VHS Capture settings on Media Express w/Intensity Shuttle

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Matt McLaughlin

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VHS Capture settings on Media Express w/Intensity Shuttle

PostFri Jun 17, 2016 5:31 am

Hi - I'm using the BlackMagic Intensity Shuttle to rip VHS cassettes for DVD production and my responsibility is to hand off the highest quality capture of the VHS tapes to a boutique production company who are going to adjust sound and video quality. They have requested the following codec

Apple ProRes 422 HQ (pref'd) or Apple ProRes 422, 1080, or HD size - just make it bigger than 720.

What settings should I use in the Preferences?

Project Video Format:
NTSC - works
NTSC 23.98 - works
PAL
NTSC Progressive
PAL Progressive
---------
1080p23.98
1080p24
1080p25
1080p29.97
1080p30
1080i50
1080i59.94
1080i60
720p50
720p94
720p60

of which only the first two work - the rest all display a black capture window. What should I select?

Also what Capture File Format is best for quality? The options are:

Quicktime Uncompressed 8-bit YUV
Quicktime Uncompressed 10-bit YUV
Quicktime Uncompressed 10-bit RGB
DPX 10-bit RGB

Would a third-party program be able to capture at the requested Apple ProRes 422HQ? I read that FinalCut Pro can capture this format. Is that an option?

Any help is appreciated - thank you!
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Marc Wielage

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Re: VHS Capture settings on Media Express w/Intensity Shuttl

PostSat Jun 18, 2016 3:42 am

Note you'll get better performance if you go through a time-base corrector from the VHS deck. If the VHS recording is too unstable, it'll cause glitches and mutes on the new file.

I find 720x480 422 works fine as a capture format. I personally think 422HQ is way, way overkill for VHS or 3/4". I might use HQ for 1". All these are 8-bit analog formats of dubious quality at best, so 444 or 10-bit won't buy you anything. To me, the key is getting the best possible playback machine, preferably one with a built-in TBC.
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Colin Barrett

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Re: VHS Capture settings on Media Express w/Intensity Shuttl

PostSun Jun 19, 2016 6:59 pm

I'll go further - it's essential to TBC the footage from the VHS player otherwise the Shuttle will simply reject the signal. I put a Shuttle into a system to capture from a JVC BR-820 VHS VCR (arguably the best VHS recorder ever made) and every time there was a drop in playback sync or even a colour-framing error on a cut the Shuttle crashed out. None of Blackmagic's analogue video capture devices (I have a few, including Teranex 2D) can cope with non-synchronous composite or component inputs. A broadcast-grade TBC is essential.

FWITW, I don't use ProRes422 [HQ] unless the client requests it. Most of the time the basic ProRes422 codec is perfectly adequate and as Marc says anything more is overkill that just uses up disc drive space!
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Uli Plank

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Re: VHS Capture settings on Media Express w/Intensity Shuttl

PostMon Jun 20, 2016 4:08 pm

I second all of this. There was an excellent S-VHS machine by Panasonic, the 9xx series, a massive beast with TBC. You should still find them second hand and they are really sturdy.
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Massimiliano Celindano

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Re: VHS Capture settings on Media Express w/Intensity Shuttl

PostMon Jun 20, 2016 7:41 pm

Colin and Marc are right. Besides, you can capture from analog decks (eg. VHS, Betamax, U-matic, VCR, etc.) using a DVD recorder like Panasonic DMR-ES or EH series (you can easily find out on ebay) as TBC/FS passthrough. The results achieved are quite impressive.
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Colin Barrett

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Re: VHS Capture settings on Media Express w/Intensity Shuttl

PostMon Jun 20, 2016 8:08 pm

Yes, that's a good suggestion. I did once do this as an "emergency" option when I was at home and needed to capture some S-VHS material to H.264 using the H264 Pro Recorder and by routing the signals through a Sony HDD/DVD Recorder on passthrough the Pro Recorder didn't drop any frames or drop out of convert mode. So this is a practical alternative when all else fails.
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Massimiliano Celindano

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Re: VHS Capture settings on Media Express w/Intensity Shuttl

PostMon Jun 20, 2016 8:23 pm

That's right. You can also take the HDMI output from the DVD Recorder and feed it into the HDMI input of the Intensity Shuttle through a cheap HDMI splitter and the job is done! No drops and no audio/video sync problems!
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Marc Wielage

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Re: VHS Capture settings on Media Express w/Intensity Shuttl

PostTue Jun 21, 2016 4:48 am

Colin Barrett wrote:I'll go further - it's essential to TBC the footage from the VHS player otherwise the Shuttle will simply reject the signal. I put a Shuttle into a system to capture from a JVC BR-820 VHS VCR (arguably the best VHS recorder ever made) and every time there was a drop in playback sync or even a colour-framing error on a cut the Shuttle crashed out.

Yes to everything Colin says. I'm a huge fan of the JVC BR-S822, and in many ways that was the best VHS deck ever made. The only drawback is that it will not play back LP or EP recordings, only SP.

I wouldn't single out Blackmagic: many video capture cards balk at the glitches that happen with analog material like VHS or Betamax.

Uli Plank wrote:I second all of this. There was an excellent S-VHS machine by Panasonic, the 9xx series, a massive beast with TBC. You should still find them second hand and they are really sturdy.

Yes, the Panasonic AG-7750 is essentially their version of the JVC, and it's very good. Panasonic has a handful of cheaper VHS machines that will do LP and EP, but their TBC's are kind of rudimentary.

Coaxing reasonable pictures out of 1/2" videotape these days is really, really tough.
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Colin Barrett

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Re: VHS Capture settings on Media Express w/Intensity Shuttl

PostTue Jun 21, 2016 9:53 am

Marc Wielage wrote:I'm a huge fan of the JVC BR-S822, and in many ways that was the best VHS deck ever made. The only drawback is that it will not play back LP or EP recordings, only SP.


Yes, the BR-S822E is the one I have! I wasn't near the machine when I posted. Unfortunately, mine didn't come with the optional TBC card so, when needed, it's routed through a Snell & Wilcox Kudos TBC11. It's supposed to accept the smaller VHS-C cassettes too but for some reason complains bitterly and spits them out.

I have several other pro-quality VHS machines that can handle LP recordings, but the BR-S822 has RS-422 9-pin serial control which is a very handy.
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Re: VHS Capture settings on Media Express w/Intensity Shuttl

PostTue Jun 21, 2016 2:50 pm

How well does the New Intensity 4K fair, as opposed to the TBC in a VHS deck or a standalone?
BM lists the Intensity 4K as, "it includes a professional, broadcast grade time base corrector".
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Massimiliano Celindano

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Re: VHS Capture settings on Media Express w/Intensity Shuttl

PostTue Jun 21, 2016 5:58 pm

Thomas Fowler wrote:How well does the New Intensity 4K fair, as opposed to the TBC in a VHS deck or a standalone?
BM lists the Intensity 4K as, "it includes a professional, broadcast grade time base corrector".


No way Thomas, forget it. You must use a full-frame TBC or, at least, a DVD recorder with TBC passthrough ability.
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Re: VHS Capture settings on Media Express w/Intensity Shuttl

PostTue Jun 21, 2016 9:28 pm

Thomas Fowler wrote:How well does the New Intensity 4K fair, as opposed to the TBC in a VHS deck or a standalone?
BM lists the Intensity 4K as, "it includes a professional, broadcast grade time base corrector".


I don't believe it, to be honest. This is one area that BM is very weak on. All BM A-D capture tools that I have come with the claim that all you have to do is hook up a VTR and start digitising in your desired file format, but in each case I have always had to process signals before they're given to the device. You'd think this was possible with a Teranex, but nope. Even an SD input to my Teranex 2D has to be TBC'd first otherwise the device will reject it out of hand.
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Re: VHS Capture settings on Media Express w/Intensity Shuttl

PostTue Jun 21, 2016 10:16 pm

Whilst not as good as a professional TBC, the IP4K does work better than other BM cards that we've tested. We found that we could capture in tapes that wouldn't work on other BM products, but as always it depends on how degraded the tapes are
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Re: VHS Capture settings on Media Express w/Intensity Shuttl

PostTue Jun 21, 2016 11:34 pm

Avid DS has a "damm the torpedo's" mode and will capture anything you feed into the Aja card, includeing non-sync, rolls, and hash... no matter how bad, or even non-existant the incomeing source is, the software wil keep on recording what is arriveing at the input to the Aja card.. very usefull when even the best TBC throws it hands up in dispair
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Re: VHS Capture settings on Media Express w/Intensity Shuttl

PostWed Jun 22, 2016 3:39 am

Dermot Shane wrote:Avid DS has a "damm the torpedo's" mode and will capture anything you feed into the Aja card, includeing non-sync, rolls, and hash... no matter how bad, or even non-existant the incomeing source is, the software wil keep on recording what is arriveing at the input to the Aja card.. very usefull when even the best TBC throws it hands up in dispair

That is very handy to have.
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Colin Barrett

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Re: VHS Capture settings on Media Express w/Intensity Shuttl

PostWed Jun 22, 2016 7:43 am

Adam Simmons wrote:Whilst not as good as a professional TBC, the IP4K does work better than other BM cards that we've tested. We found that we could capture in tapes that wouldn't work on other BM products, but as always it depends on how degraded the tapes are


The really big problem - and the one that annoys me the most - is where a camera operator shooting DVCAM, DVCPro, BetaSP or whatever - didn't provide continuous timecode due to clean breaks in the recording. This makes it impossible to Log & Capture or even to capture in a single pass. A broadcast-grade TBC is the only solution to the latter problem.

That said, I'd be interested to see the IP4K in action.
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Matt McLaughlin

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Re: VHS Capture settings on Media Express w/Intensity Shuttl

PostThu Jun 23, 2016 4:22 am

While most appreciated, really not what I was hoping to hear. I just got a new S Video VHS in the mail today and I've got to figure the JVC HR-S3800U doesn't have TBC cuz the video capture flickers from the picture to black screen. Was really hoping to not have to get another piece of hardware between the VHS and the BlackMagic Shuttle. Kind of the purpose for getting the shuttle entirely. I have to assume I'd need Final Cut to rip to Apple Pro Res too since it's not offered in the BM Media Express software as a capture option.

Madre MIO. Thanks anyhow everyone!
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Colin Barrett

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Re: VHS Capture settings on Media Express w/Intensity Shuttl

PostFri Jun 24, 2016 3:46 pm

This is something I've posted about often here. It's Blackmagic's fault; they give the impression that you simply plug in a composite analogue signal and off you go with no mention of the need for a properly timed video input signal. Clearly, lots of people have been caught out by this.

If I were you I'd have a look at buying a cheap broadcast-grade TBC from eBay. Alternatively, buy a HDD/DVD recorder and route the composite video (yellow) and stereo audio signals through it first. Chances are that its inbuilt timebase correction function will stabilise the signals for you.
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Re: VHS Capture settings on Media Express w/Intensity Shuttl

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Colin Barrett

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Re: VHS Capture settings on Media Express w/Intensity Shuttl

PostSat Jun 25, 2016 5:51 pm

The VideoHelp page is particularly good - full of useful content. I've worked with video machines and TBCs since the 1970s and even I learned a few things! Thanks for the links.

Colin
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Re: VHS Capture settings on Media Express w/Intensity Shuttl

PostSun Jun 26, 2016 1:24 am

Colin Barrett wrote:This is something I've posted about often here. It's Blackmagic's fault; they give the impression that you simply plug in a composite analogue signal and off you go with no mention of the need for a properly timed video input signal. Clearly, lots of people have been caught out by this.

It's true for AJA and 20 other companies that make capture cards. A lot of companies making cards in the last 5 years have kind of forgotten that bad 1980s/1990s equipment is inherently unstable and is going to cause all kinds of glitches and instabilities, particularly when they can't take external sync or regenerate sync. Analog video is quickly becoming a lost art.
Last edited by Marc Wielage on Sun Jul 03, 2016 1:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: VHS Capture settings on Media Express w/Intensity Shuttl

PostSun Jun 26, 2016 11:04 am

What makes me feel very old is that there are lots of people working in the industry these days who've never used tape - not just analogue video or audio but any kind of tape at all. I spoke to a dubbing mixer working in the same Cardiff (Wales, UK) centre as that which produces BBCTV's Doctor Who who has only known DAWs.

Frightening!
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Re: VHS Capture settings on Media Express w/Intensity Shuttl

PostTue Jun 28, 2016 6:52 am

As long as the "ripped" video is not copyrighted material being recopied for the purpose of creating a black market version, I have an actual analog studio set-up that does amazing quality transfers from analog video sources. Yes you have to start with the right gear, but it is doubtful you can learn all the parameters for optimizing your transfers from the get go.
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Matt McLaughlin

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Re: VHS Capture settings on Media Express w/Intensity Shuttl

PostTue Jun 28, 2016 6:17 pm

Thanks everybody! I appreciate the back up info on the need for TBC - watching the capture I get on the Intensity alone it's obvious that's what it needs. Does anyone capture into Final Cut to get the ApplePro Res capture format? That doesn't seem to be an option capturing to the BlackMagic software. Thanks again!
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Re: VHS Capture settings on Media Express w/Intensity Shuttl

PostTue Jun 28, 2016 10:45 pm

Hi Matt,

You need Apple Pro Video formats installed to capture in Prores, Final Cut unlocks this ability. Once installed, the options will be available in Media Express.

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Re: VHS Capture settings on Media Express w/Intensity Shuttl

PostFri Jul 01, 2016 4:53 pm

If you don't need FCP, just buying Apple's Motion is a cheaper way to get the codecs installed.
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Re: VHS Capture settings on Media Express w/Intensity Shuttl

PostSun Jul 03, 2016 1:39 am

Colin Barrett wrote:What makes me feel very old is that there are lots of people working in the industry these days who've never used tape - not just analogue video or audio but any kind of tape at all.

I'm bummed that there are quite a few colorists out there who have never color-corrected actual film at all. I have worked with editors who are as young as 40 who did start out cutting film in the 1990s and then made the transition to all-electronic editing. But people forget that it was a long and winding road -- there was a point where analog, digital, film, and video all existed at the same time. Hey, I'm just glad that 1080i 23.98 went away. That was a nightmare for mastering, circa 1999-2001.

A couple of close acquaintances of mine did quite a bit of analog HD during the 1990s, and that was absolute madness. I think a large part of that work was all scrapped once digital HD came in by 1998-1999.

VHS is trivial compared to this stuff. I think the best advice for anybody doing this seriously is to rent or buy a BR-S822 and a Panasonic 7750 and just keep those going long enough for the duration of the project. We have successfully captured Betamax with only occasional, momentary problems -- and no TBC -- but we may have been lucky.
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Colin Barrett

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Re: VHS Capture settings on Media Express w/Intensity Shuttl

PostTue Jul 05, 2016 8:50 am

Marc Wielage wrote:I'm bummed that there are quite a few colorists out there who have never color-corrected actual film at all. I have worked with editors who are as young as 40 who did start out cutting film in the 1990s and then made the transition to all-electronic editing. But people forget that it was a long and winding road -- there was a point where analog, digital, film, and video all existed at the same time. Hey, I'm just glad that 1080i 23.98 went away. That was a nightmare for mastering, circa 1999-2001.


I remember assembling 16mm A/B chequerboard rolls and sending them off for "opticals" to be performed. The optical printer (the person rather than the machine) was a real master because he couldn't see what he was doing until the composite was processed! None of this mamby-pamby digital real-time grading stuff like today!! :-)

Marc Wielage wrote:A couple of close acquaintances of mine did quite a bit of analog HD during the 1990s, and that was absolute madness. I think a large part of that work was all scrapped once digital HD came in by 1998-1999.


Yep. I was present at the first European demonstration of Sony's HD video recording on tape - a modified 1" C Format machine. I remember us looking at HD video footage of Mount Fuji and saying "Holy ****, look at those pictures!" It's amazing to think that better quality can now be achieved on an iPhone.

Marc Wielage wrote:We have successfully captured Betamax with only occasional, momentary problems -- and no TBC -- but we may have been lucky.


I'm transferring PAL Betamax to ProRes422 LT right this minute!!
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Re: VHS Capture settings on Media Express w/Intensity Shuttl

PostFri Jan 06, 2017 12:10 am

Does the current Media Express/Intensity Shuttle Thunderbolt version have H.264 encoding?

(Or H.265?) Thats not clear from the documentation and web pages I've reviewed.

Thanks much!
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Re: VHS Capture settings on Media Express w/Intensity Shuttl

PostTue Jan 10, 2017 7:58 am

No it doesn't. You would need to use a 3rd party software that allows to capture in as h264 and a system than can encode in real time
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Colin Barrett

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Re: VHS Capture settings on Media Express w/Intensity Shuttl

PostTue Jan 10, 2017 10:16 am

Ted Langdell wrote:Does the current Media Express/Intensity Shuttle Thunderbolt version have H.264 encoding?

(Or H.265?) Thats not clear from the documentation and web pages I've reviewed.


You'll need something like the Blackmagic H.264 Pro Recorder for that, or you could capture to ProRes422 and then put all the files into software that will batch-encode to H.264. I use MPEG-4 Streamclip (free from http://www.squared5.com) for this because it provides a comprehensive toolset to create H.264 files wrapped in MP4 in a variety of bit-rates.
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Re: VHS Capture settings on Media Express w/Intensity Shuttl

PostTue Oct 31, 2017 9:54 pm

Hi all,
Just started working with a new client who is trying to use a Sony SLV-N55 Video Cassette Player to connect to the Intensity. Thus far I have not been able to get a signal to appear on the computer.

Is it at all possible with this device? If not, any recommendations for a good-quality yet reasonable TBC VHS player with component output that we should purchase?

Thanks.
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Colin Barrett

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Re: VHS Capture settings on Media Express w/Intensity Shuttl

PostMon Nov 06, 2017 1:47 pm

Have a look at some of the previous comments because they point to your best option being a separate standalone TBC rather than a VHS player with what the manufacturer will have claimed to be an "internal TBC". Unless you spend money on a professional-grade VHS recorder/player which has a TBC card inserted, the TBC circuit won't be adequate.
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