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Old May 20th, 2010, 01:35 PM   #1
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VHS / BETA 80s Look

I'm doing a project edited in Vegas Pro 8.0 and shot on a digital 3 chip camera in 4:3 that need to look like it came out of the 80s / early 90s. I don't know if it's a VHS or BETA look as I'm not sure what they shot with at that time. I don't have the resources to actually use a camera from that time period so I wanted to get the closest look from a digital source.

Here are a few examples of the look I'm going for:
YouTube - Local commercials from 1991 #2
YouTube - Naughty 900-number ads from the '90s - part 2
YouTube - Local commercials from 1991 #1

Anyone know how to achieve this look or maybe there's a plug in that can help?

Thanks
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Old May 21st, 2010, 11:29 AM   #2
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OK, I'm totally making this up - I haven't tried it, but, this is where I'd start. Not necessarily in the order below...

These look like VHS.

VHS had something like 280 lines of resolution. I think the only way to approach that will be to render out to some format where you can easily control rez, eg. WMV, render it out at 320x240 (square pixels), then, bring it back to a standard or high def timeline.

Old VHS tapes that were re-used, and/or dirty heads, could look kind of blotchy. I think the closest thing I've seen to that effect is the macroblocking (an 8x8 or 16x16 group of pixels becomes one big pixel) that occurs when you starve a rendering codec for bitrate. So, maybe try your 320x240 above at 200Kbps or less. Problem is, VHS blotches were soft, and macroblocking is kind of hard-edged, so, maybe some blur is going to help. However, that blur is going to soften everything - maybe this blotchy process should take place at full resolution, before going to 320x240. I'm really not too sure about this one - needs testing.

VHS had color saturation issues, especially in red. When red got above a certain value, it tended to bloom. Blue and green too, but at a higher value. I'd mess with color curves to see if this could be replicated. If you look closely at color curves, you can adjust R-G-B individually. You'd create some points on the upper right of the line, then bend the line upwards from those points.

Do we have R-G-B chroma blur in Vegas, or just an all-channels chroma blur? This seems like a good filter to experiment with as well.

Then there was truly bad VHS, with colors, especially saturated colors, changing where they shouldn't. I suppose something using keyframes in the secondary color corrector might be used here...

I hope these suggestions get you going...
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Old May 21st, 2010, 01:51 PM   #3
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Those are awesome pointers, thanks Seth. I do not have the need for it now but I loved that look so I will definitely copy/paste your suggestions in a document for later use.

Phil
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Old May 21st, 2010, 06:47 PM   #4
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Great info! Thanks Seth
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Old May 24th, 2010, 04:03 AM   #5
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How about just recording it to an old VHS recorder and then capturing it back to the computer via a cheap USB capture device? I think a lot of tv tuner cards will capture also.
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Old May 24th, 2010, 01:33 PM   #6
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Glenn, that's exactly what I ended up doing and it looks perfect....lol

Only bad thing is I get some interlacing on movement.
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