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Artificial noise capturing composite to A/V tools - MXO2mini
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erwin9
(MXO2 Mini)




Joined: 04 Jul 2005
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Sat Dec 27, 2014 10:35 am    Post subject: Artificial noise capturing composite to A/V tools - MXO2mini Reply with quote

Hello,

reopening the topic, since I have the same phenomenon.

Here are the elements:
- Source = a Hi-8 Sony HandyCam CCD-TVR46E PAL, or a Funai 4 heads VHS Recorder, also with PAL video, plugged to composite input of my MXO2 Mini.
- Monitor plugged on the Composite ouput
- Using Matrox AV Tools, with:
    Editing video format = PAL
    Aspect ratio = 4:3 (but same phenomenon with 16:9)
    Playback settings = PAL composite for Main
    Capture settings = Composite, AGC on, Consumer-quality (old videos, need that to to have it "Ok" to capture)

- Mtx.utils version 7.7.1.2008
- Hdw Info:
    Board ID: 5
    Production date: 2012-02-04
    No option
    Firmware revision: Primary Dev 0.15.0
    EEPROM revision: 0.3
    Memory size: 128 MB
    PCI bus info: X1 PCI Express 2.5 GHz


I installed MtxUtils using the procedure above with "Unblock" and UAC off.
This is on Windows 7 64 bits.

Symptoms:
- Whenever going through the MXO2 mini, I can see on my monitor, as well as on the captured video, kinds of vertical noise lines.
See below screenshot from viewing the captured video with VirtualDub (codec is MMES, Matrox DSX AVI file . Format: 6. Build: 1.0.0.451 as reported by GSpot).

This is particularly obvious in the red areas.

Note: setting Capture mode to "Component", the video can still be recorded with B/W (signal interpreted as only luminance).
And we can still observe the vertical lines in that mode.



- Whenever going directly from the source to the monitor, without MXO2 in the middle, nothing as such.
See picture below taken with a digital camera, but without much light so distorting some of the colors unfortunately (typical blueish)

Look at red, no vertical line.



That phenomenon does not happen when
    Recording PAL Composite, S-Video or Component Video from a multimedia disk with a strong signal (WeDigital BlackBox)
    Recording HDMI



So, what is the origin of that phenomenon ?
- Do I have a problem with my board, or firmware level ?
- Are there interferences somewhere ? Note: I tried the MXO2 mini in another wall AC plug, same problem.
- Is there a problem maybe with my MXO2 Mini power supply ? (should I try with another equivalent one ?)
- Or is that normal, and then what is the explanation.
- And how to remove that phenomenon when burning a DVD from that video ?

Thanks in advance for any hint / help / explanation
Erwin9
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erwin9
(MXO2 Mini)




Joined: 04 Jul 2005
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Thu Mar 05, 2015 9:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Continued .. I captured the same Video using a Dazzle DVC130 (and Pinnacle Studio 10.8 ). This is better than taking a picture on a monitor to illustrate the problem ...

There is no such vertical line either.



Now, interesting, I find colors better and with lesss saturation using the MXO2 Mini, but that might be that I used default parameters on the capture job in Studio 10.8 and I should have tuned them a little.

Still, how can we explain then that we see such vertical lines with the MXO2 Mini, and no other capture / viewing device ?

Is there a way to tune things in the Matrick capture software so that they disappear ?
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Matrox_Support_Sam
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 05, 2015 2:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi,

Thank you for the detailed feedback. We have not been able to see the issue here. It could depend on the VCR model, type of footage, etc..
Does Broadcast quality work when trying to capture or unable to connect to device?

Do the vertical lines show during the capture passthrough in both AVtools window and on external output?

What is the Rev number on the MXO2 Mini unit? Should be mentioned on sticker with serial number?
Have you tried changing PCIe slot for MXO2 PCIe card?
Are you running the latest Windows updates and graphic card drivers? What is the model of graphic card?

When playing back the video file, do you see the issue in VLC or AV tools windows?

Do you have any 3rd-party hardware or software installed on same system?

Do you have HD material to try over HDMI?

Do you have another capture softtware such as Premiere? Do you see the same issue?
If you encode the file, can you set a deinterlace setting or change field order to progressive? Does this help?
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Sam
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erwin9
(MXO2 Mini)




Joined: 04 Jul 2005
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Sat Mar 07, 2015 1:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello, thank you for your response. I made several further experiments. Here they are, with answers to you questions.

I shoot 2 new nearly identical videos with my Hi-8 Sony HandyCam, on 2 tapes, one Hi8 and one 8 (no Hi) to see if there would be any difference. Both tapes are a little old I have to say (maybe 10 years old). I also experimented recording directly from the HandyCam real time signal to Matrox A/V Tools without from a tape. I tried with Consumer Source or Broadcast Quality Source, and with AGC on or off.
All actions were made with a monitor plugged on the HDMI and on the Composite outputs. Both outputs were set to PAL in the Matrox A/V Tools option panel, natural RGB.

Observations :

1) Matrox A/V Tools recording direct real-time signal emitted by the Sony HandyCam when recording = No vertical line appearing on either the recorded MPEG (MMES), or on the Monitor set to composite, or to HDMI, during recording.
Both BQS (Broadcast Quality) and CS (Consumer) working the same. No impact of AGC.

2) Matrox A/V Tools recording signal emitted by the Sony HandyCam when reading the recorded video from tape = some vertical lines from time to time, both on the recorded MPEG and on the Monitor during recording, whether Hi8 or simple 8, whether BQS or CS, and whether AGC on or off.
None of these parameters really influenced, except maybe the simple 8 where there are less vertical lines, but I suspect this is more due to recorded video quality, see below.

3) Playing on Composite Monitor the signal emitted by the Sony HandyCam when reading the recorded video from tape (no MXO2 Mini in the middle) = no vertical line of course, perfect signal.
Remember that during 2), the same signal with the MXO2 Mini in the middle and displayed on the same Monitor set to Composite shows vertical lines.


More detailed observations :

A) The vertical lines in 2) seem to be linked to periods where the video signal is perceived "flacky" (sorry for no better word) by the MXO2 Mini device: they appear just after or during some perturbations when reading, visible on the Monitor, but not on the recorded video.

"Perturbations" are showing on the Monitor as:
- When the Monitor is set to HDMI = intermittent black screens / no signal / short interruptions, and just after I can see periods with vertical lines.
- When the monitor is set to Composite = lots of horizontal colored lines (not just one color, but at least the 3 RGB) through the video, degrading the image, and during which I can observe the vertical lines.

Those "Perturbations" (black HDMI screen or colored Composite hor. lines) do not show in the video recorded by A/V Tools, only the vertical lines.
Looks like the vertical lines could be the effect of some algorithm to "recover" from a video signal which is perceived as weak or missing something ?


B) When displaying the recorded video directly from the Sony HandyCam to the monitor in Composite PAL, there is absolutely no perturbation, all seems perfect.
When displaying the recorded video with the MXO2 Mini in the middle, i.e. the Sony HandyCam goes to MXO2 Mini Composite input, and the Monitor gets its signal from the MXO2 Mini composite or HDMI outputs, the video has the above mentionned perturbations (black screen/colored horizontal lines) and the vertical lines.


Conclusions and questions

So I am quite puzzled. Looks like the MXO2 Mini is sensitive to something on the tape, which is light and invisible but still some imperfection there, probably a degraded video signal due to the tape quality, and it is much further degrading the whole, while this is not happening with the Dazzle DVC 130 which "digests" it without a hickup (but could be lower quality in other domains).

Indeed:
1) tells me that the signal chain from the HandyCam to the MXO2 Mini and Monitor is good. And no problem appears then.
2) tells me that reading from the tape what was recorded is when the problem appears. Indeed, the only difference is the source, inserted at beginning of the chain = recorded tape in my HandyCam instead of real time video.
No influence of Hi8 or simple 8, nor AGC on/off, nor BQS / CS setup.
3) (and detailed observation in B)) tell me that the MXO2 Mini is introducing those visible perturbations (vertical lines), when the video signal is probably not "perfect" although nothing perceptible/visible by the eye on the monitor.


So what is your advice / thought on all this ?


Note [1]: for the rest of your questions
- Rev number on the sticker besides the serial number = it says VER. 200 above it at right. Is that what you are looking for ? See other elements reported by X.info in the first post above.
- I did not try changing the PCIe slot, but I believe I can't, the other one is taken by my graphic card.
- My graphic card is an AMD/ATI Radeon HD 5700 PCIe from 2010
- The drivers are AMD Catalyst 14.12, quite recent although maybe not the latest, but given the age of my card .. can going to latest do anything ?
- I see the issue in VirtualDub, AVC, .. can't tell for sure in the A/V Tools real-time capture window since the picture is really small, but seems so yes.
- I do not have HD material to try on HDMI for now, but given experiment 1), would that be useful ?
- 3rd party hardware: only USB scanner, serial line modem for faxing (but powered off during the experiments)
- 3rd party software: nothing significant apart maybe AVAST anti-virus and Adobe Premiere Elements 8 .. but given the vertical line problem shows on the monitor, I would expect that phenomenon to come from the MXO2 Mini box itself, or am I wrong ?
- I did not try yet to process those files in another encoder, for now I just want to play the AVI files produced by A/V Tools on my PC or on my TV.

Note [2]: I apparently have the same problem than those two guys:
http://forum.matrox.com/mxo/viewtopic.php?t=6404&start=0
http://forum.matrox.com/mxo/viewtopic.php?p=6821&highlight=

Thank you for your help / assistance.
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erwin9
(MXO2 Mini)




Joined: 04 Jul 2005
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Sun Mar 08, 2015 5:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

One more to better illustrate with a picture rather than words the "perturbations" I mentioned in the previous post = colored horizontal lines on Composite signal.

Remember, these are observed on the Composite PAL monitor when inserting the MXO2 Mini in the middle, and not observed when directly connecting the Composite Monitor to the HandyCam (the same cable is used from the HandyCam to either the MXO2 Mini or the Monitor in each case). Again, those horizonatl colored lines are not present in the video recorded by A/V Tools, they only appear on the Composite output from the MXO2 Mini to the Monitor.

Note that the vertical lines are here too, and those will remain in the registered video Smile !

Mind that this is a picture taken with a digital camera.

It is to be compared with picture #2 in Post #1 above which is the same but without the MXO2 Mini in the middle.



Hope you have enough elements to start deducing something from all that. Else let me know what else could be needed.

Thanks much for your support.
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Matrox_Support_Sam
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2015 9:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for the detailed report. In your scenario, it seems the quality of the tape is a factor when capturing Composite signal via MXO2 Mini. This explains the live video from the camera has no problems and we are not seeing the issue here with our some internal VHS tapes via composite.

Have you tried a Component or S-Video signal capture which provides better overall quality?

To confirm, you are getting the same vertical lines when using Broadcast and Consumer Quality source? Or are you not able to get a signal when using Broadcast?

Do you have another system to test this on?
Would it be possible to try another MXO2 Mini with local dealer or reseller?
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erwin9
(MXO2 Mini)




Joined: 04 Jul 2005
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2015 5:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello, the Sony CCD-TVR46E PAL HandyCam can only produce a composite signal unfortunately. No S-Video nor Component output. No other MXO2 Mini under the hand unfortunately, and no local dealer/reseller it seems from what I can find on the net (I am in France), so I can't try with another one.

Yes, I am getting the vertical lines whether I use the Broadcast or Consumer Quality source settings. And I can therefore read / record the signal in both modes. That makes no difference on that particular case, as far as I can observe.

Yes, obviously the trigger is my tape, or the "read module" of my Sony HandyCam. One of them at least contain that slight degradation. However this is showing "good" on the Monitor and digested ok by the Dazzle DVC 130, so whatever the "something" which activates this particular behavior of the MXO2 Mini, it must be light.

In the same spirit, note that I have other older tapes I could only read with Consumer source setting, but that one is good enough for Broadcast, so the degradation should not be very deep.

One more test I can make is to read all my Sony HandyCam tapes and verify whether all are read with vertical lines by the MXO2 Mini or only some of them. If all of them, we could reasonably conclude that the part which is creating that particular situation is not the signal on the tape, but the reader module of my Sony. I can only do that test next week end though, if you believe it can be useful for any explanation.

However, that wouldn't explain why it is showing only with the MXO2 Mini, and not when direct Monitor or with the DVC 130.


At this stage, and given the two other examples I found, I can only assume that there is no problem on my MXO2 Mini, and that is more like an algorithm feature which is triggered by whatever is present (or not) on my tape/Cam reader module, not visible on the Monitor, not seen or ignored by the Dazzle DVC 130, but still there (or not).


So just in case ... are there any engineering traces we can produce from my MXO2 Mini when it is receiving the signal and "inserting those perturbations" in the chain to the Monitor and recording those vertical lines which are not uniformly present in all the areas of the images, but it seems only in the brightest ones ? Any "debug" mode I could launch ? Any characteristic test with a particular image / color composition ?

Thank you, and best regards.
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Matrox_Support_Sam
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2015 10:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Does the Funai recorder mentioned in earlier posts have a S-Video or Component output?
Would it be possible to try connecting from Handycam to another device such as 1394 camera or another VHS and going out to MXO2 Mini? We want to see if the signal is cleared when going through another device. We have had users who had trouble with their VCRs and once the signal passthrough a 1394 device it was fine.

We do not have a debug log we can provide at this point. You can try passing through colorbars and see if you get the same issue.

Also, let us know your results when verifying the other tapes.
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erwin9
(MXO2 Mini)




Joined: 04 Jul 2005
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Sun Mar 29, 2015 3:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry, been out traveling for a while. So to answer your questions and after a few more experiments:

The Funai recorder only has Peritel and composite input/output. No component, and no S-Video.

Your idea of connecting to the MXO2 Mini through another device is interesting. I do not have a 1394 camera, so I tried with the Funai itself,
and a Fantec MM-HDRTV which is a home media recorder with composite input, a TNT tuner, and composite, component and HDMI outputs.

So here are the results:

- Testing all tapes directly on MXO2Mini from the HandyCam
= yes all show those artefacts, sometimes these are not exactly vertical lines, but there is always something, and that depends on the scene.
Red areas are often the ones with most of those lines.

- Testing through the Funai VCR (i.e. connect the HandyCam to the AV2 input, display AV2 input on the Funai menu, and record with the MXO2Mnii)
= same effect, no difference.

- Testing through the Fantec device, connecting the MXO2Mini to the composite output
= something new !
No more those vertical lines or other artefacts ... so the Fantec is "correcting" the signal .. however I can see there must be something in the video signal still, since there is a somewhat "colored band" at the top, and this seems to correspond exactly to a zone with vertical lines in the direct to MXO2Mini recording.

See picture below. I was monitoring the output from the Fantec at the same time than recording with the MXO2Mini, and could observe that same band, so it was introduced by the Fantec recording device.



Compare that image with the first one (direct to MXO2Mini) at top of the thread.
You will see that the vertical lines in the upper area create and stop "inside the band", or with the same boundaries it seems.
Since there is a clear correlation in that part of the recorded image, that could be an indice of what is going on.


There are however other places in the "direct to MXO2Mini" image at top where there are vertical lines and no visible colored band in the one above though.


Now, all that does not happen with the DVC130, so obviously it does some job at correcting the image that the MXO2Mini or the Fantec do not do (or it is less sensitive).

Any idea at this stage of what can be done to improve things with my MXO2Mini recordings ?
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Matrox_Support_Sam
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2015 8:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Can you try Component output from the Fantec as component is a better quality analog signal that Composite?
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erwin9
(MXO2 Mini)




Joined: 04 Jul 2005
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2015 11:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I tried the Component output. Exactly the same result in the capture, dot for dot => same horizontal colored band at the top.

Note: I was monitoring thru HDMI output of the Fantec at the same time, and could also observe the same band visually.

So to summarize all the experiments:
Code:
- HandyCam reading tapes to Monitor = perfect image.
- HandyCam reading tapes to DVC130 = good capture, no artefact, similar to reading to monitor.
- HandyCam reading tapes to Fantec = the Fantec introduces in the signal a colored band at the top.
      Observed on all outputs (composite, component, HDMI) of the Fantec.
- HandyCam reading tapes to MXO2 Mini = the MXO2 Mini introduces vertical lines artefacts in the capture.
      Also observed on a monitor plugged onto MXO2 Mini output at same time than capturing, with in addition:
            thin horizontal colored lines on MXO2 Composite output,
            black screen periods at those moments on the MXO2 HDMI output,
            those things not appearing on the captured video (only the vertical lines artefacts remain).
      Top artefacts correspond to the colored band of Fantec, but there are much more elsewhere in the picture.
- HandyCam reading tapes to MXO2 Mini, capturing in component mode the composite video signal = same artefacts
      Note: composite video recorded as luminance signal, no color.
- Funai VCR reading tapes to MXO2 Mini = same as from HandyCam.
- HandyCam recording to tape, signal sent to MXO2 Mini at same time = good capture, no artefact.

Problem only appears when reading tapes.
Tapes are old, whether on HandyCam or on Funai VCR.
Consumer/Broadcast Quality does nothing, as well any other parameter.
Problem observed at the level of MXO2 Mini box itself on monitor => not related to any soft or 3rd party hdw on PC.


Is there something wrong with my MXO2 Mini ?
Or something I can do on the MXO2 Mini to improve ?
Any advice on a device to put in the middle to correct / improve the composite video signal ?
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Matrox_Support_Sam
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2015 9:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for the detailed feedback.

Are you using the same footage and tapes to perform captures?

Do you have a camera to passthrough live mode, not reading recorded tapes? Do you see the same issue?

We can perform an RMA however, we cannot determine if the hardware is the sole issue.
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erwin9
(MXO2 Mini)




Joined: 04 Jul 2005
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2015 9:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello, see the point above in the summary:

Code:
- HandyCam recording to tape, signal sent to MXO2 Mini at same time = good capture, no artefact.


This is what you call "passthrough live mode" I believe, and there is no issue.

So it does not seem there is a hardware problem. Let me know if you think differently.

From the summary, and all we could exchange so far, logics say this is more like an algorithm or bug (or design ?) problem on "weak" signals, presumably.

If algorithm or bug, hopefully there will be a fix one day Very Happy

Anyway, I'll try a few things on my side, of which a simple video amplifier between the HandyCam and the MXO2Mini using a TEA 2014A chip:
http://www.datasheetcatalog.com/datasheets_pdf/T/E/A/2/TEA2014A.shtml
with my HandyCam signal going to input lead 8, then wrapping the 2 vpp output from lead 6 to the 2 vpp input lead 3, and getting a hopefully better quality 1vpp output on lead 2 to feed the MXO2Mini.

Let me know if you think that would lead nowhere, or if you have advices on the electronics to use ...
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Matrox_Support_Sam
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2015 2:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the update. We have not tested with this chip therefore, cannot guarantee it will work. Let us know your results if you are trying this.

We have had users with weak analog signals and were corrected once passing through another device such as camera, to clean the signal as best as possible.

We cannot guarantee replacing the unit will solve the problem, however, this is an option if you would like.
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erwin9
(MXO2 Mini)




Joined: 04 Jul 2005
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2015 5:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello, I ordered the chip and components, will keep you posted.

Meanwhile, I made a small experiment which is puzzling me ..
Assumption: the impedance of the MXO2 Mini RCA connectors is 75 ohm ... Correct ?
A video signal is supposed to be 1 Vpp at a 75 ohm impedance load ... Correct ?

I shoot a 30s still image sequence with only vertical colored bars composition (mix of white, red, black/grey) so that all lines are identical ...

I put a 100 ohm (didn't have 75 ohm) resistance at the end of the RCA cable plugged into the HandyCam to simulate the MXO2 Mini, and looked at the Video signal of a line with my oscilloscope .. got a signal being about 0.2 vpp high max for each line .. normal ?

When open ending the RCA (no load except the oscilloscope which is 1 Mohm), I can observe the signal being about 1.7 Vpp, that is about normal as far as I know.

Is that common for cams to produce such a low voltage output under a 75 ohm impedance load ? Could it be out of spec or at the limit for the MXO2 Mini ?
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