Hi all, I am seeking advice in regards to transferring my old vhs and family footage over to a digital format.
After watching several youtube ‘experts’ I went ahead and purchased a cheap hdmi capture card and scart to hdmi converter. Using obs, I had a play around and Im not really happy with the results, not to mention a 25 minute film resulted in a nearly 4gb file, which isnt good when I have hours and hours of tape to transfer.
I am using pal vhs and vcr. The vcr is a Hitachi (Phillips turbo deck)
My computer is very cheap, processor is intel pentium silver N6005 2 ghz, 8 gb ram and windows 11.
Could anyone advise on the best way for me to go about transferring my tapes, what capture card to get, etc. I am not at all tech/computer savvy tbh if that makes a difference.
Any advice would be really appreciated.
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If you watched several youtube "experts" you shouldn't be buying a cheap hdmi capture card and a hdmi converter, Using OBS. It's either they are not experts or you miss understood the instructions. There are tons of threads with the same subject just read through them and learn from their mistakes, Follow this link.
I was being sarcastic, they weren't experts. In hindsight I should have spent more time researching on better ways to do it befor buying cheap equipment and just copying someone off of youtube. Hopefully I can learn a better way here.
Last edited by Leanoric; 1st Nov 2022 at 10:14.
I've been sarcastic about the LMGTFY, but I quoted videohelp so you can only pick the first few links that are threads here, If you wish to do a manual browse here just click on Capturing sub-forum and pick a thread that matches your needs. There is like one every other week with the exact same question.
it all depends if the converter is an upscaler…. it wil capture in widescreen (converters without scaling don't stablelize the signal) which you have to set to 4:3 in post when you also reduce it into h.264
When using a cheap HDMI dongle to capture,(some only capture mono sound) it all depends on the software: frame rate could be all over the place, but some software will also correct the aspect ratio while capturing…. you're not LS with a fake account ? because you sound like that…. (a moderator can trace the IP address)
if you don't take capturing seriously, you shouldn't be asking for help, and just try what you think will "work" in either way, trying is always a good thing to learn from, (like your own mistakes) but it will get worse in the future to do this (capturing) on a computer basis only, the analog stuff you connect to your pc (if it's still compatible) can have "settings" that are off the scale from what a good representation should be, a good analog to hdmi converter will be good start, also a good SDI/HDMI recorder, will keep "things" in place, but….. analog VHS stays a very dirty video signal, you have to deal with. (passthrough and such)
(external conversion will also take no GPU/CPU time from a computer)
Last edited by Eric-jan; 6th Nov 2022 at 08:33.
I'm not sure who you're referring to as having LS fake account?
Anyway, I'm not sure why you are putting HDMI and SDI devices in the same basket? HDMI adapters are display devices and very few conform to rec.601 standards, Those few who do are made back in the 2010's when HDMI was establishing itself in the video arena. I can guarantee you that today's HDMI adapter are just a convenient and a cheapest way of getting an analog video into a modern display, Chinese devices never adhere to any standard anyway.
Analog to SDI converters on the other hand being professional devices only, they are built to standards with the highest quality components and no shortcuts are made to save a buck like consumer devices, Their main function is to digitize the analog signal to digital based on rec.601 and record it on a digital tape recorder like D1 or digital Betacam, When computers and storage became capable of storing that amount of data with sufficient speed SDI2USB, SDI2PCIe and SDI2Thunderbolt adapters are being made for that task to transfer (not capture) that standardized digital signal into the computer's hard drive.
I don't know how "far" the OP want's to go, but BlackMagic Design makes affordable "stuff" that works with SDI and HDMI, like a Video Assist monitor/recorder,(converters also) Atomos is also a good brand, (HDMI)
no need for ancient equipment like digital Betacam, computers have the habit to "update" their interfaces because of "progress" plus one Thunderbolt is not the other Thunderbolt and Thunderbolt is not USB-C or Mini DisplayPort, some adapters are not supported by certain chip-sets , a lot of this can be very confusing when trying to use a computer (MAC/Windows) for capturing. converting analog (VHS) video to SDI or HDMI will also take off a workload from the pc's CPU/GPU, but a good HDMI/SDI DVR will use good codecs, which are not always available on a windows pc.
The cheap HDMI dongles need good software, drivers is most of the time no problem, the dongle will be seen as a USB webcam, with Movavi Video editor, you can set such a dongle to better settings, like resolution and frame rate, QuikTime Player (on MAC at least) will also give some reasonable way of control of the capture/transfer.
I still think the HDMI dongles are a little bit better then the EasyCrap dongles…. btw. you did not tell which card/dongle or converter you are using.. could be important
Oops… i also see you're located in the U.K. according to your profile, that's a PAL region, be aware that most cheap capture devices are optimized for NTSC even when they "do" PAL also
Most people will think in NTSC terms…. while PAL has better line resolution.
Last edited by Eric-jan; 6th Nov 2022 at 18:01.
No I'm not recommending a Betacam tape recorder, that's an insane claim knowing my post is just 2 inches away from your answer, BalckMagic analog to SDI converters are not recommended, they lack frame timing for analog sources, HDMI converters and scalers are display devices they are not recommended for capturing for the reasons I explained in my previous post. That leaves only two options, The expensive one which is getting an analog to SDI converter, computer in this case is only used for transfer (not capture). Or the cheaper consumer way of getting a USB or a PCIe capture device and rely on computer resources for capturing (rabbit hole).
If you factor in an analog TBC that costs $2400 the SDI route is way cheaper with proven solid results that are demonstrated in my YT channel and some of my posts here.
"factor in" as in using a TBC ? a Panasonic device with "VHS fresh" as recorder combo or a DVD recorder as passthrough would be much cheaper, a good TBC is also very rare…. hence it's price….
and since the "VHS fresh" feature is mostly on the PAL versions, it will cost the OP no high transport fees within the U.K. if needed, even with Brexit enfoced, Europe comes in mind.
DMR-ES35V has VHS fresh feature, no TBC needed.. 400 euro (s-video output or component video output is available)
a dvd-recorder might even be available at a thriftstore/secondhand store..
Last edited by Eric-jan; 6th Nov 2022 at 17:58.
You didn't mention any specific digital format so I am going to assume it to be MPEG4/H.264 format. A capture card with hardware encoding is required since your PC is rather dated. So, a cheaper alternative will be an off the shelve HD set top box with composite inputs and USB port. All you need will be a set top box and a USB drive. Another assumption, your tapes are not copy protected.
A set top box also avoid the complexity of encoder setting. An uncompressed DV format file size is about 12GB for 1 hour of recording. An hour of HD(mpeg4) recording is about 3.6GB.
Last edited by pchan; 7th Nov 2022 at 00:04.
Originally Posted by PChan
Originally Posted by Pchan
It replaced my LG hard disk recorder for analog TV broadcast. Singapore migrated to DVB-T2 broadcast a few years back.
Using it with a WD USB external hard disk for scheduled TV recording. Reliable and never miss a show.
I am currently using this model(not promoting it).
Thanks for all the input guys. I’ve stuck with the cheap card for the time being as I dont want to waste money on something that I cant get working with win11. To be fair to it, it does actually work with win11, even the sound seems to be in sync on what I’ve done so far. I’ve been playing around with the output settings on obs but to be honest I’m struggling to understand what the right settings are to use and what will work best. Video signal/output/capture etc is something I had no prior knowledge of and I’m finding it quite complicated.
My pc is actually brand new, I bought the cheapest one in the store as its only really for the vhs and camcorder capture. I didnt do nearly enough research before getting into this!
Capture device settings
Resolution 800x600, fps 25
Encoder software (x264)
Base (canvas) resolution: 1440x1080,
Output (scaled) resolution: 720x540,
Lanczos (sharpened scaling 36 samples),
Integer Fps value: 25
Colour format: NV12 (8-bit, 4:2:0, 2 planes),
colour space: Rec. 709,
colour range: limited,
Sdr white level: 300 nits,
HDR Nominal peak level: 1000 nits
Is there anything obviously wrong with these settings?
I forgot to mention that the scart to hdmi scaler converter has a 1080p or 720p switch, I've been using it with the switch at 720p.
Last edited by Leanoric; 8th Nov 2022 at 09:15.
Wrong setting for VHS capture, OBS is the wrong capture software for VHS, HDMI scalers are the wrong tools for VHS capture, the more you keep listening to wrong advice the deeper you get yourself in the rabbit hole.
Lots of wasted time, wasted money, using wrong/bad methods, wrong/bad tools.
- fine for HD
- garbage for SD, lots of well documented issues, and (at one point) even BM support was admitting to it
analog VHS is just way to dirty
If you're signal is "dirty", you VCR is crap. And we know who use budget combo VCRs, so "crap" is your problem.
a Panasonic device with "VHS fresh" as recorder combo or a DVD recorder as passthrough would be much cheaper, a good TBC is also very rare….
DMR-ES35V has VHS fresh feature, no TBC needed.
And it (again) proves limited knowledge on what TBC is, what TBC does.
A few select Panasonic DVD recorders have strong+crippled line TBCs (with quality reducing side effects), with non-TBC frame sync. It's better than nothing, but is not a TBC replacement, never was. This unit was praised for passthrough for anti-tearing, and some unknowledgeable users confused it with being a TBC. It is not. It can be less costly than an actual TBC, but you're not buying a TBC. It can be paired with certain "also has" units with weak frame TBC, to give quality stability, no frame issues (dropouts, audio sync, etc). But neither works well on its own, or at all.
Video was never a cheap hobby. But, that said, it is far less costly than most other hobbies. A few grand max, and you have everything you need. And it holds value, resell it later if needed/wanted.
Trying to avoid proper video tools is like trying to use duct tape to fix a car.Want my help? Ask here! (not via PM!)
FAQs: Best Blank Discs • Best TBCs • Best VCRs for capture • Restore VHS
If good quality is not your aim then you have to be happy with the quality you got now, Average budget for a good working S-VHS deck from a reputable seller in the UK would run for around $600 give or take, a built in line TBC one would cost a little more but addresses 80% of the capturing problems, A USB capture device would cost around $70 (not my area of expertise, other members have reported some good ones), and if problems arose you can get a DVD recorder as passthrough for around $140, but on its own it can introduce more problems. If this is too much just get your tapes done by a service, I know Colin from Video99.co.uk is a good service.
DIY, hobby, same thing.
It's no different than buying appliances for a kitchen, or tools for your garage. Tools, period.
You know what hobbies (and/or DIY projects) costs more than video?
- quality computers / "gaming" computers
- action figures
- car repair
- and many, many more
And most of those do not have the sticky resell of photo/video gear.
This idea that video should cost $100/whatever (cheap low numbers) is BS, and needs to end. It does not, never has, never will. Do not let thrift store VCRs, and knockoff Chinese capture cards, be your guide to gear valuation. We all know the crap quality that returns, which you've already seen with your own eyes.
Quality gear = quality results.
Reading = learning. I've been teaching people DIY video capture for almost 25 years now, and I have about 100,000 posts online, to this end, at this site and others.
Last edited by lordsmurf; 8th Nov 2022 at 19:28.Want my help? Ask here! (not via PM!)
FAQs: Best Blank Discs • Best TBCs • Best VCRs for capture • Restore VHS
Lordy Lordy Lordy!!!
We usually provide DV-AVI files of 13GB per hour from most video formats. These are much higher quality than the compressed files you would get from a cheap video to USB converter gadget, and are much better suited to editing.
I would like to recommend a PCIE capture card with S-video/Composite inputs but most are end of life. Avermedia or Hauppauge USB video capture with S-video/composite inputs maybe the best option. Older capture cards may have software driver support issue on either Windows 10/11 system.
The price of an es10 seems to be very reasonable, I might get one. I know that they can be used as a cheap alternative to a tbc, but just wondering how well they transfer vhs straight to dvd? Will it produce a similar quality to the crappy card that I have or be slightly better? I know vhs to dvd is not the correct way to do things, but just interested to know.
but just wondering how well they transfer vhs straight to dvd?
Will it produce a similar quality to the crappy card that I have or be slightly better? I know vhs to dvd is not the correct way to do things, but just interested to know.Want my help? Ask here! (not via PM!)
FAQs: Best Blank Discs • Best TBCs • Best VCRs for capture • Restore VHS
Thanks for the help, its much appreciated.
I use the ClonerAlliance Box Evolve and record to memory card *in* the capture device, then edit/etc on my PC with a card reader.
There are some USB concerns, maybe its just me and my setup, but loose sync when recording directly to my PC, so I just use
the box in stand alone and everything works perfect.
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