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Old February 23rd, 2016, 10:45 AM   #1
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Troubleshooting VHS letterboxing/pillarboxing

Hi folks,
I'm trying to do a VHS transfer and am getting boxing. Letterboxing, pillarboxing, all-over boxing, alternately.

Most of the programs are letterboxed when run through the GVD 1000, rather than full screen.

The recorded content is recent so it is 16x9 in format.

Setup:
VHS player (in this case, Hitachi DA4)>AV Cables to Sony GVD-1000 deck > firewire out of deck to Thunderbolt adapter> MB Pro 10.5.8 Retina. Into imovie 11 (I hate imovie, but Premiere CS6 refuses to import the audio in sync and I'm just trying to get this done).

Settings:
iMovie project is set up for widescreen 16x9.
Audio out of deck is 16 bit.
Source file is 720x480 after digitization.

Display (just as extra information):
VCR 1 (Hitachi) hooked up to my Vizio TV shows the boxing on any setting.
VCR 2 (GE) hooked up to a Samsung TV shows full screen. But when I connect that one to the deck and try to digitize it, the boxing still happens.
The boxing shows in GVD 1000 monitor.

The menu on the GVD 1000 is messed up. All the settings I can see and reach, appear to be set properly. However, since it's hard to see some areas of the menu, it's possible I'm missing a setting.

Does anyone know how to get past this issue? many thanks

Last edited by Kell Smith; February 23rd, 2016 at 11:28 AM.
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Old February 25th, 2016, 06:44 PM   #2
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Re: Troubleshooting VHS letterboxing/pillarboxing

How was the VHS original recorded?
Is it a commercial tape, or home recording?

VHS output (in the US) is 486 line interlaced (usually digitized as 720x480) with non-square pixels.
For 16x9 the pixel aspect ratio is adjusted accordingly.

Some commercial wide screen material may be letter boxed in the recording for wide display on a standard 4x3 TV screen.
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Old February 25th, 2016, 09:29 PM   #3
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Re: Troubleshooting VHS letterboxing/pillarboxing

This person recorded it on a home VCR from TV.

Last edited by Kell Smith; February 26th, 2016 at 07:54 AM.
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Old February 26th, 2016, 12:11 PM   #4
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Re: Troubleshooting VHS letterboxing/pillarboxing

Hi,

A few years back I was working on a special project that required me to route an analog signal through a Sony DV camcorder in order to convert it to Firewire. I had issues similar to yours meaning the Sony was letterboxing all of my material even though it should not have been and I didn't want it to!

So your Sony may be at fault and I never did find a solution to the issue, sorry.

Thanks
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Old February 27th, 2016, 10:54 PM   #5
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Re: Troubleshooting VHS letterboxing/pillarboxing

Yeah it's a PITA for sure.

I got an old copy of FCP and did the capture, which provided a little more control over the capture. Upon looking all the way through the material again, some of it was actually letterboxed on the source tape, and some of it wasn't. One thing that was also throwing me off was that there was a piece that was aired recently but was apparently quite old -from the 80s, so it was in 4x3. So the capture was all over the place.

So I just did the transfer and tried to explain to him that he could adjust how it looked by adjusting the button on the remote for the picture mode (aspect ratio). Which is not that easy to explain to an elderly man who is not very video-oriented. But that's really what it came down to no matter which way the project was recorded.

I feel pretty confident in being able to do them now, should someone need something transferred for home video. Can't believe that places like Walmart and CVS are getting 25 bucks for a VHS transfer now.
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