Quantcast VCR and VHS care tips for capture beginners? - digitalFAQ Forum
  #1  
12-04-2020, 04:30 AM
EnPaceRequiescat EnPaceRequiescat is offline
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Hi all! Thank you for this wonderful resource. I've been learning a lot, and wanted to get some advice. Also, apologies in advance if my questions have been asked before -- I tried searching and reading the guides and may have missed something.

My main question -- I embarking on preserving home videos that we haven't watched in probably over a decade, and I am super nervous about missing something and ruining our tapes forever (I've read on the forum that some old tapes are effectively single-pass only). I am hoping you guys can help me put together a checklist to go through to help make sure everything is in tip top shape before I start capturing. What should I be vigilant of? My mom has been very good about storing things in the home (i.e. not in garage/basement/storage) and keeping them dust-free, but we also haven't used the VCR and cassettes in a while...

I do have some commercial movie tapes that I don't mind using as guinea pigs. I know I should probably run one of these tapes through the VCR first, check the rewind mechanics don't screw up the tape, etc.

In no particular order, some other questions:
  • Is it wise to use a VHS cassette cleaner? I have some sealed cassette cleaning tapes lying around from Maxwell and Sony.
  • A brief spot check visual inspection through the clear window of the VHS tapes did not find any mold -- what's the proper way to examine these cassettes?
  • I'm not sure if my home videos are SP/LP/EP -- how would I figure this out? What horrible problems might arise if I get this wrong? How would I figure that out? I also have a vague memory that some VHS cassettes could be "doubled," i.e. played in both directions -- am I imagining things?
I also have some more clarification questions to check my understanding of the overall capture process. Not sure if I should start a new thread or keep things here for compactness:
  • Am I correct in thinking that VirtualDub lossless capture produces an interlaced file? How big is the lossless file, in GB/hr (I've seen people say from 30~37GB/hr)? I have Adobe premiere on a macbook pro -- is that a suitable way to subsequently deinterlace and compress? Or should I use VirtualDub's interpolation deinterlacing algorithm? We have many many hours of home video, and will only watch on digital devices, but I thought for posterity's sake it might be nice to have both the lossless for archival, in addition to compressed files for viewing. On a related note, if I don't foresee editing the lossless files, is there a recommended way (and card) to capture to a compressed format that I can easily store on my computer?
  • Are there time limits to the capture process? I.e. can I capture 1-2hours in one shot? Will the file be too big?
  • These forums have taught me that there are 3 main components to the capture: VCR, TBC, and capture card. If I have a limited budget ($250), how should I allocate my money? I have a Samsung DVD-R120 that I saw got decent reviews in these forums as one tier below JVC for LSI chipset DVDR -- can it be used as a TBC(ish)? If I need to save budget on the capture card in favor of the other hardware, am I correct in saying that, for my untrained eye, the Hauppauge 610 or VC500 are the decent (if inferior to the ATI-600) ways to go?
Thank you!
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  #2  
12-21-2020, 02:31 PM
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I'm surprised this got no responses, these are all great questions that I've wondered myself at some point over the last few weeks of research, being too young to have first-hand experience with the technology. Could anyone with the experience/knowledge shed some light on these?
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  #3  
12-31-2020, 04:50 AM
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When this thread was posted, I wasn't feeling well, not online as much. No idea why others didn't reply.

Being nervous about missing something is wise. Dropped frames are obvious, but things like a tape self-destructing during playback are not. Do it right the first time, because you may not get a 2nd chance.

Inside the home, normal temps, is part of it. Keeping in sleeves or cases, keep out dust, is another. But moisture is a concern, and geography matters. For example, if you live by a lake, bad stuff happens to plastic (including tape, which is mylar). I never had issues until moving near the lake-y part of the state.

Retail tapes make great test/fodder tapes.

Never use VHS tape cleaners. Those just push around dirt.
Proper cleaning means opening the VCR, accessing the heads.
Never use Q-Tips, or any brand cotton swab.
Don't even follow my old advice on foam or chamois, as the quality of products in 2020 is crap compared to a decade or two ago. The copy paper method is ideal, and TGrant outlined it on his site (but I disagree with some of his info), not had time to make my guide yet. You need 91%+ IPA, copy paper, and to be gentle and careful.

Check tapes with you eyes for anything not perfect. Any discoloration, and set it aside. Any mold, and realize you cannot do it yourself (without risk to your health,risk to ruining your gear).

You'll only know tape speed after playing some content -- unless you took good notes like I did. I was (usually) a stickler for details on my tapes, back in 80s/90s. I did get very sloppy in 2001, the year I mostly quit using tapes, swapped to DVD recorders and capture card.

Doubled? You're misremembering.

- Lossless Huffyuv is about 35gb/hour. It's not exact, depend on content.
- Adobe Premiere isn't suitable on either OS. Great editor, my favorite (for 20+ years), crap capture.
- Mac is lousy. Again, great OS, I have it for non-capture needs. But wrong tool for capture.
- Only deinterlace with QTGMC after capturing. That's done in Avisynth, Hybrid, maybe some others.
- Yes, keep lossless masters. HDD are cheap, 16tb under $300, archive everything. Encode out HQ copies for LAN streaming, deinterlace, MKV, etc.
- You can capture a whole tape, 6 hours or more. But the larger the file gets, the harder to work with. No reason to not just find a good stopping point after 2 hours, REW a few seconds, start it again. But you'll find that most tapes need stop/start, because the tape conditions change. Not with movies, but for sure with home recordings, lots of clips. recorded at different times.
- Yes, VCR > TBC > capture card
- Samsung R120 is a nice LSI based unit, we have/had one (and if I still have it, I need to sell it, thanks for reminder)
- No LSI recorder acts as TBC, only the ES10/15 has a TBC-like/TBC(ish) ability. But it's minimalist, has a fail rate, yet try it anyway. The JVC has a basic frame sync (not TBC), no wiggle correction.
- Ideal = VCR > ES10/15 > Samsung LSI
- Why not use ES10/15 for recording? It's lousy. The LSI removed chroma noise, has better encoding. Stick to 2/3/4 hours modes only. Note that 2 is not better than 4, same bitrate allocation. 1 and 3 are the same. Only difference is resolution, but both are over VHS res.
- VC500 has AGC issues, Hauppauge 610 functional, but others still better. In terms of workflow gaer, capture card is cheap, especially USB. Capture cards used to be $300+ (and still can be), but the $100/150 range is a bargain. $50 and lower is pushing your luck to get junk.

... and answered.

- Did my advice help you? Then become a Premium Member and support this site.
- Find television shows, cartoons, DVDs and Blu-ray releases at the TVPast forums.
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  #4  
12-31-2020, 05:42 PM
Kaos-Industries Kaos-Industries is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
When this thread was posted, I wasn't feeling well, not online as much. No idea why others didn't reply.

Being nervous about missing something is wise. Dropped frames are obvious, but things like a tape self-destructing during playback are not. Do it right the first time, because you may not get a 2nd chance.

Inside the home, normal temps, is part of it. Keeping in sleeves or cases, keep out dust, is another. But moisture is a concern, and geography matters. For example, if you live by a lake, bad stuff happens to plastic (including tape, which is mylar). I never had issues until moving near the lake-y part of the state.

Retail tapes make great test/fodder tapes.

Never use VHS tape cleaners. Those just push around dirt.
Proper cleaning means opening the VCR, accessing the heads.
Never use Q-Tips, or any brand cotton swab.
Don't even follow my old advice on foam or chamois, as the quality of products in 2020 is crap compared to a decade or two ago. The copy paper method is ideal, and TGrant outlined it on his site (but I disagree with some of his info), not had time to make my guide yet. You need 91%+ IPA, copy paper, and to be gentle and careful.

Check tapes with you eyes for anything not perfect. Any discoloration, and set it aside. Any mold, and realize you cannot do it yourself (without risk to your health,risk to ruining your gear).

You'll only know tape speed after playing some content -- unless you took good notes like I did. I was (usually) a stickler for details on my tapes, back in 80s/90s. I did get very sloppy in 2001, the year I mostly quit using tapes, swapped to DVD recorders and capture card.

Doubled? You're misremembering.

- Lossless Huffyuv is about 35gb/hour. It's not exact, depend on content.
- Adobe Premiere isn't suitable on either OS. Great editor, my favorite (for 20+ years), crap capture.
- Mac is lousy. Again, great OS, I have it for non-capture needs. But wrong tool for capture.
- Only deinterlace with QTGMC after capturing. That's done in Avisynth, Hybrid, maybe some others.
- Yes, keep lossless masters. HDD are cheap, 16tb under $300, archive everything. Encode out HQ copies for LAN streaming, deinterlace, MKV, etc.
- You can capture a whole tape, 6 hours or more. But the larger the file gets, the harder to work with. No reason to not just find a good stopping point after 2 hours, REW a few seconds, start it again. But you'll find that most tapes need stop/start, because the tape conditions change. Not with movies, but for sure with home recordings, lots of clips. recorded at different times.
- Yes, VCR > TBC > capture card
- Samsung R120 is a nice LSI based unit, we have/had one (and if I still have it, I need to sell it, thanks for reminder)
- No LSI recorder acts as TBC, only the ES10/15 has a TBC-like/TBC(ish) ability. But it's minimalist, has a fail rate, yet try it anyway. The JVC has a basic frame sync (not TBC), no wiggle correction.
- Ideal = VCR > ES10/15 > Samsung LSI
- Why not use ES10/15 for recording? It's lousy. The LSI removed chroma noise, has better encoding. Stick to 2/3/4 hours modes only. Note that 2 is not better than 4, same bitrate allocation. 1 and 3 are the same. Only difference is resolution, but both are over VHS res.
- VC500 has AGC issues, Hauppauge 610 functional, but others still better. In terms of workflow gaer, capture card is cheap, especially USB. Capture cards used to be $300+ (and still can be), but the $100/150 range is a bargain. $50 and lower is pushing your luck to get junk.

... and answered.
Much appreciated, thank you.
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  #5  
12-31-2020, 08:53 PM
Kaos-Industries Kaos-Industries is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
When this thread was posted, I wasn't feeling well, not online as much. No idea why others didn't reply.

Being nervous about missing something is wise. Dropped frames are obvious, but things like a tape self-destructing during playback are not. Do it right the first time, because you may not get a 2nd chance.

Inside the home, normal temps, is part of it. Keeping in sleeves or cases, keep out dust, is another. But moisture is a concern, and geography matters. For example, if you live by a lake, bad stuff happens to plastic (including tape, which is mylar). I never had issues until moving near the lake-y part of the state.

Retail tapes make great test/fodder tapes.

Never use VHS tape cleaners. Those just push around dirt.
Proper cleaning means opening the VCR, accessing the heads.
Never use Q-Tips, or any brand cotton swab.
Don't even follow my old advice on foam or chamois, as the quality of products in 2020 is crap compared to a decade or two ago. The copy paper method is ideal, and TGrant outlined it on his site (but I disagree with some of his info), not had time to make my guide yet. You need 91%+ IPA, copy paper, and to be gentle and careful.

Check tapes with you eyes for anything not perfect. Any discoloration, and set it aside. Any mold, and realize you cannot do it yourself (without risk to your health,risk to ruining your gear).

You'll only know tape speed after playing some content -- unless you took good notes like I did. I was (usually) a stickler for details on my tapes, back in 80s/90s. I did get very sloppy in 2001, the year I mostly quit using tapes, swapped to DVD recorders and capture card.

Doubled? You're misremembering.

- Lossless Huffyuv is about 35gb/hour. It's not exact, depend on content.
- Adobe Premiere isn't suitable on either OS. Great editor, my favorite (for 20+ years), crap capture.
- Mac is lousy. Again, great OS, I have it for non-capture needs. But wrong tool for capture.
- Only deinterlace with QTGMC after capturing. That's done in Avisynth, Hybrid, maybe some others.
- Yes, keep lossless masters. HDD are cheap, 16tb under $300, archive everything. Encode out HQ copies for LAN streaming, deinterlace, MKV, etc.
- You can capture a whole tape, 6 hours or more. But the larger the file gets, the harder to work with. No reason to not just find a good stopping point after 2 hours, REW a few seconds, start it again. But you'll find that most tapes need stop/start, because the tape conditions change. Not with movies, but for sure with home recordings, lots of clips. recorded at different times.
- Yes, VCR > TBC > capture card
- Samsung R120 is a nice LSI based unit, we have/had one (and if I still have it, I need to sell it, thanks for reminder)
- No LSI recorder acts as TBC, only the ES10/15 has a TBC-like/TBC(ish) ability. But it's minimalist, has a fail rate, yet try it anyway. The JVC has a basic frame sync (not TBC), no wiggle correction.
- Ideal = VCR > ES10/15 > Samsung LSI
- Why not use ES10/15 for recording? It's lousy. The LSI removed chroma noise, has better encoding. Stick to 2/3/4 hours modes only. Note that 2 is not better than 4, same bitrate allocation. 1 and 3 are the same. Only difference is resolution, but both are over VHS res.
- VC500 has AGC issues, Hauppauge 610 functional, but others still better. In terms of workflow gaer, capture card is cheap, especially USB. Capture cards used to be $300+ (and still can be), but the $100/150 range is a bargain. $50 and lower is pushing your luck to get junk.

... and answered.
Quick clarification - when you say copy paper, do you mean carbonless copy paper, or something else?
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  #6  
01-01-2021, 06:22 AM
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8x11 (or A4) regular white 20-24lb paper that is used in copy machines, printers, etc.
Cut or tear off a strip, fold it into fourths.
Remove lid on bottle of 91%+ IPA, put paper against opening, shake once to get paper wet.
Place wet paper against video heads, gently but firmly, carefully rotate head (by NOT touching head, but edge).
It should remove grime from both heads and cylinder.
Repeat until no more grime comes off.
Let sit for some minutes (10 is more than enough, the IPA evaporates within minutes, 10 is just be overly safe).

Again, read the TGrant guide for now, mine isn't ready.

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  #7  
01-01-2021, 07:27 AM
pcourtney pcourtney is offline
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thank you LS - must do this for my Sony VHS player and for friends and family - we still have 4 vhs machines in my extended family, and two combo VHS/DVD machines - one of these combo machines plays tapes very well, its a Sony RDR-VX420, bought xmas 2006, but probably because its not had much use in the last 13 years

Amazon order on its way - Isopropyl Alcohol - Lab Grade 99.9% Rubbing Alcohol

when I have carefully cleaned them all, I want to play some tapes thru each one and pick the best one to my eyes that has the best PQ and start capturing over 200+ vhs tapes before its too late
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  #8  
01-01-2021, 07:47 AM
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lordsmurf lordsmurf is offline
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Amazon has IPA again! Phew. I had a heck of time in 2020 trying to find 91%+ stuff. It used to be everywhere, from Walmart to Amazon to the Dollar store down the road. But it was as scarce as TP for months. I'm down to my last little puddle worth in my last bottle now.

Placing an order myself.

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- Find television shows, cartoons, DVDs and Blu-ray releases at the TVPast forums.
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