--- My (VHS) Video Capture Guide ---

Getting started with a Blackmagic product? Ask questions here about setup and installation.
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Eric-Jan

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--- My (VHS) Video Capture Guide ---

PostWed Sep 05, 2018 9:46 pm

Equipment used:
    1. VCR Panasonic DMR-ES35V (+SCART version)
    2.Intensity Shuttle (Thunderbolt)
    3.MacBook Pro 13" (early2015) 8GB RAM 256GB SSD

Install the software that comes with the Intensity, in this case: the Desktop Video Setup driver utility and Media Express (BMD app) (the Desktop Video Setup will be installed in the System Settings of the Launch Pad)
You only can set the capture input specs in these apps when the Intensity Shuttle is connected, (internal light lights up)
(check these settings before each startup of the device and the software, with me it was sometimes changed for no reason, in future versions this might have been solved)

Most important: know your hardware !, and it's limitations, depending where you live, or the tapes you want to capture, The (analog) system formats can be:

NTSC = USA =525 lines 30 frames per second interlaced, (30i)
PAL = Europe, Australia 625 lines 25 frames per second interlaced, (25i)
SECAM uses the same resolution as PAL (625 lines) but transmits the color information sequentially: R-Y on one line and B-Y on the next. SECAM is used sparingly around the world and can be found in France, parts of Greece, Eastern Europe, Russia, and Africa.

(both tape and VCR must be in the same tv system standard)

Your VCR needs to give a stable video signal ,

(The Panasonic DMR-ES35V has build-in stabilization,which does a good job)
For a good capture, sound on older VCR (tapes) can be soft because they were not yet recorded in HiFi PCM in that case sound is only on the 1mm wide linear audio track, (stereo or mono within)
Or video tracking might be of , and will be seen as horizontal noise bars in the video, and also audible in the audio track as a rattle. (you should adjust tracking on the VCR)
When you get image jumps/freezes, black frames, or capture stops completely, the playing VCR is not suitable for capture without a TBC.

- important -
Capture will also fail due to build-in copy protection or encryption, it will not be defeated by BMD hardware/software, and should not be asked for on any Blackmagic forum, due to legal issues.
-

The PAL/NTSC/(ME)SECAM system specs should be set in the Desktop Video Setup utility, (also select the input you are going to use of the Intensity Shuttle) Media Express should be set with these also, (checkout the tabs) plus the codec you want to use: compressed, or uncompressed, uncompressed will need more storage space, and is overkill for the VHS quality, compressed will give slower data transfer rates, which comes in good use with "not so" fast storage devices.
You also get dropped frames by using a too slow storage device during the capture, try to use a compressing codec



Depending on the VCR, try to use the optimal quality output connection present, in this order: component, S-Video or Composite, and audio will come from the analog (red=right white is left) RCA connections,
HDMI is already a digital signal, but, the encryption, or communicating protocoll could prevent you to do any capturing, for VHS there might be little advantage to capture over HDMI vs. component anyway.

If all has been correctly set, and you have Media Express running, select the red capture tab, and if the tape is running in the VCR you should now see the video capture, and see moving sound bars, (capture starts when you click on the red capture button) if the green audio bars are showing red tops, the sound is too loud, and you should un-check the HiFi option under the audio tab of the Desktop Video Setup app in the System Settings app from the Mac Launch Pad app. you also need to slide the linked audio sliders to the left, to decrease the sound volume, with me sound was way too loud with some tapes.

In Media Express you should choose ProRes422 as your capture file format for VHS, ProRes422 LT is good enough, it doesn't make too large files, and has a low data write speed to a (internal/external) storage drive, SSD or HDD

Your digital capture (output) resolution format should be as close to the original resolution as possible, (NTSC: 720x480, PAL 720x576 ) upscaling will do no good to the end result, you can scale up during playback on your media player.
To make 4:3 full screen on a 16:9 wide screen, would mean you chop off the upper and lower part, but this will enlarge the original 4:3 analog captured video format.
Aspect ratios: https://finearts.uvic.ca/sim/tutorials/ ... o_res.html

It's best to try with short captures, to see fast results, and experiment with different settings,
(check if "tracking" is optimal, if this is not done automaticly, or you want to set this to "manual" if this causes the On Screen Display to appear, and adjust by hand before captures are made)

Keep in mind you will see much more detail now then when you watched it on a regular Cathode Ray Tube Television, in "the olden days" :)
If you want to burn your video to a video DVD, you should compress the capture to MPEG2 later,
Check your edit prog. which input file formats it will accept, otherwise use Davinci Resolve, this free version does not de-interlace, to render in MP4 you should use another prog. in that case, or leave it interlaced if that's acceptable.

Using Davinci Resolve you have some nice options, like Crop, and Transform, because you see much more of the image surface then on an analog CRT tv at the surrounding borders of the capture, and in the end you put a clean 720x480 or 720x576 (depending on NTSC or PAL) capture in your "render/deliver" list in Davinci Resolve.
You may prefer to "mask" the "dirty" borders, or you might want to remove them, by removing them, you will slightly enlarge the video image, which gives a lower resolution, which might not be prefered.

note: recently i also did some tests with the JVC HR-S8960 which has aslo some sort of TBC, but this recorder gives some more noticeable "video-dirt" artifacts, if you have a choice, do tests with different playback recorders, depending on the video material this will matter.

I only changed the sound settings in the Desktop Video Setup app. so no color corrections during the capture.
You might want to set the video settings, if you are using a different video in/output, and watch for skin tones, or use a recorded (color) test pattern, once set, leave these so, and only correct in post if needed.

You can convert to MP4 depending the usage: storage, Youtube, Vimeo, iPhone iPad, Smartdevice, or digital photo frame in post. (BMD Davinci Resolve)

I hope i covered some "needs" this way for starting in video capturing, otherwise, let me know... and feel free to comment.
Last edited by Eric-Jan on Sun Dec 09, 2018 2:10 pm, edited 8 times in total.
equipment/software used:
UltraStudio Mini Recorder, Intensity Shuttle (Thunderbolt), ADVC-100 (DV/iLink/Firewire), Davinci Resolve 15 free version, Media Express, MacX Video Converter Pro
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Eric-Jan

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Re: --- My (VHS) Video Capture Guide ---

PostSat Sep 29, 2018 9:26 am

Update: i recently did some adjustments in the video settings for the component input, (Video Desktop Setup) which is a bit "flat" in default settings, when you compare them to the original or s-video color input colors.
Upscaling during capture does not work for me, maybe this is only for the HDMI input, i have no experience with that sofar, Davinci Resolve can do everything you want in post, before importing your capture in Davinci you can set your project settings in Davinci, and after the import, you can "fit" your captured video within that quiet easily,
and you see the result instantly.
Because my VCR can output progressive over de component outputs, i don't need to de-interlace in Davinci,
which is a paid function in the Studio version, so you can do first a Quicktime ProRes422 "Delivery" with Davinci, and render with a converter of your own choice.
equipment/software used:
UltraStudio Mini Recorder, Intensity Shuttle (Thunderbolt), ADVC-100 (DV/iLink/Firewire), Davinci Resolve 15 free version, Media Express, MacX Video Converter Pro
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Shannara

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Re: --- My (VHS) Video Capture Guide ---

PostMon Oct 01, 2018 3:31 pm

Thank you for this guide!

I have a few VHS tapes from the 90s, and a mini-dv tape of my wedding from 2001. I really, really, need to get them converted to digital.

Thank you for the guide. It points me in the right direction to get this done.

~Shann
Windows 10.0.17134.285 Pro X64 | DaVinci Resolve Studio 15.1.1
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Eric-Jan

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Re: --- My (VHS) Video Capture Guide ---

PostTue Oct 02, 2018 2:53 pm

Thankyou for your praise,
Do you already have some equipment ? VCR/DVR ? do you have still a miniDV camera, does it have a Firewire connection ? do you have a capture device, Mac or Windows pc or laptop ?
equipment/software used:
UltraStudio Mini Recorder, Intensity Shuttle (Thunderbolt), ADVC-100 (DV/iLink/Firewire), Davinci Resolve 15 free version, Media Express, MacX Video Converter Pro
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Shannara

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Re: --- My (VHS) Video Capture Guide ---

PostTue Oct 02, 2018 3:01 pm

Good Morning :)

I think I might have the miniDV camera in a 10 year old box somewhere. It is firewire, and I have (or had) a firewire PCIe card somewhere. I still have the tape though.

I am thinking, I might have to find some sort of player only for VHS and mini-dv and plug it directly into my windows box.
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Re: --- My (VHS) Video Capture Guide ---

PostWed Oct 03, 2018 3:01 pm

A VHS VCR from JVC or Panasonic might be a good choice, some of the later models have a build-in Time Base Corrector, well.... some sort because you can't compair it to a broadcast quality one...
A DVD recorder can also be used, as a passthrough, if it is not a combinaton of VCR & DVD...
if it has also component video output that would be even better, composite and s-video outputs give a foggy smeared image compaired to that.
The Infinity Shuttle USB3 version can only be used with a select choice of USB chip sets/motherboards, (there's a list on the BlackMagic Design website in the Support section.
Don't know if your miniDV camera has a video input....
Davinci Resolve runs on my MacBook Pro (early2015) on a Windows PC/laptop, it needs a fair amount of resources.
With Media Express you can capture compressed to storage in ProRes, which saves CPU resources.
Just a "normal" old VCR will be no good to capture, and to find a good TBC is not an easy task, you should not try to find a TBC, an good VCR would be a better choice, and save a lot of troubles.
the recycle store has often one that can be used, better name the type here, before buying, a PDF manual of it is easy to find online.
equipment/software used:
UltraStudio Mini Recorder, Intensity Shuttle (Thunderbolt), ADVC-100 (DV/iLink/Firewire), Davinci Resolve 15 free version, Media Express, MacX Video Converter Pro
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Piercarlo

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Re: --- My (VHS) Video Capture Guide ---

PostSun Nov 04, 2018 12:17 pm

Great stuff, thank you very much!

I'm on the verge of buying a Blackmagic Instensity Shuttle, but before making up my mind (it's not cheap!) I need to know a couple of things. Hope you can help me.

The reason of my purchase would be converting my old VHS tapes to transport stream (ts) files. I already have a vintage DVD recorder and it coverts my tapes to DVD in decent quality. But the resolution is only 720*576 pixels. I thought about buying a device which can capture in bigger resolution (the aim is 1920*1080) in the hope of getting even better quality. In theory, the quality of a 1920*1080 pixel file is better than a 720*576.

Let's say I buy a Blackmagic Intensity Shuttle. Would I be able to capture VHS videos in 1920*1080 (interlaced, 25 fps) resolution? Is it possible with a Media Express software? Would the quality be better if I use 1920*1080 pixels instead of 720*576?

Any help would be appreciated!
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Jack Fairley

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Re: --- My (VHS) Video Capture Guide ---

PostMon Nov 05, 2018 9:09 pm

Quality won't be better, the source material is not 1920x1080.
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Re: --- My (VHS) Video Capture Guide ---

PostTue Nov 06, 2018 10:57 pm

(VHS is not 1920x1080, only when it is upscaled by a device, but quality=analog PAL/NTSC)
Your tv/screen will scale it to full screen, no need to scale your capture, there will be no difference, it only could make things worse.
see it as a chess board.... enlarge the board, and you will also enlarge the "places" on it.
so transferring to DVD will be just fine for you, because DVD quality is allready higher in quality than VHS,
in fact, capturing (by composite?) could give some losses through the composite video connection(s)
A VHS/DVD combo recorder would be a good choice if you "only" need DVD as end result, DVD recorders will also give the choice of amount of compression.
You could also use these files created,(DVD Recorder/video converter) in a DVD authoring application, to add nice graphical menu's
equipment/software used:
UltraStudio Mini Recorder, Intensity Shuttle (Thunderbolt), ADVC-100 (DV/iLink/Firewire), Davinci Resolve 15 free version, Media Express, MacX Video Converter Pro

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