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  1. Dears,

    i am looking for tips regarding the capturing cards or devices from VCRs. My goal is to get mainly audio, but due to the bad synchronization and timing i will have to capture video and audio together first.

    Could you please recommend me good HW that you have touched and have good results?

    i wanted to order:

    AVERMEDIA C725B EZMAKER
    https://www.avermedia.com/professional/product/c725b/overview

    (however this product is no currently available on the market)


    Also, i want to avoid this kind of devices (cheap USB sticks):

    AVerMedia TV DVD EZMaker 7
    https://www.avermedia.com/cz/product-detail/C039

    (based on people's reviews)

    Thank you very much

    Kind Regards,
    M
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  2. I am also interested in recommendations.
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    I use the IO Data GV-USB2:

    https://www.amazon.com/DATA-connection-video-capture-GV-USB2/dp/B00428BF1Y

    A minor issue is that the instructions are in Japanese, so use this guide to get it installed:

    https://iotku.pw/gvusb2-guide/

    I use it with Win 10 21H1 and Virtual Dub 1.9.11 with absolutely no issues; it's bullet-proof.

    I think it comes with it's own DVD software but I don't use it for that; I capture to Lossless AVI (eg Lagarith, MagicYUV) and work with that in my video editor.
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    Originally Posted by vlp_007 View Post
    Dears,

    i am looking for tips regarding the capturing cards or devices from VCRs.

    Could you please recommend me good HW that you have touched and have good results?

    M
    The highest quality capture will come from using a raw frame grabber, which produces a 4:2:2 YUV output and dumps that to a plain .AVI file.

    Maintaining the audio sync is difficult because of many factors; bandwidth of the PCI or USB bus, drivers, speed of the hard drives and operating system. And problems with the signal quality coming from the VCR.

    Among USB frame grabbers; the IO Data GV-USB2 is very good, it uses the Techwell 9910 video decoder to pull apart the video signal and convert it to digital. The driver is well behaved and presents it to a lot of software that can capture the video and the audio to a file. As mentioned the Japanese instructions can make setup difficult, but there are several English translations of the directions available online.

    The AverMedia DVD Ezmaker C039 is also fairly easy to use and works with a lot of software.

    Neither of these USB 2.0 devices will be cheap, expect 50 to 75 usd .. I have used both and in my opinion they are worth it. If you want to capture frames at the highest quality from a very good signal source.

    A slightly easier way around a lot of problems is to choose a final rendering format and use a hardware encoder box that only delivers the pre-compressed and synchronized audio and video over USB. The Elgato Game Capture HD also uses the Techwell 9910 video decoder and delivers quality similar to the IO Data GV-USB2. It delivers the digital data to a custom Fujitsu MPEG2 hardware encoder chip. As part of the hardware based video encoding a type of time base correction is performed automatically on poor signals to eliminate time domain issues with line length and field synchronization to present a stable frame to the encoder. Audio synch issues are also dealt with at the inputs of the hardware encoder producing a combined smaller av stream across the USB bus to the computer. - Do not assume all game capture hardware is suitable for VCR video capture, this specific model is no longer made by Elgato and can only be found second hand, it also requires a special cable to capture from S-Video or Composite. And it can only be used with the special Elgato capture software. But the results are very good and they only discontinued them in 2018.

    One of the benefits of the Elgato hardware MPEG2 approach is the output files are in Interlaced MPEG2 .MP4 file containers, and they are formatted such that Windows 7 and beyond can play them back in the file explorer preview panel. Making it very easy to quickly search video files for a particular video. The .MP4 extended tag attributes also work since the Elgato software provided a full header for all of the tags meaning you can easily edit the tags and add very long descriptions that remain in the file and travel with the file when copied from machine to machine. A lot of other capture software.. if they provide tags.. are abbreviated or don't work properly and cannot be edited simply by right clicking on the file and highlighting the tags to edit in the Details tab.

    Hauppauge also still makes the HD PVR Rocket, which is a similar standalone USB connected hardware capture encoder product. It uses an Analog Device AD7180 video decoder, which is good.. but is very different from the Techwell 9910 of the Elgato. The Hauppauge capture software also produced .MP4 file containers, but they hold Progressive h.264 (not Interlaced). The video quality looks fine, but in my opinion MPEG2 Interlaced is simply more "traditional" for VCR type captures.. but my bias is probably for something old like the 1995 MPEG2 spec.. I grew up in those years. Going forwards h.264 will probably be the widest supported and recognized standard for VCR video in the future. It never had a copyright/patent issue like MPEG2 did.. so the future will probably judge it more kindly and be quicker to support it in future operating systems. Windows 7 and older had to license or "add-on" a codec to playback MPEG2 video.. and it was just a pain way back when.

    AVerMedia also makes standalone EzRecoders, like the ER310 and ER330 which produce video files, but only from YPbPr and HDMI sources. The ER310 is no longer made but can be found used, it records to NTFS USB drives, or NTFS SSD drives. The ER330 is new but not distributed in North American, it records to NTFS USB drives or Windows File shares from NAS, MAC or Windows devices.

    These are a few brief ideas.

    I've had personal experience with all of them.. each has pros and cons.

    I wouldn't say "cheap" vs "expensive" or "common" vs "rare" are good tests for which is better for your situation.

    Experience is probably the best guide.

    Unless your a professional, or trying to learn everything that is possible (and spend a lot of time doing that).

    I'd probably lurk on many forums for a while.. and take a few tentative steps.

    I thought back and forth I needed strictly the highest quality, purest color and would only accept the Largest files.. that turned out to not be the case.

    File size did matter to me, convenience and reliability.. and ease of setting up several VCRs to run at the same time and get through a lot of tapes eventually mattered more. Automating the process so I didn't have to sit there watching each tape and starting over and over again.. mattered a lot too.

    If you intend to edit files you've captured, you probably want to pick and purchase a video editor program that "smartly" "heals" cuts and splices like wounds on your skin.. that is.. it doesn't have to re-encode an entire video editing project to produce a final output file. Early video editing software always re-encoded all the segments of a video project from the beginning to the end. creating a generation loss and degrading the project after each edit.

    Many programs don't do that any more.. but if you have an old copy of an old non linear video editor.. it might not be "smart".. and you want to stop using it.

    VideoRedo is a famous video editor created with "smart" healing from the very beginning.. its still under active development and its well worth it.

    Cyberlink PowerDirector is a similar program, but also includes a video Capture program built into it which is compatible with a surprising number of Uncompressed and Compressed PCI and USB video capture devices.

    Many of the early non linear editors like Sony Vegas specialized in DV and HDV video and did not have a video Capture program for working with DirectX video capture devices.. so there is a lot of history.. and corner cases that can trip you up. A lot of non linear editors targeted original content makers who used Camcorders.. and those output DV or HDV.. re-purposing them for working with PCI or USB video capture devices.. often didn't work out well.

    Its very easy to get lost in all the choices.. and discover a new way, or new capture device every week.. and feel like you should start all over.

    Getting OCD and buying up lots of gear and software prematurely, before you have much experience.. is a very common occupation hazard.
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    MPEG2 vs h.264 vs HEVC

    MPEG2 is a standard that has been used for capture a long time. It was one of the "licensed" compression decompression methods from 1995 and used for most of the DVDs created from 1995 through today.

    h.264 was an improvement on MPEG2 that differs "mostly in the GOP" or group of pictures between the first full reference frame and the next full reference frame, intervening frames hold only the incremental changes since the last reference frame and are used by playback and editing software to reconstruct a frame at the time it is needed on-demand. The longer the GOP the greater the processing power required to both create that group of pictures and to reconstruct the entire series of frames during playback. Intended to replace MPEG2 it also had the benefit of being aware of the failings of MPEG2, that is the unintentional artifacting that could occur and was deliberately designed to prevent those artifacts from showing up in h.264 video. Most Blu-ray discs use h.264 as the encoding format. As a result of its longer GOP and resilience to artifacting, h.264 could "suffer" or perform better at low data rates MPEG2 could not, and became the preferred format for low data rate video, such as for internet shared video. By the time of h.264 it was much more common to have special hardware chips for both MPEG2 and h.264 hardware encoding and choosing a format based on processing power was much less an issue. h.264 was also not encumbered as MPEG2 was with complicated licensing issues making its easier to adopt and more widely supported from the beginning.

    HVEC (or h.265) designed as an eventual replacement for h.264 it is currently not as widely supported as h.264 and the hardware chips for encoding and supporting playback are not as widely available, and there are a number of competing codecs with even more liberal licensing. It is not a forgone conclusion that it will succeed h.264 as the most widely used. Whether the future will choose based on hardware chips or clever software, or whether internet bandwidth will make it unnecessary to change from current codecs at all.. are contested decisions that the world has not made.


    personal thoughts:

    MPEG2 is best for standard definition video in interlaced (or split frame, double field) video

    h.264 is best for hd and higher progressive video (one whole frame after another reconstructed from a long GOP)

    HVEC depends upon source or provider of the video and the playback hardware or software available


    VCRs

    vhs > sqpb > svhs > et > dvhs

    You can sort of think of these as the "types" of VCRs available.

    VHS
    A plain vhs vcr will have a composite signal output, and the lowest resolution and picture quality. These will also generally be the oldest and most plentiful available and easiest to find at the lowest cost. By the time of of the last vcr production these had the most engineering experience put into the lowest cost manufacturing. Cheaply made models that were likely to fail. have all failed by now and only the strong have survived.. mostly surveillance and industrial models are left, some that do not depend upon rubber belts.

    SQPB
    A slightly better type is the sqpb which could play vhs and svhs tapes, but only record to vhs tapes. A higher circuit class and often better hardware chassis, though still fairly inexpensive.. often included as "add-ons" in dual purpose devices like VHS to DVD recorders where half where VHS players and half were DVD recorders. Probably the most popular and common consumer version, often proudly displaying the sqpb label and branding it a newer model than a plan vhs vcr.

    SVHS
    A high end, high resolution, player and recorder, the mainstay of vcrs in the late 90's and early 2000's up to the end in 2016. Usually partnered with a s-video output which separated the luma from chroma channel and took full advantage of the color under separation of luma from color information recovered from the tape. Any further separation into three channel YUV required additional analog or digital filtering and really could not add information lost due to the storage format of the signal on vhs tape... so s-video output was the "practical" limit for analog standard definition video.. you couldn't get any better.

    ET
    A high end, rather obscure player recorder type which could record an svhs quality signal on a vhs tape not rated for svhs signals. Not much for or against in selecting, mostly its just another svhs type vcr.

    DVHS
    An MPEG2 player recorder with hardware encoding and decoding often onboard the vcr, which optionally could connect by SONY i.Link or IEEE1394 firewire to a local network of multimedia devices. These also had legacy outputs, including s-video, but also sometimes YCbCr outputs or HDMI. Pros and Cons, could produce the best picture, but the hardware encoder and decoder often degenerated due to heat and many discrete chips and capacitors. Hardest to get serviced. Most expensive. Many experimental models, shortest development time on the market.. most unreliable of all the vcr types across all brands. Except for one or two models.. generally best avoided.


    DNR and TBC

    Digital Noise Reduction (DNR) was basically a filter applied to the seperate channels of chroma and luma before exiting the vcr as s-video or before recombining them into composite. It strove to "rake" or "comb" out high frequency "noise" which could cause beat frequency interference within the "true signal" in the video range. Some DNR circuits also included "Drop out" compensation.. which smoothed or "patched" areas of the video signal where "pot holes" appeared because the video signal coming off the vhs tape was missing a spec or flake of metal oxide.. there by preventing "white spots" along the video scan line or sudden changes in horizontal or vertical sync.

    Time base correction (TBC) was roughly, correcting for errors in horizontal and vertical sync caused by tape degradation, or interference introduced by the mechanics of the tape transport or noise from the interior circuits of the vcr. The TBC applied within the vcr generally did not attempt to correct for missing or dropped frames due to tape problems.. at best some vcr's would revert to a blue screen background until the next viable video frame could be reproduced from the tape.. but this was very rare.

    The meaning of TBC got generalized over the years to include "reformatting" horizontal scan line lengths, and delaying or advancing vertical sync in order to remain in-step with an internal or external "Reference" clock.. which a frame synchronizer often did for the vertical sync only. Some interpretations went as far as to include normal proc amp functions as part of the function of time base correction.


    personal thoughts:

    any good svhs vcr is probably better than a plain vhs vcr for digital transfers, but it depends upon its condition and the quality of the picture.

    if it "eats tape" or produces static or random color blotches.. its not a good vcr for transfers..

    An svhs vcr will often have an s-video output, its best to use that instead of a composite output


    DNR and TBC are very high end features and highly sought after, they will drive the price of a vcr up.. and they are most likely to have been used the most by digital transfer artists .. in other words.. be especially careful purchasing a vcr with DNR / TBC .. they are signs that the vcr could have been used quite heavily. It is hard to get a vcr with DNR and TBC repaired.. so speculating on being able to repair one is probably not a good bet.
    Last edited by jwillis84; 30th Dec 2021 at 11:20.
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    Thanks JWilis, very informative.
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  7. Yes thanks Jwilis.

    I bought a Hauppauge 1512 a couple of months back to archive sports championships in HD with 5.1 audio from my d*tv receiver. I used a cheap Lenovo laptop to run the hardware encoder to its USB and it's done a great job for those sources. BUT when it comes to VHS I'm having all kinds of problems.

    JVC S-VHS to Pioneer DVD Recorder to the encoder box. Pixeled stream and horrible quality. You think it would be a breeze to capture low resolution video like VHS given that it captured those High Def sources at over 9mb per second.
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    What are the models of your JVC and Pioneer?

    The 1512 is the HD PVR 2 was based on the Dolphin2 board from Lumanate and uses the Sienna device driver. Its a great h.264 board but the power supply is a bit unstable. Its easy to blow the regulators by using the wrong wall adapter by accident.

    One of the interesting things about this offboard USB 2.0 capture device is it works on Windows and Mac OSX.. and I guess the Mac M1 because there is Apple Mac capture software available for it.

    It also has an AV port next to the two HDMI in/out ports that accepts the YPbPr cable, or a separately purchased S-Video cable along with L/R audio RCA connectors. Hauppuage is pretty much the last to support s-video on a currently available brand new device... but you have to buy that cable separate from the 1512 to get s-video input. HDMI and YPbPr converters and adapters are awful.. unless you can't avoid using them.

    Its probably top of the line you can get today without having to go back to second hand.

    You do have to use the Hauppuage Capture software.

    The major draw back is h.264 means "Progressive" capture. .. which inevitably means "loss".. only "Interlaced" capture retains every last drop off video goodness... but that is not important to most people today.. they don't understand "Interlaced" advantages.. and want everything squashed into "frame by frame" video.

    The 1512 comes in two bundles, the gamer version and the pvr version. The difference is in the software bundled with the device.. and some countries lost the AV port next to the HDMI in/out. PS2/3 game capture isn't as popular as they used to be.

    I used to have a scorecard for the differences between all the 1512 models.

    It is a (Huge) difference in physical size from the former 1212 and its going in the direction AverMedia is going in making them smaller and smaller.. even pocketable.

    Hauppuage released the HD PVR Rocket (for your Pocket.. get it?) which is USB attached or can record direct to a USB thumb drive.. it has very similar features.. but also has a big Red Clown button to start and stop capture.. looks like something designed for old fashioned LAN parties.

    For second hand legacy gear.. I'm rather partial to hardware that Cyberlink PowerDirector supports.. that handles DirectX supported hardware well.. and reaches all the way back to XP days.. and up to Windows 10.. they're still putting out new releases of PowerDirector today. They even have PowerDirector for MacOS .. although I have not tried that yet. Recent PowerDirector releases have "hidden" the DirectX Capture feature under the generic File > Import > Capture menu.. which I guess tells you how important they feel about that today. It used to occupy a special Tab position front an center on the Far Left.

    PowerDirector supports both YUV .AVI and hardware MPEG2/4/5 capture.. and software MPEG2/4/5 capture.. basically whatever codecs you've got.. NTSC/ATSC tuner support.. its a swiss army knife. (But) it can't work with the Fujitsu capture chip.. mostly because those don't have a DirectX device driver it can figure out.. maybe in the future.. 1512 is still cutting edge.. for video capture.

    I'm pretty sure some version of PowerDirector will work with most ATI video capture devices.. I've dabbled enough to know its true for some hardware.. but not dabbled enough to say it covers everything.
    Last edited by jwillis84; 1st Jan 2022 at 23:55.
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    I am interested in this topic. In short, I need recommendations for using and connecting equipment I bought years ago and did not use until now, for bulk transfer of old home VHS movies to digital; assume digital and DVD. No need to repeat all advice above. What do I connect to what and what do I add to get to digital capture?
    I assume I connect S video to S video and connect composite for the audio in parallel?

    What connects to what to get started?


    I know I will have to buy some device, maybe USB, to get from analog to digital.

    My post is below. I will monitor that topic and this one, likely others.
    https://forum.videohelp.com/threads/404288-How-to-convert-VHS-using-old-good-equipment...mp#post2643240

    Relevant equipment I hope works.
    JVC HR S9911U S-VHS with composite and S outputs. Said to be good for what I need.Hope it works. I should clean it.
    SignVideo ProcAmp Y-C and composite outputs. This has 2 channels. I hope to find the power adapter. Y and C????


    Other stuff which may be relevant I found.
    "Pinnacle 700 PCI Video Capture Card" big cable with apparent S video and composite video in and out coupled to a 25 PIN D connector. I did not find the PCI card OR software yet.
    Archer Video Enhanced Stabilizer 15-1270
    Canopus ADVC 300 box. Never used. Can I use this some how?
    JVC DR-DX5 Not sure it works.Maybe without hard drive? MiniDV HD DVD.
    JVC SR VS10 not sure it works. Mini DV and S VHS recorder.

    ALSO
    I had some camcorder that I THOUGHT could act as a passthrough for analog to digital. A digital 8 tape device????
    I have lots of those home movies. I cannot find the device right now. Maybe firewire output. I will not count on that right now.
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  10. Originally Posted by jwillis84 View Post
    What are the models of your JVC and Pioneer?
    The JVC is U7500 I believe. Had it covered in a bag ever since the first year I bought it. I had a fine Mitsubishi SVHS that's been my main unit all these years but it now needs repair from sitting so long with hardly any use. So the JVC is like brand new compared, the display lights are bright and works well.

    The DVD Recorder is the Pioneer 533H. It's been a workhorse and still runs well although the display lights on the front of the machine are dim now.


    It also has an AV port next to the two HDMI in/out ports that accepts the YPbPr cable, or a separately purchased S-Video cable along with L/R audio RCA connectors. Hauppuage is pretty much the last to support s-video on a currently available brand new device... but you have to buy that cable separate from the 1512 to get s-video input. HDMI and YPbPr converters and adapters are awful.. unless you can't avoid using them.

    Its probably top of the line you can get today without having to go back to second hand.

    You do have to use the Hauppuage Capture software.
    Yes I downloaded their software for the 1512. I used the YPbPr adapter that came with it. The Pioneer has component output so that's what I'm running into the 1512 with the RBG and the red and white for audio. Maybe I should see if selecting composite instead of component for the input would help? The 533 has a great rep for it's TBC so the capture should not be pixelating and dropping frames.

    Thank you for your whole post of vast knowledge.
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    Originally Posted by tom z View Post
    Originally Posted by jwillis84 View Post
    What are the models of your JVC and Pioneer?
    The JVC is U7500 I believe. Had it covered in a bag ever since the first year I bought it. I had a fine Mitsubishi SVHS that's been my main unit all these years but it now needs repair from sitting so long with hardly any use. So the JVC is like brand new compared, the display lights are bright and works well.

    The DVD Recorder is the Pioneer 533H. It's been a workhorse and still runs well although the display lights on the front of the machine are dim now.


    It also has an AV port next to the two HDMI in/out ports that accepts the YPbPr cable, or a separately purchased S-Video cable along with L/R audio RCA connectors. Hauppuage is pretty much the last to support s-video on a currently available brand new device... but you have to buy that cable separate from the 1512 to get s-video input. HDMI and YPbPr converters and adapters are awful.. unless you can't avoid using them.

    Its probably top of the line you can get today without having to go back to second hand.

    You do have to use the Hauppuage Capture software.
    Yes I downloaded their software for the 1512. I used the YPbPr adapter that came with it. The Pioneer has component output so that's what I'm running into the 1512 with the RBG and the red and white for audio. Maybe I should see if selecting composite instead of component for the input would help? The 533 has a great rep for it's TBC so the capture should not be pixelating and dropping frames.

    Thank you for your whole post of vast knowledge.
    I also have a SVHS unit that has sat for a long time. Any tips on how to clean or what to do before trying to play a VHS tape? Air blasting then wet cleaning the heads?
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    Originally Posted by eclecticmn View Post
    . Any tips on how to clean or what to do before trying to play a VHS tape? Air blasting then wet cleaning the heads?
    No cotton, no Q-tips, ruins heads.
    Even foam swabs made badly these days, Chinese junk on Amazon.
    Use the copy paper method, 91%+ IPA.

    Originally Posted by eclecticmn View Post
    Relevant equipment I hope works.
    JVC HR S9911U S-VHS with composite and S outputs. Said to be good for what I need.
    Yes, excellent model, if unit good condition.
    Only downside is the DD, brittle with age, wear with use.

    SignVideo ProcAmp Y-C and composite outputs. This has 2 channels. I hope to find the power adapter. Y and C????[/B]
    This can be excellent unit, if knobs not screwy (mishandled, poor shipping).

    Other stuff which may be relevant I found.
    "Pinnacle 700 PCI Video Capture Card" big cable with apparent S video and composite video in and out coupled to a 25 PIN D connector. I did not find the PCI card OR software yet.
    Archer Video Enhanced Stabilizer 15-1270
    Canopus ADVC 300 box. Never used. Can I use this some how?
    No.
    Hell no.
    Do not use.
    Bad!

    I had some camcorder that I THOUGHT could act as a passthrough for analog to digital. A digital 8 tape device????
    I have lots of those home movies. I cannot find the device right now. Maybe firewire output. I will not count on that right now.
    Still not good, DV compression, 4:1:1, yuck.
    DV is 1990s transfer tech, era of Pentium III computers. You need at least 2000s, lossless era.

    JVC DR-DX5 Not sure it works.Maybe without hard drive? MiniDV HD DVD.
    JVC SR VS10 not sure it works. Mini DV and S VHS recorder.
    Maybe.
    That SR-VS10 especially, but only for VHS. The DV is engineering flawed, eats tapes.

    Overall, you're missing a frame TBC. (Not the same as line TBC in the JVC VCR.)
    Standard workflow = VCR > TBC > capture card

    You have no real quality capture card here.
    No frame TBC.
    And yet, two possibly excellent VCRs. So you're partially there.


    Hope it works. I should clean it.
    If you clean it wrong, you'll ruin it.

    Originally Posted by tom z View Post
    I bought a Hauppauge 1512 a couple of months back to archive sports championships in HD with 5.1 audio from my d*tv receiver. I used a cheap Lenovo laptop to run the hardware encoder to its USB and it's done a great job for those sources. BUT when it comes to VHS I'm having all kinds of problems. d.
    Do not use HD cards for SD work. Problems. Not made for the source. Yes, yes, is "also does" SD, but poor afterthough feature.

    Originally Posted by tom z View Post
    The JVC is U7500 I believe.
    JVC HR-S7500U, decent deck, the oldest suggested (7500 later 76,78,79,SRV10)

    Mitsubishi SVHS
    Mitsubishi lousy at LP or SLP/EP, should be considered SP only deck. Repair will be near impossible, no parts, not popular, no production numbers that left many resold aftermarket, most run into the ground.

    needs repair from sitting so long with hardly any use
    VCRs age, used or not.

    The DVD Recorder is the Pioneer 533H. It's been a workhorse and still runs well although the display lights on the front of the machine are dim now.
    Indeed a great recorder from SD TV sources in its day, but miserable quality from tape sources.
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    There is a lure, and attraction to keep looking back and collecting or buying up gear and software to make quantum improvements in transfer.

    It can become a life long obsession, or a hobby.. at some point though you have to pare it back and get rid of the stuff that satisfied you at one time and then sat unused for years later.

    The maximum.. "we will always know more later.." applies here.. with a unique twist.. it will always cost less later.. and you will "fear missing out".

    I have to regularly put all of this on a back burner, clean things out.. and come back to it later... and start again.. but only when I have the time.

    Its Jan 2, 2022

    Its been 8 years since the last VCR was manufacturered, and the last new old stock keeps showing up for sale on second hand sites.

    The bargains look "amazing" compared to their original price.. but technically the best practical methods and tools haven't changed.

    If your thinking of converting EP tapes (slow VHS.. or LP, SLP tapes) then stay far far away from Broadcast VCRs, Industrial VCRs, Medical VCRs.. your looking strictly for "Consumer" VCRs.

    A lot of people would say "don't bother".. EP wasn't freshly recorded, and only lost detail as it sat demagnetizing and rotting on the shelf.

    Most people would say only "SP" or 2 hour recorded tapes are even worth an attempt.

    But a lot of people dismiss that and try to use a 10,000 usd Broadcast VTR to playback an EP tape.. and wonder why its fuzzy and jumps up and down.

    The reason is EP was never really a "standard" and the speed of the tape movement meant special size video heads had to be made to record it and play it back.. end of story.. only.. Consumer VCRs could record and playback EP tapes .. reasonably well.

    So (1) get a good Consumer VCR, major brands were JVC, Panasonic, Mitsubishi .. and all the rest of the re-brand league.

    Next the method the signal was layed down on tape separated Luma from Chroma.. but no further. This meant Composite had to be split apart when recorded and mashed back together when output in a Single RCA jack VCR.. it was and always will be suboptimal. The picture will never look as good as a VCR that accepted and could playback separate two channel Luma and Chroma.. this was called S-Video. S-Video added costs to the VCR, the parts for those extra jacks cost extra money.. and they didn't really bother until SVHS VCRs were made.

    So (2) get a Consumer VCR with S-Video outputs, probably an SVHS VCR for playback.. the JVC 9911 is an SVHS VCR.

    The problem with Consumer VCRs from an age perspective is both they had cheap short term power supply capacitors, and cheap short term video board capacitors.. that can play havoc with the video signals today. Some repair shops will "tune up" or replace bad caps.. but it costs a lot of money.

    In any event be aware whatever VCR you have is on borrowed time.. its gonna fail.. its gonna get worse over time.. storing one long term is not a good investment.

    So (3) don't put it off, use your VCR now.. exercise it to keep it in good shape.. and know its got a definite expiration date

    The signals coming off the tape and out of the VCR are going to be weaker.. and less sharp, less bright, and perhaps color skewed.. a proc amp, can help by amplifying and boosting.. and correcting some of these signals.. but don't expect miracles.. and those proc amps are also going to get old.. they had capacitors too.. and they age and eventually fail.. they have an expiration date just as well.

    So (4) a proc amp (like the Signvideo Studio 1) can help.. but they can also hurt.. you just have to see if they make the situation better or worse.

    Keeping the signal path all S-Video from VCR to proc-amp to the next stage is best.. never send it through a signal format converter.. and never drop it down to composite single channel.. most experts won't warn you about this.. because its incredibly stupid.. but desperate people will try desperate things.

    Upconverting to HDMI is similarly dumb.. it would take too long to explain.. but for the same reasons.

    You always want a Time Base Corrector and Frame Synchronizer.. if you can find one and afford one.. and can verify its not "expired" as well.. many have many capacitors and many were designed for SP speed quality signals only.. so they won't help at all with EP tapes.. but there are a few that were designed for the Consumer market and catered to SP and EP quality signals. The ever popular, but ever elusive and rare Datavideo Time Base Correctors for example.

    Using a DVD recorder to clean up a signal is rather hit or miss.. they have power supply problems, they may or may not make things worse.. only a few models were known to work well.. like the Panasonic ES10 .. et. al.

    Once the signal is prepped and cleaned and submitted to the capture device.. you have to take into account what you choose for "Acceptable" capture output.

    An Uncompressed raw file in 4:2:2 color, likely to have audio to video synchronization issues.. or lip sync problems

    A Compressed file in 4:2:0 color, less likely to have any audio or video synchronization issues.. and no lip sync problems

    The difference is "Compressed" usually means .. using a separate hardware chip to perform the compression, which digitizes and "bonds" the audio and video together into a smaller data stream that flows into the PC and then into the smaller file on disk. All the Compression takes place in the chip.. so there is little to no chance of them becoming separate in time.. or drifting apart after long hours long capture sessions. If there is a problem. A dropped video frame, a dropped audio sample.. it shows up immediately in the video file as a blip or crackle.. and put behind it in the past.. the errors do not compound and accumulate over time.

    It used to be Compressed versus Uncompressed would affect how precise you could make a video edit cut. If you were recording Camera footage and wanted to precisely edit the captured file like it were film. Software based non-linear video editors of the past imposed stark limitations on what was possible and forced you as a Studio to select a very high grade Uncompressed video capture format so you could edit the next Star Wars movie. But the software got better.. and then people said chopping out commericals was good enough. And VideoRedo was born.. so a lot of the controvery of Uncompressed vs Compressed capture kind of went away.

    Professionals and extreme artists.. planning to save the last copy of a Doctor Who episode on Earth for Mars in the year 2300.. would argue.. you should never accept anything but Uncompressed capture.. but yeah.. its a choice now.

    If its an EP tape.. an Uncompressed capture.. really isn't going to look that much better.. mush is mush.

    Pinnacle/Avid made a lot of Uncompressed camcorder quality capture hardware that sold everywhere from professional shops to Best Buy in the early 2000s. They made the majority of their money off the bundled Consumer software for editing after the capture. For their day, they were marvels of engineering.. but mostly unless its the 500, 700, 510, 710 they didn't make Windows 7 64 bit device drivers for them.. and they are hard to use with a lot of other software unless you use extra community driven opensource programs like Crossbar Thingy. They go for incredible discounts today 10-20 usd.. but I find them fun to play with.. but not really use.. its a lot of trouble.

    Some of the Compressed TV Tuners with S-Video inputs like the Avermedia and Lumanate/Dell capture boxes are a hell of a lot easier to use.. and are still working on Windows 10 with PowerDirector. Its a weird niche thing to do.. so PowerDirector hides the Capture program under Import these days.. but its still there.

    The Hauppauge and Elgato 2011 old (HD when HD meant YPbPr) game capture devices had "twin" satellite DVR capture models with S-Video inputs with H.264 hardware encoders. These were the Lumanate Dolphin HD PVR (1212 1514) models but they are kind of bulky and a little hard to use. Avermedia also sourced some YUAN USB PVR products.. the common thread was they all used the same Fujitsu h.264 compression chip. And generally required you had to use their capture software only.. because.. Microsoft in 2010 was in the throes of retiring many of the people that made XP and Windows 7 great.. and headed towards Tablet PCs and Chromebooks.. so they missed out on on the sweeping benefits of h.264. That left a few newbie programmers that didn't know video.. and sort of lead to Windows Media Center eventually being put out to pasture.

    that's a lot of history

    The Techwell 9910 is probably the best video decoder chip for Uncompressed capture.. its in the IO Data GV-USB2

    The Analog Devices video decoders, are everywhere.. mostly Hauppuage.. but just don't produce as good a picture

    The Techwell 9910 is also used in the Elgato Game Capture HD, with a Fujitsu h.264 hardware compression chip.. its probably the most over looked best performer for hardware compression barely still available.

    I told you why the Pinnacle stuff is suboptimal.. and long term probably mostly a headache.. I have a ton of Pinnacle products and don't use them that often.

    The pinnacle products come in PCI, PCIexpress and USB "versions" but mostly they are all the same.. the cute development named "Bendino" or "Big Ben" don't really matter.. they were all custom chips or slightly modified FPGA arrangements from forever ago.. your always going to have lip sync problems with them.. and they were always intended for capturing Camcorder video (short segments not longer than 30 minutes) where if you were lucky you wouldn't notice enough accumulated problems to attribute to lip sync problems.

    TV Tuners with S-Video inputs were designed with hardware encoders to get around lip sync problems and to take the load off the CPU.. and they do well.

    USB2.0 TV Tuners with S-Video input and hardware encoders varied in quality a lot, mostly by their video decoders and the quality of their device drivers.. and whether they ever had a Windows 7 64 bit device driver.. and whether that is still compatible with Windows 8/10 today. hint: there are indeed some.

    The Canopus ADVC 300, Archer stuff is catering to a fringe element from 1999, really 1990.. DV video was the very first computer video format really included with windows in Windows 95, based on the DV video standard from 1992.. again.. all of that was catering to the Camcorder crowd.. taping little Jimmy playing football for the first time.

    The ADVC 300 had one of the early NEC time base correctors for consumers.. which meant it was experimental. They also included it in the ADVC 200 TV, one of the first TV Tuner attached by firewall for the Japanese market. All of that was highly experimental.. and didn't work as great.. as the people at the time who had no other choices to compare it with.. claimed it to be the best thing ever.

    Grass Valley bought up Canopus and continued the line of products.. catering to the DV firewire crowd.. then Prosumer.. and Professionals for news rooms.. but note the steering away from the Consumer low cost low brow purposes. That stuff is over 20 years old now and got superceded by better choices later.

    The thing about used old Japanese gear.. especially if imported direct from Japan.. is it generally looks brand new.. unless you pay almost nothing for it.. then it looks like junk. But it makes you "feel" so special and gifted and smart.. for acquiring one of these ancient Unicorns.. its a pleasant experience. And if you have an old Windows XP with a firewire card to plug it into.. it just seems to seamlessly work.. magically. that's the side effect of having gifted software designers and writers before Microsoft 2010.. Windows XP came out in 2000.. Windows 7 didn't really build upon that legacy and it crumbed by the time of Windows 8. Right now we have a lot of legacy choices and a market straddled between the recent past and the future.. and those two time zones are actively competing.

    If your truly into "collecting" gear for history sake.. this stuff can be fun.. but not necessarily useful as the core of a dedicated VHS tape conversion project.. and certainly not for EP quality tapes on rickety VCR's on the verge of imploding.

    Mostly anything DV, or Camcorder related should be avoided, seriously.. run.. run very fast.. and don't look back.

    Even as a poor mans tbc.. your converting the video over to DV and then capturing DV with an Analog to Digital method.. how brain dead is that? Its not really making the situation better.. its one trip from analog tape to digital DV format, a second trip back to analog land, a third trip back to digital land.. through hardware with ancient decaying capacitors raking the signal all the way.. don't do that.


    A word about "Cleaning" VCRs

    Just Don't.


    That's the single most productive, most protective thing I can say.

    DO not open the case.

    DO NOT stick a air compressor hose in the Tape door.

    DO NOT take cotton swabs or any type of cleaning tape, wet or dry, and run it through the machine.


    The tape heads are brittle from the factory and very fragile.

    The tape head wires are very easy to destroy by running compressed air, even lightly compressed from a can of air.. over the drum.

    You can permanently destroy the tape heads and their wires so fast.. and will not be able to fix them.. they literally turn to dust.. and you can't buy replacements.


    The JVC 9911 (unfortunately) has a "tricks dual axis drum tilt" mechanism.. its exercised every time power is applied to the VCR.. sooner or later the plastic gears will crack and seize.. and they cannot be repaired. Many people over many decades have now tried to solve this problem. Thousands of people in forums are still hanging on to their VCR's hoping for a DD fix.

    This is a case where having the "best" comes with a death sentence for the device.

    You can accelerate the day it fails by using the FF and REW or PAUSE buttons on the VCR.. these use the DD drum to "perfectly" recreate the entire video picture with no static striped while its FF or REW and when its held in PAUSE. Anything that causes those DD gears to turn is an opportunity to make them fail.. just don't use those features. Do not use the VCR as a tape rewinder.. get another cheaper VCR as a tape rewinder.. baby and pamper the 9911.. and enjoy it while you can.

    Its a lot more likely if you suspect dirty tape heads.. that its the alignment of the tape guides around the head.. and those cannot be practically be adjusted by a person without a lot of equipment and experience. At that point, its probably best to sell it off .. or take it to a shop that still works on VCRs.. its basically time to let it go.. and find another one.

    A comment about "Aging information"

    I've noticed a lot of comments about don't use HD capture devices for SD, dated 2014 or earlier.

    An awful lot happened right after 2014.. mostly about 10 or more device driver revisions.. but by then prevailing wisdom and opinion had hardened and was never looked at again.

    There is a sneaky bias that cuts both ways when seeking advice.. we tend to want things to "stay the same" and don't want them to be complicated.. or never get better.

    we tend to be a pessimistic bunch, we want everything simple.

    i'll leave it at this.

    its not that simple.. but if you prefer to trust without verify.. i guess you'll never be disappointed

    its okay tho.. its what makes a young kid looking at things with fresh eyes.. get a real bargain

    so nothing goes to waste
    Last edited by jwillis84; 3rd Jan 2022 at 17:20.
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  14. Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post

    Do not use HD cards for SD work. Problems. Not made for the source. Yes, yes, is "also does" SD, but poor afterthough feature.

    Originally Posted by tom z View Post
    The JVC is U7500 I believe.
    JVC HR-S7500U, decent deck, the oldest suggested (7500 later 76,78,79,SRV10)

    Mitsubishi SVHS
    Mitsubishi lousy at LP or SLP/EP, should be considered SP only deck. Repair will be near impossible, no parts, not popular, no production numbers that left many resold aftermarket, most run into the ground.

    needs repair from sitting so long with hardly any use
    VCRs age, used or not.

    The DVD Recorder is the Pioneer 533H. It's been a workhorse and still runs well although the display lights on the front of the machine are dim now.
    Indeed a great recorder from SD TV sources in its day, but miserable quality from tape sources.

    Lord Smurf.............(bows)

    I'm afraid you're right about my Mitzi. It will not turn and roll tape at all. I had it serviced before in the late 2000s at freakin Sears lol.

    I have a third VCR that is excellent with LP mode. A Panasonic 660. I can remember its model because that was Willie Mays home run total.

    I've always wished the encoders in the first few DVD Recorders like the Pioneers where better than they were. I marvel at how old baseball games on youtube are so nice and smooth for a 3+ hour capture the uploader spent time doing. I asked one channel what they used to get such great encodes and he said he uses a VHS/DVD recorder but it too was on it's last leg.

    https://youtu.be/j0kKWFUK6Es?t=8143
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  15. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by jwillis84 View Post
    There is a lure, and attraction to keep looking back and collecting or buying up gear and software to make quantum improvements in transfer.
    A lot of people are redoing bad transfers these days. Their 2nd attempt is vastly better, usually due to finally buying better gear -- gear that existed 15-20 years ago.

    . it will always cost less later.. and you will "fear missing out".
    Nope. Quality gear costs far more than it did 5, 10, 15 years ago. Wait 5 more, and it may double in price again.

    Its been 8 years since the last VCR was manufacturered, and the last new old stock keeps showing up for sale on second hand sites.
    Yeah, but it's mostly crap from Funai.

    So (3)
    The signals coming off the tape and out of the VCR are going to be weaker.. and less sharp, less bright, and perhaps color skewed..
    With lots of ugly wiggle / timing errors.

    So (4) a proc amp (like the Signvideo Studio 1) can help.. but they can also hurt..
    I don't know if that's fair. I can cut sausage with a fork, or a knife. The knife is dangerous, I may chop my fingers off. It's about proper use v. stupid use.

    Upconverting to HDMI is similarly dumb.. it would take too long to explain..
    Yep, dumb. Reasons are actually simple: interlace, detail not existing, only bad hardware and methods exist to do it.

    You always want a Time Base Corrector and Frame Synchronizer..
    Not just want, need. Required. Digital converters need clean signals. VCRs all give unclean signals. Something has to clean it. The TBC in a VCR is line TBC, but we refer to frame TBC here. Not the same. Line TBC cleans the image, frame TBC cleans the signal, you need both.

    An Uncompressed raw file in 4:2:2 color, likely to have audio to video synchronization issues.. or lip sync problems
    A Compressed file in 4:2:0 color, less likely to have any audio or video synchronization issues.. and no lip sync problems
    Huh? Fully uncompressed 4:2:2/YUY2 can lose sync, but it has nothing to do with the color. It's about bandwidth, 75gb/hour. So do lossless 4:2:2, like Huffyuv. 4:2:0 is compressed, not bad, not best. (4:1:1 DV is unacceptable, far too compressed NTSC.)

    would argue.. you should never accept anything but Uncompressed capture.. but yeah.. its a choice now.
    The choice is not based on nothing, some notion of "I wants to do", but rather a choice based on source and destination. For example, editing = lossless. But for straight "footage dump", MPEG is great, as long as quality is there (S-VHS VCRs, TBCs, etc). I do MPEG for my cartoon hobby, 15mbit 4:2:0 with ATI AIW capturing. My masters are most S-VHS tapes, original recordings, EP even.

    500, 700, 510, 710 ... they go for incredible discounts today 10-20 usd..
    No. Try $100+

    The Analog Devices video decoders, ... but just don't produce as good a picture
    I told you why the Pinnacle stuff is suboptimal
    The pinnacle products ... your always going to have lip sync problems with them..
    Uh, no. User error. OS error. Whatever error. Certain Pinnacles have ADI chips, and have excellent quality image. But the "catch" is you need to use the OS of its day, meaning XP or 7. No SD capture card was designed for Win8/10/11, so you take your chances with that OS.

    The ADVC 300 had one of the early NEC time base correctors for consumers.. which meant it was experimental. They also included it in the ADVC 200 TV, one of the first TV Tuner attached by firewall for the Japanese market. All of that was highly experimental.. and didn't work as great.. as the people at the time who had no other choices to compare it with.. claimed it to be the best thing ever.
    Not just that, but it had aggressive filters that were always on (even when "off'), and that "line TBC" was a pathetic nothing that did more harm than good. The card sucks. If you really insist on a Canopus DV box, then get the 50,55,100,110. Not the 300 POS.

    Grass Valley bought up Canopus and continued the line of products..
    Yes, but what did change was Canopus marketing was utter BS, downright damned lies at times. That ceased with GV (actually Thomson). Canopus wasn't continued as a division or separate company, but essentially gutted for IP, and a few select profitable products continued (aka suckers overpaying for crappy DV boxes, huge $$$ margin for stupid). Other stuff was discontinued or sold off. GV itself was sold by Thomson (forced) during the recession.

    A word about "Cleaning" VCRs
    DO NOT stick a air compressor hose in the Tape door.
    DO NOT take cotton swabs or any type of cleaning tape, wet or dry, and run it through the machine.
    The tape heads are brittle from the factory and very fragile.
    The tape head wires are very easy to destroy by running compressed air, even lightly compressed from a can of air.. over the drum.
    You can permanently destroy the tape heads and their wires so fast.. and will not be able to fix them.. they literally turn to dust.. and you can't buy replacements.
    Yep, needs quoting / repeating!

    The JVC 9911 (unfortunately) has a "tricks dual axis drum tilt" mechanism.. its exercised every time power is applied to the VCR.. sooner or later the plastic gears will crack and seize.. and they cannot be repaired. Many people over many decades have now tried to solve this problem. Thousands of people in forums are still hanging on to their VCR's hoping for a DD fix.
    We're getting closer. Right now, the best is the hit-or-miss bypass from latreche, and drzapp has managed to refurb a few this way.

    I've noticed a lot of comments about don't use HD capture devices for SD, dated 2014 or earlier.
    Don't use HD for SD, period, The problem with Blackmagic, Magewell, etc, is (for whatever dumbass reason), they fail to handle dropped frames correctly. And not report the drops. So you blindly capture, not knowing what's going on. The conversions are choppy, random blanking, etc -- even with a TBC. That's bad. It's probably a chipset issue, and the chipset using faulty/weak default settings. Or the chip just sucks, that happens, and often.
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    The JVC 9911 (unfortunately) has a "tricks dual axis drum tilt" mechanism.. its exercised every time power is applied to the VCR.. sooner or later the plastic gears will crack and seize.. and they cannot be repaired. Many people over many decades have now tried to solve this problem. Thousands of people in forums are still hanging on to their VCR's hoping for a DD fix.
    We're getting closer. Right now, the best is the hit-or-miss bypass from latreche, and drzapp has managed to refurb a few this way.
    What is DD? DD fix?
    What is the hit-or-miss bypass from latreche?
    Who is drzapp ?
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  17. Member
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    I have to admit, when I first started diving deep into this entire carnival of equipment and terms, DD was an elusive item to define.
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