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Ripping from tape to Hauppauge PVR-150 card through TBC

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Jeff Hubbs
Ripping from tape to Hauppauge PVR-150 card through TBC
on Dec 26, 2016 at 6:33:47 am

Setting up for a project to digitize Beta, VHS, 8mm, and Hi-8 tapes using a Hauppauge PVR-150 capture card in a Gentoo Linux machine (good news: card is up and working fine). By default (I'm not sure if it can do anything else) it encodes video directly to MPEG2 in hardware; viewing is as straightforward as piping /dev/video0 to mplayer and for recording it's just redirecting its output to a file. For sources I have a Sony Beta Hi-Fi deck from 1984 that appears to be working fine (other than dodgy front-panel LED audio VU meters) and a Samsung 4-head consumer VHS VCR/DVD combo. Eventually I will try to pick up a Hi-8 camcorder or deck. In front of the capture card I have a Prime Image TBC/Freeze II time base corrector. I've been messing with this combination for a few days and I'd appreciate some comments/feedback.

I've used ffmpeg to crop 20 pixels from all the way around and pad the edges back in black to eliminate some bad scan lines at the bottom of the image (as viewed directly in mplayer or also when i've ported the files to a Mac and looked at them in VLC) and I've found a problem with one of the prerecorded Beta tapes: with the TBC engaged, the top 10 or so scan lines get "warped" over to the right - in other words, a vertical line would bend way over rightward at the top of the screen. The problem goes away with the TBC off. A second prerecorded Beta tape in the same machine doesn't do this at all. I am surprised that a signal coming out of the TBC would have this distortion but the best I can figure is that there's something about how the signal is coming off the tape that fools the TBC at the start of the frame.

I could also use some help understanding how to deal with interlacing. A few years ago when I tried some video rips without a TBC, I had to do something special in handbrake when transcoding to mp4 because if I didn't I'd see an artifact onscreen where moving objects left every-other-scan-line smears at the edges of movement. This go-round, I've been reading forum posts about how people mess up their files if they haven't handled interlace properly upstream and then go cropping/padding but I'm not seeing a definitive "do this" re interlacing that I can apply to everything I rip.

FYI my goal here is mostly just archiving. I would like to start with the best possible rip on disk and worry about transcoding etc. later, with the expectation that in the future most people won't have DVD players but would instead view these videos on a computer or tablet screen or on a proper TV. Since storage density is only going to be going up, I'm not interested in having really lossy compression just for the sake of saving space.

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