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11-18-2020, 04:19 PM
trotskito trotskito is offline
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Hello everybody,

I've been lately playing around with VHS capture, nothing in professional terms but just an amateur distraction. As I recently learned VHS does degrade over time, I wanted to keep some tapes from my childhood like old Terrytoons cartoons and my beloved Star Wars trilogy.

My equipment is pretty basic, but it works fine for my intentions, as I don't really want to restore or improve quality, just keep it as near to the source as it can:

- Sony DCR-TRV33E paired with a PCI FireWire card as capturing device
- Daewoo ST847S VCR (6 heads)

I've succesfully transfered a couple of tapes. I 've used sclive, Adobe Premiere and now VDub2.

But I'm having some trouble with the Return of the Jedi VHS: While it seems to capture properly, I've noticed that, in some specific parts of the movie, brightness goes up and down, concretely after scene changes.

At first, I thought it was an anty-copy problem, but using a Macrovision box I have didn't change anything. Then I tried with another VCR, an LG C20P, with no change at all except for lower image quality overall. Not to say that the problem does not occur when displaying the VCR through a TV (brightness keeps stable, with any of the VCRs).

The problem is already visible in the Handycam (I can see the brightness fluctuating in its LCD screen), so I guess it has nothing to do with the FireWire cable or card. As others have suggested, it seems to be some kind of brightness 'auto-adjust' that is causing the ups and downs, but it's confusing that it only happens in some movies.

I've read threads of users with similar problems (like this and this) to no conclusion. Even read that people using superior devices such as SVHS with TBC can't get rid of the problem.

I attach a portion of the capture that clearly shows the problem. It was captured with VDub2 and then encoded for uploading with the same program.

Thank you in advance!

Attached Files
File Type: mp4 capture_jedi.mp4 (14.18 MB, 9 downloads)
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11-18-2020, 11:00 PM
traal traal is offline
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Maybe it's a newer type of Macrovision that your Macrovision box couldn't defeat.

I had a similar problem and a good external TBC fixed it.
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The following users thank traal for this useful post: trotskito (11-19-2020)
11-19-2020, 03:12 AM
trotskito trotskito is offline
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Hi traal,

It's weird because the tape is from 1995 and I'm almost sure I made some VHS copy of it back in the 2000s without this problem.

Sadly, I can't afford a TBC right now, given their prices in the second hand market (ebay, etc).

Could it be that I'm using the Macrovision box not with its original scart cable, but with different RCA ones instead (in order to use the camcorder's RCA-to-minijack cable)?. I attach pictures of both.

I have the original cable, but as it ends in another scart, I cannot use it in the camcorder, unless there's some kind of female scart-to-rca adapter. But, would that make any sense?. Also, maybe the box is broken.


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File Type: jpg original cable.jpg (37.4 KB, 2 downloads)
File Type: jpg my cable setup.jpg (72.1 KB, 2 downloads)
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11-19-2020, 06:30 AM
Hushpower Hushpower is offline
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If all else fails, buy the DVD and rip it. For not many dollars, you'll end up with a far better copy than a VHS transfer.
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11-19-2020, 06:33 AM
trotskito trotskito is offline
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Hahah, I already own the DVDs, this is just an unproductive time-consumig-childhood-nostalgia-driven preservation attempt.

But thanks for the advice!

For those who might suffer the same situation:

Originally Posted by trotskito, on the videohelp forum
Hello everybody,

I'll try to make a short summary of my journey:

Our last conclusion was that the problem was caused by some sort of unavoidable autogain setting in the Sony DCR-TRV33E Camcorder. So my first hope was in testing a different DV cam. Last week a friend lent me a Canon MV700, which is pretty similar to mine in terms of age and features, but unfortunately it lacks AV input. No more (free) camcorders were available in my circle, so I left that way frozen until I could try my other options (and, if they failed, consider the acquisition of a different capture device).

Then I went on testing the Panasonic DMR-E50 DVD recorder as passthrough device between the VCR and the camcorder, with the MV box plugged also in between. My first attempts were frustrating, as I didn't notice any difference between the previous captures without it. The day I got the Panasonic I tried all the sensible combinations I was able to wonder, but I got nothing in return. Therefore, I convinced myself that the problem was indeed in the camcorder. I thought then that I would have to buy a capture card, yes-or-yes.

Today I had to get rid of all the machinery until I could buy the new equipment. But before putting everything in its box, I wanted to do a last try, only that this time I would use the original Scart-to-Scart cable that was provided with the MV box to connect the VCR to the DVD-R and...magic!: the problem disappeared, and I've been able to capture the movie without the annoying brightness mess. Somehow I wondered that the RCA cables were missing some type of signal (...or something) that was present in the Scart connection. I understand this must have a rational explanation, which I ignore at the moment (I mentioned my first suspicions in the #7th post of this thread).

This way, the DVD recorder has proven essential, as I cannot use the original MV box Scart-to-Scart cable to connect the VCR to the camcorder, and had to do the Scart-to-RCA adaptor workaround. Then, the problem was (as some have suggested) an antycopy protection issue, that the camera was able to manage up to a certain point but not further: the MV box only works by using its original Scart cable. And all has been solved for 20, the price I paid to a neighbor for the Panasonic.

I want to thank you all for your time and suggestions. Heck, now I have some hours of quality entertainment assured.
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The following users thank trotskito for this useful post: lordsmurf (12-31-2020)

brightness, handycam, vhs capture

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