Converting VHS -> DVD: what's most important for good capture quality.

Discussion in 'Amateur Video Production' started by HHB, Jan 5, 2005.

  1. HHB

    HHB Guest

    I'm converting some VHS tapes to DVD, with very little editing

    I'd like opinions on what the most important factors are in the quality
    of the captured footage.

    I currently use:

    JVC S-VHS -> Canopus ADVC-100 -> Firewire -> PC -> Vegas 4.0

    My PC is 256MB DDR SDRAM, 266MHz, with an integrated Intel 3D AGP
    graphics card.

    For better quality captures (in terms of picture quality), should I
    start by upgrading my VCR? My video card? Something else? What's going
    to give me the best bang for my buck if I had $500 to spend? Or $1000?
    Thanks in advance for your help.
    HHB, Jan 5, 2005
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  2. Well, remember that VHS tape isn't very good to begin with.
    Your capture setup is fine and I think the only way you can really
    improve the capture quality further would be to get a time base
    corrector to put between the VHS deck and the ADVC-100.
    Neil Nadelman, Jan 5, 2005
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  3. HHB

    RS Guest

    How many do you have? If you want the least hassle, just take em to
    Walgreens. I think they will do a basic transfer for about $10. Or, buy a
    DVD recorder and just output your vcr to your dvd recorder.

    These methods are the very leastest hassle if you just want to do straight
    up copies.

    The geek factor is rather low unfortunatly, and its dosen't give you as many
    toys to play with.
    RS, Jan 5, 2005
  4. HHB

    HHB Guest

    I have a number of videos. I want to do some menu-based DVDs with
    these, so unless Walgreens can just give me a good-looking AVI or MPEG
    output that I can take home an edit/author, I'm not sure that's what I
    am looking for.

    Thanks for the help, though.
    HHB, Jan 5, 2005
  5. HHB

    RS Guest

    The DVD recorders these days will let you put in some menus.

    If you want to transfer to your PC, there are several cards that seem to be
    recommended over and over. I think the Hauppage card is one. Capture it to
    you PC, use a basic editor, render, bring into authoring app and create DVD

    If you bought the capture card, it would probably include lite versions of
    an editor and authoring probgram. If transfer of a pile of VHS to DVD is
    your goal, this is probably enough toys.

    If you want to really start playing with the video editing as a full time
    hobby. Well then, I'm sorry to say that you could never have enough toys.
    RS, Jan 6, 2005

  6. Replace the ADVC-100 with an ADVC-300. Capture will be shaper, and will
    not have the slight noise
    that the ADVC-100 adds. Color quality is excellent, and Stabilization
    works well except
    on very badly worn or damaged vhs tapes.

    Nobody_of_Consequence, Jan 7, 2005
  7. HHB

    Susan Guest

    I am making three assumptions: first that the JVC S-VHS vcr is one
    that contains a time-base corrector, second, that you are not doing
    extensive editing on your captured video, and third, that you really
    are not using a 266 MHz computer!!!

    For high-end video editing I use a lot of expensive equipment and
    software. However, to convert VHS to DVD I've found that you really
    don't have to do much to preserve what little quality VHS recordings
    possess. Some people swear they jump through all kinds of hoops to
    "preserve" the VHS quality, and that they use multiple filters to
    "improve" the image quality, but I just don't find it necessary or
    desirable at all to do much "quality improvement" during the editing
    process. The time you want to worry about quality is getting your
    video from the video tape to the computer. THAT is where you will
    either make or break the VHS-DVD conversion.

    I think all you need is the following.

    1: Start with a very good quality S-Video vcr with a TBC. If
    the vcr doesn't have a TBC, you can put one in the video stream
    between the vcr and coding unit, but you NEVER seem able to get the
    same quality as using an S-Video vcr and doing the TB correcting
    inside the vcr.

    So, for me, I would put any funds you want to get rid of into the
    very best hi-end S-Video vcr you can still find! (If your tapes are
    real junk, you might also want to add a hi-qualty proc-amp, but you
    have to be very careful not to over-process your signal.) If you
    don't start with the best VHS signal possible, then NO amount of
    post-processing will make up for it! Remember, ANY filters, etc. that
    you use to "clean-up" your video file during editing are very likely
    to add more noise than they remove. You can do a small amount of
    filtering during editing, but I would never use a dozen filters as
    some people on the group suggest.

    2: Code the video to DV with something like your ADVC 100. I
    actually use a Canopus ACEDVio card since it seems to do a better
    encoding job and you can adjust your hue, saturation, and brightness
    more effectively.

    3: Then I use Pinnacle Studio 9 to capture the converted DV
    stream "on the fly" as an MPG2 file at the bit rate I need for the
    program length and material (more motion needs more bit-rate). I just
    don't see any quality improvement with VHS material in capturing as
    DV, editing in DV, then transcoding to MPG2.

    Going VHS analog - DV - MPG2 actually appears to give better results
    than the $2000 analog capture card I used to use to capture as MJPEG
    AVI for pro work. Maybe it is just me, but I think the DV codec is
    simply marvelous!

    Normally I set my capture rate to put two hours on a DVD (about 3800
    bps, depending upon how you are handling the audio).

    4: Then I chop out the commercials, add a menu and titles if
    needed, and let Studio burn the DVD.

    End of process. Ninty-eight percent of the time the DVD actually
    "looks" better than the original VHS tape.

    My feeling is that VHS doesn't have enough quality to warrant going
    overboard, and most of the stuff we have on all those old tapes is
    all that important.

    BUT, if I am dealing with S-VHS or Hi8 or DV or very important
    original material (birth, death, marriage, etc.), then I code to DV
    and stay there until I'm ready to transcode to MPG2 for the DVD.

    Hope this helps,

    Susan, Jan 7, 2005
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