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View Full Version : Aging VHS tapes, restoring ?



195doc
10-17-2008, 08:10 AM
I have tried to record some of my old VHS tapes (commercial and personal) over on to DVD. I note that a lot of them seem to have reduced color saturation that will slowly improve as the tape progresses. These tapes are 10 to 18 years old, some older, stored dry. Is this a 'normal' aging process. What can be done to improve the color. (Some tapes are just fine, the majority however are faded.)

Before I launch into a time consuming project and do a poor job, I would appreciate any suggestions or recommendations. Many thanks!

Doc Bill

virtualcomposer
10-17-2008, 10:21 AM
One minor fix would be to hold one roller still while tightening the other which will make the tape a little more taut. As far as colour saturation and stuff like that, you may want to use Final Cut Express or another program that you can adjust the colour a bit. I would definitely not put it off since older tapes have a tendency to become brittle and it's a pain to fix VHS tapes. It is normal for tapes to lose their quality over time. That's why I did the same thing a few years ago with VHS tapes and also allot of audio cassettes of my childhood, dad, etc.

Silkrooster
10-17-2008, 11:57 PM
I know i have been putting off converting my old VHS tapes. Regretting really. The thing is I really need to do this as some of them have my sister on them. She past away about ten or eleven years ago.
Silk

virtualcomposer
10-18-2008, 02:38 PM
I would do that soon since that is now irreplaceable! My dad died 3.5 years ago and that summer I digitized all my tapes and VHS's and VHS Cs. It was worth since my camcorder doesn't work anymore. Very important to get stuff onto digital before the tape is to far gone. It's also important to make a second copy if possible and send all of them to a family member's house just incase something happens to your copy. That's what I've done since we tend to have allot of tornadoes here in the spring. It gives me peace of mind that even if something happened to my house, the most important things like letters, videos, audio are not lost.

Silkrooster
10-18-2008, 06:21 PM
One of the reasons why i regret it, is that Premier pro no longer supports analog captures or at least recognizes my composite connectors. The only program that I have that does support my composite video connectors is Windows movie maker.
Silk

hazmat777
10-18-2008, 06:50 PM
This looks promising for you Mac folks...

http://www.xs4all.nl/~jeschot/home.html

195doc
10-19-2008, 08:15 AM
Thanks for the several replies. Your recommendations are well taken. I should have been more specific in my post. I am also looking some technical recommendations on how to perk up the color saturation and eliminate some of the noise (if possible) when transferring these to DVD. Many thanks.

Doc Bill

CC Rider
10-19-2008, 03:28 PM
One of the reasons why i regret it, is that Premier pro no longer supports analog captures or at least recognizes my composite connectors. The only program that I have that does support my composite video connectors is Windows movie maker.
Silk

I use Premiere Pro CS3 and capture stuff all the time using the composite video in to a camera or deck which is attached to the computer via firewire...
still works like a champ for me...

:)

CC Rider
10-19-2008, 03:41 PM
Thanks for the several replies. Your recommendations are well taken. I should have been more specific in my post. I am also looking some technical recommendations on how to perk up the color saturation and eliminate some of the noise (if possible) when transferring these to DVD. Many thanks.

Doc Bill

You'll need to digitize your footage and import to a program that has color correction capabilities, then make a DVD from there. It won't be a speedy process since you have to do all the digitizing in real time, but it may be worth the effort if you have footage that can't be replaced and that has sentimental value.
Probably simple level adjustments would be all that you need, the problem is that footage captured from a VHS won't be able to handle very much color correction as this process tends degrade the image quickly. You probably won't be able to do much about the noise, footage captured from VHS won't offer much in the way of latitude to make image adjustments before it starts to look even worse, but at least you'll have a good backup copy that you can play in the future.

You'll need access to a camcorder or deck that can connect to your computer via firewire, a VHS deck that you can connect to your camera/deck and some software that will let you capture the footage. Premiere Elements is pretty cheap and should allow you to do some minor image adjustments. (I think its around $100 or less...) Premiere Elements will also let you export your project directly to a DVD too.

Hope this helps!

:D

dwburman
10-20-2008, 12:24 AM
And I think you're supposed to back up your CD-Rs, DVD-Rs, and magnetic tape media every 8 years or so. Those things don't last forever. I suppose if you paid extra to get archival quality discs they might fare better.

As to cleaning up VHS... I'd think most video editing software will let you boost the color and any pro level one should let you set keyframes so the settings can be changed over time. There are probably some specialized noise reduction solutions too, but you probably run the risk of making things blurrier instead of noisier, but I don't have direct experience to draw from on this one. VHS just isn't a very good format :)

Silkrooster
10-20-2008, 12:40 AM
I use Premiere Pro CS3 and capture stuff all the time using the composite video in to a camera or deck which is attached to the computer via firewire...
still works like a champ for me...

:)

Yeah see thats the difference. your setup is through a firewire, so premeire thinks you have a digital deck. My composite connectors are part of my computer. My minidv deck does not have any composite input connectors. If it did I would be all set.
Silk

virtualcomposer
10-20-2008, 09:11 AM
And I think you're supposed to back up your CD-Rs, DVD-Rs, and magnetic tape media every 8 years or so. Those things don't last forever. I suppose if you paid extra to get archival quality discs they might fare better.

That's a good assessment since file formats do change, in my opinion, every 6-10 years. They had a special on about that earlier this year about how all of our digital files will be unreadable for the future to see.

195doc
10-20-2008, 09:57 AM
OK, lets make sure the old doc has this straight. It looks like the best method is to down load to the PC via S-video or composite -- are we talking about a video capture card ? The process the file with an appropriate program, then burn the DVD? I have done many things with a computer, but not this. The time involved is not a problem as it will run while I am doing other things. Recommended boards, programs??? Doc Bill

CC Rider
10-20-2008, 11:10 AM
OK, lets make sure the old doc has this straight. It looks like the best method is to down load to the PC via S-video or composite -- are we talking about a video capture card ? The process the file with an appropriate program, then burn the DVD? I have done many things with a computer, but not this. The time involved is not a problem as it will run while I am doing other things. Recommended boards, programs??? Doc Bill

You don't actually need a capture card if you can get your hands on a camera that has video inputs. A lot of cameras can work as a camera and a recorder using the same connectors as video inputs and outputs depending on the direction of the signal and the mode selected (camera or vcr).
Connect the camera to your computer via firewire and you should be good to go.
Programs? I use Premiere Pro but Premiere Elements ('round $100 or less)should be able to do everything you need for a lot less money. There are probably other programs out there for even less or even free if that's the route you want to go but I don't have any experience down that road.

:D

ted
10-20-2008, 10:31 PM
You can always run the VHS feed through your VT with color correction adding and adjusting Saturation, Hue and contrast, and record DIRECTLY to a DVD recorder. This saves time and generation loss. Try using component or YC for quality.

The other option, which is what I did over our slow Christmas season last year. I got a $300 VHS/DVD deck that had all sorts of handy editing options. I simply recorded most of our home movies to DVD, BUT there were LOTS of stuff I decided wasn't worth saving. That was great since I had SEVERAL boxes of tapes.
I then simply copied the DVD's and passed them around to multiple family members for further protection.