I am currently going through my old VHS tapes and capturing them to my computer. I got to one that was one of my favorites as a child. I knew it was going to be in some of the worst shape, so I did a quick test run of the capture. I have the A/V split so that I can watch the tape as it runs through and it looked fine on the TV (had some glitches, but was watchable) But the capture on this tape was just horrendous and I'm not sure if there is anything that I can do to fix it. I'm not looking to get it perfect, just so that the video is at least watchable on my computer. I put a short clip up here
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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Last edited by Baldrick; 11th Apr 2014 at 18:35. Reason: Updated title
Hi - welcome to the Forum.
This tape needs a TBC (Time Base Corrector).
The problem is that many analog signals, such as VHS, are not read well by capture devices and computers in the digital world. VHS actually gives off a very harsh signal.
Some tapes are worse than others, and it could be a variety of things that is causing it. It could be a tape in bad shape, or massive tape drift, or MacroVision.
In your case it's likely something called a "false positive", which is a tape emitting a signal very similar to MacroVision that upsets, and throws off, your capture device and computer. (Maybe a few details of your capture setup may help us help you here.)
It may work well on your TV, but when you try to capture it, with a capture device, or to a PC, or to a DVR - or even sometimes to another VCR - you will have problems capturing the signal without some form of time base correction.
A TBC can do wonders to correct this. Some VCRs have one built in, but the best signal correction comes as a full frame external TBC in passthough in your chain.
I would recommend an AV Toolbox AVT-8710, but it's not cheap, however many of us here in this Forum can't be without one. Others will recommend a DVR as a passthrough, such as a Panasonic DMR-ES10 DVD Recorder, which also can correct that signal. In any case, if you have many tapes to transfer you're more than likely to need an investment in a TBC.
If you want to try something first - try that tape in another VCR and see if there's a difference. Some of us use multiple VCRs since some will play some tapes better than others, and vice versa. Sometimes this helps, but in many cases a problematic tape will be a problematic tape in any VCR.
Sorry to lay this on you, but such is life in the world of VHS capture - it's a bucket of snakes.
Last edited by PuzZLeR; 11th Apr 2014 at 22:54.I hate VHS. I always did.
Thanks for the reply, I think for now I'll just hold off on dealing with the "problem tapes" I have. I don't seem to be having an issue with most of the other tapes I have.
That "whoosh!" sound you hear is the sound of that comment sailing over the head of yet another newbie poster.
Just my opinion but i think the vcr has more difficulty tracking, then line TBC "errors", or some sort of macrovision protection that "happens" here. That or maybe wrong setup in vdub (it happens with some tv cards that are wrongly detected "out of the box" which have wrong capture resolution,system and/or fps, I even saw some cards going crazy till you manually setup custom res fps and Pal or NTSC in vdub.
Like I said before, I'm not trying for anywhere near perfection, just enough to be watchable. It has worked well enough for me so far (good enough for my taste anyway) and since I'm currently in college, I don't see my self getting anything better for 2-4 years.
Does the tape look that bad when you watch it with VCR directly connected to the TV?
What about trying a second VCR?
If you literally just have a Y-splitter type cable, get rid of that immediately and use a direct connection. If by split, you mean you're using two separate outputs from the VCR at the same time (e.g. antenna and composite video), then that's fine.
VirtualDub) and I just never disconnected them.
Some capture devices don't care at all if you split the signal, whereas some will give you a dark picture that jumps sometimes even with a perfect source, just because you split it.
Thanks for the reply.
Another VCR with in internal TBC ... plus an external TBC ... may help here.
It's hard to tell what has caused this. It's not obvious.
It could be the tape, or it could be a compounded issues caused by the current hardware.