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Old May 12th, 2006, 03:12 PM   #1
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VHS conversion questions

Ok, I normally don't do this kind of work, but a friend asked me to put a few old VHS tapes onto DVD.

I connected my consumer VCR to my DV camcorder and the DV camcorder to the computer with firewire. I've done this dozens of times while converting my own home movies.

The first tape (and oldest) worked great. No problems at all.

The second tape had a lot of shifting colors (think rainbow effects) throughout the tape, usually on areas where there was solid red or white. This rainbow effect did show up when simply viewing the tape, but seemed to be enhanced by the transfer to digital.

The third tape is a nightmare. If you just watch the tape, you'll see an occasional jitter, but when run through the digital conversion, it's unwatchable. The picture freezes, jitters and is completely useless.

What gives? Why does the AV to DV conversion seem to compound these problems?

Any suggestions to fix it? What do the pro's use for VHS to DVD conversion?
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Old May 13th, 2006, 07:14 PM   #2
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Chris,
First of all, what NLE are you using?

Here are some MiniDV/VHS combos on B&H:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...ughType=search

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...ughType=search
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Old May 13th, 2006, 08:55 PM   #3
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Are these commercial VHS tapes? Hollywood movies?

If so, you could well be running into copy protection.
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Old May 13th, 2006, 11:19 PM   #4
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I'm using Vegas, but the problems start long before it ever gets loaded into the NLE. I've tried several capture applications and all have the same problem. I've even tried two different cameras for the AV-DV conversion and both give the same results.

Geez, if they were just movies, I'd tell them to take their lazy butts down to Wal-Mart and buy them on DVD. ;) They are wedding videos. Oddly enough, it's the 1998 wedding video that is the problem. The 80's video worked fine.
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Old May 14th, 2006, 01:15 AM   #5
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Was this a commercial wedding video ? Is it possible the commercial company was able to add copy protection ?
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Old May 14th, 2006, 09:15 AM   #6
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The reason they're asking about commerical movies is because what you describe sounds like the effect you get when trying to copy tapes protected with Macrovision.

There are some inexpensive boxes (made by a company called "Sima" I believe) that attempt to clean up this effect. I got one a number of years ago at WalMart IIRC. Check a local "big box" store for "Video Enhancers." They have several controls you can play with to attempt to fix problems like you describe.
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Old May 14th, 2006, 02:53 PM   #7
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I too am curious about Boyd's question on macrovision. I would certainly be unhappy if I paid someone to tape my wedding and they gave me an uncopiable tape. Even if it is not a copy protection issue, a processor like the Sima could help.

Before buying any hardware, it might be worth trying some other cameras or DV converters to see if any work better. Were the two cameras the same brand and vintage? Different manufacturers have different methods of input processing, and some may work better on the troubled video than others.
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Old May 15th, 2006, 12:59 PM   #8
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Have you tried going from VHS to DV tape and THEN capturing afterward?
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Old May 17th, 2006, 11:57 AM   #9
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Thanks for the suggestions, guys. I tried copying it to DV tape, and then back to the PC, but I get the same results. One camera was a Sharp VL-NZ100 and the other is a Canon GL2.

I guess I never considered copy protection on a wedding video. I really doubt that's the problem, because it's just an "Uncle Joe" video, and looks like it came right out of the camcorder (no editing.)

I may try one of those video enhancers. Do they do more than just remove macrovision?

I am going to try an older capture card with composite input. If that doesn't work, I'm just going to tell the friend they are out of luck.
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Old May 17th, 2006, 02:31 PM   #10
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Okay, one other thing. Is it possible you have a "super" VHS tape and are trying to play it in a wrong player. Or, also , the tracking just may not be good, and you need to find a player that tracks better or that you can manually adjust tracking. Use to be standard on old VHS players. And it may be the tape has just deteriorated.-- Something I've definitely seen in tapes I have in from the 80's and early 90's
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