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  #1  
02-21-2013, 01:56 PM
msgohan msgohan is online now
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I've seen DigitalFAQ try to tackle this one before. I can see how multiple plays would strip off the rust from the plastic tape and cause signal drops, distortions, tracking problems, etc. but what I'm wonder about is actual video or audio detail loss.

I personally have a 352x240 MJPEG capture of a Christmas 1998 home movie captured in 1999, as well as the original tape that was captured. So once I actually dig out the disc I can compare the state of the tape at a few months old versus 14 years later. But of course, only limited to the stupid single-field capture I was able to do back then.

Anyone else have something like that we can take a look at?
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  #2  
02-22-2013, 06:18 AM
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Yes, but it depends on what you mean by "degrade" and "time".

- For example, "tape fade" is ridiculous. Tape doesn't fade. It keeps its color.
- And that whole "5-10" thing is also ridiculous. Tapes last at least 30 years, up to about 65 years.

In 15 years, depending on how/where it was stored, you may notice some streaks/dropouts, where the metal (rust is probably more accurate!) has come off. That's really about it. ... Of course, even new tapes can have that (dropouts), as it depends on the tapes grade, so you have to do before/after testing. You cannot view a tape, see that, and assume it has degraded. Such problems are more likely to not be related to degrading, as lousy tapes are a more common issue.

Most common is a person using the same old crappy VCR, which ages unlike the tapes. They assume the tapes have quit tracking, but gravity has actually affected the VCR. It may or may not be fixed, depending on the VCR brand/model. It's better to get a good JVC or Panasonic deck anyway.

Another common issue is mold, if the tape has been exposed to it in any way. It'll grow and die in about 5-10 years. Don't store your tapes in basements, barns, attics -- anywhere that is not temperature controlled.

You probably can't tell much from a single-field capture.

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  #3  
02-22-2013, 06:55 AM
Jarvis Jarvis is offline
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I definitely agree, kpmedia. Using my own tapes as an example, I have some around the 30 year mark that look and play surprisingly well - and they weren't even kept in ideal conditions. On the other hand, some of the much younger tapes are those with the biggest problems. It's remarkable how long the medium can last if it's good quality. Now if only my hard drives could last as long.
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  #4  
02-24-2013, 07:56 AM
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The tape can also stick, so make sure you rewind it and fast-forward ...but not too fast. The JVC decks are good about that.
That's not really degrading, but it's one of the effects that can turn into a cause if you're not careful. (i.e., made worse because of sticking)

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02-25-2013, 02:09 PM
msgohan msgohan is online now
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Thanks for the responses. It appears that JVC may slightly disagree.

From a sell sheet for JVC BR-S525U:
Quote:
Luminance signal enhancer
For increased picture sharpness in playback, a 3-step switch allows you to select frequency responses of 0 dB, +2 dB, and +4 dB with the luminance signal at 25 MHz. Using a delay line and working on the aperture principle, this system is able to respond accurately to changing pulse-like signals so high resolution is maintained even in multi-generation dubbing. In addition, an automatic equalizer is provided to prevent deterioration of the luminance signal frequency response with worn heads, or when using tapes that have different characteristics or have been overplayed.
I know the title was about degradation over time, but you know.
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  #6  
02-25-2013, 02:18 PM
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Like the phrase in front of it, I don't think that has anything to do with degradation of color.
- "automatic equalizer is provided to prevent deterioration of the luminance signal frequency response" = overcome a VCR issue
- "when using tapes that have different characteristics" = tape issue (color or not color; i.e., badly made or shot)
- "or have been overplayed" = tape issue (not color)

The write-up by JVC is not very good. When you over-compress info, you'll lose the meanings.

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  #7  
02-26-2013, 02:50 AM
msgohan msgohan is online now
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Oh yeah, I wasn't saying anything about color there. Just that JVC seems to be saying overplaying a tape will cause luminance detail loss.
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  #8  
02-26-2013, 06:53 AM
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That's two ways of saying these same thing.
- Luminance (and chroma) = expert way to describe the signals stored on the tape.
- "Color" = layman's way

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  #9  
03-19-2013, 09:21 AM
msgohan msgohan is online now
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Attached sample is encoded with Ut Video Codec.

What causes this kind of sudden tracking loss? Is this sticking?

The VHS is from 1995 but was "brand new" until I got my hands on it. I unsealed it and the playthrough that you see is the first time this tape was ever played. Is that actually a contributing factor? I did not FF/RW through it beforehand.


Attached Files
File Type: avi ReBoot glitch sample.avi (31.65 MB, 27 downloads)
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  #10  
03-19-2013, 11:49 PM
robjv1 robjv1 is offline
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Another issue I've seen with old tapes, although this is my own observation and not based on any scientific proof is that tapes where recordings have been made over a previous recording don't seem to hold up as well in the long-run or at least display more issues with dropouts/white streaks. I'm not sure that it's an issue of time or not or if those issues would be evident on an immediate playback after recording something over another program, but in my conversions I've noticed a tendency for such tapes to have more problems than my 'average' tape.
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03-20-2013, 03:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by msgohan View Post
sudden tracking loss? ...
playthrough that you see is the first time this tape was ever played.
That's just it ... it's not "loss" because it's the first time the tape was played. It was always that way. The tape is simple defective in some way from the start. It's not degraded.

Quote:
Originally Posted by robjv1 View Post
where recordings have been made over a previous recording don't seem to hold up as well in the long-run or at least display more issues with dropouts/white streaks. I'm not sure that it's an issue of time or not or if those issues would be evident on an immediate playback after recording
The effects of this are immediate. This is another example of not degrading over time, but being damaged while being made. Recording over something -- especially without a flying erase head -- results in chroma errors (color under mis-recordings) and dropouts (tape losing oxide from reuse). The worse the tape's grade, the worse the effects.

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  #12  
03-20-2013, 03:29 AM
msgohan msgohan is online now
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Well, by tracking loss I meant that the ability of the VCR to track the tape was lost momentarily.

I don't remember having a new tape bought in the '90s and played in the '90s ever jump like that, but then again I was a kid and didn't buy many movies then, so clearly that isn't a useful metric.
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  #13  
03-20-2013, 04:02 AM
robjv1 robjv1 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
That's just it ... it's not "loss" because it's the first time the tape was played. It was always that way. The tape is simple defective in some way from the start. It's not degraded.


The effects of this are immediate. This is another example of not degrading over time, but being damaged while being made. Recording over something -- especially without a flying erase head -- results in chroma errors (color under mis-recordings) and dropouts (tape losing oxide from reuse). The worse the tape's grade, the worse the effects.
Makes sense to me, as I can recall playing back some of those tapes immediately after recording them and thinking they had issues with drop-outs, but it's been so long I can't be sure. Most of the ones I've had issues with were definitely recorded on VCRs without flying erase heads.
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03-20-2013, 04:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by msgohan View Post
I don't remember having a new tape bought in the '90s and played in the '90s ever jump like that, but then again I was a kid and didn't buy many movies then, so clearly that isn't a useful metric.
It really depended on what you bought. Lots of early anime tapes, tapes from flea markets (low-budget releases not sold in regular stores), tapes from MacFrugal's (formerly Pic N Save, now Big Lots), cartoons (Marvel is a good example!), had these flaws. The grade of tapes, using SLP/LP modes, and shoddy unmaintained recording equipment are to blame.

Yes, my age is showing. I can go back to the 80s if need be.

This is one of the reasons I started to use JVC VCRs, and got into video restoration. I liked cartoons, including tapes.

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04-05-2013, 09:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robjv1 View Post
Makes sense to me, as I can recall playing back some of those tapes immediately after recording them and thinking they had issues with drop-outs, but it's been so long I can't be sure. Most of the ones I've had issues with were definitely recorded on VCRs without flying erase heads.
Another thing that you want to avoid when recording a program is doing it on a 2-head VCR. Those pieces of junk (which tend to be all that are in stores now) lay down the worst tracking signals out there. The Hi-Fi units are marginally better, but not as good as recording on a 4-head unit, or even the 6-head units that were aimed at more the prosumer-professional market.
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  #16  
04-05-2013, 10:24 PM
robjv1 robjv1 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomswift View Post
Another thing that you want to avoid when recording a program is doing it on a 2-head VCR. Those pieces of junk (which tend to be all that are in stores now) lay down the worst tracking signals out there. The Hi-Fi units are marginally better, but not as good as recording on a 4-head unit, or even the 6-head units that were aimed at more the prosumer-professional market.
Yeah, I really wish I could remember all the VCRs I used and my family used growing up. I know my families first VCR was a portable General Electric one with no tuner, bought as a set with an external Panasonic video camera for recording home movies. After that, we went through many years of second hand VCRs, some of which were likely two-head machines. It wasn't really until the mid 1990s that we started buying "respectable" new machines, so as you can imagine, converting my tape collection has been quite the adventure!
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  #17  
04-05-2013, 10:46 PM
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Recording on a 2-head VCR is something I did in 1990 ... for about 10 tapes. I quickly learned my lesson on that one. The quality of the audio and video was pretty bad. The audio was muted and muddy, and the picture was grainy and had chroma noise even on SP mode. I didn't even know it was called "chroma noise" back then, but it looked pretty bad. So much for saving money on a VCR that was "just as good" according to the salesman. It have been Best Buy, in its earliest days?

We mostly had 4-head units in the 80s, for family events/recordings, thankfully. (I think.)

So for once, my mom's desire to have the best paid off!

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04-05-2013, 10:50 PM
robjv1 robjv1 is offline
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Yeah, I actually have a run of recordings made from about 1986-1988 or so, a mix of SP and EP stuff. After reviewing the tapes, while the audio is *much* better on the SP recordings, the SP recordings seem to be exactly the same as the EP recordings picture-wise except with a whole lot more grain. It's crazy -- there is almost no additional detail to be had, and a whole host of other picture issues (chroma issues galore).

That's quite the contrast with my SP recordings made on a later deck in the late 1990s which look absolutely pristine and beautiful when compared to the EP recordings made on the same deck.
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04-06-2013, 02:48 PM
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I remember back around 1997 I was in my church's softball league and the "head guy" took some videos on VHS-C so that he could present them at the end of season banquet. Well at the banquet he admitted that a number of people had told him to buy a 4-head VHS-C camcorder or a Hi-8, but he bought a 2-head VHS-C camcorder (but I think he said that he recorded in SP mode, but I don't quite remember), so he apologized for the footage, and during the banquet there were numerous times where the video would roll and flip, and numerous video tears.
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04-08-2013, 07:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomswift View Post
I remember back around 1997 I was in my church's softball league and the "head guy" took some videos on VHS-C so that he could present them at the end of season banquet. Well at the banquet he admitted that a number of people had told him to buy a 4-head VHS-C camcorder or a Hi-8, but he bought a 2-head VHS-C camcorder (but I think he said that he recorded in SP mode, but I don't quite remember), so he apologized for the footage, and during the banquet there were numerous times where the video would roll and flip, and numerous video tears.
I hate hearing stories like this. Being cheap has ruined someone's memories.

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