New ADVC110 or used ADVC300? Good VCR?

ab2650

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 21, 2007
714
0
Hi Folks,

I'm about to embark on a sizable VHS to Digital task moving about 20 or so VHS tapes onto DVD; The tapes are about 15 to 18 years old and have probably degraded significantly over the years; I don't know *how much* because, well, read on... Here are the issues that have presented themselves to me so far.

First, I've been looking and comparing the Canopus ADVC110 to the DAC-200 and I have the feeling they are essentially the same caliber solution, as well as both being around $200. However, I have a lead on a used ADVC300 for $300. I understand it has better results in stabilizing image and syncing audio, especially to more degraded VHS. Is it worth the extra $100 to go for the ADVC300? How much better is it than the ADVC110?

Second, it's been years since I've owned a VCR, and amazingly all of my friends and family have tossed their's out long ago. So in addition to getting the analog/DV transfer device, I need to get a VCR to play the original VHS tapes. Is there one that can be purchased reasonably that will give good results? It's interesting shopping for a device so antiquated that most electronics stores have 1 or 2 models at best, if at all...

I appreciate any advice on the subject as well as suggestions; I do have a Mini DV cam but (shocking, again) it doesn't have any AV inputs. I figured the outlay for a Analog/DV transfer box would be worth it for this project, even if I don't have long term plans for it. Thanks in advance!
 

ab2650

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 21, 2007
714
0
What about getting a recordable DVD / VCR combo to transfer?
That's true it would "save" me from getting an ADVC110/300 but I was concerned about loss in re-compression. Unless I'm wrong, wouldn't the process be "Record tape to DVDR, take it to editing in FCE, re-compress back to DVD?" Most of the things I'm trying to transfer are brief 10-or-so-minute shorts; The idea being not only to preserve them, but to author and title a DVD appropriately.

And now I have just found out that the Mini DV camera is able to record from an input (as the input/output line is shared, who knew!). Now I'm wondering if the ADVCxxx is even necessary at all. It still leaves me needing a VCR however.

So without making a new post, where I stand now is, what will give me the best results?
  • VCR/DVD recorder stand-alone unit
  • VCR to ADVC110
  • VCR to ADVC300
  • VCR to Mini DV tape

And, what any recommendations as to where I can get a VCR with decent quality playback nowadays.
 

millap

macrumors regular
Aug 10, 2007
127
0
United Kingdom
Copied from another thread...


I use a Canopus ADVC300 for this type of work, which although is more expensive than the other products mentioned here, it does produce the best results. This unit includes a built in line timebase corrector, which makes a big difference if the VHS tapes are quite old, or starting to flicker into B&W. You also get a control panel which allows you to adjust various settings including video noise reduction. In some cases, I've managed to produce a better quality output, than you can get from the original tape.

Whichever option you go for, you will probably need to apply a small letterbox effect to the imported footage afterwards to mask out the thin strip of garbage that will appear at the top of the screen.

Edit: One thing I forgot to mention, was that in my experience with some of the cheaper A/D convertors, iMovie will sometimes stop importing if the source tape has a patch of noise or a bad tracking signal. This is particularly annoying as it means that you have to babysit the entire import process. I have not had this problem with the ADVC300.
 

mintlivedotcom

macrumors regular
Apr 21, 2004
194
0
That's true it would "save" me from getting an ADVC110/300 but I was concerned about loss in re-compression. Unless I'm wrong, wouldn't the process be "Record tape to DVDR, take it to editing in FCE, re-compress back to DVD?" Most of the things I'm trying to transfer are brief 10-or-so-minute shorts; The idea being not only to preserve them, but to author and title a DVD appropriately.
No, you just record directly from the VHS to DVD, no editing or further transferring involved. The quality is as good as it gets.
 

ab2650

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 21, 2007
714
0
No, you just record directly from the VHS to DVD, no editing or further transferring involved. The quality is as good as it gets.
I think you misunderstood me. I will be editing the videos, not out of desperation, but out of willingness. The tapes are essentially home movies that need to be trimmed, titled and chaptered anyhow. Since a vob is an mpeg stream, I'd import in the recorded DVD, do my editing and re-burn to a DVD. Doesn't *that* produce loss? DVD is not lossless.

Copied from another thread...
I've read that thread; In fact I've searched the forum for about every instance of ADVC110, ADVC300, and DAC-200.... I've read the tips on best transfer methods, advantages, pitfalls... The two things I haven't seen someone present are:

1) If they don't have a VCR, like me.

2) A direct comparison of the ADVC110 and ADVC300, and if said differences are worth $100 or not.
 

glitch44

macrumors 65816
Feb 28, 2006
1,090
66
ab2650,
i'm curious which way you went-- advc110 or advc30-- and how it worked out for you?
 

ab2650

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 21, 2007
714
0
I haven't actually gone with either (yet).
I will probably be buying an ADVC110 in September when I'm in NYC. Hopefully the guys at B&H will help me decide once-and-for-all.