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Ziggy587
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VHS, XRGB Framemeister and Capture Device Questions

by Ziggy587 Sun Nov 29, 2015 8:29 pm

So I have a bunch of VHS tapes that I really should digitize before it's too late. I mentioned it to my mom, her parents had all their whatever mm footage transferred to VHS some years back. My mom thought it'd be a great idea if I digitized that VHS so she could give out DVDs of it to her parents and siblings. So now I wanna try and get something going so I can get at least that tape transferred before Christmas.

What's the best capture devices out there that wont break the bank? I've looked around, it seems like most devices are either specifically for SD or HD, but rarely both. But I was thinking, I have the XRGB mini. So maybe I could get a capture device that does 480p and up, and I could run my VCR through the XRGB and output 480p or maybe even 720p? I really like this idea, I can use the XRGB to set the aspect ratio and crop out any garbage (overscan).

But I've never heard of anyone using the XRGB for VHS. Seems like a good idea, being that it's the king of 240p upscalers. But when I try to Google for it, I can't find anything. Any one have any experience with this? I haven't tried it yet.

Should I bother trying to use the XRGB with an HD capture device? Or should I just get an SD capture device?

I was looking at the Elgato Game Capture HD (not the HD60, just the regular HD model). The price doesn't seem bad, and it got a lot of positive feedback on Amazon. The software sounds like it's real easy to use. That's kind of important to me, since I need to get this done quick. It's kinda hard to tell what's what though, it seems that Elgato is frequently updating their software.

What I'm really looking for is the simplest way I can capture footage with, without any quality concerns. If I can launch the software, select a few capture options (resolution, aspect ratio, output file type, etc), press play on the VCR and record on the app, I'd be living large. I plan to take the output file and use Windows Movie Maker to put it on DVD (simple enough).

But speaking of the output file type... I don't really know a whole lot about video compression (other than what BAD compression looks like). It looks like the Elgato will only do lossy H.264 encoding. Is this a bad idea since I'm looking to ARCHIVE and not upload things to YouTube (where you generally want to keep the file size down - hence lossy compression)?

Seems like I should try and find another capture device that'll output a lossless video format, that I can then compress if I need/want to, but could also archive a lossless copy for my grand kid's grand kids.

So I'm kinda lost... Any video capture device recommendations for my specific needs? Any info is welcomed.

Thanks! And sorry for a wall of text!
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Re: VHS, XRGB Framemeister and Capture Device Questions

by 8bit Sun Nov 29, 2015 11:17 pm

This is such a great question! I'd love to hear anyones suggestion for this. I have a framemeister and an old VHS and tons of tapes I need to digitize too! Can anyone offer any SD or HD capture card suggestions for this type of project? Mac and Windows applicable suggestions would be great!
"The librarian does not rue the library, nor the curator fear the exhibits. Rather they revel in their potential. And that is the beauty of a big backlog; pure potential." - Exhuminator

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Ziggy587
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Re: VHS, XRGB Framemeister and Capture Device Questions

by Ziggy587 Mon Nov 30, 2015 9:57 am

Elgato HD60 is the same price as the regular HD model right now on Amazon, so I might pick one up today.

edit: Fuck it, I just bought the HD60. I'm still interested in anything anyone has to say.
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My Sale Thread - PRICES REDUCED! I am selling around three quarters of my video game collection as well as some other odds and ends!

I want to buy Universal Game Cases, if you have any spares please PM me! I'm looking to only deal with members that have good BST feedback on this forum.
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Re: VHS, XRGB Framemeister and Capture Device Questions

by Anapan Mon Nov 30, 2015 5:16 pm

A little late to the discussion, but okay here's what I got.
I did VHS capture and convert years ago. I had a BT8x8 capture card - an ATI TV Wonder, and a high-end VHS player with S-Video output. VHS is very analog compressed - the equivalent of 240i at the very highest but usually around only 200 lines. Here's a quick google search answer that explains it pretty well. There are many different recording formats for VHS tapes. When I recorded the signal at 720x480i through S-video there was a lot of blank space and a lot of signal noise which, if recorded at a lower resolution would have been mostly okay anyway, but for archival I wanted the best I could get. I was using Virtualdub with a huge chain of filters to clean the signal up after recording it losslessly. Since I recorded the interlacing, I could deinterlace it properly during post processing to get the very most out of the signal I could record (no frames blurred together). There were some filters only made for Virtualdub that really helped clean up and crisp up the pictures noise and color anomalies. Recording in HD is probably not going to get you much in the way of quality improvement, tho having the video possibly cleaned up and stabilized with the XRGB may help. That, and using the XRGB's deinterlacing to progressive should make the post processing a lot easier if you do any.
As far as recording to DVD, I still use VSO's ConvertXtoDVD for any video I want in DVD format. It's really easy to use, and has the option for 2-pass encoding.
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Re: VHS, XRGB Framemeister and Capture Device Questions

by Ziggy587 Wed Dec 02, 2015 7:19 pm

The Elgato HD60 came in today. I'm not sure if it was the right choice...

The XRGB mini, as we know, has that horrible sync time. It keeps losing the VCR signal, and takes forever (10 seconds) to resync. The HD60 seems to work great, I'm just not sure if it was the wise choice. I'm mulling it over if I should return it and get the regular HD version (which has SD inputs - I can plug the VCR directly into it).
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My Sale Thread - PRICES REDUCED! I am selling around three quarters of my video game collection as well as some other odds and ends!

I want to buy Universal Game Cases, if you have any spares please PM me! I'm looking to only deal with members that have good BST feedback on this forum.
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Re: VHS, XRGB Framemeister and Capture Device Questions

by 8bit Thu Dec 03, 2015 10:32 am

That sucks. I wonder why it keeps loosing the signal. Once you start playing the tape and the Elgato is recording it just randomly drops the signal?
"The librarian does not rue the library, nor the curator fear the exhibits. Rather they revel in their potential. And that is the beauty of a big backlog; pure potential." - Exhuminator

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Re: VHS, XRGB Framemeister and Capture Device Questions

by Anapan Thu Dec 03, 2015 6:40 pm

Tape stretch and magnetic degradation cause problems when VCRs try to keep sync. Older VCRs used to have manual tracking with a potentiometer, newer ones do their best to do it automatically, but even the automatic tracking has problems sometimes. CRTs are more forgiving with that type of thing, but as soon as one frame doesn't have a clean sync signal on an XRGB it bluescreens. Too bad about that.
I have a couple of PCI capture cards in the drawer I'll never use again (got USB ones now). I'd be happy to send one @ cost of shipping from BC, Canada.
Dunno how easy it'd be to find drivers for newer operating systems.
Hauppauge WinTV-PVR-150
ATI TV Wonder Pro PCI
They both do lossless capture into the HuffYUV codec.
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Ziggy587
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Re: VHS, XRGB Framemeister and Capture Device Questions

by Ziggy587 Thu Dec 03, 2015 9:36 pm

Thanks, Anapan, I appreciate it. I actually already purchased the Elgato HD (the one with the SD video input) and it should come in tomorrow. I'm hoping this will do the trick for me, and I'll return the HD60. I actually have an old PCI capture card, but it only has drivers for XP. I could technically still use it, but I'd have to capture on my XP computer in the basement, then dump the captured video to a memory stick or something so I could bring it on my Win7 PC to edit and whatnot.

8bit, Anapan nailed it. The Elgato seems to work flawlessly. The XRGB just can't tolerate a split second of no sync, and the resyncing takes about 10 seconds.

I didn't really go into detail, but I didn't notice any issues with the XRGB while a constant video was playing. I put a movie on (I still have a ton of VHS tapes!) and the XRGB didn't hiccup once. However, I have a few tapes where the recording stops/starts, and it loses the signal in those areas. I have a few tapes of Mario Paint footage that my brother and I recorded on VHS back in the day. For example, on one tape I have maybe 15-30 minutes worth of video, but it's made up of 5-20 second segments. The XRGB loses the signal during the transitions. This makes it impossible to use, since by the time it resyncs I could have lost an entire segment.

I know a lot of home videos from camcorders are like this. You might have 5-10 minutes of footage, then it skips to another 30 minutes of footage, and so on. For what it's worth, you could que up the video, press play and then pause, let the XRGB sync, hit record on the Elgato, then press play on the VCR. This method seemed to work. But if you're looking to just press play on a VHS tape that's made up of multiple segments, then come back in an hour or two and have all the video captured, this setup isn't going to work.

I just thought it was worth mentioning in case anyone comes across this. If you have a home recording where it was done in one shot (as in, you hit record on the camcorder and let it record until the tape ran out) you could definitely use the XRGB with the Elgato. Capturing the 480p signal definitely has its benefits. But if your VHS tapes are made up of multiple segments like some of mine, this setup could be a nightmare!

And, for what it's worth, I tested out the XRGB with the Elgato using a SNES. It works great! Seems like a great way to record 480p-1080p from the XRGB, if you wish.
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My Sale Thread - PRICES REDUCED! I am selling around three quarters of my video game collection as well as some other odds and ends!

I want to buy Universal Game Cases, if you have any spares please PM me! I'm looking to only deal with members that have good BST feedback on this forum.
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Re: VHS, XRGB Framemeister and Capture Device Questions

by 8bit Fri Dec 04, 2015 11:53 am

Awesome feedback guys! I look forward to hearing if the Elgato HD does the trick for you! I definitely need to do this myself. I was just lugging a box of VHS tapes from one closet to another just this past week. Hell I even have a box of BetaMax tapes I need to try to do something with as well.
"The librarian does not rue the library, nor the curator fear the exhibits. Rather they revel in their potential. And that is the beauty of a big backlog; pure potential." - Exhuminator

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Ziggy587
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Re: VHS, XRGB Framemeister and Capture Device Questions

by Ziggy587 Fri Dec 04, 2015 1:25 pm

Just venting here: My Emerson VCR, which hasn't seen much use in the last ~10 years, apparently bit the dust. I think the motor died. I have a tape in there, and I can't eject it. It sounds like the motor is trying to go, but can't, so the VCR just powers itself off (a built in protection). This sucks for two reasons. One, it wasn't the greatest VCR, but it's the only one I have that was mine since it was brand new. I know for a fact that it's clean. I have other VCRs, but they might not be clean. And two, I have a tape in there that I'll have to try and remove without damaging the ribbon (the ribbon is wrapped around the drum and rollers).

Also, I have to get some VHS adapters for some camcorder tapes. I have one camcorder that takes (I think) VHS-C tapes, along with a few tapes. Then I have some older camcorder tapes that are a different size. I'm not even sure what they're called. Annoying, VHS adapters are like $50 and up on Amazon for some reason (I'd rather buy one new then used, to avoid getting one that's dirty).
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My Sale Thread - PRICES REDUCED! I am selling around three quarters of my video game collection as well as some other odds and ends!

I want to buy Universal Game Cases, if you have any spares please PM me! I'm looking to only deal with members that have good BST feedback on this forum.
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