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Capturing VHS and SD sources in 2020, and outputting to them
Old 26th August 2020
  #1
Gear Head
 
Mr.E's Avatar
Capturing VHS and SD sources in 2020, and outputting to them

Hi guys

What are some affordable options for capturing VHS and VHS-C these days, as well as other SD signals from old game consoles and TVs?

I'm looking for a simple setup, preferably over USB 2 or USB 3, so I can capture the above mentioned to macOS (most likely through Premiere Pro). I also need a new VHS deck—not sure where to get a decent one, which model(s) are worth the cash, or going the rates—and a VHS-C adapter.

I'm also interested in outputting a video signal to a VHS deck and other analog sources—to degrade quality—so I can then record them back into the computer so I can get real degradation instead of mucking about with plug-ins in After Effects.

I've seen some devices, like Magewell AIO (but that's a bit pricey for me at $600+ and only has input) and the cheaper Blackmagic Intensity Shuttle USB ($200), while affordable with good I/O options, seems to have mixed reviews that range from great to crap.

My main needs are to be able to capture the video and audio signals from these old sources using production codecs at full NTSC size (720x486). Having HD capture is a plus but not mandatory. Cheaper options, like Elgato's video capture usb device, seem to require their proprietary software and record as MP4 and lacks I/O options. I'd prefer to capture in ProRes with Linear PCM audio, hence using Premiere or something similar.

If anyone can make some suggestions, especially based on your experience, I'd appreciate it.

Thanks
Old 26th August 2020
  #2
Here for the gear
I know that you need I/O options but I've been using elgato and avermedia on usb3. Both provide terrible capture software, so I only use drivers.
Old 26th August 2020
  #3
Gear Head
 
Mr.E's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zuerst View Post
I know that you need I/O options but I've been using elgato and avermedia on usb3. Both provide terrible capture software, so I only use drivers.
What software are you using to capture with the elgato?
Old 13th September 2020
  #4
Gear Head
 
Mr.E's Avatar
If anyone happens to stumble across this in the future with a similar problem, I'll vaguely explain how I solved this riddle.

After reworking plans several times, making many phone calls and sending 200 emails, and much internet digging and head slamming, I found the best option was to get a mix of used and new gear.

I initially found that pretty much every dealer and manufacturer had reading problems and broken listening skills. Be prepared for that. Even if you explicitly state what you need to do, they will offer up some garbage hardware that will not work correctly, try to convince you to buy hardware that is overkill, or just blow you off. Because of this, I was basically on my own and dug through data sheets, videos, and old documents to figure out what would work together.

I acquired some used video ADCs and DACs and some new Blackmagic micro converters. A USB3 to HDMI converter will output uncompressed video from the Mac, but make sure the one you choose supports your formats, fps, codecs and host software. I also added a direct box to handle converting unbalanced and balanced audio to and from my interface's balanced I/O.

It was a bit more expensive and involved than I'd originally planned (and hoped), but the quality and flexibility of the system will be higher than expected and I can expand over time easily by swapping a micro converter with one that handles higher data rates. I also can ingest and output to and from various analog and digital sources at high quality now. The only missing piece, that I don't need until the future, is a quality time base corrector and frame sync.

The biggest bitch doing this (besides dealing with companies) is finding the used gear—which may be produced by alien brands unless you work in specific industries—catching deals, and getting replacement parts. Some companies that make this gear seem clueless to how their own products work and even referred me to resellers with outdated contact info.

To keep myself inspired (and maybe slightly tortured), I decided to make most of the new cables I need for this crazy project. It's a good excuse to get the tools, the experience and get a bit sluttier in the process. Hopefully, I will survive.
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