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  #21  
02-13-2024, 10:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Haunted_TBC View Post
I had begun to suspect that many “additional sharpness” situations were either somehow signal/artifact related or simply a one-in-ten-thousand example that was deliberately selected as a display of the project’s “capabilities.”
I don't have time to dig out samples, but it's essentially things like, for example, little luma ghosts around text, little nuanced things that affect sharpness. It doesn't actually have much to do with sharpness at all, really, but perceived "crispness" from the noise handling. But it's vastly unreliable, and it doesn't happen more than it does happen. It's very cherry-picked. Right now, vhs-decode apparently tends to create more halo/ringing issues, not reduce? The software for it is alpha/beta-quality, gets confused often and easily. Great proof-of-concep, lousy production/usage, not yet reliable.

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Considering the extremely unreliable nature of reproducing such excellent results with that method, I’m inclined to discredit it
Reproduction just doesn't exist, due to the complicated nature of the project. So it's not "the same" output quality (which is achieved with known knowns, ie the suggested gear), just random output quality. That may someday change, or not. I'm a realist, not a cheerleader.

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(especially when so much of the rationale behind it is to cut costs “wherever possible”), but I figured I may as well ask for your current opinion on it all.
That's the entire problem with the overall project right now, mostly due to certain small cliques that have formed within it, and have almost drowned out the more grounded/sensible developers. The main thrust is not about quality, but rather being cheap. But those who seek quality don't cry about costs, because they know being cheap incurs extra time/work or even double buying ("buy cheap, buy twice!") You'll find that many of the most vocal project supporters are in their early 20s (aka, largely broke), and don't even remember the days when VCRs were in use. It gets irritating at times, when some smart-mouth 20-something greenhorn wants to "school me" on things I was literally doing before his mommy met his daddy.

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As for the CoolScan 5000, I’m familiar with its system, so it would be picking up where I left off.
I'm actually saddened that photo negative scanners were all downhill after the Nikon scanners from the mid 2000s. There are multiple decades more 35mm negatives out there, so it should never have suffered the same fate as VHS conversion gear. Plustek is a blurry toy by comparison, but that's the "best" to be had for the past 10+ years now. I would have thought Nikon (or Canon) would have done more for the archival film scene, from a photography stance. We never got the scanners we deserved.

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  #22  
04-14-2024, 02:15 AM
Haunted_TBC Haunted_TBC is offline
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The information here is probably not worth a whole posting, but here’s how much (or little) of the situation has changed the last couple of months:

Upon closer inspection, a handful of the tapes appeared to be possibly recorded television or otherwise, and with a working player in hand, I took a calculated risk and decided to play back the most questionable tapes. Thankfully, I made sure to test the machine carefully beforehand with many other tapes, and it operates as standard. However, I will note that it’s not a player really worth anything: it’s definitely what would have been considered (bottom-tier) in the 1980s, and it was (likely rebadged) by a short-lived business with only about three mentions on the searchable internet.
The risk paid off, and all of the five or so tapes contained either television from around 1990 (think several episodes of Life Goes On, an airing of Small Sacrifices, etc.) One of the unlabeled tapes was the NatGeo documentary on Sharks from 1982, and one of the tapes was completely blank! No signal, no time code/counter, simply unused. I even played a movie on it out of curiosity, only for the tape to snap. I later opened up the cassette to find the tape was moldy: I had not been able to see it previously, because the Blockbuster “To PLAY is human, To REWIND is divine!” sticker over the left reel window. The model was not on the part of the tape that had played, but I’m considering writing off the player entirely, and have not played tapes on it since. I will note however, that of all the tapes (commercial or not) I have personally, this Blockbuster tape was the only one I had either inspected, played or both that had any sort of mold or stickiness/other issues.

I also recently started looking at the HS-U70 I have that my father purchased new in the 1980s. I tested the machine with a few movies while I had the top screwed off, and found that the right reel of the tape wasn’t advancing, causing the machine to eat the tape. Despite not ever having worked on VCRs before, I took the bottom off, and found that the belt had completely failed and turned into goopy plastic. I ordered an new belt, but I have yet to install it. Having read into these Mitsubishi machines, I assume the S-VHS playback caps have gone bad, but since I have no tapes of this sort (that I’m aware of), it isn’t exactly an issue for me yet. I do wonder what people think of these machines, they’re probably not on the level of 1990s Sharp, Sony or Philips machines, but these Mitsubishi units were definitely not cheap when new, and I rarely see them discussed online.

Finally, I received a rare tape from elsewhere in the western states, which I honestly did not believe I would ever get my hands on. the tape is a 1980s RECOTON (120? The label is largely scratched off), so I’m not exactly expecting the greatest quality. However, I noticed upon inspecting the tape physically, that at least the beginning of the tape looks extremely wrinkled. I have yet to receive a response from the owner as to how or when this may have occurred. Is this section at all salvageable, say with a heavy book and an unplugged, but warm iron? Or should it be removed and a new leader applied to the remaining tape?
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  #23  
04-14-2024, 02:28 AM
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  #24  
05-11-2024, 01:44 AM
Haunted_TBC Haunted_TBC is offline
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Small update on the Mitsubishi unit, I finally got around to putting in the new belt, and despite having no experience repairing videocassette recorders, it solved the issue. All the functions appear to work fine save for the video, which is constantly snowy and blurry despite good audio. I suspect the heads are dirty, although I could be mistaken. Attached is an image of the drum shortly after I got the belt installed, is this mark enough to cause the video issues?:


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  #25  
05-11-2024, 04:15 AM
latreche34 latreche34 is offline
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Obviously it shouldn't be there, What is it though? Is it chrome layer flaking, dirt buildup, stain ...? I would worried running a tape through it.

https://www.youtube.com/@Capturing-Memories/videos
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  #26  
05-11-2024, 11:32 AM
Haunted_TBC Haunted_TBC is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by latreche34 View Post
Obviously it shouldn't be there, What is it though? Is it chrome layer flaking, dirt buildup, stain ...? I would worried running a tape through it.
Whatever it is, I have not run anything of value through the machine, simply sacrificial tapes to test the mechanisms (which appear to be in good working order now). I plan to clean it off soon using some foam-tipped optical cleaner swabs that I have on order. Just need to purchase some close to pure (91%+) alcohol to put on the swab before carefully gliding it across the head.

-- merged --

Update on the swabs, packaging says they’re “open cell,” so unfortunately, I can’t put those anywhere near my tape equipment. Currently searching for the camera sensor chamois swabs, but finding good ones is proving more difficult than I imagined.

I also took a look at the “lost” and flaky compact cassette tape I mentioned much earlier, I had to cut lots of the tape off and then used the remaining clear oxide-less tape portion to serve as a new leader. Not sure whether to dehumidify it or bake the tape in a dedicated Chemist oven (which I’m not sure how to access).
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  #27  
05-12-2024, 10:51 PM
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The open cell should be fine for non-important surfaces, like rollers. It's mostly heads that can snag, so those are bad near the heads.

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  #28  
05-13-2024, 10:45 AM
Haunted_TBC Haunted_TBC is offline
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Yeah, I bought them with the original intention of cleaning the mark off the video head drum, which I definitely won’t be doing with these foam swabs. It seems almost impossible to find similar chamois swabs without buying an entire kit.

I would assume these sorts of swabs might do the trick?:
https://abra-electronics.com/chemica...g-810d-15.html
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  #29  
05-13-2024, 11:06 AM
Hushpower Hushpower is offline
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There aren't any heads in sight in your pic. They are the tiny protuberances in the crack/split between the drum (shiny bit that rotates) and the base (fixed bit below). There's only a few (6?). Spin the drum around 90° and you'll see the tiny heads.
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  #30  
05-13-2024, 12:25 PM
Haunted_TBC Haunted_TBC is offline
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So then my heads are clean and I can leave the mark where it is? I was hoping it was just dirty heads, because I would prefer that explanation to the snowy/scrolling video quality than something more complex/out of my potential expertise.
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  #31  
05-13-2024, 03:54 PM
latreche34 latreche34 is offline
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Depends on what that mark is, if it's a pit or a boss and you can't remove it, the whole head needs to be replaced, If it's just a stain and you can't feel anything when moving you fingernail across it then it could be faulty heads, You need super magnification to check if they are chipped or missing.

https://www.youtube.com/@Capturing-Memories/videos
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  #32  
05-14-2024, 02:23 PM
Haunted_TBC Haunted_TBC is offline
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I won’t be able to check on the heads for some time, but the little notch where they (should) be was on the other side of the drum, which didn’t appear to have any major marks like this. I have a feeling the mark may be affecting playback in some way, but I could be mistaken. There is a small chance that the playback issues could be caused by the composite cables (the machine can output S-Video, but I don’t have a monitor currently with the relevant port), but I have a feeling it’s unlikely.
Back to the compact cassette for a bit, assuming I can bake it in a chemist/dedicated oven, how long (roughly) would I have to transfer that tape or to have it transferred?
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