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  1. Member
    Join Date: May 2014
    Location: United Kingdon
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    I need to copy off an old VHS tape for a friend. When I play it on my Toshiba RDXV60KB I have to adjust the tracking manually to hear the sound at all, at which point the video quality is just starting to degrade. When I attempt to dub to HDD or DVD the tracking defaults to normal and sound is lost. Is there any way to tweak the mechanism so the sound and video tracking match up so I can dub off the tape? I used to be an audio service engineer so I'm comfortable with tinkering under the hood!
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  2. Member
    Join Date: Jan 2007
    Location: Republic of Texas
    Search Comp PM
    The VHS tape may have both Hi-fi and linear audio options. I would switch between those two modes to see if there is any improvement. Depending on your VHS playback model, the audio switch could either be on the deck itself; or may be an option that you would have to change in the set-up menu, using the remote.

    If that does not solve your problem (but I think it might), I'm afraid you may have to do some harder work and record 2 passes; one with the best video tracking, and one with optimal audio. Then, once you have both captures completed, you would need to replace the bad audio with the good. We can suggest software methods to do this, but let's see if the first suggestion works before we get down the more labor-intensive path.
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  3. Member
    Join Date: May 2014
    Location: United Kingdon
    Search Comp PM
    Many thanks for this. The good news is that I can select between Stereo/L/R/Mono, and interestingly L gives the best quality although Mono is OK. The bad news is that as soon as I set the Toshiba to Dubbing mode it cancels the audio setting and defaults to Stereo, giving no audio at all.

    I'm thinking I should equip myself to copy onto an external device e.g. computer, and thence to DVD.
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  4. Member PuzZLeR's Avatar
    Join Date: Oct 2006
    Location: Toronto Canada
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    Personally I would just do multiple captures, dump them on a hard drive and deal with them after. Just focus one capture on ONLY the video tracking that works best, and the other one on ONLY the audio part that works best.

    Regardless of tracking, I do this all the time anyway since a tape may look better on one VCR, yet sound better on another.

    Yes, get some hard drive space on your computer - it would be a smoother workflow for better results.

    Maybe I'm just used to this multiple capturing, but I don't think it's very labor-intensive when it's just feeding the machine, walking away, and coming back later. IMO it's much better than babysitting a live capture in progress with messing around with "optimal tracking". Much easier at the software level after for this when it's just simple editing and muxing.

    If you want the best in your captures, sometimes multiple captures, to combine a "best of", or even for averaging/blending/median methods, become quite necessary in the workflow, and software and editing become key after.
    I hate VHS. I always did.
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  5. Member
    Join Date: Jan 2007
    Location: Republic of Texas
    Search Comp PM
    Originally Posted by DavidGemini View Post
    The good news is that I can select between Stereo/L/R/Mono...
    If your VHS machine is a VHS Hi-fi deck (and it should say so somewhere on the machine), you should be able to at least go into the onscreen setup menu and change your audio output to the linear tracks. It is usually the Hi-fi audio (recorded on the helical head drum) that suffers most from tracking issues.

    But again, you have that ultimate option I mentioned -- and PuzZLer further elaborated upon. You may have no other option than to compile the best elements from multiple captures onto your hard drive.
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  6. Member PuzZLeR's Avatar
    Join Date: Oct 2006
    Location: Toronto Canada
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    Originally Posted by filmboss80 View Post
    But again, you have that ultimate option I mentioned -- and PuzZLer further elaborated upon. You may have no other option than to compile the best elements from multiple captures onto your hard drive.
    Yes, I was in full agreement when you mentioned it earlier.

    Multiple captures at first may seem daunting, but it's real simple once you get used to them in your system/workflow, so this fear I read about people saying it's tons of work is a bit exaggerated. It's not like you have to sit there and work the whole time all those hours.

    And if you have a dedicated capture box PC, or even a DVR or combo unit (not sure what the O/P is using) it's really nothing. Sure it may take a couple of months if you have over a hundred tapes, but big deal. You are free to do other things during a capture in progress if you like.
    I hate VHS. I always did.
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  7. Member
    Join Date: May 2014
    Location: United Kingdon
    Search Comp PM
    Many thanks for all the advice. I shall get a component video - USB adaptor and dub off onto my MacBook. Can anyone recommend some good, easy-to-use, inexpensive (free?) software for Mac to manage the process? I already have Toast Titanium 8 which may help with burning to DVD.
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  8. Member PuzZLeR's Avatar
    Join Date: Oct 2006
    Location: Toronto Canada
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    Most of us regulars use VirtualDub software to capture to lossless video formats in an AVI container. From this we encode to DvD formats for best quality.

    As for Mac, I don't know of any good capture software packages here, so someone has to chime in. The only good capture USB tool I can recommend for it is the ezcap.tv (the REAL one, not the fake one).

    As for Toast, not sure if it's any good, but this is the least of your challenges. You have to worry about capturing the video first, then a good MPEG-2 encoder to get it to DvD will offer many choices.

    Also, not to sound negative, but most here will not recommend capturing on a laptop, or anything other than a desktop. Capturing is an intensive process that takes hours at a time, and laptops, were not as well designed for this. This is particularly true also if cooling is necessary, since an overheating processor will slow down and tend to buffer and drop frames.
    I hate VHS. I always did.
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  9. I don't think Mac will "do it right" for capturing VHS ( especially tapes in bad shape). For windows free ( and "best") is VDUB. You mean composite not component ( Svideo recomended).
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  10. Member PuzZLeR's Avatar
    Join Date: Oct 2006
    Location: Toronto Canada
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    Yes, I can't imagine capturing with any other tool other than VirtualDub. I don't think this is available on a Mac.

    And laptops, even with good specs, can easily overheat with captures. A desktop's casing is better built for cooling.

    And yes, I too believe the O/P meant "composite" or "RCA", not "component".
    I hate VHS. I always did.
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