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Thread: Hi8 Video Capture:: Unsynchronised lines at base of frame

  1. #1

    Default Hi8 Video Capture:: Unsynchronised lines at base of frame

    Would greatly appreciate help: I am digitising a large library of Hi8 video tapes. It is going quite well but I am getting unsynchronised lines at the base of frame. I have experimented with a lot of settings with two separate capture programs - so far nothing has removed the problem. Please see an example in the following short clip: (11Mb)

    (does not seem to play in QuickTime .. if your browser loads QT by default please right-click the link, select Save As... and open in Windows Media Player or Real Player - either of those will play it.)

    Camcorder: Sony Handycam Hi8 (CCD-TR 780E PAL)
    Capture Card: Compro VideoMate C100 PCI card
    Capture Software: Ulead VideoStudio and VirtualDub

    The Camcorder is ~1994 vintage = no DV, no Firewire. I am capturing via the S-Video port. The above clip was captured by VirtualDub and converted to MPEG in VideoStudio (the Codec support in VirtualDub seems limited). I have experimented widely with both programs and nothing will remove the unsynchronised lines at base of frame.

    I can remove the unsynchronised lines in VirtualDub by using the 'Crop Capture Frame' feature but this results in frames with odd dimensions which then produce a corrupted MPEG file.

    It would be a shame to go through several months work and yet have this unpleasant artefact in all videos ... any help greatly appreciated.

  2. #2


    I tried to take look at the video but for some reason it wouldn't load... so let me take a guess.
    Because the vid was recorded in Hi8 there is a good possibility that the lines you are getting are fully within the "overscan" area of the tape.

    Overscan means that the video is recorded in a way that is betond the needs of most TV playback situations to compensate for the different way TVs show the video.

    Take a sample clip that you think represents the worst of the situation. Do nothing about the lines. Just process the clip in the way you want to do it.

    Of course this is all assuming you are going for TV playback.

    When you have the final product check to see if the lines still appear on a normal TV. You may find that they are not visible at all.

    If they are then there is little you can do other than crop then re-size back to a normal frame size and this will result in loss of defintiion.

  3. #3


    To Lancecarr: thank you very much for your helpful reply.

    Firstly I am not sure what the problem was with the video clip. It's a standard MPEG2 file. It plays on three computers I have here (all WinXP), using Windows Media Player, RealPlayer, and Thumbs Plus. The only application that had a problem was QuickTime - no idea what the problem was - it seemed to regard it as some kind of 'alien' file. If you are not using QT the problem may just be file size -- since it's 11Mb it can take several seconds (even minutes?) to load (depending on broadband speed) with apparently nothing happening in the meantime.

    Anyway.... I have done some research in the meantime. I think the spurious fluctuating lines at base of screen may be "VHS head switching noise" -- (description by Avery Lee in answer to a FAQ). They are 'cosmetic' but nonetheless distracting and spoil otherwise good videos.

    It seems the only answer is to crop them out. Fortunately I have found out how to do this in VirtualDub: by cropping an equal _even_ number of lines both vertically and horizontally. There is black space eiither side horizontally which also forms part of the crop and this maintains the apsect ratio. In my case I needed to crop 12 lines at the base of image, and 12 lines horizontally (8 on left and 4 on right). This results in a nice clean image with nothing lost (all that is cropped is merely 'waste'). I found it much better to do the crop as part of the capture to save post-processing overhead (Video->Cropping...).

    Next I did about a week of research and experimentation to solve the interlacing problem! There is a very good article on this at: What is deinterlacing? The best method to deinterlace movies .. I tried his recommendation of de-interlace-smooth and the result looked pretty good. However there was jerky or 'blocky' movement when panning a scene (there's a lot of that in my Hi8 videos). There is indeed double the number of lines per frame however on close inspection I saw that the extra lines consist of ... artefacts, unfortunately. Double the number of lines means double the files size ... now get this: a Hi8 tape results in an AVI file of about 140 Gb (yes, Giga, not Mega) but after de-interlacing with Deinterlace-smooth the file becomes 240 Gb! Now get this also .. any further processing or editing means that size has to be duplicated ... i.e. a 480 Gb requirement per Hi8 tape! OK, they will all be saved as MPEGs ultimately but in the meantime the space requirement becomes ludicrous. Frankly I think I can do without this doubling of size. I also tried the internal Yadif filter and was pretty impressed - look at the following comparison:

    The Deinterlace-smooth image does have the higher vertical resolution but can you see a difference? What you _will_ notice is artefacts - look especially at the underside of the horizontal beam above the hangar doors - you will see jagged stuff that isn't there in reality. Secondly look at the rotating propellor blade in the two images - top and bottom also - and guess what you see in the "best" deinterlacer? Yep - interlace artefacts. IMHO the Yadif algorithm does a pretty fine damn splendid job at a saving of a cool 140 Gigabytes per Hi8 tape.

    Lastly my attention needs to turn to converting the AVI files to DVD. DVD?? Yes, standard DVD that will play on a TV or a computer. I know this is possible because all the DVDs I have will play perfectly on a TV or a computer. How do I do this with my AVI files??

    By Googling etc, I have come across the "AVS Video Converter" which seems that it should do the job. Going by current track record this will probably take another 1-2 weeks of experimentatiion to produce acceptable results -- in addition to the month already spent in getting this far... If anyone has advice to help reduce the escalating timeframe I would be most grateful.


  4. #4


    I am not trying to bump my thread but I want to give feedback following more research. I thought I was doing quite well with VirtualDub approach but after many attempts I cannot seem to avoid the audio going out of synch and also I get intermittent 'stuttering' in both video and audio at certain points in the video. Synch is usually OK at the beginning and middle but drifts out of synch towards the end - after about 60 minutes or so. I am sure it's possible to fix this in VirtualDub but after how many further days/weeks I cannot be sure (three weeks and counting so far -- to get one good video)

    I have gone back to VideoStudio which always gives good synch and there is never any 'stuttering'. Also the integrated de-interlace looks good - every bit as good as using VirtualDub with the Yadif algorithm. The only problem here is the flickering VHS overscan lines - the issue that prompted the thread. There are two possible solutions:

    1) I have read elsewhere that the overscan lines usually disappear once the file is converted to DVD and viewed on a TV or computer monitor. I will experiment with this but in the meantime can someone verify this?

    2) I asked Corel support whether there is a version of VideoStudio that supports cropping (the other way of getting rid of the overscan lines). They say that VideoStudio Pro X2 supports cropping. Can anyone verify this? (...not sure I entirely trust a frontline support person when they are pushing me hard to upgrade).

    Many thanks

  5. #5


    Paul, thanks very much.

    I have just managed to create my first full length DVD from a Hi8 tape. The quality is good considering the source - better than I was expecting. I used VideoStudio for capturing because it (mostly) eliminates the bad sync and stutter I was getting with Virtualdub. Also the deinterlacer works well and the MPEG codecs appear to be of high quality.

    The VHS overscan lines are there but they don't look bad after final encoding - in fact they are invisible on an old 4:3 TV and only partially visible on a new 16:9 TV. I will try your suggestion of expanding the frame slightly to completely remove the lines. There is blank space either side horizontally so this is possible without losing any picture content.

    VideoStudio has its quirks but generally I like it a lot for capture and burning to DVD. But for editing it is hard to use - it is oriented towards assembling multiple clips whereas I want to cut out parts of a complete Hi8 video - it's much harder for that. OTOH Virtualdub is excellent for this type of editing. I just make sure I have both video and audio set to direct stream copy to avoid potential bad sync and stuttering when filters are used.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Saint Peters, Missouri


    I found that recording my Hi8 tapes directly to DVD in real time worked best for me, using a freestanding DVD recorder. For editing, I imported into my computer from the DVD, which was very easy to do, then edited, then made a final disc. Quality is pretty much the same as trying to capture the Hi8 directly into my editing program. I experienced many problems with analog capture, including what you have experienced, but this method solved it. Test it out, I think you'll be surprisingly happy with this method. And it doesn't take piles of Gigs to accomplish it.


  7. #7



    Sorry for bumping this old thread.

    I am transferring my Hi8s to my hard drive (and DVD evenutally) as well but I am not sure about the file size. Considering I am using the best recording quality and an .mpg format, is it normal for a Hi8 not to fit on a single DVD or am I doing something wrong?

    Each Hi8 (120 minutes of video) takes about 7GB of space on my hard drive. A confirmation would be appreciated.


  8. #8


    That sounds about right. MPEG2 for DVD usually comes in at around the 3 to 4 gig per hour mark for high quality.
    To get two hours of video on to a DVD you would have to drop the bitrate quite a bit (no pun intended!) and that would result in loss of quality.

    You could go to a dual layer DVD but really that is often a path to greater misery!

    You may be thinking of commercial DVDs where there is two hours of video, a bunch of menus, extra features and other stuff. Generally they are dual layer DVDs and have been encoded with software that reads the data about 25 times before it starts to encode. Then it can crunch everything down substantially and fit it on to a disc.

    You are talking about home video so that kind of thing aint gonna happen!

  9. #9


    Thank you very much for your answer!

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