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VHS > FCP - most sensible workflow for digitizing old family movies!

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Sean Kapleton
VHS > FCP - most sensible workflow for digitizing old family movies!
on Feb 5, 2010 at 12:50:32 am

Hello

I did a search on this subject within the cow forum and read a bunch of different threads but i am left wondering what will be the least hastle considering what system setup options I have available.

I have access to post facility I am freelancing at currently and there are DIGI & HDCAM decks, dvd player / vcr and the mac I use has a Blackmagic DeckLink HD Extreme as well as the HDlink going out to an HP dreamcolor.

My co-worker told me about the workflow she had used which involved going from VCR > DVD player > Decklink video and audio IN - the reason she said this was necessary was that on her computer something about the VHS signal was not working with FCP and that the signal had to pass thru the DVD player to work. Having read other posts it would seem that this method is similar to going thru a DVcamera and then into FCP.

I am just curious if there is any other way to do this or what thoughts might be provided on this workflow.

thank you in advance.
Sean



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Michael Gissing
Re: VHS > FCP - most sensible workflow for digitizing old family movies!
on Feb 5, 2010 at 1:03:43 am


I presume you mean DVD recorder as there is no way to loop through a play only machine. I assume this extra signal path is to stabilise the VHS video timebase. Best would be to pass the VHS signal through a timebase corrector which will do a much better job of stabilising the signal.

I also presume you are going composite video and analog audio into the Decklink. If Component video is available, that would be cleaner than composite. Try going straight into the Decklink from the VHS to see if it is neccesary to loop through the DVD recorder. It may look better so I would trouble myself to test it. Don't record the VHS to DVD just loop through, otherwise you are transcoding to mpeg2 and that will cost quality.

In FCP capture the footage as SD ProRes to get the best quality to file size. Also it is an editing codec.


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Larry Asbell
Re: VHS > FCP - most sensible workflow for digitizing old family movies!
on Feb 5, 2010 at 1:56:20 am

Yea, good idea to first try feeding the VHS out right into the capture card. Capture a minute from a variety of tapes and look at the stability of the frame. If any breakup was introduced then you need timebase correction.

Feeding through a DVD recorder is an excellent way to timebase correct, as is passing the video through a DV camera that has an analog input. Either method should be every bit as good as a dedicated TBC, and better than some poorer quality TBCs of yesteryear. If you're using a DVD recorder, use the component outputs for best quality.

ProRes is great, but DV resolution is pretty good and for home movies you may like the significant space savings.

A good way to go is to capture whole tapes, then break down the events/shooting sessions with markers and extended markers. Read about these if you don't know. Once you've marked all the sections, you can make subclips of all of them at one go then media manage the subclips so every event becomes a separate file.

Good Luck



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Michael Gissing
Re: VHS > FCP - most sensible workflow for digitizing old family movies!
on Feb 5, 2010 at 3:09:34 am

[Larry Asbell] "ProRes is great, but DV resolution is pretty good and for home movies you may like the significant space savings."

Cheap fast external drives means that there is no real reason to go DV. As a codec, I think it is a poor intermediary before going to mpeg2 for DVD. It is particularly blocky on titles and graphics which then translate poorly to mpeg2.

I also avoid DV because working in PAL, I hate the fact that it swaps field dominance to lower. It is less of an issue in NTSC but the days of going to DV to save a bit of space are over.


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Neil Sadwelkar
Re: VHS > FCP - most sensible workflow for digitizing old family movies!
on Feb 5, 2010 at 3:24:44 am

I've done this for an archive that had a hundred plus VHS tapes shot between 1983-1993 or so.

I transferred all the tapes to DV using a Sony camcorder. Some of these small camcorders have a good 'frame synchroniser' at their analog input. I experimented with a ForA TBC also, but found the camcorder to work just as well.

After transferring to DV, I captured to FCP over Firwwire and then did the entire thing of 'chapterising' it and making DVDs.

This was in 2002. The transfer to another tape was as a safety measure. The hard drives I had used then were small 60-120 Gb drives, most of them long gone. The DV tapes should be good for capture for another 10 years at least. Provided there is a DV player available in 2020.


-----------------------------------
Neil Sadwelkar
neilsadwelkar.blogspot.com
twitter: fcpguru
FCP Editor, Edit systems consultant
Mumbai India


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Larry Asbell
Re: VHS > FCP - most sensible workflow for digitizing old family movies!
on Feb 5, 2010 at 4:12:10 am

[Michael Gissing] "but the days of going to DV to save a bit of space are over."

HELL-LLO? Aren't we're talking home movies from VHS here?



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Michael Gissing
Re: VHS > FCP - most sensible workflow for digitizing old family movies!
on Feb 5, 2010 at 6:19:03 am

[Larry Asbell] "HELL-LLO? Aren't we're talking home movies from VHS here?"

Yes, silly me wanting to pre-empt the next round of panic posts about funny wavy interlacy sort of lines on movement and blocking on lovely red titles. All yours to deal with Larry.


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Greg Barringer
Re: VHS > FCP - most sensible workflow for digitizing old family movies!
on Feb 5, 2010 at 1:42:44 pm

I connect my old VHS player to my Sony digital handy cam using the cable that came with the camera. Set the camera for AV IN/DV OUT and connect the camera to the computer using FW. Capture in FCP or Vegas. It works great I've been doing this for the last several years.


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Rafael Amador
Re: VHS > FCP - most sensible workflow for digitizing old family movies!
on Feb 5, 2010 at 2:04:49 pm

The output of your VHS is a full Broadcast Video signal that should be treated with the same respect (or more) than if coming from a high end system.
That if you intend to re-process the picture. If you just want to make it watchable, the DV way should work.
Best,
Rafael

http://www.nagavideo.com


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Mark Suszko
Re: VHS > FCP - most sensible workflow for digitizing old family movies!
on Feb 5, 2010 at 2:32:46 pm

Just another alternative: using a stand-alone DVD recorder, burn the VHS to DVD's in 2-hour mode, import the DVD into FCP using free MPEG Streamclip, which on my quad-core unit takes barely 5 minutes, work in whatever resolution you want at that point.


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Sean Kapleton
Re: VHS > FCP - most sensible workflow for digitizing old family movies!
on Feb 5, 2010 at 4:34:44 pm

Wow thanks for all the great responses everyone - i really appreciate all the time you guys took to respond its really awesome of you all!

Another quick question - what if instead of a DV cam I have access to a newer Canon HV30 will this work still ?!

I also do have access to a Panasonic DVCPRO deck (1400 series) as well as a DVCAM deck might these be able to help me with this issue?

thanks again
sean



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Bob Flood
Re: VHS > FCP - most sensible workflow for digitizing old family movies!
on Feb 5, 2010 at 3:48:43 pm

Sean

Many threads on this forum about just such a situation. look for responses by Bob Zelin. We had a similar sit. (high school football games) and wound up using a stock samsung consumer VCR with an outboard frame synchronizer to stabilize the signal.

I would rather have used a Pro VHS deck with built in tbc, but thats just the broadcast guy in me. A built in TBC adds a level of correction to the signal you dont get with framestores or synchronizers.

the downside of a pro vhs deck is it can only play VHS at SP, so if your tapes are EP or LP, you need to go consumer!

"I like video because its so fast!"

Bob Flood
Greer & Associates, Inc.


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Petteri Evilampi
Re: VHS > FCP - most sensible workflow for digitizing old family movies!
on Feb 5, 2010 at 4:05:56 pm

I have a BM-decklink card and recently I had to digitize some old vhs tapes. I just happened to be a bit lazy so I connected the composite video and audio cables direct to Decklink. Digitized some footage, and OH NO, every time there was bad drop-out or even the shortest brake on CTL on vhs tape the AUDIO ON MY FILE DRIFTED A BIT! And after few minutes audio and video were several frames out of sync!!
Then I connected the TBC (Datavideo DAC-30) in between, and there was no problem. So that´s why You need a TBC with VHS, BETA Beta and U-Matic tapes!

And do not use DV-codec!


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Sean Kapleton
Re: VHS > FCP - most sensible workflow for digitizing old family movies!
on Feb 5, 2010 at 4:36:34 pm

Wow thanks for all the great responses everyone - i really appreciate all the time you guys took to respond its really awesome of you all!

Another quick question - what if instead of a DV cam I have access to a newer Canon HV30 will this work still ?!

I also do have access to a Panasonic DVCPRO deck (1400 series) as well as a DVCAM deck might these be able to help me with this issue?

thanks again
sean




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Michael Gissing
Re: VHS > FCP - most sensible workflow for digitizing old family movies!
on Feb 5, 2010 at 10:00:12 pm


VHS is SD so it will not help to try to record that signal into an HD machine. The Canon can be switched to record DV but I still do not recommend DV codec when it can be so easily avoided.



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Sean Kapleton
Re: VHS > FCP - most sensible workflow for digitizing old family movies!
on Feb 5, 2010 at 11:17:00 pm

hey michael

sorry so in the end considering everything i have available to me you would recommend what workflow?

best

sean



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Ken Geary
Re: VHS > FCP - most sensible workflow for digitizing old family movies!
on Jul 8, 2010 at 11:45:24 am

This is what I found and CreativeCow may want to put this in their FAQ's

I have a crate of old VHS-C tapes, kids growing up, etc. I've been putting off duibbing them to DVD or another digital format waiting for the perfect low-cost small storage solution. DONT WAIT, some of my tapes are close to 20yrs old and lost a lot of image quality and there's a lot of video noise on older ones.
I tried to capture into a brand new Decklink Extreme 3D on a HPZ800
and the video would keep cutting off to black frames with audio loss. After extensive search on the web, I found out the Decklink (and maybe a lot of newer capture cards) only responds to CLEAN video. A standard VHS or even most commercial VHS players did not work. Turns out a Panasonic AG-1830 with S-VHS out did the trick because it has a built in TBC.
I am capturing Mjepeg to keep file storage realistic, and from there can edit, export to iPad/Touch/etc and go to DVD as needed.
Long story short, I can cleanly capture now so anyone doing the same needs a similar VHS deck or has to get their hands on a Time Base Corrector to stabilize the signal.
If you have no access to this, dub to a digital video camera, most if not all have an analog input cable, you will have to invest in a bunch of MiniDV tapes but you will at least add many years to protecting your videos.
Hope this helps
Ken



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