainy feeling, correct? How about a filter to deepen the colors? One last question: As I mentioned in my reply to @Alwyn, I transferred my DV content as one single large .AVI file. Would this make more difficult for me to correct the problems in the video? Would you recommend that I re-transfer in such a way that I get a different file for each scene change?
I don't think there is a need to re-capture just to create dated filenames for each scene.
https://paulglagla.com/en/dvdate-2/ DVDate will split an AVI into scenes. It looks like you'd then be able to rename them with their date. I'm away from my system at the moment so I can't check this. It can also overlay the date.
Scenalyzer can also split an AVI into scenes based on the timecode and may also be able to export the scenes as dated files. I can check that also in a couple of days.
If you do decide to re-capture, you use the WinDV Discontinuity Threshold setting to capture each scene as a file.
I recommend you try using VirtualDub2 to trim your videos. File -> Open Video File. Video -> Direct Stream Copy (so the segments won't be re-encoded). Then for each segment you want to save: mark-in, mark-out, File -> Save Video...
To filter the video you want to use Video -> Full Processing Mode. Then add filters using Video -> Filters... Some basic filters you will be using:
Brightness/Contrast: adjusts brightness and contrast
Deinterlace: deinterlace via a chosen algorithm
HSV Adjust: hue (rotate through colors), saturation (intensity of colors), value (brightness) adjustments
Levels: another way of adjusting brightness and contrast -- by setting the black and white levels
Resize: change the width/height of the frame
Smoother: spacial noise reduction
Temporal Smoother: temporal noise reduction