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Old 26th May 2011, 02:30   #1  |  Link
qualia
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Digitizing S-VHS-C casettes, problems with video quality

Hello doom9!

A few months ago my uncle and I embarked on a somewhat ambitious project; we decided to digitize his entire library of old S-VHS-C recordings. As fate would have it, his old S-VHS camera was broken, so we got hold of a used JVC HR-S7600EK PAL VCR and an S-VHS-C Cassette Adapter. This is currently our means of playback and output of the cassettes.

On the receiving end is a Pinnacle PCTV 330e USB2 dongle connected to an Intel Core 2 desktop machine with Windows 7 x64 and Virtualdub.

The total setup looks like this:

S-VHS-C cassette in adapter -> HR-S7600EK -> good quality S-Video cable -> PCTV 330e -> Virtualdub


The problem we are facing now is regarding the quality of the captured video. We want to capture the video with the best quality that is feasible with consumer hardware, and because of the volume of cassettes we want to make sure we do it right from the start.

I have uploaded a few clips illustrating the results we get straight from Virtualdub with the current setup. The uploaded files are 20mbps WMV encodes of the raw video (yuy2) from Virtualdub.

http://www.mediafire.com/?9ijlqys237sx579

As far as I can see there is obvious interlacing artifacts (combing?) in the Test1 clip, and in Test2 and Test3 there is some weird noise/moiré present when there should only be a clear blue color. Interestingly enough, when the VCR is connected directly to a TV via S-video the TV displays a clear blue color without the noise seen in Test2 and Test3.

We have tested a second VCR with the same PC/PCTV 330e setup and the same problems were present with both VCR's. When the VCR's are connected to a TV the over all picture quality also appear to be better than the PC/PCTV 330e equivalent.


Based on this information we hope to be able to get some pointers in the right directions as to how we should proceed with this project. Should we try a new capture card? Could an external time base corrector improve the picture quality? And what about deinterlacing, is that best dealt with in post-processing? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Last edited by qualia; 26th May 2011 at 02:37.
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Old 26th May 2011, 06:22   #2  |  Link
Ghitulescu
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You managed to find out that most of the issues are due to a 1€-cheap stick (it doesn't matter how expensive it was when you bought it ). The VCR is a very good one, albeit no TBC, which is needed for [S-]VHS-C as those tapes are recorded with a smaller drum.
With a TBC, your JVC (in EDIT mode) and your tapes in good vondition, you can capture directly on a DVD recorder (highest quality you can afford, start with Panasonic/Pioneer if you can afford one) set on its maximum quality. If the tapes, despite being the first generation, need a lot of work (bad exposure, wrong white balance, too vivid colours for Panasonic camcorders , noise etc.) you may capture on a PC.

People swear on Pinnacle 700 usb or 500 usb, they are quite cheap now. Also used cards like DV500 and the like, that cost a fortune 10 years ago, are relatively cheap now, if one finds one.
Have a look on the sticky (video capture).
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Old 26th May 2011, 12:21   #3  |  Link
qualia
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Hi, and thanks for the reply! I found a Pinnacle DV500 capture card here, but this thread seems to indicate that the driver of the DV500 only support the Pinnacle DV codec. For editing purposes I was hoping to be able to use a lossless codec, therefore a PC/capture card setup is preferred over using a DVD recorder for capture.

Do you know if the Pinnacle 500/700 drivers support any lossless codecs? And what about PCI-E capture cards, I notice that there is a lot of them out there. Do any of them have drivers that support lossless codec(s) whilst providing a decent picture quality?

Regarding a TBC, I have no idea what I'm looking for! Could you help me with some names that would work well with the HR-S7600EK?
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Old 26th May 2011, 13:18   #4  |  Link
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That card is incomplete (missing the breakout box).
The 500/700 usb (not dv) do both capture raw (that's why they are USB2).
Now it's time to read the sticky
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Old 26th May 2011, 14:03   #5  |  Link
jmac698
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q,
Try connecting through the composite input of your stick. And I disagree that it's the sticks' fault. I did a test of 3 different vcr's with 3 different capture devices, they were almost all the same. Much more important is your knowledge or processing skills, imho.
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Old 26th May 2011, 14:12   #6  |  Link
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the other problem is field reversal, try swapping fields.
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Old 26th May 2011, 14:59   #7  |  Link
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I didn't say it's the fault of the device. I said only that it's not the perfect tool, and that for few money one can get much better digitizers.
Besides, most USB-sticks share the same design, regardless of the "manufacturer" (which is only a rebadger). Also the effect of a TBC can pass unnoticed to the human eye.
But for me, should these be precious memories, I would try to squeeze the max. quality possible.
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