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Issues Capturing VHS with FCP

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Kent Kitzman
Issues Capturing VHS with FCP
on Jun 26, 2013 at 4:46:59 pm

Hey guys,

I recently uncovered a VHS of my High School video projects. I would like to convert this tape to digital for personal archive purposes.

I thought the easiest way to do this would be to connect my S-VHS deck to my Sony DSR-30 DVcam deck, dub the tape to DVcam, and then capture the DVcam with my FCP 7.0.3.

This worked to a degree. The only problem is that any time there was any kind of an interruption in the video signal (and there are a lot of them. This is a 20 year old VHS tape we're talking about), the capture would stop and I would get the error message "Capture encountered a problem reading the data on your source tape. Capture has been aborted and your clip has been saved."

I looked around and didn't really see a solution to this problem (if you know of one, please let me know). So I started looking into the idea of capturing directly from VHS. I've read other threads on the subject and it seems like I have everything I need to do this, but I haven't gotten it to work for me yet, so I was wondering if someone can clue me in on what I'm missing.

The way I have things set up right now is that I have an S-VHS cable from my S-VHS deck to my DSR-30 for picture and Stereo RCAs for sound. I then have the DSR-30 connected to my iMac 7,1 with OS 10.6.8 via firewire. All the connections seem to be working properly (the computer can see the DSR-30. The DSR-30 can see the S-VHS. FCP just can't see the S-VHS).

In the Capture Settings in FCP, I have Device Control set to "Non-Controllable Device." The input on my DSR-30 is set to L1.

And that's it. Nothing. I get the color bars with "Preview Disabled" on them. Any ideas?

Also - if the solution is "Get an Elgato or Canopus"... That's fine. I was trying to avoid that because I feel like this should work. But, if it won't, just tell me and I'll break down and get one (if you could recommend a certain one I should get, that would be helpful too.)

Thank you for your time. Feel free to come back at me with questions.


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Steve Eisen
Re: Issues Capturing VHS with FCP
on Jun 26, 2013 at 6:42:50 pm

Analog to DV should work. See if your DV deck has a DV/Analog setting.

The other alternative is a io box. AJA, Matrox and Blackmagic have devices that will work.

Steve Eisen
Eisen Video Productions
Vice President
Chicago Creative Pro Users Group


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Mark Suszko
Re: Issues Capturing VHS with FCP
on Jun 26, 2013 at 6:59:49 pm

One other way to go is to use one of the combo VHS players/DVD recorders to dub your VHS to a DVD, then ingest the mpeg2 DVD using free Mpeg Streamclip. And either edit the raw mpeg2 or convert it to prores, DV 50, etc.


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Steve Eisen
Re: Issues Capturing VHS with FCP
on Jun 26, 2013 at 8:44:01 pm

You are loosing significant quality dubbing to DVD.

Steve Eisen
Eisen Video Productions
Vice President
Chicago Creative Pro Users Group


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Mark Suszko
Re: Issues Capturing VHS with FCP
on Jun 26, 2013 at 9:34:59 pm

From VHS direct in the machine to the DVD at maximum data rate.... maybe, but enough to notice?


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Johnny Tintor
Re: Issues Capturing VHS with FCP
on Jun 27, 2013 at 4:24:53 am

You'll need to throw a TBC in between your SVHS deck and capture device in order for FCP to properly recognise the video signal. Datavideo's TBC1000 works well. For capturing, the Canopus ADVC110 and ADVC300 are rock solid and feature "locked audio" so your capture will never be out of sync. The 300 is a bit more pricey because it has a built-in TBC and provides better quality captures. When set to "non-controllable device" both units will allow you to continue capturing even with breaks in the footage.


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