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Old 19th July 2018, 20:25   #1  |  Link
Huzzug
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VHS to DVD

I have a few old VHS cassettes that have recording of my marriage and want to transfer to digital, but also enhance it's quality. I have read up on capturing the cassette using either a VHS to DVD or a usb port that reads the cassette being played on a vhs player and writing it to a drive on a PC. However, I do not know how both of those affects quality? Also, how do I go about enhancing details and color for 4K?

I'm competent enough with computer hardware, but this goes beyond either because I haven't read enough or am incompetent.

If you have any resources that can help me in this I'd greatly appreciate it.
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Old 20th July 2018, 00:45   #2  |  Link
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For high quality transfer, you'll first need a player that can output s-video, then you'll to buy one of these tbc to fix jitter on playback if there're any. Then buy one of those s-video to pc device to connect to your pc.

After that, you can start to record your vhs using program like Virtualdub2. Make sure that your recording is not over or underexposed, or not oversaturated. Also make sure the light and dark details are visible.

After you get the raw video, then you can do the color/brightness/contrast adjustment in the video editing software like Premiere.
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Old 20th July 2018, 05:42   #3  |  Link
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You're not going to get 4K from VHS. You might get almost-DVD quality, so let's set that expectation now.

lansing gave excellent advice for how to capture, but to process in Avisynth, this is the thread I always refer to: https://forum.doom9.org/showthread.php?t=144271 See the end of it for JohnMeyer's customized parameters. You'll need to get Avisynth+, of course, and you might want to get newer versions of the plugins, but the basic script will significantly improve your VHS the same way it significantly improves old home film.
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Old 21st July 2018, 02:13   #4  |  Link
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I don't know about foxyshadis advice to use videoFred's script for this task. We are in the Newbies thread after all. And the main purpose of this elaborate script is 8mm film conversion which has far more and very different requirements compared to VHS capturing.

Being a person who has converted most of his old VHS cassettes many years ago (and anyone like johnmeyer who is an expert on such conversions knows this) I can only emphasize that this is a major undertaking for someone who never did this before. It takes a lot of experimenting, trial and error, and the end result often is not worth all the energy.

For someone who will only do such conversions once or twice, I would definitely recommend to use a professional service with good credentials for such a task. Only if you plan to do this regularly you should consider getting your feet wet on this.


I think it is a myth that anyone can get "almost DVD" quality from VHS. Just look at the specs. VHS decks have a typical horizontal resolution of about 240 lines. No way to invent details which are simply not present in the source.

And you have to understand that there is a conversion between the analog and digital domain involved here. No way to avoid a certain quality loss. It might not be too obvious if the conversion is done intelligently, but it will still be there.

lansing already gave some good advice. First of all the playback VHS deck needs to be of high quality, clean and with good alignment. S-VHS is desirable (if the capture device supports it), a premium JVC deck with built-in TBC is a bonus. But if the VHS deck you already own plays the tapes with good visual quality you may get away with it.

Next thing is the capture hardware. You won't find dedicated capture cards these days, everything you can buy now are USB capture boxes. You need to decide how many bucks you want to spend. The better devices can also digitize audio (the cheaper ones will use the soundcard for this which will introduce sync problems). Some even have built-in hardware video encoders so you can encode to a compressed video format like MPEG2 or AVC on the fly while capturing. Not really necessary...

Now the challenge is to capture the clip to your HDD without dropped frames and without audio sync problems. VirtualDub is by far the best capturing software IMO. Capture video using a lossless codec like Huffyuv, use uncompressed PCM for audio. At this capturing stage you should not be concerned about "beautifying" the clip, just capture it as it is and make sure you don't introduce any artifacts.

Advanced: If you are picky about capturing with the correct aspect ratio (circles need to be really round and not elliptical) you need to check this now. The hardware A/D converter in your capture device (mostly a Philips chip these days) has a so-called "capture window". Just setting the capture size to 720 x 480 or 720 x 576 will usually result in a slight aspect ratio error. A lot of people just live with it though...


The resulting captured file will be in an AVI container. It should have 4:2:2 color subsampling (YUY2), and it should have been captured with 2 fields per frame. In the video compressor settings you should specify a field threshold of 288 for PAL or 240 for NTSC to achieve this. This captured file is well suited for editing in your favorite video editing software because it only consists of I-Frames, and due to the low compression ratio editing will be fast.

So now is the time to "enhance the quality" if you feel that it is necessary. Most important advice: Do not overdo the filtering like denoising and sharpening. This is a typical trap for beginners. But there are some very useful AviSynth filters especially for VHS captures. CNR2 by tritical reduces the typical chroma noise. Another filter I like very much is FixVHSOversharp. Many VCRs use "edge enhancement" to overcome the limited resolution by sharpening all edges. Looks impressive first, but gets old quickly. This filter can remove this edge sharpening. Plus there are tons of other filters you could apply here, but as I said: Less can be More...


Alright, I hope I have not discouraged you too much.

Cheers
manolito

Last edited by manolito; 21st July 2018 at 15:30.
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Old 21st July 2018, 09:22   #5  |  Link
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@manolito

Thanks for the advice. Really appreciate it. Going with a professional service is not an option since average one's around here ask couple hundred $ (converted) and I don't have funds to go with those who can do a better job. Time is what I have, so I'll pay with it as well as hardware (except the capture and player). Also thanks for FoxyShadis & lansing for chiming in. I'll begin planning for this.
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Old 21st July 2018, 09:32   #6  |  Link
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Manolito,
I know someone with similar question, I shall direct him to this thread and your post. Thanx.
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Old 21st July 2018, 19:14   #7  |  Link
manolito
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huzzug View Post
I'll begin planning for this.
Alright, you are bold...
You sure will come back here for more questions, and this is the right place. Since it has been years since my last analog capture I reread some of the old posts here, and I have to say that Doom9 is a gold mine for this stuff. But you certainly will have to invest a lot of your time.

Good luck
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Old 23rd July 2018, 05:14   #8  |  Link
Huzzug
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I sure will. Thanks.

P. S. How do I stop the forum from asking some random questions before submitting a post. Being on mobile makes this job tedious.
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Old 23rd July 2018, 05:34   #9  |  Link
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huzzug View Post
I sure will. Thanks.

P. S. How do I stop the forum from asking some random questions before submitting a post. Being on mobile makes this job tedious.
Get to 5 posts and it stops doing that. Sorry, it's a protection against spammers that's from the days before mobile web was really a thing.
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Old 23rd July 2018, 20:48   #10  |  Link
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Coming from VHS I would suggest to capture to DV-AVI.
Avoid USB MPEG-2 plugs, these introduce blocks.
(I have been through 3 of these. I can not speak for/against MPEG4 AVC-USB plugs, had none)
Good Composite-to-Firewire 1394a DV-AVI Capturing devices: Canopus ADVC-300 (100/50 will work as well). Have one.
Avoid Pinnacle (blocky). Had one.
Some Sony DV-Cameras like PC-100, HDV-Cams like HDR-HC1E, HX-1 can be used as passthrough Composite-to DV-AVI converter, very useful and good quality.
Have them all.
(Still you may go via DV-Tape if passthrough isn't supported). If you can spot one, the PC-100 should be a bargain.
Even if you spot a PC-100 with broken tape transport, you should be able to use the passthrough converter.
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Old 23rd July 2018, 22:24   #11  |  Link
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Sorry, you seem to be the only person to recommend using DV-AVI for capturing VHS. I would need some time to find all the corresponding posts, but the DV format is definitely not the recommended format for VHS captures.

Cheers
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Old 24th July 2018, 18:02   #12  |  Link
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Depends what the OP is willing to spend, DV-AVI can come for almost free and won't damage the source visibly as USB 2.0 stick would do.

Well, given that a Blackmagic Intensity shuttle USB 3.0 is now under 200€, why not capture lossless !
I was still in the eighties, thinking that Blackmagic would set me back 2000 € ;-)

Going to buy one right now ------->
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Old 24th July 2018, 18:19   #13  |  Link
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Hi Huzzug,

Have you asked around to see if anyone has a VHS to DVD player/recorder
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Old 24th July 2018, 18:20   #14  |  Link
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emulgator View Post
Depends what the OP is willing to spend, DV-AVI can come for almost free and won't damage the source visibly as USB 2.0 stick would do....
I capture to lossless (Huffyuv, Lagarith. UTvideo) 4:2:2 with my USB 2.0 (Hauppauge USB live 2). I think most USB adaptors allow to disable or bypass the crappy on-the-fly mpeg-2 encoders.
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Old 24th July 2018, 18:27   #15  |  Link
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharc View Post
I capture to lossless (Huffyuv, Lagarith. UTvideo) 4:2:2 with my USB 2.0 (Hauppauge USB live 2). I think most USB adaptors allow to disable or bypass the crappy on-the-fly mpeg-2 encoders.
Exactly, this is the preferred way to do it. Even using a cheap Chinese USB2 capture device for 50 bucks will produce good quality if you just intall the driver for the capture device and discard the software package which comes with it. In VDub you select a lossless codec for video and uncompressed PCM audio. All postprocessing, editing and encoding is done later.


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Old 24th July 2018, 18:38   #16  |  Link
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Regardless of the preferred 'capture card' Huzzug still needs to find a VHS player with an S-video output. ie: an S-VHS video player/recorder. And finding a reliable one of these might not be easy.

It might be simpler to send the tape away to get it professionally digitised.
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Old 24th July 2018, 19:37   #17  |  Link
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeeMoreDigital View Post
Regardless of the preferred 'capture card' Huzzug still needs to find a VHS player with an S-video output. ie: an S-VHS video player/recorder. And finding a reliable one of these might not be easy.

It might be simpler to send the tape away to get it professionally digitised.
A VHS deck with S-VHS output is of course desirable, but depending on the quality of your player you can get away with Composite. I was very lucky that I could convert all my old cassettes using the VHS deck which had made the recordings. I never had to deal with visible line judder (no need for a TBC), and the signal from the composite output (using a high quality and very short cable) was also very good. It really depends on the hardware.

Using a professional service was the first thing I recommended, but the OP made it clear that this was not an option for him.

Cheers
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Old 26th July 2018, 13:26   #18  |  Link
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Follow-up:
Quote:
Blackmagic Intensity Shuttle USB 3.0
Had it shipped to me, won't work.

Is very picky about the USB3.0 controller !
It got to be Win7U64SP1 with a decent onboard controller, the one I have with TI chipset TUSB7340 did it.
Another system with external 2xUBS3.0 to ExpressCard adapter (Renesas Chipset) did not.
On first connection I saw a USB negotiating window from the OS mentioning bandwidth incompatibilities.
The Intensity shuttle driver was demanding 45% bandwith for its USB 3.0 connector from the Renesas 2xUSB 3.0 Chipset,
but only 2x 10% bandwidth were available.


VHS -> Composite -> PAL-AVI
No preview in any of 3 capturing softwares, including their own.
Start capturing in Blackmagic.
Pretends to be capturing.
Playback: Black video, no sound. Lossless AVI 4:2:2 16bpp.
Composite cables checked with a multichannel A/V receiver: signal coming through, Picture & Sound ok.
Don't buy it, others report the same. Have to return it.
So for me it is back to where I came from...

P.S. Solved !
Newest Blackmagic Driver 10.11.1 was faulty. Going back to 10.9.7 solved it.
4:2:2 looks indeed better, even from VHS.
And you can have .avi in 10bit 4:2:2 uncompressed now, BTW.
Still no HDMI In, but now I keep it. If the machine only works ;-)

Follow-up of buggy drivers:
In case somebody wants to use Blackmagic Intensity Shuttle USB 3.0:
The captured-from-analogue 2.0 24bps@48kHz Audio stream (under mentioned firmware)
can not be recognised by SoundForgePro 10,11, Vegas Pro 12,13,14,15, eac3to 3.34.
Only Audacity using ffmpeg (avcodec-55.dll) could index, open and recode to 2.0 24bps 48kHz .wav.
So for me 2 more steps before one can actually work with the capture.
Looking at mediainfo I assume they inserted the WMMEDIASUBTYPE as Codec ID.
Just reported that to Blackmagic.
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Last edited by Emulgator; 10th August 2018 at 21:56.
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