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Old 9th March 2022, 23:55   #1  |  Link
lansing
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VHS capturing device in 2022?

I'm planning to do some high quality VHS transfer. I had done my research to shop for the other equipment like an line-based TBC VCR and an external frame-based TBC. Now I'm looking for a good quality capturing device.

However, with most of the good old options of PCI capture card probably not going to work because of the outdated drivers, I think I should be looking at the USB options? I'm looking for something that I can capture lossless in Virtualdub for further post processing. What are my options?
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Old 10th March 2022, 00:32   #2  |  Link
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Originally Posted by lansing View Post
I'm planning to do some high quality VHS transfer. I had done my research to shop for the other equipment like an line-based TBC VCR and an external frame-based TBC. Now I'm looking for a good quality capturing device.

However, with most of the good old options of PCI capture card probably not going to work because of the outdated drivers, I think I should be looking at the USB options? I'm looking for something that I can capture lossless in Virtualdub for further post processing. What are my options?
I am using Hauppauge USB-live 2 together with a Pana DVD recorder in passthrough. Huffyuv lossless codec 4:2:2 and AmarecTV (less issues than VirtualDub/W10) as capture SW. I am quite satisfied with the result.

Last edited by Sharc; 10th March 2022 at 00:42.
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Old 10th March 2022, 02:17   #3  |  Link
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I am using Hauppauge USB-live 2 together with a Pana DVD recorder in passthrough. Huffyuv lossless codec 4:2:2 and AmarecTV (less issues than VirtualDub/W10) as capture SW. I am quite satisfied with the result.
I just checked their website, they stated that the device is outputting at 4:2:2, is it true? Have you checked?
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Old 10th March 2022, 07:55   #4  |  Link
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Originally Posted by lansing View Post
I just checked their website, they stated that the device is outputting at 4:2:2, is it true? Have you checked?
Yes of course. One can use Huffyuv, UTVideo, Lagarith as lossless encoders together with a capture SW of your choice (AmarecTV, VirtualDub, VirtualVCR ......).
I bought my device about 10 years ago and captured plenty of VHS stuff since. As I wrote, I am using it together with a Pana DVD Recorder in passthrough.
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Old 10th March 2022, 02:39   #5  |  Link
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Hauppauge USB-live 2 contains a MPEG-2 hardware encoder in a USB Stick (40€).
Welcome blockiness and a PSNR <32dB.
DV-AVI delivers better than that.

01.04.2022: I stand corrected:
The CX23100, while being able to capture on-the-fly hardware-encoded MPEG-2,
indeed additionally offers blockfree 4:2:2 uncompressed capture via USB2.0 and VirtualDub2
without framedrops in my short test.

No mentioning of that capabilitiy by Hauppauge themselves on their website nor specs.


If high quality is needed, I would suggest 4:2:2 10 bit uncompressed.
Blackmagic Intensity Shuttle (200€) is able to do that via USB 3.
One has to use their universal driver though, no VD.
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Old 10th March 2022, 03:24   #6  |  Link
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Originally Posted by Emulgator View Post
Hauppauge USB-live 2 contains a MPEG-2 hardware encoder in a USB Stick (40€).
Welcome blockiness and a PSNR <32dB.
DV-AVI delivers better than that.
If high quality is needed, I would suggest 4:2:2 10 bit uncompressed.
Blackmagic Intensity Shuttle (200€) is able to do that via USB 3.
One has to use their universal driver though, no VD.
I have read about Blackmagic Intensity Shuttle, the problem people complained were that it's picky for VHS source, if my signal is not clean it would fail.

And what about the audio recording. Can the Shuttle record and output in lossless format?
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Old 10th March 2022, 07:09   #7  |  Link
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There has recently been some discussion here:

https://forum.doom9.org/showthread.php?t=183814

I don't think a Blackmagic Intesity would perform worse than some 40$ USB Grabber on not so clean input.
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Old 10th March 2022, 08:01   #8  |  Link
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Originally Posted by Emulgator View Post
Hauppauge USB-live 2 contains a MPEG-2 hardware encoder in a USB Stick (40€).
Welcome blockiness and a PSNR <32dB.
Wrong and misleading information, sorry.
The device is shipped with a mpeg2 SW capture GUI which one does not have to use.
I am using it mostly with the Huffyuv codec (lossless 4:2:2, interlaced) and AmarecTV as capturing SW and a Panasonic DVD recorder in passthrough (via S-video). No blocks, no AV sync issues, no line wiggle or dropped frames.
It's just my practical experience, not based on misleading datasheets or whatever.
I mentioned this device because it works here pretty well and it is still actively supported with driver updates etc. by the manufacturer. I bought my device about 10 years ago, just updating the drivers along wiht the OS updates. I don't know if the quality of the HW is still the same today, but I recommended it in the other forum to a guy who is now more than happy with it after he has tried other current devices without success, pulling his hair ......

Going a bit more into details:
I had to do slight 'ProcAmp' adjustments in order to avoid YCbCr triplets which become out-of-gamut RGB when converted to RGB by a player/monitor (TV, PC ....)
Fine tuning is done when compressing the lossless 4:2:2 capture to the distribution format like x264, x265 or whatever, using Avisynth and/or an NLE.
Also, the device should be used via S-video because its comb filter for separating luma from chroma of composite video is not the very best (in my experience). The DVD recorder in passthrough solved this issue.

Last edited by Sharc; 10th March 2022 at 10:05.
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Old 10th March 2022, 10:25   #9  |  Link
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My current capture setup looks like this:
- a decent S-VHS VCR without TBC but with EDIT-MODE.
- 4.7k Ohm Potentiometer in the Y-Line of a S-Video cable to reduce Luma levels in order to avoid white-clipping
- S-Video input to a Panasonic ES10 (works as TBC)
- Component (YCbCr) Output of the ES-10 straight into the Blackmagic Intensity Shuttle.

This way I only have one PAL-delay-line in the playback-chain, which inheritely reduces vertical chroma resolution as well es introduces vertical chroma shift.
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Old 10th March 2022, 11:06   #10  |  Link
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This way I only have one PAL-delay-line in the playback-chain, which inheritely reduces vertical chroma resolution as well es introduces vertical chroma shift.
Interesting. In my setup (PAL) I had to shift the chroma up one pixel (scanline).
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Old 10th March 2022, 11:12   #11  |  Link
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Interesting. In my setup (PAL) I had to shift the chroma up one pixel (scanline).
Yep. I have to do this, too.
But not using S-Video a second time avoids a two pixel-shift.
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Old 10th March 2022, 18:01   #12  |  Link
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Originally Posted by scharfis_brain View Post
- 4.7k Ohm Potentiometer in the Y-Line of a S-Video cable to reduce Luma levels in order to avoid white-clipping
Interesting option. Maybe better than doing this correction by means of 'ProcAmp' tweaks after the A/D conversions - if need be.
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Old 10th March 2022, 12:25   #13  |  Link
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My experience.

I also use a Hauppauge USB Live-2 capture card, fed by a JVC HR-9500MS (VCR with lineTBC). As Sharc, I capture with AmarecTV using HuffYUV 4:2:2 under Windows 10.

Since >5 years of capturing S-VHS / VHS I am obtaining excellent results. When (rarely in my case) the lineTBC of the VCR is not strong enough, I disable it and use a Panasonic DMR-ES15, with its side effects.

Most of the time the best VCR setting in my case is edit=off and D3R=on, sometimes edit=on and D3R=off.
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Last edited by lollo2; 10th March 2022 at 12:40.
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Old 10th March 2022, 13:09   #14  |  Link
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I've tested several JVC VCRs with TBC and 3DNR.
All models had the same in common: the 3DNR - dispite of its setting - could not be disabled entirely. It was just reduced.

This interferes with my workflow: I deshake all content.

Thus I only use VCRs without digital processing.
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Old 10th March 2022, 14:18   #15  |  Link
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Yes, I have red elsewhere about your workflow: temporal noise reduction, especially on chroma, is not compatible with deshaking, and artifacts are created. You better work with a "raw" untouched capture for your videos.

BTW, the JVC VCRs noise reduction, linked to the lineTBC, is called N.R and can never be fully disabled; it is just reduced using edit mode=on. D3R is the internal sharpening feature: despite beeing "primitive", is not that bad associated with edit mode=off, because it slightly enhaces some details softened by the noise reduction. It is not good when using edit mode=on.

Edit:
Quote:
If high quality is needed, I would suggest 4:2:2 10 bit uncompressed.
10-bit capture is not necessary for a VHS capture, 8-bit is more than adequate. You just fill the "extra" bit space with "nothing".
Uncompressed is not required either, a lossless codec is more appropriate to avoid filling "extra" disk space with "nothing".

Quote:
Blackmagic Intensity Shuttle (200€) is able to do that via USB 3
Quote:
I don't think a Blackmagic Intesity would perform worse than some 40$ USB Grabber on not so clean input.
They do. Blackmagic cards are not recommended for Analog SD capture, even with a clean input. Many results available on digitalfaq and videohelp forums.
Some model can be used to "dump" the Analog to HDMI (digital) conversion generated by a Panasonic DVD-R recorder used as capture device: another role, another story.

If a high-end device is required, an example is the Ensemble Designs BrightEye 75. Not because its 10bit capture, but because it has internally a quasi line/frameTBC, which avoid the usage of two lossy A/D and D/A conversions inside the VCR or the DVD-R recorder in passthrough mode. But it requires a SDI capture flow. User latreche34/dellsam34 posted some sample on digitalfaq and videohelp forums.
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Last edited by lollo2; 10th March 2022 at 15:02.
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Old 12th March 2022, 14:44   #16  |  Link
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Originally Posted by lollo2 View Post
They do. Blackmagic cards are not recommended for Analog SD capture, even with a clean input. Many results available on digitalfaq and videohelp forums.
Some model can be used to "dump" the Analog to HDMI (digital) conversion generated by a Panasonic DVD-R recorder used as capture device: another role, another story.

If a high-end device is required, an example is the Ensemble Designs BrightEye 75. Not because its 10bit capture, but because it has internally a quasi line/frameTBC, which avoid the usage of two lossy A/D and D/A conversions inside the VCR or the DVD-R recorder in passthrough mode. But it requires a SDI capture flow. User latreche34/dellsam34 posted some sample on digitalfaq and videohelp forums.
I had dug through that hole last year and people complained without providing evidence. I remember the only comparison I could find used a static test grid. You can't assess the performance of a video apture card without looking at how it manages motion. Also these two sites regularly point out all these professional TBCs will trip over VHS due to the volatility of the signals and timing.

Anyway, BMD devices can provide solid results if you have a full TBC between the VCR and the capture card. (That is, some Sony or Panasonic DVD recorder deck with internal TBC or some dedicated devices providing a the very least a genlock).

Quote:
So, if my assumption is correct, to get a high quality VHS transfer, all we need is a decent VCR that adds no additional digital filters and has a s-video output, a digital mixer and that's it. There is no need for a high end VCR with line TBC or TBC capable DVD recorder as passthrough, which are inferior to infinite window TBC, avoiding all unnecessary pitfalls. And there is no need for those ridiculously expensive so called "external frame TBC" basically just for frame synchronizing.
Also it should be noted that line-TBC (all TBC on VCRs) may not be enough for some captures cards like the BMDs for some tapes. Unless the tape you're saving is an absolute archive treasure, S-VHS VCR + DVD recorder pass-through + lossless / 422 (HQ) ProRes capture card will give you already excellent results.

Last edited by cubicibo; 12th March 2022 at 14:47.
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Old 13th March 2022, 03:28   #17  |  Link
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Also it should be noted that line-TBC (all TBC on VCRs) may not be enough for some captures cards like the BMDs for some tapes. Unless the tape you're saving is an absolute archive treasure, S-VHS VCR + DVD recorder pass-through + lossless / 422 (HQ) ProRes capture card will give you already excellent results.
The digital mixer I just got isn't that much more than a Panasonic ES15, so it's definitely a wiser choice.

I just brought a JVC HR-S4800U for $125, pretty good reasonable price.
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Old 10th March 2022, 14:47   #18  |  Link
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As soon as the analogue signal has been cleaned by the ES10, the Intesity Shuttle shows no problems capturing the signal.
As soon as I remove the ES10 from the chain, it is nearly impossible to make usable captures with the Intensity Shuttle.

btw.: some Advice on the DigitalFAQ Forums are emotionally steered. I don't trust them. Especially the advice regarding ES10 and intensity Shuttle and TBCs.

I hope, that Raw-Capturing and vhs-decode eventually will become mature, so that all issues regarding VCRs and capture cards will be gone.
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Old 10th March 2022, 14:56   #19  |  Link
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Quote:
some Advice on the DigitalFAQ Forums are emotionally steered.
I agree But the weakness of the BM cards for Analog SD captures are reported everywhere. I also have experience with dropped frames not reported and incorrect levels with few captures I did with some friends. And the intrinsic quality of the capture is not better than the Hauppauge USB Live-2.

Concerning vhs-decode, I am waiting for its maturity as well and since longtime, because I have not seen so far "superior" captures performed by high end material. We all then will switch to it and forget about lineTBC, frameTBC, procamp, capture cards, USB, HDMI, SDI, ...
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Old 10th March 2022, 18:01   #20  |  Link
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Sorry for my MPEG-2 conclusion from the Hauppauge USB Live-2 datasheet.
I couldn't imagine that this thing delivers SD uncompressed via USB 2...

Small Disclaimer: I am not a BM fanboy, this is just to publish ways to get the desired high quality result.

Back to Blackmagic Intensity shuttle audio:
Yes. this captures uncompressed audio, but with a implementation fault, which can be mended by passing audio through Audacity.
See below:
Quote:
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.
TBC: Yes, what the others said.
Blackmagic Shuttle is indeed picky, line TBC only, this is of no help if source is jittery, and drops out.
I use a choice of AG-7750 or NV-HS950, or DMR-EX95 or Toshiba RD-XR48 as playback decks,
each behaving differently and solving different scenarios, then into Intensity Shuttle.

10bit or not: Once you need to expand blacks you will ask for the additional 2 bits...
Since the TBCs in the machines I have (NV-HS950 at least) only work on 8 bit fields,
maybe a moot point, but you never know.
----------------
Late Edit about 10bit being useful or not (I just made a recent BM <-> HA comparison).
Pixel-peeping and checking sample values in AvsPmod from the BM 10-bit captures:

The lowest two bits indeed contain meaningful data.
In black bars/pillars of a VHS capture all reasonable values are there:
Y values starting from 30, odd values are there, no zeros only, no multiples of 2 or 4 only,
so worth to have and keep in my humble opinion...
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