Hi, as shown in the picture of this thread are static lines, coming from a dirty VHS, isn't it?
Because at one point of time while playing the VHS, the blue screen with the text "VIDEO HEADS MAY NEED CLEANING PLEASE INSERT HEAD CLEANING CASSETTE" actually appeared. So, i was wondering as to whether this method is the right one to get rid of those static lines?
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I'm not so sure it's the VCR or tape that's dirty. Sometimes a VCR gives out that warning simply because it doesn't like a tape.
At any rate, you have three options if you do indeed want to clean your VCR:
1-(OK IMO) You can use a cleaning tape (but many have varied opinions on this, dry and wet cleaners)
2-(BETTER IMO) You can try cleaning the VCR by playing a brand new blank tape for an hour (depending on the tape length, this could be good for a couple of separate cleanings, but dispose of the tape after done).
3-(BEST IMO) You can actually open up the VCR and go through a few tutorials on YouTube on how to clean your VCR, which are also very similar to that link you posted. So yes, IMO, I think this is the best method.
If cleaning doesn't help, and you know AviSynth:
If you can adjust the tracking where it's not so bad, just a few random white streaks, this is easily corrected by capturing the tape three times and using median methods with AviSynth.
If your tracking works best on one part of the picture, and another tracking scheme works best for the other parts of the picture, then you can capture it with each tracking scheme, and combine the pictures later with Avisynth and StackVertical and/or StackHorizontal.
Or, with tracking, if you can get the fuzzies to be in a small part and edge of the picture, just crop them off after capture.
Last edited by PuzZLeR; 25th Jun 2014 at 15:41.I hate VHS. I always did.
Hmm.. As to the link i posted for my method to get rid of the static lines, i think i recalled somewhere that it's possible to use Baby wipes / wet tissues to clean a dirty VHS head?
But, I've even some tutorials use a business card for cleaning on the big head drum. Strange.
As for liquid, usually Isopropyl alcohol is sufficient, and safer than using water, or anything oil-based, etc.I hate VHS. I always did.
I assume this would work?
But replace the cotton with baby wipes instead?
Ok, confused me here. I thought you wanted to clean your VCR first.
But the VCR is the first thing you should consider in this case. Did you clean the VCR first? Did you try the tape in other VCRs with the same problem? Is the tape visibly dirty or do you know for sure?
Just because a tape doesn't play well on one VCR doesn't mean the tape, or even the VCR, needs a cleaning. Cleaning a tape is really a last resort since this is your video source, and a rather extreme measure, and only should be done if there's no other solution.
As for baby wipes, not sure, but doesn't sound like a good idea when dealing with magnetic wares like tape itself. Hopefully someone has a better answer on this for you if you indeed decide to clean the tape.
If you really need to clean the tape I'd suggest you try this first, for experiment, on a tape you do not love to see what happens.I hate VHS. I always did.
NEVER use Baby Wipes!
There is crap chemicals in there that will ruin a VCR. For example, Aloe.
Never clean a tape unless properly trained. You'll probably just mess it up -- it's VERY easy to do!
The first course of action would be to simply try another VCR.
If I recall, there seems to be no mold at all on the tape but I don't know why the static.
I agree with Lordsmurf: don't even attempt to clean either the VCR or tape unless you have done all the research and know thoroughly what and WHY you're doing, and you have the proper tools. Otherwise, you will end up with a crapped VCR and crapped tapes, possibly even more than you started with.
Head cleaning tape=still NOT GOOD
Wet* head cleaning tape=NOT Optimal, but acceptable
New, Blank VHS tape=Acceptable, but doesn't take care of many of the problems
Lint-free foam swabs=GOOD!
*Wet Cleaning solution: Isopropyl alcohol as sold in most grocery stores/pharmacies, etc leaves residue, so=BAD
Freon TF cleaning agent=GOOD
90+% pure, Denatured Alcohol=GOOD
Accepting substitutes for these proper tools means opening the door wide to the possibility of accidentally ruining your own stuff.
I also agree with davenet, it looks to be more a tracking problem than "static" or a cleaning issue. Most cleaning issues affect the whole picture fairly evenly (slight, little bit more, little bit more, lot more, full blown snow). "Static" usually only occurs with EMI/RFI and you can usually tell when there's a foreign interference going on, such as a vaccuum cleaner running nearby.
Could be the tape was recorded with a recorder that already had bad tracking, so adjustment might not completely rid the noise. Only solution then is to find a professional with engineering skills that can mod a VCR to match the tracking that you need.
Agreee with Cornucopia and davexnet; that looks a lot more like a tracking problem than a dirty-heads problem to me. Basically, there's a misalignment between the angle of the heads and the angle of the diagonal "helican-scan" stripes on the tape, so the heads are only "seeing" part of each stripe. Cleaning the heads isn't going to fix that, unfortunately.
You may be able to reduce or eliminate it by playing with the tracking controls on the VCR -- but a great deal depends on the source recording. If the VCR which originally recorded the tape had bad head alignment to start with, it may be so far out of whack that you can't adjust the tracking on this unit far enough to compensate. (Or worse, if the original recording VCR's tracking wasn't stable and kept wandering in and out of alignment, you might never be able to get a clean capture no matter what adjustments you make.)
If you're determined to try cleaning the heads, then yes -- lint-free foam swabs and +90%-pure denatured alcohol or Freon-TF cleaning solution are the only things you want to be bringing nead video heads. (190-proof Everclear will also do the job, but there's far better uses for that than cleaning tape heads. ) A wet cleaning tape will do in a pinch, but it's not ideal. All those other solutions that people toss around -- business cards, cotton swabs, baby wipes -- will just make the problem worse, if not wreck the heads entirely.
(...baby wipes?! Gotta admit, that's a new one!)
Since Isopropyl Alcohol is used to clean vhs heads, I wonder if these two below can be used?
I have yet to make any purchases, just saw them in a pharmacy store.
Both are not suitable for VCR cleaning because they are not pure Isoproyl alcohol but only 70% Isopropyl alcohol. The remaining 30% is water. You need 99% Isopropyl alcohol because the water part won't evaporate entirely and will leave residue on the parts you try to clean.
At my pharmacy stores I have the ask for them to fill up a small bottle of it because it's not regularly on sale, only the 70% ones.
Hi.. Ok, so sorry to dig thread. Just wanted to follow up and experiment with this static thing.
Anyway, I'm using a HR-J271MS vcr, I reinserted the video footage and had it played. I did like what some of you mentioned, that is by playing with the tracking controls. I did that, afterwhich this blue screen with the text "USE CLEANING CASSETTE" came out, and then the static somewhat disappeared, and then the blue screen with the text "USE CLEANING CASSETTE" came out again.
Any idea what I should do now?
1. Try it in another VCR, if you can.
2. Try another tape in THIS VCR. If that plays OK, the problem is most likely with the tape, and its tracking alignment, and not the VCR.
3. Check your VCR settings. There are quite a few settings that affect how a tape plays, and these must be set correctly when you want to transfer it to your computer.
You will find countless posts in this forum (and even in this thread) advising against cleaning your VCR heads unless you really know what you are doing. I completely agree with that advice.
The "edit" switch (often has different names) must be set to turn off all internal sharpening. This won't cause the tears shown in the OP's picture, but it still is important. Auto tracking should usually be on, but if you are trying to fix something like this, it should be turned off. In most VCRs it is possible to change the tracking to manual, but some VCRs will revert to autotracking, thus defeating the purpose of the manual tracking. When using manual tracking, you usually have to adjust it to play the bad section of the tape, but then reset it to auto or to some other setting to play the rest of the tape. Otherwise you will get tearing on the good portions of the tape.
If you have EP (6-hour) recordings, there is a setting on some VCRs to help "stabilize" those tapes. Usually this helps with "vibration" artifacts, not gross tracking artifacts like the OP shows, but it can sometimes improve the auto tracking a little bit.
Often, unfortunately, nothing can be done because the tracking problem happened in the camcorder itself. It too can have tracking issues, and the problem may be on the tape itself.
Ok, i've tried option 2, that is by playing another tape in this VCR, there seems to be static, after which the blue screen with the text "USE CLEANING CASSETTE" occurs again. Time to clean the VCR tape maybe?
No, sometimes you do have to do BOTH (VCR heads and the TAPE)*. But the tape is fragile, so this should be left to a professional or you could ruin the tape.
*I have done this (successfully) on no less than 8 occasions.
Except it is not uncommon for a gunky tape to gunk up the heads which gunks up further tapes. Yes you can (and should) clean the heads, but if you don't check/clean the offending tape(s), the problem will recur.
Like an STD.
Finally, before cleaning the bad tape, I'd put the known good tape back into the VCR. If the VCR now malfunctions, after having worked just fine before when playing this same, known good tape, then you have pretty much verified that the bad tape is shedding something onto the VCR. You would then need to clean the heads one more time, and then look into what to do with the bad tape.
I have never heard of cleaning a tape, and have absolutely no idea how that can or should be done. I know about baking tapes that are flaking oxide, but most of what I've read about that concerns quadruplex and other broadcast tapes. I don't know if this problem ever affected consumer tapes.
I actually tried a dry tape cleaner on my vcr, but looks like it got worse (Assuming it already turned bad?) that I had to use a blank tape to have my vcr cleaned.
Also, regarding the usage of blank tapes, is it really important to dispose it once done?