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  1. I was given this advice by an unknown member of a remote forum that I need to do this to view dvd-like quality sharpness on my old vhs tapes that I need to transfer to DV for storage.

    What would you recommend me to do this on a hi8, s-vhs camcorder and s-vhs VCR. :roll:
    I also want to know if is better to use a wet or dry cleaning head kit
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  2. Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    United States
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    Transferring your tapes to digital medium will not increase the detail of the picture to DVD quality, it will only capture what was on the tape. If you convert your tapes to digital video, you can enjoy the video for years longer than any tape would have lasted!

    What equipment should you use? Use a tape player that plays the tapes you have. If your tape is copy-protected (VHS tapes in the US are protected) you might need to buy a time-base corrector to remove the protection (US law says "one copy, like a book, for backup or archival purposes").

    After that, it is your decision. You can use a cheaper equipment or expensive equipment. Some people say you MUST have a sound card. Others say the sound chips on their motherboard work perfectly well. Others even buy stand-alone converters where you let the machine play a tape and record onto a DVD-R automatically.

    One source I read ( suggested that capturing to a digital picture that has 352 by 480 resolution (if doing it on a computer) will capture all the information that most tapes are able to hold. Larger resolutions make the video files on your hard disk larger but do not improve the picture quality.

    Wet head cleaners are better than dry ones. Isopropyl alcohol will ruin rubber rollers, I suggest a commercial wet head-cleaning fluid with a safe chemical. Taking the cover off a VCR might ruin the warranty, but it lets you gain better access so your cotton swab can do a good job of cleaning. Some wet head cleaners let you put drops of cleaning fluid into the same size tape cartridge that your equipment was designed for, this is convenient.

    Heads can become magnetized after a very great deal of use, and it doesn't hurt to demagnetize them. I have a demagnetizer that is at the end of a wand that is really convenient. I have used it on casette players (high-frequency sounds like violins, cymbals, and even consonants in US English speech will get softer when playing back the tape, and demagnetizing the heads restored the correct sound). I do not know how to tell when video tape players need this to be done however.

    EDIT: I have an Athlon 2900 with 1.5 Gigs of RAM. I converted my first VHS tape to digital yesterday with a software program, and my computer could not keep up. It just dropped parts (frames) of the video, and playing back the digital file showed a lot of jerky motion.

    If you want to use a computer, I suggest a capture card that has a hardware chip (often on a video card) to do the conversion automatically or a "box" that plugs in to your VCR and converts to MPEG or AVI and sends this to your USB port. With a hardware chip, I read that computers as slow as 1500 MHz will work fine.

    My ATI All-In-Wonder has a dedicated hardware chip (Theater 200 chip) but I did not use it yesterday. I will try it this week. If you want, I will let you know how well it works.

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