Hi all, I thought I'd post this here to ask some opinions - because that's one thing I know I can get from videohelp.com
My primary reasons for considering this device include:
- Includes TBC / Frame Sync
- Doesn't convert back to analogue before converting back to digital in final capture
- Supports 4:2:2 equivalent (I think - still checking - but this is important to me as I've learnt this isn't just about colour)
- Still available new from the manufacturer (I contacted them to check) which is quite a bonus
- Portable, doesn't require PCI which means I can run it on my mac which I prefer, but also run it on PC if I need.
The big negative is they are expensive, but in todays market they aren't really when you compare them to the going rates for second hand or refurbished gear which would have no gaurantee, not available in my country and could easily die a week later.
I've read quite a bit - and some people that are actually using this setup, with e.g. an SDI to USB / thunderbolt converter say that they're getting better results than from some other external Frame Sync devices said to be kings of this space. I have seen other commentary saying that it's not great, but so far I haven't found anyone provide negative commentary that actually owns or has owned one so I take that with a grain of salt.
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As of March 2023 they (Singmai) were having supply issues and had suspended production and sales of the sm03.
I see it on their site so maybe they solved the lack of chips/parts.
Yeah just saw the below. But also ensemble designs said they have no plans to stop production and ongoing support is important to me. I know theyre expensive but given the lack of options we should all be supporting this if we can. Assuming they are as good as people say of course.
Daniel, the big guy at Singmai informed me that the SM03 should become available again perhaps by the end of this year. He actually said ďa couple of monthsĒ.
$1.3K? More power to you, if you want a generic solution and/or if you want to make it a business. For specific cases there may be cheaper options:
* For full-size VHS you can find a VCR with built-in TBC for $100-$200
* For [S]VHS-C you can find a camcorder with built-in TBC for $20-$40
* For 8-mm video you can find a Hi8 camcorder with built-in TBC for $50-$100 or a Digital8 camcorder with built-in TBC for $50-$200
Some of the built-in TBCs are better than other. Some have weak frame sync, so there may be occasional vertical frame rips/jumps.
Yes Iím not talking about tape players but I think Bwaak is saying to use those instead of the bright eye. I actually bought a used twice es15 just to try it but the mpeg artifacting ruins the image. more interesting is a similar unit for blu ray as it should have better codecs. I also got a data video deck-100 which introduced too much noise I have some new caps arriving today for that so itís still on the table but from what I could see it was fixing some things while making other things worse. Iíve purchased several capture cards as well and several vhs players. I need shorter cables to help with signal but canít get them in NZ so looks like I will have to build my own. All in all Iíve been throwing away money trying all these hack solutions and I decided enough is enough. If I had of for example just done this at the beginning it would have probably worked out not so expensive and ultimately this is what lord Smurf has been saying all along - to buy something recommended from stock so that I get straight to the solution. But, being the tech geek that I am I like to learn everything myself the hard way - ii just canít resist the learning, tís part of the fun. With a lot of VHS tapes to convert recorded from the eighties I donít see it as a lot of money to preserve memories, plus then you have the option to help out others and even as you say potentially offer a bit of a service. I agree though it is a lot of money. I also donít need to get those s-video cables and again all the points above. So what Iím really after is how has anyone with one of these units found it? I know several people on here have them. Anyone know any reason why not to buy one other than price? Anyone know if they are indeed 4:2:2? Thanks.
You can't use a VHS player without a capture card.
Anyway, All capture cards, pro or consumer sample at 4:2:2, Only some chinese junk that do encode on the fly output 4:2:0 in a mp4 container, And the DV capture devices that output 4:1:1 for NTSC and 4:2:0 for PAL. Bitrate wise, consumer capture cards sample at 8 bit, most pro devices sample at 10 bit, some like the BE75 sample at 12bit during conversion and down convert to 10bit at the output, But if you use script software you will have to capture at 8bit.
I've cleared all this before for you and you keep hammering it.
Last edited by dellsam34; 26th Sep 2023 at 16:58.
Not sure what you mean by can't use a VHS player without a capture card - seems obvious - I must have said something confusing. Probably Bwaaks comment, which I would read as him saying don't spend the money on the bright eye, it's cheaper to use one of these other options, which of course still needs a separate capture card. Part of why I like this solution is because it removed the need for this last device to convert back to analogue and back to digital, instead straight to digital.
I have been using Canopus which is 4:2:0 and I purchased a pro Magewell thinking it was 4:2:2 but which turned out also to be 4:2:0 and it's really making a sort of colour ghosting apparent due to the low resolution of SD images. So clearly 4:2:2 is not all capture cards.
I am not hammering anything, no idea why you are suddenly attacking me on this? I was simply asking for thoughts especially from owners of the bright eye and then a question about 4:2:2 which I don't think I've directly asked anyone before - but could be wrong and it wouldn't be a crime. because the specs for the bright eye do not seem to state 4:2:2 anywhere and that kind of money it could be an advantage of the full analogue second hand gear route. But perhaps I'm blind.
Magewell is an HD card that "also does" SD (and quite poorly), and there's really nothing "pro" about it.
Canopus DV boxes are 1990s technology, PAL 4:2:0 (passable) and NTSC 4:1:1 (crap).
The "included" TBC isn't really what you think it is.
If you wanted the best cards, certain ATI AIW are still best, and you can build fairly modern XP systems (SATA, SSD, i7, etc). The alternatives are certain Osprey, Matrox. The Matrox checks the portable box, sort of (not any worse that the Snell).
Videotape retro uses AJA Kona LHi. This San Franciso Hi8 video of his has been quite popular. His script and more examples are here.
He admitted he obtained it cheaply. I guess LHi can be used on Windows and Linux besides MacOS. LHe, on the other hand, is Mac-only AFAIK, which is why it can be found very cheap on eBay, but the breakout cable can cost in the hundreds. There is one with the cables for $40, works on Mac Pro or G5 Mac I am on Win7, so cannot use it.
I guess, this just shows that there are many ways to knit a sweater. I apologize for not bringing in anything useful to the thread except a couple of fun links from someone who is not shy to show his stuff
I found the picture quality of the magewell card to be excellent, better than anything I've personally seen so far, it captures a ton more detail out of the tape, just the 4:2:0 is not what I desire. What do you mean 'the included TBC is not what I think it is'? All I've managed to read is that persons having owned and used the BrightEye 75 like it, persons that are saying otherwise are not saying how they know it is not desirable. I'm not someone that blindly follows advice I like to try and understand why.
I will look up the other cards. Haven't found an ATI device yet, but this doesn't solve the external TBC problem anyway. I'm not sure what the problem is with this brighteye solution - all I can say for sure is some people don't like it, but further details are scarce.
I'm surprised that Dellsam34 hasn't had more to say on the BE75. He has used one or more for quite some time and recently sold a couple. The impression I had, up until now, was that he was very happy with it and it's SDI workflow; maybe not so much that he can recommend it?
Thanks for the reference, hopefully he will drop in with an opinion eventually. I've only had this question up for less than a day I think - already some good discussion starting.
Here's what happens when people do research:
It's disappointing that, as a person who is obviously very knowledgeable in the area, you have nothing to say (apart from your YT) about the BE75. The only new TBC on the market, at a reasonable price compared to the other increasingly dud dinosaur boxes, and you won't give this poster your opinion/thoughts on it. Nobody's asking you to "sell it". How is someone to get any decent results from research if there's nothing to research? Sad.
I have to say I'm a bit disappointed too. I thought there would be maybe at least 3 people that have one or have had one based on what I'm reading - that would offer some kind of street wise opinion (to use a term from your link). I had a look at this AJA device mentioned above - it doesn't seem to have a TBC in it - the reason I'm looking at the brighteye is because it does. Capture card is a secondary issue - one that I'm still working on because if I get the Brighteye it's a different kind of card that's needed and let's face it I have three already which is all adding up.
I suppose the comment that 'All capture cards, pro or consumer sample at 4:2:2' is meant to be the answer that the brighteye 75 supports 4:2:2. I didn't take it that way. My nervousness is if I can't find reference to it on the manufacturer web site, I spend more money without checking first. I guess I will just fire them off a message - the challenge is that they don't always know or don't always have the right person answering. I've wondered if it's just written in a different format that I'm not seeing.
The other thing is I thought someone might pop in and say I'm better off with some other analog device and explain why. Perhaps the sparseness of answers is because nobody has anything negative to say! That is a pretty awesome thought!
Anyway, I'm actually very grateful to everyone whom has helped so far - I realise it can be tiring when you've heard the same questions over and over. With the BE75 though, there's not a lot of information.
As for the helpfulness and unhelpfulness of certain comments on this site, I don't really want to bring any more negatives. I will only say that some have reached out to me directly because they're too scared to express their opinions on this site and that should be pretty alarming to the mods. That's why I'm here and what a forum is for - opinions so that we can make educated judgements about things. We won't always agree and that's OK and perfectly normal.
Thanks to all for trying to help me out.
Last edited by dellsam34; 1st Oct 2023 at 01:54.
So, resetting this a bit - from the two options available to me, which seem to basically be an AVT-8710 clone and a brighteye 75, which would you say is better?
I have de-moulded some of my tapes which turned out to be quite mouldy - and I think as a result of that there are in places some white streaks for example - this is better than mould muddying the image so I'm OK with it. But if I understand correctly the AVT-8710 will address this with its dual-field full-frame reconstruction, but perhaps I'm wrong. The Brighteye 75 has no mention of what or how it reconstructs. Has anyone used both of these products? I'd expect not, but just in case. Otherwise, I don't think even ensemble designs will be able to answer this question.
One of the disadvantages for the 8710 I think is the capture card aspect. I do not wish to build an old computer - though I am likely one of the most highly skilled on this forum to do that (I was a hardware technician for computers in a past life dating back to the original XT, building one I would call a very small job for me). I tend to get given this stuff all the time and either give it away, sell it or throw it out. I am in an apartment and don't have room for another PC - I can use an existing one, but this limits to PCI Express. So the big advantage of the brighteye is it has probably the best capture system of any of them, modern and up to date and no final analog reconversion stage. Also the 8710 is more expensive being it's at the whim of whomever is selling it second hand.
And please if you are thinking of typing something negative, take a deep breath and come back when you're ready to help. Helpful answers only please. Thankyou!
I own neither (I'd like to!) but a cost factor is that the BE75 is SDI-only Out by the looks, so you'll need an SDI>USB converter, which from what I have seen is more expensive than a traditional digitiser. Mind you, some of the insane prices being asked for the 8710 makes the brand new BE75 + and SDI converter cheap.
One of the disadvantages for the 8710 I think is the capture card aspect. I do not wish to build an old computer
I have discounted all of the USB solutions that I've seen around so far - I don't consider them to be much good - happy to be proven wrong. I have one and the Canopus ADVC-100/110 puts it to shame. If it weren't that it were 4:2:0 I'd stick with the Canopus. Getting a decent bus attached capture card - most of them seem to be PCI (not PCIe) or older. I don't have those interfaces, so it's that that is touted all over this site as the preferred option.
Yes, the SDI out is an additional cost, but I can source at least one of these second hand for about $100 - roughly US$50 - new price is about double that for a basic thunderbolt device depending on brand. Quality is my first driver, convenience second and cost third, but it's pretty hard to say that's a definite order as you can imagine. So I'm interested in the ability for the device to correct images as a leading item in order to finalise this decision. It would be great to get this decision finally sorted!
Thanks for the reply.
Does it bother you that you only get 4:2:2, not 4:4:4? Does it bother you that you only get 8-bit sampling, not 10-bit or 12-bit? Maybe it should.
My issue is not the colour gamut, rather the inaccuracy around many of the edges, which worsens at lower resolutions such as those in VHS formats. I definitely have the issue and my assumption is that 4:2:2 would be about a 50% improvement due to sampling 1:2 instead of 1:4. But what you've made me consider is that I could actually simulate this to prove it, though it's kind of not worth it as I think it's pretty well accepted it's better. Plenty of people on this site have been saying that and it's touted around as a bit of a foundational thing.
OK, so I think I just have to get this brighteye device then. I haven't really gotten any negatives or positives for it or any other device unfortunately - I really thought with all the passionate posts around here that someone would share an opinion, but no - I will have to make an educated guess.s
I just got a quote - to land in NZ it'll be $3227.57 via Gencom Technology including a sizeable $250 shipping charge that still takes 4 weeks - I've got no idea why that is. Not at all cheap. But cheaper than the second hand equipment - which I'd happily buy if someone could tell me it was better and why it was better.
I've looked at dellsam34's YouTube clips which are all very nice - he's done a great job, but there doesn't appear to be a frame of reference as to the quality of the source. Not surprising as that would be painful to do, but without which it's nearly impossible to know how good the workflow is. However it looks like this is one of those times I'm just going to have to make a decision - right or wrong.
LordSmurf has some nice refurbed devices - but even those I'm not sure how they compare to this because either nobody knows or nobody wants to comment. I was tempted to get this from Lord Smurfs stock: Cypress 1T, refurb'd, aka late green AVT-8710 clone, B+ graded unit, see note ** below, $1550 - so that's $2596.28 NZD but again, no-one seems prepared to comment so I have to decide myself.
The Lordsmurf one also needs a capture device, which is turning out to be a much bigger problem for analog that I thought it would be - I have only found one viable option which is a Hauppauge PCI-E card at about $300 NZ - the rest are low quality USB devices or devices requiring me to build a whole other, old and out of date computer - more cost to buy second hand equipment and no space to put it that I'm going to throw away and it's not portable. Plus these methods do additional analog - digital conversions - something Dellsam has mentioned a few times and he is quite right about that.
Let's hope I'm not making a mistake as it's a lot of money and I'm unlikely to do it again.
Wish me luck!
Good luck, MarshallEQ, let us know how you get on.