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  1. Hi,

    Novice Millennial here...I took on the project of taking old VCR tapes and digitizing them. The tapes are the regular VCR size ones and not the little ones used to record on (i.e. the recording was already transferred to the large tape from the small tapes). Some tapes transfer great and others don't. Attached is a video snippit which shows the problem I'm running into. I'm getting a lot of blue screen breaks and the images are layered/cut/spliced.

    Is this a problem I can fix or is it due to the VCR tape(s)?

    I'm using an AV to HDMI converter with a 720p and 1080p option and an elgato capture card.

    I would love some advice as I'd prefer not to have half the recordings be poor.

    I'm happy to provide more details if needed.

    -EB
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  2. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    That will never give anything but pitiful results.

    You clearly followed the advice that "little weird" guy on Youtube. He's an idiot, and has zero knowledge of video. Millennials also coined the term "potato quality", and that's what this method gives you. Schlock.

    AV to HDMI converters are cheap Chinese junk that are made for DVD players and video game consoles, not videotapes. Console gamers hate those POS devices, and few user DVD players anymore. It's why those are plentiful and cheap. I have mine because those were literally being given away with other stuff I bought.
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  3. any advice?
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  4. Captures & Restoration lollo's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ebeck489 View Post
    any advice?
    Advice on what? To make good captures you need tapes in excellent conditions (maybe not yours), a high-end player (highly probably not yours) and an adequate capture card (for sure not yours).
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  5. Capturing Memories dellsam34's Avatar
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    The original compact video cassettes seem to have been recorded in S-VHS format, Not sure if the transfer to a full size cassette was done in VHS and therefore the tapes are ruined forever, or the full size cassettes are indeed in S-VHS and a low end VHS VCR is used to play them back, or it is just due to the AV to HDMI device crappiness. You need to get more info about the original tapes and the current tapes, post pictures of the tapes both sides to see the identification holes.
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    @ebeck489, that doesn't look real flash! The foibles of a capture setup sometimes only appear when you try to capture poor-quality tapes; if you've been getting good captures form some tapes, that could be what's happening here. For a start, the AV>HDMI box probably isn't doing you any favours. Also, I've had those "comets" before, and changing VCRs cleared them.

    Flashing blue screens are a classic indication of poor tape signals, generally fixed by using a stabiliser of some kind. The cheapest option is a Panasonic DVD recorder, where you pass through the video signal. The recorder stabilises the video during the passthrough. Models such as the ES-10, ES-15, EH-57 and VHS/DVD combos such as the ES-35 and the EZ-series work very well at stabilising wonky tapes.

    Be ready though for: different VCR and different digitiser, and possibly a stabiliser.

    As an initial zero-cost check, plug your VCR straight into your TV and see what the quality of that tape is like. That will, at least partially, isolate the VCR and tape from the rest of the chain.

    Added: you've also got issues with frame ratios there: that video should be 4:3, not 16:9. It's stretched laterally. That will be a setting in your capture software.

    Added: my specific comments above relate to a PAL setup; are you in NTSC land?
    Last edited by Alwyn; 5th Feb 2024 at 21:11.
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    Originally Posted by ebeck489 View Post
    I'm using an AV to HDMI converter with a 720p and 1080p option
    What kind of device is this (and how much did it cost).
    If it's going to make sense at all, use something decent (e.g. Panasonic EH-575, EH-585). You can buy it for pennies.

    (And never ever rip in 720p)
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  8. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Alwyn View Post
    ; if you've been getting good captures form some tapes,
    . For a start, the AV>HDMI box probably isn't doing you any favours.
    He will get zero good captures with that POS $2 Chinese adapter, and in some cases no captures (ie, this thread).

    This is a known known.

    Nothing good comes of this method. It's shit. Do I have to be more blunt? Easycaps (Easycraps) are better!!!

    Originally Posted by rgr View Post
    What kind of device is this (and how much did it cost).
    In 2020, it was literally $2 shipped from Wish and Aliexpress, but can be as much as $15 if bought from the wrong places like Amazon.

    Mine were free, both the AV to HDMI, the HDMI to AV. It's pretty crappy, but it lets me "watch" (mostly listen) to Chromecast on a 13" 90s CRT TV on the kitchen counter while cooking.
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