I've spent the past year slowly plugging away at capturing some NTSC VHS tapes. I had to create notes to keep things straight, so I thought I'd share them in case they help others. I'm a newbie. Not an expert. These are not comprehensive. Take them for what they are.
Here is what I used in my setup: JVC SVHS HR-S2913U > DMR-ES15 > Pinnacle 710 USB > Windows 10 > Virtual Dub 1.9.11 .
NTSC VHS newbie summary #1: VCRs & settings
Read these articles:
Video Hardware Suggestions; Best VCRs to Convert Tape to Digital
VCR Buying Guide (S-VHS, D-VHS, Professional) for restoring video
If your budget is limited, then at a minimum, aim for a VCR with S-video and HIFI audio.
Please also review the comments below from Skiller & lollo
lordsmurf: "The only thing you should focus on is picture modes.
Picture Control: edit = NR off
Picture Control: auto/norm = NR on (recommended)
Nobody ever disagrees on these other settings. (edit: Some do disagree - please see comments below)
- R3 = OFF
- calibration = OFF (usually). For a few models like JVC SR-VS30, it should be ON.
- Picture Control: sharp = never useful
- Picture Control: soft = generally useful only an animation"
lordsmurf: "- CALIBRATION is almost always bad, causing image instability rather than fixing -- which is directly the opposite of what the feature claims to do.
- R3 is always bad. It is a primitive edge correction that just leads to nasty halos.
- TBC should almost always be on. There are very few rare instances where the TBC does more harm than good. But on such tapes, it's usually multiple issues. This is often when the Panasonic comes in, and can fix those tapes (and not because it's better, just different).
- PICTURE CONTROL = EDIT disables all NR on the deck, and the image output by the VCR is just as crummy as a regular VCR. Some people like this -- no idea why -- and I suggest it be left at AUTO/NORM in most situations. EDIT is really only suggested when doing restorations that can involved motion stabilization, zero temporal NR is desired on that workflow.
- AUDIO MONITOR is almost always HiFi, but this does depend on the tape. MONO usually degrades the audio, so again this is where the AG-1980P usually comes in (because, again, the deck is merely different, not better; but often it does output better audio in the specific situations)."
Another useful post: http://www.digitalfaq.com/forum/video-restore/1865-jvc-filtering-svhs.html#post9965
+ Reply to Thread
Results 1 to 4 of 4
Last edited by brockway; 14th Jan 2022 at 09:24. Reason: Italicized quotes; added notes based on comments
What this control actually does is enable or disable the "VHS HQ" circuit. Any VCR made after this became the norm in the 80's has it force-enabled ("Normal" or "Edit = off"), unless it is a higher end deck that has the Edit switch. So even a crummy regular VCR does this. It's nothing special and it's not nearly as complex and effective as you seem to think. It's a purely spatial analog filtering, nothing digital about it. It's a primitive low-pass filter that often slightly reduces the already low resolution on VHS. It's especially aggressive on the chroma to make color more stable. Then comes a super basic horizontal sharpening that is intended to counteract the blurryness and often results in contouring.
From an objective point of view there is no reason to have this enabled if you have a VCR that can disable it by setting Edit=on but if you like the way it looks, it's up to you.
Last edited by Skiller; 13th Jan 2022 at 22:20.
Nobody ever disagrees ...
I capture in PAL domain, and experienced the different settings using a JVC HR-S9500MS, so YMMV:
In my case, I found the best picture is obtained using:
B.E.S.T. (CALIBRATION) = ON; all my tapes are recorded with B.E.S.T. = ON, and I experimented that capturing them with the same setting provides the best results. For tapes not recorded on my machine or for commercial tapes I may use B.E.S.T. = OFF sometimes, but the ON setting is providing the best results most of the time as well.
COPIE (EDIT) = OFF; the best picture is obtained with this setting, and the noise reduction is limited but effective. According to the tape there is sometime a collateral effect, because the NR is not acting only spatially, but also temporally, for both Luma and Chroma. If you check the linked threads, it may happen that a ghosting of a previous frame at scene change is propagated to few following frames.
D3R (R3) = ON; together with the previous setting, this is providing the best overall picture. I did not see any significant additional halo introduced by this setting, and the overall picture quality is improved.
TBC/N.R = ON; the N.R. is tied with the lineTBC, the second is always on in my captures. When off the N.R. is partially, but not completely, disabled and may help in reducing the "ghosting" effect and reducing the effect of the noise reduction if there is a preference for the EDIT = ON setting.
This is to have the best looking "raw" capture, but keep in mind than when doing some post-processing for restoration, in particular denoising and sharpening, the starting point (i.e. the capture obtained with a setting or another one) is less important, because the image is lightly/heavily altered. You may argue that in this case better to start with a neutral capture (EDIT=ON, R3=OFF), but I did bot experienced any improvement doing so, so I prefere the capture providing the best overall look without post-precessing.
For rare cases, where the ghosting effect is too evident, I use B.E.S.T. (CALIBRATION) = ON, COPIE (EDIT) = ON, D3R (R3) = OFF, TBC/N.R = ON.
The 2 others combination, COPIE (EDIT) = ON + D3R (R3) = ON and COPIE (EDIT) = OFF + D3R (R3) = OFF, provide worst results.
Here some video and image comparisons:
As usual, there is not a common and generic rule, you should experiment and compare the different settings with your workflow (vcr + capture card) and with your tapes!
edit: fixed wrong links
Last edited by lollo; 14th Jan 2022 at 07:30.
Thank you for the replies Skiller & lollo. I wish I'd come across your points of view and input BEFORE I captured all my video footage. At least it is captured here for anyone else who comes across this summary.