Hello! I've been a lurker on this forum for over a decade now. The information on here has been invaluable. Thank you for everyone who has contributed over the years.
Now here is the $2000 question. I'm finally beginning the archival process for my 30 year old Video8 tapes. After testing multiple types of equipment and their configurations, I've landed on the fairly simple combo of a Sony GV-D200 and a Kona LHi capture card.
My earlier attempt at a combo was a Sony EV-C100 that gave me all sorts of sync and frame drop issues, so I paired that with a Keywest Big VooDoo TBC (BVTBC) that I replaced the capacitors on and combined with a linear PSU to remove most of the inherent noise that that thing gives off, controversial I know. But it fixed the sync issue with the EV-C100 and no more frame drops (but still some noise).
Anyway, that aside, the GV-D200 outperforms the EV-C100 in image quality and additionally, it has no dropped frames when capturing in the simple flow of Video8 -> GV-D200 -> S-Video -> Kona LHi -> ProRes 4444!
So my question is, is there any reason anyone can come up with that I should integrate the BVTBC into my new equipment workflow if I'm not having any problems with capture? No frame drops or audio sync issues = No need for full frame TBC?
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If ain't broke don't fix it, The GV-D200 applies some signal stabilization, so you should be okay, at least until you encounter a stubborn tape.
Anyway 4:4:4 is overkill, The hardware samples at 4:2:2 so keep it that way, no need to up sample it, there is no gain. If you use DV out it will be down sampled to 4:1:1 due to the DV codec limitation.
If you have a good working TBC then that's already a great leap in capturing, i only would suggest try compairing different VHS players, and then thinking about recording with a HDMI/SDI recorder/solidstate DVR….. 12voltvids (on youtube) did recently a test with different methods https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dRIfgqImj-g (source is Hi8video though, but test shows also the DV difference)
Besides that, capturing with a computer isn't that a of good idea, computer harware like cards etc.. where never made for that,(and get quickly out of date) you need to do a lot of fine tuning each time, but recording devices like those of BMD or Atomos make life much easier, (saving to Prores422LT is good enough for VHS) and in post you only have to do small things like color correcting, which (colors) seem never be the same with analog video recordings.
btw. i now see what the Kona LHi means…. if you have a powerfull pc your setup is already good, but ProRes4444 is really overkill, and will generate too large files,
ProRes422 is already an editing codec, i'm using ProRes422LT on a Video Assist, or a Hyperdeck Shuttle HD, there's no "quality" lost this way.
The Video Assist works with SD flash cards, the Hyperdeck Shuttle can also use USB-C storage, like the T5 and T7 ones from Samsung.
Last edited by Eric-jan; 2nd Oct 2022 at 17:13.
The AJA Kona LHe use the ADV7403 chip with ADLLT - so while some dispute it, technically.. it does have a Horizontal Time Base Corrector
The Kona LHe is also a 10-bit UpDown Cross converter - so while its not 'labeled' a Frame Synchronizer, to do its fundamental job, it has a Full Frame Synchronizer
The Kona until very recently were (and still are) very expensive, but well known as studio quality and max out the feature set of the chips that they use.
The KONA LHi is the HDMI version of the KONA LH series, that sacrificed one SDI out to make room for HDMI in and out, but otherwise its chipset was the same.
So its technically got a digital TBC and digital Frame buffer, even if we choose not to call them that.
The particulars when comparing old TBC and new TBC and old Frame sync and new Frame sync methods are the gray area that get debated a lot.
Reports from Creative Cow from years ago when they were introduced and other websites were.. they didn't suffer the same problems something from say Blackmagic did.
Mostly I think its down to having used the ADV7403 and the UpDown Cross Conversion ability.
early Blackmagic Decklinks used Philips video decoders and they did not have the ADV ADLLT timebase correction, when Blackmagic started using ADV chips in their Mini Converter series time base correction was the last thing they were interested in and it was simply something they didn't pay attention to in their firmwares.. and they crippled their designs to save on costs where a full Frame Sync capability was possible. - That was a business decision, BMD was moving on from SD video after 2009 and not looking back.. they briefly made a single UpDown Cross converter which "could" have done the same thing for their Mini Converter lines.. but you would have to use it inline, and they were using SDI input and Output for their Cross Converter.. so in every way Black Magic was hamstringing the ability of VHS users to capture unstable video. BMD just did not figure unstable signal sources in their plans.. they totally ignored them.
BMD built their name off the Decklink series, but a "Deck" link was for a Beta SP deck that had a RS-422 control interface, and a time base corrector in the Beta deck.. that is about as different from an unstable consumer VHS recorder as you could possibly get.. but its on all the Black Magic marketing materials.. "compatible with Beta SP decks and signal levels"
My opinion is that a Kona LHi will be more than alright without an external TBC.
Eric-jan's comment about looking at the larger picture and thinking about overkill is appropriate here.
Using a Kona LHi you have a lot of power, but capturing it in an Editable format like ProRes or HDV is a lot of over kill.
Those files will be Huge.
Editing will take a very powerful storage subsystem even if the frames don't have to be decoded on the fly to edit them.
You've already obviously spent a gigantic amount of money.. so I think your out of the Class of most people who would comment on this forum.
What you've got will work just fine.. if not take a long time because of the size of the capture files.
Were it myself I would have considered using a hardware compression or capture to a compressed lossless format.. but mostly I think in terms of capturing to MPEG-2 or H.264 these days.. not because the files are tiny, or the workflow is practically effortless.. but because I won't invest a ton of time into carefully editing video before declaring the task done and moving on.
Backing up or archiving video for posterity is best served by video files that are smaller and can be replicated or shared or stored in multiple copies in many locations.. holding on to huge capture file, that is hard to replicate or move is risking everything a backup or archive was designed to protect.
The other way of looking at it, is if its precious.. when your done, don't throw out the tapes.. keep those as a backup too.
I think most people at the consumer end are mostly thinking about getting a "good enough" quality file.. in a sharable format.. that they can share with friends and relatives, or upload to the cloud.. and then ditching the tapes to the local dump.. in that case.. Huge files .. kind of works against you and take up a lot of your time.
Last edited by jwillis84; 2nd Oct 2022 at 23:21.
There are devices and software that don't report drops. The effects are hard to see by simple spot testing, and are only seen on an actual watching pass.
- audio + video can dropout ("stutter" or "glitches")
- video is inserted, duped frames all over the place
- audio is sped up or slowed to "correct" (not correct) the drops
This is far more common than simply "not needing" a TBC. Not needing TBC is exceeding rare, and will be curtailed to certain tapes in a certain workflow. It's really a case of holding your left arm above you head during a full moon, that sort of crazy oddity.
The Analog Devices chip is laughably craptastic. That thing is now a decade old, and has never functioned as described in the datasheets. Nobody to date has gotten it to do work, to do a damned thing. It has a weak line TBC that actually makes video worse, and it does nothing for frame correction.
BVTBC can be a nightmare devices. Some models are 99%+ bad, while others heavily depends on era (old=good, new=bad ... nothing that "new" is still more than decade old). Noise injection is a hallmark of the flawede units.
@nightowl3090 try 422LT instead of the 4444 the 4444 might as well caused some dropped frames due to system performance in some cases, processing, or storage hickup during capture.
For editing Davinci Resolve can make use of proxies, for smooth playback during editing, only for noise reduction or de-interlacing you need the paid version "Studio"
Your current setup : Video8 -> GV-D200 -> S-Video -> Kona LHi -> ProRes 4444 you should not change, exept the codec…. try ProRes422LT, should work too, and is still overkill due to the resolution of Video8
I only have personal experience with the Kona LSe, LHe and LHe plus cards.
Not the LHi.
For me the ADLLT timebase corrections fixes 'top curl' and much of the overscan geometry problems.
The UpDown Cross Conversion eliminated Frame drops entirely, and it can make Aspect Ratio adjustments.. it can Upscale.. but I do not use it for that.
I started with the Kona LSe at the low end since the cards were cheaper and mostly no longer sold new, one was gifted to me.
I then tried the Kona LHe (no plus) and used their in-house Capture tool, but found it rather bespoken and awkward, but it did a really good job cleaning up basic time base errors and frame drops.. so I pursued obtaining an LHe plus.
The Kona LHe plus had a Windows Direct X WDM driver release, which made it compatible with a great number of other DirectX compatible capture tools.
the WDM driver was not backwards compatible with the original Kona LHe (no plus).
SONY Vegas has a little known, or understood ability to work with WDM capture drivers through its DV capture tool. And it almost works with LHe plus, except for audio.. which is where I've paused. I was looking for a Flying Cow 24 Bit AES unbalanced audio converter and recently found one.. hope to learn something from that soon.
To me playing around with this gear is a hobby and capturing is a side benefit.. and figuring out whether "some bad reviews" were true or not.. are enlightening.
The Kona cards are pretty good stuff.. but they cost a mint back in their day.. and there will never be a lot on the resale market.. studios are still reselling them to other studios.
The Kona LHi .. if I'm not mistaken is the "last" SD video capture card AJA card you can buy outright today, at full MSRP
I think there are a lot of cheaper alternatives, just as good .. but I'm not sure better.
Thats the extent of my experience with them, and specific to my experience.. I'm only making generalities by extending the experience from LHe to the LHi.
The LHi design will have the extra HDMI input and output chips.. so the board might be slightly "noisier" than the older cards.. but thats only speculation. They are probably just fine.
I wouldn't recommend anyone to follow in my footsteps evaluating them.. because they are so expensive.. and they can be a hassel to setup and use. The cable routing alone is 'a challenge'.. its all studio grade.
But like I said before they are probably overkill for most projects.
They also will not fix "missing frames" or "completely missing sync signals" .. there is only so much you can rebuild "from nothing".
The time base can duplicate lines or interpolate, and the frame buffer can freeze, blank or insert some bespoken boilerplate.. so as to not trigger a complete abort on missing frames.. but that's not the same thing as guaranteeing.. frame will not be "missing" .. a frame drop error may not occur.. but if its missing.. it will still be missing.
I guess I've become more tolerant of lip sync issues and "fixing" things after capture.. once the reality of the situation dawned on me.
After geometry corrections, the goal is mostly to complete a capture.. what is captured is more attributable to the condition of the source and "luck".
Hardware that can't work around unstable signals, or complete a capture from a poor quality source are the real problem.
The Kona .. though I can't recommend them to anyone cash strapped.. seem to do a better job, than most.
Last edited by jwillis84; 3rd Oct 2022 at 18:48.
Thank You dellasm34!
that is soo "Cringetastic" I'm Howling with laughter.. and digitalfaq is featured.. along with videhelp .. right next to the guy in the Suit.. channel doing video capture
this is hilarious .. its like monkey's poking at a stick of dynamite
I can't wait to see how it ends
That was awesome.
A Xoomer discovers how we used to watch TV.
They mostly skipped or skimped on the technical content.. it was more like a history channel documentary.. and I'm not entirely sure they actually knew what they were talking about.
But it was entertaining.
The AG-1980 was kinda cool to see in pristine condition.. but they surfed over all the technical details and hard core decisions obsessive people can get rabbit holed into.
The public service message about hoarding and backups was timely, as well as the cloud backup shutdown by amazon.. all too true.
It strikes me as mostly though as a light "retro-tech puff piece" by a couple guys with no memories of the 1990's
As for SDI capture and AJA versus other companies.
Gosh.. there were so many companies that tried to make the leap from consumer to prosumer; Pyro, Miranda, Blackmagic, Aja, et. al.
I tend to think once you started with SDI.. even 3G .. all bets were off.. you either had a very expensive standalone studio TBC and standalone Frame sync, or none at all. For the Low end consumer using SDI.. it was mostly.. none at all.. like the Blackmagic products.
Ensemble and Aja, Snell & Wilcox, Grass Valley they seemed to start the all in one boxes but there are vanishingly few examples left.. even on second hand auction sites.
Consumers seemed to gravitate to DVD recorders for all in one feature boxes.
Data Video, Pinnacle/Avid seemed to focus on Wedding photographer and weekend sports videographers.
I lived through those times.. but I was too poor to participate.. so my opinions on gear I've never touched.. is not useful.
Comparing the external SDI, USB, PCIe boxes to internal AGP, PCI, PCIe cards .. is pretty confusing.. so many bus technologies leap frogged over each other.. its more an exercise in pick a bus technology that is stable and "future proof" but it looks like we've reached the end of the line with PCI express.
SDI is still around, and up to 16G ?
USB has circled back to PCIe and now they're converged.
I'm a maths guy.. and uncompressed looks more and more to me like.. well.. its hard for myself to justify it anymore.. when we have so many choices available now.
A hardware compression codec delivers a frame buffered result, which had to have its time base precorrected or it wouldn't exist.. and the audio was "nailed" to the video frame when it went through the hardware compression codec.. so that solves so many problems right up front.
The SDI serializer and audio embeder kind of does the same thing on that side.. so if you have an SDI all in one box, that would make the most sense for uncompressed capture.
But for compressed.. as long as its h.264 HDV or above.. well that is what Apple and Microsoft finally standardized on and its virtually patent free.. its not a DVD standard.. but its Blu-ray compliant.. and that's about all that's really left.
I still worry about evolving cloud standards migrating video content away from, near term ancient formats like h.264 .. the game is still afoot.. the sand is still shifting.. but they are doing the conversion.. not us.
How do you deal with bit-rot, and storing large video files without the time or effort to keep checking them and replicating them.. far into the future? Well Mideval Monks duplicated many copies of a single source.. that's where I get the idea.. you can't predict what will be valuable to future generations.. but the best odds are make compressed copies and distribute them far and wide.. its hard to do that with single monoliths that could block out the Sun with their bulk.
Last edited by jwillis84; 3rd Oct 2022 at 20:06.
I shortly edited my post and removed the link to the video after realizing it was BlackMagic and not Aja.
As to lossless files, I'm only keeping my personal and family files just so if in the near future a better upscaling software comes in I can do it from the master copies while I'm still alive, I don't believe in future proofing beyond my own lifetime, I know and so does everyone else know is after I'm gone no one else will give a rats ass about my father's or my grand father's lossless videos, if they ever know what to do with them to begin with, Sure they can watch the encoded version once in a blue moon but soon later the next gen will no longer recognize who those old folks are. As to my videos and my kids, they are already in HD, I started out of HDV and now 4K, So I leave it to them as they are, it's up to them what they want to do with them.
Last edited by dellsam34; 3rd Oct 2022 at 20:19.
Yes.. I did go down the BMD Analog to SDI path, last year?
Nice boxes, they work great with stable signals.. pre-run the signal through a TBC and Frame sync.. or a DVD recorder.. or a Japanese "stabilizer" box.. and they work fine.
You get pristine 422 uncompressed video
As far as I can tell Blackmagic just never really made much of an effort to deal with unstable sources, even if the chips had the features to do so. Magewell seemed to have the same notion.
It looks like if we want to do dirty VHS capture.. we have to do the laundry ourselves... or find a box that does it all in one.
I've had similar thoughts as to an "expiration date" coinciding with "my expiration date".
But we are technically oriented people with a narrow view on life.
There are people studying Doctor Who, or Commercials.. or Weather patterns in old tapes.
There is a whole science now to figuring out physical locations based on objects in the Sky in photographs and old videos.
Just think about the JFK video analysis so many years later.
Just like there was something before the "Internet" something before "Google" we may not understand what they are seeking.. its probably beyond our imagination.. but they may find value in it.
Ha.. perhaps a future Time Traveler is seeking a nice clearing in which to land his time ship.. and all they have is what can be A.I. Googled from old video tapes.
Its optimistic to feed our hobbyist tendencies and give it a try.
By the way.. that video has this A.I. Video Upscaler software company and link.. pretty darn cool.
The Deep Space Nine VHS A.I. Upscale sample was neat.
Last edited by jwillis84; 3rd Oct 2022 at 20:36.
Capturing video, from the old formats is always valueble, for the next generations to come, at the time it does not seem so, but the later generations will like to see it, things are disappearing without you really notice it, tape decks record players, etc…
VHS capturing is something odd, it falls between gamers capture/converter devices and pro-sumer devices, which both do not completly cover the need, computers are constantly upgrading in their software and hardware, and capture devices stay behind that most of the time, good TBC are rare, or too expensive, capturing is somewhere in the middle of easy usage, and finding a routine for a fast workflow, trying each time to reach perfection, is very tiresome, and perfection for VHS quality ? also trying to cover up the flaws of VHS ? i don't think so.
@nightowl3090 : you have a real good setup, the 4444 codec is overkill …. Prores422LT is enough to use, or look at Apple ProRes White Paper for the different ProRes variants that could suit you, you will see file sizes, per duration, and the data throughput speed listed, check the settings in your Video8 player/camera, using s-video is fine, check quality of the (short) cables, i guess you use mainly (fast) SSD storage, internally or externally…. that's about it i guess…
I'm a Blackmagic Design fanboy… they have good quality hardware, for a reasonable price , with good software to support that.
Last edited by Eric-jan; 4th Oct 2022 at 19:24.
Last edited by Eric-jan; 4th Oct 2022 at 19:17.