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  #1  
Old 2010-02-21, 12:22 PM
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VHS Transfers & Quality [moved from the Van Halen Largo thread]

NOTE [Feb 23]: i have copied a few of the following posts from a discussion in the VH Largo video torrent thread to this thread, it belongs here in Technobabble more than it does there...hopefully this will be an educational discussion re: the transferring of analogue sources to digital that people can learn from




i'm not a Van Halen fan, so i've seen neither of the "versions" being discussed...but as someone who trained & works in video production & editing, i'd like to point out a few FACTS that don't require comparing the two...hopefully we can clear some things up for those who are reading this thread & confused


1. the difference between "casual fan" and "serious fan" matters little when it comes to the subject of quality...nor does the number of shows you've uploaded have any effect on whether or not you know what yer doin when it comes to video production

the difference between "amateur transferer/authorer" & "professional video post-production" however matters a lot...as does the equipment involved


2. "picture quality" is largely subjective, especially when it comes to bootlegs/VHS transfers...its even more subjective when those discussing it are amateurs...sure there are quality issues that are obvious to just about anyone -- drop outs, audio sync, rolling, ghosting, etc...

but things such as color balance, which seems to be a main point for sabkisscrue on this, are not so easily judged...for a VHS transfer like this [where we can't change what occurred in-cam or in the transfers-up-to-this-point], we're left with color balancing in post which is dependent on a number of factors including:
--a professional-grade & accurately calibrated monitor
--close examination of source material using waveform/vectorscope/histogram, and comparing that to TV-standard color bars
--the *knowledge* to know what yer looking at above, and how to adjust RGB/chroma/phase/etc accordingly

no offense to you sabkisscrue, but there are very few people out there who haven't been trained in video post-production that really know what they're doing when it comes to video post- work...just because one has the programs and ability to "tweak", and thinks "that looks better now" -- it doesnt necessarily mean its truly better...its just like the audio "re-masterers" out there who have Adobe Audition and can tweak an EQ, doesn't mean that they know what they're doing and have created a better mix & true upgrade


3. every single TV in every single one of our homes is different -- color [RGB], contrast, brightness, etc...so just because Version A looks better than Version B on your TV doesn't mean it actually is...again, viewing on a professional broadcast monitor is the only way to truly compare





sabkisscrue...
i'm not tryin to put you down, but let's face it -- yer using a consumer-grade camera & consumer-grade standalone DVD recorder to transfer a transfer of a transfer...not exactly verifiable credentials here not to say your "version" couldn't look better than say a VHS(3) transfer using professional gear, raw source quality does make a big difference...but it does point out a level of knowledge/experience that is incongruent with the way you've presented yerself here

don't be afraid to admit you are an amateur...don't be afraid to admit that there are people out there [and even here at TTD & in this thread] who know far more about this process than you, you might learn some things even...i've been in this field for a good while and still learn new things all the time [any true professional knows they've always got something else to learn, this field is ever changing]...and remember that your opinion re: quality is exactly that -- your opinion...no more no less





everyone else...
moral of the story -- when it comes to amateur transfers/authors, the word "upgrade" doesn't mean much...sabkisscrue believes this is the best version circulating, some of the others here say the BTB version is better...i personally recommend trading for [or d/ling ] both versions and see which you prefer

post your opinion here or another board if it makes ya feel better, but remember its just that, yer opinion...and that these are only recordings of concerts -- not the cure for cancer...in the grand scheme of life, bootlegs don't really matter for shit!
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  #2  
Old 2010-02-21, 09:42 PM
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Re: Van Halen 1982-10-12 Largo, MD (DVD9) (NTSC)

Quote:
Originally Posted by schmoe75
Since you obviously have not used or don't know how to use the search function on this site
Since I dont know how to use the search function, apparently. What comes up that "boxedart" has transferred/authored?


Quote:
Originally Posted by schmoe75
Furthermore, you're doing nothing more than a crap standalone transfer
Really? What do you know about the JVC DRM-100?

Quote:
Originally Posted by schmoe75
and the fact you don't understand that...pretty much sums it all up.
Oh, I understand that you think its "crap" but you didnt say why its crap. You just its a "crap standalone recorder".

Quote:
Originally Posted by AAR.oner
someone's professional life is relevant
It would only be relevant if that person deals with low gen and multi-generated vhs all the time and has transferred several upgrades.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AAR.oner
sabkisscrue believes this is the best version circulating, some of the others here say the BTB version is better
Out of the 500+ who have downloaded over multiple sites, about a handful are saying they prefer the BTB. Which is not a surprise because nobody else was looking for an upgrade to that version, it was in my own disappointment with that version that I wanted better.

Quote:
Originally Posted by schmoe75
don't over-inflate yer ego
That is your opinion but its simply not true that I have an overinflated ego or any kind of ego for that matter. Btw, if I were to disagree with you about something, id say that I disagreed rather than accuse you of having an overinflated ego.
  #3  
Old 2010-02-21, 10:46 PM
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Re: Van Halen 1982-10-12 Largo, MD (DVD9) (NTSC)

Excluding the VH show, all of which were authored by 'boxedart'.
Arvil was captured & authored by 'boxedart'
Quote:
Originally Posted by sabkisscrue
Really? What do you know about the JVC DRM-100?
Oh, I understand that you think its "crap" but you didnt say why its crap. You just said its a "crap standalone recorder".
Anyone with a clue knows capturing via standalone is the worst way to capture video...it's about the equivalent as using a cell phone or digital camera to video tape a show.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sabkisscrue
It would only be relevant if that person deals with low gen and multi-generated vhs all the time and has transferred several upgrades.
Out of the 500+ who have downloaded over multiple sites, about a handful are saying they prefer the BTB.
Check back when you understand posts 62 & 63

Quote:
Originally Posted by sabkisscrue
That is your opinion but its simply not true that I have an overinflated ego or any kind of ego for that matter. Btw, if I were to disagree with you about something, id say that I disagreed rather than accuse you of having an overinflated ego.
Interesting...you took that comment as directed at you solely.
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  #4  
Old 2010-02-21, 11:11 PM
sabkisscrue sabkisscrue is offline
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Re: Van Halen 1982-10-12 Largo, MD (DVD9) (NTSC)

Quote:
Originally Posted by schmoe75
Arvil was captured & authored by 'boxedart'
What has he "captured" from vhs and other older formats?

Quote:
Originally Posted by schmoe75
Anyone with a clue knows capturing via standalone is the worst way to capture video...
So, you believe all standalone units are "crap". Is that correct?
Its safe to say going by that, the answer to my question is no, that you dont know about the JVC DRM-100.
  #5  
Old 2010-02-22, 10:41 AM
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Re: Van Halen 1982-10-12 Largo, MD (DVD9) (NTSC)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Archive625 View Post

Deuce being a glorified dub jockey on some overpriced pro-sumer processing amplifiers doesn't make you an expert on anything.
i wouldn't exactly call a digi8 camcorder & standalone DVD recorder "pro-sumer" gear


Quote:
Originally Posted by sabkisscrue View Post
Really? What do you know about the JVC DRM-100?


Oh, I understand that you think its "crap" but you didnt say why its crap. You just its a "crap standalone recorder".
Quote:
Originally Posted by sabkisscrue View Post
So, you believe all standalone units are "crap". Is that correct?
Its safe to say going by that, the answer to my question is no, that you dont know about the JVC DRM-100.
since you don't seem to wanna accept the quick n easy answer from schmoe, i'll give you the longer, more technically-flavored response

as the JVC website clearly states -- its a consumer product designed for home entertainment systems [i.e recoring tv shows or transferring those home VHS tapes of Bobby's 3rd birthday party -- not professional grade transfers for archival purposes]...released maybe 5-6 years ago, originally cost around $300, you can now find em on ebay for $50

as a consumer grade product, you can count on a few things...for one, the A>D conversion will be mediocre at best [more than likely it'd be bottom-of-the-barrel]...but most importantly the compression engines that standalone DVD recorders use are completely inferior quality-wise to a program based encoder

yes there are a handful of decent SAs that don't suffer from the above, however they sold for thousands of dollars, not a coupla hundred...people in the film/video business don't use standalone DVD recorders, and there's plenty of reasons why



Quote:
Originally Posted by sabkisscrue View Post
It would only be relevant if that person deals with low gen and multi-generated vhs all the time and has transferred several upgrades.
that is seriously one of the daftest responses that you coulda given...hopefully yer just a kid, cuz otherwise they might be right re: the whole ego issue thing...either way, its relevant -- cuz yes, i'm that person who deals with all kinds of formats including VHS for the purposes of transferring and digitizing...& the fact that you'd like to believe doing a handful of VHS transfers makes you more of an expert than myself and others here who trained & work in the field doing this for a living is beyond comprehension to me

i go down on my woman regularly, that doesn't make me an OB/GYN






again -- don't be afraid to admit yer a major fan of VH, and as a hobby yer an amateur video enthusiast that does some transfers...there's nothing wrong with that!

but might i make a few suggestions, if ya want to learn more about A>D transferring and improve the overall quality of yer transfers:

1. videohelp.com is not a resource used by video professionals, its amateurs pretending like they know shit...there is more inaccurate information on that site than Fox News, so grain of salt with anything thats posted there...i would find one of the more reputable forums for reading/learning...2pop, creativecow, dvinfo.net, cinematography.com forums -- all are much better resources...also Ken Stone's site has a lot of great info for the novice & pro alike

2. ditch the Digi8 camcorder for anything other than transferring Digi8 tapes...its a consumer camcorder released almost a decade, with low-end A>D conversion...and although i believe you when you say it has TBC/DNR, i find it interesting that nowhere on Sony's site/spec pages does it mention this camera having either of those...actually when googling that camera's make/model along with TBC and DNR, the only sites that pop up are posts you've made and a few from videohelp [refer to previous point]...but even if it does, it yer much better off using a dedicated A>D converter & TBC -- quality will be far superior...

from my experience, the best-for-cheap would be a Grass Valley ADVC300 [which i use a lot for VHS transfers]...but if you want the best possible quality--companies like For-A, Blackmagic, AJA, and now even Motu

3. ditch the standalone and use a decent encoder...i generally use Episode Pro, Sorensen Squeeze Pro, or Compressor [depending on what i'm encoding to]...but any professional or even prosumer software encoder will be better than the SA's compression
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  #6  
Old 2010-02-23, 10:12 AM
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VHS Transfers & Quality

from a PM sent by sabkisscrue:


Quote:
Originally Posted by sabkisscrue
Hey,
I wanted to reply to you here because I think this is more of a private discussion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AAR.oner
as the JVC website clearly states -- its a consumer product designed for home entertainment systems [i.e recoring tv shows or transferring those home VHS tapes of Bobby's 3rd birthday party -- not professional grade transfers for archival purposes]...released maybe 5-6 years ago, originally cost around $300, you can now find em on ebay for $50
If you can find one of those units in like new condition it would go for much more than $50,
a non-working unit may go for $50 though.
I am disappointed though, that the only research you done on the unit itself was on JVC's web site. The fact is the "encoder" in this unit is one of the best encoders they ever put into a standalone recorder. You would have found that out if you did further research.
You would have also found out, that it happens to have the best noise reduction filters
ever put into a standalone unit, that comes in handy when transferring vhs. I believe you as a "professional" would be very happy this unit and with the results of its "encoding" quality.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AAR.oner
but most importantly the compression engines that standalone DVD recorders use are completely inferior quality-wise to a program based encoder
With all due respect, you are not telling me what I dont know. The reason I even have that jvc is because im incredibly disappointed with the look of standalone recorded dvds.
I wanted better and the JVC produces better dvds and gives me the result im looking for.
As a matter of fact JVC put the "encoder" that is in the DRM100 that I use in some recent professional decks. So, its safe to say what I use is of "professional" quality. If you want, I can point out to you where to find those pro standalone decks, if you dont believe me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AAR.oner
yes there are a handful of decent SAs that don't suffer from the above, however they sold for thousands of dollars, not a coupla hundred
Read above.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AAR.oner
i'm that person who deals with all kinds of formats including VHS for the purposes of transferring and digitizing...
What have you done from vhs tapes? Now im curious.
Id like to see your results.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AAR.oner
the fact that you'd like to believe doing a handful of VHS transfers makes you more of an expert than myself and others here who trained & work in the field doing this for a living is beyond comprehension to me
I dont know where you got that impression. The fact is, I respect "professionals" opinions more than I do anyone else.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AAR.oner
1. videohelp.com is not a resource used by video professionals
This is incorrect. As a matter of fact,
there is a couple of "professionals" on that site whos opinion I respect the most, out of anyone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AAR.oner
2. ditch the Digi8 camcorder for anything other than transferring Digi8 tapes
Have you ever used one of these to transfer 8mm/hi8 tapes? Its the way to go. Im telling you.
These also are great cameras.
This camera also functions as an excellent pass through filter to clean up vhs noise.


Quote:
Originally Posted by AAR.oner
3. ditch the standalone and use a decent encoder...
When it comes to cleaning up the noise on vhs and camera sources. I opt for the JVC.
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  #7  
Old 2010-02-23, 10:36 AM
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Re: VHS Transfers & Quality

my response via PM:


Quote:
Originally Posted by AAR.oner
Quote:
Originally Posted by sabkisscrue
If you can find one of those units in like new condition it would go for much more than $50,
a non-working unit may go for $50 though.
http://cgi.ebay.com/JVC-DRM100-DVD-R...item19ba1e90e2


Quote:
Originally Posted by sabkisscrue
I am disappointed though, that the only research you done on the unit itself was on JVC's web site. The fact is the "encoder" in this unit is one of the best encoders they ever put into a standalone recorder. You would have found that out if you did further research.
You would have also found out, that it happens to have the best noise reduction filters
ever put into a standalone unit, that comes in handy when transferring vhs. I believe you as a "professional" would be very happy this unit and with the results of its "encoding" quality.
links?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sabkisscrue
As a matter of fact JVC put the "encoder" that is in the DRM100 that I use in some recent professional decks. So, its safe to say what I use is of "professional" quality. If you want, I can point out to you where to find those pro standalone decks, if you dont believe me.
again, links?


Quote:
Originally Posted by sabkisscrue
What have you done from vhs tapes? Now im curious.
Id like to see your results.
safety & training videos, archival interview footage, etc etc...and sorry, but i don't think our clients would be too happy me u/ling torrents of their copyrighted material

i've got stacks of uncirculated live shows tho that i've been wanting to transfer, when i do yer more than welcome to d/l and see...but VHS is VHS, and gens/wear are a major factor...i simply have been telling you to ditch the pass-through & SA and opt for a quality SVHS deck & a decent A/D stage and you'll get better results...if you don't wanna believe that, hell fine by me



Quote:
Originally Posted by sabkisscrue
Quote:
Originally Posted by AAR.oner
2. ditch the Digi8 camcorder for anything other than transferring Digi8 tapes
Have you ever used one of these to transfer 8mm/hi8 tapes? Its the way to go. Im telling you.
These also are great cameras.
This camera also functions as an excellent pass through filter to clean up vhs noise.
yes, i've used them to transfer 8mm format tapes...but as far as using it as a "pass through" [more accurately an A/D conversion stage], no they are not an "excellent filter to clean up vhs noise"

do they have filters, maybe...would most people call them "excellent", no...but again, if you wanna believe they are then by all means...


Quote:
Originally Posted by sabkisscrue
When it comes to cleaning up the noise on vhs and camera sources. I opt for the JVC.
so when it comes to noise reduction and other parameters, what controls do the JVC standalone offer? RGB, chroma & luminance, gain, etc?






oh and just a fwiw, but i tried googling that JVC DRM100 a little further, still can't find any info from any respected sites...but i did find this on videohelp.com that you might find interesting...i'm guessing lordsmurf would be one of those "professionals at the site you respect", i know he's been there for years...anyhow thought you might find it interesting:
http://forum.videohelp.com/threads/2...actly-the-same!
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  #8  
Old 2010-02-23, 10:37 AM
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Re: VHS Transfers & Quality

a follow up PM i sent to sabkisscrue:

Quote:
Originally Posted by AAR.oner
again, i'm not saying yer transfers are complete shit or unwatchable or anything personal -- i'm just saying that if yer doing VHS transfers of rare older footage and want the best quality transfer possible [within reason of course], using a digi8 as your A/D converter > SA DVD recorder is not gonna give you the best possible results -- especially when dealing with a non-perfect or high gen source

is that JVC model better than a lot of the other SA models that were on the market at that time? i don't know, but lets say yeah it was one of the best SAs...but is it as good as doing a direct capture from deck > dedicated A/D converter [such as the ADVC300] > Final Cut...sorry, but the answers no


there's numerous issues with SA recorders in general, and the JVC model yer referring to as well, when compared to a direct capture...i'd be more than happy list them if yer interested, but i'm thinkin this is all falling on deaf ears anyway
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  #9  
Old 2010-02-23, 11:16 AM
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Re: VHS Transfers & Quality [moved from the Van Halen Largo thread]



Not that it really matters, but after several months and tries with VHS>PC-stuff and not that happy with the results, I bought that little boy back in late 2007. Being the supermarket-engine that it is, it offers 1:1-transfers from VHS to DVD-R w/o any filters and stuff, but the transfers look and sound great, and most people that grabbed a transfer of mine think the same. No use to change equipment for the moment.

Following a screen from a Soundgarden-DVD coming from my master-VHS and transferred with my best-buy standalone that seemed to be good enough to be requested from a certain Matt Cameron via a Seattle-based trader.



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  #10  
Old 2010-02-23, 11:26 AM
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Re: VHS Transfers & Quality [moved from the Van Halen Largo thread]

werd, thanks for joining in un

but for matters of reference & comparison, what exactly was involved in the "VHS>PC-stuff" that delivered inferior quality?

make/model VCR?
A/D converter, video capture card, ???
TBC, Proc Amp, ???
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  #11  
Old 2010-02-23, 11:56 AM
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Re: VHS Transfers & Quality [moved from the Van Halen Largo thread]

BWBWWBWBHAHAHAHAHAHAAH
just make sure you put it on a 9.............
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  #12  
Old 2010-02-23, 12:56 PM
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Re: VHS Transfers & Quality [moved from the Van Halen Largo thread]

Quote:
Originally Posted by AAR.oner View Post
werd, thanks for joining in un

but for matters of reference & comparison, what exactly was involved in the "VHS>PC-stuff" that delivered inferior quality?

make/model VCR?
A/D converter, video capture card, ???
TBC, Proc Amp, ???
The issues I had were most about working on a PC that was a bit too weak for this kind of stuff...I don´t know if you know what I mean, but there were glitches and a static screen here and there. The VCR itself was good enough (and is still used for that matter) to make crystal clear Audio-transfers from VHS, but after I had the standalone and was happy with what I got, I just stopped transferring DVDs with that one. Got a new PC after that as well, and not having been the quite experienced and technically interested person I soon was to become via TTD and others, I have no clue anymore what capture cards and stuff I used. If it helps, here´s a lineage from one of the few good captures I made:

Lineage: unknown tripod-cam (on soundboard) > Master > VHS (one audio-channel only) > VCR (JVC HR-J593) > transfer to HDD (via Ulead VideoStudio Movie Wizard) > MPEG > encoding and editing (via Ulead VideoStudio Movie Wizard) > DVD (2006-09-26)
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  #13  
Old 2010-02-23, 03:17 PM
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Re: VHS Transfers & Quality [moved from the Van Halen Largo thread]

Amateur video transfer hobbyist here, specializing in Grateful Dead and related source material. I have been transferring since 2004, and released numerous transfers to the community.

My approach is simple, and my budget is limited. Here is my current capture/ encode chain:

JVC SRV10U S-VHS w/ Time Base Corrector & Digital NR engaged > s-video > ATI TV Wonder 650 > VirtualDub 1.9.8 w/ HuffYUV > AVIsynth 2.5.8 > CinemaCraft Encoder 2.70

or

Panasonic PV-9450 VHS VCR > composite > ATI TV Wonder 650 >
VirtualDub 1.9.8 w/ HuffYUV > AVIsynth 2.5.8 > CinemaCraft Encoder 2.70

Funny thing, the "nothing special" Panasonic often gives a cleaner playback than the JVC deck, composite cable and all. I also have an i.den IVT-7 TBC and a AVT8710 TBC that I can insert into the chain if needed. I do my viewing on an old Commodore 1702 monitor, which is a nice NTSC CRT with chroma and luma inputs. I have done color calibration on the monitor, on the video card that feeds the monitor (ATI radeon x1950pro), on the capture card, and on the TBC where applicable, all done using the test patterns and filters in the AVIA guide to Home Theater.

I capture to my hard drive using the lossless HuffYUV codec - 1 hour of video is about 50GB with an average of 3.5:1 compression. VirtualDub is a great freeware program that fits my capture needs. All of my processing is done via scripting with the AVIsynth freeware frameserver software - very powerful and allows total control of virtually all aspects of the video stream.

I can sense you video professionals cringing I cannot afford pro-grade equipment, and have concentrated on doing the best I can with the gear I have. I have done my share of botching the video stream, and have hopefully learned enough to avoid future mishaps. I am always trying to improve my capture process, and usually include a split-screen clip showing raw capture vs processed video. I take the "Occam's Razor" approach to video processing - the simplest strategy is the best. Capture, process once, encode once, author, release...
  #14  
Old 2010-02-23, 04:00 PM
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Re: VHS Transfers & Quality [moved from the Van Halen Largo thread]

PART 1 - The history of the world. (With applogies to Mel Brooks)

I will take this a step further - as I said over in that VH thread most people that are involved in restoration of visuals and audio do a lot more than simply do a transfer from "master" source to new "master" source. It is easy for me because I sarted off on film - working with film. Yes film is still film and video is video however in both cases there are dedicated indivuals who do nothing more than sit and, frame by frame, do restorations using whatever technology is available to them to do so. Certianly the technology that was available 30 years ago is not the same that is available now...meaning that an old u-matic, quad, or 1 inch duplication master may not be the best version that could exist - but it may be the only "useable" version for the massses that does exist. This is where restoration comes into play.

It is hard to talk shop without loosing some people but here is the basic scenario - and will use film but if you follow you will better understand the concept for video. So call this first part a very brief "history" lesson of sorts. In film something is shot on film - for those old "music videos" it was mostly 16mm. Keeping in mind MTV was not around and even when it first came into being it was not like it is now, and really "music video" was not a term used. It was more "promotional films" or the like. But the actual format is not my main point - it is that you would take an unexposed roll of film, load it into your camera and shoot. That film was processed at a lab and if it was negative a one light work print was made and sent to an editor. If it was postive the editor held thier breath and hoped they didn't fuck up. When the editing was done, in the case of negative, a negative cut was done and a screening print made. From that the color timing would come into play and than, from the same negative, a release print would be made. Now here come the variables - for something that was mass produced an interneg would be made to save the orginal neg. As video playback became more common the release print would be telecined video and a dupe would be made from that to be used as a duplication master. As technology grew the line between film and video became more blured. Matter of fact a film that I supervised post on was one of the frst to use, at the time, "new" process to allow an editor to cut using an offline system and than dump out and EDL and bring a VHS dump, along with the EDL, to the Neg cutter and they would conform the negative. I was very sceptical at first because film edge number and SMPTE time code are not that same, nor is 24 fps of film vs the inherent telcine addition of frames to conform to NTSC - but I sat down on a D/Vision system and, after ingesting all the telecined dailies that were on u-matic, I edited and dumped out the EDL and brought a VHS dump over to them. That process, known as match back or frame matching, became very commonplace and now, taking this all a step further, the need for EDL's or the use of "offline" are things most newbies don't bother with due to the current world of digital.

So what does any of this have to with " VHS Transfers & Quality"? A lot - because for video the process starts off mostly the same. Something is shot but instead of going to film it was laid down on video tape of some sort. Keeping in mind that back in the "old days" what was done inside of a TV studio was video, whats done on location was mostly film, shot on 16mm and the process used was the same as I described - except the turn around time was insane. In the old-er days of live TV, in some cases, there was not video tape so a simple process wa sused - point a film camera at a studio montor and film it. Its why some of those old "classic" shows and performances are only out there on a kinescope recording. In the whole process there may be more than a few "masters" - a studio "master", a duplication "master", a viewing "master" and a "sub-master". When you go out and buy a DVD it is not made form *the* master - yes it is a made from an "master", one that was assembled from various soruces - the main feature, the menus, the trailers and even those "extras". But along that path from studio to your hands there are a lot of steps, including the encoding of all material and dumping the final authored DVD to a DLT, transfer to a glass master and lots of quality control going on along the way. It is not simply a dub from some videotape to a stand alone DVD recorder.

This somewhat brings us up to now.

PART 2 - Quality, oh Quality how i knew thee.

First of all when talking about VHS one has to remember it was a more modern consumer format - and of less quality than another consumer format - beta. Studios used Quad tape (2 inch) or 1 inch to record to. Consumers didn't have those maching in their homes - the concept of a home VTR was not part of the equation. U-matic came about later and became a more portable format in the world to television. If you were in the industry or a geek and, had the money, it would not be unusual to have a u-matic deck in your home - with a tuner built in to record over the air broadcasts. When MTV first went on the air they accepted 1 inch and u-matic, betacam was still a new format. Those early MTV videos were being played back and sent out on what we think of now as obsolete gear.

For those still with me the question here is about VHS quality and the current state of things. The issue of quality can be a subjective one and at times it has to be weighed against things like "historical" value. In recent times two events come to my mind - before 2001 most of the industry never would have felt consumer camcorder, cell phones or webcams would be used for mainstream news and most of the "casual viewers" would have been banging their TV sets and calling their local stations to complain about the images in their sets. But September 11, 2001 changed that perception. And again, when the coalition forces were crossing into Baghdad, almost every major worldwide network had someone embedded and broadcast live via a most unlikey source: a cell/sat phone linked to a webcam. Viewes around the glob watched choppy web cam video being streamed live. If a full show of one of the Oakland '81 gigs turned up as shakey handheld super 8 film transfer I think most, but not all, true CVH diehards would be fine with that "quality" due to it's "historical" value.

The term "camera original" or "camera master" used to imply it was the best source and quality - now it could mean it is from a cell phone in dark club. This is what, as someone who does film and video for a living, has to deal with on a daily basis. "Why should we hire a pro when we my brother in laws 7 year son could do that?" With that kind of feeling anymore how can somebody be expected to fully grasp the difference between a basic dub and restortion, or even authoring for a DVD? If they grew up (or are gowing up) in the digital age I don't think they fully can. Hey, for under 100 bucks you can buy an HD camera and with less than one hundred more buy software that will allow you to edit and turn out a DVD. In those terms, yes, "quality" is very much subjective.

So, as AAR.oner pointed out, as as I too had pointed out, the quality of what sabkisscrue/deuce8pro/Matt has done in regaurds to the Van Halen show is fine for what it is. However the arguments made here, and on other forums, by sabkisscrue/deuce8pro/Matt is not that it is that it is not good for what it is - but that it *is* the best. Why? One reason given is the use of a "1 Gen" source from a "master" and second is that thier equpiment does more than creates another dub. From the start, and I still maintain this, that this was not made from the venues "master" as is implied in the sources - it was clearly, at the least, made from a dub of a dub. In the world I live in one does not call a VHS dub a "master" nor does one call a dub to another format from a VHS dub a "1st Gen" dub, no matter what kind of gear you use. So the first step to "quality" is to use correct terms. The "quality" is based on the source - no matter what format it is in. Hw the image go onto that source would be a true "master". In the case of raw footage that would be the original negative/camera master and the final product would be the "edited master" and after that would come a "duplication master" and even a "broadcast master." But, in the professiaonl world, even a dub from a broadcast master would be better than a consumer dub made from a consumer dub of another dub.

Next I would say to be realistic in expectations. In other words back in the day when I was doing tape trading we all basiclly were making dubs. The difference is someone working at Warner Brothers who made a dub was not nessecarly using the same gear the fan who tapped a show in Buffalo would be. Likewise the in house video feed was not using the same gear as the fan who shot the show from the handicapped section with his VHS-C cam corder. These figure into "quality" as well. So, for example, if what you are presenting is a show sourced from a 30 year old hand held VHS camera do not pretend it was shot by professionals, fed through some Quantel sytem and mastered at IVC. It is what it is - don't try to sell anyone on the idea that it is more that what it is.

PART 3 - Oh gear, I dropped a frame

This is where you go "But what about gear?" and I say "I already explained that". Which I did - sort of. Most of the traders are not pro - in other words they are doing this as a hobby, not for money. If you are making money from this you are a bootlegger and we don't take too kindly to your type in these here parts. But seriously - ask yourself very simple qestions - "What do I want out of this? Why am I doing it?" The answer should help to guide you to the best gear for what you want to do. And this is where my little "history lesson" should come into play - 30 years ago the abilty to do what most everyone can do now at home was non-existant. There were no 25 dollar DVD players, 40 dollar ebay DVD recorders, 99 dollar HD cameras and such. Back in the day somebody said they wanted a copy of something and they hit play on one machine and record on another. Those with more money had better gear and other tech heads had TBC's running. And that worked - and frankly that still works for many. The gear may be more advanced but at it's core, and another part of why this thread was created, somebody hits play on one machine and hits record on the other. At anyone can do that...and with most of the gear available today you can do a decent job of it - so if that is all you want to do than that is all you need. Something to playback and something to record on. It is not brain surgery. Although some may still might need to get someone to get that clock to stop flashing at you.

Now if it is resotration you want to do than things become more complicated. Because this is a hobby you need to figure out how much time and effort you want to put into this and than it becomes ingesting into your computer in the best possible method. In the case of old video pulling it is a 4k won't matte rmuch but if it was some old film footage and yo uhad a box with processing power to do it - get it scanned frame by frame at 4k. I have to say I don't know of many, actually none, hobbiests who would lay out that kind of cash to do that or have that kind of high end system at home. In other words there is a relaity check that needs to come into play. Most would pop whatever source tape they have into whatever playback unit they have and capture it to whatever codec is common to their system. These days it is a DV codec and it gets the job done. It it the best for what *you* want to do? I can't tell you that - but I can say that for best result if you are planning on doing a lot of color correction and clean up working at the best resolution works best - meaning uncompresed.

There you have it - that says a lot but probably does not answer any specific questions. And it is for a reason. Some people swear by Kodak film stock, some by Fuji, some AGFA. Some peole swear by JVC gear, some by Sony. Some people swear by Macs, some by Linx, some by Windows. And it goes on and on. I always tell people to look at it and try it and if it looks good to them than it is good for them. here at TDD there are things that are accepted and things that are not - mostly it has to do with quality issues, such as not allowing MP3's or DIVX. As I said - does the gear do what *you* want it to do? If it does cool beans. As awolfoutwest said: "I can sense you video professionals cringing. I cannot afford pro-grade equipment, and have concentrated on doing the best I can with the gear I have." And overall - as oryo pointed out at VHT - "IT'S JUST A HOBBY!" and as AAR.oner said here - "...these are only recordings of concerts -- not the cure for cancer."
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Old 2010-02-23, 04:41 PM
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Re: VHS Transfers & Quality [moved from the Van Halen Largo thread]

have to read more carefully later, but cheers for the contributions ya'll...open discussion about techniques & gear is necessary in this constantly changing field

also glad you pointed out some of the inconsistencies in wording -- "master" doesn't mean the same thing in trading circles as it would in the film/video business...too many words being used inaccurately these days imo


btw boxedart -- got some Super16 B&W Reversal stock in the freezer, leftovers from a shoot...some of my favorite stock of all time...always wanted to film part a live show with it...maybe if i hit the lottery, and it'd have to be a black metal show
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