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  #16  
Old 2005-02-03, 03:17 PM
bolognefoot
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Re: vhs>dvd: least expensive acceptable way

oops

Last edited by bolognefoot; 2005-02-03 at 03:24 PM.
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  #17  
Old 2005-02-03, 03:25 PM
cgskippy cgskippy is offline
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Re: vhs>dvd: least expensive acceptable way

I do have digital camcorder but I have to check whether it has the analog-dv pass through. but i bet it does. sony miniDV. Is that ok, or should i invest in the canopus? also, i don't think my vcr has s-video output. i imagine that's not necessary for the camcorder method. thanks again for your input.
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  #18  
Old 2005-02-03, 04:02 PM
h_vargas
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Thumbs up Re: vhs>dvd: least expensive acceptable way

Quote:
Originally Posted by cgskippy
I do have digital camcorder but I have to check whether it has the analog-dv pass through. but i bet it does. sony miniDV. Is that ok, or should i invest in the canopus? also, i don't think my vcr has s-video output. i imagine that's not necessary for the camcorder method. thanks again for your input.
if it's even a remotely new camcorder (i.e. within the last 2 years or so), it will probably have the pass through feature. i'm betting it is has the feature, though, as i believe Sony institued the analog>DV pass through feature on digital8 camcorders before miniDV became more commonplace.

and i'd say no, don't spend the dough on a Canopus capture device if you have a miniDV cam with pass through. quality-wise, there's either no difference or it's neglible. (definitely not worth an additional $250 investment.) keep in mind, capturing VHS > camcorder pass through > firewire > DV .AVI files on computer will give you so much better results than a lot of things out there (standalone DVD recorder, $50 "usb realtime mpeg capture devices" etc.). a Canopus/Datavideo DV capture device and/or camcorder pass through are really the best quality you can find in the consumer price range.

personally, even if the Canopus MPEG capture devices were great quality, i still wouldn't get one as i like to edit footage before putting it on DVD. and the last thing you want to do is edit an MPEG video then re-encode it back to MPEG. (that will break down any quality the video has in a hurry.)

S-video output on a VCR isn't "necessary"... but i always use it. if your TV has an S-video input and your DVD player has an S-video output, plug up the DVD player using the S-video plug. even official DVDs that you thought "looked perfect" with a composite (normal RCA) plug will look much better using the S-video connection. point being: yes, S-video connection does make a difference.

you could actually take that $200 or so for a capture device (actually, $100 will work) - since you probably won't need a capture device - and get a nice SVHS deck with an S-video output. and plenty of SVHS decks have the 'pseudo'-SVHS playback, to optimize playback quality even on normal VHS tapes.

lastly, make sure you get a GOOD MPEG encoder (to convert the video from DV .AVI format to MPEG-2 video). ProCoder 1.0 and 1.5 are good (2.0 is actually worse quality than previous versions, from the test results i've seen and read). TMPEG Encoder is good. MainConcept is okay. CCE = king of the hill, IMO. and by that, i mean, the encoded MPEG-2 video will look more like the original captured footage than with a lot of other encoders.

there's nothing like taking a VHS (played in SVHS deck with S-video output) > DV conversion > computer > CCE with 5-pass VBR. even at lower video bitrates, the quality is top notch. on my conversions, i use an average bitrate of 7000 and keep the audio as uncompressed LPCM. in back-to-back comparisons on TV sets, you can't tell the difference between the source tape and the created DVD (and that's without any 'tweaking' of the video).

Last edited by h_vargas; 2005-02-03 at 04:12 PM.
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  #19  
Old 2005-02-03, 04:18 PM
h_vargas
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Re: vhs>dvd: least expensive acceptable way

Quote:
Originally Posted by New Homebrew
I use a Canopus ADVC-100, which is an external hardware converter. I like the idea of having a dedicated device outside the computer for converting the video rather than a PCI card. Connect your VCR s-video out to the Canopus box, which then connects to the PC using a firewire port. Free capture software is available or you can use several different applications to capture and render the video.

I would recommend this over a standalone burner due to the increased flexibility in editing and filtering when needed.

Another expense to consider is your playback deck - it is critical for getting the highest-quality capture. I bought a JVC HR-S9800U just for this purpose and it is a big improvement over your average VCR... you have lots of options to get the best possible output, and a built in time-based corrector, essential for encoding generated VHS tapes.

that's a sweet setup, New Homebrew. please don't misunderstand what i was saying - the Canopus devices ARE excellent quality (in build construction and in capturing quality). i know, i've used them. i was trying to point out a "cheap" alternative with the camcorder pass through, as i know a lot of people have digital camcorders now (even if just for "family use"), since the original poster is of course looking for the cheapest method of converting some VHS tapes.

and that is one sweet SVHS deck you have. the built-in TBC rocks the casbah.

at any rate, i definitely agree that it IS very nice to have a dedicated device for capturing DV to one's hard drive. (i actually have so many video projects that are in queue right now that i have both miniDV and digital8 camcorders hooked up because i have tons of DV tapes to convert over the next few weeks... and since the camcorders are already plugged up, i've just been using them for current VHS>DVD projects as well.)
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  #20  
Old 2005-02-03, 05:00 PM
New Homebrew
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Re: vhs>dvd: least expensive acceptable way

It's all good stuff, and it's fun to buy new toys. The real problem is for the person who is converting only a small amount of tapes. Once you figure the cost of quality hardware, cables, software, and the massive time and learning investment, sending off your tape and $25 for someone else to do it is the best deal in the world!

The only concern I would have about using a mini-DV cam for pass-through is the audio... I would think that most of them yield a compressed audio stream rather than LPCM? I am always in favor of using uncompressed audio whenever possible.

It would be nice for some of us to put together some information on recommended hardware and software for this sort of thing. The idea being to see that people with worthwhile tapes get the optimum quality from them.
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  #21  
Old 2005-02-03, 06:14 PM
h_vargas
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Re: vhs>dvd: least expensive acceptable way

Quote:
Originally Posted by New Homebrew
It's all good stuff, and it's fun to buy new toys. The real problem is for the person who is converting only a small amount of tapes. Once you figure the cost of quality hardware, cables, software, and the massive time and learning investment, sending off your tape and $25 for someone else to do it is the best deal in the world!

The only concern I would have about using a mini-DV cam for pass-through is the audio... I would think that most of them yield a compressed audio stream rather than LPCM? I am always in favor of using uncompressed audio whenever possible.

It would be nice for some of us to put together some information on recommended hardware and software for this sort of thing. The idea being to see that people with worthwhile tapes get the optimum quality from them.
actually, for miniDV (or digital8) pass through, the audio *IS* in uncompressed LPCM audio in the DV .AVI file, at DVD spec 16-bit/44.1kHz. you can use VirtualDub to extract the WAV file, or Premiere to Export it, and i think Scnealyzer (great capturing program) can actually write the uncompressed WAV file by itself (separate) from the video file.

good point - if a person has only a handful of tapes, it's better to find someone who will convert the tape (in exchange for getting to keep a copy of the DVD for themselves), or to pay a minimal fee to have it done.

i would advise against having someone do it who uses a standalone recorder. don't get me wrong, i have some good quality DVDs made from standalone recorders (off miniDV master tapes), but if there are scenes with a lot of motion, a 2-pass VBR encoding in TMPEG or CCE will beat the standalone encoding easily (i.e. you'll have little-to-no pixelation during the high-motion scenes).

a VHS/video > DVD FAQ would be great, i think. in an ideal world, everyone would use better quality equipment, and better quality software. i appreciate even the lesser quality releases people put out, but imagine moving ahead by everyone using *better* methods for DVD encoding.
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  #22  
Old 2005-02-03, 06:56 PM
New Homebrew
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Re: vhs>dvd: least expensive acceptable way

Lately I've just been encoding all my captures at 8,200 kbps CBR. Is there any advantage to using multi-pass VBR? I don't care about saving space, only quality.
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  #23  
Old 2005-02-04, 12:13 PM
CMack1481's Avatar
CMack1481 CMack1481 is offline
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Re: vhs>dvd: least expensive acceptable way

Quote:
Originally Posted by New Homebrew
Which one do you have?

.
I have the ADVC-100, also use Sony Vegas Video to capture/render. Sometimes use Adobe Premier for a few things.

Last edited by CMack1481; 2005-02-04 at 12:16 PM. Reason: Adding info
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  #24  
Old 2005-02-04, 03:45 PM
fatoldpig fatoldpig is offline
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Re: vhs>dvd: least expensive acceptable way

try the ILO DVDRHD04 80gb harddisc dvd recorder. highest quality setting will do 1 hr per dvd. walmart sells for $278. i've transferred 2 vhs so far and they look better than vhs version.
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  #25  
Old 2005-02-04, 03:57 PM
h_vargas
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Re: vhs>dvd: least expensive acceptable way

Quote:
Originally Posted by New Homebrew
Lately I've just been encoding all my captures at 8,200 kbps CBR. Is there any advantage to using multi-pass VBR? I don't care about saving space, only quality.
oh, yeeeessss. i don't know what encoder you use, but multi-pass VBR really shines with more "complicated" (read: higher motion) scenes. the size difference really isn't that much, fromt he few comparisons i've done.

but i've had some of my VHS tapes transferred with a standalone (from a friend) and then encoded the tapes myself and the difference in quality is amazing. granted, standalone recorders use VBR, but it's only 1-pass (hence, realtime MPEG-2/DVD encoding). i kid you not when i say that when i use 5-passes at an average bitrate of 4 Mbps, it looks better in high motion scenes than a standalone when used in 'XP' (60 minute/disc, highest quality) mode.

it's really just too difficult to get a good encoding of high-motion scenes/scene cuts (which are quite frequent on pro shot concert footage) using 1-pass encoding.

i've read a lot of people say 2-pass encoding is "good enough," but it's worth it to go the 'extra mile' and use more passes, IMO. i mean, using CCE, i encode at 2x realtime. so, even with 5-passes and the initial pass (which creates the VAF file), it's like 6 hours to encode a full 2 hour show. to me, that isn't a big deal, as i usually just set up my PC to encode overnight.
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  #26  
Old 2005-02-04, 04:43 PM
New Homebrew
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Re: vhs>dvd: least expensive acceptable way

But if you are using a lower bitrate with the multi-pass VBR, all that encoding time is just used deciding where to "spend" the bitrate. Doesn't it stand to reason that if you use the maximum video bitrate at a constant rate that will yield the result closest to the original avi file?
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  #27  
Old 2005-02-04, 07:20 PM
h_vargas
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Re: vhs>dvd: least expensive acceptable way

Quote:
Originally Posted by New Homebrew
But if you are using a lower bitrate with the multi-pass VBR, all that encoding time is just used deciding where to "spend" the bitrate. Doesn't it stand to reason that if you use the maximum video bitrate at a constant rate that will yield the result closest to the original avi file?
so it would seem, so it would seem. i was just pointing out that as an example from my own encoding tests. but let's consider something, on an encoding with these VBR settings:

minimum bitrate = 1000
average bitrate = 4000
maximum bitrate = 9000

with CCE running multiple passes, it "sees" which frames have a lot of motion, and hence, it allocates the more bits (so it is technically a higher bitrate for the specific high-motion scenese), and it does this more accurately than if it were a single pass (CBR). reason being: more passes means it gets a much more accurate idea of how many bits need to be allocated at what positions in the video.

not sure how familiar you are in the field of mathematics, but if you know anything about limits and parabolic equations, you can think of it this way... a video (in AVI format) is like a parabolic line, and when doing an encoding to MPEG-2, you're basically assigning square blocks to approximate (as closely as possible) how the source material works.

for a more visiual explanation, take a look at this graph on HowStuffWorks.com...

[img=http://img205.exs.cx/img205/9758/cdsample16yf.th.gif]

this graph was actually made to represent a comparison of analog audio (on vinyl, e.g.) vs. digital audio. as you can see, digital audio actually approximates the closest possible "bits" to the analog source, although it isn't a perfect replication.

likewise with encoding video to MPEG-2 (from a different source material, such as AVI format), the encoding software approximates the closest possible "bits" to the source material. now, the more the software can learn about the source video (AVI), the better it can approximate where and how many "bits" are necessary. i hope that makes sense.
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  #28  
Old 2005-02-04, 07:33 PM
New Homebrew
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Re: vhs>dvd: least expensive acceptable way

I don't disagree with your analogy. I am just trying to point out that unless you are absolutely pressed for space, why not encode using the most possible data at a constant, high rate? I don't see how using less data (VBR 4000kbps avg) could give a better result.
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  #29  
Old 2005-02-04, 10:25 PM
h_vargas
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Re: vhs>dvd: least expensive acceptable way

Quote:
Originally Posted by New Homebrew
I don't disagree with your analogy. I am just trying to point out that unless you are absolutely pressed for space, why not encode using the most possible data at a constant, high rate? I don't see how using less data (VBR 4000kbps avg) could give a better result.
excellent point. as i mentioned before (or if not, i should have mentioned before) that i generally only create DVDs at an average bitrate of 7000 (max of 8200), with LPCM audio. i had just use the lower bitrate example as just that - an example. i couldn't believe it myself, that a lower average bitrate with more passes could yield better picture quality (i.e. less pixelation during fast scenes) than a higher bitrate with a single pass.

i have a Smashing Pumpkins DVD off a promo VHS tape, that was encoded with CBR at 8000, and the quality, unfortunately, is not very good. there's a good bit of pixelation, and i know that could have been avoided if a multi-pass encoding method had been used (even 2 passes would have done wonders to cut down the pixelation effect it has).

but i totally agree on using the highest settings possible... which is why i never hesitate to split up a 2 hour show onto 2 DVDs. i'd rather pay an additional $0.70 and use another TY DVD and have the best quality possible.
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  #30  
Old 2005-02-07, 01:49 PM
willndmb willndmb is offline
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Re: vhs>dvd: least expensive acceptable way

if you want someone else to do it you can find lots of people for free
the cheapest and best all around value imo is a camcorder with analog in
that way you have the convertor and a dig camcorder for everything else in life
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