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Old 10-09-2011, 12:55 PM - Thread Starter
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I want a plug and play solution to capturing my VHS SD tapes to a file I can play on my WD TV Live Plus server.
I would like equal or nearly equal quality (resolution, smooth motion, etc.)
I understand that there are cards and USB "dongles" you can get.
Editing would be limited to cutting out commercials or dead time after a recording.
I do not want to get time base correctors, expensive editing software, or pro gear. Just something basic that WORKS! My computer is 3ghz, 2gb ram, and plenty of free disc space.
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Old 10-09-2011, 06:00 PM
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Originally Posted by 2bitwise View Post

I want a plug and play solution to capturing my VHS SD tapes to a file I can play on my WD TV Live Plus server.
I would like equal or nearly equal quality (resolution, smooth motion, etc.)
I understand that there are cards and USB "dongles" you can get.
Editing would be limited to cutting out commercials or dead time after a recording.
I do not want to get time base correctors, expensive editing software, or pro gear. Just something basic that WORKS! My computer is 3ghz, 2gb ram, and plenty of free disc space.

I did a little googling and found this free sw called NCH it looks promising. http://nchsoftware.com/goldenvideos/index.html#101 and then they link you here http://altoedge.com/usbcapture/index.html for the USB capture device for 20 bucks.
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Old 10-09-2011, 06:08 PM
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Remember it depends on the condition and quality of the VHS tape. Its fine to not invest in the gear to ensure a reliable transfer but if the quality of the tape is poor, then it will reflect in the PC too, dropouts, dropped frames and all.

If the tape condition is good then you shouldn't have too much trouble (unless you have commercial tapes that have macrovision on them).
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Old 10-09-2011, 06:51 PM
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There are two ways to attain high quality transfers. One is based on having the proper equipment and lots of practice and experience. The other is based on sheer luck. Using a $20 capture card and a VCR salvaged from the GoodWill does not fit into the first category. Unless you are serious about doing it (or have a lot of tapes to transfer) I would suggest farming the job out to someone in category 1. If you really want to do-it-yourself then buy proper equipment and sell it when you are done. But be prepared to learn.

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Old 10-09-2011, 06:57 PM
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Originally Posted by olyteddy View Post

There are two ways to attain high quality transfers. One is based on having the proper equipment and lots of practice and experience. The other is based on sheer luck. Using a $20 capture card and a VCR salvaged from the GoodWill does not fit into the first category. Unless you are serious about doing it (or have a lot of tapes to transfer) I would suggest farming the job out to someone in category 1. If you really want to do-it-yourself then buy proper equipment and sell it when you are done. But be prepared to learn.

+1

For a job like this, it has to be done right. I have a ton of VHS and SVHS material that's waiting to be transferred and once my i7 workstation is built I am going to work on my collection. I have done many VHS transfers before and trust me, it will take more time and patience than you realize. Most people want an easy plug and play easy solution; you wont get that with this process. GIGO (Garbage In Garbage Out) still applies.
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Old 10-09-2011, 08:07 PM - Thread Starter
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What software/hardware do you plan on using?

Currently I have Honestech VHS to DVD 5.0 (dongle plus software) and after spending a bunch of time making test clips and reviewing them, I don't get a consistent result with various tapes of similar quality and problems with jerky motion. Tried 352X480 and 720x480.
So, I am disappointed with the results. I really don't want to copy all those tapes and end up with poor resolution and jerky motion that hurts my eyes. (Like I have now!).
My tapes play back ok in my VCR, but maybe when you capture, things are different.....
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Old 10-09-2011, 08:12 PM
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My tapes play back ok in my VCR, but maybe when you capture, things are different.....

Yep (TVs are extremely forgiving, captures not). Hence the need for an above average VCR, a TBC, good capture card, AVISynth scripting and skill.

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Old 10-09-2011, 08:27 PM
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A VCR (with a built in TBC, if you can still find one) works for a good start. TBC's do the job of resyncing and stabilizing the signal for better transfers.

When I had my setup, I had my SVHS deck, Sima Copymaster (no longer made) the Panasonic DV deck to convert to digital and editing software. This process worked very well for me, but of course I had more equipment to work with.

Another option is that if you have a DV or Digital8 camcorder with analog inputs, you can connect your VCR to that and into your PC. Firewire would be the best way to capture as it would do the A/D conversion within the camcorder and send it to the computer.
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Old 10-10-2011, 08:16 AM
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Originally Posted by AVTechMan View Post

Another option is that if you have a DV or Digital8 camcorder with analog inputs, you can connect your VCR to that and into your PC. Firewire would be the best way to capture as it would do the A/D conversion within the camcorder and send it to the computer.

This is what I've always done. Works like a charm. I end up with a large .avi file that I then convert to something more manageable. As far as I can tell, quality is just about the same as the original.
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Old 10-10-2011, 11:03 AM
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FWIW - I used a Grass Valley ADVC300 to convert my analog VHS tapes to DV. It's not cheap - around $400 new. But the 3D Time Base Corrector (TBC) does a good job of cleaning up the image during conversion. You just hit play on the VCR and record on the camcorder (or PC capture program). The best result is from S-Video in to DV out. You can go direct from VHS to the PC via Firewire. I copied to MiniDV tape first, then to PC, and I'm satisfied with the results.

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Old 10-10-2011, 07:08 PM - Thread Starter
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after reviewing all your responses, it looks like what I am trying to do is not so easy. I guess it explains why the reviews of vhs capture devices have such mixed user reviews and the results vary all over the place.
I'll have to figure out what to do next.
Thanks for your guidance.
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Old 10-11-2011, 09:30 PM
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I have used Dazzle it work great out of the box.
http://pinnaclesys.com/PublicSit...ials/Tapes.htm
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Old 10-12-2011, 05:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Bignickfly View Post

I have used Dazzle it work great out of the box.
http://pinnaclesys.com/PublicSit...ials/Tapes.htm

Will this work on copyrighted tapes also? My wife has some old exercise tapes she wants to save to disk.

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Old 10-12-2011, 07:08 AM - Thread Starter
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Dazzle

How does the picture look? (resolution, is motion smooth in scenes?)

And is the quality about the same with various tapes (captured file playback)?
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Old 10-13-2011, 12:01 AM
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Will this work on copyrighted tapes also? My wife has some old exercise tapes she wants to save to disk.

Sorry... I can't be sure if the Dazzle gets around Macrovision, I got the Dazzle to transfer my wedding videos before the tapes died.
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Old 10-13-2011, 12:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2bitwise View Post

Dazzle

How does the picture look? (resolution, is motion smooth in scenes?)

And is the quality about the same with various tapes (captured file playback)?

The video tapes I copied, the picture was exactily the same as the tape, but my tapes were in only 480i..
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Old 10-13-2011, 12:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rgathright View Post

Will this work on copyrighted tapes also? My wife has some old exercise tapes she wants to save to disk.

You need a device that will defeat the Macrovision signal on the copyrighted tapes. A TBC is one such device or, you can do a Firewire connection through the camcorder to the PC....will also bypass the protection.

Never used the Dazzle and don't think it works on protected tapes.
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Old 10-13-2011, 06:45 AM - Thread Starter
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Well, I just tried using Windows Movie Maker with my capture device, and it works!
At 640X480 standard settings, playing back the capture files looks good. The only thing I need now is to get the wide screen mode working and figure out how to do cuts (edit).
It saves as WMV files.
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Old 10-18-2011, 10:51 PM
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I've copied some homemade VHS tapes by using a Panasonic DVD recorder. Just directly connected by composite or S-video, whichever looked best. This created a DVD which I then copied to a PC and then used VideoReDo to do some editing.
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Old 10-19-2011, 08:51 AM
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Sorry to thread jack. I have a very old Sony Handycam Hi8. This is before firewire. I can go from VHS to digital tape with this camcorder. It does have a S-VHS port for I/O. Now what? Do I have to buy a PCI card to add to my PC. I am running on Windows XP pro sp3. What is the cheapest and best solution to store old VHS material in DVD or store in the computer's harddrive? Thanks.
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Old 10-19-2011, 11:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike99 View Post

I've copied some homemade VHS tapes by using a Panasonic DVD recorder. Just directly connected by composite or S-video, whichever looked best. This created a DVD which I then copied to a PC and then used VideoReDo to do some editing.

That's exactly the solution I was thinking of! Takes two recording steps, but overall probably less time-consuming than learning new video capture software.
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Old 10-19-2011, 08:48 PM
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Originally Posted by jsluk View Post

Sorry to thread jack. I have a very old Sony Handycam Hi8. This is before firewire. I can go from VHS to digital tape with this camcorder. It does have a S-VHS port for I/O. Now what? Do I have to buy a PCI card to add to my PC. I am running on Windows XP pro sp3. What is the cheapest and best solution to store old VHS material in DVD or store in the computer's harddrive? Thanks.

Buy a DVD recorder. When it comes to transferring tape to disk that's usually going to be the best compromise between 'cheapest' and 'best'.

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Old 04-17-2012, 05:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2bitwise View Post

What software/hardware do you plan on using?

Currently I have Honestech VHS to DVD 5.0 (dongle plus software) and after spending a bunch of time making test clips and reviewing them, I don't get a consistent result with various tapes of similar quality and problems with jerky motion. Tried 352X480 and 720x480.
So, I am disappointed with the results. I really don't want to copy all those tapes and end up with poor resolution and jerky motion that hurts my eyes. (Like I have now!).
My tapes play back ok in my VCR, but maybe when you capture, things are different.....

I bought the Honestech and I am returning it to Best Buy. Was on the phone with HT trech support and no matter what setting I put it on the audio was out of sync with the video. From what I have been reading these things are just a gimmick and do not work.
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Old 03-01-2013, 12:45 PM
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I want to buy a desktop for transferring VHS tapes to PC. I will add a video capture card but I will do editing on another PC. Does the processor speed have any effect on quality or anything when transferring? I'd like to spend very little, since it will be dedicated to VHS.
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Old 03-02-2013, 07:50 AM
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Does the processor speed have any effect on quality or anything when transferring?

Absolutely. With a slow processor, you will lose compression and get frame drops. However, most processors out today should be able to handle sd capturing, especially if you capture to an uncompressed or DV file, then convert later. Or you could get a hardware based capture card to offload the processing.
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Old 03-03-2013, 09:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Bignickfly View Post

I have used Dazzle it work great out of the box.
http://pinnaclesys.com/PublicSit...ials/Tapes.htm
+1. I picked up a refurbished Dazzle dirt cheap a couple of years ago and used it to copy my S-VHS and regular VHS tapes to my PC using Pinnacle Studio. I also used the Pinnacle software with my Digital 8 camcorder via Firewire connection. I was able to control the camcorder transport remotely from the software interface and it worked great. Pinnacle Studio automatically detected both my Digital 8 camcorder and the Dazzle as my sources so all I had to do was pick the one I was currently using. I copied over about 75 tapes of home movies and they now reside on my server where anyone can access them. One of these days I'll take the time to edit them and compile DVDs for friends and family.
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