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Capturing VHS tapes to make DVDs

Discussion in 'Video capturing from analog sources' started by sharesoft, Jan 5, 2004.

  1. sharesoft

    sharesoft Member

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    I have some 100 VHS tapes I want to convert to DVD
    I have a P4 2.53 Ghz with ATI radeon VIVO 9000 with a capture chip , Itried to capture but the quality was not so good (I tried MPEG2 direct with media studio Pro 7)
    After going through forum I came across Canopus AVDC-100 and am impressed by the reviews so my questions are
    1. which method is better
    Capturing first to DV and then converting to MPEG using Procoder or Mediastudio pro or Cinemaster

    2. Using a hardware MPEG2 encoder like MPEGPRO EMR - Realtime MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 encoding.
    This seems to be time saving

    Another thing is Canopus has another card AVDC-300 bit costly but has cleaning and correction facility that they claim which will restore the Vintage VHS
    So I was wondering does it help this hardware correction?
    Because the price is almost double. AVDC-100 is $300 and AVDC-300 is $550 so there must be a extra chip to correct the picture

    They also have this direct MPEGPRO EMR - Realtime MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 encoding for $550 which also corrects the picture plus it will save the time

    So what is the best way ?

    And the last is I have a VHS VCR from which I will capture the VHS tapes I have. My question is will the quality improve if I buy a good quality Panasonic S-VHS VCR deck and take the S-VHS out from it because most of the capture devices have S-vhs input
    I will be very thankful for your input

     
  2. shorty2k

    shorty2k Member

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    you are in the same boat as me.

    You have many questions.
    I'll summarize:
    OK lets begin source: VHS tapes
    Target: DVD (PAL/NTSC)

    Problem need to digitize analouge signal to digital.

    Playing your tapes in super VCR, may not improve in picture quality BUT it will be more stable i read somewhere there are benifits from playing normal VHS tapes in SVCR decks, espeacally when you have OLD degrading tapes. Secondly use S-video leads to transport the analouge signal, again another reason to use SVCR deck which will/ should have a S-video output

    Now onto capture: you want to capture at the highest quality possible, and thus using low compression codecs such as DV, now if you have the chance always use S-video to capture over composite, the avdc-100 seems a very good option again the capture device is one of the most important factor, basically get the best capture card you can afford, now capture cards that do real time mpeg2 are not really advise if you require the highest possible quality beacause IF you decide to do any editing it will invole some rendering hence a quality 'hit'.

    However IF you just want a straight conversion then this may be a sensible option (if you do not do any editing) this may mean that you may be able to capture within legal DVD bitrate and have an mpeg ready to burn , some capture cards even allow real time buring!! although you may decide to just use a standalone DVD recorder.

    Next is the issue of transcoding(if its required) this is the most time consuming part and trickest too, get your hands on the best software, you can use the exellenct but powerful TMpgenc but if you have money to burn get Cinema Craft Encoder Sp, (only converts AVI's though)


    So to RECAP:

    Playback on the best equipment

    Use S-video leads over Composite (if you have the choice)

    Capture using the lowest compression.OR use a miniDV as a Pass through

    Use the best encoder software you can get.

    OR use a standalone DVD recorder .

    OR real time mpeg2 capture cards IF you have lots of VHS and just only wnat a 'Straight' Conversion.

    Always capture at 720*576(PAL) or 720*480(NTSC) resolution 352*240/288 will yields poor results

    hope some of this helps. Video capture can be a night mare but if you play around enough you can hit the jackpot, and when you do, you will know just how great the quality can get which is......NEVER GREATER THAN THE ORGINAL

    I.E Universal Law, Garbage in Garbage out.. :)
     
  3. sharesoft

    sharesoft Member

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    Thanks a lot about your good tips
    Still have to make following major decisions
    1. AVDC-100 or AVDC-300
    2. What is the loss in conversion between DV to Mpeg2
    3. Direct DVD Recorder is quality good ? because I read they allow only lower resolutions you rarely get 720x576 for Pal
    Because if I capture in DV then there is nest step to convert to MPEG2 this will be time consuming
    But I am coming closer to buy the Canopus AVDC-300 capture in DV then edit and then convert to DVD
     
  4. DogBomb

    DogBomb Regular member

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    The SVHS question first - unless the tape is an S-VHS tape and recorded on an S-VHS recorder, you're only going to get VHS quality.
    Your systems seems fast enough for video editing, but given the # of tapes you have - 100 - I would just spend $300-$400 for a DVD recorder. I've been using Pinnacle MovieBox USb along with Studio 8 and it has been a nightmare. It takes a very long time to "render" - converting MPEG to DVD format - as long as 5 hrs per 1 hr of video. Unless you want to do fancy menus and special effects in your videos, stick with a DVD recorder where you will actually use it instead of studying software manuals and wasting time editing and rendering. You can always edit your DVDs later. And I swear the quality is better too (as compared to when I capture to mpeg then render to dvd).
     
  5. Garrys

    Garrys Guest

    Don't waste time capturing in one format and converting. Use Intervideo DVR 3 to capture in MPEG2 DVD format and then use TMPGenc Author to make the DVD files. If the files will not fit on a DVD, use DVD Shrink 3.103 (it's free) to shrink the files to fit.
    I have done more than 100 tapes. For most of them I have used the software that came with my card to capture in MPEG2, but the Intervideo software is a little better.
     
  6. cdulde

    cdulde Member

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    Some feedback that you may find helpful... I too have a desire to create high quality digital copies of VHS tapes (o.k. - you are somewhat limited by the quality of the source here, but work with me...). I did buy the Canopus ADVC-300 - I love it and it is absolutely the best A/D converter bar none (buy it from http://www.thenerds.net SIGNIFICANTLY cheaper and hassle free/quick delivery - no I don't work for them). I waffled on whether the ADVC-100 would do the trick, but in exchanging email with a few users on Canopus' forum, the recommendation for the 300 was enough for me to spend the extra $$.

    I also bought Canopus' Let's Edit software as I wanted something that I was sure could capture the ADVC-300 DV stream (from their codec). In retrospect, I'd would do it differently now. Let's Edit captures flawless DV in .avi format and provides a suite of editing tools, but in the end you have to render the edits to a new .avi file (=time) or transcode it to mpeg for DVD (again time) The Let's Edit transcode to MPEG was really high quality, but took about 4 hours/1 hour of avi video - Let's Edit will do it all, but I was looking for something a bit more elegant. Let's Edit also came with Ulead's DVD Movie Factory 2.0. Movie Factory is handy and will handle the burning chores of the final DVD/VCD/SVCD... it has capture capability, but like most software that tries to do direct capture from DV to MPEG, it has buffer overrun issues and therefore it's more hassle than value for capture. That brings me to my latest - and most promising - discovery...

    I searched and search for a software solution that did a good job of DV capture direct to MPEG (none of them really do it direct - they buffer the DV and convert it on the fly) - they are rare. The one I found and am working with now is the MainConcept MPEG Encoder v1.4.1 (http://www.mainconcept.com). It produces high quality MPEG (as good as Let's Edit, but much faster) and provides templates that make it drop dead simple. Here are the realities though...
    - MainConcept buffers the DV capture to disk while it is converting to MPEG - this makes for lossless capture, but also demands disk space. You'll need about 13G per 2 hours of captured video from the Canopus.
    - Conversion time is good, for two playing hours of video, you have a MPEG file done in 4 hours total (including the 2 hours of tape play). The file it produced was too big for a single DVD (6gig), but I will reduce the bitrate from 6,000K to 2,500K next go around and that should solve that problem.
    - There is one slight imperfection that I am working on with MainConcept tech support - and others have experienced this too - there is a sporadic stutter (almost like a dropped frame or frame out of sequence) that occurs in the finished MPEG. It is only with the direct capture to mpeg and I have faith that they will figure this out - the whole company seems to be really responsive. As an alternative, I can capture to .avi (using MainConcept's MPEG Encoder and the Canopus DV codec), and then convert the .avi to mpeg using the MPEG Encoder codec and that results in a very clean final product. The stutter I mention above is very very minor almost not noticeable and more an issue of wanting perfection than anything. I plan to do the direct capture in spite of the occasional stutter - it's that minor.

    Hope this helps - please let me know if you find any other great tools - Thanks! Chuck
     
  7. piano632

    piano632 Regular member

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    Hey cdulde, since you have a Canopus ADVC-300 can you comment on how good it is with removing color noise from analog tape. I like many people, have a whole slew of tapes I need to convert to DV (for editing) then to DVD. My tapes are mostly S-VHS and Betamax, but thanks to the wonders of cable TV a lot of these tapes exhibit lots of color noise (especially noticeable with deep reds and blues). I've been eyeing the ADVC-300 for awhile, wondering if it will help any. I already have Pinnacle DV capture card which is great with "live" captures, but from tape there is no option for removing noise. So, can you please comment on the noise reduction capabilities of the ADVC-300. Would it be any better than the noise reduction filter used in TMPGEnc?
     
  8. cdulde

    cdulde Member

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    Piano632... all of my tapes are VHS (not S-VHS). I bought the ADVC-300 based upon it's hardware based signal conditioning for VHS tapes (color, hue, intensity, and stabilization). The recommendations I got were glowing. The 300 employs signal conditioning that I found no where else (maybe Matrox makes a product, but I wanted something that was portable as I do my capture via a laptop. About a year ago I found an in-depth eval comparing Canopus and Matrox. It was a fairly objective test and in the end ranked both units equally well with Canopus providing better stabilization of old tape where Matrox provided slightly better tones/look and feel for live broadcast. My opinion is that Canopus is a leader in providing a superior DV Codec as a part of their hardware solution in the 300. That was universal everywhere I could find an opinion. I also believe that a dedicated hardware filter provides better quality than a signal processor. My feelings are crap-in=crap=out when it comes to transcoding and I wanted a very high quality DV stream captured and thus take the burden off the transcode tool which I wanted to provide high quality mpeg in high speed (for this I favor the MainConcept MPEG Encoder v1.4.1 - not as many bells and whistles as TMPGEnc, but fast and great quality). So you see, I had different functional requirements for each piece of the conversion solution.

    All that being said, the users who have the 300 love it and since I've bought it I've used it out of the box without tweaking anything (all features on) and it is superb quality. I'm not the techie that some videophiles are so I can't take it to a level of why it's great, but I do know good video and good photography and what's pleasing to a customer's eye and by far this is better than anything I've seen from Dazzle(yuk) or Pinnacle (no opinion).

    If you want to email me, I'd be happy to arrange a sample conversion of part of one of your tapes and return it to you for your own assessment.
     
  9. shorty2k

    shorty2k Member

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    ONE COMMENT goes out to DogBomb, if you read my post carefully you will find i did not state that playing in SVHS will improve the quality but it will make it more stable.

    HOWEVER as a Personal View:-

    It CAN sometimes improve the quality beacuse in the electronics world components are not always made equal there are cheap ones and expensive ones, and their ARE quality diferances i should know having owedned over 20 VCR's try playing back your tape in as many different VCR's as you can then you will start to see quality differeances, (of course their are other fators age of machine, condition etc..)

    And besides if you have your VHS tape converted by a pro ask them what they play your VHS cassete in, dont be surprised if they say SVHS...

    Alas i was only passing on helpful trade hints...


    Anyway
     

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