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The Long Black Line
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Old May 31st, 2006, 02:30 PM   #1
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Breathing new life into analog cameras?

I have been looking to buy a camera on a budget, so i have been looking at cheap options. At first i dismissed analog cameras, but now something got me thinking. Now, i'm not a total idiot. But i don't know how an analog camera transfers images to VHS-S-VHS and stuff like that.

As i understand it:

-VHS tapes deteriorate over time
-VHS gives you lower resolution images (lines)
+VHS doesn't use compression, which is nice (i guess, if you can sample the image and upsclae it like you would a photograph you scanned into your comp)
+VHS have a longer running time then DV (that i know of anyway)

Now since i don't know much about VHS i don't know how compatible the tapes are, as there are more then one kind of VHS. One type i've been looking at is W-VHS which in theory could really make a VHS camera like new. W-VHS is a analog HD format, supporting up to 1080p i believe.
Considering i've never heard of anyone do this i'm sceptical to the idea, but i've heard nothing that says it can't be done.

So the question is:
Can you record W-VHS in a VHS camera? Or are most cameras made to only draw a certain amount of lines making it impossible?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W-VHS
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Old June 1st, 2006, 09:10 AM   #2
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That's extremely old technology from the days before ICs had anything like the processing power they have today, I think the idea behind MUSE was probably very clever for it's day, a day long past.

The biggest problem with analogue recording systems is the generational loss. Also as all NLE systems are digital the analogue information has to be digitised. That's fine for the first pass but going back into the analogue realm introduces more errors, repeating this process quickly leads to signal degradation.

Also any camera that uses a VHS sized tape is going to have to be fairly large, not an issue for pro cameras but a big issue for consummer cameras.
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Old June 1st, 2006, 11:07 AM   #3
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But the question remains, Can you use the superior W-VHS in a VHS camera? or is the camera limited to the specifications of the VHS?

My thoughts is that perhaps an analog camera only takes an image andrecords it on the surface avalible, that is, the 250 or so lines of the VHS tape. My idea was to set a W-VHS tape inside (with 1080 lines) and perhaps the camera would record it on ITS space avalible, therefore increasing the resolution from a rather bad 250 (Dv cams are around 750 as i understand it) to 1080 lines; which you otherwise have to pay big bucks for.

It is rather important to me to find out wether or not it's possible as it will be a big part of my decision. Getting a HD camera from an old cheaper camera instead of paying 1000$ for a HDDV cam i see as a plus, even though it might be more complicated. I know DV cameras would be a better choice, but they have features i don't need or are hard to get at while filming; as well as their light weigh and small size make them hard to work with. If my theory isn't possible then i'll go buy a DV cam, right now i'm just looking at what my options are.
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Old June 1st, 2006, 01:44 PM   #4
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If you put any VHS-type tape in any VHS camera, you'll get a VHS recording. Awful and obsolete. An S-VHS camera will record up to 400 lines, but still lousy color. I've never heard of W-VHS, but JVC does or did have a Digital-S system that basically recorded DV to VHS tape. I think the bulkiness doomed it on the acquisition side. But if I'm reading your last post correctly, the tape you put in the camera will not improve its recording system. A higher-quality tape may improve image quality by reducing noise and drop-outs, but that's it.
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Old June 1st, 2006, 03:41 PM   #5
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So you're saying that it will still just record 250 lines even though 1080 are avalible?
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Old June 1st, 2006, 05:12 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Bergqvist
So you're saying that it will still just record 250 lines even though 1080 are avalible?
The recording density is determined by the tape heads and recording electronics, not the tape per se (assuming the tape formulation is compatible with the recorder it's used in). VHS decks are setup to record 250 and that's the best you'll get even if the the tape would be capable of a higher recording density when used in a different deck with different electronics. It's sort of like the old days of PC's (10 years or so ago) when 3.5" floppy drives and disks came in high density 1.44mb and low density 720kb flavours. You could use a high density disk in either a high or low density drive without any problem but when you used it in the low density drive it would only record 720kb because that was as dense as the drive was able to write. You could also put a low density disk in a high density drive but it wouldn't record reliably because the drive tried to pack the data bits closer together than the disk could reliably accept.
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Old June 1st, 2006, 06:36 PM   #7
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Thank you for clearing this out for me, it's been bugging me alot. This means i wont be buying a cheaper VHS camera for sure hehe
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