I am converting VHS-C tapes to digital using a USB capture card and playing back the tapes in the camera (Panasonic) they were created in.
The first tape came out great. The second tape I tried (straight after the first) was not great at all and had white diagonal lines all over the video. Same for the next tape.
Tried the first tape again and now it too has diagonal lines on it and looks really bad.
When I switch camera to record, the output looks perfect. So must be something to do with playback?
Can't see or think of anything I did differently or moved between the first and second tape. Tried moving power supply further away, did not fix it. Cables were all in properly etc.
Why would it suddenly mess up and be so different literally an hour later with the same exact tape?
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Sounds like the tape may have been dusty or dirty and that transferred to the playback head. You could try cleaning the head and see if that helps.
Tapes that have not been played in decades will tend to shed off a bit onto the head. You could play a more recently made tape (of any kind) for an hour to help wipe off any residue, you could use a easy cleaning tape, or you can open up the VCR and clean it manually by hand. On the last option, I would recommend you look up proper procedure for manual cleaning.
That actually looks like electrical interference, like you might get if you have charger (mobile phone, etc) or power supply nearby.