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  1. Hi everyone

    So few weeks back i got roped into converting all the old VHS tapes to digital as i was the only person with a half decent PC in the family (I remember a few beers being drunk at the time of agreeing with this)... anyway a day later and 3 plastic boxes were in my house containing 30 VHS tapes , a Sanyo VHR 277 and a JVC GR-AX3 Camcorder and finally a Roxio Video Capture USB.

    Now i have been frantically reading through post on forums the correct way to Capture these VHS (Yes i did start with the Roxio software) at the moment im using AmarecTV - VDub-handbrake, my results are ok but if i'm honest i don't really know what a good VHS picture should look like (and i dowt the other people in my family would either) the only thing that is annoying me is... top and bottom of video has static and randomly lines of it appear. I'd love to be able to remove that static!

    So my question is the Sanyo VCR is it worth ditching it and looking for a higher quailty player? (not trying to be brand snob)?
    I'm unsure of the quality of the Sanyo player or how many heads it has but locally to me i can buy a JVC 4 head VCR for 35 it probably isn't the best but i'm only looking for stable video playback once these tapes are done i'll never use it again

    any thoughts?
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  2. Member dellsam34's Avatar
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    The main two important things to look for in a VCR are line TBC (stablizes the line jitter) and the S-Video output which puts every VHS VCR out of the question, you are left with only S-VHS VCR's that are equipped with line TBC, Take your time and find a good working one. Offcourse there is more to it than just a good VCR but having one is a good start.
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  3. Originally Posted by dellsam34 View Post
    The main two important things to look for in a VCR are line TBC (stablizes the line jitter) and the S-Video output which puts every VHS VCR out of the question, you are left with only S-VHS VCR's that are equipped with line TBC, Take your time and find a good working one. Offcourse there is more to it than just a good VCR but having one is a good start.
    Thanks for the reply.

    Stupid question but how do you know if the VCR is S-VHS?
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    Sorry regulars, but reposting this yet again.

    OP, read and thoroughly digest the info in these links, then come with further questions.

    "Sorry to be a broken record, but read these links which answers your questions:

    http://www.digitalfaq.com/editorials/digital-video/professional-analog-workflow.htm

    http://www.digitalfaq.com/forum/video-restore/1567-vcr-buying-guide.html

    For equipment, read this http://www.digitalfaq.com/forum/marketplace/8057-sale-complete-workflow.html and contact lordsmurf for a guaranteed quality workflow. Trying to piece together your own workflow is hit and miss, especially today."

    https://forum.videohelp.com/threads/395105-Getting-back-into-Capturing-Setup-Advice
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  5. Member dellsam34's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by patters1978 View Post
    Thanks for the reply.

    Stupid question but how do you know if the VCR is S-VHS?
    It would say S-VHS or Super VHS right in front of it.
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  6. Originally Posted by dellsam34 View Post
    Originally Posted by patters1978 View Post
    Thanks for the reply.

    Stupid question but how do you know if the VCR is S-VHS?
    What are super drive VCR's?

    It would say S-VHS or Super VHS right in front of it.
    What are super drive VCR players?
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  7. Originally Posted by lingyi View Post
    Sorry regulars, but reposting this yet again.

    OP, read and thoroughly digest the info in these links, then come with further questions.

    "Sorry to be a broken record, but read these links which answers your questions:

    http://www.digitalfaq.com/editorials/digital-video/professional-analog-workflow.htm

    http://www.digitalfaq.com/forum/video-restore/1567-vcr-buying-guide.html

    For equipment, read this http://www.digitalfaq.com/forum/marketplace/8057-sale-complete-workflow.html and contact lordsmurf for a guaranteed quality workflow. Trying to piece together your own workflow is hit and miss, especially today."

    https://forum.videohelp.com/threads/395105-Getting-back-into-Capturing-Setup-Advice
    Thanks for the reply.

    I'm not looking to spend hundreds on this project, I thought I'd made it clear in my original post.
    In the end of the day the people who want this doing cant see the difference between DVD & Bluray, it would however be nice to stop that static messing up parts of the video
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  8. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by patters1978 View Post
    cant see the difference between DVD & Bluray,
    That has nothing to do with capturing analog videotapes. Apples and oranges.

    I suggest reading the articles lingyi linked: http://www.digitalFAQ.com/editorials/digital-video/professional-analog-workflow.htm
    In it, I discuss the difference between a basic DIY/hobby setup, and a truly pro setup. You're seemingly making the same mistake others do, assuming that TBC/etc are "fancy" or "pro" items. That is not the case. Those are basic and essential. A pro setup simply has a multiple TBCs, multiple VCRs, and multiple capture cards in a single workflow.

    Not wanting to spend money is nice. But stuff costs money. Hobbies cost money. This is no different. It has costs.

    and finally a Roxio Video Capture USB.
    FYI, this is a rebadged Easycap/Easycrap card, do not use. You will have all sorts of problems.

    my results are ok but if i'm honest i don't really know what a good VHS picture should look like
    Turn on the cable/satellite Gameshow Network (GSN) in the mornings ... or something like it, wherever you are (UK?). On GSN, you'd see Match Game, that old 1970s game show. Your VHS can and should look that good. Maybe a bit more grainy, maybe slgiht less detail. But equally as stable, non-wiggly, color clarity, lack of random colors and noises. Homeshot stuff will have white balance problems, maybe exposure, but the quality should still be there. There is zero reason a videotape has to look bad. Bad is user error (including cheaping out of bad equipment), not the tape.

    Sanyo VCR is it worth ditching
    Yes.

    how many heads it has but locally to me i can buy a JVC 4 head VCR
    "Heads" is a quaint notion, consumer marketing that has stuck. Almost everything is 4 heads, but head count doesn't determine much of anything. 2-heads are bad, and 6-heads are marketing.

    JVC 4 head VCR for 35 it probably isn't the best
    Probably not, therefore not worth buying. Also, condition matters.

    but i'm only looking for stable video playback
    Stable video means getting a deck with a line TBC. Not just any random VCR.

    once these tapes are done i'll never use it again
    You have the wrong mindset. Buy it, use it, resell it. You're not supposed to buy it, use it, then stick it in a closet forever. That's dumb. It's not a forever purchase, it's a project purchase. So if you want to take the time to DIY this project, then do it correctly. Get what's needed for the task, get the correct tools. If a conversion job were a car, and you wanted to change your own oil, would you go buy the right supplies for that task? (namely motor oil) Or would you try to use what you already have, which is olive oil in the cupboard. That won't end well. Why is a car more special than video, which is surely far more precious? To most folks, memories mean more than a car.
    Last edited by lordsmurf; 29th Jan 2020 at 19:09.
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  9. Originally Posted by patters1978 View Post
    the only thing that is annoying me is... top and bottom of video has static and randomly lines of it appear. I'd love to be able to remove that static!
    Removing this static (the technical term is head switching noise) on the bottom of the frame is a total PITA that involves screwing around with convoluted confusing command-line video software that gives most non-geeks a migraine. All VCRs (no matter how elaborate) output their video with this noise on the bottom, and sometimes a bit on top. It was always masked by the old-school CRT televisions VCRs were meant to play on, so was never an issue until people began digitizing their tapes to DVD or hard drive files for playback on HDTVs or computer monitors. DVD recorders and PC capture devices are unfortunately too "stupid" to automatically mask this noise, so it has to be done separately as a tedious software cropping workflow (that you almost certainly will not want to hassle with).

    Consider carefully just how deeply you want to get involved with this project, financially and time/effort. If you truly were drafted into it by family taking advantage of putting you into a drunken stupor, and you otherwise have zero interest in learning the ropes of video digitizing, return the crates to your family and tell them they need to let the moths out of their wallets and hire a pro firm to do it. Or, just give them the results you are getting now with the noise at the frame edges, and tell them thats the best you can do with consumer grade gear and software: if they want better they need to cough up the $1000+ that a proper SVHS VCR, external TBC and other items will cost. That ought to shut down any complaints pronto.

    These personal videos are typically 90% BS anyway. The quality is poor to begin with, and even if people think they care and theres aching nostalgia to see family members who passed away or kids when they were younger, the poor quality (bad framing, out of focus, too dark or too light, bad sound) inevitably disappoints. In my experience, people chomp at the bit to get a digital copy to view, watch it once, then the subject is never ever mentioned again. You're doing them a favor: they can take it or leave it. They want 'better' quality, let them contact a company like LordSmurfs and have a pro do it. LordSmurf can achieve Game Show Network quality from VHS: the rest of us, not so much. You can buy the gear, but you cannot buy a pro's instinct, training, experience and talent.

    It is so far beyond "not worth it" to DIY with the "recommended workflow" that I strongly suggest you back out of this commitment ASAP. While it is true you can "buy the stuff you need for the project then resell", you always take a major hit on resale and never get back all the money you invested (plus, you have no idea how excruciating it can be to deal with the obnoxious potential buyers). Thats fine if you personally were doing the project for yourself and really gave an infinitesimal **** about this material, but if you would just as soon they never handed you these crates: run. Run quickly.

    What are super drive VCR players?
    "Super Drive" is just a meaningless buzzword feature name popularized by Panasonic and then used by a few other mfrs. It just indicates the tape transport mechanism is slightly improved (yet also cheapened) from earlier models. More often than not all it suggests is the VCR can rewind a tape faster than you can sneeze.
    Last edited by orsetto; 28th Jan 2020 at 13:29.
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  10. Originally Posted by patters1978 View Post
    So few weeks back i got roped into converting all the old VHS tapes to digital as i was the only person with a half decent PC in the family (I remember a few beers being drunk at the time of agreeing with this)...
    Hi, Patters1979, and welcome to the club!


    Originally Posted by patters1978 View Post
    Now i have been frantically reading through post on forums the correct way to Capture these VHS (Yes i did start with the Roxio software) at the moment im using AmarecTV - VDub-handbrake, my results are ok but if i'm honest i don't really know what a good VHS picture should look like
    I mean no offense when I say that if you want to actually get your tapes transferred, I'd very much recommend not frantically reading through these forums, just because it gets to be too much fun reading and discussing this stuff, much more fun in fact than fastening your butt to a chair and doing the actual video transfer.

    Related: You don't have the time and/or money to get any of the stuff needed to really make a top-notch video transfer that would satisfy anybody on these forums, because the best part of having some really dedicated pursuit of some esoteric area of knowledge/expertise (like analog-to-digital transfer) is, there's always a better way out there. I'm pretty sure the ancient Romans and Greeks probably sat around drinking various alcoholic beverages and debated which chariot mods would make them faster.

    Originally Posted by patters1978 View Post
    the only thing that is annoying me is... top and bottom of video has static and randomly lines of it appear. I'd love to be able to remove that static!
    This could be for all sorts of reasons, and one simple one is that in the old days, your average TV just didn't display the junk at the edges of the frame. It's a bit of an oversimplification but it could be a bit of overscan on your TV/monitor/display: The "frame" of your vintage PAL/NTSC monitor was just slightly smaller than your newer display, so it covered the edges which you are now seeing. Or it could be "flagging" on the tape, which could be due to a misalignment of your old tapes and old vcr, and even in the good old days when these things were brand-new, there are so many ways for things not to line up, image quality was always an issue and tweaking/adjusting the picture/setup was just a given. So, so many things could be at play here ... really it's a rabbit hole of intrigue and trouble-shooting, which is, again, fun fun fun to yak about in the forums. Not so much fun when you need to spend $$$ to get some piece of equipment that turns out not to solve whatever problem you were having in the first place.

    Originally Posted by patters1978 View Post
    So my question is the Sanyo VCR is it worth ditching it and looking for a higher quailty player? (not trying to be brand snob)?
    I'm unsure of the quality of the Sanyo player or how many heads it has but locally to me i can buy a JVC 4 head VCR for 35 it probably isn't the best but i'm only looking for stable video playback once these tapes are done i'll never use it again

    any thoughts?
    Well, first thing I would do is, see if playing your current VCR on a different monitor gives you different results (i.e. makes the problem parts look better or worse than what you've got now). And try a few different tapes to see if the good/bad results are consistent. Now if your VCR is really making terrible noises and/or the picture starts looking like somebody's chewing on the tape, for goodness sake pop out the tape and throw the VCR in the trash so you're not tempted to use it to destroy priceless home videos. Assuming you're working with priceless home videos. If there are just old "recorded off the TV" tapes, first thing I'd do is, see if there's a better source available somewhere else, don't reinvent the wheel, especially if there's a much cleaner wheel available. But for homemade stuff, if they're recorded on different VCRs/camcorders to begin with, they may look better or worse on different VCRs. Which sucks, as that means you need to buy more equipment, which is fun but an expensive hobby. Also significant others may or may not frown on you doing this, so that's a consideration nobody in the forums can really advise you on beyond, "If you don't like sleeping on the couch, you'll need to ration your VCR purchases."

    Anyway, hope you're having fun out there, and again, welcome to the club!
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  11. Originally Posted by orsetto View Post

    Consider carefully just how deeply you want to get involved with this project, financially and time/effort. If you truly were drafted into it by family taking advantage of putting you into a drunken stupor, and you otherwise have zero interest in learning the ropes of video digitizing, return the crates to your family and tell them they need to let the moths out of their wallets and hire a pro firm to do it. Or, just give them the results you are getting now with the noise at the frame edges, and tell them thats the best you can do with consumer grade gear and software: if they want better they need to cough up the $1000+ that a proper SVHS VCR, external TBC and other items will cost. That ought to shut down any complaints pronto.

    These personal videos are typically 90% BS anyway. The quality is poor to begin with, and even if people think they care and theres aching nostalgia to see family members who passed away or kids when they were younger, the poor quality (bad framing, out of focus, too dark or too light, bad sound) inevitably disappoints. In my experience, people chomp at the bit to get a digital copy to view, watch it once, then the subject is never ever mentioned again. You're doing them a favor: they can take it or leave it. They want 'better' quality, let them contact a company like LordSmurfs and have a pro do it. It is so far beyond "not worth it" to DIY with the "recommended workflow" that I strongly suggest you back out of this commitment ASAP. While it is true you can "buy the stuff you need for the project then resell", you always take a major hit on resale and never get back all the money you invested (plus, you have no idea how infuriating it can be to deal with the obnoxious potential buyers). Thats fine if you personally were doing the project for yourself and really gave an infinitesimal **** about this material, but if you would just as soon they never handed you these crates: run. Run quickly.
    ^^^ This a million times over!!!! Should be on a T-Shirt! Posted over your desk at home and/or at work! AMEN!!!
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  12. Any vhs deck with s-video output will do better - the best analog out on consumer decks.
    E.g. The numerous jvc s-vhs decks.

    There are decks with hdmi output - digital.
    E.g. Panasonic dmr-ez47.

    ...

    Common hdmi game capture recorders can be used with a vhs deck with hdmi output.

    S-video into cheaper capture devices general work ok
    Otherwise, Canopus ADVC-100/110/etc analog to dv capture boxes with stabilization (and macrovision fix) work if you have a firewire card/port in your computer.

    ...

    The dmr-ez47 deck can go vhs to dvd for archiving, then you can rip dvd mpeg-2 straight to pc from those discs.

    ....
    Having both canopus and ez47, in 2 hour dvd mode, ez47 is the easiest to bring the video into the future with little hand holding.
    pop in tape, dvd, press copy.
    Deck does a decent job with stabilizing minor video issues and noise. Plus is internal wiring is better than composite/s-video cables between decks, too.

    The static on top of the frame can usually be taken out by adjusting the vhs playback tracking before a copy is made.

    Most PCs have a DVD drive, so getting the video into the pc is easy - no capture devices, no cabling, no setup.

    Simply drag and drop the folders on the dvd to pc, done.
    Can use rewriteable dvd if you don't want to archive on discs.

    Quality is very good.

    ...

    Canopus route with a good vhs/s-vhs deck can handle the trickier tapes better - those that need tbc or macrovision correction. Slightly better video quality on great recordings, nothing significant of difference on poorer vhs recordings (e.g. If you recorded tv in 6 hour vhs tape mode, you've got poor video. No point using a canop us because it's not going to give you a Better video from a Poor recording.)
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  13. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by babygdav View Post
    Common hdmi game capture recorders can be used with a vhs deck with hdmi output.
    Not if quality matters. Not only visual, but sync and stability.

    Otherwise, Canopus ADVC-100/110/etc analog to dv capture boxes with stabilization (and macrovision fix) work if you have a firewire card/port in your computer.
    Canopus boxes are not magic, and literally designed for Pentium III computers in the 1990s. There is zero signal/image stabilization in the 50/55/100/110 boxes, and near-zero in the 300. No TBCs, nothing. Just a low quality input digitizer using DV codecs. Anything since the early 2000s has been better.

    The dmr-ez47 deck can go vhs to dvd for archiving,
    Not if quality matters. Not only visual, but sync and stability.

    Most PCs have a DVD drive, so getting the video into the pc is easy - no capture devices, no cabling, no setup.
    This is sadly becoming less true. Have you been in Best Buy lately?

    Canopus route with a good vhs/s-vhs deck can handle the trickier tapes better - those that need tbc or macrovision correction.
    No. False. No truth to this statement whatosever.

    (e.g. If you recorded tv in 6 hour vhs tape mode, you've got poor video.
    Entirely untrue. Mode doesn't determine quality, recording deck did.
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  14. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by orsetto View Post
    If you truly were drafted into it by family taking advantage of putting you into a drunken stupor, and you otherwise have zero interest in learning the ropes of video digitizing, return the crates to your family and tell them they need to let the moths out of their wallets and hire a pro firm to do it.
    That's it.

    Or, just give them the results you are getting now with the noise at the frame edges, and tell them thats the best you can do with consumer grade gear and software: if they want better they need to cough up the $1000+ that a proper SVHS VCR, external TBC and other items will cost. That ought to shut down any complaints pronto.
    Better idea is this: Do a tape yourself. Then let somebody like me redo it. Then ask the family if they want the craptastic version, or the good version. I have much experience in this area. The family will budge once they see what they get. Crap for free, quality for money (either DIY with proper gear, or paying for somebody else to do the project). Most of my non-studio VHS client work, and for years now, has literally been redoing what other people screwed up, or what other supposedly "pro" companies have screwed up.

    These personal videos are typically 90% BS anyway. The quality is poor to begin with, and even if people think they care and theres aching nostalgia to see family members who passed away or kids when they were younger, the poor quality (bad framing, out of focus, too dark or too light, bad sound) inevitably disappoints. In my experience, people chomp at the bit to get a digital copy to view, watch it once, then the subject is never ever mentioned again.
    I'd disagree here. Honestly, nobody cares about the now-adult kids but the near-old adults. But people do quite often care about the now-passed relatives. Or special events, such as weddings or family reunions. Maybe a specific vacation, or a certain party. But little Timmy playing T-ball or spitting up peas in his high chair? Completely skippable after 1 viewing.

    However, most people get ALL tapes done because they simply do not know what the tape contains. And putting a potentially important tape in a ratty old VCR is the single dumbest thing you an do just prior to conversion. I've seen far too many tapes messed up at the last minute, especially early oxide shedders. You get 1 attempt, and then the tape is hosed.

    you always take a major hit on resale and never get back all the money you invested (plus, you have no idea how excruciating it can be to deal with the obnoxious potential buyers).
    Actually, none of that is necessarily true. It depends on what you buy (and thus resell), from who (lineage of equipment), where you resell (not eBay), and how patient you are to find the right buyer.

    "Super Drive" is just a meaningless buzzword feature name popularized by Panasonic
    Yep, complete nonsensical marketing term.
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  15. I may have misunderstood the "static" issue OP mentioned. Just to make sure, patters1978: there are three different forms of "static"- some are easier to reduce or eliminate than others.

    The first type is random dropouts: this is caused by the tape aging and deteriorating, or not having been mfr'd properly to begin with. Dropouts usually look like white dashes or streaks (not lines that go across the whole screen), that randomly appear all over the screen (not just the top or bottom). Sometimes trying a different VCR can help hide these: some VCRs are better than others at masking droppouts.

    The second type is tracking noise: this tends toward the top or bottom of the frame, with static lines that stretch across the entire frame. Usually this can be eliminated or minimized by adjusting the VCR tracking control. But increasingly as the years pass, it gets harder and harder to find VCRs that track any specific tape perfectly. Even at the height of the VHS era, tracking compatibility between tapes recorded on one brand VCR and played in another brand VCR wasn't great. Now its worse, with the machines that much older and drifting, and sometimes tapes suffering from environmental changes. Still, one can usually find a VCR that can at least play SP mode recordings (2 hrs on T120) cleanly. Tapes recorded in LP (4 hrs) and EP/SLP (6 hrs) modes can be much more difficult to track without rolling static.

    Overall, a Panasonic or Sharp VCR will often be a bit more forgiving than a JVC VCR when it comes to tracking issues, but much depends on the condition of the particular VCR. And each brand varied widely from year to year and sometimes model to model within the same year. I.E., the best VCR I've found for tracking difficult tapes is the Mitsubishi HS-U447, which is otherwise an average consumer deck with average performance. OTOH, the top of the line Mitsubishi HS-HD2000U that I use when I need the TBC/DNR feature is absolutely terrible tracking problem tapes, on par with most JVCs I've owned. The nasty joke we often have to deal with is that "low end" VCRs without the desirable TBC/DNR feature are often much better at tracking than the premium models with TBC/DNR, sometimes to the point the TBC/DNR becomes irrelevant because the VCR can't track worth a damn. Catch-22.

    The third type of static is the one I thought you might be referring to: a thin fixed strip of weirdness at the bottom of the screen (occasionally the top) which is more visible when the digitized file is played on a PC or modern HDTV. Sometimes it appears as static, more often it appears as a distorted addition to the bottom of the frame, with an angled left side edge.This is head switching noise, and there's no way to eliminate it other than processing the file thru tedious software.
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  16. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by orsetto View Post
    Overall, a Panasonic or Sharp VCR will often be a bit more forgiving than a JVC VCR when it comes to tracking issues, but much depends on the condition of the particular VCR. And each brand varied widely from year to year and sometimes model to model within the same year. I.E., the best VCR I've found for tracking difficult tapes is the Mitsubishi HS-U447, which is otherwise an average consumer deck with average performance. OTOH, the top of the line Mitsubishi HS-HD2000U that I use when I need the TBC/DNR feature is absolutely terrible tracking problem tapes, on par with most JVCs I've owned. The nasty joke we often have to deal with is that "low end" VCRs without the desirable TBC/DNR feature are often much better at tracking than the premium models with TBC/DNR, sometimes to the point the TBC/DNR becomes irrelevant because the VCR can't track worth a damn. Catch-22.
    I bet I could track it.

    I'm not fond of D-VHS decks, and some of the JVCs do have narrower tracking ranges on average. But as mentioned, condition matters most. Not external cosmetics, but internal condition of transports, heads, etc.

    Originally Posted by orsetto View Post
    This is head switching noise, and there's no way to eliminate it other than processing the file thru tedious software.
    Only tedious to the impatient. (Unless you have lots of videos to do, then everything starts to get tedious, including merely sticking the tape in the VCR.)
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  17. Re the Panasonic DMR-EZ47, EZ475, and EZ48v: these suddenly seem to be popping up as recommendations everywhere people post new threads about digitizing VHS. Leaving aside the actual performance of these combo units (which may or may not suit a particular user), they should be approached with great caution. They were only made from 2007-2008, and Panasonic's durability track record has not been stellar. The VCR portion is repairable, but the crucial DVD drive is not (or at least, not unless you're willing to pay a $300 service fee to the only person in North America who stockpiled spare parts and knows how to install them). Panasonic employed a then-new digital ATSC tuner to create these combo DVD/VHS models, and it seriously foobar'd their circuitry. You might be able to get one that is usable for converting vhs tapes to dvd, but any function involving tuner/timer is likely to be troublesome.

    Price can also be an issue. People were asking crazy-high $600 to $900 prices for used working examples until fairly recently, which is just ridiculous given their breakdown potential. When I checked today, allegedly working examples with remote were selling at a more realistic $200 or less. But "realistic price" is relative: they sold for $299 brand new with warranty at Best Buy in 2008, so $200 twelve years later for a random second-hand unit is still more of a gamble than I'd be comfortable risking.
    Last edited by orsetto; 29th Jan 2020 at 19:53.
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  18. VHS recording mode does determine quality.
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=trP52I-4zKk

    Canopus - I noted 100/etc. Assuming those that need tbc, etc will look into specs.
    Advc-300 model has it "Featuring high-quality image-enhancement technology--including digital noise reduction and image stabilization using line time base correction (LTBC)--the ADVC300 unit instantly cleans, stabilizes, and preserves old VHS and Hi8 videos in a clean DV format."

    6 hour recordings on a vhs tape will never look as good as a 2 hour recording.

    ...

    PCs with dvd drives.
    Haven't gone into any bestbuy in years.

    Microcenter or online - Dell, HP, Lenovo.
    All the standard desktop PCs I'm looking at have a dvd drive.

    That said, $20 for a usb dvd drive.

    ...

    Anyways, without seeing the quality of those tapes, no idea how much quality equipment is actually needed vs what's recorded on the tapes.

    For sure, a deck with a s-video or hdmi output to capture as much as possible.
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  19. Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
    I bet I could track it.
    I could too, with my sole remaining functional Panasonic AG1980 (the other eight now form my coffee table).

    Other than buying one directly from you (or getting a referral from you to another seller you have vetted), there is no decent source left for premium JVC or Panasonic VCRs with TBC/DNR that still work well (buying from eBay or Craigs List is like buying from the back of Mr Haney's truck on Green Acres (guaranteed disappointment and wasted money).

    Only tedious to the impatient.
    Tomayto, tomahto: I've learned to live with head switch noise. Tranferring a collection of thousands leaves me with zero patience for vdub, ffmpeg and their ilk. It has to be something spectacularly important for me to bother. And I doubt many newbies with crates of prom, birthday, wedding tapes dumped in their laps want to cope with "crop too much and you have an illegal resolution, crop too little it doesn't work, must learn command line lingo or epic fail".

    Yuck. If you have anything more than a handful of tapes of casual interest that can tolerate quick-n-dirty methods, consult a pro instead of DIY. Between finding (and paying for) functional hardware and learning the software, you'd reap more enduring benefit from classes in something actually useful like basket weaving or auto repair.
    Last edited by orsetto; 29th Jan 2020 at 20:19.
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  20. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by orsetto View Post
    like basket weaving
    No, sewing. I've never needed to weave a basket, but I need to learn to sew better. Some favorite garments need some mending.

    or auto repair.
    Definitely a useful skill to have. Also something I need to learn better.

    I could too, with my sole remaining functional Panasonic AG1980 (the other eight now form my coffee table).
    Or soldering and VCR repair. Otherwise that's like $3k to TGrant for repairs.
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  21. https://www.canada.ca/en/conservation-institute/services/conservation-preservation-pub...deo-tapes.html

    Anyways, this article sums up most of your realistic options without breaking the bank or going nuts.

    All the steps needed are fully detailed and all the equipment noted.
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  22. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by babygdav View Post
    https://www.canada.ca/en/conservation-institute/services/conservation-preservation-pub...deo-tapes.html

    Anyways, this article sums up most of your realistic options without breaking the bank or going nuts.

    All the steps needed are fully detailed and all the equipment noted.
    That article contains myth.

    Primarily the assertion that "magnetic tape has a lifetime of 10 to 30 years", which is nonsense. Untrue. Magnetic tape life expectancy is in the 35-65 range. The idea that tapes only last 10/etc years is revision marketing hooey from the 2000s, spouted by desperate hack transfer services trying to scare you into using their services. While it is true that tapes do need to be transferred, there is no need to rush. Do it correctly. The main issue with tape degradation is storage, including climate. There are always outliers and exceptions, of course, but the main 35-65 is a safe number. All that is needed to understand how tapes break down is some working knowledge of chemistry, a rare trait for those that usually give advice on analog tapes.

    A quick skim of the remainder of the article seems okay, but given that myth was parroted, a full read would be required.
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  23. Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
    A quick skim of the remainder of the article seems okay, but given that myth was parroted, a full read would be required.
    Agreed on tape durability: I have a couple thousand VHS in my NYC basement that have remained perfectly playable for decades, a couple hundred since 1981. The only ones I own that completely croaked were some Hollywood studio movie tapes (predictable). Beta tapes are another story: they don't deteriorate into total unplayability like a bad VHS, but most of my Sony and Fuji Beta II tapes now play with a hailstorm of dropouts (this became most noticeable by the 10 year mark, after that they remained stable if terribly disappointing). Presumably using the Sony equivalent of a Panasonic AG1980 or JVC 9600 would reduce the dropouts quite a bit, but most of the available surviving Beta decks today are decidedly less sophisticated (with dismal dropout compensators).

    Re the rest of the article: let me spare you the time, LS .

    A) As hard as it is to believe, that article is more long-winded and verbose than one of my usual rants. Lots and LOTS of exposition on the level of "someone was hired by Canadian govt as a writer, and is gonna make damned sure they justify their paycheck". Paragraph after opening paragraph is wasted explaining things like "what is VHS? why did it ever exist? why should we care? how exactly is a VHS shell constructed? how does a VCR plug into AC power?"

    O. M. G.

    B) Once it actually gets to the point, its a fairly decent tutorial, surprisingly good in many respects. Like all such articles, its outdated in terms of the suggested gear being discontinued or superseded (things like Pinnacle & Canopus USB capture boxes, circa 2005 dvd recorders, etc.). Three workflows are offered in terms of ok-better-best: DVD/VHS combo unit, Pinnacle or Canopus with premium VCR and external TBC, or internal PC capture card with premium vcr and external TBC. Lots of good common-sense tips on evaluating tape condition, prioritizing material, future proofing the transfer, cataloging, and so on. The bones of the article are fine, keeping in mind its targeted at perennially understaffed and underfunded govt agencies that might need to undertake such work.

    The text repeatedly prompts the reader to seriously consider farming the work out to a professional firm if at all financially feasible, calculating that a salaried agency employee or volunteer would expend approx 3 hrs of their time per hour of transfer, plus the outlay for hardware and software, practice/training. Overall gives a good overview of the challenges, with the caveat it doesn't factor recently shrinking availability and inflating prices of some items that must now be sourced second hand. They mention an interesting TBC I'd not previously heard of (Burst Pixie-FS, which seems a much heavier-duty spin on the AVT type of cigarette pack TBC).
    Last edited by orsetto; 30th Jan 2020 at 20:27.
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  24. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by orsetto View Post
    keeping in mind its targeted at perennially understaffed and underfunded govt agencies that might need to undertake such work.
    And sadly, underskilled and unknowledgeable, as is my experience. Tape butchery at its finest.

    They mention an interesting TBC I'd not previously heard of (Burst Pixie-FS, which seems a much heavier-duty spin on the AVT type of cigarette pack TBC).
    Don't get hopes up just yet. I'm fairly certain I tested this unit many years ago, and it failed for quality reason. I'm in the midst of acquiring another one, and will re-run my modern TBC testing criteria. It's an ancient TBC design, pre-dates by DataVideo and Cypress.
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    Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
    Originally Posted by babygdav View Post
    https://www.canada.ca/en/conservation-institute/services/conservation-preservation-pub...deo-tapes.html

    Anyways, this article sums up most of your realistic options without breaking the bank or going nuts.

    All the steps needed are fully detailed and all the equipment noted.
    That article contains myth.

    Primarily the assertion that "magnetic tape has a lifetime of 10 to 30 years", which is nonsense. Untrue. Magnetic tape life expectancy is in the 35-65 range. The idea that tapes only last 10/etc years is revision marketing hooey from the 2000s, spouted by desperate hack transfer services trying to scare you into using their services. While it is true that tapes do need to be transferred, there is no need to rush. Do it correctly. The main issue with tape degradation is storage, including climate. There are always outliers and exceptions, of course, but the main 35-65 is a safe number. All that is needed to understand how tapes break down is some working knowledge of chemistry, a rare trait for those that usually give advice on analog tapes.

    A quick skim of the remainder of the article seems okay, but given that myth was parroted, a full read would be required.
    babygdav ignores, purposely or not, much of what others post and searches out articles that he/she thinks is authoritative because of his/her lack of personal experience or knowledge (which is why I have him/her on ignore).

    I skimmed over the linked article and here are a couple of additional misinformation, possible outright lies that throws suspicion on the author/article (my emphasis):

    "Storage media

    Avoid the use of cheap generic DVD-Rs and other lower stability discs, such as the erasable DVDs (DVD-RW or DVD+RW) and recordable dual discs (DVD-R DL or DVD+R DL). In general, it is best to avoid the use of DVD+Rs as well because these discs tend to experience more compatibility issues with different drives. Also, if maximum longevity is desired, then gold metal layer DVD-Rs should be used.Footnote23 Consult the user manual of the equipment because it may indicate the preferred brand of disc to use with the DVD recorder.

    "Computer

    The most up-to-date as possible computer should be used for digitizing video. Older and slower computers do not handle the process well and can lead to the loss of content. In addition, older computers are likely to lack the required capacity to deal with the large files that are generated with video digitization.

    The following basic minimum specifications are recommended:

    Operating system: Microsoft Windows 7
    Processor: 2.4 GHz
    Random-access memory (RAM): 4 GB
    Hard disk drive capacity: 2 TB
    USB 3.0 ports
    Firewire IEEE 1394 card or on-board connection [lingyi - WHAT???]
    Internal recording device for the storage media being used (e.g. DVD/Blu-ray recorder drive, LTO tape drive). Note that these devices may also be external or separate from the computer and connected via a USB connection."
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  26. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by lingyi View Post
    it is best to avoid the use of DVD+Rs as well because these discs tend to experience more compatibility issues
    if maximum longevity is desired, then gold metal layer DVD-Rs should be used.
    Yep, both of those are complete nonsense.

    - Gold doesn't magically make media better. The reflectivity is worse, not better.
    - DVD+R compatibility is only a problem for people still using 90s DVD player. And given the aging problems with laser diodes, find a working 90s mlde DVD player will be rare. Additionally, the unit will be unit, clunky, and feature-less.

    The most up-to-date as possible computer should be used for digitizing video. Older and slower computers do not handle the process well and can lead to the loss of content. In addition, older computers are likely to lack the required capacity to deal with the large files that are generated with video digitization.
    Yep, all nonsense.

    - Capturing is a legacy task, and legacy gear is fine. Even a now-ancient P4 single-core CPU is fine, early 2000s system, thoigh storage is cramped.
    - The best OS for capturing is Windows XP and Windows 7, and often the OS is determined by the hardware. ATI AIW, for example, is locked to XP (noting it can be hacked for Vista/7 x86, though not suggested due to fidgety install).

    The "loss of content" phrasing is a giveaway that the author doesn't know his ass from his elbow. The term is "dropped frames".

    Internal recording device for the storage media being used (e.g. DVD/Blu-ray recorder drive, LTO tape drive). Note that these devices may also be external or separate from the computer and connected via a USB connection.
    Never capture to external drives.

    @lingyi, good catch.

    The article is definitely newbie-level, the usual writing that just mishmashed random information, some of which is proven to be completely false.

    Originally Posted by lingyi View Post
    (which is why I have him/her on ignore).
    I have never ignored anybody on a forum.
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    The article/paper recommends DV capture devices as a capture option without any mention of the 4:1:1 chroma subsampling loss.

    This largely goes over my head and eyes, but anyone having actually read at least some of the DV vs analog posts (which obviously babygdav hasnʻt) would never recommend this the article/paper as anything to be taken seriously.
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    @lordsmurf

    Donʻt like to be "that guy", but babygdav is only one of two members who I just have to ignore. I may have to take him/her off the list because of his/her posts have gone from just lack of understanding/concern for what the other posters are saying to links to misinformation and outright lies as demonstrated in this latest link.

    At least gamey is sincere in his posts, Iʻm not so sure about babygdav and that concerns/irritates me much, much more.
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  29. Eh, you guys are being just a little too hard on Canada: again, for a govt boilerplate instruction set for agency drones, it isn't terrible, and they do repeatedly goad the reader to consider outsourcing to a specialist firm instead. At the end are multiple citations from other govt and university hardware/workflow briefs, which are in the same ballpark: experts here on VH may shudder now at formats like DV or MPEG2, but these environments could have cared less as long as the job got done.

    The nits you're picking are matters of semantics and interpretation: the article is obviously pitched to midlevel bureaucrats and their poor assistants who indeed would not know what the hell a dropped frame is, which is why they gloss it as "loss of content". This primer was almost certainly compiled around 2004 and not updated after 2010. At that time, DVD+R vs DVD-R was still an issue for some users, and lord knows how regressed agency hardware might be. Dual layer was not the greatest choice for archival: few at the time were aware of "Verbatim Singapore DL is OK", all they heard about were Ritek DL failures. Gold dvds were always the kind of gimmick agencies would fall for, and the primary mfrs of gold discs were typical govt vendors, so nothing unusual there (other than lack of awareness about the reflectivity drawbacks).

    The computer "minimum recommendation" is another dead giveaway much of this was written in 2004-2006 and not updated cohesively: DV input was still popular then on HP and Sony PCs for use with digital video cameras. The 2TB HDD recommendation is a little off the wall: thats the only thing that might have been updated recently (no chance in hell would an aging govt PC have had a 2TB HDD ten years ago).

    The bit about "newer computer being better" needs to be parsed in the context of the time and again, govt environment. Back in 2004-2008, chances are the average "older" agency computer would barely have enough HDD capacity to run Microsoft Office, much less capture video. Rather than panic staff with the prospect of requisitioning HDD upgrades and involving the dreaded IT dept, the text simply suggests using the newest PC available to staff. Which in those days meant Win7 with a hopefully larger HDD (XP boxes were still widely deployed, but probably had smaller HDDs).

    Ditto the text regarding "internal/external device for the storage media being used": thats office computer speak for "final archive destination", not a recommendation that captures be done directly to those formats. It seemed pretty clear they assumed captures would be done on the HDD (hence "use a newer higher capacity PC"), then the edited files archived to DVD, BluRay or data tape.

    The primer is dated and flawed and way the hell too long, but overall no worse than lot of the posts I've seen on various forums in recent years. In any case, it will disappear back into obscurity almost immediately as soon as this thread drops off the front page of VH. I don't imagine too many Canadian agencies are still experiencing a demand for VHS transfers.
    Last edited by orsetto; 31st Jan 2020 at 00:14.
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    Iʻʻm not criticizing the Canadians at all, but I am criticizing (nitpicking as you say), the author and babygdav for claiming itʻs an authoritative paper about capturing video. BTW, itʻs clearly stated numerous times that the paper was written or at least complied in 2014, when proper DVD media and capture methods were well established.

    Edit: If the article was complied from data prior to 2014 as claimed, itʻs a very poorly researched and edited paper no matter the country of origin. Evidence that it may well just be compiled from previously authored, possibly published papers, but that doesnʻt change the fact that some of the information is patently misleading and/or outright wrong. Iʻm a regular at The Straight Dope forums were the motto is: "Fighting ignorance since 1973. (It's taking longer than we thought.)".

    Ignorance is one thing, outright lies are another and IMO must be brought to the forefront to prevent other readers (who may come across this thread decades later) from falling prey to the falsehoods stated as fact in this and other articles on the internet.

    BTW, these are the credentials for the author. Hardly an authority of video capture techniques and technology.

    "Author

    Joe Iraci is a Senior Conservation Scientist at CCI. He researches the deterioration, longevity, stability, disaster recovery and storage of electronic media, such as optical discs, magnetic tapes and disks, and flash media."
    Last edited by lingyi; 31st Jan 2020 at 00:54.
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