9 Replies Latest reply on Apr 26, 2012 10:49 AM by davecory83

    Capturing VHS video, "converting" to 1080p

    davecory83 Level 1

      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?



        • 1. Re: Capturing VHS video, "converting" to 1080p
          Stephen_Spider Level 3

          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.

          • 2. Re: Capturing VHS video, "converting" to 1080p
            Dave Merchant MVP & Adobe Community Professional

            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.

            • 3. Re: Capturing VHS video, "converting" to 1080p
              Harm Millaard Level 7

              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.

              • 4. Re: Capturing VHS video, "converting" to 1080p
                Dave Merchant MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                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.

                • 5. Re: Capturing VHS video, "converting" to 1080p
                  davecory83 Level 1

                  Yes, that's pretty much what I'm going for.  In the film, the actors get sucked into an old home video via a haunted vcr (it's supposed to be cheesy, haha).  So the scenes prior to getting sucked in will be filmed on a high-end DSLR at 1080 and 24fps (16x9 ratio) and will have the 'film look', and the rest of the film will be shot on an old Panasonic VHS camcorder (4x3 ratio - black bars on the sides).  I am aiming for it to be release on DVD, via the internet, and VHS.


                  I don't need the VHS footage to look any better than out of the camera, as far as capturing goes, just looking for the best way to do it and specifically what file format to convert it to (the DSLR footage will be in AVCHD format).  So I'm not trying to make the VHS footage 'HD'.. only want to avoid: the footage being 'blown up' and pixelated when watched on a large television screen, conversion of the framerate from 30fps (want to maintain the 'video motion' look).  And also vice-versa - downrezzing the 1080 footage, converting the 24fps footage to 30 (want to maintain the 'film motion' of those scenes).


                  Thanks for your guys help so far, I know it would be a heck of a lot easier to shoot the 'VHS' scenes on the DSLR and try to grade/filter the footage but I've done tests and it just doesn't look authentic.

                  • 6. Re: Capturing VHS video, "converting" to 1080p
                    Harm Millaard Level 7

                    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?

                    • 7. Re: Capturing VHS video, "converting" to 1080p
                      John T Smith Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                      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


                      http://www.grassvalley.com/products/advc55 One Way Only to Computer

                      http://www.grassvalley.com/products/advc110 for good tapes, or

                      http://www.grassvalley.com/products/advc300 better with OLD tapes

                      • 8. Re: Capturing VHS video, "converting" to 1080p
                        davecory83 Level 1

                        Well the objective is to make the source file as high-quality as possible for when it's put on DVD and VHS..  Choosing optimum settings for editing with an eye to releasing in various formats (I have only produced web-content in the past) is new to me which is why I am trying to figure this all out.  Perhaps one day if my film does well I'll be able to release it on Blu-Ray or something, which is why I want to film at 1080p (better to downrez an HD file than try to uprez an SD, right?).  For now I imagine we'll release on DVD.  We will will also produce VHS copies as a novelty, the story revolves around horror fans who love old shot-on-video movies of the 80's.