I would just like to preface this by saying how thankful I am to the VHS / restoration forums and community (many from DigitalFAQ!), for the level of diligence and extensive details which have greatly eased me into the shallow end of what could otherwise have been a misstep into deep water.
For better or worse, I've roped myself into the process of archiving the family tapes, and whilst I have managed to get several results that I'm happy with so far, there are a few issues across some recordings that I would be grateful to check to see if anything can be done to rectify, or at least somewhat improve, on the digitising process going forward.
Please see below for the attached video samples and a brief description of the issues in each clip. They have been compressed in order to be uploaded, so excuse any blocky image quality as the problems should still be identifiable.
- Example 1: Green + purple bar lines that scroll up and down across the screen. This is made less apparent when switching the TBC of the VHS player off (I recall reading that this is the TBC trying to account for the bad footage), but does still happen at times even with no TBC. There is also a fuzzy bar at the top of this clip, which at times randomly swaps to the bottom.
- Example 2: The most common issue I'm currently seeing from the problem tapes is that the whole video inside the black boundary frame "bounces" slightly up and down at times. It happens even if TBC is turned on (TBC seems to be off for the example clip, but it is happening with it enabled as well), and changing the tracking doesn't seem to affect it.
- Example 3: Probably the worst problem tape I've come across, with the whole top section of the picture wobbling about, and very frequently the top of the picture ends up re-appearing at the bottom below a fuzzy line! Again, happens with or without the VHS TBC.
(As another note, I have tried these problem tapes in another person's VCR, a basic Sharp model of some sort and on their Sony WEGA TV over SCART, and although I don't see the exact same issues as the examples through my computer, the tapes do seem to skip or repeat back on itself, so it might just be some very bad tapes beyond recovery which I will have to accept.)
Below is the equipment currently in use:
- VHS Player: Panasonic NV-HS1000 (Inherited from family funnily enough, not sure how much usage it's had over the years, and I dare not take it apart to inspect lest I turn it into a VHS jigsaw puzzle)
- External TBC: None (Only using the built-in one from the Panasonic due to my budget)
- Capture Device: Hauppauge 1341 USB-Live2 (Was seemingly the best for me that would work within my equipment and budget)
- Capture Software: VirtualDub 1.19 (Encoding to HuffYUV as per the general consensus across many forums)
- OS: Windows 10 (A cardinal sin with VHS from reading many posts, forgive me, but I am reliant on the computer setup I have for many other things)
When viewing a newer or high quality tape recording in the Panasonic, either commercial or home-recorded and either through a TV or via USB capture, the results are very satisfactory with only minimal line interlacing and certainly acceptable quality for what is to be expected with the nature of VHS. Whilst these example clip issues are not occurring all the time, if any of them can be mitigated to a degree on the problem tapes then I would be grateful to the process for this, or what equipment may help.
I did dabbled a bit with the 'AviSynth' software trying to remedy these issues, but I currently lack the knowledge of what filters to use as have only managed to make each example clip look worse.
Unfortunately, my budget and access to purchase more optimal hardware / software will likely be somewhat limited (I probably could, at most for now, spend a hundred or so extra for this task if it would lead to an improved outcome). I would probably just be satisfied to know if any of these elements are in my control or not, as most of these tapes are 20+- years of age and weren't in the best physical condition when they were passed onto me. Pointers to any equipment in different price ranges would be much appreciated, if extra equipment is needed.
So whilst I am prepared to be advised that a new VHS player or full field TBC will solve most of these issues, and would appreciate this as 'peace-of-mind' confirmation, for me personally doing this as a personal family project, I am unlikely to actually spend high-hundreds or thousands for a fabled high-end TBC or VHS, and would accept some problematic clips over a financial decision that could take a few years off my life expectancy!
Apologies if this is a bit of an essay, and thank you in advance for any suggestions.