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Old October 12th, 2003, 05:54 AM   #1
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On getting on to VHS

One can't actually go straight to a vcr from the computer, can one?

Is the quality of the dub via S Video Jack significantly improved over the AUDIO/VIDEO jack route, with which I am very dissatisfied? Enough to where it would be worth upgrading the ol' vcr for in- home small scale mass production? I'm working on a funky teacher training video that we hope to issue primarily as dvds, but I'm thinking that probably less than half of public schools are equipped with dvd at the moment, so we're wanting vhs on hand as well.
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Old October 12th, 2003, 09:17 AM   #2
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There are a variety of firewire boxes that offer both RCA composite and s-video connections for your VCR. Some of them are very inexpensive. The other way to go directly from the computer to a VCR is to use a graphics card with video output. Many (most?) newer graphics cards have this capability. If you were running Final Cut Pro on the mac (for example) it would be as simple as connecting the VCR to the video-out port on the card and then selecting it as your external video device. I suspect it's not hard to do this on a PC either.

The other approach is just to connect the VCR to your camcorder and connect the camcorder to the computer via firewire. Regarding S-video, personally I see a little better results using an inexpensive Mitsubishi s-vhs deck in regular vhs-sp mode. If you record in s-vhs mode there's a huge improvement, but the majority of inexpensive consumer decks won't be able to play such a tape.
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Old October 12th, 2003, 12:10 PM   #3
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The quality of the digital-to-analog convertors can make a difference in quality. The manufacturer could have easily cut corners on that. Generally the consumer video cards with video out aren't that good (from what other people say).

However, it could just be the VHS format that is limiting you. It could also be that you're feeding it illegal colors, causing saturated colors to bleed and other nasty things.
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Old October 12th, 2003, 05:05 PM   #4
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Wow, ok, thanks fellas. Things to think about. Whatever the case, it sounds as though I will have to upgrade the vcr.
Thanks again,
Shawn
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Old October 12th, 2003, 06:07 PM   #5
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AFAICR, you didn't mention what video source you are using. I know that it resides in your computer but what brand/model are you using?

I've been told that the video from the graphics card isn't very good either, Boyd.

I go directly from my video editing card to the S-Video input of my DA and from there to the VCRs. The S-Video output is right on the money if I make the video so.

I do have a proc amp in the signal path so I can tweak the video. Since I make videos for television, video projector and LCD displays, I need to adjust the video specifically for each display type. Otherwise I'd adjust the video on the timeline and ship it directly to the DA.

I don't think you will ever get your VHS tapes to look as good as the commercial copies that the studios sell. Different reproduction technology so I'm told.

When I have DVCam masters reproduced by good dupe houses, they aren't much, if at all better than what I produce with my small stack of decks.
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Old October 12th, 2003, 07:40 PM   #6
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<<<-- Originally posted by Mike Rehmus : I've been told that the video from the graphics card isn't very good either, Boyd. -->>>

I guess it depends on what you're trying to do. I was just responding to the question of whether you could go directly from a computer to VHS. I have a Radeon 7000 Mac Edition with s-video out. I don't use it all that much anymore, but it does have a nice control panel that lets you tweak lots of things and can produce a decent image. Certainly good enough to make a VHS dub. Mac powerbooks also have s-video outputs.
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Old October 12th, 2003, 08:49 PM   #7
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AFAICR ???

I have almost no tech background, gents, I'm rather new to both dv and computers, particularly Macs, although I'm loving them, so, please, be gentle :-) .
Lowdown: I'm editing with Imovie on a G4 (512 mb, 1.2 ghz processor), OSX 10.2.6. I then exported to cam, then to vcr through rca jack.

Mike, what's a DA?

Taking into consideration that my current vcr does not have S video, what's the best and least expensive solution to good vhs production?
Radeon 7000 Mac Edition with s-video out, or the like, and a vcr with s video?

Super vhs is something wholly other than normal vhs, of a different size, etc ?

Thank you,
Shawn, newbist extraordinaire
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Old October 12th, 2003, 09:26 PM   #8
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S-VHS is just a different way of recording data onto the same tape. They use special tapes but the only difference between a normal tape and an S-VHS tape is a small hole in the container. S-VHS records at 400 lines of resolution while normal VHS is around 250 I believe. You can't play back tapes that have been recorded in the S-VHS format on any VCR, it has to have S-VHS capabilities.

So if you want anybody with any VCR to play it, definitely stick with good ol' VHS (and make sure to record in SP, not EP or LP!)
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Old October 13th, 2003, 01:09 AM   #9
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Anyone use vcrs with i.link inputs, like the JVC HM DH3000?
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Old October 13th, 2003, 11:16 AM   #10
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<<<-- Originally posted by Shawn Mielke : AFAICR ???


Mike, what's a DA?

Taking into consideration that my current vcr does not have S video, what's the best and least expensive solution to good vhs production?
Radeon 7000 Mac Edition with s-video out, or the like, and a vcr with s video?

Super vhs is something wholly other than normal vhs, of a different size, etc ?

Thank you,
Shawn, newbist extraordinaire -->>>

AFAICR=As far as I can recall

DA=Distribution Amplifier

Your camera, which you are using to transcode from DV to analog must have a S-Video output. Get yourself one of the inexpensive JVC S-VHS decks, connect it up with S-Video and use VHS tapes to get about the best and most cost-effective duplication you will get.
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