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post #1 of 22 Old 03-28-2013, 09:01 AM - Thread Starter
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Ok, here's the story: I teach at a state university, have been doing this work for a couple decades now and have a sizable collection of VHS tapes of historical significance that I have collected over the years. Many are commercially produced educational tapes and cost hundreds of dollars each to replace as DVD (yes, educational videos are sickeningly expensive). Of course I could not afford to spend the thousands of dollars it would cost to replace them. In fact, I couldn't afford to buy them originally -- they all came as compensation or consideration from publishers/producers/etc for my assistance in reviewing and editing textbooks or as incentives to adopting their texts in my classes. Many are also no longer available. Most of these are very good quality and excellent condition, none of them are beat up or abused, all of them are legit commercial tapes I personally own outright.

My problem is that the university has (finally) removed all the VHS players from our classrooms and I need to digitize at least the ones I use and likely all of them. It's a lot of tape and the services to do it are outside my budget. The university will not do it for me.

What I do have is some basic gear:

- Panasonic AG2580Pro VCR - good working condition, composite and coax out only (no other outputs) [4 Head HiFi Stereo / Direct Drive Capstan Motor for Precise Speed / SuperDrive / Quasi SVHS Play / Tuner / Auto Repeat]

- An old Pinnacle USB-510 capture device

- Pinnacle Studio 11

- Office desktop (i5-750, 8gb ram, ssd + spinning drive, gtx460 gpu)

Thanks to the site licenses and educational discounts I also have access to PowerDirector Ultra 11, which I know from other work with .h264 video files makes much faster work of encoding and processing video than the Pinnacle 11 software (by which I mean minutes rather than hours).

Now, part of my problem is Macrovision, which I understand can easily be handled by a $25-$30 Digital Video Stabilizer 9v black box reasonably well.

The other problem is just a question of capture quality. The USB-510 does ok, but it doesn't look great and I am wondering if there is a reasonable upgrade in the ~$100 range budget to improve my capture quality or a specific post-processing procedure you all would recommend. I am not an AV wizard and have no idea how to use a TBC but reading countless threads on TBCs here and elsewhere leads me to believe they may be overkill for what I am doing, may cause me more grief than good, and the ones people strongly recommend seem to all be in the 400$+ range, like the TBC-1000 (even on EBay).

I'm really not in a position to drop much more than 100-150$ down on any new gear and my suspicion is that a new capture device / card might be the priority.

Thoughts or advice?

Thanks much.
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post #2 of 22 Old 03-28-2013, 09:48 AM
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I'm willing to bet (though I don't know for sure -I owned a similar product 10+ years ago) that the Pinnacle capture device will limit you to pretty low resolution.

The two most common units out know that are USB based are the Avermedia HD-DVR and the Hauppauge HD-PVR. They are typically used for capturing cable boxes and gaming consoles, but if I were going to do what you're talking about I'd look into them.

I think VideoHelp and Doom9 are probably the places where video capture discussion is most common.


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post #3 of 22 Old 03-28-2013, 10:04 AM
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Even though you have the tapes, you have to read the documents that are either on the tape, box or at the end or beginning of the tape. most commercially produced tapes are copyright protected. You simply are not allowed to copy them, for ANY reason.

And even if you were able to hook up a VCR to the Capture card in a PC or a DVD recorder, you still will not be able to copy. You will get light to dark Macrovision copy protection.

However, if the tapes explicitly state that you are allowed to copy, then all you need is a VCR and a DVD recorder or a PC with a Capture card. Either way, copies will look like crap on big screen.

6 TV's in the house on FiOS and we only pay $4.99/month to connect them all!!! Power to the CableCard and WMC7!!!
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post #4 of 22 Old 03-28-2013, 11:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blueiedgod View Post

Even though you have the tapes, you have to read the documents that are either on the tape, box or at the end or beginning of the tape. most commercially produced tapes are copyright protected. You simply are not allowed to copy them, for ANY reason.

Do not take the words from the publishers without a grain of salt. That is what they want you to believe. Base on what OP mentioned, it is covered under fair use - back up.
Quote:
And even if you were able to hook up a VCR to the Capture card in a PC or a DVD recorder, you still will not be able to copy. You will get light to dark Macrovision copy protection.

AFAIK, Macrovision is not part of DRM. So it should be legal to get around it.
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post #5 of 22 Old 03-28-2013, 12:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pixelation View Post

Do not take the words from the publishers without a grain of salt. That is what they want you to believe. Base on what OP mentioned, it is covered under fair use - back up.
AFAIK, Macrovision is not part of DRM. So it should be legal to get around it.

If I remember correctly, Fair use only applies to home use, i.e. the case in particular was about recording live TV.

I would do it if it were for home use, but for work... If there is a hint of some copyright infirngement on anything I do at work, that is grounds for termination, at least at my company. We can't even install a legally purchased programs as downloads, we have to have physical discs so that there is no chance that they were somehow illegally obtained.

So, if OP is willing to take a chance with his/her job for doing this, it is his/hers choice, but he/she should know what the university's policy is for copyright infirngements and what the consequences are.

Macrovision is not that easy to get around, either. It makes copied content pretty much unwatchable, because of the switches between light and dark.

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post #6 of 22 Old 03-28-2013, 12:13 PM
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Fair use has nothing to do with home use.

Macrovision on VHS is also easy to defeat. Just google it.
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post #7 of 22 Old 03-28-2013, 12:15 PM
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How about just bringing your own VCR to display the tapes?

That said, I'm really not seeing a copyright infringement here. The original media is obsolete and it has been moved to a new media but the end use is the same. No new copy has been distributed. Of course this is just me and the $tudios may have a different opinion.

The problem is Macrovision copy protection though.

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post #8 of 22 Old 03-28-2013, 12:37 PM
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FYI many (all?) macrovision strippers also remove closed captioning, so keep that in mind if it's an issue. I imagine you can find capture cards which ignore macrovision, as there is no requirement to honor it.
Alternatively a timebase corrector will fix the sync/non-video signals so they are good and within expected parameters. Used ones can be had cheap - the other day I saw a few sitting at a local scrap yard where I could have purchased them for like $3/each.

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post #9 of 22 Old 03-28-2013, 12:55 PM
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Copyright talk aside, I would just recommend you play straight into a DVD recorder (or through a corrector first to remove the macrovision, if there is any). Going with a capture card is going to take a lot of time, and it sounds like you have a lot of tapes. You first have to capture it real time, then convert it to whatever your end result is. With a DVD recorder, its just real time. Don't worry about quality loss, as we all know VHS looks crappy no matter what way you use to digitize it.
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post #10 of 22 Old 03-28-2013, 01:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sitlet View Post

Copyright talk aside, I would just recommend you play straight into a DVD recorder (or through a corrector first to remove the macrovision, if there is any). Going with a capture card is going to take a lot of time, and it sounds like you have a lot of tapes. You first have to capture it real time, then convert it to whatever your end result is. With a DVD recorder, its just real time. Don't worry about quality loss, as we all know VHS looks crappy no matter what way you use to digitize it.

If you're doing a lot of these, and want to do it right, grab yourself a re-build Panasonic AG-1980 SVHS machine. As far as VHS playback, that's likely the best quality you will get, and they have a built in TBC

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post #11 of 22 Old 03-28-2013, 08:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks much to all for the advice and ideas. I will have to look into the copyright issues before proceeding but will look about for better vhs deck and maybe a used cheap tbc someplace in the meantime as well.
cheers and thanks again.
DRC
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post #12 of 22 Old 03-28-2013, 08:45 PM
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Get a used good VHS with component out and use a Hauppauge HD DVR to capture (on clearance at BB for 139). Doubt you will need anything else.
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post #13 of 22 Old 03-28-2013, 09:37 PM
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Besides the DVR mentioned above, I've had good luck converting Analog to Digital using either the Hauppage 2250 or the Avermedia G2 TV tuners (PCI-E)
Both tuners come equipped with Composite / S-Video input and see this input as another channel. Last I looked both tuners could be procured under $100. Both run
under Win 7 32/64 bit.

I haven't had the need to convert over 480P, but the weak link is going to be the VCR and tape anyway, likely recorded at or below this resolution
.
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post #14 of 22 Old 03-29-2013, 04:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomandbeth View Post

Besides the DVR mentioned above, I've had good luck converting Analog to Digital using either the Hauppage 2250 or the Avermedia G2 TV tuners (PCI-E)
Both tuners come equipped with Composite / S-Video input and see this input as another channel. Last I looked both tuners could be procured under $100. Both run
under Win 7 32/64 bit.

I haven't had the need to convert over 480P, but the weak link is going to be the VCR and tape anyway, likely recorded at or below this resolution
.

What software do you use to do the conversion with the 2250?

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post #15 of 22 Old 03-29-2013, 01:40 PM
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There's two software that needs to be loaded, one will not load unless you have the original CD
and IIRC it's called WinTV, It's got that awful yellow splash screen when it loads.
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post #16 of 22 Old 03-29-2013, 03:03 PM
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I have the WinTV disc for my old 2250. What is the second software?

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post #17 of 22 Old 03-29-2013, 10:45 PM
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Sammy,

I'm sitting at the HTPC that has the 2250 in it. When I open Hauppauge WINTV under Start-> all programs I'm not seeing another program.
Perhaps I'm thinking drivers installation followed by this WinTV thing? It wouldn't be the first time I mis-remembered.

A few clicks and this unit is receiving an analog signal from a wide view night camera in the Observatory. As well as Cox
cable and Silicone Dust on the home Network.
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post #18 of 22 Old 03-30-2013, 08:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomandbeth View Post

Sammy,

I'm sitting at the HTPC that has the 2250 in it. When I open Hauppauge WINTV under Start-> all programs I'm not seeing another program.
Perhaps I'm thinking drivers installation followed by this WinTV thing? It wouldn't be the first time I mis-remembered.

A few clicks and this unit is receiving an analog signal from a wide view night camera in the Observatory. As well as Cox
cable and Silicone Dust on the home Network.

Okay, so what channel is the analog signal on in WinTV?

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post #19 of 22 Old 03-30-2013, 08:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomandbeth View Post

Sammy,

I'm sitting at the HTPC that has the 2250 in it. When I open Hauppauge WINTV under Start-> all programs I'm not seeing another program.
Perhaps I'm thinking drivers installation followed by this WinTV thing? It wouldn't be the first time I mis-remembered.

A few clicks and this unit is receiving an analog signal from a wide view night camera in the Observatory. As well as Cox
cable and Silicone Dust on the home Network.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sammy2 View Post

Okay, so what channel is the analog signal on in WinTV?

Sorry to posting in this thread, but I'm in a similar situation. I have the Happauge 2250 and read on other forums of users that are using this card to capture their VHS tapes. I have installed the winTV v7 program and drivers but, i'm stuck on getting a picture from the VCR to the PC. My VCR has composite in and out, Ant in and TV out. I would I connect the VCR to Happauge 2250 for it to work with winTV v7 program?
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post #20 of 22 Old 03-30-2013, 09:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lunar View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by tomandbeth View Post

Sammy,

I'm sitting at the HTPC that has the 2250 in it. When I open Hauppauge WINTV under Start-> all programs I'm not seeing another program.
Perhaps I'm thinking drivers installation followed by this WinTV thing? It wouldn't be the first time I mis-remembered.

A few clicks and this unit is receiving an analog signal from a wide view night camera in the Observatory. As well as Cox
cable and Silicone Dust on the home Network.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sammy2 View Post

Okay, so what channel is the analog signal on in WinTV?

Sorry to posting in this thread, but I'm in a similar situation. I have the Happauge 2250 and read on other forums of users that are using this card to capture their VHS tapes. I have installed the winTV v7 program and drivers but, i'm stuck on getting a picture from the VCR to the PC. My VCR has composite in and out, Ant in and TV out. I would I connect the VCR to Happauge 2250 for it to work with winTV v7 program?

There were two cards sold. One has a "daughter card" with composite inputs for this purpose. I've never done this but would like to "rip" my old family VHS to mkv for easy playback and am wanting to find out how to do it too.

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post #21 of 22 Old 03-30-2013, 09:38 AM
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Set it to use an empty channel, such as 1,2,or 3.
I'm using channel 1.
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post #22 of 22 Old 03-30-2013, 10:09 AM
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Okay. I guess I'll need to put that card in my PC and give it a go. Once I do I can remove the VCR from the equipment cabinet as I don't think that anybody's coming over with a video tape to watch and all mine will be on my HDD ready for playback at the click of a mouse button. I'll be down to an HTPC, an AVR and a Blu-ray Player in the cabinet after this.

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