Frequently Asked Questions
Do you have [item] / Can you upload [item]?
All tapes I process are donated or purchased. I do not know what is on them until I play them. I can not provide requests of something I do not have.
I do accept tapes and have a list which I will prioritise content found.
Why are you using old PCI capture cards?
I started using Leadtek WinFast cards when I purchased my first one in 2003 so I am very familiar with them. The 2000's up to about 2013 was when a lot of good hardware was made with chips from Phillips/NXP and Conexant. Computers were fast enough to handle the raw video feed and manufactures cut costs by not including on-board encoder chips before passing on to the operating system.
Also these cards handle unstable signals very well and defeat Macrovision.
PCI and PCIe have a direct connection to the CPU (depending on motherboard) than USB.
Old Leadtek WinFast cards can be found cheap compared to newer hardware like Elgato, Blackmagic, Digitnow, AVerMedia, Roxio.
Why don't you use USB capture cards?
Universal Serial Bus (USB) is shared bandwidth, capture cards send a lot of data over that bus. Once you hit those limits you start to get strange anomalies that are hard to diagnose. Add keyboard, mouse, webcam or two and you will see.
Also USB adds another driver layer further separating the capture device with the operating system.
Why don't you capture using HDMI?
Once you convert to HDMI you are stuck with whatever that device did with the conversion to digital.
Do you copy VHS to DVD?
The DVD-Video standard is quite limited compared to more modern encoding techniques. I capture for future use and not use DVD as it is just another obsolete format like VHS.
Do you use artificial intelligence up-scaling?
No, captures are the real deal and YouTube uploads are just a resize.
Why are videos 768x576 resolution while YouTube uploads are 1080p?
My capture cards native capture at 768x576 (4:3 at square pixels), YouTube uploads are a separate post edit especially for YouTube as YouTube has strange limitations on resolutions lower than 720p as well to help with bit rate crush.
Why are your uploads pre processed to higher frame rates instead of keeping the interlacing?
Video grabbing is raw direct from the capture card chip and is stored lossless. De-interlace is done from that lossless capture and saved in a compressed format to save storage space (a current limitation that may not apply in future).
This is better than the alternative which is to capture in a lossy encode or worse DVD and then de-interlace processing using that lossy source can cause strange anomalies from the compression artefacts.
Interlace is a dirty hack, we don't live in a scanlines world anymore.
Why don't you use a S-VHS VCR?
Cost, they are expensive!
I have a range of VCRs from different brands. Some home recordings and worn tapes work better on particular brand VCRs. Don't limit yourself to just one VCR just because it has s-video output if a cheap consumer VCR handles that difficult tape better!
How do you capture audio?
I use a mixing console to balance the audio while capturing. This is much easier than trying to fix post edit plus whatever you capture to digital you are stuck with.
Every tape is different from one channel being quieter than the other (usually tape ageing) to mastering differences. Also linear mono audio is quieter than Hi-Fi audio.
Sometimes the original reorder set up their VCR after their sound system or set-top box and controlled volume with it causing the recording to be much quieter than intended. A mixing console helps compensate for this.