vhs to dv: composite or s-video, and best quality??

Discussion in 'General Mac Discussion' started by furrina, Oct 3, 2004.

  1. furrina macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2004
    Location:
    In tha 212
    #1
    I am trying to get a handful of vhs tapes onto dvd for a friend. My setup:

    vhs vcr (composite out) > trv900 mini dv (composite in)> g4powerbook > powerbook superdrive > dvd

    I'm using imovie to capture and idvd to burn because I want to do it quickly and easily and am making no changes whatsoever to the footage.

    my questions:
    since my original media is vhs tapes from '92, does it matter that i'm using composite rather than s-video (my vcr has no s-video port)?

    if i got a converter and was able to go from vcr to s-video in on my camera, would it make a difference in the quality at all?

    can i loop my vcr into my digital cable box and take the signal from that, therefore going from s-video out on cable box to s-video in on camera? and if I can, would it make a big difference in quality in my case?

    My footage after being captured looks not very good on my monitor, but fine when i play the dvd back thru the tv. Any idea why, and is there anything i can do to raise the quality on the computer monitor?

    Are there any important settings I'm maybe skipping in imovie or idvd that are compromising the quality?

    finally, on this first capture, the whole tape (though I did it in two batches on the same tape) there was a horizontal line (looks like "bad reception" on a tv) at the very bottom of my screen that was not on the vhs tape. What's causing this and how can I avoid it?

    Many many thanks for any answers anyone can provide.
    thanks!!!
     
  2. exhibitionist macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2004
    #2
    There wouldn't be a difference in your getting an S-video converter. It comes out of your VCR as composite. If you are able to increase the quality POTENTIAL, that doesn't mean the content quality is automatically increased from nothing. It's gotta be captured S-video from the start.
    The feed looks like trash on your monitor because you're probably running a resolution higher than the 648x486 or whatever comes out of your camera.
     
  3. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location:
    USA
    #3
    In the worst case scenario, you will notice very little difference in quality that is attributable to your cables. You can expect to see a significant difference between the videos shot in MiniDV and those that originated in VHS. This is because VHS is so much lower in quality to begin with. Your old tapes may be painful to watch after converted to DV, but this is to be expected when you convert low-resolution content to a medium-resolution format. You cables will make little difference one way or the other.
     
  4. crazzyeddie macrumors 68030

    crazzyeddie

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2002
    Location:
    Florida, USA
    #4
    Both the above posters are right, you won't see any increase in quality because the VHS (the source) is the lowest quality.
     
  5. furrina thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2004
    Location:
    In tha 212
    #5
    hmmm, what i'm wondering is why the footage looks fine in the lcd of my camera (trv-900 3ccd -- pretty good camera) then when i capture it, it looks lower quality and i have that wierd horizontal flicker along the bottom of the screen. Possibly as someone suggested it's because my 20" apple lcd is better res than my cam. lcd, but it seems wierd that it would be that much more messed up. I keep wondering if I should set something differently in iMovie when I capture it. I'm also going to try capturing with Final Cut Pro to see if ti makes a difference.
     
  6. AliensAreFuzzy macrumors 68000

    AliensAreFuzzy

    Joined:
    May 30, 2004
    Location:
    Madison, WI
    #6
    That horizontal line on the bottom is somewhat normal from my experiences. It's actually outside of the frame when on a TV. I wouldn't worry about it.
     
  7. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location:
    USA
    #7
    The resolution of a VHS tape is approximately 320 x 240 pixels. When viewed in the LCD viewfinder of your camera, it can be expected to look OK. You have the ability to magnify that image by nearly an order or magnitude on your 20" Apple monitor. However, you cannot increase the amount of data being displayed. You are just displaying 320 x 240 images at larger size. It will most likely look worse.
     
  8. furrina thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2004
    Location:
    In tha 212
    #8
    But then how do I know it won't look as bad when the dvd is played back on a dvd player to a TV?
     
  9. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location:
    USA
    #9
    On a TV, it won't really any better in objective terms. However, it will look about as well as you expect it to look. Remember, this is all about expectations. Regular VHS has about half the resolution of NTSC. When viewed in isolation on a regular TV, that is acceptable. When viewed anywhere else or simultaneously with other sources, it will look pretty awful. In isolation or simultaneously with other content, VHS content is extremely low-resolution. Nothing you do will improve it. The low data content will not tax any of your cables, so that you will not make it worse.
     
  10. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #10
    It's not a matter of taxing cables. It is a matter of subjecting the signal to more or less processing. Composite i/o will subject the signal to much more processing (and quality degradation) than S-video will. A copy made via composite i/o will always look worse than a copy made via S-Video i/o no matter what the source format is. Also, the copy will always be inferior to the master (source) tape in terms of quality. All you can do is limit the amount of damage you do to the signal.

    That being said, you can make an exact copy (a clone) of a tape under a very limited set of circumstances. If you start w/a digital format and transfer to the same digital format via a lossess digital connection you'll end up w/an exact copy of the master (source) tape. For example, MiniDV to MiniDV via fireware will give you an exact copy. MiniDV to MiniDV via S-video will not give you an exact copy. MiniDV to DigiBeta (a hi-end pro digital format) via SDI (standard pro digital i/o) will not give you an exact copy.


    Lethal
     

Share This Page