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adjusting setup levels on analog pass-through VHS capture

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Kell Smithadjusting setup levels on analog pass-through VHS capture
by on Jan 14, 2011 at 3:58:54 pm

I'm capturing video to FCP 4.5 via analog pass-through on a pd 170. The captured video shows up very dark. I' m using the AV outputs from the camera and a firewire input into the computer. The camera offers a way to adjust setup in camera mode, but not VTR mode. I don't see a way to set it in FCP. Am I missing something very obvious or am I on the wrong track entirely? This is my first time transferring from VHS.
Thanks.


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Alan LloydRe: adjusting setup levels on analog pass-through VHS capture
by on Jan 16, 2011 at 7:41:07 am

What does the video from the VHS tape look like on a good monitor? What does it look like on a scope?


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Kell SmithRe: adjusting setup levels on analog pass-through VHS capture
by on Jan 18, 2011 at 12:15:28 am

I wish I had a scope, but unfortunately other than the ones in FCP, I don't. It's pretty crushed on that one.

It is, however, noticeably different between the LCD monitor on my camera and the computer monitor. I could see there being a little bit of difference, but it's major. I use this monitor all the time for my editing, and while it's not perfect and could use some fine-tuning, I can't imagine anything that would account for this other than a mismatch of the black levels.

Hmmm. Interesting question though. I do have a DVI to video adapter. It would be a hassle to pull it out and hook it up, partly because it could mess with the monitor setup, partly because it involves crawling around on the floor and dragging the computer out of the armiore to get to the back of it. But it would be interesting to see if the scope levels are the same.

I guess I'll have to run the audio in separately if I go that route.

But shouldn't the pass-through work? I don' t understand why no one else seems to be having this problem. I must be doing something wrong.


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Alan LloydRe: adjusting setup levels on analog pass-through VHS capture
by on Jan 18, 2011 at 4:23:25 am

I would not trust the monitor on the PD-170 without verifying its accuracy. If you shoot something on it is the video level proper?

Otherwise, it sounds like it might be a double-termination issue. What does your signal chain look like?


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Kell SmithRe: adjusting setup levels on analog pass-through VHS capture
by on Jan 18, 2011 at 4:17:06 pm

I've got the AV coming out from the VCR, then firewire out from the camera to the G5.
I've also tried it on two different VCRs with the same result.
It's not so much that I expect it to match the PD170 monitor exactly. It's more that in that LCD, it's plain to see that there are way more details in the video. Once it's brought into the computer, it's crushed beyond usability. That's telling me that there's more to the footage than I am getting once it's captured in. Raising the levels on the captured clip does not help.


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Alan LloydRe: adjusting setup levels on analog pass-through VHS capture
by on Jan 18, 2011 at 6:56:57 pm

Does it do the same thing with different VHS tapes, or is it one specific tape only?

Does the camera itself shoot and output proper video from its own imager?

(Disclosure - I'm not an FCP user, so I can't speak to any settings there or what effect they may be having.)


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Kell SmithRe: adjusting setup levels on analog pass-through VHS capture
by on Jan 18, 2011 at 7:35:00 pm

Yes, and yes.
It also shows dark in QT player, which tells me that it has been captured dark.


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Mark SuszkoRe: adjusting setup levels on analog pass-through VHS capture
by on Jan 18, 2011 at 8:40:38 pm

My guess would concur with double-termination, with perhaps a side order of wrong gamma settings and black levels set at the Japanese zero IRE versus NTSC 7.5 black level. Do that twice and you'd get pretty crushed-looking stuff. You've got no standard of reference in this signal chain, so everything is basically a guess. A totally wild guess. I'd do as well guessing your weight based only on how you type.


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Kell SmithRe: adjusting setup levels on analog pass-through VHS capture
by on Jan 18, 2011 at 8:56:10 pm

The whole thing is so strange.
Here's the newest update:
Trashed prefs, removed FCP user data file.
Played the VHS footage clip dumped to DV. The level difference is apparent.
When I play the footage on the rest of the DV tape, shot in DV, I do not see the level shift.
Weird.
The camera won't let you change setup levels in VTR mode. I did try both in camera mode, with no changes.
If you dub from the VHS recorder to the camera, you do it in VTR mode.
But the footage does appear to get into the camcorder properly, as proper levels are recording onto the DV tape. It views properly in the preview window on computer 2, but not the computer 1.

The obvious answer would be to dub it to computer 2, where it's working, but I want to know why it's not working on my main computer. And dubbing this stuff to computer 2 would involve at least a half-day clean-off.


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Kell SmithRe: adjusting setup levels on analog pass-through VHS capture
by on Jan 18, 2011 at 8:38:09 pm

update
(not sure why my earlier reply hasn't registered yet but it should eventually)
Swapped out the video cord, it's working.
It appears to be registering proper levels on my other computer (2), which has a barely-used copy of FCP on it. Same FW cord.
I dumped it to dv, then tested it in computer 1, and am still showing the level issues. So left to do:
-reset FCP, trash prefs, and see if that helps,
-reinstall FCP and see if that clears it up
-prob no difference, but test another DV tape that was DV to begin with to see if it's happening there

I'll post back when finished.


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