Scott Thomas Anderson
April 8th, 2012, 01:52 AM
So I have seen a few bits on the Jimmy Fallon late night show that do a bit about finding old 80's VHS tapes. I have been attempting to emulate VHS for awhile to no avail. Jimmy Fallon's show appears to have nailed it. They have the blured look, occasional appropriate video noise, etc. It's kinda perfect.
Does anyone have some recomendations for effects to emulate this look? I use Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 and After Effects CS5, but any sort of general tips would be fine. I do a web show about classic gaming, and would really love to nail this VHS/80's look.
Thanks in advance.
April 8th, 2012, 04:27 AM
wow. I actually feel qualified to answer this.
It is not hard, but it will take bit of work.
Having screwed around endlessly with plugins and whatnot, in my opinion, the only way to get that authentic VHS look is get that footage onto VHS.
I have several movies (considering doing another) about two goofy guys who make low budget films. In these movies, these guys screen their own films, which you, the audience, then watch. This was all shot on miniDV, but for their homemade movies, I wanted it to look as if originated on a VHS camera.
How I did it was to transfer the miniDV to VHS (I guess these days it'd be card based footage to VHS, or HDV to VHS, though if I think about, why shoot in HD just to degrade it that much? Start in SD, less work), back to miniDV, then back to VHS, etc. The number of times you repeat the cycle determines how degraded the end result looks. One transfer to VHS usually won't do it. . .still looks way too clean, sharp, etc. I always needed at least two, sometimes three.
I supposed you could go VHS to VHS after that initial digital to analog transfer, but for reason I never tried this (maybe 'cause the rental house that let me use their gear didn't have a setup for this?)
Why not shoot on VHS in the first place? Cause then you're really asking for quality control problems. Better to start high and dumb down then start dumb and end up regretting it later.
But to sum up, digital to VHS, then back, then back again, is the way to go.
Lastly, after your final degraded footage is in your NLE and you're working with it, I found it STILL too colorful and "pretty" from being well shot in the first place. I added some blue with color correction, to cool it off and make it look less warm, and also desaturated it some. But this is all to taste. If you're interested, see my results here (skip through to the "VHS" footage if just want to see the effect):
Joey and Jerome's Artistic Meaningful Independent Film-FULL MOVIE - YouTube
Joey and Jerome's Excellent Action Movie - YouTube
April 8th, 2012, 07:03 AM
Josh's suggestions are all great--there's a particular funk to multiple generation VHS that you can't simulate without multiple duping to VHS.
To REALLY nail it, you could pick up an old video camera on eBay for a song. There are certain things about tube cameras that a modern digital camera or color correction can never quite duplicate: