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Capturing VHS video, "converting" to 1080p

Apr 25, 2012 10:10 PM

Hey guys,


I am making a film that is filmed in part with an old VHS camcorder and the rest with a DSLR.  Wondering the best way to go about editing the whole thing in Premiere Pro CS5.5.. The VHS parts will be shot at 60 frames per second and the DSLR at 24 (and I would like to retain the look of the footage shot on each frame rate).


First question:

Tips on capturing the VHS footage?  I have read some tutorials, looking for advice on the best way to maintain image quality and any recommendations on which capturing device to get.


Second question:

What is the best way to set up the project to maintain aspect ratios and framerates?



  • Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 26, 2012 2:59 AM   in reply to davecory83

    VHS records 30fps or 60 fields (60i). The footage is natively 3x4 unless cropped or distorted.


    The best capturing device for vhs may be defined a little by your projects target audience. Any anolog to DV device may capture composite video (rca cables).

    Getting the best quality would be using a good professional deck like the JVC 525 and using the component outputs, then a capture card with component inputs capturing to a high quality codec. But what's the point of using crappy vhs if someone mistakes it for higher quality standard definition video?


    If you can, use an svhs camera with audio inputs. Better AV fidelity than VHS, and there are likely working industrial quality models at your school, cable access center, or church.


    I don't know enough about mixing 60i and 24p to help. I think that my choice woild be 720 @ 60p for the DSLR footage. Of couse, it depends upon your desired output format.


    good luck.

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    Apr 26, 2012 12:27 AM   in reply to davecory83

    You can drop interlaced and progressive clips on the same timeline in Prem Pro, but of course your rendered video must be one or the other. You can either deinterlace the VHS (right-click the clip and choose Field Options) or export to interlaced and allow Prem to split the DSLR footage into fields. It all depends on what your final video is going to be shown on and shared on (DVD, tape, broadcast, online, etc.).


    I can appreciate the idea of mixing footage from different cameras for artistic effect, though bear in mind that VHS will be standard-def - unless you do a bunch of resampling it'll look pixelated on an HD render. If that's what you want as an effect then fine, but if not there's no benefit in working a 1080 HD timeline.


    In terms of capture, as Stephen says it kinda depends - if the only thing you need a capture device for is to pull in that VHS footage, you can get cheap consumer-grade converter cards or USB dongles - they can't do high quality but the tape wasn't any better than that in the first place. If however you intend to use your capture device for other purposes (such as pulling HD footage from the DSLR) then one of the prosumer devices from Balckmagic or Atmos would be the way to go - they're a lot more expensive but they'll take pretty much anything you can fire into them.


    One option to consider if you're only planning to work with the VHS tape for one project is to send the tape to a commercial service who'll transfer it onto disc - saves you having to buy any hardware. Google is your friend in that regard.

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    Apr 26, 2012 1:48 AM   in reply to Dave Merchant

    VHS effectively has around 240 lines of vertical resolution, so even if you capture to SD DV, the resolution will be crap. Changing from interlaced to progressive loses more quality and if you then consider uprezzing to 720 or 1080, the only one glad to see the result is your ophthalmologist, even if you use a plug-in like Instant-HD from RedGiant. With such source material, it may be best to leave the VHS as SD DV interlaced and downrez any HD footage.

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    Apr 26, 2012 3:21 AM   in reply to Harm Millaard

    True, but that may be what davecory is looking for - think Blair Witch etc. where some shots are supposed to look like 'home movie' as part of the plot.

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    Apr 26, 2012 9:46 AM   in reply to davecory83

    I am aiming for it to be release on DVD, via the internet, and VHS.


    Why would you first uprez and then downrez again to DVD and VHS format? Is that only intended to further reduce the quality?

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    Apr 26, 2012 10:21 AM   in reply to davecory83

    Old forum discussion, message now gone, but here's the summary


    Matt with Grass Valley Canopus in their tech support department stated that the model 110 will suffice for most hobbyist. If a person has a lot of tapes that were played often the tape stretches and the magnetic coding diminishes. If your goal is to encode tapes in good shape buy the 110, if you will be encoding old tapes of poor quality buy the model 300


    Both the 110 and 300 are two way devices so you may output back to tape... if you don't need that, look at the model 55

    . One Way Only to Computer for good tapes, or better with OLD tapes

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