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  1. As a Christmas gift I decided to pull all my moms old VHS tapes and transfer them to my computer via the elgato cable & a VCR. I started with a regular old RCA Four Head VCR. About 6 tapes in I really started to see some major quality issues and the tapes are pretty old. I did a little research (of course I waited until I already dumped 10+ hours into this project!) and looked into "the best VCR's" for transferring VHS to DVD and decided on a JVC HR-S9800U. I ordered the thing in, hooked it up, read the manual and started recording again. Immediately I noticed a huge improvement in quality! BUT there's this flippn' squiggly streak across the upper 1/3 section of the tapes. I thought maybe it was a tracking issue, or something to do with the tape, so I swapped the tape out with a newer VHS (a commercial tape) and nothing! NO squiggly. So I tried a second home video tape, and bam, the SAME squiggly line. I'm feeling hopeless, I've dumped a crap load of money into this project, but now I'm thinking I should just stuck it out with the old RCA :/ quality and sound improvement aside, I can't use the JVC version when everyones heads are cut through with a squiggle bar. I'm completely new to this, so be kind, but be honest. Is there anyway to fix this or did I just burn a bunch of money? OH this machine had it's tracking mechanism replaced a year or so ago, and is otherwise brand new (the guy had it in the box in his closet and never used it until he needed to backup some old VHS tapes. He pulled it out, and it didn't work. He took it in & they fixed it. He used it for about 12 hrs of tape and sold it.)

    What IS the squiggly? and can I make it go away.... (I may have mentioned this, but the squiggly is NOT showing up on the RCA. But it doesn't show up on the JVC with a commercial tape either. I'm lost.)
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  2. Member DB83's Avatar
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    So are these home tapes recorded at LP or even ELP speed ?
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  3. The fact that I just had to Google those terms is probably not a good sign. I have no idea. They were taped in 1992 by an over the shoulder tape recorder. That's about all I know.
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  4. That squiggly line can be a few issues; poor quality tape, dirty video head from the video recorder. Seeing that you're having this problem with only home made videos I would say it was most likely the video camera had a really bad dirty track on the video head. The video head is the shiny silver spinning head on all video tape recorders. These heads are very sensitive, just scratching the head can cause poor video quality!
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  5. That would make sense except that if I stick the same home video into another vcr (the RCA) I don't get that squiggly. That's why I thought it was the vcr (the JVC)... but when I put another tape (a commercial tape) in the JVC there aren't any issues?
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  6. I'll give you a few tip when it comes to VHS tapes. When playing a tape and good picture and sound is present, the tape traveling across the video head should be quiet. If you hear change of sound of the tape traveling across the video head and poor picture quality and or sound is present, that tape is defective...there is a wrinkle in the tape.

    Professional Cleaning of the video head: Remove the top cover of the VHS player. Using a soft cloth, a face cloth will work, dabbing 75% or 90% rubbing alcohol onto the cloth (place your right index finger in the cloth like a glove) now place the cloth on the drum head and turn it counter-clockwise with your left index finger. Don't be afraid to apply a little pressure but not too much that you can't freely turn the head. If the video head is an open head, piece of metal resting on an axis, DON'T TOUCH THAT AREA, damaging that area will prevent the head from spinning as it is the power lead to the motor.

    You can also use q-tips but I don't recommend it! You can also clean the other heads; Erase head, Audio Head.
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  7. I'm a Super Moderator johns0's Avatar
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    The issue you are having is a tracking issue in slp/ep mode,not all vcrs can play different slp/ep tapes with good tracking and usually the tracking can't be adjusted to get rid of the line effect.
    I think,therefore i am a hamster.
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  8. It's not a tracking issue in slp/ep. If that were the case, in this video would be the result: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fNvz6VFVO0o
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  9. I'm a Super Moderator johns0's Avatar
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    That's your opinion,i have worked on hundreds of vcrs and most issues are tracking problems followed by creased tapes due to bad pinch roller.
    I think,therefore i am a hamster.
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  10. Member DB83's Avatar
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    And since you can play these tapes, with this issue, in the RCA then capture them with that.

    There may be quality issues but you can have quality issues with any VHS. The capture is not the be all and end all of the process. The mode of capture is important - lossless instead of lossy - and post-capture restoration.
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  11. And then what program do you recommend for post restoration?
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  12. It looks to me that a video head is dirty. See reply from digitaljar. If it was in the camera/recorder, then it will be very difficult to impossible to remove the artifact. If it is in the playback VCR, then clean the head with 75% or 90% rubbing alcohol, as digitaljar stated. If that is beyond your skill level or desire, use a head cleaning tape cartridge to see if that can help. While that would be my last resort, it may to the trick.
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  13. Member DB83's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by hckychik154 View Post
    And then what program do you recommend for post restoration?
    It would have to be avisynth.

    It has a steep learning curve but there are plenty of topics about techniques on here.
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  14. Originally Posted by johns0 View Post
    That's your opinion,i have worked on hundreds of vcrs and most issues are tracking problems followed by creased tapes due to bad pinch roller.
    I used to repair VCR's and it's my professional opinion that it is not a glitch caused by EP/SLP issues.
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    Was the JVC tracking mode set in auto or manual ??
    Losing one's sense of humor....
    is nothing to laugh at.
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  16. I tried both auto and manual. Same both ways. The overall quality was definitely better with auto though.
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