Hi, this is my first post here (though I've used the main Video Help site for several years now). I've looked around and hadn't seen a similar topic, so here goes...
I recently picked up a lot of old favorites on VHS from a close-out sale at a video store. I'd like to transfer several to DVD. My system is as follows...
JVC HR-DVS3 to Sign Video PA100 single proc amp to Director's Cut analog/digital converter to PowerMac G4. I'll be working in Final Cut, Compressor, and DVD Studio Pro from there.
What I'm wondering is, since these titles are ex-rentals and some are close to 20 years old, should I consider cleaning the tapes themselves (using something like the Geneva PF740) before starting the capture process? Is physically cleaning the tape itself a "last resort" measure if you have problems or something that should be part of the capture chain by default, especially considering the age and history of the materials I'm working with? I haven't tried the tapes in the HR-DVS3 yet, but have tested several in my older Phillips S-VHS deck and haven't had good results (intermittent loss of video signal or no video signal at all in several cases).
I appreciate any advice!
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ive never seen the Geneva PF740 in action, but hte sales pitch says it "cleans dirt, mould grease or other contaminants" off the tape.
the thing about tape is, if it's gotten dirty somehow, then this machine would probably help, but if it's just worn thru use, then i can't see how cleaning the tape could do anyhting other than make it worse. tape is metallic particles stuck to a plastic backing, and wear makes some of the particles come off (often getting transfered to the VCR head, which is why heads need cleaning). you can't improve this kind of wear because you can't replace the lost metal particles.
but if the tape has grubby fingerprints on it, or has been kept in humid conditions, then it sounds like this machine could be helpful.
hope this helps.never absorb anything bigger than your own head
Here is waht I do with old tapes with an unknown history.
1. Clean the VCR.
2. Make an initial capture.
3. preview the capture and decide if the quality is ok.
4. If the quality is OK then move to DVD
5. If the quality is bad than apply some remedial action.
The first thing to remember that in dealing with old VHS tapes is DO NO HARM to the tape.
Old tapes can have several problems.
They can be stuck together - this requires careful disassembly cleaning and reassembly.
The tape can suffer from "Print Through". This can cause ghosting, loss of sync and loss of color. there is nothing that can fix this.
The tape may have a loss of sync due to streching (you cannt see it but it happens) a sync recovery device may help. Sometimes a really high end VCR will be able to compensate for the streching.
The tape may cause the "auto-track" feature of the VCR not to find the best track position. Disable the auto-track and adjust manually.
The tape may have low signal level in video or audio or both. A video preamp will help to compensate for this.
If you find a tape that has bad spots try to find a second copy that has damage in different areas. Capture both, then edit the two together on the computer to make a complete undamaged film on the HD. Make a DVD. then copy the restored film back to a new VHS tape keeping the old cover and labels if possible.
edit - New tape may be loaded into an undamaged original cassette.
I recently was able to recover a copy of DARK ANGEL 1935 - which is out of print, using this method.
Recovering old tapes can be a rewarding activity.