Restoration of old Betamax tapes at
DV Info Net

Go Back   DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > Open DV Discussion

Open DV Discussion
For topics which don't fit into any of the other categories.

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old October 23rd, 2008, 03:02 AM   #1
Regular Crew
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Cuenca (Spain)
Posts: 92
Restoration of old Betamax tapes

Hello, everybody. I don't know if this is the best place for this thread, but as it doesn't fit directly in any particular subject, I suppose that the generic DV discussion board is the more suitable for it.

Well, here's my story: I have over 8 hours of footage that were recorded back in 1984 in what was the then equivalent in price to a modern HDV camera, that is, a Sony Betamax SL-F1 portable deck attached to a Sony HVC-4000 Trinicon tube camera. If anyone of you has worked with such equipment, you would know all the issues related to these early prosumer video systems: very poor sensitivity, lag trails on bright areas, etc.

The high historical value of this footage is on the other side of the scale and my superiors are now deciding whether the image quality is good enough to make a "watchable" DVD. But this will also depend on my work in trying to give a decent image from that tortured footage. For that, I have a FCS station with a Blackmagic Multibridge digitizing hardware.

So, there are a few questions I want to ask to you wise guys:

Image stabilization: you can imagine the timebase of these tapes is so unstable that when trying to digitize them, the Multibridge can't track the signal and it stops digitizing after just a few seconds. A workaround I have found is to use an old Panasonic WJ-AWE5 video mixer. This was a prosumer digital mixer from the late 80'ies. It had two composite/S-video inputs, and it could mix them even if they where unsynchronized. This means that it incorporates some kind of "TBC", though very basic. This works fine in obtaining a stable signal, but a real TBC would be a better option. But I have never handled one, and I don't know if it is worth the pain to find/buy/lean a TBC, or if the difference in quality with my old mixer is not going to be noticeable. What do you think?

Color correction: I'm doing some test with Color, and the results are promising. In fact, I think that colors rendered by these early cameras were better than later CCD cameras.

Tube lag: this is one of the most evident defects in the footage, as there's a lot of nigth scenes, and people wearing candles = lotsa trails in the image. Do you know of any kind of filter which can reduce this now weird but back then common defect?

Drop-outs: I can correct drop-outs in Photoshop, but the procedure to extract frames in FCP is soooooo slooooowwwww (when compared to Premiere, for example), that I'm trembling just of thinking about it. Do you know any easier way to clean drop-outs?

And that's all. However, if you have any ideas, suggestions, or experiences in what we can call video archaelogy, they are welcomed here!
Wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. Radio operates exactly the same way, but there is no cat.
David Lorente is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 23rd, 2008, 05:46 AM   #2
Inner Circle
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Atlanta/USA
Posts: 2,515
For grain removal I used After Effects with excellent results. For dropouts there are some filters for a free piece of software called VirtualDub, to date I have found nothing better; I don't think it's available for the Mac though...

[Love the Einstein quote].
Ervin Farkas
Ervin Farkas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 23rd, 2008, 06:39 AM   #3
Inner Circle
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: San Mateo, CA
Posts: 3,840
Canopus transcoder has a good TBC in it, the ADVC 300 is the one you want to look at.

Grass Valley | ADVC-300 Bi-Directional Media Converter | 602050

But I can't say for sure if it will be better than your mixer.
Richard Alvarez is offline   Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY USA

Scan Computers Int. Ltd.
+44 0871-472-4747
Bolton, Lancashire UK

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > Open DV Discussion

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 06:03 AM.

DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2024 The Digital Video Information Network