Best method for capturing VHS video at the highest quality possible.

jcb72

Member
I have several VHS tapes that I want to encode to computer files. I was looking at an analog converter by Elgato that has a composite and S-VHS input with a USB 2.0 connection which encodes the video to H.264 @ 1.4 MBps. Would using another device to capture at a higher bit rate (if this is even possible) yield a higher quality video or is 1.4 MBps more than enough for VHS resolution?

Thanks in advance for help!
 

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MarkE19

Moderator
VHS is low quality to start with, so paying a lot for a capture device is unlikely IMO to offer much (if any) real advantages.
For better quality capture a good quality playback device is likely to offer more of an advantage. The likes of an S-VHS VCR with TBC should give a cleaner picture, even though S-VHS needs to be the recorded format of the tapes to get the most from the player.

Mark.
 

noiseboy72

Distinguished Member
What he said!
I would suggest you consider a commercial company who have a broadcast quality time base corrector and high end VCR. They may be able to capture to a component card from the output of the TBC - which will give the best possible quality.
 

12harry

Well-known Member
FWIW I recall that VHS was about 400 whereas SVHS was 600 - so nothing like HD at 1080x1920 ( you may need to search for the quality-factors, but VHS was not that good, being an analogue it was almost impossible to EDIT, without obvious degredation.
A commercial outfit will be an expensive choice, but if the tapes are treasured - maybe worthwhile. FWIW, I'd be reluctant to send the originals anywhere by post.

Another means is to use a DVD Recorder ( now rare!) which can accept both SCART and SVHS inputs recording to HDD - simple Edits can remove obvious breaks... then convert to a DVD - not the highest quality.... but better than the analogue was originally. Also Once in digital form, you can apply Colour correction, add music, adjust brightness add Titles and generally "Clean-up" the original.
If the originals are commercial movies, there may be a copyright issue, but I'm sure you know this already.

BTW do wind-rewind the tapes before playing - just to make sure they are free-running.

Good Luck
 

JabbaNut

Well-known Member
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Kevo

Well-known Member
FWIW I recall that VHS was about 400 whereas SVHS was 600 - so nothing like HD at 1080x1920 ( you may need to search for the quality-factors, but VHS was not that good, being an analogue it was almost impossible to EDIT, without obvious degredation.
A commercial outfit will be an expensive choice, but if the tapes are treasured - maybe worthwhile. FWIW, I'd be reluctant to send the originals anywhere by post.

Another means is to use a DVD Recorder ( now rare!) which can accept both SCART and SVHS inputs recording to HDD - simple Edits can remove obvious breaks... then convert to a DVD - not the highest quality.... but better than the analogue was originally. Also Once in digital form, you can apply Colour correction, add music, adjust brightness add Titles and generally "Clean-up" the original.
If the originals are commercial movies, there may be a copyright issue, but I'm sure you know this already.

BTW do wind-rewind the tapes before playing - just to make sure they are free-running.

Good Luck
More like VHS=250 lines of resolution and SVHS=400lines.

I recommend using a Panasonic HDD/DVD/Blu Ray recorder. I think they still make them, but you will also need a VHS VCR.

Ive had a SVHS VCR (with TBC) and Panasonic HDD/DVD/Blu Ray recorder set up for years mainly for converting other peoples' tapes to digital as i converted mine years ago. Still a useful set up as every now and again i get asked to convert tapes. (I've done most formats including hi8, Digital8, VHS-C, Mini DV etc).
Also the recorder is a Freeview PVR so is in daily use to watch/record off-air.

IMO mpg2 @8mbps is more than adequate for VHS/SVHS/DV tapes.
 

LauraAH

Novice Member
I have several VHS tapes that I want to encode to computer files. I was looking at an analog converter by Elgato that has a composite and S-VHS input with a USB 2.0 connection which encodes the video to H.264 @ 1.4 MBps. Would using another device to capture at a higher bit rate (if this is even possible) yield a higher quality video or is 1.4 MBps more than enough for VHS resolution?

Thanks in advance for help!
Hi I was just wondering what you ended up using to transfer your VHS tapes?
I bought the elegato video capture and spent a few hours transferring VHS tapes from the 80s and 90s to my MAC and creating imovies.
When i went to share the project i realised how bad the quality was.
When i watch the tapes on the tv with the Panasonic DMR-ES30V they aren't so bad but when i capture to the MAC it reduces drastically. Shattered i have wasted all this time.
Thanks in advance
 

12harry

Well-known Member
FWIW I have used an SVHS record/playback with a Sony DVD recorder* and the quality is about the same as the original - any difference hasn't been noticed and the "improvement" by using Software is a great up-lifter..... The DVD recorder allows ( prior to making a DVD), that I can cut-out (or repeat a specific sequence for use at the Video-Edit stage later).
=Could the lack of quality be an issue with the Mac as My PC appears to accept the DVD files and then I can Edit, add titles and commentary + non-copyright music.... I use Sony ( now Magix-), Studio v.12 software which comes with most of the above extras. I think it's up to v.17 now.
However, as others have said, the ORIGINAL VHS quality is not really up to modern standards. My tapes were all VHS, although the playback was on an SVHS machine, - so as to give me the best chance. Yet because they are OLD, the content has an historic value, so are worth saving to DVD ( or Memory stick.)....
Good Luck.

* Such device no longer available...pity.
 
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noiseboy72

Distinguished Member
Using a DVD recorder is an excellent idea - provided the connection to it is either component or worse case Y/C. Panasonic "all in one" units make the most sense as they encode from the VHS player without any cabling or further processing.

DVDs are essentially MPEG2 files. You can just rename the .ts to .mpg and in almost all cases they will play. You can sometimes have issues with audio sync and need to "rip" the DVD to the PC or MAc, but this does not change the encoding or compression unless you set it to.

The issue with a lot of the external USB type capture units is that they have very poor bandwidth and apply significant amounts of compression to the signal. Anything that can be done to avoid this will lead to better quality and less degradation of the original signal.

VHS struggles to do 200 lines, so compared to the 1080 we are now used to it looks terrible! How many of us had TVs over about 28" and 500 lines of resolution when we had a VHS player? Put them on any modern TV and the flaws become all too obvious.

It not only consumer VHS that suffers from this. In the 80s and 90s Betacam and Betacam SP (Different to Betamax, but the tapes were the same size) was king for making programs for TV and that had limited resolution - and didn't even meet the quality specifications of the day, as it had 2:1 compressed Chroma. If you compare really old video taped stuff like Dad's Army (Made and edited on uncompressed 2" reel to reel recorders) to something like Inspector Morse made about 10 years later, the earlier program looks much better!
 

pnesalop

Standard Member
What he said!
I would suggest you consider a commercial company who have a broadcast quality time base corrector and high end VCR. They may be able to capture to a component card from the output of the TBC - which will give the best possible quality.
Sorry, TBC?
 

noiseboy72

Distinguished Member
Think advanced stabilisation. The frame is read into a memory buffer, processed, re-timed, synchronised and played back out.
 

Steve B Fayers

Novice Member
Interesting, i'm trying to find a TBC not made of gold £££ but hard to find, any suggestions.
I have a thread up asking if anyone has gone from HDD recorder to iMovie HDMI output, so many cables....
 

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