VHS/8mm Archival File Format and Converter Suggestion

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Randy Moser

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VHS/8mm Archival File Format and Converter Suggestion

PostMon Mar 06, 2017 1:41 am

Using a 4k Pro Intensity on a HPZ800 to capture mostly 8mm and some VHS via compsite. Have about 125 hours to capture of home video needing varying levels of editing that I would like to do at a later date. Just trying to get them in a digital format. From what I have read compressing and de-compressing affects quality quite a bit in the finished product.

I am capturing using Express at NTSC 10-Bit YUV resulting in about 100GB/hour. I am looking to get this number down to around 40GB/hour. I know it is a little overkill, however, I am looking to do this once and not go back.

I have Adobe Premiere Elements so if the settings are there it would be great. If Resolve Lite is a better choice, I have to upgrade my video card. Just wanted to hold off on that unless it is necessary.

If there are any reliable freeware or other reasonable software titles, I am open to them as well.
Last edited by Randy Moser on Tue Mar 07, 2017 3:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Frank Pido

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Re: VHS/8mm Archival File Format and Converter Suggestion

PostMon Mar 06, 2017 11:09 pm

Honestly, i've given up on my IP4K for archiving VHS/8mm. Capturing SD NTSC is not one of the strong features this capture card have. I'm also having audio issues with VHS capture (random clicks). A $50+ ATI 600 USB stick gives me much better results plus it gives me the ability to use a lossless codec as opposed to uncompressed, so smaller file sizes.
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Colin Barrett

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Re: VHS/8mm Archival File Format and Converter Suggestion

PostWed Mar 08, 2017 1:13 pm

Capturing standard definition video from tape-based sources isn't the strong-point of any Blackmagic hardware device, to be honest. My business relies on an ability to perform this task in large volumes and a reliance on Blackmagic conversion hardware alone wouldn't facilitate this despite the impression given by the company in its promotional material.

The file options you have depend on which codecs are installed with your hardware. What are your options?
Blackmagic Teranex 2D, Ultrastudio Express, Intensity Shuttle (Thunderbolt), H.264 Pro Recorder (all Mac OSX) & lots of old VTRs used for digital archiving of legacy video formats for major libraries, broadcasters, universities and public archives.
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Randy Moser

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Re: VHS/8mm Archival File Format and Converter Suggestion

PostThu Mar 09, 2017 4:33 pm

Thank you for the heads up. Are there any prosumer composite capture solutions you could recommend?

I don't mind taking the time with older, used equipment if the price is right. For example, I spent a few months tracking down a good 8mm camcorder to playback the tapes.

I am working with tapes of family members that have passed and some are close to 25 years old. Thankfully, the tapes are in good condition. Thus, I want the results to be as good as I can for a reasonable price.
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Chaz Dole

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Re: VHS/8mm Archival File Format and Converter Suggestion

PostTue May 09, 2017 5:43 am

I'm a bit late- thought I would share my experience, it may or may not be of value.

I am in the same boat, lots of analog VHS, Hi-8, and 8mm tapes to digitize, and how could I capture to the best possible quality before the tapes and equipment fail or are no longer working/available?

I have been using a Hauppauge DVR-1600 mpeg2 hardware encoding card, and it has worked fairly well. No issues with not using a standalone TBC, but my decks (VHS/DV-Sony WV-DR5 [Japan] and 8/Hi-8 Sony EV-S7000) have TBC. Not sure if they are full frame. I did use a prosumer TBC (Videonics MX-1) to test, with some improvement to stability, and a slightly degraded image. Only difference was ability to see video to Intensity while FF video, without TBC pic is black. Will only use it as a last resort. Not going to buy an expensive TBC.

I now have a BM Intensity Pro (not 4k), and have been testing it extensively to see what improvements could be made, if any, to the analog footage. I recently acquired a Toshiba VHS>DVD deck with component and HDMI out. I hoped that the VHS footage would improve, and maybe I could pipe the footage from the Hi-8 deck thru the unit for component captures as well.

My experience is that the BM IP gives a very slight improvement to the clarity when captured thru component, using 8 or 10 bit YUV uncompressed. Did not like the MJPEG captures. However, this clearer picture smoothed out when de-interlaced, to the point that there was hardly a noticeable difference. Less color smearing or anomalies, and a more stable image. Not to say the mpeg2 image was bad, it is quite good. Limited by hardware to 9.5 Mbps. It must automatically de-interlace, no options there.

In fact, WinTV (the capture application that came with the Hauppauge mpeg2 cap card) has no options for proc amp settings in the GUI. When using WinXP, registry hacks were not too difficult, but Win7 has made it more difficult. Quite a bit of fooling around to change the gain or hue, etc. Enter GraphEdit- a program that will let me adjust SOME of the settings on the fly. Quite handy.

Using the Toshiba DVR620 VHS/DVD deck to play the tapes, there were no issues with not having a TBC. (maybe it has something similar?) Very stable images, better than the more expensive DR5. But the 620 has a fatal flaw- the bright whites are washed out. Lowering the video gain via BM Desktop Video Utility did not fix it. It is a problem with the deck. Haven't seen a way to adjust this internally via pots. So it is now a S-Video to component/HDMI converter. Intensity will not see video thru HDMI from the Toshiba, no matter the setting, even though my HDTV sees it just fine. Only paid $50 for the 620, no big deal.

The drawback to the mpeg2 footage is that very rarely I will see compression artifacts for 5-6 frames, but only on quickly changing, demanding scenes. Mostly a problem with fast changing intros to shows, not on normally acquired camcorder footage. This was not a problem the the Intensity card and uncompressed footage.

My conclusion is that I am undecided which card to use. With the Hauppauge I capture to .ts and I'm done. Cuts only edits are a breeze with Avidemux, saving to a new file is quite quick when working with SSDs and raided drives. But part of me wants that extra 5% quality, even if that takes a lot more work and time. I'm still testing and hoping for a breakthrough.
Last edited by Chaz Dole on Fri May 12, 2017 9:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Massimiliano Celindano

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Re: VHS/8mm Archival File Format and Converter Suggestion

PostTue May 09, 2017 9:06 pm

Chaz Dole wrote:Intensity will not see video thru HDMI from the Toshiba, no matter the setting, even though my HDTV sees it just fine. Only paid $50 for the 620, no big deal.


You can always use a cheap HDMI splitter. It works.
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Colin Barrett

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Re: VHS/8mm Archival File Format and Converter Suggestion

PostTue May 09, 2017 9:48 pm

Massimiliano Celindano wrote:
Chaz Dole wrote:Intensity will not see video thru HDMI from the Toshiba, no matter the setting, even though my HDTV sees it just fine. Only paid $50 for the 620, no big deal.


You can always use a cheap HDMI splitter. It works.


Not all of them do - particularly recent ones.It's necessary to do some digging for info in the various forums to find out which ones work. They're getting rarer in my experience.
Blackmagic Teranex 2D, Ultrastudio Express, Intensity Shuttle (Thunderbolt), H.264 Pro Recorder (all Mac OSX) & lots of old VTRs used for digital archiving of legacy video formats for major libraries, broadcasters, universities and public archives.
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Chaz Dole

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Re: VHS/8mm Archival File Format and Converter Suggestion

PostTue May 09, 2017 10:01 pm

Massimiliano Celindano wrote:
Chaz Dole wrote:Intensity will not see video thru HDMI from the Toshiba, no matter the setting, even though my HDTV sees it just fine. Only paid $50 for the 620, no big deal.


You can always use a cheap HDMI splitter. It works.


I had read this mentioned, probably by you in another thread. I tried my HDMI to component converter to no avail. Also have an HDMI switch I tried, no luck. May look into a splitter. Don't want to spend a ton on this process, but willing to invest some. Plus, it's fun buying new toys, I mean tools.

I suppose I should first try to determine that the HDMI output brights will not be blown out as the S-Vid and Components are.

Thanks for the advice/tip. New to forum, been messing with video and editing since 1990, in a prosumer/lower end professional way.
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Chaz Dole

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Re: VHS/8mm Archival File Format and Converter Suggestion

PostTue May 09, 2017 10:31 pm

Hope I am not hijacking your thread, Randy?

Colin Barrett wrote:
Massimiliano Celindano wrote:
Chaz Dole wrote:Intensity will not see video thru HDMI from the Toshiba, no matter the setting, even though my HDTV sees it just fine. Only paid $50 for the 620, no big deal.


You can always use a cheap HDMI splitter. It works.


Not all of them do - particularly recent ones.It's necessary to do some digging for info in the various forums to find out which ones work. They're getting rarer in my experience.


Thanks for the tips. Had been out of video after 2003 until a year ago or so. Lots to learn and catch up on.

Will look into splitters. Will also look into TBCs. Any recommendations? I think I have been lucky so far on my captures to the Hauppauge as far as dropouts, etc. Seems the Intensity may be more finicky about the signal it will accept. More testing to do. Will try video with vertical lines recorded to the VHS deck and played back to see how good the built-in "TBC" is. There is a shift to the left at the top right part of the screen. Basically flagging, but it is stable, not wavering.

Not doing this in a professional capacity, but would like the best results possible without spending a ton of money. I have 50-60 tapes of between 1 and 2 hours each.

As of now, I have found the Sony WV-DR5 S-Vid out, captured to 8bit YUV to be the best quality/size combo. Somewhere around 70 GB/hour. Non critical material will probably be converted to mp4 for archiving. Even less critical stuff captured via Hauppauge to Mpeg2. The rest I will capture and keep as the 8 bit uncompressed. Any reason to use 10 bit YUV or RGB?

Boy, the noise in VHS is horrible. Glad to have Neat Video plugin and all the other tools to pretty up the image.
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Colin Barrett

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Re: VHS/8mm Archival File Format and Converter Suggestion

PostWed May 10, 2017 11:44 am

In years gone by I've used Haulage and Pinnacle devices and they're very forgiving of loose timebase but the problem is that the capture quality isn't what I'd call "broadcast quality" due to compression being pretty heavy. The Intensity Shuttle produces very good output when it's working properly but as we've said many times it really does require a "broadcast quality" SD input first - and that requires good timebase corrector reclocking before giving the Shuttle its input. Like all BM capture products it's very, very finicky about inputs. I know from bitter experience!

As for 10-bit versus 8-bit capture, I wouldn't really worry about 10-bit because of the low resolution source from VHS. 10-bit YUV etc gives you the advantage of having access to a 10-bit 422 colour space which is really useful when grading and so on, but you can easily get by on 8-bit codecs for VHS. You won't see any difference at all.
Blackmagic Teranex 2D, Ultrastudio Express, Intensity Shuttle (Thunderbolt), H.264 Pro Recorder (all Mac OSX) & lots of old VTRs used for digital archiving of legacy video formats for major libraries, broadcasters, universities and public archives.
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Massimiliano Celindano

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Re: VHS/8mm Archival File Format and Converter Suggestion

PostWed May 10, 2017 12:58 pm

That's the splitter I have. It works indifferently with Pana or Sony DVD recorder. It's useful to bypass the HDCP signal coming through HDMI. I have noticed that there are a lot of brands for the same product out there, but the substance won't change.

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Chaz Dole

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Re: VHS/8mm Archival File Format and Converter Suggestion

PostThu May 11, 2017 8:26 am

Wow, some of these splitters ARE cheap. So, you split the signal from the source video machine, send one feed to the HDTV, and the other to the BM capture card? Then the equipment gets the proper HDCP handshake to allow video thru? Makes sense. Or does it strip the data? From what I have read, the cheap,1.3 ones are more likely to work, maybe. Prob best to buy locally with generous return policy.

Question- Do these splitters degrade the signal at all? Seems like they shouldn't if the signal is all digital.

Could be a moot point though, when viewing video from the DVD player via HDMI to TV the brights are washing out, same as component, composite, and S-Vid out. Seems like a contrast problem, not adjustable. Almost acts like the old 75 ohm switch decks used to have. When viewing the levels in Resolve the peaks almost shot up and charred my ceiling.

Really acts like an electronic issue with the deck, which is getting a bit off topic. A lot of that stuff used to be adjustable on the better decks, and Sony decks via LANC remote changing of nonvolatile RAM values. I have the service manual for the Toshiba, didn't see anything adjustable except control heads, tracking, and SW position. May be time to get out the soldering iron and a few resistors.....

To OP: I would recommend S-Video dubbing at a minimum, composite has horrible quality.

Thanks to all for the tips, will probably get the splitter, just to mess around.
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Colin Barrett

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Re: VHS/8mm Archival File Format and Converter Suggestion

PostThu May 11, 2017 9:04 am

The splitter pictured is a generic version of many branded products, all of which are made in the same Chinese factory. There's a 4x1 version of that one which - I've been told - strips HDCP on the 4th output only. Some later models don't strip HDCP at all, so that's why I mentioned above that you have to be careful when choosing a splitter.
Blackmagic Teranex 2D, Ultrastudio Express, Intensity Shuttle (Thunderbolt), H.264 Pro Recorder (all Mac OSX) & lots of old VTRs used for digital archiving of legacy video formats for major libraries, broadcasters, universities and public archives.
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Massimiliano Celindano

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Re: VHS/8mm Archival File Format and Converter Suggestion

PostThu May 11, 2017 2:36 pm

I agree with Colin, just pay attention to what you're getting. As far as I'm concerned I have no degradation at all. I split the signal from the source (Pana DVD recorder) and send it to the IP4K since I have no HDTV at hand. Honestly I don't know how the splitter manages the HDCP signal but you know, as long as it works!!!
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Re: VHS/8mm Archival File Format and Converter Suggestion

PostFri May 12, 2017 12:29 am

Found what appears to be the same unit, branded as a "CKITZE BG-520 HDMI 1x2 3D splitter v1.3 HDCP." Ordered, to be delivered next Wed. Will let you know how/if it works. According to the info on the for sale site, the LEDs are red if no HDCP, blue with. Not an issue if it blocks commercial tapes and discs, I just want home recordings to flow into the IP via HDMI. The less A/D, D/A conversions the better.

In a previous post I mentioned the Toshiba DVR620ku's bright image blowout problem, and how the composite, S-Vid, and HDMI all showed it. Further tests show the composite to have the least amount, then HDMI, then S-Vid and component. The S-vid out is pretty much useless for any decent copying, as are the component and HDMI. Composite would work, as a last resort. My Sony VHS deck has higher levels from the S-Vid out than composite, but it is at an acceptable level. Will dig into the 620's deck's electronics to see if I can fix it. Or fix it so it can't be fixed, if I'm not careful! If an internal VHS to DVD copy doesn't exhibit the blowout, I will know the issue is after the DVD board.

Also found a Philips DVDR3475 DVD recorder deck on the bay for $22.88 shipped. Snapped that up. DVD drive won't recognize discs, but powers on. No remote. Had read in one of these threads that this unit had pass thru equal to the DVR3575, which is supposed to be quite good, according to this post: https://forum.videohelp.com/threads/343458-DVD-Recorder-to-use-as-a-pass-thru-TBC-Need-HELP#post2140331 Will follow up with results.
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Re: VHS/8mm Archival File Format and Converter Suggestion

PostSun May 14, 2017 12:38 pm

Randy Moser wrote:
I have Adobe Premiere Elements so if the settings are there it would be great. If Resolve Lite is a better choice, I have to upgrade my video card. Just wanted to hold off on that unless it is necessary.


I tried Resolve Lite for capturing with my Intensity Pro, and there were LESS capture choices, at least for SD NTSC stuff. I usually use Sony vidcap60, which came with my editing software. But BM Media Express works OK also. With BM ME I get choices of YUV 8 and 10-bit, 10-bit RGB, DPX 10-bit RGB, and BM MJPEG. Resolve just seems so cumbersome for capturing.

The Philips DVDR-3475 arrived yesterday. Early tests show pass thru output not as "hot" as the Toshiba. Defective DVD drive in the 3475 not fixed by cleaning or adjusting pots on the lasers. I suspect possible cold solder joints on one of the ribbon cables. Not really worth fooling with. It hunts for a disc, whether one is inserted or not. After about a minute and a half, I get a disc read error message, which goes away after 10 sec. or so. I can then use the deck for pass-thru. I ended up pulling the drive, which cut the time down to 24 sec. It may work well to steady some of the footage. I do have the MX-1 if needed, but it seems to add a bit of crosshatch noise. It does tame the hot spots that were blowing out. Not sure how, as there are no proc amp controls on it. Perhaps it just brings things closer to spec. Guess I shouldn't have sold my dual trace o-scope.

I wonder if the DVD burn settings (I.E. XP, SP, SLP, etc.) on the DVD recorders have an effect on pass thru? Looks like more tests needed. I may never get a minute captured at this rate. Sheesh, it's not like the footage is being blown up to 35mm.

Seems there is no perfect choice or method. (in my price range)

HDMI splitter is due here Monday, will see if HDMI caps of VHS footage look any better than the S-Vid and components ones. Again, thanks for that tip.

I have a lot of respect for those of you that do this professionally. Some dropped frames or whatnot are no big deal when you are doing it for personal use, but I suspect clients wouldn't be as forgiving.
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Massimiliano Celindano

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Re: VHS/8mm Archival File Format and Converter Suggestion

PostSun May 14, 2017 3:10 pm

Chaz Dole wrote:I tried Resolve Lite for capturing with my Intensity Pro, and there were LESS capture choices, at least for SD NTSC stuff. I usually use Sony vidcap60, which came with my editing software. But BM Media Express works OK also. With BM ME I get choices of YUV 8 and 10-bit, 10-bit RGB, DPX 10-bit RGB, and BM MJPEG. Resolve just seems so cumbersome for capturing.


Depending on the space at your disposal, I would suggest captuirng in YUV 10 bit for archival purposes

Chaz Dole wrote:I wonder if the DVD burn settings (I.E. XP, SP, SLP, etc.) on the DVD recorders have an effect on pass thru? Looks like more tests needed. I may never get a minute captured at this rate. Sheesh, it's not like the footage is being blown up to 35mm.


I assume that DVD/HDD burn quality settings won't have any effect on passthrough

Chaz Dole wrote:HDMI splitter is due here Monday, will see if HDMI caps of VHS footage look any better than the S-Vid and components ones. Again, thanks for that tip.


Great, let us know.
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Re: VHS/8mm Archival File Format and Converter Suggestion

PostSun May 14, 2017 8:46 pm

Massimiliano Celindano wrote:
Depending on the space at your disposal, I would suggest capturing in YUV 10 bit for archival purposes


I may use 10-bit for some of the Hi-8 stuff. Looks like it takes about 24 GB/hour more space than 8-bit, 94 vs. 70. I went thru various file types and calculated the space needed and made a list. I had some Super 8mm film from the '60s and early '70s scanned at 2k last year, and had it delivered on DPX. The 35:15 @ 18fps file is 452GB.

If my math is correct, the files sizes for 720 by 480/486 including 2 channel stereo audio worked out to:

Mpeg2 @ 9.5 Mbps/s- 4 GB/Hr (Hauppauge hardware encoder card. This is max rate for card)
BM Mjpeg- 16 GB/Hr
8-bit YUV- 70 GB/Hr
10-bit YUV- 94 GB/Hr
10-bit RGB- 150 GB/Hr

Then there is the "What is the best archival media?" issue. Not sure I trust a solitary hard drive or burned DVD/Bluray. One glitch and the entire file is gone, at least without great expense to recover. At least with videotape, if a section of tape is unreadable, the rest might be OK. I imagine multiple backups, on different media, refreshed every 5 years or so, would be one method. There are expensive tape backup solutions, but the drives are a bit expensive, so I won't go that route. There are companies that will create a backup on this tape for a fee.

Will probably burn to 2 copies of different brands of bluray, and a hard drive. I understand burning at the slowest speed to be better as well. Other ideas welcome.
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Colin Barrett

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Re: VHS/8mm Archival File Format and Converter Suggestion

PostMon May 15, 2017 7:58 am

The rule with archival media of any description is that you should always have at least two copies of any one file - and stored in two different locations. For the professional-level digitising and archiving that I undertake for media libraries, archives and broadcasters we capture to a local drive (attached to a given workstation). These files are backed up daily to a master drive which itself is cloned every other day to a secondary "B" drive which is stored offsite.

Professional film and video archives usually store on Nearside storage locally during a capture operation, but then transfer media either to ODA (Optical Disc Archive) LTO data tapes, hard drives or - more commonly - Cloud storage solutions. Given that we're currently undertaking a large digitisation contract for a European broadcaster, we'll be writing to ODA and backing up to LTO-7 with LTO tapes being stored offsite. We would like to use Cloud, but we don't have the connectivity to be uploading many hours of 10-bit uncompressed content each night so we have to stay with "hard" solutions for the time being.

So my suggestion to you would be to write your captured files to hard drive and then clone the whole content to a secondary hard drive which is stored elsewhere. That's the very least you should be doing.
Blackmagic Teranex 2D, Ultrastudio Express, Intensity Shuttle (Thunderbolt), H.264 Pro Recorder (all Mac OSX) & lots of old VTRs used for digital archiving of legacy video formats for major libraries, broadcasters, universities and public archives.
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Re: VHS/8mm Archival File Format and Converter Suggestion

PostMon May 15, 2017 10:14 pm

Thanks for all that info Colin. Much food for thought. Great to hear how someone in the business handles things. Appreciate your generosity to share your experience. This is a rare forum where people are civil and helpful, without insults and condescension.

At this point I will make a log of the footage to be captured, lengths, priority, importance/value, etc., and then decide as to the best capture method. This will determine in part the media used for the archiving. Not sure I want to split apart a 150 GB file to burn to 7 separate 25 GB blurays with an actual size of 23.28+/- GB.

The recommendation to backup to 2 different hard drives in different locations sounds like a good plan. I will probably still backup the mpeg2 or x264 stuff to some good blurays. I have had good luck with Verbatim, but have been using the less expensive LTH types. Apparently there are specific discs made in certain factories that have the best record of reliability. Unfortunately you have to pop the disc into a computer and read the info with a program like Imgburn to find this out. Fortunately there are those who have done this and share that info.

The "crosshatch noise" I mentioned as having been caused by my consumer grade MX-1 TBC was in fact caused by a wonky S-Vid cable. Doing tests now to see what effect the unit does have on image quality. I like that it seems to bring footage to what I suspect are more legal levels.

Does anyone know if the scopes in Resolve are accurate, as compared to a real o-scope. If they are I will start bringing footage into that program for levels analysis.
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Re: VHS/8mm Archival File Format and Converter Suggestion

PostFri May 19, 2017 5:05 am

The "magic splitter" arrived and works to allow the import of footage into the Intensity Pro via HDMI. Very cool. LEDs stayed blue, no matter the footage. I had read they changed color depending on HDCP. Maybe the deck always puts out HDCP. Will try camcorder's HDMI out, IP captures that with no splitter. The 26" (66 cm) cord on the power supply could have been longer.

IP has still been a bit fussy with HDMI input, green screening sometimes when selecting input rez, requiring a power shutdown of the computer. Takes a little longer to lock on to the video signal than analog inputs. Quality appears the same as from component input, maybe a bit WORSE, at least using VHS footage. I thought the tape deck would use one less digital conversion when outputting to HDMI, not sure that is the case, at least for my deck. Only tried it with the Toshiba deck, did not test the Sony DVD recorder's pass thru.

Another drawback to HDMI capture is no procamp control via BM Desktop Video Utility, so I won't be using it for the tape archiving, as brights were still blowing out a bit.

In the end, I decided to feed the footage straight into the Intensity from the S-Vid of the tape decks, unless frame dropping or audio sync issues show up. Feeding it thru a DVD recorder that had
component out yields a very slight rez gain, but at the expense of blown out highlights, although it did stabilize the signal.

So far the TBC hasn't been necessary, but will add to the mix if needed, as it adds a bit of noise.

Picked up a used Avermedia CO27 capture card locally, as I had heard it did hardware mpeg4 encoding on the fly. Not true, although their website doesn't mention this. Nor did it mention max encoding rates, progressive capture only, or other important items. It will do mpeg2 hardware encoding, and at a higher data rate than my Hauppauge card, so I was hopeful for less macroblocking, but it has a fatal flaw of only capturing and encoding mpeg2 to progressive. So any movement is blurry and useless. It appears to blend the 2 fields. No choice of interlace in menus. Perhaps there are virtualdub hacks, but I don't want to mess with that.

It does a good job capturing interlaced uncompressed, but seems to capture only 10-bit RGB, for HUGE file sizes. Again, few choices on capture format. Pulled the card from my main computer, may pop it into the spare one I use occasionally, for further testing. Would be nice to have 2 captures going on at the same time. I could do that now on my main computer, but don't want to risk corrupting footage if there is a hiccup.

So, my long, drawn out testing of every conceivable permutation I could think of to extract more quality out of VHS footage (on a budget) has been a bit of a bust. The hoped for increase in quality of component capture didn't materialize. But it was fun, and a learning experience. If I were doing this professionally, even on a small scale, I would invest in a good TBC with procamp controls, as well as an o-scope or waveform monitor. I would also obtain service manuals (have one for the Hi-8 deck) and go thru the playback tape decks and adjust/tweak for correct output.
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Re: VHS/8mm Archival File Format and Converter Suggestion

PostSun May 21, 2017 9:07 am

Well, put me in the "need a TBC for Intensity Pro capture from VHS" club.

I was capturing an 18 year old VHS tape containing a copy of a one hour program I produced in 1999, with footage from Russia, originally shot on a consumer VHS-C camcorder, captured using a Miro/Pinnacle DC10 mjpeg card, edited with Ulead MediaStudio Pro, and dumped to an old circa 1980s Panasonic U-matic 3/4" deck I had at the time. 3/4" was the format required by the local cable access station that broadcast the program.

This deck was marginal, probably needed new heads, but at over $300 just for the heads, that wasn't going to happen, not for the limited use I was giving it. The program aired with no issues.

So I captured the video via S-Video to the Intensity Pro, and at a point midway in the tape the audio freaked out and began crackling and buzzing, and was basically gone. Apparently there were some sync errors at that point on the tape. Even though the video was fine after the glitch. Running the footage thru a consumer grade TBC (MX-1) corrected the issue.

So it looks like I will be using a TBC for all VHS captures to the IP from now on. Looking at a Sony MPU-F100a on the bay for next to nothing, may give it a try. Not the best reviews from what I have read, but it has procamp controls, so I will probably give it a shot. Hopefully it corrects more problems than it creates.

I don't think my Sony WV-DR5 Japan only import has a TBC, as I had thought. Too much wavering of titles and vertical lines. The pass thru output from DVD recorders is rock solid, but as mentioned previously blows out the whites.

Now I remember why I use the Sony/Magix Movie Studio Platinum program to capture- the BM Media Express captured audio, even though listed as PCM, is not recognized by the MSP edit software. When captured with MSP it is.
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Chaz Dole

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Re: VHS/8mm Archival File Format and Converter Suggestion

PostMon May 29, 2017 1:13 pm

The Sony MPU-F100 TBC (frame store) arrived sat., 3 days early. Quite the rugged machine.

Pass thru doesn't add any unwanted artifacts, color shift, etc. Just the faintest, barely detectable rez loss, and only with test patterns and a scope. Unlike the MX-1, which added a yellowish hue, noticeable rez loss, and no proc amp controls.
Proc amp control pots clean, no noise. Precise control of hue, color, video, and set up.
S-Vid in and out good. Component in doesn't work properly. Not a huge deal, considering I paid $32.99 shipped. Not sure how much of a quality gain I would get with component vs. S-Vid.
Composite input good. Composite and component out have crosshatching, not cable related.
Has pass thru when turned off. Very nice not to have to yank cables when not using.
Intensity likes the signal it gets from the unit, even when FF/RW/paused.
I suspect bad capacitors causing input and crosshatch issues. Going to leave as-is, risky to tear apart and repair.

Ended up using the scope feature in an old program I have kept, Ulead MediaStudio Pro8. Development stopped on it in 2006, but I managed to get it working on Win7 with some swapping of files from newer programs.

MSP8 has a nice "Color Calibration" feature which has scopes for composite, chroma, luma, and parade. It only works with files on the timeline. Less troublesome to use it's scopes than Resolve, which is very finicky about which types of files it will import. Not a huge resolve fan, but it's color correcting features are hard to beat.

Ideal method would be a scope from the TBC to live monitor the signal, but you can't have everything when you are on a budget. Not sure if Resolve Lite does that, haven't tried.

I feel like I am back in the 1990s with all of these tape decks and such.
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Colin Barrett

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Re: VHS/8mm Archival File Format and Converter Suggestion

PostMon May 29, 2017 9:21 pm

Chaz Dole wrote:I feel like I am back in the 1990s with all of these tape decks and such.


The 1990s are like yesterday. I have two VTRs dating from 1968 and two from 1971 as well as many others from the intervening years! :)
Blackmagic Teranex 2D, Ultrastudio Express, Intensity Shuttle (Thunderbolt), H.264 Pro Recorder (all Mac OSX) & lots of old VTRs used for digital archiving of legacy video formats for major libraries, broadcasters, universities and public archives.
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Jake Melon

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Re: VHS/8mm Archival File Format and Converter Suggestion

PostWed May 31, 2017 1:51 pm

Hi All,

There is alot of various computer software/hardware combinations posted in this thread but what would be the best combination to convert maybe 20 hi8 tapes on a budget of lets say $200 (not including the playback device). These were all recorded long time ago on a semi-pro Sony VX-3 I believe.

Obviously at that price point using TBCs would be out of the question and I don't care about getting broadcast quality out of these tapes.

In terms of source playback, what would be a good choice? would any hi8 camera with s-video out suffice?

I would prefer to tackle the conversion of my own, I actually paid someone to do the conversion few years back and the DVDs they sent were of horrible quality. Every DVD I got was in mono, while the source tapes were all in stereo, and the volume on the DVDs was so low that even at full volume you could barely hear anything. When playing the tapes directly none of these issues are present.

thanks
Jake
1994: Amiga 3000, WarpEngine 68040 @ 40mhz, 32mb RAM, 660mb HD, DCTV, VLAB, MovieShop, Lightwave

2017: Thinkstation C30, 2 x Intel E5-2667 @ 2.90 ghz, 64gb RAM, AMD Radeon Pro WX 7100 8gb, m2 Samsung SSD 960 Pro 1TB, DaVinci Resolve 12.5 Studio
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Chaz Dole

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Re: VHS/8mm Archival File Format and Converter Suggestion

PostThu Jun 01, 2017 3:26 am

You might get by OK using a Hi-8 camera as a source deck, but at this point most will probably be pretty old. I'm thinking the newest ones would be the Hi-8/Digital-8 units built by Sony. I expect you could get one pretty cheaply if you shop around and do your homework.

It really depends on the particular unit as to how well it will play back your tapes. Also, it depends on the capture card you use as to how tolerant it will be to imperfections in the signal that it will accept. It would be ideal if you could test the playback machine with one of your least valuable old tapes prior to buying.

I am currently on a quest for the best quality I can get from old tapes, also on a budget. You might be surprised at how much of that old gear you can get for $200. I've recently bought a VHS/DVD recorder, DVD recorder, TBC, and capture card, and have spent less than $200.

Some of the stuff I bought I won't use for the digitizing project, some I will. I already had an Intensity Pro for capture, I bought the other cap card as I thought it did h264 hardware caps; it doesn't. Still may use it for other things.

Good luck, and perhaps others more knowledgeable than I will add their thoughts.
Last edited by Chaz Dole on Thu Jun 01, 2017 3:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Chaz Dole

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Re: VHS/8mm Archival File Format and Converter Suggestion

PostThu Jun 01, 2017 3:47 am

In other news, the Sony MPU-F100 TBC that I thought the component in was not working IS working. Operator error- hooked up wrong. For some reason I was thinking its inputs/outputs were like the Intensity dongle, with the composite signal doubling as the Y signal. No no no.

A pair of thicker reading glasses put things in order, but I never was very good at reading upside down.

So, tests have shown an improvement in image quality when sending VHS from the deck's component output into the TBC vs. S-Vid, as expected/hoped for, but from TBC to Intensity S-Vid is better. Doesn't seem right, perhaps my TBC's issue, but I will go with this setup. Blown out whites a lesser issue thru the new (to me) TBC.

Hopefully I won't have to go thru all this again when I switch to the Hi-8 deck and tapes. Fortunately/unfortunately the Hi-8 deck only has composite and S-Vid out, so that will eliminate most of the agonizing decisions and testing.

I really envy those of you that have your equipment and methods down pat.
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Chaz Dole

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Re: VHS/8mm Archival File Format and Converter Suggestion

PostThu Jun 01, 2017 3:49 am

Colin Barrett wrote:
The 1990s are like yesterday. I have two VTRs dating from 1968 and two from 1971 as well as many others from the intervening years! :)


Very cool. Must be a challenge keeping them operational!
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Chaz Dole

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Re: VHS/8mm Archival File Format and Converter Suggestion

PostThu Jun 01, 2017 1:41 pm

The DaVinci Resolve Lite scopes DO work on live input, which is great news. Not used to the 0-1023, 0-100 would be nice. Might be buried in one of the 3,437 settings.

Can barely see the spots in the vectorscope. Still, will be useful to have a way to measure the signal prior to capture.

Scopes show component in has better rez than S-Vid, but my eyes say the S-Vid looks better. Might make up some short 75 ohm coax cables and/or reroute to see if I can eliminate some of the noise, but I suspect some of it is from the deck or TBC.

Mind you I don't have a good grading monitor, just using a 32" HDTV, fed by the Intensity component. I have been using the old "Video Essentials" DVD for test patterns, as well as others found on the net.
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Chaz Dole

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Re: VHS/8mm Archival File Format and Converter Suggestion

PostThu Jun 15, 2017 5:30 pm

Came across an interesting free program- AmaRecTV, which allows recording to x264 and Lagarith lossless codecs using an Intensity Pro card. HuffYUV did not show up in AmaRecTV.

It also allows mapping of the audio from other inputs, so that can save cable swapping if you have multiple capture cards installed on your computer, as I do.

Testing VHS footage captured with Lagarith vs. BM 8 bit 422, my eyes and (software) scope saw no difference.

Lagarith captures (thru IP) 720 by 488 and is 54.7Mbps with 48kHz stereo audio, as opposed to BM 8 bit uncompressed w/audio at 169Mbps.

This results in a file size of about 25GB/hr for the AmaRecTV, and 76GB/hr for BM 8 bit.

A drawback is that DaVinci Resolve will not see the Lagarith codec (at least not on my machine), so if you need the power of Resolve for your color correcting you would have to capture to the BM 8/10 bit/whatever codec.

Another nice thing is that one can capture mp4/AVC thru the Intensity for those tapes that are less important. At a 10 Mbps rate I get no macroblocking artifacts, where I did have them using the Hauppauge hardware mpeg2 card, which was limited to 9.5Mbps. Software compressing not an issue, at least not for the SD and data rates I have used.

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