New Guy – Old Equipment

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    • #44513

       Sorry, my post disappeared into cyberspace or something.  I was asking about using VHS-C format for documentaries for personal use and some I’ve done for local volunteer groups for promotional purposes.

      Is there any chance of using VHS-C or VHS for presentation of my work to a studio or PBS or TVO (Canada)?


      Peter Rose

    • #186395

      I very seriously doubt VHS of any type would be acceptable by a studio, PBS or TVO. Even when VHS was a more popular consumer format it was not acceptable to these places over U-Matic or the Betacam formats, S-VHS and then, of course, digital. Nothing wrong with utilizing VHS or the compact VHS (VHS-C) for personal use, I suppose, if that’s your ONLY option, but the tape simply doesn’t hold up to long-term storage nor multi-pass editing, shredding off bits with each pas as you digitize it or try to work from the original masters. VHS never was a preferred professional format, really, and certainly wouldn’t be accepted now.

      The ONLY possible exception is if you had footage of something unique and one-of-a-kind that had occurred or existed and was NOT available in any other resource … something, say, historically significant.

    • #186396

      Thank you for your candid and straightforward reply, Earl. I really appreciate it.

      It looks like I will have to save-up some good old pension cash, over time, and get a digital rig in the future.


    • #186397

      This CAN be an expensive hobby (or more) Peter, but if you really, REALLY want to do some video with an eye on it being more than your own home brew … producing stuff that can (or WILL) be distributed over the channels … you CAN do so fairly economically.

      Again, depending on your immediate goals and expectations, so far as “shooting” video goes, you can be doing that for well under $1K US, although specifically for network distribution might not yet be included in that range. I suspect it will be acquiring something in the editing department that is also able to work with the footage a new camera would produce in one of the many formats (a computer and/or editing program(s)) that will cost you a bit more.

      Video is a GREAT tool for personal, creative and professional-level development. Obviously, if you’ve had a VHS or VHS-C camcorder and used it, you’re a bit interested if not hooked. Where there’s a will there’s a way, even financially, I suspect πŸ˜‰

    • #186398

      Peter – Your community’s public access (cable TV) operation may offer access to high-quality digital cams and editing. Likely be restrictions for “personal use,” but worth looking into for training and new experiences. Mike

    • #186399

      Thanks again Earl and thank you Mike for your input. I will check-out that Community Cable aspect – could be an okay experience for me.

      Meanwhile, I will keep using my GR-60U in VHS-C in order to keep improving my technique, composition, etc. I have lots of VHS-C tape to play with.


    • #186400


      VHS is a great format to learn on. It’s cheap and you can burn through it without pulling your hair out. Learning how best to light it and record sound within its limitations will be a big help when you move onto higher-end formats. But, as Earl mentioned forget VHS as a potentially pro format. It was used for news inserts for a time but only when there wasn’t a U-matic, betacam or pro high-8 tape available.

      It was an excellent consumer format for distribution of film and television products and VHS is the reason we have the ‘home video entertainment’ industry. Once the porn guys figured out they could put their work directly onto VHS and make direct profits, it wasn’t long before Hollywood took noticed and followed suit. VHS paved the way for Lazer Disc, which paved the way for Video CD, then DVD, HDVD and Blu-Ray Discs.

      So feel free to play with your existing VHS stock. Just be advised that it will eventually break down as you shoot it and play it back. Keep your camera and player heads clean so you can get the most out of it.

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