All of them seem to be a bit blurry overall and has a strip at the bottom that is slightly warped. Is that what happens when VHS gets old?
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Things that might contribute to this:
1. You forgot how bad VHS video looks, after watching HD for a decade.
2. You have too much signal processing enabled. I have a fairly high-end Panasonic deck that lets me adjust the amount of noise reduction, and I can make the video look really soft if I turn it up all the way.
3. Your tapes are recorded in EP (6-hour) mode. This tape saving feature produced video that lacked detail compared to SP (2-hour) mode.
The garbage at the bottom may just be the head-switching noise and is normal for VHS. Back when the tapes were shown on a CRT TV, the overscan usually masked this artifact, but now that you can see everything on a computer monitor, you almost always see this. Most people either ignore it, or mask it out.
Here is YouTube video of some VHS I worked with many years ago. It is EP. Does this look about as blurry as your video (concentrate on the left side which shows the unprocessed video)?
Last edited by johnmeyer; 15th Sep 2018 at 22:05. Reason: added video link
Agreeing with the others. We are now accustomed to screens that look sharp at a distance of two feet or less. NTSC was designed to be viewed on a 19-inch screen across a living room. It's WAY fuzzier than your computer display. And as johnmeyer observes, you are seeing garbage at the bottom of the image which was never visible on a typical TV screen.
I have recordings from 1981, that looks still as good when they were recorded, i guess the tapes where stored under good conditions,
only some pre-recorded tapes where degraded, because they where of poor fabrication quality to start with, these where even not MacroVision protected.
tape quality was much better than expected, to get as much quality as possible, you should avoid using the composite video connection, some DVR's (ES10) or combo's have also a component video output,(red,green,blue) that's the best possible connection to use, the ES10 has even a dark/light option for this output you can set this output to progressive, so you don't need to de-interlace in post.
My experience with magnetic tape is similar: it is remarkably resilient. I was born in 1952, but found some audio tape my dad recorded in 1950, before I was born, using a brand new recorder he borrowed from work. I transferred using my 1963 Wollensak, and it played as well as the day it was made. That is some of the oldest acetate tape in existence.
There was a period in the 1970s and 1980s when some tape was manufactured with a faulty binder, and the magnetic coating (the dull stuff) flakes off. However, I don't think that tape was used for VHS tapes, although someone else could correct me on that.
Most tape deterioration is due to bad storage conditions: too much heat and humidity; sunlight; dirt, etc.
I found an magazine article dating from 1958, that indeed already tells about the "faulty" bind component, 3M was one of the first manufactors of magnetic tape with ampex.
The binder had more functions,to bind the magnetic particles (or pigment) to each other, to the (acetate in early times indeed) tape, and to provide a smooth surface, some sort of lubricant element was also used, which was removed every time it was played.
Acetate was also used in the film industry...
Acetate-based film was developed for the consumer market in the late 1930s. Kodak was not going to sell dangerous nitrate film to its amateur customers!
As someone who transfers film for a "living," JVRaines is absolutely correct. Nitrate film was made of the same stuff as nitroglycerine. It was then projected in front of a white-hot bulb and if the film got stuck, it would just burn, but it would almost explode, usually burning down the theater in the process. The famous 1988 Italian film "Cinema Paradiso" showed this in one scene.
When Kodak brought acetate film to market in the late 1920s, it was marketed as "safety film" because it didn't blow up. I have transferred amateur film taken in 1928 (I have some in my closet from 1933) and it is in as good shape now as the day it came back from processing. Remarkable longevity.
Here's one of my 1928 transfers:
Last edited by johnmeyer; 16th Sep 2018 at 18:48. Reason: wordsmithing
JVC even claimed 500 lines for it's (SVHS) HR-S8960 model, PAL in my case, it has only composite S-Video connections, so how do you see that on a CRT tv maybe > SCART >RGB ?
i have my doubts on that one, fun thing is, old tv-series, original made on film, look much better than the ones on video tape, The Thundbirds series as an example, most people saw it in black and white in the UK at that time, most serie shown here in the Netherlands on tv where NTSC converted Umatic tapes i guess and the transmission was bad of it.
but it can't be compaired with now. btw. the Cinema Paradiso link didnt work for me (NL)
Most of my VHS tapes (<1981) are still in good condition no drop outs, only a few 3MScotch tapes that "smell" and have dropouts, the surface on the tape also doesn't look as smooth, as it should,
Tapes i have are mainly: Fuji Maxell, PDM, BASF, "Sony" TDK, and some that i guess are rebranded ones, of the previous i mentioned.
One question, is it better to store a VHS tape fully wound >>FF or rewound <<REW or wont it matter either ?
In any case, there is no prefect definition of what the bandwidth of an analog circuit is. I's not like everything below the stated limit is reproduced perfectly and everything above it is gone. What happens is the amplitude of a sin wave decreases as the frequency increases. In a visual system like VHS this means the contrast decreases as the resolution increases. Here's an actual capture of a resolution test pattern recorded from DVD to VHS, with a waveform monitor graph on the bottom:
The alternating black and white lines increase in frequency from left to right. As the frequency increases the contrast (amplitude) of the recorded signal decreases (the source signal had the same amplitude across nearly the entire frame). Where do you want say the limit is reached? One common way is to state where the signal is reduced to -3 dB (about 50 percent). Another common way uses -10 dB (10 percent). The latter gives a higher number.
As a reference, here's the same test pattern recorded directly from the DVD player's composite output (what was recorded by the VHS deck):
As you can see, the amplitude of the pattern remains constant to much higher frequencies.
So, i could make a DVD i guess, for my DVD/VHS combo, and test record quality of the the VHS part ?
so i don't have to use the composite/s-video input...
Here's an NTSC DVD ISO image of the test pattern if you want it.
If you want some analysis of the resolution of the VHS cap:
If you take the distance from the peak below the arrow (I'm being pretty generous here) and the peak to the right of it you get 4 pixels. Since that's a transition from bright to dark then back to bright it's two lines. That makes one line 2 pixels. A 720 pixel wide frame divided by 2 gives you 360 lines of resolution across the entire frame (or 270 across a 3:3 portion of the 4:3 frame). I assume manufacturers would take their readings closer to 10 percent remaining amplitude because that gives better number than taking it a 50 percent. If you take the reading a few pixels to the left you get 5 pixels from peak to peak. That equates to 288 lines over the entire frame. So exactly where you take the measurement will make a significant difference.
Thankyou, both recorders here are multi tv system, but i live in the Netherlands, so a PAL version would be even better, but now i have something to go with, thankyou.
I have a Panasonic ES35V which is a combo so i can copy both ways DVD<>VHS, with this recorder i can capture from it's component YUV output,
So i would burn the disc from the iso image, play the disc record it onto a vhs tape, and play the tape on my JVC SVHS recorder, HRS8960.
On my ES35V i can can capture this tape also through componet to my Intensity Shuttle ofcourse.
dont know what these recorders do with 16:9..... letterbox it or anamorph... i only 16:9 and 4:3 options, so i guess letterbox
some tests to do... again