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  1. Hey guys,

    Here’s a mystery for you all

    Recently I started digitalizing a family tape which were recorded on something else before transferred to VHS tape. I’ve now tried to digitalize it on my Mac using OSB studio. The first part of the tape is fine, but last half is very glitchy (see attached video).

    As you can see, the image jumps every other second, the bottom half of the image turns black, and most of the colours on top fade away. The sound also disappears when the image jumps.

    I can’t find any signs of physical damage on the VHS tape.

    Do you have any suggestions for what might cause this problem?
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  2. Time base corrector
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  3. OK! It seems to me that there are different types of TBC's. Any suggestions for which one or which type of TBC that might solve the issue?
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  4. Just about every VHS thread in these forums discuss the use of a TBC. A Panasonic ES10 or ES15 will used as a passthrough line-TBC will probably work. Though PAL users seem to have more difficulty than NTSC users.
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  5. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    OBS is streaming screen record software. Not analog VHS capture software.
    Use VirtualDub.
    But you're using Mac, which is a terrible capture OS (and I like Macs, just wrong tool for this task). So ... you're somewhat screwed. Videoglide works for some cards, pre-10.15 only.

    TBC is required. The ES10/15 is not a TBC itself, merely DVD recorder with strong+crippled line TBC and non-TBC frame sync, but can sometimes suffice if tapes cooperate, about 50/50 shot.

    You also cannot use the cheapest crap capture card (Easycaps, "grabbers", etc).

    Your issue may be combination of (1) lack of TBC, (2) crappy capture card.

    Your video is a great example of how using the wrong tools leads to really crappy looking VHS captures. Not what you wanted, I'm sure, but it is what it is.
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  6. There are several indications that this part of the tape is not an original camera recording but a second or third generation dub. These are a big pain to digitize with the typical random USB device. You say the first half of the tape digitized reasonably well: is there some significant change in the material that occurs at the start of this problematic later half? Is it a completely different scene (different day, different year, different people)? Does the VCR switch to a different speed (from SP to LP or EP)? If yes, most likely the first half was somewhat closer to the original camera tape (2nd gen SP) while this back half might be lesser quality (3rd gen and/or LP/EP).

    As jagabo advised, you'll need an external pass-thru correction device to lock this down a little better. The Panasonic ES10 should do the trick, tho an ES15 may or may not be strong enough. A dedicated TBC like DataVideo TBC-1000 may or may not be of additional help: tapes this poor played thru typical consumer VCRs sometimes cause "true" TBC boxes to choke in a different way. I'd try the ES10 first, if still no good try the TBC with and without the ES10.

    Also, a different VCR might offer more stability playing this part of the tape, esp if it is LP/EP. The funkier the tape, the more it benefits from a VCR that might be a closer tracking match to the model that recorded it years ago. Ask around friends/family to see if they have any clean working VCRs you can borrow. You'll still need a passthru like a Panasonic ES-10, but a more compatible VCR helps in other areas (might reduce some of the color noise and jitter).

    As LS noted, your OBS software and MacOS are not ideally suited to this kind of capture. It may be preferable to hand this tape off to a professional service (check reputations). The expense/hassle of switching over to a Windows capture system and acquisition of ES-10 and/or dedicated TBC would be much more costly for just one tape transfer.
    Last edited by orsetto; 24th Feb 2021 at 12:06.
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  7. Also, why is the cap 30p? Isn't Denmark PAL? Try 25i, 25p or 50p.
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  8. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    Wait, no, you're mixing some things up...

    Originally Posted by orsetto View Post
    There are several indications that this part of the tape is not an original camera recording but a second or third generation dub. These are a big pain to digitize
    Correct.

    with the typical random USB device.
    Not correct. USB makes no difference.
    A crappy card like Easycap can make a difference. But that has nothing to do with the USB comm port.

    The Panasonic ES10 should do the trick,
    Maybe, maybe not, ES10/15 rarely helps with nth gen, aside from tearing.

    tho an ES15 may or may not be strong enough.
    ES10 and ES15 are almost the same. The latter ES20/25 are not, weak and worthless.

    A dedicated TBC like DataVideo TBC-1000 may or may not be of additional help:
    Those are for signal, not visuals. However, you're likely running into a signal error here, coupled with a crap capture card.

    tapes this poor played thru typical consumer VCRs sometimes cause "true" TBC boxes to choke in a different way.
    Yes and no.
    - A strong TBC from DataVideo, unlikely.
    - Certain other weak units, sometimes.

    Also, a different VCR might offer more stability playing this part of the tape, esp if it is LP/EP. The funkier the tape, the more it benefits from a VCR that might be a closer tracking match to the model that recorded it years ago.
    Not here, for this eaxct instance.

    Ask around friends/family to see if they have any clean working VCRs you can borrow.
    Terrible idea. That a tape eating waiting to happen.

    Originally Posted by jagabo View Post
    Also, why is the cap 30p? Isn't Denmark PAL? Try 25i, 25p or 50p.
    Nice catch. OBS defaults, I'm sure.
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  9. Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post

    Originally Posted by orsetto View Post
    tapes this poor played thru typical consumer VCRs sometimes cause "true" TBC boxes to choke in a different way.
    Yes and no.
    - A strong TBC from DataVideo, unlikely.
    YMMV. The rules apply, until they don't. When they don't, they will kick your ass down the street into oncoming traffic. I've had two different examples of DataVideo TBC-1000 crap all over themselves when fed certain second and third generation tapes thru commodity consumer Panasonic and JVC VCRs of the late '90s. The same tapes played into the DataVideo TBCs from a midrange to higher-end JVC or Panasonic did not trigger the issue at all. Unfortunately those tapes did not track as perfectly on the higher end decks, so Catch-22 trap until I eventually hit on a good compromise VCR.

    When I said third-gen tapes are a problem for "random USB devices" it was factual within the context (i.e., the exact system OP has: random USB device capping thru completely the wrong software to a non-optimal OS and platform). Generic consumer VCR feeding generic USB stick thru generic inapplicable software with no additional correction makes a big mess, uglier than one usually gets from the better grade USB sticks. Of course the better USB sticks also need a decent VCR and outboard correction hardware to make good captures, but their baseline yuck factor with imperfect tapes usually isn't quite as ghastly as the random no-name Amazon EZcap clones.

    But thats hair splitting: a "merely bad" bare capture from one of the better USB sticks is just as unusable as the "ghastly" bare capture from the generic USB sticks. The advantage of better USB sticks is you can bring the capture quality level up to "quite good" by adding a quality VCR and TBC/passthru from LordSmurf's "recommended" list, while the crummy USB sticks might only achieve "slightly less crummy" at maximum.

    Re borrowing VCRs: the risk factor is no better or worse than when buying a second hand $500 JVC or Panasonic premium VCR from a stranger. Obviously, use common sense: test the deck with a few unimportant tapes before loading something irreplaceable. And vet who you borrow from: the A/V nut who takes care of his stuff or your own parents secondary bedroom VCR are safer bets than the pothead friend who lives in a rusted out trailer with mold on the ceiling, or your sister who raised three kids on a diet of Barney tapes.
    Last edited by orsetto; 25th Feb 2021 at 00:15.
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  10. Member dellsam34's Avatar
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    The common sense for the OP is to just send the tapes to one of the members here to do them the right way with the right gear and it will be a lot cheaper, It is not cost effective to spend another $200 for a good VCR, $200 for a PC, $100 for a decent capture card, $100 for ES10 or $1500 for a Datavideo when you can use a fraction of that cost to pay for the service and you don't have to worry about reselling the equipment.
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  11. Wauw, thanks a lot for all your comments - and for trying to figure out what the issue might be.

    I'll try to burrow a PC, use virtualdub and see if I can get a hold some better tools+TBC from people in my neighborhood.

    The issue seems to start at a specific scene, so maybe that part is a third gen dub. I've found som old VHS-C tapes, so I'll try to get an adapter and check if these are the original version of the tapes and digitize those instead.
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