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07-28-2017, 05:10 PM
Upandrunning Upandrunning is offline
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Hi All

I am just about to start the process of converting a collection of old VHS tapes to digital.

I have read a lot of older, but of very useful, information on this site about the best vcrs and their trade offs e.g. JVC vs Panasonic, TBC, DNR etc.

I have also read about the 'yes and 'no' of cleaning vcr heads and mechanics e.g. don't use the VHS cleaning tapes, don't use cotton wool tips on the heads, use pure isopropyl alcohol with clean paper etc

I have not read much though about cleaning your actual VHS tapes before you digitally convert them? To me, ensuring your tapes are thoroughly cleaned before capture is highly critical and will potentially allow a noticeable improvement in picture quality for certain VHS tapes for relatively little monetary outlay.

Therefore, does anyone have any direct real life experience, or know how to clean VHS tapes properly? And if so, what types of improvements in picture quality is one to realistically expect? Yes I realise improvements will depend on the original state of the VHS tape etc, but providing some specific examples of real life experience would be great.

I have found some DIY examples where people have converted a cheap vcr to become a dedicated cleaning machine by taking the top of the machine off and strategically placing a cotton wool ball soaked in isopropyl and then fast forwarding and rewinding the tape. What do you think of this approach?

I have also seen old 2nd hand professional VHS tape cleaning machines for sale online that were used in video rental stores but the prices a delusional resulting in the item continually being re-listed by unrealistic sellers. Also if I do purchase one of these "special purpose tape cleaning, rewinding, re-tensioning machines", you then have to continually purchase special consumables, such as cleaning pads, which are also delusionally expensive.

I am therefore wondering if any Members have experience cleaning their own VHS tapes before playback to eradicate dirt, dust, grease, grime, oxidization etc? With current 2017 prices for increasingly rare high end vcrs, surely this whole cleaning process will also reduce wear and tear?

It's all good and well to be on pursuit of acquiring the best, high end, vcr hardware for optimised playback, but if the actual tapes you are putting into your machine are dirty and oxidized, then you are still going to have some interference in your signal aren't you?

Think of having a high end turntable but you put on a vinyl LP that is dusty. Doesn't matter how good your stylus and turntable is, the audio is still going to be detrimentally affected.

Any advice on this will be greatly appreciated

Great forum and Members by the way

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The following users thank Upandrunning for this useful post: archivarious (09-16-2020)
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07-29-2017, 11:11 PM
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lordsmurf lordsmurf is offline
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Do not do this!

That Youtube video is completely irresponsible, for several reasons. I need to start commenting on more Youtube videos, especially the stupid ones. That person clearly has no idea about video, nor about the many problems he just made for himself.

I don't have time to expand on this right now. But I wanted to quickly warn you against doing something that will ruin your video.

The biggest question is why you feel the need to clean your tapes. Why?

- 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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The following users thank lordsmurf for this useful post: archivarious (09-17-2020), JVC-Fan (12-05-2018)

cleaning vcr, tape damage, vcr, vhs, vhs capture

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