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Old December 12th, 2008, 08:17 AM   #1
New Boot
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Tokyo, Japan
Posts: 7
dubbing/converting VHS to mini dv best quality

Hi Y'all

I am on a MacPro G5, I have FCP 5.1.4 ( w/Studio) I shoot on a Canon XL2(bought in the US). I live in Japan(this may make a difference if you recommend certain equipment not avail in Japan) The plus is that Japan is NTSC.

I am making a docu and have found some Japanese-made VHS tapes with archival footage from the early 90's that I need. I can't go to the company which produced them for master copies because the co. doesn't exist anymore. So...I have to transfer/digitize them myself and get the footage into FCP for editing.
There doesn't appear to be any copy guard as I have transfered it once with a low grade VCR--to my Canon xl2, which worked but seems to have had a tracking issue (or something) when I did it. There is some irregular banding on the bottom of some shots.

You can see it when the guy with the white headband is yelling towards the start of this trailer:
figure8productions - Sayonara Speed Tribes - DVD

I tried to go through a dubbing service but the company was nervous about copyright even though I have permission.

1. What is the best way to do this myself? Rent a pro VTR/VCR and connect it to my Canon again? Rent a minDV/VHS combo deck and dub them that way?

2. The tapes seem to have been shot 4:3, my footage is 16:9, should I be wary of this while dubbing or deal with it in post? I dubbed it originally and captured it as 16:9 but it is slightly stretched.

3. Is that silver band at the bottom really a tracking issue?

I'm sorry for the long post but it saves people going back and forth.

Thanks in advance!
Jamie Sanderson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 12th, 2008, 09:08 AM   #2
Inner Circle
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Atlanta/USA
Posts: 2,502
3. No, that seems to be damaged tape. Open up the door and take a look. For most applications that's not a problem, as regular TVs overscan 3-5% so it won't be visible.
2. Capture in the original format and pixel aspect ratio of the VHS tape.
1. In case the tape is S-VHS, make sure the deck you rent can handle S-VHS.
Ervin Farkas, CDVS
Certified Legal Videographer
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