12-07-2019, 07:26 PM
bigkazzyry bigkazzyry is offline
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Hello All,
After spending a couple months designing and building a DIY VHS cleaner (Which is working FANTASTIC!), I am up and running. I've been capturing like crazy but I wanted to be sure I'm handling it in the most efficient manner possible. First, many of my tapes are moldy and need serious cleaning, some are in good shape and transfer easily.

My primary focus is digitizing the tapes for online viewing so they have to be deinterlaced but I am also keeping an original capture of all my tapes for making dvd's as well. I'm very confident in my workflow as I have a TBC-3000, 2 TBC-4000's, an HD-2000u, SR-VS30U, 2 1980's, and a custom-built Windows XP system with TBSC, 9600xt, etc... My current process takes a very long time, even without applying filters so I wanted to check with you all to be sure I'm not spinning my wheels since my current approach takes many hours per tape and VERY large files. I just purchased a 6TB hard drive but even that is filling up quickly and I've got close to a hundred tapes to go.

My current process:
  • Capture using Windows XP computer (Virtualdub - huffyuv lossless), with recommended hardware across the board. Store in original capture folder.
  • Deinterlace using QTMC (AVIsynth), storing in a deinterlaced folder.
  • Utilize Handbrake to compress the video and store it in a separate folder.
  • I then transfer the compressed file to my Plex storage drive for family viewing.
This whole process takes many hours. Am I approaching this correctly?

Last edited by bigkazzyry; 12-07-2019 at 08:08 PM. Reason: Numbering didn't work. Changed to bullet points.
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12-07-2019, 09:40 PM
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lordsmurf lordsmurf is online now
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DIY VHS cleaner? Pictures, please! Interested.

Looks to be all good gear in your capture hardware workflow(s?).

Software workflows:

1. Capture (lossless suggested).

2. Edit/restore.

3. Encode prep.
--- MPEG: mask overscan, NR
--- H264: crop overscan, NR, deinterlace (QTGMC suggested)

4. Encode. (For H264, for freeware, Handbrake semi-lousy, Hybrid suggested.)

5. Delivery.
--- MPEG: author DVD, burn
--- H264: move to HDD/online storage for watching access

This process is relatively the same, home or pro.

- Did my advice help you? Then become a Premium Member and support this site.
- For sale in the marketplace: TBCs, workflows, capture cards, VCRs
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12-07-2019, 10:54 PM
bigkazzyry bigkazzyry is offline
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I intended on posting a separate thread at some point and will eventually do a full breakdown on a blog I have but here is the summary of it. I spent a good deal of time researching and dissecting pictures of Tapechek systems and their feature set. As usual, I started off small and then expanded on the concept which is why something I intended on taking a week or two turned into a couple of months.

DIY VHS Cleaner Feature Set:
  • UV-C Sterilizing station for the tape reels (Pre-treatment) and as a pass-through during cleaning.
  • Triple Stage Cleaning Tissue - two stage on the magentic (oxide) side and one on the back side.
  • Sapphire Burnisher to polish tape and assist with mold / oxide buildup removal.
  • Vaccuum Assist to remove mold and oxide buildup that is broken loose in the cleaning process.
  • Speed Control for tape reel speed.
  • Speed and Timing Control for the Tissue Refreshing.
  • Photocell Auto-Stop Functionality - Still in development.
  • I also setup a Photocell or bypass option on the tape reel speed motor.
Throughout the development, I have tested different speed motors and sapphire burnisher placement. Initially I had issues with damaging the tape which I traced to the extreme direction changes of the tape path and eventually lightened it up with some great success. I've ran several tapes through the cleaner and have not noticed any stretching or damage to the tapes. I'll attach a couple of images of before and after cleaning as an example. Keep in mind I also manually cleaned the empty side of the reels with 99% alcohol as well. Image quality has been impressive so far. The only hiccup I came across was some tape dropouts on the latest video which was my sisters 16th birthday party but without capturing it prior to the cleaning it's hard to say if those issues were there previous to the cleaning.

I'd be curious to hear your thoughts, opinions, suggestions on my system.

Here is how I've ran the system:
  • I first remove the tape reels and carefully place them in the UVC chamber and set the time for 20 minutes. Depending on the severity of the mold I will adjust how long I keep the reels under the light and decide whether to run the system outside or inside based on that as well.
  • I then carefully route the tape around the cleaning path and through the pass-through chamber of the UVC light to further kill any mold spores.
  • I've found that a slower steady pace on the drive motor works best and results in no damage to the tape.
  • On the cleaning tissue side I have a timing, duration electronic switch setup that is activated by a momentary push button switch. Once activated the motor runs for 1 second and then waits 45 seconds before running for another second. After watching videos of tapechek systems I discovered that they do no refresh the tissue at a fast pace as that would be very costly and unnecessary. This can be adjusted to any duration, delay, speed I so choose.
  • I cycle once forward and once reverse through each tape, taking time ti clean the empty spools with 99% alcohol on each cycle. I also clean the cassette housing with 99% alcohol to ensure no mold spores remain.
  • I have installed a photocell auto-stop functionality but it is intermittent on one direction so it's still a work in progress. I found that surrounding light impacted it too much so I used some heat shrink to isolate the focus of the photocell to directly in front of the sensor.

Attached Images
File Type: jpg Before-Cleaning1.jpg (89.0 KB, 13 downloads)
File Type: jpg After-cleaning.jpg (93.9 KB, 13 downloads)
File Type: jpg IMG_20191204_171400.jpg (115.8 KB, 15 downloads)
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12-07-2019, 11:03 PM
bigkazzyry bigkazzyry is offline
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Here is a video of the cleaner in action. Keep in mind, the UVC light pass-through chamber isn't running and is in the upright position and the right tape reel isn't properly routed along the guide roller in this clip.

Attached Files
File Type: mp4 VID_20191207_110155.mp4 (43.44 MB, 16 downloads)
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12-07-2019, 11:13 PM
bigkazzyry bigkazzyry is offline
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Here are some pictures of reel placement and the sterilizing station.

Attached Images
File Type: jpg IMG_20191206_162703.jpg (104.6 KB, 6 downloads)
File Type: jpg IMG_20191206_162745.jpg (112.3 KB, 6 downloads)
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huffyuv, lossless, plex, process, vhs

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