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Home Video -> VCD...is quality truly doomed?

Discussion in 'MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 encoding (AVI to DVD)' started by sphinifex, Nov 23, 2002.

  1. sphinifex

    sphinifex Guest

    I just forked out $450 for a new video card,
    which has video capture, hoping to convert all my homemade VHS tapes to VCD. I made my first VCD today, and the picture is a little blurry. I realise that VCD has limited frame rate etc, but someone just tell me is it possible to make the VCD quality identical to the captured VHS? Perhaps another question would be is it possible to capture a perfect quality recording of the VHS to begin with?
     
  2. sphinifex

    sphinifex Guest

    anybody?
     
  3. hyc

    hyc Member

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    VCD is supposed to be about equal to VHS in quality, so it may depend on your capture method.
    My computer has a Firewire port, and I have a Dazzle bridge that converts between S-Video and Firewire that I use to digitize my tapes.

    VHS can be pretty poor quality to begin with, especially if you recorded in one of those Extended modes instead of Standard mode. The absolute best result will be using a good-quality SVHS deck for playback, through S-Video cable. (Both VHS and SVHS record chroma separate from luma. If the signal was never passed through a regular composite cable originally, it will have better quality played on an SVHS deck thru S-Video cable.)

    The next issue has to do with your capture card. Assuming it has S-Video input, and can capture 30 frames per second at 352x340 resolution and stores it in a reasonable format, you should be OK. If it stores it at full-frame 720x480 you're OK too, but that's just wasted effort because a VHS signal won't have more than 352x240 worth of resolution in it to begin with.

    If you play back the capture and it looks good, then your blurriness is due to a bad MPEG encoder or improper settings. If you play back the capture and it looks bad, then you have to adjust your capture settings or fix your VHS playback hardware.
     
  4. jnihil

    jnihil Moderator Staff Member

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    Also, if your source VHS video contain a certain amount of noise (they all do to a degree), then your mpeg encoder will try hard encoding the noise, not knowing any different. Try cleaning up the source video with whatever sw/hw tools you have at your disposal, so that you are not wasting the limited bandwidth you have on VCD.
     
  5. HaroldW

    HaroldW Guest

    I have heard people say "it is possible to make a VCD, VHS quality." "My" own experience shows me "moderate" to "poor" VHS quality. I tried for a long time to get procedures/settings for VCD "just right." I finally decided to buy a few commercial VCDs to see how close I was coming to their quality. I bought four VCDs (three created at 20th Century Fox Studios) and in my opinion they were the equivelant of "moderate" to "poor" VHS quality. They were not very sharp and fast-action scenes had many macroblocks. In actuality in some cases I felt my home made VCDs were of better quality. I now only encode to VCD format if the original tape is of moderate to poor quality, otherwise I encode to CVD format. In my opinion CVD and SVCD (but not VCD) can come very close to, or match pre-recorded VHS quality.
     
  6. A_Klingon

    A_Klingon Moderator Staff Member

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    Harold: (offnote)..

    Thank you! for the quality comparison between commercial and homemade vcds !

    I've made a lot of vcds, and frankly, I think they look pretty good. Since one simply *cannot* buy commercial vcds in my local area (Canada), I could not compare the two. Like your own, I bet my vcds would rival or exceed the quality of the commercial stuff.

    Much obliged!

    -- Mike --

    [[[ P.S. I've been thinking lately about creating standard mpeg-1 vcd-compliant movies, but with mp2 (.mpa) audio sampling at 48kHz (instead of 44.1) to see if I can't learn how to author then to blank dvds. One dvd would hold a *whack* of vcd stuff. ]]]
     

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