Capturing VHS to PC - Nasty flickering

Discussion in 'Amateur Video Production' started by madhobbit, Oct 22, 2005.

  1. madhobbit

    madhobbit Guest

    Hi all,

    As my first foray into desktop video, I'm trying to copy old home
    movies from VHS to my PC, with the end goal of burning them to DVD.
    I've got a TV Tuner/capture card, so I took my VCR, hooked it into the
    capture card, put in a tape, and lo and behold, everything worked
    (after a little fiddling, anyway).

    So I started playing the tape and recording it as an MPEG. Everything
    worked fine for about the first hour. But then, the signal went wonky,
    for lack of a better term. Basically, the signal started to cut in and
    out...I'd get a few frames of video, and then a few frames that were
    just blue (which is what my capture card/software displays when it's
    got no signal). This happens about 2-4 times per second, over a large
    section of the tape (possibly the entire thing from then on).

    I installed the latest drivers for my capture card...same thing, except
    now the bad frames are white, not blue (which is somewhat less visually
    distracting, but the problem's no closer to gone). During these
    sections of the tape, the "good" frames are often a little distorted,
    with portions of the screen near the top and bottom shifted
    horizontally.

    I'd be willing to mark this up to a bad tape (it's a cheap VHS tape,
    that had be recorded on several times, from 1991) except that it plays
    back fine when the VCR is hooked up to a TV. I've tried two VCRs (an
    older Zenith and a newer Sony), with both coaxial and composite output
    (neither of them have S-Video outputs) - the results are identical.

    My capture card is an MSI [email protected] Master 8606, which is apparantly
    based on a Conexant 2388x. I've tried the software that comes with the
    card (Intervideo MSIPVS, and Intervideo WinDVD Creator) as well as
    VirtualDub. Results are consistent - regardless of the software,
    settings, VCR, or cabling, I see exactly the same problem, which leads
    me to believe that there's something about the tape that my TV can deal
    with and my capture card can't.

    The only info I've managed to find online either implies that
    everything should Just Work Perfectly, or that I need various $500+
    widgets to clean up the video signal before it gets to my computer.

    Anyone have any pointers? I'm not willing to spend huge forkfuls of
    money on the problem -- in that case, I'd rather just turn the tapes
    over to someone that already has the equipment and pay them to do it
    for me. I would be willing to replace the MSI capture card if this sort
    of thing is a known problem with it.

    Thanks,
    -- Darryl
     
    madhobbit, Oct 22, 2005
    #1
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  2. madhobbit

    marks542004 Guest

    Just a thought but try recording in smaller length clips.

    Try starting capture just before the section that started dropping out
    frames.

    If either of these works it tends to indicate that your system does not
    have sufficient resources for a long capture.
     
    marks542004, Oct 22, 2005
    #2
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  3. madhobbit

    John Guest

    I don't know about that particular card but after trying four different
    capture cards and getting results like your example (white out, "snow",
    blank screens, etc.) I borrowed a standalone DVD recorder and it made
    perfect DVD copies the first time. You can try borrowing or buying a cheap
    "cyberhome" type dvd recorder and returning it to the store if it doesn't
    make good copies of transferred VHS tapes.
     
    John, Oct 22, 2005
    #3
  4. madhobbit

    madhobbit Guest

    That's actually not a bad idea. I could get one of those for under
    $200, and I could always transfer the DVDs onto the PC if I wanted to
    do further editing. Worth keeping in mind, anyway.

    Thanks,
    - Darryl
     
    madhobbit, Oct 22, 2005
    #4
  5. madhobbit

    madhobbit Guest

    Unfortunately, that's not it. It doesn't matter where I start
    recording...it's that particular section of that tape. I've tried
    another tape since then, and while I've had minor issues, it's worked
    far better.

    The frustrating part is that it works just super when I hook the VCR up
    to the TV. I've arranged to borrow an allegedly higher-quality capture
    card from a friend of mine, so I'll see how that goes.

    Thanks for the suggestion,
    - Darryl
     
    madhobbit, Oct 22, 2005
    #5
  6. madhobbit

    Martin Guest

    I'd suggest trying a known good tape. Home model VCRs have compensation
    circuitry that "fixes" bad video signals. Inexpensive home capture
    cards may not. AOMOF, pro gear leaves out this circuitry as well
    because such "automatic controls" essentially rewrite the underlying
    sync signals in ways a pro user wouldn't want before working with the
    video signal. This problem can occur especially with
    multiple-generation VHS tapes. I've had many tapes over the years in my
    studio that have been difficult to work with. Multiple generation LPS
    speed tapes are the worst BTW.

    You could try a freshly taken video, straight out of the camera for a
    test. If that doesn't work, you have two other options. Try the card
    in a friend's computer where that computer is set up to handle large
    data streams. I.e. P4 3.0 Ghz or faster with multiple megs of RAM, etc.
    Check with the card's manufacturer for tested and recommended systems.

    Your other option is to try a different card in your system. That may
    actually be a tougher option, though, because it's probably easier to
    find a buddy with a hot-rod gaming system that will let you bring your
    card in for testing than to find a buddy with a decent capture card.

    Good Luck!

    mjv
     
    Martin, Oct 24, 2005
    #6
  7. madhobbit

    theDVshow Guest

    The capture card is not detecting the horizontal sync pulse from the
    tape correctly. I have seen this on one B/W capture card and the
    horizontal movement was about 3-4 pixels. The video is basically
    generating poor sync.

    Get your hands on a TBC (Time Base Corrector) and put it between your
    VCR and PC.....you can also write (or ask somebody for) the TBC filter
    for VirtualDub or TMPGEnc.

    --
    Brian Alves

    Listen to the new podcast
    for DV creators- The DV Show!
    http://www.thedvshow.com
     
    theDVshow, Oct 25, 2005
    #7
  8. madhobbit

    The DV Show Guest

    The capture card is not detecting the horizontal sync pulse from the tape
    correctly. I have seen this on one B/W capture card and the horizontal
    movement was about 3-4 pixels. The video is basically generating poor sync.

    Get your hands on a TBC (Time Base Corrector) and put it between your VCR
    and PC.....you can also write (or ask somebody for) the TBC filter for
    VirtualDub or TMPGEnc.

    --
    Brian Alves

    Listen to the new podcast
    for DV creators- The DV Show!
    http://www.thedvshow.com
     
    The DV Show, Oct 25, 2005
    #8
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