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  1. I know a thing or 2 about capturing VHS tapes. Been through many VCRs, been through a few computers. But now I have a bag of VHS-C tapes that I'm more than happy to preserve and spare the risk of being sent through the mail to who knows where for who knows what process. But I'm finding everything I'm trying to do today is falling apart.

    So - what are the best practices these days?

    I have in my basement a mitsubishi MD3000 that developed a flicker after converting 2 or 3 tapes. Not something that just needs a cleaning.
    I have a broken JVC HR-S4800U that mostly just spits tapes back out, but can sometimes be coaxed into playing a tape
    I have a JVC HR-S5900U in transit, video texted to me of it working, but in the hands of the USPS - anybody's guess the condition of that when it arrives.

    Any hope for the broken units - are they worthwhile to have fixed, and who fixes them?

    Or - should I be looking for something else?

    How are people dealing with keeping these ancient relics alive to continue preserving the data out there that still needs prserving?


    Once I get a deck - what are people using these days to grab a decent capture?

    Up until today, I had been preserving my "first build" The real first build died and was buried long ago, but I still have the case, all in wonder pro AGP video card with s-video capture capabilities, and Turtle Beach Santa Cruz sound card. (I added in a delta 1010lt for audio capture of VHS tapes) After tracking down the same mobo and CPU I originally had, I rebuilt the thing, mainly to justify the years of holding onto those 2 cards that I just couldn't part with, and realized that was probably my best VHS capture device I had. Well - the mobo or processor gave up the ghost, but the video card is still with me - so what's the best option for a VHS capture machine?

    - maintain a solid 32 bit XP machine with the all in wonder card for s-video capture?
    - I-O Data GV-USB2 on a modern machine?
    -,some other option I haven't considered?

    My software setup has been virtualdub with huffyuv lossless compression. Any tips on fine tuning the configuration? Or any better software options?

    In the past, my captures would get rendered to DVD quality mpeg-2. With DVD surpassing the quality of VHS, it seemed I lose nothing by editing and rendering down to that, and then I could either make mkv files with that, or author to disc. These days, authoring to disc is less of a request - I don't think the owner of the bag of tapes cares much about discs. But - what is being provided these days? And what format is being rendered to these days?
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  2. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    Those VCRs are low end, you really need/want a JVC S-VHS with line TBC. Not the non-TBC models.

    I refurb decks, that's how many have survived.

    AIW and TBSC is one of the best capture card pair setups that ever existed for VHS (SD consumer analog) capture/ingest. I'd get another AGP Asrock board, since you already have the cards. This time, use XP Essential (community/unofficial version with updates and backports).

    As per other message, you're lacking TBCs, that will be ugly and messy.

    DVD doesn't surpassed VHS, too much compression. MPEG-2 can, with enough bitrate, but also 4:2:2 instead of 4:2:0. Some of this gets murky, source based, both subjective and objective.

    "Owner of the bag of tapes" means what, exactly?
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    The MD3000 is a good machine with built-in TBC. Plays only SP speed though. The flicker thing may be just the tensioner adjustment, according to those in the know. I don't fix stuff myself, so cannot offer any help in this regard.

    For VHS-C you may want to buy an SVHS-C camcorder with built-in TBC, like this or this. Too bad most of them are sold as is, so you never know whether it will work. Also, audio will likely be mono.

    As for render format, nothing precludes you from providing the same interlaced MPEG-2 PS as a file. Or maybe deinterlaced AVC/MP4 @ 720p60. I would google for what other services offer.
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  4. Ok - working on fixing up an XP machine. However - I seem to have knocked a capacitor off the all in wonder card, and now I can't get video on it. and it seems to be a capacitor that rests on contacts, not pins through the board, so.....soldering that back on will be a bitch. Looking for pictures to figure out which way it goes back on, and gearing up for a late night of screaming loud profanities.


    Sounds like the mitsubishi is worth having repaired - how to find someone that can do that?
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    I-O Data GV-USB2 on a modern machine?
    Works well here on Win11.
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  6. Originally Posted by Alwyn View Post
    I-O Data GV-USB2 on a modern machine?
    Works well here on Win11.
    Good to know. I've seen that device recommended on here, and seen it said that it works with Win 10, good to know that carries over to 11.

    Anyone have thoughts on that USB device vs. a vintage ATI all in wonder pro AGP card for s-video capture? Is it worth pursing fixing up the broken capacitor and spinning up a new XP machine, or is the USB just as good/better than the ATI card?
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    Anyone have thoughts on that USB device vs. a vintage ATI all in wonder pro AGP card for s-video capture? Is it worth pursing fixing up the broken capacitor and spinning up a new XP machine, or is the USB just as good/better than the ATI card?
    No comment from me apart from... I last used XP in 2010.
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  8. Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post

    As per other message, you're lacking TBCs, that will be ugly and messy.
    Are there any affordable options anymore? Spent the past hour searching for options - you seem to pop up in a lot of the pages I've read, but I'm still more confused than ever.
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  9. I still have some questions in need of answers here, so please, chime in. Trying to figure out VHS best practices is nearly impossible here, with information haphazardly spread far and wide, and oftentimes contradictory.

    1. Thoughts on utilizing an ATI all in wonder card in an XP setup vs. I-O Data GV-USB2 on a modern machine for video capture

    2. Service and repair options for a Mitsubishi MD3000 VCR? This ought to not remain a boat anchor in my basement - it's a crime against technology that it's impossible to find people that service things anymore in this throw away society we have become

    3. "you really need/want a JVC S-VHS with line TBC." - how do I know which have this vs. which don't? Where to find one since eBay has proven inadequate for VCR purchasing

    4. If unable to attain such a JVC VCR or Mitsubishi refurbishment - where does that leave me with the non-TCB JVC VCRs - looks like an affordable option would be to run one through a Panasonic DMR-ES15, how does that rank on the list of options I have so far?

    5. When researching resolutions and such, I found an article that suggested deinterlacing the video after capture, which led me down a rabbit hole of downloads for things that are script/non GUI based, with no adequate documentation and no idea how in the heck to do a thing with them. Not to mention, much of the things I'm reading are well over 10 years old. Today, what are the best recommended practices for deinterlacing? Please include step by step guide, I do not want this thread turning into a half answered question that leaves future people that find it completely lost.


    Many thanks for all the advice and suggestions provided so far.
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  10. I'm currently converting dozens of home VHS's (many of them have a ton of motion) and while a novice, I have done a respectable amount of research. I've tried a few different options presented in these forums and ultimately find that the best quality I've got is as follows:

    Avermedia C039 DVD Ez Maker 7 USB dongle (its not expensive)
    I'm using a relatively plain desktop machine I built about 5 years ago which now has about 24 GB ram, AMD Ryzen5 1400 CPU, win10 and plenty of HDD space. Turn off as much other programs as possible to quiet the system.
    The best VHS player you can get but dont have to go crazy. I couldn't get a S-video player, so I'm using a plain single yellow plug composite video connection. I did not worry about TBC.
    Avermedia Power Director (came with the usb dongle)
    Captured to 640x480 AVI (this is about 50 gig/hr)
    Then processed to 640x480 MPEG-2 at an Constant bitrate of 18000, peaked to 25000, quality setting, with smoothing and noise reduction (this is about 1 gig/hr). if you go too low on the bitrate, i noticed there were artifacts around moving objects.

    I don't touch anything with deinterlacing, etc.

    This process produces video on my living room 48" TV that is slightly better than hooking the VHS player up directly to the TV.

    I can stream the MPEG-2's directly to my TV with my NAS, which the family thinks is cool.

    I think you need to take a step back and ask how crazy you want to get with the whole process. Perhaps you could get better video if you did a bunch of editing and different capture methods, but at the end of the day, its VHS.

    I did get the Avermedia Sound Director plugin as a few of the tapes had a crazy buzzing in the audio, and this scrubbed it out.

    I am "just in case" compressing and archiving the capture AVI's via 7zip to get them to a manageable size.
    Last edited by jeby1980; 11th Jul 2023 at 11:53.
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    Originally Posted by armyofquad View Post
    1. Thoughts on utilizing an ATI all in wonder card in an XP setup vs. I-O Data GV-USB2 on a modern machine for video capture
    No opinion.

    Originally Posted by armyofquad View Post
    2. Service and repair options for a Mitsubishi MD3000 VCR? This ought to not remain a boat anchor in my basement - it's a crime against technology that it's impossible to find people that service things anymore in this throw away society we have become

    3. "you really need/want a JVC S-VHS with line TBC." - how do I know which have this vs. which don't? Where to find one since eBay has proven inadequate for VCR purchasing
    I am partial to the MD3000. It can do SVHS-ET, Hi-Fi, it has built-in TBC. It allows to select linear or Hi-Fi track or a mix of both. I suppose if you cannot fix it yourself, then repairing it probably would cost as much as buying another one on eBay. Its downside: it plays SP only. If you have lots of LP and EP tapes, you need something else or in addition to the MD3000.

    Originally Posted by armyofquad View Post
    4. If unable to attain such a JVC VCR or Mitsubishi refurbishment - where does that leave me with the non-TCB JVC VCRs - looks like an affordable option would be to run one through a Panasonic DMR-ES15, how does that rank on the list of options I have so far?
    This seems to be a common method that works well enough. I don't have one as I have a working MD3000 I do have several EP and LP tapes, but I don't care enough about their quality to look for either an outboard TBC or a DVD recorder. For (S)VHS-C, I have a camcorder with built-in TBC, it can do LP/EP as well.

    Originally Posted by armyofquad View Post
    5. When researching resolutions and such, I found an article that suggested deinterlacing the video after capture, which led me down a rabbit hole of downloads for things that are script/non GUI based, with no adequate documentation and no idea how in the heck to do a thing with them. Not to mention, much of the things I'm reading are well over 10 years old. Today, what are the best recommended practices for deinterlacing? Please include step by step guide, I do not want this thread turning into a half answered question that leaves future people that find it completely lost.
    You capture as close to the original as possible, then you convert it into whatever you feel like - as a copy - but you always preserve the original just in case. Yes, you need to deinterlace for uploading to Youtube.
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  12. Captures & Restoration lollo's Avatar
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    I've tried a few different options presented in these forums and ultimately find that the best quality I've got is as follows
    No intention to be rude, but none of your steps has a place in a quality/optimal workflow

    Perhaps you could get better video if you did a bunch of editing and different capture methods
    That's for sure

    but at the end of the day, its VHS.
    VHS looks great when captured and restored properly
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  13. Well, here's where I've landed:

    My mitsubishi VCR continues to flicker with further attempts to properly clean the head. Not sure what is up with that.

    Buying another mitsubishi VCR that tests as working off of eBay was a cheaper option than the quote I received from a site I found that advertised servicing these machines, so I pulled the trigger. My initial reluctance to buying another one of these was that I resist repeating the same actions that got me into the situation - buying multiple Mitsubishi VCRs as each one breaks down seems impractical.

    On the other hand, buying lesser VCRs instead isn't exactly practical either. However - I did want something of quality for SLP tapes as well.

    So, after much time, that leaves me in the following state:

    Hopefully I'll have a working Mitsubishi VCR with built in TBC for SP tape conversions, and a parts unit. If the 2nd breaks down, that may be the time to pursue experimenting with VCR disassembly, and swapping parts - I suspect the head may have gone bad in the current Mitsubish, so if the next one does something like not turn on or eject tapes without playing them, I should be in a good position to swap heads.

    I have 2 partially working JVC VCRs and a Panasonic DVD recorder on the way here, which ought to be adequate for SLP conversion. As it is, that is probably overkill for 40 year old TV recordings that are substandard to begin with. Of the JVC VCRs, one has very dull sound. The one with good sound appears to flicker pictures more than the other, but I haven't gone back and forth enough to conclusively determine that, and I haven't received my Panasonic DVD recorder to see how they perform with that in the chain. 40 year old SLP TV recordings on VHS tapes that have been played many times, chewed in a few spots, and spent years in basements at times, are going to have some flicker here and there - just not sure if one is doing it more than the other. Worst case scenario - I record my SLP tapes twice, and use the picture of one transfer with the sound of the other.

    I'm quite happy with my current XP/All In Wonder Pro/Delta 1010LT setup for capturing, and plan on maintaining that while working through the tapes I have that need capturing. I'm also happy to have the USB card that plays nicely with Win10 and 11 for a backup, or for future use, as maintaining a PC made with 20+ year old parts continues to be challenging. It will be useful to have a simple method of capture if a future one off need comes up.

    I think I've landed on the best possible diy setup without spending $1000+ on TBCs.

    I'm not going to worry about deinterlacing for now. I'm not posting things to youtube. Although many of these transfers may end up being viewed through methods that would fall under the category of "streaming". This is a topic that needs more thought, but is also a topic that can be dealt with after dealing with the initial captures.
    Last edited by armyofquad; 12th Jul 2023 at 08:29.
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  14. Originally Posted by lollo View Post
    I've tried a few different options presented in these forums and ultimately find that the best quality I've got is as follows
    No intention to be rude, but none of your steps has a place in a quality/optimal workflow

    Perhaps you could get better video if you did a bunch of editing and different capture methods
    That's for sure

    but at the end of the day, its VHS.
    VHS looks great when captured and restored properly
    Meh, videophiles don't bother me. I mean, I'm converting videos that look a little better than hooking the player right up to the TV; I think to most people that is going to be the reasonable goal. As you can see with the OP, videophiles seem to bog normal people down with a lot of piecemeal and conflicting information.
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    I mean, I'm converting videos that look a little better than hooking the player right up to the TV; I think to most people that is going to be the reasonable goal
    I agree. But with the workflow you propose, not even including at least a good player and a lineTBC correction, it won't be possible.

    As you can see with the OP, videophiles seem to bog normal people down with a lot of piecemeal and conflicting information.
    That's lordsmurf, not a generic videophile.

    And, BTW, you do not need to be a videophile to make good/excellent captures. There are several examples on the forum.
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  16. Perhaps the title for this thread should be "current best practices for budget diy VHS capture"

    Anyways - for those reading this thread, a little sample of the results of my research and work so far.

    On the left - a capture done in 2016 with the "it's only VHS" mentality - no recollection how it was done at this point. But given by the date, I believe this was done on a standard RCA VCR with composite output, probably on a cheap USB capture.

    On the right - a capture done today with a Mitsubishi MD3000 VCR, with built in TBC turned on, captured with ATI Radeon 9200, s-video capture.

    https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fi/piuiuhucr49m34w7tfet7/scooter-compare.mp4?rlkey=hukl1vj...fp2ofq753&dl=0
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    Originally Posted by armyofquad View Post
    On the left - a capture done in 2016 with the "it's only VHS" mentality - no recollection how it was done at this point. But given by the date, I believe this was done on a standard RCA VCR with composite output, probably on a cheap USB capture.

    On the right - a capture done today with a Mitsubishi MD3000 VCR, with built in TBC turned on, captured with ATI Radeon 9200, s-video capture.
    The right one is definitely straighter. But there is more color bloom. IDK, maybe you want to shift color 1 pixel up and 1 pixel left? I use Flaxen in VirtualDub, the Chroma Shifting section. But even then, I think the spill is larger than 1 pixel. Maybe also run VHS color noise reduction filter. BTW, do you have DNR turned on in the MD3000?
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  18. Originally Posted by Bwaak View Post
    The right one is definitely straighter. But there is more color bloom. IDK, maybe you want to shift color 1 pixel up and 1 pixel left? I use Flaxen in VirtualDub, the Chroma Shifting section. But even then, I think the spill is larger than 1 pixel. Maybe also run VHS color noise reduction filter. BTW, do you have DNR turned on in the MD3000?
    I'll check out flaxen and try the color filter on the VCR, thanks.

    Not sure about DNR - don't see a setting for that. I have the Mitsubishi at it's settings that it came with turned on, including the TCB. It's showing Y-NR C-NR and Y-Enhancer are all on. Are those what you mean? Any suggestions on those settings? And if that's not what you're referring to, where do I find the DNR setting, and what is your recommendations on that?
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  19. Here's another comparison video.

    This is from a tape recorded at SLP speed from antenna TV in 1983.

    On the left is my original capture 2013. No recollection of what I had back then. I seem to recall having access to an s-video VCR at the time, and I think that was also around the time I was playing around with the ATI USB 600 that I picked up cheaply off of woot. Could be composite though.

    On the right, capture using the JVC HR-S5900U fed through a Panasonic DMR-ES15, captured by s-video with the ATI Radeon 9200 card.

    https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fi/bd2akeo0qaq0noabqt2ml/capture-compare.mp4?rlkey=rz1bio4...2qc7hza6r&dl=0
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  20. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by jeby1980 View Post
    I but at the end of the day, its VHS.
    This statement is always false.

    "only VHS" generally means low-end equipment is in use, and looks terrible as a result. The VHS formats gets blamed for crappy VCRs, lack of TBCs, and crappy capture cards. However, the actual video contained on the VHS tape is not bad. Methods are bad, people are bad (lazy/cheap). VHS is not bad.

    Originally Posted by jeby1980 View Post
    Meh, videophiles don't bother me.
    videophiles seem to bog normal people down with a lot of piecemeal and conflicting information.
    Those people are nuts. What we're referring to is video that's not molested by bad VCRs, not butchered by bad capture cards and software, not allowed to misbehave from lack of TBCs.

    I mean, I'm converting videos that look a little better than hooking the player right up to the TV;
    I doubt that.

    I think to most people that is going to be the reasonable goal. As you can see with the OP,
    No. What you've done is not "best practices" whatsoever, or even anywhere close to it. Not even from a minimalist approach that is pinching pennies or "not wasting" time.

    Originally Posted by armyofquad View Post
    Here's another comparison video.
    The 1st will not download for me, and the 2nd is too erratic to be useful for a comparison. You can tell which has TBC, but the artsy footage is not showing it well for newbies.
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  21. Thank you for the reply lordsmurf. Always glad to hear an expert opinion.

    Not sure why the first link didn't work for you, but would love to get your opinion on that - what error are you getting on that link?

    As for the 2nd - here's a more obvious example of the difference between a capture on a cheap VCR with minimal effort, and a capture on a better cheap VCR with s-video run through a Panasonic DVR.

    https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fi/rsqx6vs725pj334ktm9pc/FNV-compare.mp4?rlkey=57ywyjcgo21...z4bv1q5da&dl=0
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  22. Captures & Restoration lollo's Avatar
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    Good testbench of what we mean by lineTBC correction!
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    Originally Posted by Armyofquad
    As for the 2nd - here's a more obvious example of the difference between a capture on a cheap VCR with minimal effort, and a capture on a better cheap VCR with s-video run through a Panasonic DVR.
    Very impressive, but unfortunately that is an invalid comparison because you used two different VCRs. Any chance of doing it again with the same VCR?
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  24. Captures & Restoration lollo's Avatar
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    It is ok, because he was not comparing the VCRs, nor proving the features of the ES-15, but comparing 2 different workflows.

    The approach he used (read post #17) is "it's only VHS" mentality is not good.
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  25. I mean, I'm converting videos that look a little better than hooking the player right up to the TV;
    I doubt that.

    I think to most people that is going to be the reasonable goal. As you can see with the OP,
    No. What you've done is not "best practices" whatsoever, or even anywhere close to it. Not even from a minimalist approach that is pinching pennies or "not wasting" time.
    I dunno, I have several families worth of people/friends who think the videos look better so its not just me. I suggest you revisit this site's mission statement on its main page and be aware that the expectations of a professional restorer who makes money on restorations likely differs from a DIY'er. I notice a lot of mired people on this site and sometimes it seems like its for gains in video quality that only professionals could actually perceive.
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  26. Captures & Restoration lollo's Avatar
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    Post a sample of your raw captures, so that we could, perhaps, help you 😉
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    Originally Posted by jeby1980 View Post
    the expectations of a professional restorer who makes money on restorations likely differs from a DIY'er.
    Indeed, professionals - those who in it for the money - use fast workflows, often hardware-based: insert a USB stick on the one side, connect an analog source from another side, start playback. After it finishes, take out the USB stick with digitized video and give it back to the customer. If the contrast or color or aspect ratio or image rate are whacked - it is just fine.

    DIYers are often more meticulous and want top quality. Otherwise they would just use a professional service
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  28. Captures & Restoration lollo's Avatar
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    I suspect he meant the opposite, and that you knew it 😂😂😂
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    Originally Posted by jeby1980 View Post
    I dunno, I have several families worth of people/friends who think the videos look better so its not just me.
    At face value, that means nothing.

    - Were they viewed on a cell phone?
    - Were they just being nice to you?
    - Did they not care about the video contents anyway?
    ... etc

    I suggest you revisit this site's mission statement on its main page and be aware that the expectations of a professional restorer who makes money on restorations likely differs from a DIY'er.
    DIY doesn't mean uncaring, lazy, cheap, etc.

    I notice a lot of mired people on this site and sometimes it seems like its for gains in video quality that only professionals could actually perceive.
    No. We target errors that a half-blind grandma can see. Literally. Wiggly video, wrong/off colors, bleeding colors, blocks, audio sync errors, color noise (dancing red/blue mist over the video, ie chroma noise).

    This isn't some little %, something for a lunatic videophile, or "only pros" sort of issue. Those exist. But this isn't that.

    Originally Posted by Bwaak View Post
    Indeed, professionals - those who in it for the money - use fast workflows, often hardware-based: insert a USB stick on the one side, connect an analog source from another side, start playback. After it finishes, take out the USB stick with digitized video and give it back to the customer. If the contrast or color or aspect ratio or image rate are whacked - it is just fine.
    So sad. Those are quacks, or "pros", not actual video professionals.

    DIYers are often more meticulous and want top quality. Otherwise they would just use a professional service
    Yep.
    Last edited by lordsmurf; 27th Jul 2023 at 22:33. Reason: typos
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