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  1. Member
    Join Date: Sep 2008
    Location: Portugal
    Search Comp PM
    Hi there!
    Hope you can advice me to the issue that I'm having in the process of converting some old VHS-c tapes to digital.
    Some of the tapes are very old, and I guess that they were "eated" by the VCR many times, and so, some parts of the tapes are folded(?).
    I tried my best to minimize that folding position (by hand), witch was really bad. Making it at least readable for the VCR.

    The problem now is, when I'm capturing and it comes to some of the worst shaped parts of the tape (that can be/last just a second, like a spike), the capturing software just stops, and it freezes permanently, I have to reset the computer, shutdown doesn't work when this happens. This happens with every software that it try for capturing.
    I can see that in that bad shaped parts, the AT from the VCR starts to blink, but I already tried to disable it and there is no different.

    I know that I'm never gonna have a good quality conversion, but still I would like to capture every second from this tapes as it is. I even tried to copy tape2tape, and the resulting copied tape causes the exact same issue.
    I already capture 99.9% from every tape, just by stopping the capture a second earlier and start again a second later from that "spikes". But it takes a lot of work.

    I there any way to solve this situation?

    Thank you in advance.
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  2. Mod Neophyte Super Moderator redwudz's Avatar
    Join Date: Sep 2002
    Location: USA
    Search Comp PM
    Can you give us a bit more information?

    VCR brand and model?
    Capture method? S-Video or composite? What capture device? A video card? What brand and model?
    Are you using a TBC to stabalize the video from the VCR?
    What capture software are you using?

    Probably more information requested than is needed, but someone here with more experience with a similar problem or setup may be able to give some advice or ideas.

    But with badly damaged tape, your method may be the only one that may work.

    And welcome to our forums.
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  3. Member
    Join Date: Sep 2008
    Location: Portugal
    Search Comp PM
    Hello, and thank you for the reply.
    Sorry for not saying the specs, but I thought It will be automatically shown, as I provided them in the registration.
    But anyway!
    My machine is a Pentium 4, 3.2GHz, 1GB Dual-Channel RAM, XFX GeForce 6600, Maxtor 200GB. On WinXP SP3.
    For capturing I'm using Conexant's BtPCI WDM Video Capture BT848, and JVC HR-J215 VCR. And I'm using composite a cable (since I have no other option with this hardware).
    My preferred software for capturing is Windows Movie Maker (don't laugh! I tried all other top software available, and this is the most reliable/easy/doesn't drop loss frames/does not desynchronizes/best quality I find), although VirtualDub is also very useful and good (but like I said, this issue happens in every one I tried, doesn't seem to be a software problem).
    Thanks in advance.

    Edit: No, I'm not using no TBC.
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  4. Member themaster1's Avatar
    Join Date: Nov 2006
    Location: France
    Search Comp PM
    Did you try to record another source (analog tv, satellite) than vhs to see what's the result?
    First time i hear that frankly

    Also if your tape is dirty & "precious" you might consider this
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  5. Mod Neophyte Super Moderator redwudz's Avatar
    Join Date: Sep 2002
    Location: USA
    Search Comp PM
    I don't think dirty tapes are so much devoid's problem. It sounds like the tapes were damaged by a VCR where they may have come off the guides and folded/creased the tape lengthwise, so it is not making full contact with the VCR heads or being centered by the guides. Outside of a very expensive process that could possibly 'iron out' the tapes to a flatter surface, not really any way to properly fix it, AFAIK.

    devoid, your setup appears to be sufficient if you are satified with the overall quality. A S-Video deck and a TBC would probably help, or a DV capture device, but may not be worth the added expense to you. I assume a professional tape restoration may not be either.

    I'm not sure I recommend this method, but when all else has failed, I have put on a pair of cotton gloves (To keep finger oils off the tape) and pulled a section of damaged tape from the cassette, and pulled the smooth side back and forth over the sharp (And smooth) edge of a table to flatten out the creases. It may stretch the tape and cause other problems, though. And can break or scratch the tape if you apply too much force. I'm sure professional restorers will laugh at this, but it worked for me. Not 100%, but I did get an improvement in tracking.

    And thanks for the additional information, devoid. It does help when trying to answer questions. We don't always know that the computer details provided apply to your specific setup. Some of us have several computers/setups and only one is shown there.
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  6. Member edDV's Avatar
    Join Date: Mar 2004
    Location: Northern California, USA
    Search Comp PM
    The pro restoration houses use custom open transports with many adjustments for tensioning and guiding tape. These guys even restore fire damaged or molded tapes.

    It may be time to use an expert, especially for a single 20 min tape.
    Recommends: Kiva.org - Loans that change lives.
    http://www.kiva.org/about
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  7. Member
    Join Date: Sep 2008
    Location: Portugal
    Search Comp PM
    Thanks for the help guys!

    Yes, redwudz, you are right. The tapes aren't dirty at all, just in bad shape, like a t-shirt just getting out from the dryer. I already "iron" using my fingers and tape's mechanism the best I can before I tried capturing, otherwise there was no video/audio to see at all.
    But I'm guessing that my problem goes beyond that, since I copied bad sections to a new tape, and the same situation happens. So I guess that it's caused by some behavior of the VCR when it can't read well enough.
    This also can happen in the transition of a recorded video to a black part of the tape (when the movie ends).
    I guess I'll try to get another borrowed VCR to see if it makes any difference.

    themaster1, that toy looks nice ... and expensive

    Note: Before I go and converted the tapes myself, I when to a lot of pro houses to ask for prices for the conversion, and they all ask me before even show interest: "... but are the tapes in good condition?".
    And so when I faced this problem I guessed that was the reason they all ask me that.
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  8. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
    Join Date: Jun 2003
    Location: dFAQ.us/lordsmurf
    Search Comp PM
    A "pro house" should not have to ask much about condition.

    hose sound more like mom-and-pop wanna-be operations, the ones use Best Buy quality equipment, and that open in strip malls and give themselves dumbass store names (Memories Are Forever, Tape-2-DVD, Video Works USA, etc -- bad names I just made up real quick, though I would not be surprised if they were real stores somewhere).

    I know of at least one private family-owned pro operation that specializes in restoring physically-damaged media. It's in the USA, however.

    Touching the film with your oily fingers is the worst thing you could do to it, just FYI.
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  9. Member
    Join Date: Sep 2008
    Location: Portugal
    Search Comp PM
    Yes, when I said pro house... it's more like photo stores (weddings photo/video professionals) that also convert analog tapes to digital dvd etc...
    They are all alike, so there isn't much choice here. And don't really know where and if it exists a real Professional around where I live, but I guess that would be expensive.
    But I'm shore I'm doing a better job than that photo stores that are around everywhere. Specially because the tapes where filmed in French Secam (belongs to my relatives), and I can only get B&W video with the VCR's available (and so does this so called "pro's" that I whet and ask ). I will definitely find I better solution in the future for this, but for now B&W it is...

    I know that oily fingers are not alright, but it was a delicate procedure, I tried to use the finger tips/nails to grab the back of the tape, I kept my hands clean, and I also use a small piece of paper to try to "iron" it. Besides, the worst was already done a long time ago
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  10. Member edDV's Avatar
    Join Date: Mar 2004
    Location: Northern California, USA
    Search Comp PM
    Recommends: Kiva.org - Loans that change lives.
    http://www.kiva.org/about
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  11. Member
    Join Date: Mar 2003
    Location: USA
    Search Comp PM
    Video tape especially VHS are prone to damage from just sitting around.
    Whenever there is a temperature change or humidity change the tape expands and shrinks.
    Over time this action combined with micrscopic amounts of moisture can cause the tape to glue together.
    When played the tape can appear to be wrinkled or stick to the capstan roller. i.e. damaged.
    Once damaged there is just nothing that can be done. Recover what can be played and learn from the experience.
    Archive quailty storage for tape is temperature and humidity controlled.
    What we dont know is what will happen to writable DVDs in ten or twenty years.
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  12. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
    Join Date: Jun 2003
    Location: dFAQ.us/lordsmurf
    Search Comp PM
    Originally Posted by grossjamesh
    What we dont know is what will happen to writable DVDs in ten or twenty years.
    Yes we do.

    For starters, recordable DVD media have been around for about 9 years now. Beyond that, recordable optical media has been around for decades, the most recent 15 years being heavily used by CD-R.

    To say that "we don't know" is to fall for consumer ignorance proliferated in user forums online. People who read (and repeat) and believe such things do not know any better. Very often, they are victims of their own cheapness, where their "dead disc" was never a good burn, often on Princo or CMC or some other garbage. So to them, it's believable (albeit due to a total lack of understanding on the topic, and the omission of about a half dozen key facts).

    On top of all of this, there are several good accelerated aging tests that are run in R&D phases of media manufacturing. There is an abundance of data to assure us that media should last a minimum of 20-30 years, with some of it lasting maybe even 100 years or more.

    Tape is a good deal more susceptible to age-related issues than disc is. Tape also suffers danger and damage every time it is used, unlike a laser-read disc.
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  13. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
    Join Date: Jun 2003
    Location: dFAQ.us/lordsmurf
    Search Comp PM
    Originally Posted by devoid
    and I can only get B&W video with the VCR's available (and so does this so called "pro's" that I whet and ask ).:
    Those are not even close to pros. It's not hard to play French SECAM and output it to a PAL DVD. I know of at least two VCR models that play it (the more expensive Samsung 5000W is one of them).
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