I have a VCR Sharp VC-90ET & Hitachi VT-498EM Tape Recorders connected to my PC using a Leadtek Winfast PVR3000 Deluxe hardware MPEG capture card via an RCA A/V cable. Both seem to work fine with an exception of:
1. A horizontal corrupted line on the bottom part of the screen as pictured in the these YouTube videos. It is more pronounced on the Sharp and slightly more transparent on the Hitachi.
2. Also when I play a VHS tape and capture / convert it into an mpeg file, I can hear a slight background white noise like a constant hiss if I increase the volume of the PC speakers higher than 30% when I play the mpeg. The noise is slightly higher when using the Hitachi VCR.
This occurs with every single VHS tape I've tried and are all in great condition, thus the problem in probably not within the tapes themselves. I also tried a another PVR capture card with the same results.
So is this some technical problem with the VCR recorders and can it be fixed? Maybe cleaning?
Intel Core 2 Quad Q9500 @2.83GHZ
MSI GeForce 1070 8GB Gaming X
Creative SB X-Fi
256GB Samsung SSD 850 PRO
Win 7 PRO 64BIT
Nvidia Drivers 441.87 English
Leadtek Winfast PVR3000 Deluxe hardware MPEG
Thanks in advance
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Last edited by retroborg; 11th Oct 2020 at 08:14.
The head switching noise at the bottom of the frame is normal. You didn't see in on a CRT TV because the CRT didn't display the full picture, the edges always fell outside the bezel that surrounds the front face of the tube. Mask it or crop it away.
Regarding the audio hiss -- make sure you are using the Hi-Fi track. The linear audio track has a very low signal-to-noise ratio. If the tapes were recorded without a Hi-Fi track, or your playback VCR doesn't support it, you're out of luck; you'll have to use the linear track.
Yes I don't remember this corrupted line at the bottom of the screen on my old-school rounded CRT bulky TV back in the day!
But If I crop it away won't I lose some of the picture and resolution though?
As for the hiss and the H-Fi track, please excuse my ignorance but what is this "Hi-Fi track"?!
The Sharp VCR is labeled as a 6-Head H-Fi Super Multi but I don't see any switch to enable or disable this Hi-Fi feature.
The Hitachi is a simpler 4-Head Multi VCR with no Hi-Fi feature.
All these are original VHS tapes bought from various Video Clubs before they closed down back in the day and some others which were recorded from aerial analog broadcasts on the TV many years ago using these 2 VCRs onto backup TDK tapes.
So is there something I can do about the hiss based on this info?!
Mask (cover in black), never crop.
What toon is this? What others do you have?
You need some sort of line TBC to clear up all that image wiggle. The conversions look bad, and that's a shame. At very least, put a DMR-ES10 or ES15 in there for passthrough.
Check your TV controls: most HDTVs have a feature buried somewhere in the picture adjustments that tells the TV to mimic the cropped framing of old CRT televisions. This is useful for watching VHS conversions like this, since the damned headswitch border is inescapable unless you resort to re-encoding a masked copy. Some Windows and Mac software players also have a similar cropping feature. Look for a setting with a name like "overscan". The drawback of these settings on modern displays is they often go a bit too far with the cropping: the old TVs would just clean up the nasty edges of the frame exactly as you'd want, but modern computer and HDTV displays tend to take a more obvious chunk out of all four sides when overscan is activated. It isn't badly noticeable unless you watch something very recent that has a logo or text very close to the edge of the HDTV frame: on such videos the cropping will very obviously cut into that area.
As far as the audio hiss, if you are getting it from both VCRs the issue is probably in the tapes and theres not much you can do about it unless you want to try connecting an equalizer between VCR and capture device, and try to reduce the hiss during capture. This is a brute force method, with a high probability you'll lose more than just the hiss (the audio will become dead-sounding). Worth a try, sometimes it works. Or, use a software equalizer to alter the sound in a duplicate of the file after you capture.
VHS had two possible audio tracks, depending on the tape and the VCR age and model. Before 1990, most budget VCRs did not have the HiFi feature, after 1990 it became more and more widespread and most Hollywood tapes issued after 1986 included HiF tracks. The standard, "hissy" mono audio track runs along the edge of the tape, the optional much better quality HiFi stereo audio is essentially mixed in with the video tracks using a completely different signal. Most (but not all) VCRs with the HiFi feature will include an "audio output" or "audio select" button on the remote, and the word "HiFi" will light up on their front panel if the tape has a HiFi track. Many budget HiFi VCRs have very minimal front panel displays, so you'd need to use the remote to show the on-screen display so you can see the HiFi or Norm (not HiFi) status indicator. Also note, because the HiFi audio is mixed in with the video, tracking adjustment is critical: if the tracking is off by a tiny amount you can still see good video but the HiFi audio might not play, or might cut in and out.
Try each tape in the Sharp HiFi VCR: begin playing, then cycle the audio button on the remote to see if it will switch into HiFi. If it refuses on two or three of the tapes, chances are the tapes do not have the secondary HiFi track so you'll be stuck with the lower-quality Normal audio. If you don't have the remote that came with the Sharp VCR, you'll need to go on eBay and buy one if you want full control of the HiFi feature. Without the remote, the VCR will automatically play the HiFi track if the tape has one, but if the HiFi needs tracking adjustment or has problems you'll need the remote to either lock the audio choice that works better or adjust the tracking. Any Sharp remote with an Audio button will work, it doesn't need to be the exact remote that came with your specific VCR model.
Last edited by orsetto; 11th Oct 2020 at 11:16.