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post #1 of 29 Old 09-08-2011, 05:11 PM - Thread Starter
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I have some old VHS and VHS-C home movie tapes I want to definitively preserve and I'm having a hard time deciding which transfer route to take. I'd like some advice for the best yet most sensible method. From what I understand, I have three options. The first two would be DIYs:

1. VCR to DVD combo. I own an LG LRY-517 and thought about buying a 100 pak of Taiyo Yuden 16X 4.7GB Silver Thermal Lacquer DVD+R and just dubbing it in XP. This is my most sensible method however, I'm not as certain this is the highest quality method. I noticed it dubs at mpeg-2. From what I understand, transfers can go even higher to mpeg-4, or 10 bit uncompressed.

2. VCR to PC transfer. This has been a little more difficult for me to figure out. There have been a number of ways, devices to use but I haven't found the perfect ones. I'm not very technical but I'd be looking for like a firewire or component wire connection from a VCR to a USB or firewire connection to PC. I've looked at devices like Blackmagic Video converter,
Canopus ADVC, Elgato video capture device, but for me it seems like there are quality or technical issues that makes this hard for me to decide. I don't even know what will happen when I connect a VCR to my computer. And I haven't even begun to research software. My current VCR doesn't even have firewire but would consider buying a new VCR with such a capability.

The last option would be to go to a professional transfer house.
3. Media House Transfer. I live in LA so this would be the easiest but probably also the most expensive. I get quotes from $55/hr (Yale film) to $250/hr(HD pro8mm). With 7 VHS and 15 VHS-C to transfer, it'll be costly. But I can easily get 10 bit uncompressed digital files and probably my best bet for the highest quality transfers.

I do want the best transfer, but I want to know if I can easily do it myself for cheaper, and if I'm just obsessing over cable connections and file types that won't make a visual difference.

On a related note, I also have a bunch of Hi8 and Video 8. Does a DVD transfer capture this resolution? Would a s-video to pc be doable and sufficient?

Thanks!
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post #2 of 29 Old 09-08-2011, 05:44 PM
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Just some very quick notes regarding some of your concerns.

10-bit uncompressed 4:2:2 is a whopping 270-Mbps and is overkill for any SVHS, VHS or Hi-8 video transfers.

There are no VCRs that will transfer via firewire, I believe even the HD D-VHS VCRs will only output D-VHS recordings via firewire and any legacy analog recordings will only output via the analog outputs of D-VHS VCRs.

Hi-8 and SVHS is around 400 lines of resolution in the luminance and only around 30 lines of resolution in the colour-under chrominance. DVD resolution in XP and SP is 720x480 in the luminance and half of that in the chrominance. So DVD is more than capable of capturing the full resolution of SVHS and Hi-8 video.

Most home-made SVHS, VHS and Hi-8 recordings exhibit a lot of analog noise, especially in the colour (chroma noise) and I highly recommend using the highest bit-rate (XP) when transferring home made tapes to DVD. The reason is that MPEG-2 and even MPEG-4 encoders think that chroma noise is part of the good signal and so much information may begin to starve the bit-rate.

Using a good PCIe capture card with appropriate software and a powerful enough computer will get you slightly better results than a stand-alone DVD recorder but will also be more hassle. You may also need a stand-alone TBC. I recommend using a stand-alone DVD recorder with a HDD and a separate stand-alone VCR instead.

For Hi-8 and SVHS transfers I would recommend almost always using S-Video cable with L/R audio. For regular VHS and 8mm transfers you may try using composite instead of S-Video but my bets are on S-Video connections bringing you slightly better results.
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post #3 of 29 Old 09-08-2011, 06:32 PM
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There are many options, my bet would be:

Get the best VHS that you can, maybe a S-VHS and conect it to a Magnavox 515/513 or 2160 unit. Then make the dubbing work, all in real time.

The user Wajo has a lot of useful tutorials to make dubbing on Maggy's 515/513 2160.

Those units also make a great work with Betamax, VHS, VHS-C, 8mm and Hi8 tapes.
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post #4 of 29 Old 09-08-2011, 07:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by profhat View Post

There are many options, my bet would be:

Get the best VHS that you can, maybe a S-VHS and conect it to a Magnavox 515/513 or 2160 unit. Then make the dubbing work, all in real time.

The user Wajo has a lot of useful tutorials to make dubbing on Maggy's 515/513 2160.

Those units also make a great work with Betamax, VHS, VHS-C, 8mm and Hi8 tapes.

Start here:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...6#post12244086

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post #5 of 29 Old 09-08-2011, 07:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James_M View Post

On a related note, I also have a bunch of Hi8 and Video 8. Does a DVD transfer capture this resolution? Would a s-video to pc be doable and sufficient?


DVD recorders will capture any source that has outputs to match their inputs, but they'll scale the resolution to 480i, the resolution all DVDs (using NTSC, at least) are native.

But if you're doing all these different formats, I'd forget the combo recorder and just go the PC route or get a DVD recorder like the aforementioned Magnavox (probably the cheapest route) and then get a camcorder/VCR/whatever separate to input it. Less headaches that way, too.

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post #6 of 29 Old 09-08-2011, 10:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DigaDo View Post

Start here:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...6#post12244086

Perhaps not. That massive thread has gone on to gain a life of its own: it was once a useful basic primer but has become as unwieldy as any other "cult" thread here on AVS. It contains a staggering amount of info that is completely irrelevant to the task of dubbing tapes: most of the discussion involves cable TV connectivity, tuner/broadcast issues and power disruption consequences (which one would encounter with any DVD recorder).

All due respect to wajo and the contributors who continue to make it a vast and valuable resource, but at this point its perhaps best looked at AFTER you've bought a Magnavox from Wal*Mart, played with it a little, gotten a feel for it, and have a clearer idea of what sections of that thread would be relevant to you. If you didn't just wake up yesterday to realize there was such a thing as a DVD/HDD recorder, and are technically aware enough to mention combo recorders and specific PC video cards in your initial inquiry, then you really don't need to be indoctrinated into the wonders of the Magnavox: you already know there's a strong possibility it may be the solution you seek. The agonizing so many AVSers go thru over the Magnavox option is completely unnecessary, because there's ZERO risk involved in giving one a test drive. Its a Wal*Mart product, people: take advantage of Wal*Mart's consumer-friendly, no-hassle return policy: buy a Maggie and see if it suits you.

My personal experience has been positive: the basic concept of DVD/HDD recorders being particularly suited for dubbing VHS collections is well established by many members here and elsewhere. The Magnavox is simply the last, most recent, and only such recorder available in the USA market. It has a video encoder that handles VHS input very nicely, much better than any PC system will without extensive technical expertise and additional external processors. If your goal is to make efficient, consistent and reliable digital copies of your tape collection, in roughly the same quality as the original tapes, the Magnavox is the default suggestion today.

There is a popular misconception that you can get much better results using a PC instead of a DVD/HDD recorder: this is not necessarily true. PC input devices are designed for a flawlessly clean input signal, and VHS is anything but flawlessly clean. To combat this PC sensitivity requires some familiarity with the potential issues, and (expensive) external stabilizers (TBCs). The Magnavox, by contrast, is designed with the expectation many buyers will attach a VCR to it and dub tapes: its encoder is optimized to correct those signals accordingly- no muss, no fuss, no technical expertise necessary. In fact, the Mag encoder is the most advanced and modern ever engineered for a standalone recorder (perhaps not in terms of selectable features, but basic detail and color performance is remarkable).

A PC has only two significant advantages over a Magnavox: PC allows you to make a non-DVD-spec digital file like AVI, or if you do want a DVD the PC allows very elaborate DVD menu authoring. For 9 out of 10 consumers, those advantages are meaningless. The DVD MPEG2 standard is fully capable of archiving VHS or SVHS or DV in excellent quality, and the simple DVD menu authoring scheme offered by the Magnavox will suit the majority of projects. Unless you have VHS tapes of astonishing technical quality that truly merit the expanded range of AVI, or you really want to get crazy with DVD navigation design, the PC is overkill and much more annoying to operate.

We all have a tendency to over-estimate the technical quality and importance of our tapes, especially the personal camcorder stuff. The truth is, a DVD recorder encoding is about as good as you can achieve in all but the most exceptional cases. The DVD standard is not going away in our lifetimes: unlike VHS, DVD is inherently digital and digital formats can remain viable indefinitely via computers and software players. Make DVDs, rip image copies to your HDD archives, and between the two you're covered against obsolescence. PC AVI files can be huge, with no corresponding benefit in improved capture quality (and no simple universal DVD). Some people find it helpful to divide their tape collections into a majority group for DVD capture, and a smaller group (usually personal priceless camcorder stuff) to set aside for AVI capture and elaborate polishing.

Hands-on experience is invaluable here: you can't know if a Magnavox will meet your requirements until you try it. Its always better to try both alternatives (PC and standalone recorder), so you can erase any nagging doubts you made the wrong choice. You can then move forward with either digitizing method, confident you took the best path based on your own tests. Many here use both, depending on their source material.
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post #7 of 29 Old 09-08-2011, 10:51 PM
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My suggestion and first choice would be a stand-alone dvd recorder with hdd (hard-disc-drive, and independent tape player. I am not aware of any Hi8-dvd combo, so you are already going to a separate tape player for that. Using s-video where possible is also a good idea.

But I strongly, STRONGLY, advise against the Magnavox recorder for your job. Reason: I suspect you'll want to to some editting, combining, rearranging, and the Magnavox editting facility is very primitive. It will copy to dvd, a separate file for each of your vhs-c's, but that is about all. It will delete scenes! Magnavox will not add or combine scenes or titles. If you want to go the pc route, why not go there in the first place?

My suggestion is to get a Panasonic recorder with hdd. Its edit facility is as good as the Magnavox is weak. I like the EH55, last made a couple of years ago, and if you can get a good one on eBay for under $500, good luck. Better, the new import EH69 from B&H for around $420. If you use a copy service, it will cost nearly the cost of the recorder, and would it include editting?

Let me comment a bit about the late-model Panasonic Edit function. Use the "Playlist" feature. You can define and use segments from any title(s) on the hdd, add, define delete, rearrange from any one or more of the source titles. Each Playlist will become a title on the output disc; 3 playlists, 3 titles. When you delete from the Playlist, the source remains intact, so an "Oops" becomes, at worst, a start-over. The Playlist is merely a set of pointers to the source, so takes up very little space on the source drive.
Often, I will Copy a Playlist during an edit process, so that if I do something I want to "undo", I can go back to the copy. Kind of like making periodic backups on the pc.

I don't do any pc editting, not smart enough for that. I notice you mention an LG. I'm unacquainted with that- If it is a dvd recorder with hdd and good edit facility, maybe that's all you'd need. For the Panasonics, the recommendation here is the 8x Taiyo Yuden Premium (not "value pack"). Also, I have no experience with the +r, though I probably will shortly with my recently purchased Magnavox 515. Note-- I have nothing against the Magnavox, it's a good machine. It is just not a good fit for what I understand you want to do.
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post #8 of 29 Old 09-09-2011, 08:28 AM
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Richard T is correct in that the Magnavox has crude editing capabilities that do not extend beyond simple deletions of unwanted material like commercials. If you will need to split and recombine segments, you would need one of the premium Panasonic or Pioneer models. I did not mention these because they are long discontinued and cost a kings ransom on the second-hand market, often twice the price of a new Magnavox.

It is true you can still buy a brand new "import model" Panasonic EH69 or EH59, but these come with their own drawbacks like incorrect black level settings for dubbing North American tapes, no tuner for North American broadcasts, no mfr warranty, and availability limited to specialist web dealers. Enough people here are freaked out by the thought of "grey market imports" that I don't bother mentioning them anymore unless the person is clearly game. The import Panasonics are lovely machines if you can live with some limitations and can afford them. Brand new sealed box they cost between $369 and $429 + shipping, occasionally they turn up as "demo" open-box units for as little as $269. If you have an issue with a Panasonic import model (i.e. you just don't care for the black level), refunds are possible but not as no-hassle as returning a Magnavox to Wal*Mart. Import or second-hand Pioneer 560s are as nice as Panasonics, with a couple of feature enhancements, but Pioneers are scarcer so fetch ridiculous prices. I'd say the realistic choice is between a Panasonic EH59/69 and Magnavox 513/515.

Or a PC.
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post #9 of 29 Old 09-09-2011, 10:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CitiBear View Post

A PC has only two significant advantages over a Magnavox: PC allows you to make a non-DVD-spec digital file like AVI, or if you do want a DVD the PC allows very elaborate DVD menu authoring. . . . PC AVI files can be huge, with no corresponding benefit in improved capture quality (and no simple universal DVD).

As you well know, I am PC-centric for A/V processing, so a couple additional comments for the general population.

Absolutely true that DV/AVI files from PC capture are huge. They can be upwards of 35GB/hr of SD video. That's because they are uncompressed lossless masters of the source -- each frame is a full digital representation of the analog frame and contains bits for all the pixels. That is a huge advantage for people who are concerned with maintaining quality and/or want to do extensive editing or post-processing to clean up a poor source. There are no frame boundaries to be concerned with or the accompanying need for "local re-encoding". There is no frame decoding for processing then re-encoding and incurring the quality hit. It's the same as editing a lossless .TIFF file of a digital photograph vs. a .JPG. Starting from the AVI master one can apply any desired compression, such as MPEG-2 compression to make a DVD or H.264/AVC compression to make a BluRay compatible AVCHD encoding. A multi-pass PC encoder can optimize the variable bitrate for the filesize target and provide a wide dynamic range which is generally unattainable using a DVD recorder. This results in much higher quality than taking an already compressed encoding (i.e. MPEG-2) and say transcoding it to another compression codec (i.e. H.264).

So PC-capture to AVI has enormous advantages to using a simple DVD recorder, but your premise is also absolutely correct -- it is not for the average consumer or the faint of heart and definitely not for a large volume archiver who wants to burn many hours per night. It's power comes at the price of convenience and time -- lots and lots of time.

A second tier of PC capture involves USB connected stand-alone devices that contain very good encoder chips. These devices are actually pretty easy to use and will do the work of encoding the source to either MPEG-2 or H.264 and sending the bit-stream to the PC to spool on the HDD. The advantage here is being able to set a high bitrate for the initial encoding. For SD MPEG-2, a video bitrate of 10-12Mbps is considered a lossless representation of the source -- a higher bitrate does not have an observable impact on PQ. So a high initial constant bitrate could be set to provide a "lossless" encoding of the source en route to the PC. Then after editing, a multi-pass PC encoder could be used to implement variable bitrate and shrink the video down to the desired target size. You could approach something similar with a DVD Recorder by recording at the highest quality 1 hr mode; splitting the title into 1hr chunks for burning to DVD-RW; transferring the chunks to a PC for reassembly and further processing/editing/authoring.

Again, the PC provides extreme flexibility but is not for the average consumer, high volume archivist or anyone without lots and lots of time to spend. When all is said and done, using a PC is NOT cheaper than buying a $200 DVDR. But if you are willing to inject a PC into your workflow, the results are extremely satisfying.

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post #10 of 29 Old 09-09-2011, 12:55 PM
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There are no VCRs that will transfer via firewire, I believe even the HD D-VHS VCRs will only output D-VHS recordings via firewire and any legacy analog recordings will only output via the analog outputs of D-VHS VCRs.

This may be true of the Mits decks, but the JVC decks (HM-DH3K, 4K) have a built-in MPEG2 encoder which will allow you to transfer SD VHS from firewire in the form of a transport stream.
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post #11 of 29 Old 09-09-2011, 02:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Axatax View Post

This may be true of the Mits decks, but the JVC decks (HM-DH3K, 4K) have a built-in MPEG2 encoder which will allow you to transfer SD VHS from firewire in the form of a transport stream.

I did not know that Axatax. Thanks for the correction.
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post #12 of 29 Old 09-09-2011, 02:46 PM
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Kelson great info in your post (#9 post) However there is one small piece of info I have to disagree with.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelson View Post

For SD MPEG-2, a video bitrate of 10-12Mbps is considered a lossless representation of the source -- a higher bitrate does not have an observable impact on PQ. So a high initial constant bitrate could be set to provide a "lossless" encoding of the source en route to the PC.

I'm sorry but that's not true. I've been working around the broadcast and production industry since 1980/81 and in the mid nineties many TV stations and networks around the world (Including CBS and CNN in the US and CBC and CTV in Canada) switched their newsgathering and quick turn around EFP to the Sony Betacam-SX format. This format used a very advanced MPEG-2 encoder system, cost thousands of dollars per unit and the bit-rate was set at 18-Mbps and while this system was quite sufficient for daily news and quick-turn around docs - by no means was it considered a lossless format. Any higher end productions would use a 50-Mbps MPEG-2 codec called IMX (still lossy) and the really high-end stuff that needed a lot of grading work would go to either Digi-Beta (100 Mbps and still not considered lossless) or uncompressed (270-Mbps = lossless) this is all for SD 720x486 work.

I know we're talking just dubbing consumer home movies but lossless means lossless no matter if discussing pro work or hobbyist work.
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post #13 of 29 Old 09-09-2011, 03:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Wow, thanks for the responses guys. I guess I first need help in figuring out more what end format I'd find acceptable.

Not taking ease of method transfer into consideration, I mean I would like a clean as lossless as practically can duplicates of these VHSes but without going overkill. Like if I did a side by side I don't want to be able to tell the difference with the naked eye, even under close up observation. I'm not certain what file format meets though I would agree with the jpeg vs tiff analogy. Hard drive space is a consideration but I guess I could tolerate sizes up to 15-20gb/hr.

I'm not looking for much if any editing. Ideally, I'd like each tape to be transferred into a single file and single format. I guess as MKV or MP4 for no other reason than I read those are quality formats. As a DVD, I know it would automatically mean 4.7 GB max and as VOB, IFO, BUP, which I assuming can be easily converted to any digital file format so I'd guess I'd be fine with that. But does it meet the quality I'm wanting?

After figuring that out, I guess I'll try to get a requote from yale for the exact parameters of transfer (at first they quoted 35/hr but 55 for a 80-120gb/hour 10 bit uncompressed). And weigh if that's worth it.

But the magnavox or pc device sounds like my next consideration.
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post #14 of 29 Old 09-09-2011, 06:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Super Eye View Post

This format used a very advanced MPEG-2 encoder system, cost thousands of dollars per unit and the bit-rate was set at 18-Mbps and while this system was quite sufficient for daily news and quick-turn around docs - by no means was it considered a lossless format.

I won't argue with that one bit because you are right. MPEG-2 by definition is a lossy encoding format. I should have put my use of the word lossless in quotes. The effect I was referring to was a study I saw some years ago on the perceived PQ difference a higher bitrate made. The encodings were CBR consumer grade SD MPEG-2 (720x480 frames) for home theater use -- not professional A/V equipment. The conclusion of the study was that once you got out to 10-12 Mbps for video rate, a further increase in bitrate did not result in a perceived increase in PQ. That is much different from saying the encoding was lossless and I was careless on that.

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post #15 of 29 Old 09-09-2011, 08:45 PM
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@ James_M: There are indeed many ways to digitize your VHS. The most important thing in doing so is to actually do it. I'd suggest you try a couple of these workflows and see which give you acceptable result in a reasonable time...
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post #16 of 29 Old 09-10-2011, 01:14 AM
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I’m sorry but that’s not true. I’ve been working around the broadcast and production industry since 1980/81 and in the mid nineties many TV stations and networks around the world (Including CBS and CNN in the US and CBC and CTV in Canada) switched their newsgathering and quick turn around EFP to the Sony Betacam-SX format. This format used a very advanced MPEG-2 encoder system, cost thousands of dollars per unit and the bit-rate was set at 18-Mbps and while this system was quite sufficient for daily news and quick-turn around docs - by no means was it considered a lossless format. Any higher end productions would use a 50-Mbps MPEG-2 codec called IMX (still lossy) and the really high-end stuff that needed a lot of grading work would go to either Digi-Beta (100 Mbps and still not considered lossless) or uncompressed (270-Mbps = lossless) this is all for SD 720x486 work.

I know we’re talking just dubbing consumer home movies but lossless means lossless no matter if discussing pro work or hobbyist work.

Well, sort of -- until the advent of E-bay.

A decked out Octane2/Tezro with DM2/3/VBOB and appropriate software (licensed Flame and plugins) can be had for pennies on the dollar and will accomplish all the OP requires and then some.

This was true almost ~10 years ago too, when the common wisdom on this forum was that real time analog HD encoding from component was "impossible" from an analog source for under (20-30K, or some enormous sum), while the SGI hobbyists elsewhere were doing just this just for kicks (with "top" output hovering around 20% CPU). I stopped trying to argue my case here any just conceded "OK!!!"



/Smug filter off --
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post #17 of 29 Old 09-11-2011, 12:41 PM
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You do ask about the quality of what you would get. I have no problem just transferring a VHS tape to a DVD with a combo I have and/or even using separate VCR and DVDR machines.

The quality of your DVD will NOT be better than the original VHS. Whatever the VHS quality looks like...your DVD will have the same quality. You cannot improve on the VHS recording quality with a transfer VHS to DVD. If you like your VHS picture, you will be satisfied with your DVD picture.
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post #18 of 29 Old 09-12-2011, 01:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by olyteddy View Post

@ James_M: There are indeed many ways to digitize your VHS. The most important thing in doing so is to actually do it. I'd suggest you try a couple of these workflows and see which give you acceptable result in a reasonable time...

I agree with this advice. If you have a number of options available, run a few test cases and then device which one works the best for you, given your time and complexity constraints. The actual result from a good test case is worth a thousand expert opinions.

Luke

Evil is charming and beautiful. It makes you doubt yourself. It asks for one small compromise after another until it whittles you down, and it functions best when no one believes in it.-JOA
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post #19 of 29 Old 09-24-2011, 10:50 PM
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Hi all,

I'm a newbie looking for a solution to transfer about 80 hours of old VHS and Hi-8 tapes to digital and DVD. (Several tapes are 30 years old.)

I'm having difficulty trying to think of the best way to get around them, but thought they might be simple issues which members of this forum have significant experience with. (I have great respect for the info that Citibear and ChurchAV have been sharing in these forums.)

Firstly, I am based in Singapore which uses PAL. Hence most of my tape recordings were done in PAL. (However, I have a few NTSC tapes bought from the USA.)

Basically, I am trying to think about which is a better solution for recording / trimming / possibly basic editing / burning videos to DVD / digital formats. I am familiar with using a Mac, and older versions of iMovie HD. I also have iDVD'06.

The main solutions currently under consideration are: buying a DVD/HDD recorder or a media player with PVR functions (ie. Panasonic DMR-EH59 vs. the Uraku NV-812 DVR media player).

The main questions I have are:

1. Given a choice, what would you guys go with? A DVD/HDD DVR (that is familiar to many of you), a media player DVR (with component inputs and both MPEG 2 and 4 recording formats), a computer-based solution, or send it out for someone else to do the job?

2. Does the comb filter in the Panasonic DMR-EH59 only support NTSC video? Or does it also work with PAL video?

3. How do you export video from the DMR-EH59 to a computer for further editing / authoring? How easy or costly is the process?

4. How sophisticated is the editing functions on the DMR-EH59?


I look forward to hearing from any of you.


Thanks and best regards,
sChen77
Singapore

- - -

My list of equipment:

* Output Devices

(1) Panasonic NV-SJ530 VCR (composite video and mono audio output)

(2) Hi-8 Camcorder from Sony

(3) Cable Box with built-in DVR


* Current External DVR

(4) AC Ryan Playon! DVR HD (records SD over composite; records HD over DVB-T)
ref. www acryan com:80 / product / playondvrhd /
(I can't post a URL, so this is as best as I can do ... )


* Potential candidates

(5) Panasonic DMR-EH59, US$300 (has S-video inputs; unsure if comb filter works with PAL composite input to minimise "dot crawl")

(6) Uraku NV-812, US$185 (has component inputs, generates relatively clean composite signal with minimal "dot crawl" and colour banding artifacts, but visibly softer and less bright images than the AC Ryan)
ref. www fudio-digital com / URAKU_NV-812.html

(7) Canopus ADVC-300, US$540 (has Line-based TBC and S-video inputs; comb filter only works on NTSC video)

(8) Send to conversion shop, US$12/hr for DVD, US$20/hr for DVD + AVI file


- - -

The long story ... I've tested the following:

(1) Panasonic NV-SJ530 VCR

I bought this second hand off an electronics store salesman (they've long stopped selling these things in Singapore for the past few years).

Connection: Cable Box --rf--> VCR --composite--> LED TV

So far, the VCR works fine when playing back NTSC and PAL video tapes.


(2) AC Ryan Playon! DVR HD

The first DVR I bought to record shows off cable. (And if this basic step is successful, to later export recorded videos out of my cable box's PVR and also to digitise my tapes.)

Connection: Cable Box --composite--> AC Ryan --hdmi--> LED TV

The good thing about the AC Ryan DVR is that it records SD over composite with pretty close reproduction of colour and brightness, etc, at the default settings. The video format is MPEG 2 (.mpg file). The DVR also comes with a 2TB HDD and supports networking / server functions.

However, my main issues with the recordings is that I see a fair bit of "dot crawl", and "banding" or "ghost trails" or "double images". The latter is particularly apparent in scenes (esp. for anime) where the actors move against backgrounds that are relatively plain or have a nice gradient.

The AC Ryan DVR is based on the Realtek 1283 chipset announced in 2009, which is still used by similar products from various media player brands. The Realtek 1283 chip supports AV-in and DVB-T recording, while the newer ones only support DVB-T.


(3) Uraku NV-812

I borrowed this for a day to test, but wasn't able to get the component output from my cable box working to feed into the media player DVR.

Connection #1: Cable Box --composite--> Uraku --composite--> LED TV
Connection #2: Cable Box --composite--> Uraku --component--> LED TV

The Uraku produces an impressively clean image for composite capture with significantly less "dot crawl" and "ghost trails" than the AC Ryan. However, the image quality is also softer and less vibrant / vivid than the AC Ryan. I'm not sure if this is because there is some kind of soft filter on the hardware. (Uraku's engineers can't tell me, and the chip makers PR is not commenting on obsolete products.) The video is captured in a choice of MPEG 2 (.vob file) or MPEG-4 Xvid (.avi file) formats. It's also nice that the box is much smaller than a typical A/V device and hence very portable. It also supports a 1 TB HDD and can be used as an external USB drive.

The Uraku NV-812 uses the obsolete Sunplus SPHE7300ARM chipset announced in mid 2006. (ref. w3 sunplus com / press / press.asp?id=47412F4F4032247).

Strangely, the composite output seems to be clearer than the component output on my TV. But that may be moot if I am to burn the digitised video to a DVD first or play the MPEG-4 file off a USB stick.

Unfortunately, I didn't manage to test the component input as I couldn't figure out how to get my cable box to output 576i resolution.


(4) Panasonic DMR-EH59

Most electronics retail shops in Singapore won't allow me to hook the set up to their TV and do a test recording, but the one shop that did let me try the following short test.

Connection #1: AC Ryan DVR --composite--> DMR-EH59 --hdmi--> LCD TV
Connection #2: AC Ryan DVR --hdmi--> LCD TV

The point of the twin connections was to test if the DMR-EH59 could improve the quality of a composite signal. Page 59 of the user manual implies that a comb filter is activated when the DVR records NTSC video. But I am not sure if the same happens when it records PAL video. (Panasonic Singapore doesn't have a clear answer for me.)

Having said that, playbacks of pixellated videos recorded by the AC Ryan did look cleaner and colours still looked vibrant, better than if I did not run it through the DMR-EH59 at all. I don't know how it handles "ghost trails". I have not been able to directly compare the DMR-EH59 and the Uraku.

The other big issue with the DMR-EH59 is how do you copy the video to a computer for trimming / editing?

Eg. if I have a VHS tape that records the family celebrations for Christmas, New Year's and Independence Day, how do I create a DVD that might have Christmas and New Year only, Christmas and Independence Day, or Independence Day followed by New Year's, etc. etc.

Alternatively, if I have a family vacation that spans several tapes, how do I join them up into one long video?

And, how easy is it to import the MPEG 2 .VRO files generated by the DMR-EH59 into iMovie or Adobe Premiere, author them onto a DVD, or convert to MPEG 4 or other popular file format? Or is the best way to burn a DVD, then rip it back on a computer?


(5) Canopus ADVC-300

I haven't tried this, but understand that it is a high-end product for importing footage into a computer-based video editor.

Unfortunately, some of the features don't work on PAL footage, which coupled with the higher cost, makes it less attractive. But it does import footage directly into the DV video format, which allows for easy frame-accurate trimming and editing. And the footage can then be exported via iDVD or some other authoring package.


- - -

Thanks and regards,
sChen77
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post #20 of 29 Old 09-25-2011, 01:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sChen77 View Post

The other big issue with the DMR-EH59 is how do you copy the video to a computer for trimming / editing?

Eg. if I have a VHS tape that records the family celebrations for Christmas, New Year's and Independence Day, how do I create a DVD that might have Christmas and New Year only, Christmas and Independence Day, or Independence Day followed by New Year's, etc. etc.

With the EH59, you don't need to use a computer to do the editing. Record the tape to the EH59's HDD, then divide it up into chapters using the EH59's editing functions, then construct a playlist that contains only the chapters that you want on a particular DVD, and burn the playlist to the DVD. You can construct several playlists from the same recording, using different chapters in each, and thereby burn DVDs containing different sections from the same recording on the HDD.

Note that in EH59 terminology, a "chapter" does not mean a separate menu item. Each menu item on a disc corresponds to a "title" which is made up of chapters that can come from a single recording, or from multiple recordings (provided that the recordings were made at the same "speed" (XP, SP, etc.)).

Quote:


Alternatively, if I have a family vacation that spans several tapes, how do I join them up into one long video?

You can use the playlist mechanism described above. A playlist can contain chapters from different recordings (titles) on the HDD. Of course, the total length must fit on a single DVD (XP = 1 hr, SP = 2 hr, etc.).

Quote:


And, how easy is it to import the MPEG 2 .VRO files generated by the DMR-EH59 into iMovie or Adobe Premiere, author them onto a DVD, or convert to MPEG 4 or other popular file format? Or is the best way to burn a DVD, then rip it back on a computer?

You have to burn a DVD and then rip it onto the the computer. Under Mac OS, a good free application for this is MPEG Streamclip. I've used it countless times to rip DVDs (or sections of them) from my Panasonic recorders (currently an EH59) to MPEG-2 files on my Mac, for burning to other DVDs or for archiving. MPEG Streamclip can also convert MPEG-2 files to DV format for importing into iMovie. (I use DVD-R, so the files are VOBs to begin with. According to the MPEG Streamclip user guide, it can also read VROs, but I've never done this.)

I also use MPEG Streamclip to convert MPEG-2 to MPEG-4 (.mp4) files, for material that I don't burn to DVD, but instead view directly on my Mac, or stream to my Apple TV for viewing on my TV.

Quote:


(5) Canopus ADVC-300

For what it's worth, I used a Canopus ADVC100 to convert my NTSC VHS tapes during 2003-04, before I bought my first standalone DVD recorder. iMovie 6 can import directly from the ADVC100 via a FireWire input. I haven't tried importing to later versions of iMovie. I was satisfied with the results, although my standards might not be as high as yours, and my material might have had fewer issues than yours.

The successor unit appears to be the ADVC110.
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post #21 of 29 Old 09-25-2011, 01:07 AM
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sChen,

I am not qualified to comment on the comb filters or various recording formats; I'll leave that to others.

Unless you MUST have custom menus and frame-accurate edits, there is no need to go to the computer at all. Refer to the last half of my earlier post on this thread regarding the "Playlist" function on the Panasonic. I am assuming the EH59/EH69 is similar to the EH55 and earlier.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sChen77 View Post

Eg. if I have a VHS tape that records the family celebrations for Christmas, New Year's and Independence Day, how do I create a DVD that might have Christmas and New Year only, Christmas and Independence Day, or Independence Day followed by New Year's, etc. etc.

Alternatively, if I have a family vacation that spans several tapes, how do I join them up into one long video?

sChen77

Piece of cake! Copy all (or the first 50 hours or so) VHS and Hi8 to the EH59 hard drive. This will be a real-time copy, so make notes on the times of the various scenes, to assist in later editting. I'd suggest giving descriptive names for each of these files on the hard drive.

Each Playlist that you select to copy to a given dvd becomes a title on the dvd. "... join them into one long video". Just keep adding them to the Playlist.

You can set chapter marks on the source (hdd); I usually do not. I add one or more source titles to my playlist, set chapter points in the Playlist, and delete the chapters I don't want in this Playlist. You can access any title you have on the hdd, (and reuse any portion in another Playlist, if you choose). You can "Move" chapters in a "Playlist".

The Playlist is only a series of index points to titles on the hdd, so takes up very little space on the hdd. Also, deletes in the Playlist do not affect the source on the hdd.

When ready to Copy to a dvd, you build a "Copylist" of the hdd Titles and/or Playlists you want on this dvd. Then go for it!

Now for the "gotchas". If you high-speed dub to a dvd, there will be a half second to one second pause or freeze at each edit point where there was a delete. If that is acceptable, then fine, chapter points and thumbnails (picture on the menu) are retained.

If the freezes are unacceptable, then go to a real-time seamless copy. Chapter points are automatically inserted at about 5 minute intervals, and you may lose about a half second at the edit point, usually noticeable only if someone is speaking at that point.

Best wishes. Your first two playlists will be the only tough ones.
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post #22 of 29 Old 09-26-2011, 01:45 PM
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Quote:


The main questions I have are:

1. Given a choice, what would you guys go with? A DVD/HDD DVR (that is familiar to many of you), a media player DVR (with component inputs and both MPEG 2 and 4 recording formats), a computer-based solution, or send it out for someone else to do the job?

2. Does the comb filter in the Panasonic DMR-EH59 only support NTSC video? Or does it also work with PAL video?

3. How do you export video from the DMR-EH59 to a computer for further editing / authoring? How easy or costly is the process?

4. How sophisticated is the editing functions on the DMR-EH59?

1) I am not a big compute editing type of person, so I would stick with the stand-alone recorder, BUT, that might not be your best choice. Never having used a computer based editing prodict, I am not qualified to compare the two. You asked what I would do, I would use a recorder, not a PC. Again, that's only me.

2) I have no call to record PAL since I live in the US. I am unqualified to answer that question. Maybe you should aske that question in the UK/European forum here, or consult the EH69/59 manual.

3) Not qualified to answer.

4) The editing functions of the EH59 are very good, but only to a point. You can make chapter marks in your titles and then assemble those chapters in any way you want using playlists. Editing playlists won't have any effect on the recorded titles, so you can use each segment (chapter) many times if you want to. The "up to a point" comment is because the machine does not have frame-accurate editing, so you need to have a bit of slack in the editing process. In most television shows, there are a few frames of black before and after the commercial breaks, so that's all the slack I usually need to make a good looking edit. As RichardT pointed out though, there is a one second pause at edit points, so be aware of that, and expect it. A good piece of software should be able to get around that, but I don't know for sure.

Luke

Evil is charming and beautiful. It makes you doubt yourself. It asks for one small compromise after another until it whittles you down, and it functions best when no one believes in it.-JOA
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post #23 of 29 Old 09-30-2011, 09:12 PM
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Hi all,

Thanks very much to jtbell, RichardT and Church AV for your sharing. I apologise for the long delay in getting back to you.


@ jtbell and RichardT -- Playlist functions

Thanks for the advise on the capabilities on the "playlist" function. I had understood from the Panasonic support line in Singapore that I couldn't quite create a playlist that combines edits / clips / chapters from multiple recordings / titles. Clearly, from your posts, that is not the situation.


@ jtbell -- transfer to Mac / Windows PC

It seems that the Panasonic seems to like using a DVD-RAM disc for editing the raw video files (ie. VRO files). But do I need to use DVD-RAM discs for transferring them to a computer for further frame-accurate editing / processing? Would I be correct to understand that it is possible to perform a High Speed Copy on much cheaper and more readily available DVD-/+R or media? (That way, I would also get to archive a copy of the raw captured footage in the VRO file, which would otherwise have to be erased when I re-format and re-use the DVD-RAM disc.)

Are there other significant limitations if I don't have a DVD-RAM disc? Or are the only drawbacks the inability to switch aspect ratios and support recording of bilingual audio? (Though I doubt I'll need these features.)

(As it is, the stores here have not carried DVD-RAM discs for years. So I hope I ain't missing much.)


@ jtbell -- MPEG trimming software

Thanks for your tip on MPEG Streamclip. Based on the description, it does indeed seem to be able to do what I need it to do. But would I also be correct to understand that it needs a licensed copy of Apple's QuickTime MPEG-2 decoder component in order to work? (Or if on Windows, then a copy of the QT Alternative freeware to work?)

At the same time, I have been exploring the following software that works on Windows. They are the freeware Mpg2Cut2 and the rather inexpensive Womble MPEG-VCR. Both apparently allow frame-accurate trimming / joining / splicing without re-encoding of the MPEG-2 source. So far, I've tried Mpg2Cut2 on the .VOB and .MPG files generated by my media players.

links:
* Mpg2Cut2 -- rocketjet4.tripod.com / Mpg2Cut2.htm
* MPEG-VCR -- www womble com / products / vcr.html

I found an old forum review here ...
http // forum videohelp com / threads / 176282-Editing-Panasonic-Burner-DVD-RAM-VRO-Video-In-Computer


@ jtbell -- Canopus

Thanks for suggesting the ADVC-110. I considered this, as well as the USB-based ADVCmini and Blackmagic Design Video Recorder. However, the latter two capture in H.264 which seems harder to edit than MPEG-2 due to the greater compression and longer GOP frames.

The USB-based devices are apparently also less stable than the ADVC-110 when doing VHS transfers, while the ADVC-110 does not have a comb filter (only good for NTSC but not PAL video) and other image enhancement features of the ADVC-300.

Hence it was down to the ADVC-300, which costs quite a fair bit.


@ ChurchAV -- comb filters / PAL

I did consult the manual ... which on page 59 of the Region 3 manual states:

Comb Filter

Select the picture sharpness when recording.
The setting is fixed with On if you set TV System to NTSC (--> 60).
[On] Pictures become clear and vivid. Normally, use this setting.
[Off] Select it when recording noisy pictures.

What is clear is that the comb filter is used when recording NTSC input. What is not clear is whether the comb filter is optional when recording PAL input.

Unfortunately, the support technician at Panasonic Singapore wasn't able to give a conclusive answer, and said he thinks that it isn't available. :-(

The comb filter seems to be an important component that helps to remove dot crawl. Hence my keen interest in this particular DVD recorder vs. other brands (or the more expensive computer-based capture hardware) as they feature such a clean-up component on the video input.


Thanks also for pointing me to the European AVforums. There is some interesting info there. :-)

Such as:

* DVD Recorder FAQs
www avforums com / forums / blu-ray-dvd-recorders-media / 173949-dvd-recorder-frequently-asked-questions.html

* PC Guide: Converting DVD-RAM recordings to DVD-R
www avforums com / forums / blu-ray-dvd-recorders-media / 101191-pc-guide-dvd-ram-inc-dvd-rw-vr-mode-dvd-r.html

* What is dot crawl?
www avforums com / forums / lcd-led-lcd-tvs / 249804-what-dot-crawl.html

which contained this tidbit of info ...

"Note that for PAL video, the crawling dots appear much smaller. But, this also seems to make them harder for the Comb Filter to remove."


- - -

Hence after reading all the stuff that you have put together for me, I have a few more questions:

(1) How good is the picture quality of the recordings made by DMR-EH59? With the comb filter on, do you still get dot crawl artifacts at SP and better quality?

Also, is there a way to do any form of image enhancement on the video input? Such as tweaking colour / hue / saturation / sharpness / brightness (black levels) / contrast?


(2) Is there a time-based corrector or stabiliser component in the DMR-EH59? (I haven't seen anything mentioned in the manual, but Citibear mentioned this as something useful to have in his post on 09 August.)


(3) When my Panasonic VCR plays back my 2 NTSC tapes, the TV reports that one is giving a NTSC 3.58 signal, while for the other it is receiving a PAL 60 signal as opposed to a normal PAL 50 signal. Can a PAL 60 signal be recorded by the DMR-EH59? (I know that my AC Ryan Playon!DVR cannot do so.)

The VCR's manual states:

Note for only NTSC Playback on PAL system TV

This function is designed to allow only the playback of tapes
recorded by NTSC signals on a PAL system TV. The NTSC
signal is not completely converted to a PAL signal. For this
reason, images played back by this function cannot be
recorded correctly on other VCRs.


(4) My cable box has component out. Is there an economical way to convert component to s-video?


Thanks again for all your time and help.

Happy weekend cheers,
Stephen Chen
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post #24 of 29 Old 10-01-2011, 07:30 AM
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Stephen, I too have noticed when set to NTSC the comb filter is ON but greyed out so you can't turn it off. When in PAL mode it can be changed but defaults to ON which I've never turned off or experimented with.
Recently I've been using my EH-59 to record a PAL signal from a Aiwa PAL VCR(composite out). I have quite a few commercial VHS PAL tapes dating from ~'88. In '89 I converted them to NTSC using a commercial Panasonic AG-W1(if memory serves me). It played the PAL tapes and outputted them to NTSC which I recorded with one of my 58 micron head NTSC VCRs. The quality was quite good but using my EH-59 I'm getting even better results. I record the original PAL tape to my EH-59 in SP mode with comb filter ON and then burn HS to DVD. I take that PAL DVD and play it realtime on one of my Pioneer DVD players that play a PAL DVD and output NTSC. I record that signal on a NTSC Panasonic DVDR and finally burn a NTSC DVD. Comparing the quality of this NTSC DVD to another NTSC DVD made by copying my NTSC tape made on the AG-W1 the EH-59 method is far superior.

As for how I have my EH-59 setup: I have line-in NR set to ON, DNR set to ON, picture set to NORMAL and transfer mode set to VIDEO(these options are set in the menu accessed by pushing DISPLAY).
I don't know if the EH-59 has any TBC but the quality of my transfers look very good and are free from jitter or dot crawl.

You can purchase component-to-S-video converters but IMO unless you spend in excess of $200 you'd be better off just using composite from the source.

Oh I did experiment with using a couple other converting DVD players to play my PAL DVDs and output NTSC. A Oppo 971 which produced an awful picture(jittery slow frames) and a cheapo Cyberhome type compact player which was somewhere between the Oppo and Pioneer. My Sony and Panasonic DVD players refused to pay PAL DVDs.

International Panasonic DVDRs have no adjustments for colour / hue / saturation / brightness (black levels) / contrast. US Panasonics do have black level adjustments though. I've read Pioneer DVDRs have such adjustments but I have no experience with Pioneer which are very hard to find now days(at least in the US).
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post #25 of 29 Old 10-01-2011, 09:17 PM
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Hi jjeff,

Thanks for your help and experimenting with recording PAL footage on the DMR-EH59.

Glad to hear that the comb filter option can actually be turned off (vs. what Panasonic Singapore's tech support was telling me).

(1) Do you need a DVD-RAM disc to do any of the functions that you did? Or was a normal cheap DVD-/+R sufficient for HS copy and other functions?

(2) To clarify on the playback quality of the final NTSC DVD, is the recording "NTSC Panasonic DVR" which burned the NTSC DVD also the DMR-EH59? (Since it can take both PAL and NTSC?)

(3) And are you playing back the recording NTSC DVD over composite or HDMI cables?

(4) And thanks for pointing out the noise reduction settings. I see the manual describes the input NR and playback NR functions quite clearly. But what happens if the playback NR is set to off? Will the video artifacts be shown?

I ask because one way to solve my dot crawl problem is to playback videos recorded by the AC Ryan media player over the composite cables, which activates the LED TV's comb filter / digital noise filter and eliminates most of the dot crawl artifacts. But it also means that the media player's menu and interface has switched to SD instead of HD resolution too.

Sending video out to my TV over the HDMI interface of the AC Ryan, on the other hand, does not activate the comb filter / digital noise filter, and shows the "full glory" of any added dot crawl / splotching / "ghost trail" artifacts.


- - - -

One other interesting tidbit ... which seems contrary to what I had posted earlier in response to ChurchAV.

[MEncoder-users] Encoding Pal DVD to AVI or SVCD for NTSC
http lists.mplayerhq.hu pipermail mencoder-users 2005-December 002236.html

Better? PAL is worse [than NTSC] in most ways, the most notable being
the irreversible dotcrawl and rainbow effects due to 4-refresh period
of the chroma carrier's phase rather than just 2-refresh. The only
benefit is a few extra lines of vertical resolution.

For whatever reason, there are quite a number of different types of comb filters to remove such artifacts from NTSC video, but less for PAL video.


Thanks and Happy Weekend Cheers,
Stephen
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post #26 of 29 Old 10-02-2011, 07:08 AM
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1. No RAM usage, just regular R discs. The only reason I'd need RAM discs is if I wanted to HS back to the HDD which I didn't need to do.
2. I used another Panasonic DVDR(EH-55) because this is what my Pioneer player was cabled to, otherwise you're right I could have used the EH-59 by just switching it's mode back to NTSC(you can have both formats on the EH-59s HDD at the same time) but when you play a PAL it outputs PAL and when you play NTSC it outputs NTSC. You cannot see a PAL thumbnail(thumbnail is blank) if set to NTSC nor a NTSC thumbnail if set to PAL.
3. For playback I view via HDMI to my 46" 1080p Sony LCD but of course all recording is done via S-video which is the best input our DVDRs have.
4. Actually the playback NR is only for playback not recording. Since I never really playback on my DVDRs(I use DVD players) for me the setting doesn't really mean anything but I leave it set to normal.

I have seen dot crawl with NTSC, it's one of the reasons I always use S-video instead of composite if available, unfortunately my Aiwa PAL VCRs only have composite output so I do with that. Luckily my EH-59 seems to handle this quite well and I can't really complain about the picture quality. In fact to me the picture quality of my DVDs actually look better than playing my Aiwa VCR directly to my TV(the TV I'm using for my conversion project is a 26" LG(1080p LCD) which displays both NTSC and PAL without a problem). My Sony prohibits PAL(50hz) so I can't hook my Aiwa directly to the Sony
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post #27 of 29 Old 10-02-2011, 12:56 PM
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Hi jjeff,

Thanks again for your help and sharing. Really appreciate it.

From what you and everyone else has said, it sounds like the DMR-EH59 is about as good a DVD / HDD recorder as I am going to get. :-)

Now just hope I can persuade the local electronics retail shop to let me see a sample of the recorded video. (Unfortunately, our retail shops here generally don't practise return policies, so if you bought the wrong product, it is up to you to resell it on eBay and get your money back that way. Hence my asking very detailed questions on this forum. But nothing beats being able to see a recorded video clip and examining the picture quality for myself ... )

Based on what the store salesman has told me, for SD-quality cable TV programmes, the recorded quality even at XP recording mode should be worse than what comes out of cable box. (I'll take your advice and skip looking for component-to-S-video cables.)

As for VHS tapes, I guess I'll have to make do with composite video input, as my VCR does not have S-video outputs, nor do I think my tapes are the S-VHS type.


- - -

In the final analysis, it still comes down to whether I want to record everything using a top of the line DVD-recorder from 2009, or a Sunplus chip-based media player with AV-in recording functions from 2007.

(The latter has component video input, encodes from a composite signal pretty clean video in both MPEG-2 and XviD MPEG-4 formats, is physically a lot smaller than the EH59 but has a much larger capacity HDD, and doesn't require discs to transfer the recorded footage to a computer for frame-accurate trimming, but requires more work to author the edited captured video file to a DVD.)

Here again are the specs of the media player / recorder (http://www.fudio-digital.com/URAKU_NV-812.html), but I am still very tempted by the EH59 ...

Decisions, decisions ...


Thanks and best regards,
Stephen
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post #28 of 29 Old 10-02-2011, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by sChen77 View Post

.....Based on what the store salesman has told me, for SD-quality cable TV programmes, the recorded quality even at XP recording mode should be worse than what comes out of cable box. (I'll take your advice and skip looking for component-to-S-video cables.).....

Not sure if you meant to say no worse but IMO for static type images you should be able to go all the way to 4hrs(LP) with no real noticeable picture quality drop but as soon as you get into faster motion, FR set to no more than ~2hrs 42 minutes or even SP is better(less macroblocking). I never really use XP unless I have a short title I want to fill up as much of the disc as I can. Some other people use XP more but the difference between XP and SP is really very little IMO and some of the first DVD players had issues playing XP speed DVDs(I had a old Apex that wouldn't) so I never got into the habit of using XP.
Don't get me wrong, if you have a HD cable box and are watching from it's HD outputs(or SD if your box has component outputs) the EH-59 picture from S-video will be worse but basically what you get if you hook your SD cable(composite or S-video) directly to your TV is what you'll get playing what you record on your EH-59. I regularly record from my Tivo HD DVR via S-video and am quite satisfied with my recordings. They aren't as good as HD from the Tivo's HDMI output but that is to be expected, HD is HD and SD is SD.
Good luck! I really can't answer your PC related questions since I don't use my PC for recording, I've read too many negative comments to even want to try.
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post #29 of 29 Old 10-02-2011, 10:58 PM
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Hi jjeff,

Nope, I meant "should be worse than" what comes out of the cable box, and certainly no better. I'm guessing since they don't really let you try before you buy, he's trying to lower my expectations so that consumers won't raise a complaint after that. :-)

If you will indulge me, perhaps I can ask two more questions:

(1) I went to measure my TV cabinet, and the space for AV equipment is 43.5 cm wide and about 40.0 cm deep. I understand that the EH59 is 43.0 cm wide, and that there are air vents on the right side. At the same time, there's a big fan at the back.

I think I should have enough space at the back for plugging in stiff HDMI / coaxial RF cables / other AV cables and for airflow, but am concerned about having enough space on the sides for airflow.

Page 77 of the manual notes the operating temperature as 5-40 deg. Celsius, while page 5 of the manual further states "do not place in an enclosed area where the rear cooling fan and the cooling vents on the side are covered up" and "do not obstruct the rear panel's internal cooling fan".

In your experience, how hot does the EH59 get when recording to HDD or to a DVD-R? Will it overheat and cause performance issues if I've got a pretty fitting space? Or will the fan at the back be sufficient?


(2) How loud does the fan at the back get when recording, editing, or during playback?


Unfortunately, these are things that one cannot test or hear when in an electronics retail shop that has a few dozen TV's blaring.


Thanks and best regards,
Stephen
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