I have lots of VHS movie tapes to convert to DVD (tape age ranging from 3 to 20 years). My question is: will playing back on VCR with S-video output make the quality better (I read that S-video is better than the yellow RCA connection). Is there a visible difference, I got different answers from different sales people in Best Buy, Circuit City and Fry's.
Another question is: should I use a combo VCR/DVD recorder unit or separate VCR and DVD recorder. Is a 6-head VCR better than a 4-head VCR?
Thanks in advance!!
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S-video is always better than composite and 6 heads are better than 4. The quality of your capture will depend on the quality of your recordings of course. I can not comment on the VCR/DVD recorder units. I have never worked with them. I have had no problems with old Sony and my plextor ConvertX USB capture unit. It all depends on what you can afford and how much you want learn.
Good luck with what ever you decide
S-video better? Maybe. Usually the decks are a little more precision. S-video may have less problems with color bleeding than composite. If your tapes aren't S-VHS, you won't get a big improvement over regular VHS.
If you want to spend the money, it would be better to spend it on a Time Base Corrector (TBC) as you will see the most improvement in capturing, even with a regular VHS deck.
I don't like the combo units as there is just more to break down.
A six head deck is more for smooth slow motion, but they are usually better quality also.
For some good info on restoration and VHS capturing, visit Lordsmurf's site: http://digitalfaq.com/
And since you are apparently doing restoration, this thread would be better in that forum. Moving you.
And welcome to our forums.
6 heads and 4 heads makes no difference on playback, it's only using 2 heads at a time on play. The extra 2 heads are only used on pause and frame advance.
The S-Video path is the more direct route for a component format like VHS/SVHS. It may or may not provide a noticeable improvement with your particular tapes. Nevertheless, I would spend any extra resources on a good SVHS VCR, even for VHS tapes. The playback quality is likely to be better, and the S-Video path will then be an option.
DVD Recorders have built in Frame Synchronizers which provide much the same functionality as an external TBC. Unless there are Macrovision issues, adding an external TBC between a VCR and a DVD Recorder will provide little if any benefit. Are these prerecorded (copy protected) tapes?
Thanks for all the answers.
These are prerecorded commercial VHS tapes that are not available anymore in any format. I would just buy them if they were.
The most valuable tapes are over 20 years old and I am just looking to back them up. I bought a RCA 6 head VCR/DVD recorder combo but it will not play or record some of the tapes. I tried to use a JVC S-VHS VCR for the S-Video playback but some tapes still will not record on the DVD recorder. Did I go overboard and why do some copy and some don't?
Thanks so much!
RCA is Samsung, garbage. Tapes that won't record are probably copy protected, you need a stabilizer.
Since this is not a S-VHS tape but rather a basic VHS tape I"m not sure if
||the S-video out will really do much to improve pix quality.
|"S-VHS" and "S-Video" have NOTHING to do with one another.
|It's an unfortunate accident of naming, and causes a lot of people to
|be terribly confused because of the similarity.
Yes.... the S-Video connection will be a better quality signal....
however, whether or not you will see the difference entirely depends on the
quality of the playback video tape, the video card, the viewing monitor or
BLUE SKY, BLACK DEATH!!
Thanks for all the answer!!!
Will a TBC take the place of a stabilizer?
I read the how to guides but it mostly talk about capture to PC and capture card, I am not that computer literate so I am quite lost. Is that the best way? I was thinking VCR to DVD recorder was the way to do it.
I am gathering S-video is the preferred path but the effect may not visible, did I misunderstand?
Also I should return the RCA VCR/DVD combo and keep the JVC S-VHS VCR but get a new DVD recorder?
I would use the conversion service provided by Lordsmurf's site but I have too many tapes for me to afford. Thanks for the link.
Thanks so much!!!
Originally Posted by smcc1986Donatello - The Shredder? Michelangelo - Maybe all that hardware is for making coleslaw?
Thanks to all your suggestions. I am so appreciative of all of them. Unfortunately, I am now more confused as to what method to use to convert over 400 tapes.
It seems that you are all suggesting to capture to a PC and edit there. I am not that PC literate so what kind of machine do I need? Also do I need a stabilizer to capture the commerical prerecorded tapes? Will a TBC equipped VCR take care of that? Should I still use S-VHS VCR to playback and connect via S-video? Do I need an external hard drive to save the captured video?
Thanks in advance!!!!
Best option for 400 tapes, including some commercial releases.
- good S-VHS VCR with line TBC and other filters, JVC S-VHS line is suggested... SRV10U, SRV101U, 7600, 7800, 7900, 9600, 9800, 9900, 9911 .. and use s-video unless you see a problem (and composite looks better for that tape)
- full-frame TBC, like TBC-1000 or AVT-8710
- good DVD recorder, the JVC DR-M100S is most suggested, followed by Pioneer, Toshiba and LiteOn recorders ... this just records video from VCR/TBC output, converts to raw digital footage
- computer with DVD burner... rip raw video data from DVD in DVD Decrypter (free software), edit in an MPEG editor (Womble MPEG-VCR is suggest, about $50), and then author in favorite authoring software (SVCD2DVD for $20 is really nice, TDA is okay too for cheap at $40 ... better software is Ulead DVD Workshop 2 for about $400 or so), and then burning software like RecordNow ($50) or some freeware alternatives (several ways to burn new discs for free)
- good quality blank DVDs, see www.nomorecoasters.com for more info here
My suggestion for straight transfer work, in high quality, with some nice "editing" (splicing out what you don't want), and making nice menus
I won't lie to you, this will will run about $750-950 when all is said and done, maybe a bit more if you go for Ulead DVDWS2 software.
Buy slowly, start with the VCR and DVD recorder for now. You can always set aside tapes that need the TBC, same for DVDs that are transferred (raw video) and ready to edit at a later date. 400 tapes is going to take a long time anyway
A DVD Recorder with a built in hard drive will conveniently capture, edit, author, and burn. Ripping to a PC is time consuming and unnecessary. With 400 tapes, the capabilities of a DVD/HDD Recorder will save you much time and frustration, especially if you're not that PC literate.
Toshiba DVD/HDD Recorders are very nice. They have excellent TBC performance, so your existing VCRs should work fine.
You'll need an external TBC or Macrovision Removal device for copy protected tapes.
An alternative to an external TBC (for MV removal) would be a suitable Capture Card for your PC (like a PVR-250 real time encoder), as some of them ignore MV. You could use the DVD Recorder as an external TBC/Frame Synchronizer/Proc Amp between the VCR and the Capture Card and capture into the PC. Then you could also do the more fancy things that a PC setup can do.
I went and bought this software called 'VHS to DVD' it has a capture device included, is that a capture card?
Just want to confirm the setup correctly:
S-VHS VCR via S-video --> stabilizer/TBC --> capture deivce/capture card --> PC --> DVD burner
S-VHS VCR via S-video --> stabilizer/TBC --> DVD recorder
Am I on the right path?
Second thing is S-video is better than RCA yellow cable in theory but the improvement may not be visible and there may be times when the RCA playback is better.
Thanks so much for all the tips and advice and knowledge that you all have contributed.
You've got it. Have fun.
Is there a section in this forum that talks about the machine qualities. I am trying to look for advice on what brands to get for the DVD reorder/burner. I read a lot of threads about specific models but not any ranking/recommend lists. Is Lite-On a decent brand? I think JVC is the brand for S-VHS VCR.
In my experience at least it makes quite a difference. svideo presents a much better picture than vhs.
You should prefer to cap with svideo no doubts.
I think a good SVHS player is a two edged sword, yes a good SVHS deck can "see" more detail but it also "sees" much more noise. In my case with some real old VHS videos (late 70's porta-pak recordings) I had an issue where the image was good but there was noise (sort of faint random horizontal scratchy lines) in the image that was not there in the original. Interestingly they were less noticable in very dark scenes and most noticable in daylight scenes.
After much trial and error I discovered the best mix was a mid 80's Panasonic VHS player (A G45) feding a composite source to a TBC and then taking the composite source from the TBC to the composite in on a Digital 8 Camcorder. I do not know what that camcorder does but it really knocks down noise in composite signal BUT not the SVHS one. Probably some kind of band pass filtering on composite. The result was less detail than the SVHS deck but a more viewable image. Sadly, it lacks pass through - so that is a pain.
Now if anyone has any other suggestions on how to filter these faint random horizontal scratchy lines I would love to hear, as I would love to use that SVHS deck because of the better image qualtity.
As an aside I discovered my 27 or 28 year old still porta-pak works - inlcuding the camera - which allowed me to make a 2006 recording to prove those faint random horizontal scratchy lines are the result of tape aging and not how modern gear reads old tapes.....I would really, really like to kill those faint random horizontal scratchy lines and use my SVHS deck!
Your S-VHS deck probably has dirty heads. That is one taletell sign of such a problem. Either clean it yourself (dismantle it, clean with proper methods, not one of the crap "cleaner tapes") or go pay $35 or so to have it cleaned by a reputable electronics repair facility.
I recently had to clean a normal VHS VCR for exhibiting this same issue. It's all better now.
Thanks for sharing!
I have tried the S-VHS deck as playback (JVC HR03902U) via S-video, I cannot see the difference. As a matter of fact, some tapes look better from my regular VHS deck (Sony SLV-N71). Is this normal? Full disclosure, I am playing VHS tapes and not DVD. So I am again in the confused state that I was in before. Is the higher quality S-video something that is in theory only? Or is it really for DVD's and not VHS tapes?
Thanks a million!
The JVC deck you picked it a lower end one, not one of the high end models that is suggested. The 7000 and 9000 series machines or the SR lines are the ones you want. Search the forum for exact model numbers.
S-video is separate luma and chroma, unlike composite (or yucky coax), and will prevent crosstalk and color noise. There are threads, again, on this site that show the difference between s-video and other connections, in the restoration forum.
SMC, you had it right a couple posts ago. S-Video is better in theory, and usually but not always in practice. Sometimes Composite looks better. The technical reasons for this are many and varied, and do not really matter. The only aspect important to you and under your control is that the quality of the S-video signal depends somewhat on the quality of the specific circuitry in your particular playback unit.
I have the same VHS unit, though my needs were not the same as yours. Old VCR died, I choose the only SVHS unit I could find. With 400 tapes to convert, the investment in one of the high-end units may well be justified. The only tapes I had which I wanted to convert had playback issues which this unit could not handle, but just on three tapes, easier to buy the DVD. Interesting that these were brand new tapes, two of them had never been played before, all three show the same issue, not present on other, older tapes.
Tapes were not SVHS, but S-Video cable showed minor improvement, as verified by several different test subjects.
You will almost certainly want a TBC, both for Macrocvision removal and correction of playback issues. Probably few if any of your tapes will convert without one.
PC based capture may be a better way to go, but there is a significant learning curve and there will be quite a bit of delay before you get started. DVD recorder is probably the best way to go for now, and is definitely easier. You can then rip these DVD to the PC for menu creation, no major issues with this and much functionality can be added.
Originally Posted by smcc1986
If you want to compare S-Video versus Composite, you should compare the outputs from the same VCR. With a good VCR and a good monitor you should see a difference, particularly with higher quality pre-recorded tapes.
Mixing luma and chroma into a composite output in the VCR then requires the capture device (or external TBC) to separate them again, and this process often creates noticeable artifacts. A good experiment would be to author a DVD with two segments for comparison; one from composite, one from S-Video. This will test the actual Y/C separator(s) in the capture path.
Some recent VCR suggestion threads;
Originally Posted by davideckDonatello - The Shredder? Michelangelo - Maybe all that hardware is for making coleslaw?
Thanks for the tips.
I will try the test. It may however, be moot because the Sony VHS deck I am using has 'eaten tapes' twice in the last two days. I think that is the sign it is dying, right?
I may buy a Panasonic DMR ES35 VCR/DVD recorder combo to test the picture quality but that does not solve the MV problem so I am really behind the 8 ball now.
P.S. the higher end JVC S-VHS are not on their website and I cannot find it on the Fry's, BestBuy, Circuit City websites. The 3902 model was the only one I can find at Fry's. I am guessing they have been discontinued..... any thoughts?
Originally Posted by smcc1986
Very often those typical problems are caused by a worn out pinch roller.
These need replacement after long time use.
See: Vintage Audio Video Tech Tips
And about the S-Video dilemma, in my experience the "theoretical" better S-Video machines don't always produce the best results with normal VHS tapes.
See: Best bitrate for VHS capture to MPEG2
Thanks for the explaination. I will take the VHS deck to service.
From the S-VHS deck, the playback is actually grainier and blurrier than the VHS deck so I am now at a lost as to what to do.
Sorry, one more question.
Will I get better playback picture and take care of Macrovision at the same time if I use a Panasonic AG-1980 as the playback deck? I am using a JVC 3902 as playback now.
Originally Posted by lordsmurf