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  1. Member
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    Please help.
    I have a problem with my Sony SLV-SE720 VHS player.

    Lower part of picture have distortion line and one tenth of picture is not showing. I tried to adjust supply and take-up adjustable guide rollers, but they just introduce additional streaks and not affect the lower distorted part.

    I tried to clean head and all parts, but nothing.

    Earlier there wasn't this issue and it came after player sitting for several years.

    I wanted to capture 20+ VHS home made video tapes to PC via FireWire cable through Sony DCR-PC330E MiniDV camcorder and at first thought, that there must be a problem with cable, but that distorted line are showing up, no metter what connection I use ... FireWire/SCART/RCA/SVideo cable.
    It looks like video head is not properly reading the end of video track or something.

    Here are two videos uploaded to YouTube:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JsZ5XvLB_aE
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gynIxh9mKfQ

    Looks like this
    Image
    [Attachment 60191 - Click to enlarge]


    Please help, videohelp
    Best regards, Laurijs
    Last edited by Laurijs; 5th Aug 2021 at 14:56.
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  2. Member Skiller's Avatar
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    It's called head switch noise and it is normal – all VCRs do it to some degree.
    You need to crop borders when watching standard definition video on a display without inherent overscan. These defects would normally be hidden behind the bezel of a CRT TV.
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  3. That is present on nearly all VHS tapes. It's overscaned on CRT televisions. as skiller said, crop it
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  4. I'm a Super Moderator johns0's Avatar
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    That's not head watching issue.its more like a tracking issue.can you manually use the tracking to see if it helps?
    I think,therefore i am a hamster.
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    No, it's not just head switch noise - I am familiar with it!
    Head switch noise is present (in picture: lower 1/3 part of total distortion line). But the upper part, with B/W line and upward strikes must not be there and is quite large (almost reach date, if present on screen)!

    As of manual tracking option, yes, my VCR have that option, but does not affect that strike at all!!!
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    Have you tried this tape on a second vcr? Do other tapes play ok on this vcr?
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  7. The very thin strip at the very bottom is head switch noise: as others have said, this is normal when making digital captures from VHS. It was invisible back in the pre-HDTV era when everyone had analog CRT televisions: that part of the picture was always hidden by the design of those older screens. The VHS format depended on that type of TV to hide many of its flaws, which unfortunately get ruthlessly revealed today by modern HDTV screens and digital capture. The only way to hide it is by adding a crop or masking to the video file after the initial capture.

    Just above that headswitch noise bar you have a darker tinted bar: I assume this is what's bothering you more. To some degree this is caused by the VCR being a little out of mechanical alignment, but often it is due to the tapes being dubs (copies) instead of originals. Many VCRs added this type of distorted or tinted bar at top or bottom when making a copy of certain tapes. Visibility of this artifact depends on the VCR being used for playback years later (some VCRs minimize it, some exaggerate it). This can be further complicated by the tape edge being physically wrinkled, scratched, damaged, or shrunk from age during storage. As with headswitch noise, some of this darker bar would have been concealed by older non-HDTV CRT televisions, you are noticing it more today due to digital capture and LCD display screens showing every last bit of the video frame. It usually isn't a simple matter of tracking adjustment: visibility of this "dub noise bar" is affected more by the electronic design of each VCR and how it interprets eroded signals from dub tapes during playback.

    Overall this looks to me like a poor combination of dub tapes with aging issues and a VCR that doesn't play them quite right. I strongly suggest you try a different VCR and see if it reduces the darker bar issue at the bottom of the frame. Sony VCRs tend not to age as well in such aspects as other brands like Panasonic, JVC or Mitsubishi: one of those other brands might be a more compatible player for these tapes. If no VCR makes this bottom bar less visible, you might want to just crop it or mask it away after capturing.
    Last edited by orsetto; 5th Aug 2021 at 16:10.
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    All tapes on this VCR have this issue.
    I tried few tapes on friends VCR and this strike is not showing, so clearly this is VCRs issue.
    Sadly, I can't borrow friends VCR, because he no more have it and it is hard to buy another one.
    That's why I need to fix my old pal Sony.
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    Originally Posted by orsetto View Post
    The very thin strip at the very bottom is head switch noise: as others have said, this is normal when making digital captures from VHS. It was invisible back in the pre-HDTV era when everyone had analog CRT televisions: that part of the picture was always hidden by the design of those older screens. The VHS format depended on that type of TV to hide many of its flaws, which unfortunately get ruthlessly revealed today by modern HDTV screens and digital capture. The only way to hide it is by adding a crop or masking to the video file after the initial capture.

    Just above that headswitch noise bar you have a darker tinted bar: I assume this is what's bothering you more. To some degree this is caused by the VCR being a little out of mechanical alignment, but mostly it is due to the tapes being dubs (copies) instead of originals. Many VCRs add this type of distorted or tinted bar at top or bottom when making a copy of certain tapes. Visibility of this artifact depends on the VCR being used for playback years later (some VCRs minimize it, some exaggerate it). This can be further complicated by the tape edge being physically wrinkled, scratched, damaged, or shrunk from age during storage. As with headswitch noise, some of this darker bar would have been concealed by older non-HDTV CRT televisions, you are noticing it more today due to digital capture and LCD display screens showing every last bit of the video frame. It isn't a simple matter of tracking adjustment: visibility of this "dub noise bar" is affected more by the electronic design of each VCR and how it interprets eroded signals from dub tapes during playback.

    Overall this looks to me like a bad combination of dub tapes with aging issues and a VCR that doesn't play them quite right. I strongly suggest you try a different VCR and see if it reduces the darker bar issue at the bottom of the frame. Sony VCRs tend not to age as well in such aspects as other brands like Panasonic, JVC or Mitsubishi: one of those other brands might be a more compatible player for these tapes. If no VCR makes this bottom bar less visible, you might want to just crop it or mask it away after capturing.
    I see!
    Thank you very much for the thorough explanation!
    I will check about "dub noise bar", have not heard about it!
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  10. Member Skiller's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Laurijs View Post
    All tapes on this VCR have this issue..
    Does it happen with commercial store bought tapes as well?
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  11. Member
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    Originally Posted by Skiller View Post
    Originally Posted by Laurijs View Post
    All tapes on this VCR have this issue..
    Does it happen with commercial store bought tapes as well?
    Yes, it does!
    That bottom distorted bar is like VCR do not see that part and takes last "good" line and dublicates it in b/w till reaching bottom of the screen - head switch line.
    AND ... when in pause (or in ff/rewind) the whole picture slides down, covering that distorted part and introducing solid black line at top of the picture!!!

    Video in link: https://youtu.be/JW4AuoywEqY
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  12. Since you have added new information that this Sony VCR is producing this problem with all tapes you load in it, including store-bought commercial tapes, and that your same tapes tried on a friend's VCR play normally without the darker bar, we can probably forget what I said about the potential dub tape issue. The same tapes playing OK on another VCR confirms your Sony went defective while stored unused for several years (this happens with some VCRs: the internal components degrade and playback suffers).

    The chance you could fix this by simple mechanical adjustment is small: I'm fairly certain there is an electronic defect involved as well, which may be difficult to self repair. You could check the circuit boards for bulging or leaking capacitors: if you find any, replacing them should help (but no guarantee of restoring perfect playback). If these tapes are important enough that you want to digitize them, you should probably wait until you can find another VCR to buy. I know this is difficult in some countries, but VHS was so common you should be able to find another in better condition with some time and patience. Many are available on eBay.de (Germany) from dedicated VCR sellers (who will ship internationally).
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    Read this info, it talks about the alignment of the guide posts and other related issues
    https://www.repairfaq.org/REPAIR/F_vcrfaqa.html#VCRFAQA_014
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