Quantcast Beginning to digitize tapes, issues with color? - digitalFAQ Forum
  #1  
01-03-2019, 04:15 AM
joh4 joh4 is offline
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Hello.

I just recently started researching, preparing and attempting to digitize some old VHS tapes from 1989-1994

I went to a Savers/Thrift Store and bought a VCR (Samsung V1000)

https://www.ebay.com/p/Samsung-DVD-V...8978224&chn=ps

I bought a capture device off of Amazon (USB 2.0 Audio/Video Converter)

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

And I have been using the software that came with the device (Honestech VHS to DVD 3.0)

So in summary

VCR: (Samsung V1000)
Capture device: (USB 2.0 Audio/Video Converter)
Capture software: (Honestech VHS to DVD 3.0)

I tested the VHS with some commercial VHS first to ensure that the VCR would not eat the tapes and once I tested it, I started recording my first set of 5 VHS tapes.

Ok, so the first VHS tape recorded fine. I am happy with the quality, it looks great. Audio sounds gread, Video looks great.

Now, the second one, which was from Halloween 1994 had some color distortion effects. I am posting the link to the video here: https://youtu.be/S9sEBs-T9WY

And this type of color distortion (which looks like a red green and blue horizontal bars) persists through the video. What could this be?

Is this just a normal effect of VHS deterioration? Or could this be an issue with the VCR? (But if it was, then why did the first tape work fine?) Or could this have to do with the capture device/software (As of today, I ordered a Diamond VC5000 capture device to test out with Virtual Dub, I am waiting for it to ship) - But in the mean time, I was hoping someone could give some insight in to what the possible cause of this issue is.

I went through the rest of my 5 tapes and I found that 2 others were almost completely fine with only slight sections of that color distortion appearing.

Then the 5th tape had it a little more frequently.

With the VHS commercial tapes I viewed to test, the Pagemaster movie had the same color distortion but Liar Liar did not (except in some spots)

As I begin to delve in to the issue, could anyone point me in the right direction?

Attaching a picture of the distortion as well.

Thanks,


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  #2  
01-03-2019, 08:42 AM
dpalomaki dpalomaki is offline
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If you play the tapes directly to analog inputs of a TV do you see the same problem with the tapes in question?
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  #3  
01-03-2019, 08:50 AM
joh4 joh4 is offline
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This is a good point and I have been meaning to do this, just a matter of physically moving the VCR out to one of my TVs in another room. I will try this after work. If there is no color issue then we can deduce it down to it potentially being the capture device/capture software?

Thanks,
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  #4  
01-03-2019, 09:43 AM
ehbowen ehbowen is offline
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TVs are a lot more forgiving of the poor quality signals from VHS tapes than computers and capture devices are. If the VCR plays properly with a TV, then you need to look into cleaning up the signal...most likely with a better quality VCR and a TBC. One of the USB capture devices available in the Marketplace forum here would give you better performance as well.
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  #5  
01-03-2019, 10:42 AM
dpalomaki dpalomaki is offline
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Quote:
If there is no color issue then we can deduce it down to it potentially being the capture device/capture software?
As noted above, this will imply that the signal output from the VCR is too "sloppy" for the capture device. Using a TBC may help, or a different VCR might play the problematic tapes better. The various available capture devices can also respond differently to sloppy signals. There is as much "art" as science in captured from old VHS tapes.
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  #6  
01-03-2019, 10:53 AM
joh4 joh4 is offline
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Is it possible that a VCR could damage a tape further?

Like for example, if I buy my VCR from a thrift store .. and I start putting my home movies in to the VCR, could the VCR do damage to my tapes?

Thanks,
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  #7  
01-03-2019, 03:57 PM
dpalomaki dpalomaki is offline
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A defective VCR could do all kinds of different damage to tape. This could range from breaking/wrinkling/stretching/tearing tape, to weakening or partly erasing content recorded on the tape, to damaging the tape shell. IMO the most common issues are jams or partial despooling of the tape in the mechanism. The mechanisms have a lot of moving parts and plastic/nylon gears and belts that can break, stretch, jump a cog, or otherwise get out of sync leading to failure, and a complicated tape path with many points of contact that must remain in alignment.

Also, thrift shop/yard sale (and auction site) VCRs may have contaminants or crud inside that can trash a tape. Leftovers from a PBJ sandwich stuffed in the tape slot are not unheard of.

Thus anytime you get a new-to-you VCR it should be tested thoroughly with a throw-away tape before inserting an important tape. Further, and tapes with important content should have the erase prevention tabs set (broken off in the case of VHS tapes). If you don't feel confident in testing your self, buy from a reputable source or have a qualified technician check it out for you./

Observation: For many years the #3 item discarded on the highway shoulders was audio cassettes usually with tape handing halfway out, third only to empty beer cans and fast food containers. And audio cassette players were much simpler mechanism than VCRs.
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  #8  
01-03-2019, 04:43 PM
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Honestech rebadges cheap junk, and I'm fairly certain that's an Easycap/EZcap (aka EZcrap) card. And what you're seeing could be an issue caused by it. (Even if the VCR isn't fine, odds are the EZcrap is just making it worse.)

Plug the VCR directly into a TV, see what's happening here.

Between a VCR and capture card, you must have some sort of timebase correction, even if it's just the partial TBC(ish) provided by a DVD recorder (ES10, ES15).

I actually have a Samsung V1000 that I bought from Goodwill for $9. It's a piece of junk VCR, probably a Funai rebadge or at least similar. The signal output is dreadful, and I only have it for research into DIY tape mold removal.

You just need better equipment all around, otherwise you're never going to capture with quality, or at all.

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  #9  
01-04-2019, 12:52 PM
joh4 joh4 is offline
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I switched to a diamond VC500 capture device and Virtual Dub capture software. Tightened the composite cables.

The picture looks fine now. The color distortion is gone. Thanks for the help everyone.

I think the VCR is fine. I'm happy with the quality, I'm not trying to get my VHS tapes in 4k resolution lol and I'm not going to buy a $400 VCR just to do this. Thanks though.
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  #10  
01-04-2019, 03:19 PM
sanlyn sanlyn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joh4 View Post
I'm not trying to get my VHS tapes in 4k resolution loll
Good. You have to be pretty clueless to waste time trying to make 4K out of VHS.
Quote:
Originally Posted by joh4 View Post
I'm not going to buy a $400 VCR just to do this.
Sorry to hear it. Don't throw away your most valued tapes. You'll wish you had them when you learn more about video.
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  #11  
01-04-2019, 03:31 PM
joh4 joh4 is offline
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Why don't you elaborate and enlighten me, Sanlyn?

You're saying if I make a digital file with my Samsung V1000 and then I make a digital file with a VCR that costs $400+, and I compare the two - that I am going to notice a massive difference? I just don't see that happening.

It just sounds similar to an audiosnob dismissing digital audio because 'you don't hear the same stuff that you hear on Vinyl'. Sure it may be true to them, but to the average every day man/woman, it sounds the same.

Thanks

Also, I would never throw away the VHS tapes.
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  #12  
01-04-2019, 04:16 PM
dpalomaki dpalomaki is offline
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Quote:
...and I compare the two - that I am going to notice a massive difference? I just don't see that happening.
It is not a case of oxygen-free copper vs. plan copper for short audio cables. With VCR's there are differences that arise from mechanical and electrical properties of the VCRs. There are reasons for the price differences between models beyond bragging rights. The preferred VCRs typically sold for between $800 and $2000 when new 20 some years ago. But retail price when new is not the only factor (some not recommended machines also carried a high price.).

In many respects the difference among VCR's is much like the difference in cars, or tires, or Scotch.
Musicians can hear and feel the differences among instruments. A given VCR may have hit a sweet spot in the production run, a given tape may play well in an economical VCR because it hits that VCR's sweet spot, but on the whole the recommended machines give the best results across a wide range of input material. However, not everyone can see all of the differences, or is interested in the subtle differences.

Most of the regulars here are very serious about image quality and tuned into the subtle differences among machines, systems, and end results (some might even be obsessive). The suggestions you get are given from that perspective. The issue of course is your own personal goal for the video. You decide how good is good enough for your purposes. And whether or not you might want to do an arguably better job of it at some point in the future, perhaps when time and money are more available.

And keep in mind that the good tools for working with analog tape sources are becoming more scarce as time passes.
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  #13  
01-04-2019, 10:30 PM
sanlyn sanlyn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joh4 View Post
Why don't you elaborate and enlighten me, Sanlyn?

You're saying if I make a digital file with my Samsung V1000 and then I make a digital file with a VCR that costs $400+, and I compare the two - that I am going to notice a massive difference? I just don't see that happening.

It just sounds similar to an audiosnob dismissing digital audio because 'you don't hear the same stuff that you hear on Vinyl'. Sure it may be true to them, but to the average every day man/woman, it sounds the same.

Thanks

Also, I would never throw away the VHS tapes.
Good.

So you switched capture devices and capture methods and you say you saw an improvement?
Does this mean you're becoming a video snob?
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  #14  
01-04-2019, 11:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joh4 View Post
You're saying if I make a digital file with my Samsung V1000 and then I make a digital file with a VCR that costs $400+, and I compare the two - that I am going to notice a massive difference? I just don't see that happening.
Yes, that is exactly what we're saying. I still vividly remember the first time I put a VHS tape into an S-VHS VCR with TBC. It was truly a "holy $hit!" kind of moment, one I'll never forget. My eyes were opened to how truly good VHS can look, and how truly terrible home VCRs were. After that, I never went back to using VHS VCRs for playback, nor even recording.

I was also hesitant to spend the $400 needed for a good deck (and that was in 90s money, so like $1k in 2019 dollars). But in hindsight, it's one of the best things I ever bought. Everybody has one of those "best thing I ever bought" items, and that's one of mine.

It's one of the reasons I started to tell others online in the 90s, and why I founded this site in 2002. And for the past 15+ years, I've had a constant stream of feedback from others, truly amazed at the quality difference good hardware makes. I never tire of hearing it.

Quote:
It just sounds similar to an audiosnob dismissing digital audio because 'you don't hear the same stuff that you hear on Vinyl'. Sure it may be true to them, but to the average every day man/woman, it sounds the same.
Those people are nuts.
I despise (self-described) "audiophiles" -- and even that name is creepy (audio pedophiles? )

Quote:
Also, I would never throw away the VHS tapes.
Good. You're avoiding a major mistake.

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  #15  
01-05-2019, 08:22 AM
ehbowen ehbowen is offline
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I was fortunate enough to have picked up a really good VCR (Mitsubishi HS-HD2000U) new (open box clearance) when I first got interested in digital video 10 years ago. I've since acquired other premium equipment (as Lordsmurf says, not every VCR does the best job on every single tape), but I noticed a real and visible improvement when I upgraded the rest of my capture chain. I had been using first an AverMedia and then Hauppauge TV cards with no TBC; when I acquired a good TBC and a pair of All-In-Wonder cards my capture quality improved significantly. And sanlyn is right, if you plan to do any post-processing other than dump straight to DVD as you would with a DVD recorder you need to be capturing and editing lossless. 2TB hard drives are cheap, as is a SATA PCI card and an external hard drive dock.
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  #16  
01-05-2019, 12:34 PM
tryagain tryagain is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post

I was also hesitant to spend the $400 needed for a good deck (and that was in 90s money, so like $1k in 2019 dollars). But in hindsight, it's one of the best things I ever bought. Everybody has one of those "best thing I ever bought" items, and that's one of mine.
I seem to recall prices as being higher back in the early '90s. Would be interested in hearing which deck you bought, how much $$, and where. There weren't the online sales back then. I bought a Sony std VHS editing deck (SLV 676UC) that retailed for $599 in late 1990. Seems like their S decks were upwards of $1,000.

A cheap Sanyo (non flying erase head) purchased in 1989 was $350 at the local Sun TV mega electronics discount store. There were no $100 VCRs back then.

I do see where joh4 is coming from. I hesitate to post on most video forums, this one excluded, as it seems many are snobby or elitist. Humility and self-deprecation is often in short supply. I don't think they necessarily mean to come off that way. It is not fun being lectured to by those that think you just started in video last week, when in fact you may have been replacing microprocessors in Umatic VTRs while they were dubbing VHS tapes in their parent's basement. I typically don't correct their broad statements as to which method or hardware is 'best' or worst,' as I don't have the time nor patience to get into a p*****g contest.

There is a lot of good info on this forum, just don't accept any of our recommendations as gospel. Instead, what works for me is to read and sift thru as much as I can and try various methods to come up to what works for me. I think that is what you did.

-- merged --

Picked up a pristine Toshiba DVR620KU VHS/DVD recorder last year on Craigslist for $50. It had everything I could hope for:
DV, S-Video and composite inputs, and they all pass thru TO THE HDMI AND COMPONENT out.

It was going to be great! Dub all my VHS/SVHS tapes via component for supreme quality. (HDMI out from S-Vid in was not good at all) Unfortunately, this unit, built 8/11, was a Funai rebadge. VHS section was horrible, and all video coming out, except for the composite input, had horribly blown out whites. No adjustments or easy hacks to fix. A shame. Sold on CL in 3 days for $100, prob could have got nearly $200 on ebay, as they are no longer made, and prices are high for good, working units.

Your Samsung V1000 appears to be of an earlier vintage, as some of the Amazon reviews were from 2002. Glad you found a method that worked to your satisfaction.

-- merged --

Further research and testing to the Hauppauge HVR950Q.

The "Q" was the addition of QAM tuning, often used by cable companies. (maybe still?) This would tune in and record "in the clear," or non scrambled channels. There were a lot of channels back then that weren't scrambled. I think most are these days, save a few local/gov't/cable access/advertising channels.

This unit used the new Auvitek AU8522 decoder, which added the QAM. It also does FM, although the 950Q does not have that capability, AFAIK.

The older 950 used the Texas Instruments TVP5150 decoder, the same one used in the highly regarded ATI HD 600 USB, as well as other units floating around out there. I have yet to acquire a unit with the 5150 for side by side comparison, but plan to in the near future, if I can get one cheaply. I realize there are other differences in a given USB cap device besides the decoder chip, not to mention 2 units of any product with the same name may perform differently due to mfg issues.

My initial problem with the 950Q was that the proc amp was greyed out in Win7/64, and the default setting was too soft, using the drivers from the install CD. (sorry not sure of version) After loading it into an XP32 box the proc amp was back. Using the most recent drivers from the Hauppage site, (they say ver. 35244) I found the default settings to be nearly perfect. Initial side by side testing showed quality to be great, BETTER than the Intensity Pro, my previous best hardware, at least for image quality. More details in the 950Q. Real details, not fake sharpened details.

I loaded W7/32 onto a spare drive, thinking the proc amps would come back, but no luck. Quality is still good, as they nailed the default settings to near perfection. I will need to do some torture and lip sync testing before this becomes my main capture device, and will probably post thoughts. Unit gets very hot, I place it on a case fan when doing captures.
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  #17  
01-05-2019, 01:54 PM
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I seem to recall prices as being higher back in the early '90s.
I adopted S-VHS around 97/98.
More info on my video origins: http://www.digitalfaq.com/editorials...-interview.htm

Quote:
Would be interested in hearing which deck you bought, how much $$, and where. There weren't the online sales back then. I bought a Sony std VHS editing deck (SLV 676UC) that retailed for $599 in late 1990. Seems like their S decks were upwards of $1,000.
Panasonic decks were around $1000, but the JVC were under $500. I used B&H back then, sales ads from back of photo magazines.

Quote:
A cheap Sanyo (non flying erase head) purchased in 1989 was $350 at the local Sun TV mega electronics discount store. There were no $100 VCRs back then.
VCRs started to hit the $150-200 range by 1991, and that's when I bought my Emerson that had chroma recording problems (strange red/blue filaments in the image, never seen anything like it before or since). I recorded about a dozen tapes with it before swapping it with slightly pricier Magnavox.

Quote:
I do see where joh4 is coming from. I hesitate to post on most video forums, this one excluded, as it seems many are snobby or elitist. Humility and self-deprecation is often in short supply. I don't think they necessarily mean to come off that way. It is not fun being lectured to by those that think you just started in video last week, when in fact you may have been replacing microprocessors in Umatic VTRs while they were dubbing VHS tapes in their parent's basement.
You must realize that experience with Umatic repair doesn't translate at all into capturing VHS. Just like capturing VHS doesn't translate into editing, shooting, or digital HD formats. I'm a competent editor, novice-level shooter, and my focus is SD. So humility is also understanding where your skills and expertise is not. I also find "elitist" is more often used as an excuse to cozy up to stupidity rather than embracing knowledge (as clearly seen in right-wing propaganda).

Quote:
There is a lot of good info on this forum, just don't accept any of our recommendations as gospel. Instead, what works for me is to read and sift thru as much as I can and try various methods to come up to what works for me. I think that is what you did.
It can't be gospel because sources are not identical. There are some absolute altruisms, such as some form of TBC is required between the VHS signal and digital capture, but other aspects are fungible. The forum is where that can all be hashed out. If this were any easy task, nobody would have problems, and we'd have no need for video forums. But that's not the status quo.

Quote:
Funai rebadge. VHS section was horrible, and all video coming out, except for the composite input, had horribly blown out whites. No adjustments or easy hacks to fix. A shame.
Funai was the disease that killed DVD recorders and VHS players in the final years of the format. I'm glad you didn't run into the common tape-eater issue as well, didn't lose any tapes.

Quote:
Glad you found a method that worked to your satisfaction.
I never make that assumption, nor even necessarily accept it when said explicitly. Why? Experience. Very often, the person is in denial about obvious quality issues, until confronted by family or friends (the ones that are not just paying lip service). I constantly hear the story of "I did this some years ago, and thought it was fine, but now I realize it was really terrible". All the time, even now, literally just yesterday, and that wasn't even the first time this week. Do it right, do it once, don't lie to yourself.

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