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Thread: VHS capture?

  1. #1
    Plays with fire sadkkf's Avatar
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    VHS capture?

    Hi--

    So way off topic here, but I'm need of a quick way to digitize video from a VCR. I've found the DigitNow products (BR120) and it looks like it would be ideal, but I'm wondering about video quality.

    Does anyone have any experience with anything like this? I'd love to capture uncompressed, but I realize that's probably not realistic.

    Any suggestions would be helpful.

    Thanks!
    So much water, so few sharks.

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  2. #2
    Curmudgeon in Training Ma3rk's Avatar
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    How much footage ya got timewise? Might be all around quicker, easier, cheaper to search for a service if you've less than a couple hours.

    I've always leaned toward BMD's stuff myself. You'd need to find one that matches your output options of your playback deck of course & I'm not seeing anything current with S-Vid. Perhaps one of their converters.

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  3. #3
    Intermediate User Shloime's Avatar
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    Look for BMDs Intensity Line, Intensity Pro as a PCI Card, or Intensity Shuttle for USB3, they should have S-Video and be around used for a good price.
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    Arrgh, I wrote a long answer but accidentally deleted it.

    Even a high end BM or AJA card will not save the situation unless you have a TBC in the chain, otherwise the digital capture will have no qualms dropping video frames to compensate. There are some consumer solutions which are far superior to others. One guy did it well on the cheap, and at least shows the importance of trying to get it right (you would probably use different equipment now).
    http://www.unterzuber.com/TBC.html

    There are also some consumer dvd recorders back in the day which had a particular chip made by LSI which was reckoned to be excellent (but bad capacitors had flooded the market, giving some machines a shorter shelf life with "loading error" faults, etc). Particular JVC models were reckoned to be the best.
    http://www.digitalfaq.com/forum/vide...ipset-dvd.html

    Particular Sony Hi8 camcoder models had a "passthrough" mode which would accept video/audio then output via firewire. Certain professional equipment comes up for a song now on Ebay...if you can recognize it. I got a $15,000 Snell unit for £100 (cough, cough, cough).

    Good luck !

    Last edited by TheLexx; 09-11-2018 at 03:34 AM.

  5. #5
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    Forgot to ask the basic question, which VCR are you going to use please ?
    Further info from a rated company.

  6. #6
    Plays with fire sadkkf's Avatar
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    Thank you, everyone. I appreciate the guidance here.

    I'm not exactly sure how much I have, but easily 2-3 hours. And my source is actually VHS-C. With my adapter, I can play it in a VCR.

    Buying a lot of hardware for this is more than I care for. It's only to archive some old video shot by my dad who passed a couple of weeks ago. The video is crap already, but I'd like to avoid artifacting if possible.

    For US$100 the DigitNow box may be fine and if it doesn't work I may be able to return it or toss it.

    It would be nice digitizing it so I can edit it some and burn DVDs with chapters. Nothing here will win awards.
    So much water, so few sharks.

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  7. #7
    Plays with fire sadkkf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheLexx View Post
    Forgot to ask the basic question, which VCR are you going to use please ?
    Further info from a rated company.
    I think it's a Toshiba. Consumer grade and works well enough.
    So much water, so few sharks.

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  8. #8
    Founding member raymondtrace's Avatar
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    First, sorry for the reason to convert. I did something similar in a rush a couple years ago. I used this:

    https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    This may be a little different than the product you're looking at. This is basically just a video input for your computer so you could probably capture uncompressed if you wanted. It was so long ago that I don't recall what I did to get the best result. I remember I chose it because it worked on Linux and Windows...and with and without the bundled software. I think I settled on the bundled software.

    EDIT: I'm reading reviews of it now and recalling my own challenges. Some of the bundled software is touchy and if it senses macrovision (even from faulty timing from an old tape) it won't process the input. This may be why I tried other free/opensource capture software on some personal tapes that were degenerating. For most of my tapes, the default software was fine.

    I might go back and try again with the nifty info TheLexx shared. This looks interesting:
    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Communicati...IAAOSwSRVamF~X
    Last edited by raymondtrace; 09-11-2018 at 10:44 AM.
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  9. #9
    Plays with fire sadkkf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by raymondtrace View Post
    First, sorry for the reason to convert. I did something similar in a rush a couple years ago. I used this:

    https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    This may be a little different than the product you're looking at. This is basically just a video input for your computer so you could probably capture uncompressed if you wanted. It was so long ago that I don't recall what I did to get the best result. I remember I chose it because it worked on Linux and Windows...and with and without the bundled software. I think I settled on the bundled software.

    EDIT: I'm reading reviews of it now and recalling my own challenges. Some of the bundled software is touchy and if it senses macrovision (even from faulty timing from an old tape) it won't process the input. This may be why I tried other free/opensource capture software on some personal tapes that were degenerating. For most of my tapes, the default software was fine.

    I might go back and try again with the nifty info TheLexx shared. This looks interesting:
    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Communicati...IAAOSwSRVamF~X

    Thanks for the ebay link. That looks interesting. I have some time yet and will need to do a little more research on this. My computer should be able to handle capturing basic SD video with audio. USB 3.0 and 7200 RPM drives. I have an SSD, but that's a system drive. I wonder if I could use an external drive to capture.... Maybe pick up a cheap SSD external for this.
    So much water, so few sharks.

    "...all men are created equal." -- US Declaration of Independence

  10. #10
    ack ack Markc's Avatar
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    I bought Elgato video capture to capture some video (only 4 to 5 mins), but seems to work ok.
    Approx £82 on Amazon uk.
    This just connects between your vcr and usb, and has software which does everything.

    Sympathies for your loss...
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  11. #11
    Plays with fire sadkkf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Markc View Post
    I bought Elgato video capture to capture some video (only 4 to 5 mins), but seems to work ok.
    Approx £82 on Amazon uk.
    This just connects between your vcr and usb, and has software which does everything.

    Sympathies for your loss...
    Thank you. I looked at these too. This might be a good solution for capturing to a drive first.
    So much water, so few sharks.

    "...all men are created equal." -- US Declaration of Independence

  12. #12
    Registered User jbrookes's Avatar
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    Plug the RCA connectors on the VCR into the triple-banded 1/8" output of a Canon MiniDV camcorder.

    The Camcorder will detect the VCR and reverse the port so that it records. Hit Rec on the remote to record to MiniDV tape.

    When done recording, plug the Camcorder into the PC or Mac's Firewire port and record as an AVI file.
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