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Archive 2013 · Analog to Digital VHS Conversion
  
 
Mike1.6
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Analog to Digital VHS Conversion


A friend has asked me to help convert his old VHS home movies to digital in order to store them on DVD. The USB solutions he's tried have not been satisfactory. I've seen the result and I would have to agree. He still has the high end VHS camcorder that he recorded the tapes on and I must say they look pretty good when the signal is sent directly out the camcorder interface to the television.

I don't have much experience along these lines so I'm asking for some advice. He doesn't want to send the tapes out to a service. He would like to do the acquisition and editing himself. He just needs some direction on a good analog to digital conversion system. He's got firewire inputs on the pc and s-video out on the camcorder and I'm sure that's a good start.

So, any recommendations on an external interface via the firewire ports or the purchase of a separate, internal pc card for the conversion? I'd be grateful for the advice.



Jan 28, 2013 at 01:00 PM
HelenB
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Analog to Digital VHS Conversion


Do you have, or know anyone who has, a digital video camera or digital recorder that has s-video in? You can probably get a fairly cheap old DV camera that will convert from an s-video signal to DV25 over FireWire if you don't already have anything similar.


Jan 28, 2013 at 01:10 PM
Mike1.6
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Analog to Digital VHS Conversion


HelenB wrote:
Do you have, or know anyone who has, a digital video camera that has s-video in? You can probably get a fairly cheap old DV camera that will convert from an s-video signal to DV25 over FireWire if you don't already have anything similar.


That seems like a good idea Helen. I could start there. Do you know that set up would be a straight pass-thru of the video signal from the VHS camcorder to the DV camera into the firewire signal?



Jan 28, 2013 at 01:13 PM
Bifurcator
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Analog to Digital VHS Conversion


Well the connection doesn't matter much. S-Video only needs about 6MB/s to contain its full bandwidth. USB does about 20MB/s so that's way over-spec. The AD converter is what's important here. You need TBC, frame buffering, and high quality cables to get a quality digitization of the source signal. So any device which offers those features will do and any device which doesn't stands a good chance of not being able to.


Jan 28, 2013 at 01:22 PM
Mike1.6
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Analog to Digital VHS Conversion


Thanks Bifurcator. Granted, bandwidth wouldn't seem to be the issue when using the usb interface. That being said, is there a device we can recommend, usb or not, that meets those qualifications? The usb device would seem to be the simplest solution, if it provides the wherewithal for decent signal acquisition.


Jan 28, 2013 at 01:44 PM
 

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HelenB
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Analog to Digital VHS Conversion


All the DV cameras and decks I have used have had a real time (allowing for a frame or so delay) conversion from s-video to FireWire.


Jan 28, 2013 at 02:10 PM
Bifurcator
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Analog to Digital VHS Conversion


Mike1.6 wrote:
Thanks Bifurcator. Granted, bandwidth wouldn't seem to be the issue when using the usb interface. That being said, is there a device we can recommend, usb or not, that meets those qualifications? The usb device would seem to be the simplest solution, if it provides the wherewithal for decent signal acquisition.


I only know the $2k to $20K models myself. The $100 to $500 models are unknown to me as I've never had the need. I guess you can get a gen-1 Video Toaster for your PC for around $400 to $500 (they were $4k new) - if you can find one. Canopus now a GrassValley company made good stuff. I guess the one and two grand systems they made in the 90's are selling for one and two hundred on e-bay these days.

The Blackmagic Design Intensity Pro is an internal PC card which can capture SD using composite, s-video, component or 720p and 1080i HD using component and HDMI. It's under $200. It records 4:2:2 to uncompressed YUV or MJPEG which Vegas or SpeedEdit can handle. If you have Cineform NeoHD, you can also capture directly to the 10-bit Cineform codec using the Intensity Pro. I don't think it has a TBC but that may not be a problem if the tapes are in good condition.

I guess if I had to recommend something on the cheap that would be it. The BM Intensity Pro.
http://www.blackmagicdesign.com/products/intensity/models/ Click on the connection diagram.



Jan 28, 2013 at 02:54 PM
HelenB
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Analog to Digital VHS Conversion


If you want a dedicated low-budget external converter, there is also the Grass Valley ADVC-110 (what used to be sold as Canopus) for less than $200. That converts from an s-video signal to Firewire using DV25 (ie 25 Mbps for video + about 1.5 Mbps for the audio = about 27 Mbps or roughly 3.5 MBps, ie just under 5 mins per GB). However, if you already have a DV camera or similar available I would suggest trying that first.


Jan 28, 2013 at 03:07 PM
Mr Joe
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Analog to Digital VHS Conversion


I used an Elgato Video Capture unit with S-video to USB, and the results looked good. Maybe I'm not as picky, or perhaps my source files were lower quality. In any case, it was $80: http://amzn.to/XN4Gox


Jan 28, 2013 at 08:02 PM
Mike1.6
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Analog to Digital VHS Conversion


Thanks everybody. I'm in position right now to try a pass-thru setup using the VHS-Camcorder thru Mini-DV Cam to PC via firewire interface.

@Joe - The Elegato video capture solution looks good and I've told my friend to look into it. Thanks for the suggestion.

I'll post here to let everyone know how we make out.



Jan 29, 2013 at 01:25 PM





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