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Best setup for VHS capture with Decklink Studio?

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Joakim Vrangum
Best setup for VHS capture with Decklink Studio?
on Aug 1, 2012 at 4:54:42 pm

Hi guys!

I have a Decklink Studio card that I have used to successfully capture footage from Betacam (through SDI), and Hi8 (via S-video). I am now going to digitalize a lot of VHS footage, and I need some advice on how I can get the best quality possible from this format. Filesize isn't really an issue, as this is for archiving purposes.

http://www.blackmagic-design.com/media/138815/decklinkstudio.png

My VCR only has RCA (for audio) and SCART out.
Am I right in thinking that the way to get the best quality possible would be to get a Scart-to-COMPONENT cable, and connect this to the COMPONENT IN (wire 7,8 & 9) on my card? I also assume I need adapters to connect to the BNC ends?
Anything else I need to consider? Will it be RGB or YPbPr?

Sorry if this is basic knowledge, but I have worked very little with digitalizing analogue formats, and I want to avoid doing any mistakes and draw as much as possible on experience from users of this great forum.

Any advice on codecs and captuing are also welcomed, but I believe I will use either Uncompressed 8-bit or the huffyuv codec!

Any help is highly appriciated!
Best regards,
Joakim



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Alex Gerulaitis
Re: Best setup for VHS capture with Decklink Studio?
on Aug 1, 2012 at 6:57:17 pm

[Joakim Vrangum] "My VCR only has RCA (for audio) and SCART out.
Am I right in thinking that the way to get the best quality possible would be to get a Scart-to-COMPONENT cable, and connect this to the COMPONENT IN (wire 7,8 & 9) on my card? I also assume I need adapters to connect to the BNC ends?"


You're right that component has the best analog quality, but it's unlikely a consumer VHS player will have component out; S-Video at best.

Alex Gerulaitis
Systems Integrator
DV411 - Los Angeles, CA


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Joakim Vrangum
Re: Best setup for VHS capture with Decklink Studio?
on Aug 2, 2012 at 6:55:23 am

Thank you very much for the quick reply!

Exactly, and since my VCR only has SCART connection, would that mean I have nothing to gain from getting a SCART-to-Component cable (as it does not have Component natively)? Is there any setup that will work better from SCART?

I did a quick test with a cheap SCART-to-SVIDEO cable as well. I only got b/w image! Audio was good, picture was there - bur no colors...

I am now considering getting a new VCR, but I doubt I'll find any with conponent out natively so I am still a bit lost.



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Alex Gerulaitis
Re: Best setup for VHS capture with Decklink Studio?
on Aug 4, 2012 at 12:31:37 am

From VHS, you won't see much of a difference between S-Video and component. They both have quite a headroom over VHS, quality-wise.

Not sure why it's B&W - I'd venture, the adapter is flaky. S-Video has two signal pipes: luma (brightness) and chroma (color), so one of these is missing out of your adapter.

I'd get or rent any VCR with S-video output, and wouldn't insist on component. If you have a chance to put your hands on a "pro" grade studio VHS or S-VHS VCR - even better. Those are just better made.

Alex Gerulaitis
Systems Integrator
DV411 - Los Angeles, CA


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Joakim Vrangum
Re: Best setup for VHS capture with Decklink Studio?
on Aug 6, 2012 at 10:41:06 am

Thank you so much for your help! Much appriciated!
You've made the route a lot easier, as I will no longer insist on component. It seems I will get the same results with S-video.

I still have the problem with the footage being B/W though. I've searched the topic, and many suggestions led me to believe it might just be a flaky cable, but I tried it with two different cables (including the high quality one I used when transfering my Hi8-footage) with the same results.
My theory is that that my VCR might not be able to output S-VIDEO signals correctly. I will probably try to rent or buy another VCR with TBC and S-video natively.

Just to clearify, my setup is like this; Hitachi FX860E VCR -> Scart/S-Video adapter -> S-Video cable -> Decklink Studio S-VIDEO IN.

Again, thanks for your help!



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Alex Gerulaitis
Re: Best setup for VHS capture with Decklink Studio?
on Aug 6, 2012 at 8:49:15 pm

Maybe that particular VCR doesn't support S-Video either - only composite. Which would make sense given its luma-only output.

Alex Gerulaitis
Systems Integrator
DV411 - Los Angeles, CA


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Alex Gerulaitis
Re: Best setup for VHS capture with Decklink Studio?
on Aug 7, 2012 at 7:33:36 am

Dug up a couple other pieces of info: SCART may not support S-Video out if it's wired for RGB:

"Both S-Video and audio (mono or stereo) signals can be transferred through SCART connections as well. However, it is not part of the original SCART standard, so many SCART-compatible devices do not support it for this reason. Also, S-Video and RGB are mutually exclusive through SCART, due to S-Video using some of the pins allocated for RGB. Most SCART-equipped televisions and VCRs (and almost all of the older ones) do not support S-Video, resulting in a monochrome picture if such a connection is attempted, as only the luminance signal portion is usable. A monochrome picture could also be a sign of incompatible colour encoding: for example, NTSC material viewed through a PAL-only device."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S-Video

SCART connectors may output RGB as well (depending on your equipment) and if they do, I don't believe it's compatible with Blackmagic Design products, most of them accepting only YUV (YPbPr) signal:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SCART

Alex Gerulaitis
Systems Integrator
DV411 - Los Angeles, CA


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Paolo Castellano
Re: Best setup for VHS capture with Decklink Studio?
on Aug 7, 2012 at 7:00:51 am

Hello Joakim,
the VHS records composite video on tape. For this reason using a S-Video or Component out can't improve video quality, but one more conversion (composite to S-Video) made by the VCR may degradate more the image.
If your tape was S-VHS, S-video is recorded on tape, and S-Video is required to get the best quality.
BetacamSP records Component on tape, and to get the best you'd use the component YUV output.

In the real world things may be different, if your capture device has a bad composite input but good Y/C and YUV ones only.
Best Regards,

Paolo.Castellano@ivs.it
http://www.ivsEdits.com
-----------------------
"Post Fata Resurgo"


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Alex Gerulaitis
Re: Best setup for VHS capture with Decklink Studio?
on Aug 7, 2012 at 7:44:54 am

[Paolo Castellano] "If your tape was S-VHS, S-video is recorded on tape, and S-Video is required to get the best quality.
BetacamSP records Component on tape, and to get the best you'd use the component YUV output."


Paolo, I don't believe there is such strong relationship between all these signals.

Pretty sure S-Video, composite, and component refer to signal transmission and cable types but never to recorded signals:

http://www.dvcentral.org/DV-Beta.html

Correct me if I am wrong: (S)VHS, Betacam (SP) are all dual component formats (luma and chroma), the difference being that (S)VHS and Hi8 used a single track with "color-under modulation" to record the two components, and Betacam (SP) used two actual physically separate tracks?

In which case, the old broadcast rule of thumb, "use the best cables possible regardless of the recorded signal", still applies?

Alex Gerulaitis
Systems Integrator
DV411 - Los Angeles, CA


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Paolo Castellano
Re: Best setup for VHS capture with Decklink Studio?
on Aug 11, 2012 at 7:54:01 am

Hello Alex,
were you one of dpsVelocity beta testers too?

I think it won't be hard to find the related documentation of recording formats of each VTR system, for example I searched for Betacam http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betacam , "The original Betacam format was launched on August 7, 1982. It is an analog component video format, storing the luminance, "Y", in one track and the chrominance, on another as alternating segments of the R-Y and B-Y components performing Compressed Time Division Multiplex, or CTDM"


About the old rules, I think that they don't always work, so we have to make some tests on our equipment to see what is better.

Best Regards,

Paolo.Castellano@ivs.it
http://www.ivsEdits.com
-----------------------
"Post Fata Resurgo"


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Alex Gerulaitis
Re: Best setup for VHS capture with Decklink Studio?
on Aug 13, 2012 at 7:25:23 pm

[Paolo Castellano] "were you one of dpsVelocity beta testers too?"

Don't think I was a dpsVelocity beta tester, but we did sell quite a few DPS systems (mostly with PVRs and Speed Razor). If I remember right, Velocity was no longer compatible with Speed Razor, DPS came out with their own editing software for that?

Alex Gerulaitis
Systems Integrator
DV411 - Los Angeles, CA


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