What's the best way to preserve VHS tapes?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by Flynnstone, Feb 10, 2008.

  1. Flynnstone macrumors 65816

    Flynnstone

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    Cold beer land
    #1
    Any have opinions? (Dumb question)

    I plan on hooking up a VCR to my Sony miniDV camcorder and import into my computer. Now I suspect that I'll be storing more information with DV than is on the original source. So I should compress it.
    Should I send it to the H.264 codec and call it good?
    Any better ideas?
     
  2. richpjr macrumors 68030

    richpjr

    Joined:
    May 9, 2006
    #2
    A follow up question on this since I am about to embark on transferring some old VHS tapes to DVD: Does anyone use any third party color correction or noise reduction filters with Final Cut Express 4? There are some pretty good ones available for VirtualDub, but I'd prefer to do everything in FCE4 if I can.
     
  3. Alucardx03 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2008
    #3
    I would check out the Canopus ADVC300 for converting old footage. It automatically enhances the image, reducing noise and restoring faded colors. I've used it to transfer all of my old tapes and the quality is much improved over the original footage. Just a suggestion.
     
  4. Flynnstone thread starter macrumors 65816

    Flynnstone

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    #4
    The Canopus ADVC300 is about $500.
    It looks like it does more than I need, except "image controls and filtering include video auto gain control, 3D Y/C separation (NTSC) and 3D noise reduction (NTSC). ADVC300 also provides controls for line time base correction, digital frame synchronization, edge adjustment, black expansion and white peak adjustment".
    Can I do this within FCE or other software tool?
    What about compressing?
     
  5. -DH macrumors 65816

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    #5
    You can adjust some of the color and brightness issues after capturing. However, you cannot do anything to correct timing errors once the footage is captured.

    IMHO, the best thing you can do to help analog footage is route the signal through a TBC to correct the timing errors inherent in analog tape playback. The ADVC300 does have a built-in TBC - although it is not a full frame TBC.

    As for compression; given that your question concerns "preserving" VHS, if you compress it, you will take a quality hit. How noticeable the hit will be is dependent on the original quality and any compression settings you use. If you're capturing to DV, you'll already be compressing at 5:1.

    -DH
     
  6. Flynnstone thread starter macrumors 65816

    Flynnstone

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    #6
    From the compressing side of things. I was thinking that the source is VHS which is less resolution than DV (720x480). So when I compress, I shouldn't lose much.

    Now TBC, I'm not following what the problem is. Excuse my ignorance. Is this the audio being in sync? Or is this video artifact?

    The Canopus ADVC300 is $400 more than I want to spend. (or what my wife will let me spent). So I'm looking at more economical solutions.
     
  7. motulist macrumors 601

    motulist

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    Dec 2, 2003
    #7
    My friend who's huge into video said that by far the best way to do it is to simply buy a standalone TV set top DVD recorder. That way you just take the VCR's output cables, stick em into the dvd recorder, and hit play and record. Boom. Done.

    Unless you want to edit them first, that's by far the easiest way to do it.
     
  8. Flynnstone thread starter macrumors 65816

    Flynnstone

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    #8
    Quality wise, is it about the same as going to DV then to MPEG-2?

    I'm assuming it does MPEG-2 on the DVD.
    To edit, I just convert it back to DV? Edit, Burn new DVD.
    How does it handle the long run tapes?
     
  9. motulist macrumors 601

    motulist

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    Dec 2, 2003
    #9
  10. Keebler macrumors 68030

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    Canada
    #10
    Flynn,

    My advice would be to find a company in your area who transfers tapes to DVD. Depending on how many tapes/hours you have, it might be less then buying a converter. They will have the proper equipment to get the best quality and you won't have to worry about spending the time on transferring everything as it is not a short process.

    If you do want to transfer these yourself, then you need to spend the money to buy quality equipment or frankly, you're wasting your efforts. Keep in mind that if you buy a box like the 300 or a different TBC box, they maintain their value very well so you can turn it around and sell it on ebay or here after your done your project. Or, offer to transfer tapes from a few relatives for a lower cost and the box will be paid for.

    cheers,
    Keebler
     
  11. Keebler macrumors 68030

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    Location:
    Canada
    #11
    I would say this is the easiest, but i'm not sure the best way to get the utmost quality of the transfer. Plus, these recorders usually only have 1 or 2 settings...best and 50% mpeg2 compression. Maybe recent models have changed. Another thing to look for with these recorders is how they break up a 4 hour vhs tape...not sure how that is done.

    Cheers,
    Keebler
     
  12. -DH macrumors 65816

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Nashville Tennessee
    #12
    The pixel resolution is the same. What IS different is the quality, or lines of horizontal resolution. Two diiferent things. VHS can support up to about 240 lines of horizontal resolution while DV can support up to about 500.

    Time base errors occur with analog tape playback. Hence the need for a Time Base Corrector (TBC). Essentially, it controls the timing of the video signal ... has nothing to do with audio sync. For more info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_Base_Corrector

    If you want economy, you'll have to sacrifice some quality. It's up to you (or your wife).

    -DH
     
  13. Flynnstone thread starter macrumors 65816

    Flynnstone

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Cold beer land
    #13
    I've read it, but don't understand what the error looks like. Is there any pictures of what an uncorrected error looks like?

    P.S. If only money wasn't an issue.:eek:
     

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