Quantcast Best VCR for playing damaged tapes? - digitalFAQ Forum
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09-13-2021, 10:50 PM
datanorth datanorth is offline
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Hi all - long time reader, first time poster. I've dug through the search as much as possible but I haven't been able to find an answer so here goes:

I'm digitizing some old VHS movies, mostly a recording from TV and two recordings that were transfers from camcorders. I've read all the how-tos and at the moment I have purchased an AG-1970P and an ES-15, along with the Hauppauge 610 USB-Live2. I know a real TBC and perhaps an older ATI capture card would improve the quality, but for my budget this setup is producing pretty great results video-quality wise.

That being said, the camcorder tapes are giving me some trouble.

The one that's most important was chewed twice in a VCR many years ago, and the stops within the tape were messed up. I cut out the section I cared about and mounted it into a donor shell which works fine, but now it just seems to get to several sections in the tape and give up playing back and eject the tape. I've tried skipping past these sections, but it seems like there are many of these sections in a relatively short bit of tape.

My question is this: is there a VCR I could pick up (I don't really care if it's a higher quality S-VHS unit or just a standard unit at this point) that would be particularly well-suited for playing back damaged tape?

The second camcorder transfer also seems to lose tracking and eject frequently in the Panasonic as well, but the tape is relatively undamaged so I imagine if I could find something a bit more tolerant of errors, I could play that one as well.

I'm also open to any other suggestions (beyond cutting out sections of the tape because at this point, I can skip past the damaged sections and it still seems to want to abort playback at random - we'd have no footage left, so I consider this a last resort).

Thanks!

Last edited by datanorth; 09-13-2021 at 10:52 PM. Reason: Typos
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09-13-2021, 11:10 PM
latreche34 latreche34 is online now
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There is no real solution for bad tapes, Try manual tracking on the VCR by pressing CH up/down, if that doesn't work, cleaning the heads frequently or cleaning the tape itself may help if it's shedding oxide, other than that there isn't much you can do.

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09-14-2021, 01:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by latreche34 View Post
There is no real solution for bad tapes, Try manual tracking on the VCR by pressing CH up/down, if that doesn't work, cleaning the heads frequently or cleaning the tape itself may help if it's shedding oxide, other than that there isn't much you can do.
This is both true, and yet not true. The quality of the deck comes into play. A generic low-end VHS VCR will make a marginal or bad tape look worse. While the better deck won't repair anything, it will usually ensure the quality doesn't degrade worse.

Standard advice applies, recommended JVC/Panasonic S-VHS VCRs with line TBCs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by datanorth View Post
and eject frequently in the Panasonic as well, but the tape is relatively undamaged
Examine is closely. Any mold?
Open the tape gate. Anything make that tape not look like perfect black glass?

It may be sticky oxide.
What tape brand? Exact tape model?
What era was the tape recorded? (76-79,80-85,86-89,90-95,96-99,00-10)

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