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Thread: AV to DV conversion

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Gorham, Maine USA

    Default AV to DV conversion

    I'm trying to find the way to get the best results/video and audio quality converting VHS tapes to DVD.

    This has been a bit of an experiment for me so far, and since I haven't obtained crystal clear quality, I would like to share this to see if others have any suggestions, or maybe just to acknowledge that what results I've got are as good as I'll get for the equipment I am using.

    I know this isn't specific to Pinnacle Studio, but since I am using it for video capturing and editing, and since others on this forum are pretty helpful, I thought I'd post this summary and see if anyone has any ideas.

    Let's start with the specs of the components I am using:

    IBM Intellistation E Pro 2.2GHz Pentium IV w/1GB RAM
    running Win2K Pro SP4
    C: (system disk) 100GB Seagate Barracuda ATA Internal IDE
    D: (capture disk) Maxtor 160GB DiamondMax Plus 9 Internal IDE
    Video Board: ATI AIW X800XT AGP
    Camcorder: Canon Optura 600
    Samsung DVD-4600A DVD/VHS Dual Deck
    Sony VCR SLV-N88

    1. Ok, so I started with the easiest configuration to play the video tape on the Samsung DVD/VHS Dual Deck hooked up in the following manner:

    Samsung DVD/VHS Dual Deck via coax -> AIW X800XT I/O Connector: Cable TV Input Connection

    When I play the video tape, after the tracking is complete, there is all sorts of interference and the video often gets scrambled, so this doesn't work for me. This doesn't happen with all video tapes, but the tape I am trying to convert is an older one, although newer ones have other video problems which are not as serious, but serious enough not to use it for this conversion. This is an ongoing issue I've had using this configuration. I'm not sure if it is an issue with the video board or with the DVD/VHS Dual Deck.

    2. Next I tried the following configuration:

    Samsung DVD/VHS Dual Deck via RCA/S-Video Cables -> ATI Input Connector -> AIW X800XT I/O Connector: Adapter Input Connection

    To my surprise, this also had similar problems as the first configuration above.

    3. Next I tried the following configuration:

    Samsung DVD/VHS Dual Deck via Canon MTC-100 Multi Cable -> Canon Optura 600 -> PC via DV to Fireware Cable (no DV tape involved)

    This had markedly better results, without the interference and scramble of the other configurations, although there is a noticeable shimmer in the video and the audio has a constant crackling sound in the background. Also, I let this run for 2 hours and there were approximately 300 frames lost in the process. This was also not acceptable.

    4. The video shimmer is probably something I can live with but the audio crackling and frame loss are not acceptable so I tried the following with my other VCR:

    step 1. Sony VCR SLV-N88 via Canon MTC-100 Multi Cable -> Canon Optura 600 transer to Panasonic DVC Professional Grade 80 min. DV Tape AY-DVM80KJ

    step 2. Canon Optura 600 -> PC via DV to Fireware Cable

    This configuration worked the best and is good enough for editing and burn to DVD. It solved the audio problem but the video still has the noticeable shimmer. I'm thinking this is probably as good as it gets with an old VHS tape (i.e. the shimmer is due to the VHS tape, not the VCRs) but I'd like to hear any opinions or suggestions on what I can do to improve the video if that's possible in this case. I haven't tried it for an extended amount of time (i.e. full 80 minute DV tape), but I suspect I shouldn't have the frame loss in this configuration.

    Sorry for the long post, but as you know in this forum, the devil's in the details!

    Thanks for any ideas/suggestions.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Gorham, Maine USA

    Default lost frames probably a streaming issue w/camcorder chip

    Just for the record, I completed copying the 2hr video using the 2 step process I described earlier using configuration 4. (i.e. w/the intermediary DV tape) and even during extended capturing (~80 minutes) there were zero frames lost.

    I'm guessing but there could be a buffering issue in the camcorder chip which cannot handle extended direct conversions without losing frames. The direct conversion (i.e. w/no DV tape) feature may be there just for conversions of shorter duration, and not really intended for what I tried to use it for. Probably all MiniDV camcorders will have this issue.

  3. Default

    So it looks to me like you've been using your camcorder's 'pass-thru' capability to capture your videos. Not should be the best combination you've tried. However, many times I find it more convenient to use a hardware device that will allow me to capture directly into MPEG2 format. ADS Instant DVD+DV device has both analog (SVHS andRCA) and digital inputs and it connects to your PC via USB. Since this device has built in MPEG2 hardware compression the encoding takes place in real time and the quality is quite good even at a lower bit rate like 5.5 MB/s. I don't know where you live but in the US you can get this for about $190. My favorite device is made by Canopus.....MPEG PRO EMR. This device has similar capabilities as the ADVC300 except that, it captures in MPEG2 has TBC, noise filtering etc. It only has analog input though but it's still very 'usable'. Kind'a expensive though...about $500 but the quality is par to none. If you can't afford this keep on using the pass-thru method and then convert your footage to MPEG2......ypu can even record to DV tape first and then capture to the extra step but works OK.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Gorham, Maine USA

    Default pass-thru results not as good as using intermediary DV tape


    As in my initial post (configuration 3.), using pass-thru was not the best solution as it was not without its problems: approx. 300 lost frames for 2hrs video content and audio had a constant crackling in the background.

    I eventually settled on using the intermediary DV tape (configuration 4.) which did not have the problems with the pass-thru solution and proved to have the best results.

    So, in a sense, I'm using my camcorder as a hardware device to perform this operation, and although not crystal clear quality (I think that is due to the tape more than anything), it currently suits my needs with my current configuration.

    Thanks for the suggestions. Although a bit pricey, at least I know what price range and possible products to consider if I need to opt for a solution which can give better results.

  5. Default

    hmmm.....if you get dropped frames that would indicate a problem with the PC and not the 'pass-thru' solution. I would assume you defrag your capture drive periodically and that you use a separate drive for capture....there are certain optimization tips you can apply to improve your capture. I've posted a link on the forum about that. Also, try to capture your footage to a DV tape and see if you get any dropped frames. Then capture the DV tape to your PC and check again for dropped frames....if you still get them it means it's your PC.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2005



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