is VHS-to-DVD really as good as capture on a PC with, for example, VirtualDub? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 14 Old 05-11-2020, 09:00 AM - Thread Starter
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is VHS-to-DVD really as good as capture on a PC with, for example, VirtualDub?

I read 2 other threads here on AVSForum.com that made it sound like converting a VHS to a DVD with via a DVD recorder is as good as or better than capturing the VHS with a PC with something like VirtualDub. Is that really correct?

Here's the situation: my father announced he is going to convert all the family VHS tapes to DVD. However, nobody else in the family uses (or even has) a DVD player. So, we will have to take the DVDs he makes and convert them to some other digital format--maybe to upload to YouTube or something like that. (Please note: I have no idea what models of VCR or DVD recorder he has.)

Intuitively to me, it seems like going VHS-to-DVD-to-PC is going to result in some loss of quality that can't be regained compared with going VHS-to-PC directly. Especially if you use some program like VirtualDub to preserve interlaced information and re-size the original video capture (I've seen on some HowTo videos).

I don't know much about video and absolutely nothing about things like DVD recorders or VCRs. If someone could give me a quick idea in layman's language about the similarities or differences between these two methods of converting to digital, that would be really great. Thanks!
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post #2 of 14 Old 05-11-2020, 09:10 AM
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I was in the same dilemma 10 years ago. I started capturing to PC directly but it was very buggy and it tied up my only PC at the time. I ended up using a VHS-DVD recorder. You just have to press one button and walk away without worrying about software crashes. And then I just put the DVD in my PC and copied the VOB files onto a hard drive. And I keep the DVDs as a physical backup.

If you want to get the best possible quality then yeah you should use PC capture. It just depends on how much you are willing to learn about the software. You can do an infinite number of things like de-interlacing or upscaling to HD.

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post #3 of 14 Old 05-11-2020, 09:43 AM
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If my Dad were alive today I would happily buy him a DVD recorder with an HDD hard drive and let him fill it up with hundreds and hundreds of hours of recordings.

Then I'd take the HDD out and connect it with Isobuster to my PC and copy his results off all at once.

Then return the hard drive to his recorder and let him continue until done.

But I'm a PC person.

Not everyone's situation is the same.

In the simplest situation, if you can get DVD blanks, that work, that may be the best solution for you.
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post #4 of 14 Old 05-12-2020, 07:40 AM - Thread Starter
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Thank you very much for your reply.



Quote:
Originally Posted by bryantc View Post
If you want to get the best possible quality then yeah you should use PC capture. It just depends on how much you are willing to learn about the software. You can do an infinite number of things like de-interlacing or upscaling to HD.

Yes, that's what I was thinking about (I think). Unfortunately, because of this forum's permissions, I am not allowed to post hyperlinks. However, the video I saw about PC capture was a YouTube video with address "/watch?v=sn_TDa9zY1c". I think he is talking about using VirtualDub to deal with de-interlacing and upscaling to HD.


I know that, in real life, the capture would not go as smoothly as that video makes it look, but it looks like something I would try if I had access to the VHS tapes myself. At the beginning of that video, he shows a side-by-side comparison of digitization using his VirtualDub method versus not, and, to me, the difference is quite striking and definitely worth a little effort.


So, if I understand you correctly, you're saying it's a just a trade-off between higher quality plus time/effort and lower quality plus ease.
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post #5 of 14 Old 05-12-2020, 07:47 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bryantc View Post
then I just put the DVD in my PC and copied the VOB files onto a hard drive.

Sorry, I forgot to ask in my last post: with those VOB files on your hard drive, could you now manipulate them with a program like VirtualDub to achieve something maybe similar if not quite as good as capturing and manipulating directly from the VHS with VirtualDub?
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post #6 of 14 Old 05-12-2020, 08:10 AM - Thread Starter
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Thank you very much for your reply.


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Originally Posted by jwillis84 View Post
If my Dad were alive today I would happily buy him a DVD recorder with an HDD hard drive and let him fill it up with hundreds and hundreds of hours of recordings.

Then I'd take the HDD out and connect it with Isobuster to my PC and copy his results off all at once.

Then return the hard drive to his recorder and let him continue until done.

I think his DVD recorder does have a hard drive, so something like that could be a possibility except that I live very, very far away from him, so it wouldn't be possible for me to empty and refill the DVD recorder hard drive.


(Because of forum permissions, I can't post a link, but I watched a YouTube video about using VirtualDub for capture whose address is "/watch?v=sn_TDa9zY1c". I think my father is capable of doing what's in that video, but I think he's just had his DVD recorder for a long time and is attached to it because he did a lot of research before buying it....)



If you don't mind, I have 2 follow-up questions:


(1) I am pretty sure my father is talking about a VHS analog output and DVD analog input for transfer. If he did that and made DVDs, could I copy the DVDs to my hard drive (as commenter "bryantc" recommends in the thread above) and manipulate them with something like VirutalDub in a similar way to using VirtualDub to capture a VHS analog output directly and end up with a roughly similar result?


(2) One thing that's going on is that my father lost some data from a bad external hard drive once, and he is now convinced that DVDs are a safer and more stable way to store video archives than hard drives. I don't see how this is even remotely possible since properly codec-compressed videos could easily be copied to multiple USB devices (not even to mention uploading to Internet-based storage). Do you think there is any validity to his perspective?
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post #7 of 14 Old 05-12-2020, 08:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anotherChris View Post
Sorry, I forgot to ask in my last post: with those VOB files on your hard drive, could you now manipulate them with a program like VirtualDub to achieve something maybe similar if not quite as good as capturing and manipulating directly from the VHS with VirtualDub?
You could do that. I was perfectly happy with the quality of the DVD recorder and just left it as is. The only way to know is to try it and see what you like.


Quote:
Originally Posted by anotherChris View Post
(2) One thing that's going on is that my father lost some data from a bad external hard drive once, and he is now convinced that DVDs are a safer and more stable way to store video archives than hard drives. I don't see how this is even remotely possible since properly codec-compressed videos could easily be copied to multiple USB devices (not even to mention uploading to Internet-based storage). Do you think there is any validity to his perspective?
Hard drives are probably the worst archival medium. I use them but only in pairs with everything backed up to 2 different drives. And then I still have important data on other media too.


The problem with DVD is that they can easily degrade. People who bought cheap blanks 20 years ago are now finding that out. And it is becoming harder to find quality blanks because hardly anyone makes them anymore. And as you said no one has to ability to play them back either.


You are on the right track with USB sticks and cloud storage. The key is to have multiple backups in multiple places on multiple media. And don't just let them sit in a vault and forget about them. Keep up with new storage standards and bring them over when needed. Don't let them sit on a medium that is starting to become obsolete, like DVD.
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post #8 of 14 Old 05-12-2020, 12:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bryantc View Post
You could do that. I was perfectly happy with the quality of the DVD recorder and just left it as is. The only way to know is to try it and see what you like.




Hard drives are probably the worst archival medium. I use them but only in pairs with everything backed up to 2 different drives. And then I still have important data on other media too.


The problem with DVD is that they can easily degrade. People who bought cheap blanks 20 years ago are now finding that out. And it is becoming harder to find quality blanks because hardly anyone makes them anymore. And as you said no one has to ability to play them back either.


You are on the right track with USB sticks and cloud storage. The key is to have multiple backups in multiple places on multiple media. And don't just let them sit in a vault and forget about them. Keep up with new storage standards and bring them over when needed. Don't let them sit on a medium that is starting to become obsolete, like DVD.
I wouldn't change a thing on your father's side.

He is comfortable about it and if making DVDs makes him happy, keep going in that direction.

Ripping video from a home produced DVD will not be a problem, many programs do that. I like VideoRedo for Editing, it costs money, but it works with DVD (MPEG2) files and (VOBS)
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post #9 of 14 Old 05-12-2020, 06:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anotherChris View Post
I read 2 other threads here on AVSForum.com that made it sound like converting a VHS to a DVD with via a DVD recorder is as good as or better than capturing the VHS with a PC with something like VirtualDub. Is that really correct?

Here's the situation: my father announced he is going to convert all the family VHS tapes to DVD. However, nobody else in the family uses (or even has) a DVD player. So, we will have to take the DVDs he makes and convert them to some other digital format--maybe to upload to YouTube or something like that. (Please note: I have no idea what models of VCR or DVD recorder he has.)

Intuitively to me, it seems like going VHS-to-DVD-to-PC is going to result in some loss of quality that can't be regained compared with going VHS-to-PC directly. Especially if you use some program like VirtualDub to preserve interlaced information and re-size the original video capture (I've seen on some HowTo videos).

I don't know much about video and absolutely nothing about things like DVD recorders or VCRs. If someone could give me a quick idea in layman's language about the similarities or differences between these two methods of converting to digital, that would be really great. Thanks!
Look up a poster named "jjeff", maybe send him a PM. He is historically a big DVD recorder fan but lately he has been using an Avermedia digital capture device that he is really happy with. The device does the capture and encoding and sends the digital video file to the PC. No ned to burn a useless DVD when all you want is video file on a HDD or USB stick drive.
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The bitterness of poor quality lasts long after the sweetness of the low price is forgotten . . . life is too short to drink bad wine

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post #10 of 14 Old 05-13-2020, 03:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelson View Post
Look up a poster named "jjeff", maybe send him a PM. He is historically a big DVD recorder fan but lately he has been using an Avermedia digital capture device that he is really happy with. The device does the capture and encoding and sends the digital video file to the PC. No ned to burn a useless DVD when all you want is video file on a HDD or USB stick drive.
I've been using an AverMedia HDMI recorder since late last fall to record certain things and it works quite well. They are currently $130 off Amazon but I got a open box for quite a bit less. It doesn't send the video file to the PC but rather records to inexpensive a reliable USB HDD, user-supplied. You can also record to thumb drives but I use a USB HDD. It records basically what you see from HDMI and almost looks like a mirror image. The file is MP4 and playable on any PC or something like a media player with a USB input. The file size is anywhere from about a DVD recorder on XP(1hr/SL DVD) up to about double that size but it's HD up to 1080. There are other brands other than AverMedia but I liked how this one is basically standalone, you just need a HDMI source to record and a HDMI display, it has it's own tiny remote that works pretty well. Again file sizes can get pretty large(5GB/1hr HD recording or more) but when using a 4 or 5TB such as I have, HDD it seems like it will never fill up. It has basic editing but note saving an edited file takes some time so I try and get it right the first time and not bother. I still use my DVDRs for 480 SD recording but when I want better quality or my source is HDMI I use the AverMedia device.
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post #11 of 14 Old 05-13-2020, 11:08 AM
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The remote is pretty small, a Logitech Harmony 650 might make a good replacement.

Overall its an acquired taste, frustrating for some, but its a good value.


I did an unboxing a couple years ago

AppleTV HD captured by ER310 over component

Video

Codec ID : avc1
Width : 1920 pixels
Height : 1080 pixels
Display aspect ratio : 16:9
Frame rate : 29.970 (29970/1000) FPS
Color space : YUV
Chroma subsampling : 4:2:0
Bit depth : 8 bits
Scan type : Progressive
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post #12 of 14 Old 05-15-2020, 08:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bryantc View Post
You could do that. I was perfectly happy with the quality of the DVD recorder and just left it as is. The only way to know is to try it and see what you like.




Hard drives are probably the worst archival medium. I use them but only in pairs with everything backed up to 2 different drives. And then I still have important data on other media too.


The problem with DVD is that they can easily degrade. People who bought cheap blanks 20 years ago are now finding that out. And it is becoming harder to find quality blanks because hardly anyone makes them anymore. And as you said no one has to ability to play them back either.


You are on the right track with USB sticks and cloud storage. The key is to have multiple backups in multiple places on multiple media. And don't just let them sit in a vault and forget about them. Keep up with new storage standards and bring them over when needed. Don't let them sit on a medium that is starting to become obsolete, like DVD.

Thanks. Maybe I should transcribe the binary code on vellum!
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post #13 of 14 Old 05-15-2020, 08:06 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jjeff View Post
I've been using an AverMedia HDMI recorder...

Thanks!
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post #14 of 14 Old 05-16-2020, 07:18 AM
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Also if you want to capture 5.1 surround sound via hdmi you use this Hauppauge's
Colossus 2
if you have the Colossus 2, HD PVR 2 model 1512 or the HD PVR 2 GE+, if you have 5.1 channel AC3 audio from HDMI or optical audio, your recordings will have 5.1 channel AC-3 audio

MickinCT

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