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Rydawg96

macrumors regular
Original poster
Aug 7, 2018
117
36
A few years ago, back when I was still using Windows, I made an attempt to digitize my old VHS and Hi8 tapes. I bought a Honsetech Vidbox, problem was the quality wasn’t that great, and since it wasn’t Mac compatible at the time, I just gave up after a few tapes. Now I’m looking at digitizing tapes again, and looking for high quality options. Definitely looking for something that will preserve the quality of my tapes without adding awful digital artifacts, as well as flexibility in quality of the capture. I had my eyes on the Intensity Shuttle by blackmagic design. Looks like a high quality option, mostly because it can capture video uncompressed, thus making it future proof for converting into formats such as HEVC and ProRes. However, it’s rather pricey, at $300 Canadian. Plus, it’s been a few years since it was released, and it’s lacking features for its high asking price including the latest versions of Thunderbolt and USB as well as its inability to capture 1080p60 over hdmi. Looking at cheap capture devices, they are lacking. Most of them seem to have low quality capture. For example, the Elgato only offers up to 2mbps of encoding (brutal!), and I see Vidbox now supports the Mac, but because of being unimpressed by their Windows capture boxes and the fact they wouldn’t offer me a free software update for MacOS, I’ve decided not to use them again. What are the best options for analog to digital video capture in 2020 that records in high quality and at 60fps without breaking the bank?
 

ColdCase

macrumors 68040
Feb 10, 2008
3,191
207
NH
You are not looking at improving the video, just capturing as much as you can? VHS and Hi8 video will look terrible by comparison to DV or today’s HD video on larger screens regardless, even when captured at 1080p. Since there is fewer lines of video, so you end up with twice as much garbage :) If the VHS or Hi8 was recorded at 1080p it would be a different story.

Pro shops tweak their video deck to provide optimum results (this is where the best bang for your buck is), capture in the original resolution resolution/frame rate using something like the black magic device, and then use software to enhance the original format To make it look more presentable.
 
Last edited:

purdnost

macrumors 6502
Dec 2, 2018
438
117
A few years ago, back when I was still using Windows, I made an attempt to digitize my old VHS and Hi8 tapes. I bought a Honsetech Vidbox, problem was the quality wasn’t that great, and since it wasn’t Mac compatible at the time, I just gave up after a few tapes. Now I’m looking at digitizing tapes again, and looking for high quality options. Definitely looking for something that will preserve the quality of my tapes without adding awful digital artifacts, as well as flexibility in quality of the capture. I had my eyes on the Intensity Shuttle by blackmagic design. Looks like a high quality option, mostly because it can capture video uncompressed, thus making it future proof for converting into formats such as HEVC and ProRes. However, it’s rather pricey, at $300 Canadian. Plus, it’s been a few years since it was released, and it’s lacking features for its high asking price including the latest versions of Thunderbolt and USB as well as its inability to capture 1080p60 over hdmi. Looking at cheap capture devices, they are lacking. Most of them seem to have low quality capture. For example, the Elgato only offers up to 2mbps of encoding (brutal!), and I see Vidbox now supports the Mac, but because of being unimpressed by their Windows capture boxes and the fact they wouldn’t offer me a free software update for MacOS, I’ve decided not to use them again. What are the best options for analog to digital video capture in 2020 that records in high quality and at 60fps without breaking the bank?
Curious if you found a solution as I’m also interested in digitizing old Hi8 tapes.
 

dandeco

macrumors 6502a
Dec 5, 2008
905
638
Brockton, MA
Curious if you found a solution as I’m also interested in digitizing old Hi8 tapes.
For doing THAT, if possible you can get a Sony Digital8 camcorder from the early-to-mid 2000s, as many of them can also play back Video8 and Hi8 recordings, and if you hook up the Digital8 camcorder to a computer via FireWire (on the newest Macs you can achieve this by daisy-chaining Apple's FireWire-to-Thunderbolt and Thunderbolt 2-to-3 adapters) you can capture the Video8 and Hi8 recordings as if they were DV footage with no generational loss. The only difference is that there isn't any timecode, due to the video being analog. And several of those Digital8 camcorders also support analog video input and passthrough, meaning you can hook a VCR or even older analog camcorder up to the Digital8 unit with the included RCA video/audio cable and import the footage into the computer as if it were a digital video converter unit!

But if you don't want to go through all that trouble (or are just looking to only capture VHS tapes), I'd recommend the Elgato Video Capture device that hooks up to your Mac via USB 2.0 and captures video in its' own utility, typically in a high-quality MP4 format. It's also, to my knowledge, the only such analog capture device that has 64-bit support and will work on Mac OS Catalina and Big Sur.
I don't know of any video capture devices that capture in 60fps, as that's 60 fields, not frames. NTSC video is still 29.97 frames per second, and the highest resolution analog NTSC video has is 640x480, but I believe there's software that can export such NTSC video at 60fps, which would explain why I've seen such videos on YouTube of older VHS recordings upscaled and exported in 60fps.
 
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