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  1. Member
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    Hi, thanks to your help from previous threads on this site I am making progress on my capturing adventure. And now I am finding new problems. Before I started using the Pixie TBC I was having sound problems capturing Hi8 and VHS tapes on my Blackmagic HD Mini.

    https://www.markertek.com/product/burst-pxfs/burst-pixie-fs-frame-store-tbc

    The Pixie TBS fixed the sound problems, but now the visuals do not look nearly as good as when I was capturing without it. I know that the Pixie has knobs to adjust the image. But I just want to get back to the way it was being captured before the Pixie got introduced to the chain. I don't feel that I have the knowledge or equipment to make those adjustments myself. I am not a trained media person. I am just the only person who is capturing a lot of archival material that is important to the non profit organization that I run. My question is whether the Pixie is affecting the image in some way that the controls can only help minimize.

    And if the Pixie is negatively affecting the image, whether there are other TBC devices that do not negatively affect the image.

    Thank you.
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  2. Capturing Memories dellsam34's Avatar
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    I've mentioned that to you that I bought that exact model from Amazon last year for $99 just to test it out for the community not for my personal use and I returned it the next day, They are no good, and basically you are converting to digital with it and back to analog and then to digital again using your capture card, I stand by the suggestions I gave you before, get a another capture device with Y-C input (S-Video) or move to PC and forget MAC.
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    Thank you. I am sorry that I am making you repeat yourself. This is all super new for me and I am trying my best to keep up. We are a community non profit with a limited number of tapes to digitize - like 60 or so. So I have to careful about what equipment to invest in. Ideally I would have a dubbing house do it but their turnaround times are really long now and we are now making documentary with a need for that footage. Plus only I know the content that is there and what we need. That said, I am wasting a huge amount of my time capturing, recapturing and recapturing the same tapes over and over again. A local non profit media center, that lent me the Pixie, is offering to lend me an older model rack mount TBC. I don't know the make or model, but from what you are saying, I assume that I should look into it.
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  4. Member Cornucopia's Avatar
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    Very interesting how that unit could fix your sound problems, considering it has NO sound input jacks, NO sound output jacks, and NO sound processing of any kind.


    Scott
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    dellsam34, you previously said:"Yes, BM analog capture cards are notorious for signal drop from consumer analog sources, We've discussed this numerous times here. They are only good in SDI bridge mode as an interface between SDI and Thunderbolt/USB3/PCIe. I personally use 2 of the BM UltraStudio SDI to connect my pro capture devices to my PC laptops, I use S&W TBS800 and ED BrightEye 75 which are SDI out only analog capture devices and they work in the SMPTE 259-C standard 12bit YUV but I let MediaExpress output 8bit for compatibility purposes in post processing.

    If I was in your shoes I would get rid of that BM capture device since it's composite only, Your Hi8 tapes need S-Video connector to capture the Y and C signals separately, Basically you are downgrading your Hi8 recordings to V8 or VHS quality. Even VHS and V8 can benefit from a S-Video connector even when in fact are not S-VHS and Hi8 formats, Just reducing the interference between Y and C improves the quality of VHS and V8 quite a bit."

    Given my limited need, and limited budget you would mind suggesting the components that you think could work for me? I see what you use, but I assume you are a professional who uses your equipment regularly. Another factor is that my VHS is old consumer deck and the Hi8 is an old camcorder.
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  6. Capturing Memories dellsam34's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Cornucopia View Post
    Very interesting how that unit could fix your sound problems, considering it has NO sound input jacks, NO sound output jacks, and NO sound processing of any kind.


    Scott
    His problem is audio stuttering from lack of frame synchronizer or frame buffer to produce a clean timing signal. BM analog capture devices are known to have no cooperation for poor analog sources, so with no clean signal they tend to drop sound or goes out of synch. When he placed the Pixie device it did not help with audio or video but it provided a stable timing signal to the card to overcome its own problem. A problem that never got fixed, Even with their Intensity shuttle they promised they will have a firmware fix but never did.
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  7. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Mockingbird View Post
    Before I started using the Pixie TBC I was having sound problems capturing Hi8 and VHS tapes on my Blackmagic HD Mini.
    - lack of TBC is a problem
    - the wrong (and defective model) TBC is a problem
    - the wrong capture card is a problem

    You attempted to fix the first, with a TBC. Problem is that you bought a known defective TBC. Some Pixie are just really screwy, while others are entirely unusable. There's a reason you see those defective units for cheap: those are POS.

    Blackmagic makes decent HD cards, that do SD video terribly. Best of all, it's very overpriced.

    The Pixie TBS fixed the sound problems,
    Originally Posted by Cornucopia View Post
    Very interesting how that unit could fix your sound problems, considering it has NO sound input jacks, NO sound output jacks, and NO sound processing of any kind. Scott
    Frame TBC prevents dropped frames, which is the #1 reason for audio sync skew. However, in the case of BM carsd, issues will persist, those cards are crap for SD capture.

    I am not a trained media person. I am just the only person who is capturing a lot of archival material that is important to the non profit organization that I run.
    Education and experience is mostly for when you're being paid for work, as you'll have to deal with a wide variety of content issues. (Assuming the NPO has single sources, otherwise you may need some education. Start by reading, seeking help. Don't try to do it yourself blindly, especially not by following Youtube goobers, or fake Amazon reviews.) When you're doing it for yourself, you just need good gear. That's the entire issue here.

    And if the Pixie is negatively affecting the image, whether there are other TBC devices that do not negatively affect the image.
    Yes, those definitely exist.

    Originally Posted by dellsam34 View Post
    get a another capture device with Y-C input (S-Video) or move to PC and forget MAC.
    Yep.

    Originally Posted by Mockingbird View Post
    We are a community non profit with a limited number of tapes to digitize - like 60 or so. So I have to careful about what equipment to invest in.
    You're not looking at the big financial picture here. Buy it, use it, resell it. Quality gear (not cheap crap) holds value. This isn't a purchase you'll make, then toss it all in a drawer. At least it should not be so.

    Ideally I would have a dubbing house do it but their turnaround times are really long now and we are now making documentary with a need for that footage.
    How long is long? Is this a last minute project?

    Plus only I know the content that is there and what we need. That said, I am wasting a huge amount of my time capturing, recapturing and recapturing the same tapes over and over again.
    Both are problems.

    A local non profit media center, that lent me the Pixie, is offering to lend me an older model rack mount TBC.
    That won't help. You'll just be trading junk.

    Originally Posted by Mockingbird View Post
    Given my limited need, and limited budget
    You have a typical need, not a limited need. In fact, not even that, as you're trying to make a documentary here. You have pro needs, even if you think otherwise right now. It will bite you in the ass later if not done correctly now.

    Another factor is that my VHS is old consumer deck and the Hi8 is an old camcorder.
    You may need a better VCR for sure. What brand, model, are you using now?
    Same for the Hi8 camera?
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  8. Capturing Memories dellsam34's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Mockingbird View Post
    Given my limited need, and limited budget you would mind suggesting the components that you think could work for me? I see what you use, but I assume you are a professional who uses your equipment regularly. Another factor is that my VHS is old consumer deck and the Hi8 is an old camcorder.
    Since you live about 20 miles from me how about offering you help to capture one tape that you need for the movie at no cost, I can't help you with the rest of the tapes since it would take you a long waiting time, This is just a side job for me and I don't devote too much time to it. But I have restriction about the contents of the tape based on laws and personal believes. Feel free to PM me.
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  9. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by dellsam34 View Post
    Originally Posted by Mockingbird View Post
    Given my limited need, and limited budget you would mind suggesting the components that you think could work for me? I see what you use, but I assume you are a professional who uses your equipment regularly. Another factor is that my VHS is old consumer deck and the Hi8 is an old camcorder.
    Since you live about 20 miles from me how about offering you help to capture one tape that you need for the movie at no cost, I can't help you with the rest of the tapes since it would take you a long waiting time, This is just a side job for me and I don't devote too much time to it. But I have restriction about the contents of the tape based on laws and personal believes. Feel free to PM me.
    That's nice of you. At least he can see what a good capture looks like, when using proper VCR, TBC. I'm still not fond of your SDI method, closed loop, but it'd surely be an upgrade here. Bad Pixie, Blackmagic, random VCR ... ugh. The only way to get worse is no TBCs, and Easycap.
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  10. Member Cornucopia's Avatar
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    Any capture system where the audio capture sync clock is wholly dependent on the video capture is a bad capture system. Just saying.

    If you were to rate quality levels of systems by their clocks/syncing, it would be something like this (best to worst):
    1. Independent stable high quality master clock feeding both A and V capture devices' clocks.
    2. Separate video and audio clocks are parallel but totally independent
    3. What I said to avoid.

    Yes, it could be that there never is/was anything wrong with the audio track itself, just whether it was considered obviously out of sync with the badly timed video. In which case, shouldn't it make more sense to say that the video was out of sync with the audio? That's more likely what was really going on here all along. I hope.


    Scott
    Last edited by Cornucopia; 26th Jun 2022 at 08:29.
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  11. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Cornucopia View Post
    In which case, shouldn't it make more sense to say that the video was out of sync with the audio?
    Technically correct.
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  12. Member
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    Great information to have. For me, the resulting error is that I ended up with a file with visuals but sputtering audio so it seemed like an audio problem.
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  13. Capturing Memories dellsam34's Avatar
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    The BM bug is not the rule, it's the exception. It's a problem they knew about when they were listing consumer VCR in the list of devices that the Shuttle can capture from but instead of addressing the problem they just dropped consumer VCR or VHS words from their marketing description.

    Option #1 does not work on consumer capture devices because Sync input is unavailable, Only pro capture cards has that feature, What I found over years of experimenting with different equipment should be #0 on top of your list which is FPGA (which Lordsmurf always misleadingly calls closed loop). Everything has to work perfectly under the system control or the next component down stream will throw an error message: Audio/Video IN, ADC chip, Timing and correction chip, Proc amp chip, Digital out, Every function can be bypassed by turning it on and off in the setting just like using external devices and cabling, The benefits are: No multiple A-D-A conversions, no wires less noise, everything is controlled from a control panel and results are instantly compared by turning on or off an option vs external devices that you have to capture two samples and compare them in the computer, some even offer a split screen option to compare say TBC on and TBC off on the fly while the video source is being played back.
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    No wonder Blackmagic ignores my emails. I appreciate everyone's time and patience. This is head spinning. I realize that I must learn much more, and I am trying, but I also have to acknowledge my limitations. Slowly making progress.
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  15. Capturing Memories dellsam34's Avatar
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    I've sent you the link to the BrightEye 75 listing. Your actual BM device will become just a digital interface from SDI to thunderbolt and it should get rid of the audio problem since audio will be timed and embedded into video via the SDI out port.
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    Will I be able to avoid having to 'improve' the image as I am having to do with the Pixie? In other words, can I just capture and not fiddle around with image controls?
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  17. Capturing Memories dellsam34's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Mockingbird View Post
    Will I be able to avoid having to 'improve' the image as I am having to do with the Pixie? In other words, can I just capture and not fiddle around with image controls?
    Yes, when you click on the default button means the feature is off, it brings the slider back to zero or center, This is a well known way of controlling features digitally, Even operating systems and other software use this approach.
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  18. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by dellsam34 View Post
    which is FPGA (which Lordsmurf always misleadingly calls closed loop). Everything has to work perfectly under the system control or the next component down stream will throw an error message:
    Closed loop means the full path (workflow) is singularly controlled. In the case of a VHS transfer, using SDI, the output from the VCR is grabbed, and held until the digital file. In theory, that's awesome. In practice, you're at the mercy of the TBC and capture quality of the single device. Also in practice, that can work well, or not.

    Open loop means the full path is not singularly controlled. In the case of VHS transfer, each piece of the workflow is modular. That matters because consumer formats (VHS, Hi8, etc) are nasty formats (signal-wise), and can balk at both TBCs and capture cards, thus necessitating the swapping or removal of pieces, on a per-tape diagnosis. In theory, ADC<>DAC is bad. But in practice, it is directly controlled by the quality of those devices, namely the transparency (something I frequently refer to when discussing TBCs). And transparency of closed loop isn't necessarily cleaner, it again comes down to device quality. Also in practice, pricing for closed vs. open tends to closely follow, so the idea of "saving money by not buying extra devices" does not apply.

    I'm not sure what you refer to as FPGA here.

    I have nothing against SDI, but it has cons, it's not all pros. Under the right conditions, it's very viable. The problem with it is more stubborn VHS sources can balk, and you'll end up using it only as an expensive capture card. I just want to arm people with knowledge, and then they can make a fully educated decision on what to get. (The fact that you have an extra SDI unit is nice, at least one lucky person seeking SDI can nab it. But those can be harder to locate, for a fair price, fully working properly. So as general advice, it can be tricky. At the moment, quality TBCs are hard to track down too, which is why I try so hard to hunt units, make them available for others. Without a stream of available devices, advice to use them can become worthless, something I've been fighting for years.)

    Originally Posted by dellsam34 View Post
    brings the slider back to zero or center
    aka "unity"
    Last edited by lordsmurf; 26th Jun 2022 at 23:56.
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