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Old February 6th, 2013, 07:21 AM   #1
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VHS to Digital

Hey all, I'll be purchasing a VHS capturing system in order to edit. Im JW what you all might think is the best option in terms of being most cost-effective? There will likely be a lot of footage captured over the course of the next year +

thx
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Old February 6th, 2013, 08:04 AM   #2
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Re: VHS to Digital

Hi Aaron,

Not sure if you're PC or Mac, but this converter works with either one:

http://www.amazon.com/Canopus-77010138100-ADVC-55-Converter-External/dp/B0006ZSQL4

The only catch is that the output is FireWire, which is getting harder to find on computers these days. The older Mac Pro and iMac used to have FireWire but it's been dropped from the new iMac line. I still have an older PC laptop with FireWire and I'll probably keep it for that reason as long as it still boots up.

That's assuming you already have a VHS deck... another way to do it is an all-in-one VHS to DVD burner deck, like this Magnavox ZV427MG9 that I picked up as a refurb two years ago for $80:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0032RR08S/

But that won't give you any real editing capability though.
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Old February 6th, 2013, 01:54 PM   #3
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Re: VHS to Digital

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aaron J. McFerran View Post
Hey all, I'll be purchasing a VHS capturing system in order to edit. Im JW what you all might think is the best option in terms of being most cost-effective? There will likely be a lot of footage captured over the course of the next year +
If your VHS deck doesn't have a TBC (time base corrector) built-in you will also need an external TBC for quality VHS capture when using the ADVC-55.
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Old February 6th, 2013, 10:01 PM   #4
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Re: VHS to Digital

ok, great. thanks for the info.

I'm currently waiting to see what apple has in store for its mac pro lineup (if anything), and possibly making a switch to PC depending..

i'll do some research on TBC and what it's all about and go from there.

appreciate it guys!
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Old February 7th, 2013, 03:56 AM   #5
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Re: VHS to Digital

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Originally Posted by Aaron J. McFerran View Post
I'm currently waiting to see what apple has in store for its mac pro lineup (if anything), and possibly making a switch to PC depending.
Sounds like you have things under control. The ADVC-55 outputs standard definition DV over firewire, so if your Mac Pro has a firewire input I woud think it could capture from such a device. Anyway, the specifications indicate the ADVC-55 works with iMovie and Final Cut Pro on Macintosh.
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Old February 7th, 2013, 11:27 AM   #6
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Re: VHS to Digital

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric Olson View Post
If your VHS deck doesn't have a TBC (time base corrector) built-in you will also need an external TBC for quality VHS capture when using the ADVC-55.
I was using an industrial JVC S-VHS deck with built in TBC for all my VHS transfers. Not sure where it even ended up in one of my many moves over the past 4 years. It worked very well and the analog output was very stable, as long as there was actually something LEFT on the VHS tape after all these years...

(One of my last transfers was of one of my former bands playing in a basement back in '90 that was recorded on an RCA VHS videocamera... perhaps I should have done that first... or maybe not at all...)
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Old February 7th, 2013, 11:35 AM   #7
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Re: VHS to Digital

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaun Roemich View Post
I was using an industrial JVC S-VHS deck with built in TBC for all my VHS transfers. Not sure where it even ended up in one of my many moves over the past 4 years.
I still have one of those... a JVC HR-S9800U. Not industrial like yours but it has a TBC and did the job. Right now it's relegated to the bedroom as it is the only thing I have with a tuner that goes up to the channel I need (#117 or something) to feed the satellite signal to our TV in there. Man, I gotta check the tape transport and hopefully it still works... I have some S-VHS masters from the '90's that I really need to capture and convert for posterity's sake...
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Old February 10th, 2013, 10:20 PM   #8
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Re: VHS to Digital

This is going to cause some upset but I had hundreds of hours of VHS, SVHS and 3/4 to backup and going to digital files wasn't going to work due to time, resources and budget. So I set up three JVC SVHS/DVD pro combo decks and a couple of JVC SVHS semi-pro decks to stand alone DVD recorders. The DVD recorder were set to the highest quality recording where the video hovered around 8mbps. I did several tests of different footage checking the quality between a direct capture via a Canopus ADVC FireWire device and a DVD transcoded to a DV file thru MPEGStreamclip. The quality difference was effectively unnoticeable with clear footage especially with VHS and 3/4. Murky footage didn't fare as well. SVHS shot with pro cameras looked excellent especially when copied in the combo decks but once again dark footage was a little problematic. Using any other recording speed on the DVD recorders did not result in as good results compared to direct capture.

Whatever you decide to do, do it soon. Of the DVD/SVHS combo units only one still works. One died completely and the other's VHS deck malfunctioned. The units are officially unrepairable. These decks are valuable in that the internal TBCs are very good whereas a standard VHS deck doesn't have one. Nobody is making a pro VHS deck anymore.
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Old February 10th, 2013, 10:25 PM   #9
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Re: VHS to Digital

I have boxes, boxes, boxes and boxes of recorded VHS. I wish I knew how to unload them in an ecologically sound way. I really don't want to take them to the county landfill.
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Old February 11th, 2013, 05:53 AM   #10
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Re: VHS to Digital

I have one of these. You can buy one like the listing below then sell it when you are done. It has firewire out on the front. TBC built in.

JVC SR VS10U MiniDV s VHS Dual Deck Digital VCR Tape to Transfer Video to DVD | eBay
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VHS to Digital-sr-vs10u-02.jpg  
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Old January 27th, 2015, 07:53 PM   #11
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Re: VHS to Digital

This is an old thread, but I have need to do just this, and am finding many of the decks mentioned are no longer available (or not in PAL).

The only deck I seem to be able to buy new now is a LG dvd/VHS combo, which I had access to a while ago and wasnt happy with the quality of the transfer to DVD. I'm going to be capturing and restoring a number of tapes for a documentary and want to import either over HDMI using a BMD UltraStudio or composite using a Matrox MXO2.

What would be the quality difference between using a new LG deck and capturing to ProRes via HDMI vs looking at a second hand VHS (or preferably SVHS) deck, whatever is available in PAL on eBay, and capturing over composite/component/s-video? Or is there so little difference there's no need to worry?
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Old January 27th, 2015, 11:05 PM   #12
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Re: VHS to Digital

Hi Ryan,

I bought the LG dvd/VHS combo for capturing VHS via HDMI through my Blackmagic deckling card on my Mac Pro. It seems to work but I recall having a few issues with the BMD software. Martox Venture capture does not work. I would recommend the Canopus 77010138100 ADVC-55 A/d Converter External as its so easy to use with FCP or Avid etc…and is portable if the client won't part with their tapes.
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Old January 27th, 2015, 11:46 PM   #13
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Re: VHS to Digital

Thanks Simon. I'll give the LG a go then. I had read that composite or component was a bit more forgiving with older vcrs but finding one that isn't on its last legs is an issue.

Reason for using the UltraStudio MiniRecorders are I already have them, and they're cheap. The Canopus comes highly recommended in my research, but I'd like to try my BMD cards first to avoid the extra cost of the Canopus if the BMDs are going to work and look good.
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Old January 28th, 2015, 03:23 AM   #14
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Re: VHS to Digital

Here is preview of a doco I shot, edited and produced that has some VHS captured through my Blackmagic Design DeckLink card.
Oh its the footage in the old TV.


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Old January 28th, 2015, 06:34 AM   #15
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Re: VHS to Digital

Really appreciate you sharing that footage Simon. Looks pretty good except for a few little glitches. I understand there's a box you can get to help with that.

Coco looks pretty good too! Did it get a wide release?
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