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  #1  
02-22-2021, 02:18 PM
learningToRestore learningToRestore is offline
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Hello, everyone!

I had been doing some research on capturing video cassette tape footage. Mostly for transferring old family recordings. To be honest, I hesitated for a while to post a question on any forum. I caved, though, when I saw a post from [lordsmurf] on one of the forums I was looking at.

Which is why I'm here. So far, there are four videos that I have looked at which seemed to be a bit trustworthy. I am having second thoughts about them, though.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hudU0uVHJPc
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kn2NWJzxS6k
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sn_TDa9zY1c
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZC5Zr3NC2PY

My current "good" VCR is a Sony SLV-775HF (without its original remote). I have AV to HDMI converters, as well as two capture devices. One is a knock-off EasyCAP, the other a cheap HDMI capture card. Also currently have both VirtualDub2 and OBS installed.

Some tapes have white spots on the edges. I assumed that they were moldy, but one comment somewhere said that it could potentially be lubricant. I don't know if those tapes can still be saved.

Some sources say to not clean the tape before capture, some do. Some say to use specific concentrations of isopropanol, others say to not use any at all, or to use a different thing. For cleaning, some use expensive chamois sticks, others use microfibre cloths or foam pieces. Some use the VCR's rewind function, others use a VHS rewinder, still others do it by hand...

The list goes on and on.

All that I want are a good set of tips for capturing VHS tape footage at a decent quality. Something that is of a good enough quality.
I'm just hoping that doing this isn't as confusing as I've seen thus far.
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  #2  
02-22-2021, 02:42 PM
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Quote:
To be honest, I hesitated for a while to post a question on any forum. I caved, though, when I saw a post from [lordsmurf] on one of the forums I was looking at.
Which is why I'm here.
Welcome.

[QUOTE=learningToRestore;75417
I am having second thoughts about them, though.
[/QUOTE]
Each of those Youtube videos is terrible advice.

- The 'little weird" guy is an idiot. He doesn't know much about video (his video-related videos are littered with myths and nonsense), and his method is bunk. As I wrote elsewhere, he's literally the "fake news" of video conversion. He knows less than you do.
- The "60p" guy is fumbling around, mixing terms, wrong settings, and using cheap Easycaps, quality sucks.

The main flaw of the mold videos is in NOT telling you do do the work outside, in a garage, etc -- and NOT in your house. Mold can be toxic, and you can have unforeseen severe allergic reactions to molds. To handle mold, you need PPE: masks, gloves. And well vented area NOT IN YOUR HOME. ("The Oldskool PC" does at least have that warning in the video text.)

Quote:
My current "good" VCR is a Sony SLV-775HF (without its original remote).
Not great. Many better, many worse.

Quote:
I have AV to HDMI converters, as well as two capture devices. One is a knock-off EasyCAP, the other a cheap HDMI capture card. Also currently have both VirtualDub2 and OBS installed.
You're going down the wrong path here. Wrong tools.

- not good capture card
- never use HD anything for SD video (VHS,etc)
- not VirtualDub2, but VirtualDub
- never OBS, it's not an analog capture software, but streaming screen record software

Quote:
Some tapes have white spots on the edges. I assumed that they were moldy,
Maybe. Attach photos.

Quote:
but one comment somewhere said that it could potentially be lubricant.
Where was that? Unlikely.

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I don't know if those tapes can still be saved.
Saved? Sure, probably.

Quote:
Some sources say to not clean the tape before capture, some do.
Depends on what needs to be "cleaned", and why.

Quote:
Some say to use specific concentrations of isopropanol,
90%+ is the usual go-to. Just realize IPA is a solvent, and factors can make it not desired.

Quote:
others say to not use any at all, or to use a different thing.
Advice like this is usually parroted by morons, so tread carefully, vet sources carefully. "use nothing at all" is clueless, while "other stuff" really depends.

Quote:
For cleaning, some use expensive chamois sticks, others use microfibre cloths or foam pieces. Some use the VCR's rewind function, others use a VHS rewinder, still others do it by hand...
REW/rewinders are out, too fast.
Others work well, just tedious. But video is tedious already, so deal with it.

Quote:
All that I want are a good set of tips for capturing VHS tape footage at a decent quality.
So .... huh? Most of this post focused on mold removal. That's really separate from quality capture.

There a recipe for capture: VCR > TBC > capture card
Follow it.
Good VCR, some form of TBC is required (not optional), good capture card.
Realize your idea of "good" may be way off.
Ideally, line+frame TBC. You can attempt shortcuts, but each level down (added shortcut) will harm both quality and ability to capture whatsoever. No TBC = no chance at getting quality capture, or any capture.

Quote:
I'm just hoping that doing this isn't as confusing as I've seen thus far.
It's really not.
The main hurdle is funding. Some stubborn people don't want to buy the tools needed, so they attempt cockamamie methods that still don't work well, or at all. If you have an adequate budget to buy what's needed, this can be quite easy.

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  #3  
02-22-2021, 03:21 PM
learningToRestore learningToRestore is offline
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Thank you for the very detailed reply!

Sorry about how most of my post seemed to be about cleaning the tape; that was the part that threw me for a loop the most.

I'm guessing that, with capture devices, something like an Elgato or higher is better than a cheap EasyCAP knock-off?

Also, for clarification (because my perception of VHS quality may be hilariously off-base), when I'm talking about a "good quality" VHS capture, I was willing to accept some fuzziness, noise, or a flicker here or there. Because you have more experience than me, my "good enough" may actually be shockingly horrendous.

I'm just very scared of doing something very wrong, I suppose.
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  #4  
02-22-2021, 06:24 PM
timtape timtape is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by learningToRestore View Post

Some tapes have white spots on the edges. I assumed that they were moldy, but one comment somewhere said that it could potentially be lubricant. I don't know if those tapes can still be saved.

Some sources say to not clean the tape before capture, some do. Some say to use specific concentrations of isopropanol, others say to not use any at all, or to use a different thing. For cleaning, some use expensive chamois sticks, others use microfibre cloths or foam pieces. Some use the VCR's rewind function, others use a VHS rewinder, still others do it by hand...

The list goes on and on.
Yes the YT videos on VHS tape cleaning I've seen are pretty dreadful. Cleaning tapes without doing damage can be very tricky. I'm struggling myself to develop a system for removing mould. It's a particularly difficult problem. But it depends on how extensive is the mould. Could you upload a photo or two of the extent of the mould as seen through the windows in the VHS cassette?

Tim.
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  #5  
02-22-2021, 06:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by learningToRestore View Post
I'm guessing that, with capture devices, something like an Elgato or higher is better than a cheap EasyCAP knock-off?
Easycap earned the nickname Easycrap.
Elgato earned the nickname Elcrapo.
Both are bottom-barrel lousy capture cards.
And the "grabbers" are right there with too, total garbage cheap Chinese USB cards.

Quote:
Also, for clarification (because my perception of VHS quality may be hilariously off-base), when I'm talking about a "good quality" VHS capture, I was willing to accept some fuzziness, noise, or a flicker here or there. Because you have more experience than me, my "good enough" may actually be shockingly horrendous.
VHS inherently isn't sharp by modern standards -- but equally not fuzzy.

"Noise" is a broad term. Some noises are inherent to the format, and some tapes have damage that reates noise. But other noises are the fault of cheap VCRs and capture cards, and should not happen.

For example, bad VCRs have not just tracking issues, but image wiggles, dropouts, bad contrast, bad oversharpening, etc. That all looks bad in a tiny preview window, and unacceptable on a large modern HDTVs where you may wish to enjoy these.

Bad capture cards further damage, with unacceptable flicker and motion noise, ruined colors and over/underexposure of the image that was fine on the tape.

I hate the term "good enough" because it's generally used as an excuse to dismiss awful quality.

Quote:
I'm just very scared of doing something very wrong, I suppose.
We'll get set on the right path here, you're at the right site to learn.

- 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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