4 Replies Latest reply: Jan 30, 2013 5:34 AM by Michael Grenadier
media fred Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

I want to capture some old VHS tapes using a ADVC55 and Final Cut 6 or maybe 7. The VCR I have does not have S Video.


1. Will using S Video make any difference with visual quality?

2. Are there any settings in FCP that I can make that will improve visual capture quality?

3. Any other general tips?



  • David Harbsmeier Level 7 Level 7 (29,875 points)

    1. S-Video will help a bit, but it may not be noticeable with VHS footage.

    2. Not really.

    3. If you want the best quality, use the AVDC300, which has a built-in time base corrector ... or other TBC in-line between the VCR and the digital converter.  A TBC is about the best thing you can do for analog, tape-based footage.



  • media fred Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    1. Will a TBC improve visual quality dramatically or are we talking more subtle differences?

    2. Will using a more modern program like FCPX or Premiere CS6 result in any improved quality? Or does the program really have nothing to do with the quality?



  • David Harbsmeier Level 7 Level 7 (29,875 points)

    A TBC will correct timing errors that are inherent in analog tape playback.  You'd probably recognize timing errors visually as wavy-ness (i.e.; not straight) in vertical objects in the image.  Most of the stand-alone TBCs also have proc amp controls that would allows for phase, contrast, luma and chroma adjustments.


    Thinking about it more, using an S-Video cable will help eliminate Y/C delay, which has the affect of shifting chroma slightly to the right of where it should be.  S-Video (aka Y/C) transmits the luminance and chroma portions of the signal separately instead of together like a composite signal would do.


    Using a different or newer NLE won't make any difference.  It's the capture codec you choose that can make a difference.  Most people would use DV NTSC (or PAL, depending on your country) since VHS resolution is only about 240 lines.



  • Michael Grenadier Level 7 Level 7 (20,335 points)

    Having done a test recently, if you have access to a mac with an aja card, you will get slightly better quality using the aja card, plus you can uprez to HD, with better results than scaling up in fcp (or in compressor).  Not a big difference, but noticable.