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  1. Hi

    I have a project to capture and convert VHS (PAL), with 3 to 4 hours per tape, to digital. I have some hundreds tapes that I need to preserve before the degradation becomes too high. They are not copy protected tapes (at least 99% of them). I can't go one by one capturing and editing by hand for the best quality due to the quantity. So I am thinking on some kind of compromise which could make it semi-automatic but with good quality (I have to give up excellent quality due to the total amount). Please note that when I talk about quality, it is related to the max quality that it is possible to expect from an -old- VHS source, which is of course, quite limited.

    I was thinking on getting one of the best professional VCR/VHS that were made (I saw some Panasonic years ago), maybe a TBC if the one in the VCR is not enough, and then some kind of digitalization device (multimedia HDD, digitalization hub, capture card + very easy software workflow, etc). The focus, I'm afraid, is to have a simple workflow, ideally even so easy as someone without knowledge could do it. Otherwise it would take years of non-stop work...which is just ridiculous.

    I would need then to define:

    1. VCR
    2. TBC, if any
    3. Digitalization step (device, etc...)
    4. Resoluton and video format, regarding keeping most of the captured quality, and to be future proof. It is possible that in the future I need to extract part of some tapes to make a better quality (filtered) edition, so I am not sure about keeping them uncompressed (ideal) or not (but better for storage space).

    The tapes are in normal condition, the worse problem seem to be that tracking is, for some of them, hard (not possible) to adjust in the VCRs I have now (consumer ones), I don't know if that is a tape or vcr problem- and some of them have become slightly more blurry. I don't see major problems aside of these, neither in color or black and white content (except for very few ones).

    I have been reading this forum and others but I get quite lost, sometimes there is few information that fits my case, sometimes too much and I get lost. I would like to ask for help to keep it more or less concise and clear to see what I can do/expect nowadays for this work.

    Thanks for any help!
    Last edited by darkbluesky; 24th Dec 2019 at 05:15.
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  2. aBigMeanie aedipuss's Avatar
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    get several vhs to dvd recorders. it's the only way you are going to get a simple workflow. if the tapes are 3 or 4 hours each they are most likely recorded in LP mode anyway. not much quality to start with. about the only way to get through "hundreds" without spending a ridiculous amount of time to get mediocre results. the recorders can be resold when the project is over.
    "a lot of people are better dead" - prisoner KSC2-303
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  3. Member
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    Jul 2007
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    Cheap, fast and best quality are mutually exclusive. I'll quote myself as I've posted this (too) many times:

    Originally Posted by lingyi View Post
    Pet peeve. You don't RIP a VHS tape. You capture it.

    Your $50 budget is unrealistic as you'll need an external Time Base Corrector $$$ to remove the copy protection. Add in a quality VCR and quality capture device and you're looking at 10X+ your budget. The upside is you can resell your equipment and recover most of the cost.

    If you're willing to spend the money to do your project correctly and with quality, read these articles and threads:
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  4. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    Jun 2003
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    This request isn't really hard.

    JVC VCR with line TBC > external frame TBC > LSI-based (preferably JVC) DVD recorder

    I still use that method for my hobby work.

    The biggest issue is finding the equipment AND in truly tested/excellent quality (not just a lame eBay claim). But such gear is available.
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  5. Something to remind of: long hours tapes = audio/video desync, 99.9% sure

    If you can have:
    1: Quality chroma noise reduction (done during capture)
    2: TBC'd signal (make wavy horizontal lines straighter basically)
    3: Optional: Proc amp tweaks (levels, brightness etc..) (done during capture), home recordings are generally quite predictable if recorded with the same vcr; the settings remain the same accross tapes.

    That would save you a lot of time from experience
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