Elgato Video Capture

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by kumquat, Mar 31, 2012.

  1. kumquat macrumors regular

    kumquat

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2011
    #1
    Hi,

    I imported 8 VHS movies yesterday with the Elgato Video Capture device using the composite cables. The process is incredibly simple, but I wasn't thrilled with the resultant quality of some of the files. So, today, I'm using an S-Video cable and I'm getting a weird blur at the top of the movie that is importing. Is this a common problem when using S-Video? Could it be specific cable I've got? More likely to be a problem with the tape, itself? I'd appreciate any feedback.

    Thanks
     
  2. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location:
    USA
    #2
    You are digitizing VHS tape. Your major quality variables are the source tape and tape deck in that order. To a lesser extent, the transcode settings of your software will have some effect. However, your cables transmit the signals from your tape deck to your monitor or computer. Despite what you may infer from the enormous price that you pay for Monster cables, the effect of different cables on the quality of your final product is small. This from a man whose only VHS tape deck was S-VHS.

    Tape tracking may have some effect on the presence of artifacts seen during playback. VHS tape decks are supposed to adjust tracking automatically. However, you can adjust the tracking if it is not quite right. Make sure that your tapes are playing back optimally.

    If you have the S-VHS cable, then you should use it. S-VHS ports, not S-VHS cables, should transmit marginally higher resolution video. That said, the quality of a digital copy of content recorded on VHS analog tape is expected to be quite poor compared to content that is electronically recorded directly to digital media.
     
  3. cgbier macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2011
    #3
    If I'm not mistaken, the Elgato compresses to MP4. That, by itself is a bit detriment to quality. Check out the Grass Valley ADVC 55 or 110. They encode your footage to DV. Not sure, though, if they work with iMovie 11 or FCP X (but do work with FCS).
     
  4. kumquat thread starter macrumors regular

    kumquat

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2011
    #4
    It's now happened on a second tape using the S-Video cable, but others are still copying normally.

    It is not a tracking issue as far as I can tell; nothing is flipping; it's bizarre distortion at the top of the frame; it starts with a small green diagonal line in the upper left corner and then for about the length of that line everything will be blurred toward the right, like the tops of everyone's heads.

    I checked the first tape this happened with using the other cable and the distortion was still there; however, both play normally when just sent from the vhs player to the tv for regular viewing. I'm thinking it could be a result of Macrovision -?

    I may try to copy these two tapes directly to DVD to see if it still happens then; the reason I hadn't is because both are over 2 hours long and my dual recorder forces you to pick SP, LP, etc. and it seemed to me that the loss of quality would nullify the effort. Also, I think I would have to use my external burner (the one on my macbook is kaput) and some program or another to test this because the built-in one I've been dubbing with is hyper-sensitive to copy protection, even magically finding it on some dubbed VHS tapes.

    Yes, I want everything in H.264 for compatibility reasons which is why I bought this device. And it's been unpredictable which tapes turn out muddy and which clear. I didn't even notice any quality issues for the first half of yesterday because I was copying really old footage from the 20s.
     
  5. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location:
    USA
    #5
    If you see these artifacts on some tapes but not others, then you can be confident that the issue is probably those individual tapes. Tapes age. That is not a good thing. There are things that you can do to mitigate aging, but you cannot stop it. This is why many people transcribed their tapes to digital media years ago.
     
  6. kumquat thread starter macrumors regular

    kumquat

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2011
    #6
    Right, but as I mentioned, the distortion does not appear when they're playing normally just VCR to TV and it's the exact same distortion on both of them and I have much older tapes which I copied without a hitch so aging, while certainly variable, doesn't seem as likely to me as the issue being one of Macrovision interference. I'm open to being wrong about this, but nothing else is quite adding up. One of the tapes was probably watched twice in 15 years before I played it to import it and the other, I'm guessing, somewhere around a hundred times, if not more, during about the same time period. If it were happening to several tapes which had been obsessively watched, I'd go with Oh, We Just Wore Them Out, but so far only one of a handful of highly watched tapes has this issue and the other was barely watched. Both tapes were released by different but major studios and other tapes from those companies have not had the green line or top of frame blur. What I don't understand is why it's ony showing up on import with the device and not in normal playback.
     
  7. cgbier macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2011
    #7
    Those stripes on top and bottom are pretty normal. You just didn't see them on CRT TV, as they didn't show the full frame.

    I don't know how VHS tapes I've digitized so far (it's a nice side business), but I have rarely seen a tape without the stripes.
     
  8. kumquat, Apr 1, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2012

    kumquat thread starter macrumors regular

    kumquat

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2011
    #8
    Really? Only two of the fifteen tapes I've done with this device have had them. I'm importing as 4:3. You typically get the green line and blurred top of frame on your tapes? Do your clients have you crop it out?

    UPDATE: a 3rd tape had about 15 minutes of very minor top frame blur. 2 others have transferred without incident, but one of those was 1.85:1 and looks like a damn panorama.
     
  9. cgbier macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2011
    #9
    No. I just scale up the image a bit to get rid of it.
     

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