A/V Converting and artifacts around lettering

B.Verlik wrote on 8/26/2005, 8:17 PM
Originally, I bought a "datavideo DAC-100" A/V converter, because it was supposed to be really good for the money. Then somebody ruined it for me by pointing out the distortions that occur around some edges and especially around lettering and logos. So after a few months of not being able to ignore this, I finally bought a Sony Dig 8 camcorder with passthrough, because it had TBC and noise reduction and was supposed to be a great way to convert to .avi.
Well, I just recorded a TV show, right off the Satellite, (No, I don't have a Tivo and the ability to take the mpgs and use them. I have to use a DISH PVR.) I had to convert through the Sony Dig 8. I noticed that the lettering, after conversion, had these same artifact distortions around the TV logos and lettering (not as bad as the datavideo, but still there). Any additional lettering I added to the show, didn't do this. Only the lettering that was on the original program.
So is this to be expected on all conversions to .avi. That any lettering on the original programming will cause these artifacts? Is this just something that happens to mpgs when reconverted back to .avi? It's not like they stand out like a sore thumb, but if you sit about 3 or 4 feet from a TV, they become very noticable. Does the Canopus ADVC-300 do this too? Or am I supposed to set things up a certain way to avoid this?
I guess I'm not really expecting a fix for this, as I've seen nobody else complain about it. I'm just surprised it's me that's complaining and not any of the real pros that frequent this site. Which, of course, makes me think that it's something I'm not doing or should do. Any ideas?
Thanks in advance.


JackW wrote on 8/26/2005, 9:04 PM
Please describe these "artifacts."

B.Verlik wrote on 8/26/2005, 9:42 PM
instead of having crisp edges, there's a slight ghostly image surrounding the letters. It's very faint and doesn't occupy a very large area, almost a "foggy-ish" distortion that's just a few pixels around the lettering, but it doesn't look like the original sharp video, before conversion, and it doesn't look like the crisp looking, new lettering I added, which looked a lot like the lettering that was on the original program. (I was trying to match it.)
And this isn't noticable on the Vegas timeline. I have to wait for the finished DVD and watch it on TV. (sorry but I'm not set up to be able to preview my video on the TV, while it's still in Vegas.) I had actually made a few before I noticed this, but it was when I was sitting fairly close to the TV that I happened to see this.
Dang! I hope I'm not the only person experiencing this.
Edit: Or that I am the only one and there's a fix!
trock wrote on 8/27/2005, 6:27 AM
I've no idea where it is now but when I was first using DV I came across a web article explaining that DV compression is not kind to titles, particularly white letters on a black background. I was searching because I had noticed that the text captured via a DV converter box was fuzzy compared to when I captured it as analog.
rs170a wrote on 8/27/2005, 7:33 AM
...I came across a web article...

This one?
Great Titles wIth the DV Codec

B_JM wrote on 8/27/2005, 8:08 AM
thats great if he is making his own titles -- but he is capturing off air ...

DV has its limitations and this is one of them certainly...
johnmeyer wrote on 8/27/2005, 9:10 AM
This was discussed recently, and solutions given here:

NTSC DV avi quality has become poor
B_JM wrote on 8/27/2005, 9:48 AM
but he is capping off the air with a "datavideo DAC-100" , so no mater what -- he is limited to using DV ... rendering to another format will not make it any better ,,,

I stated the shortcomings prev. though in the links you provided,so no need to re-hash ..

also -- much of TV these days, what is broadcast - is often quite compressed anyway (i.e. digital TV) and does not really look that good at times ... so garbage in = garbage out ..

B.Verlik wrote on 8/27/2005, 12:28 PM
Wow. Lot's of activity since I was last here.
1st, I saw the article about Titles and DV (Bookmarked already)
2. I was using the Sony Dig 8 for passthrough when capturing on this project and this is why I'm complaining. I thought this was only a problem on the datavideo DAC-100.
3. I still had the original program saved on my PVR to compare with the DVD I made and the PVR recording looked really good, the DVD, which I used 2pass encoding, the original lettering has these artifacts, the new lettering I added does not. This original lettering, is typical of any program when a guest is introduced or a TV logo. (and I made my additional lettering look as much like that, as I could. And, as I said, the new stuff looks fine on the DVD.)
So, I'm leaning towards what Marquat said about the smallest artifacts in the mpg2 stream getting compounded in the conversion.
My final thought is: Our converters are crappy and we're being sold snake oil again. I've already spent literally hundreds of dollars, to be able to convert videos to DV and I still have to take a quality loss. Crap in, Crap out is easy to say, but what about Crappier out? That's what I'm seeing. Even if it's subtle.
Here's the real kicker....The Datavideo DAC-100, isn't that bad after all. It may not be quite as good as the Sony Dig 8 passthrough, but for $175. it works pretty good. No TBC or noise reduction though. I don't drop frames with the Sony. I dropped a lot with the datavideo.
Thanks to all that replied. I had already seen most of the other discussions on DV and lettering, but they didn't seem to apply to my concerns. Apparently, everybody has been suffering from this. (and some, just like me, haven't noticed yet.)