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Old May 30th, 2004, 04:24 PM   #1
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Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Kailua, HI
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preserving all audio tracks when dubbing to digital?

Hi. I have a bunch of SVHS tapes which won't live much longer, they have been kept in high humidity and worse; they have over a decade of scientific research on them.

Burning them to DVD seems like a good way to go in terms of cost and archiving, and it's certainly better than nothing.

However, the way the SVHS data-gathering decks were set up, all channels were used for different data feeds. That is, the HIFI (helical scan) tracks were used for different stuff than the linear audio tracks. On any given tape, then, there are at least 4 separate audio tracks. I'm rather at a loss as to just how to deal with this. Is there a way to get multiple audio tracks onto a DVD? Seems like there ought to be, what with distribution DVD's coming with all sorts of extras. But I don't know.

I believe that DV can take up to 4 12-bit audio tracks, at least in theory, but that would lost some fidelity off the HIFI audio tracks I assume. And worse, I can figure out how to dub all 4 tracks in real time.

In reality the situation is worse than this, because the panasonic SVHS decks used actually encoded 3 linear audio tracks plus the two helical tracks. They were specially modified, so some of the tapes have 5 tracks of audio data. Apparently there are that many linear tracks on any SVHS machine but only 2 are generally used. Was news to me, but it's true.

My problem there is that the machines which recorded the tapes have been submerged in seawater and discarded, so I'm assuming that the data on the nonstandard track will be lost simply due to the impossibility of playing it back.

There are over 1000 hours of video, and not much space to store it, so I'd really rather burn to DVD in a time-efficient operation while saving as much data as can be saved. Any great ideas?

Much thanks...

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Old May 30th, 2004, 05:52 PM   #2
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Clearwater, FL
Posts: 8,267
To put it in the vernacular, your screwed. No offense intended. You can recover two tracks of your choice (Hi-Fi, or linear) with the capture of video. Do a second capture of the remaining audio and match them as best as possible in post.

The fifth channel is a goner. I can't even imagine how or where they recorded a fifth track. If you wanted SMPTE timecode on S-VHS, you recorded it to one of the linear audio tracks.
Jeff Donald
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