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Playing VHS directly from vcr with firewire output

Discussion in 'Video capturing from analog sources' started by ShaneJ, Jun 21, 2004.

  1. ShaneJ

    ShaneJ Member

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    I'm currently in the process of converting all of my old and newer Video8 8mm tapes and VHS home movies to DVD. For the 8mm tapes I'm using a camcorder with S-video out and inputting it to the ADVC-300 DV converter which connect to my computer via firewire. Looks outstanding and really closely matches the source of the original video. But I'm still wondering how much loss is actually occurring when the signal from the original video tape is outputting to S-video. I was looking at the Sony Digital8 Video Walkman GV-D200 which also plays back Video8 and Hi8. It has a firewire output and will stream video from the analog formats, Video8 and Hi8, which should match the original video source more than the S-video I would imagine. After reading some reviews about it I've decided that's what I'm going to get for my 8mm tapes.

    As for my VHS tapes this is where I'm stuck. I want to be able to do the same thing with the VHS, however, I am unable to find a good VCR with a firewire output. What I'm really looking for is a VHS vcr with a firewire output that can also play back and record SVHS. I know of the JVC MiniDV/SVHS/VHS deck with firewire, but read all the reviews on it and know that it's crap. So, I'm not getting that VCR. After more searching I found the Mitsubishi HS-HD2000U which is a DVHS vcr that will play and record VHS and SVHS. I also saw a blurb somewhere that since DVHS vcrs are so well made to handle the high quality data of High Definition, those are the best vcrs to use to get the best results from a consumer vcr in terms of quality from your old VHS home movies. VHS should be child's play for these HDTV vcrs.

    I really want to get this HS-HD2000U, but the biggest question of all that I have about it is the firewire inputs and outputs on it. I've been doing so much online research about it to see if those firewire outputs can be used to capture into the computer. I can't find any info on that at all, the only thing it says about those firewire outputs is that they are for the HDTVs with home networking or something like that. Does anyone know if I can use these firewire outputs to my PC? I capture all of my video from that ADVC-300 unit using firewire to Sonic Foundry Vegas Video 4.0 and it's outstanding. But, if there is a way that I can get the original video to firewire straight from the VCR I'm guessing it's better than converting to an analog signal like S-video, even though S-video is way better than RCA video.

    Also, whatever SVHS capable vcr I get, I have to have the ability to record into the vcr using S-video in. I may need to edit video on the computer for local a local cable channel and they accept SVHS. I'd rather input using S-video rather than RCA video.

    All these questions that I can't find answers to from my online research. Please help.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2004
  2. Minion

    Minion Senior member

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    If you have an ADVC-300 then Why do you need a VCR with Firewire Outputs?? you can Simply Output the VHS from a VCR into the ADVC-300 and it will Convert the Signal to DV AVI files...
    All a VCR with a Firewire output does is Convert the Analogue VHS to Digital DV, which is Basicly all that the ADVC-300 does But probably Better because it has Digital Noise Filters to cleaning up the Image...
    So a VCR with S-Video would be all that you need really....
    Or maybe I just don"t understand you problem??


    Cheers
     
  3. ShaneJ

    ShaneJ Member

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    I know I could just hook up a VHS vcr to the ADVC-300, but it has to output from the vcr to an analog line (the S-video). I was thinking maybe it would be more direct to digital if the video signal was converted straight digital within the unit inside. Maybe you're right, though, and there wouldn't be any difference. I don't know.
     
  4. Minion

    Minion Senior member

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    Well that is what the ADVC-300 is For ,Converting Analogue to Digital...If the VCR Could convert the Signal to Digital then you wouldn"t need the ADVC-300, Pluss the ADVC-300 is Probably a Much Better Analogue/Digital converter than anything that would be built into a High end VCR...
    If you are Haveing problems with the Quality then you can try cleaning up the Image and enhanceing it useing some Video filters like the Ones Built into High end Video Editors Like Vegas Video 5 or Adobe Premier Pro 1.5.....Cheers
     
  5. pinkman

    pinkman Member

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    I gotta agree with your first instinct, Shane. The issue is not the D/A Converter, Its the VHS The Vertical Helical Scan.

    Video tapes are read by a spinning drum containing small precisely aligned reading-heads. These heads are a major source of noise. This cannot be eliminated but it can be controlled.

    If you got a brand new 6 head analogue VCR it would produce a significantly better picture than a older but otherwise comparable machine.

    If you bought JVC's flagship D-VHS VCR, you'd be going a step further. This machine has head management technology which minutely adjusts the angle of the drum to match the idiosyncrasies of the video or camcorder the tape was recorded in and it has hardware to insure perfectly steady rotation of the head so that you're getting the best possible analogue signal reproduction.

    Now the digital bit: the image is sampled and run through optional enhancement filters. These filters are based on the library of well-understood and well-documented aberrations and noise patterns which are particular to VHS (JVC should know. They invented the horrid little format) The picture is scanned for ghosting, colour separation, vertical line distortion and contrast warping and these anomalies are eliminated all of which gives rise to the companies claims that the machine can produce "better-than-the-original" copies which, from the reviews and testimonials I've read, seems to be true.

    Even if it were down to the DAC, the capture card employs standard miniDV compression which is 5:1 whereas D-VHS is uncompressed and still fits comfortably down a firewire (a common misconception is that DV and firewire are part of the same standard. In truth th signal only takes up about a twentieth of the ieee 1394 bandwidth.)

    I have a similar conversion project planned from a huge number of tapes and I am trying to track down a DVHS machine. The format never really took off which is a shame because although I am suspicious of all forms of cassette tapes, this product has a lot to offer in the way of quality and an enormous capacity (70 hrs DVD quality and I forget haw many hours when uncompressed).

    Whichever route you take, I urge you to archive everything on DVHS or at least miniDV as the mpeg2 compression employed by DVD is messy and lossy. In a few years time, we will have HD DVD and BluRay discs with huge capacities and the opportunity to record at much higher resolution. You'll be glad to have your full-quality backup then. Another option would be to archive your uncompressed AVIs or whatever format onto DVDs as Data. You're spoilt for choice. It would just be a shame to go to all that trouble with quality control only to squash the fruits of labour down to fit on what is meerly the first generation of a format that will be developing for many years to come.

    Any questions please Email me: pinkman@gmail.com
     
  6. ShaneJ

    ShaneJ Member

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    Hello and thank you for your message. I had already went ahead and ordered the Mitsubishi DVHS vcr last week, I hope it's as good as the JVC DVHS. According to all the reviews it plays old VHS tapes wonderfully. It doesn't allow the playback from the analog tapes through the firewire I found out, however. But that's okay, I'll just use the S-video out and have that input into my ADVC-300 DV converter.

    I wish I could save my captured AVIs, but I do not have the space to store them. At 24 gigs for two hours per tape, that's just space I cannot accommodate. I have well over 100 tapes to archive so the space required for those would just be ridiculous. I would put all this stuff to HD DVDs, but I've been waiting for the last seven years (since 1997) for recordable DVDs to come out to archive my videos, now that they're out I would hate to hold out for another seven years for this HD DVD stuff to come out. The time really is now to archive as these old tapes won't last forever. If worst comes to worst I'll just start over again on HD if it's really worth it enough, by the time the HD stuff comes out I'll probably not even be half finished with my 100 tapes, I have so many and it will take me years.

    You talk about capturing this stuff to higher resolutions with this HD stuff, the DVD resolution I'm capturing at now is already better than VHS and since they're only home videos they really can't get much better than that anyway. VHS and Video am are only 240 lines of horizontal resolution while DVD quality is 480 lines of horizontal resolution.

    Unfortunately, you cannot record analog sources to DVHS with a DVHS vcr. You can only record to DVHS format if the source is already HD coming from an HD tuner. That's just the way it is.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2004

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