I have filmed some VHS-C tapes on several camcorders (Panasonic).
Now I try to capture the tapes using EasyCap and Virtualdub and Panasonic RX-7 camcorder.
One of the tapes, which I've recorded on the RX-7 camcorder, is being captured just fine. But other tapes have color flickering when viewing the captured material; but when I view these tapes on the viewfinder of the camcorder, all the colors are fine.
I've attached a sample of a nicely captured tape and poorly captured tape. All settings the same, the only difference is the tape.
What is my problem and how can I solve it?
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It looks like there is an issue with tape path alignment on the first sample judging by the noise bar at the bottom. Either the tape was recorded with something where the alignment was off, or the alignment in the camcorder is off. Does the same tapes play fine on other vcrs? and do the tape that plays fine in this one play fine in other vcrs?
The easycap isn't causing the issue on it's own, but if the video signal is messed up due to an alignment issue it makes it harder for the capture device to decode it, and capture cards tend to not be great at handling video signals that have issues. There are also a number of cards using the easycap name, some worse than others.
I agree with oln: you definitely have a tape tracking, damage or alignment issue with the "flickering" tapes. Some Panasonic brand VCRs and camcorders are particularly prone to exaggerated color flickering when they mistrack, due to a crude color noise reduction circuit that relies on perfect tracking to work correctly: if a tape is way off due to damage or poor tracking match, the circuit backfires and completely loses control of the color. Also as others mentioned, capture devices have a severe allergy to the slightest whiff of mistracking or other little tape issues that are minimized when viewing playback in the camcorder or playing direct to a TV. So any errors get compounded until they create a visible problem: mistracking x sensitive color correction circuits x EasyCap choking and magnifying those issues = a mess.
Since only one of these tapes will capture normally from your RX-7. and all the others capture poorly, you'll need to identify whether the problem is localized to this RX-7 being incompatible with these tapes or whether the tapes themselves are hopelessly damaged (or were were recorded on a woefully misaligned camera to begin with). Doing this requires playing one of the flickering tapes on another camcorder, or in a standard VCR via a VHS-C to full-size VHS shell adapter. If the tapes capture much better outside your RX-7, then you know the RX-7 is incompatible with them. If they capture just as bad outside the RX-7, the tapes themselves are funky and there isn't much you can do to fix the issues.
Unfortunately the dark static bar at bottom frame could indicate a scratch in the tapes or edge damage, typically caused by poorly-made full-size adapter shells not sold by Panasonic or JVC. You can check for physical damage by removing a partially played tape from your RX-7, lifting the protective front flap (push the little button on the left side of the cassette to release the flap lock), and checking the tape ribbon. If you see an indent running near the edge, or the edges themselves are chewed, the tapes are going to be very difficult to capture.
Last edited by orsetto; 20th Feb 2021 at 12:45.
I've tried to adjust tracking on my camcorder. Unfortunately, it didn't help: new noise bars appeared.
BTW, when playing on a TV, the color flickering is still there.
Also, all the tapes are captured recently and play back on the camcorder without issues.
I'll try to:
- capture each tape using the camcorder the tape was recorded on;
- buy a VCR and an adapter and try to use it.
And I'll write how it'll work!
The original camera is rarely useful, rarely quality. Even when tapes were misaligned, the camera/deck probably feel into further misalignment. Even if unused, gravity can do it, as most alignments are spring controlled. Sure, try it, but have no expectations.
Color flicker is a known defect of Easycraps.
As a technical note, the color flickering is caused by the video's color subcarrier drifting off-frequency. More than likely, this was caused by the tape stretching slightly with age. Most video processors should be able to correct for a small drift in frequency.
That said, if the image appears normal in your camera's view screen, but flickers in your capture, I would suspect the video processor in your capture device. It is not compensating for the frequency drift.