Captured Tapes Have No Colour

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    • #84953


      So I am trying to capture some of my VHS tapes onto a computer. I am using a Sony VCR which is plugged into a Composite – Audio – S-Video to USB converter. I have plugged in the VCR into Composite (Yellow) and the 2 audio cables. The software used is Arcsoft Total Media (though I did try Nero Video)

      I have already captured 3 tapes and they all turned out good but some tapes just don’t have any colour OR are half b&w and colour. I’ve connected the VCR to the TV and tv shows the colour but the computer doesn’t. I inserted the tapes that I already captured and they still show fine on the PC.

      I have tried all the settings including changing the PAL Version. I don’t know what else to do.



    • #211736

      Sounds like a problem with either the A/D converter, or copy protection on the VHS tapes. A number of companies used Macrovision copy protection back in the heyday of VHS, and even the converters and copiers that could circumvent it weren't able to provide a full color copy.

    • #211749

      I'd bet the adapator is switching from PAL to NTSC losing colour usually means the colour subcarrier is set wrong. Can you try and change it to NTSC and back to PAL, or does that option not exist? Maybe see if you can download the latest drivers, and of course try it on a different computer which will show where the fault lays.

    • #211751

      Your cabling goes, VHS to TV, via what? composite video? Just a thought, but you are not splitting the video out are you? One output to the TV video input and another to the video capture device? This can often give problems because the impedance drops and this drops the output video a little in level. The level is 1V, Peak to Peak, but there is a second colour burst and this is only .3V, so losing any of this can unlock the colour decoder. If you are paralleling the connections, go straight to the capture device, and monitor on the computer – see if this cures it.

    • #211760

      What signal system were your tapes recorded in?  It sounds like you are trying to use a PAL VCR, and I'm wondering if the tapes were recorded on a SECAM/MESECAM VCR.  You can still play SECAM tapes on PAL VCR's as the formats were very similar except for in the way the Color was recorded; on PAL VCR'S you just get a black & white image.

    • #211761

      No, the tapes are PAL – or atleast they should be. The tapes were recorded with a Sony Handycam and then written to normal sized tapes. The tapes play fine when connected to the TV, but not through the thr capture device.

    • #211804

      So in the software you don't have any switches that, when you switched it from PAL to NTSC and back you didn't reset?


      Personally I've never liked those USB A/D converters that are sold in stores as I find they give poor Color reproduction for any tape, but especially when you are dealing with VHS or Betamax or anything from composite.  Plus I was re-reading the earlier comments, and I'm wondering your converter is the problem, since you mention they play on your TV, but not on the converter.  Your converter is probably worn out..  So you might want to, if it's one or two tapes, send them to someone who transfers videos and see if they are able to get color from them.  

    • #211810

      Are you planning to edit these video's? I notice that you only mention you are transferring them to computer.


      Or even if you are only putting them onto hard drive, I would strongly recommend, in order to future proof your videos, still keep the original tapes, as well as getting them transferred by some other means than those garbage USB sticks, and even in a different format.  I just looked up reviews on the Roxio and I would not even touch it, since in it's Standard mode it is only capturing MPEG-2 at 4 Mbps, and it's High mode is only at 6 Mbps (I'm assuming that the 4 and 6 Mbps are variable-bit-rates, which is used on DVD, but I wasn't able to confirm it).  But apparently, if you are not going to DVD, then it recompresses and stores the video as a MP4 on the hard drive.  So you are importing as a heavily compressed file, and then adding more compression on top of that.


      Your best option would be, if your not going to DVD (and even if you were getting DVD done I would recommend this over the stick), to get your videos transferred in DV (25Mbps) or uncompressed AVI/MOV.  Compared to the stick's final output of around 2GB per hour on hard disk, DV uses 13GB per hour, and an uncompressed is about 96GB per hour.  So while they would take up more space, you would be able to edit or even make DVD's and MP4/H.264 (for your iPhone) copies from higher quality sources, or even any future format would benefit from the higher quality transfers.


      The DV and Uncompressed transfers would also help you with videos that were recorded in the LP and SLP/EP modes, as on VHS, even in PAL regions, those modes will have already added analog compression to the video signal.  

    • #212044

      Sadly, I don't have the originals as I re-used them.

    • #212057

      Hi Dennis,


      I had the Arcsoft software bundeld with a USB video capture device I bought. I did read somewhere that it has the built in copy protection as noted by Laguna Hiker, and if the tapes are a little worn, the software goes into copy protection mode – in my case it just wouldn't capture at all.


      In the end I downloaded VirtualDub and used it to copy the videos to PC. In fact it is so versatile, I did much of the processing with it too. ( see )  A word of warning though; it is not very user friendly, but does give good results. You may need to 'play' a little to understand it better, I know I did. Just make yourself a large coffee, and set aside a morning to get to know it and you should be fine.


      BTW, removed the Arcsoft software in the end, but just kept the capture device drivers.


      I hope that helps.

    • #71102062
      AvatarNhan hoang

      Sorry to remain this topic up but i have exactly the same as @Dennis. And i am interesting in this topic but the problem haven’t solve yet. My VHS tapes are PAL and i changed the software to PAL which is b&w. I have been looking for many forum but they don’t talk about the main problem. I hope you guys respon ASAP to fix the problem. Thank you very much!

    • #211747

      They are all home videos so why would they be copy protected. Also other home videos work.

    • #211750

      Tried it on another computer with same results. I can only switch NTSC to Pal and vice versa in the software (Arcsoft Total Media 3.5). Drivers are up to date. It's just that handful of tapes that don't display colour through the adapter. I have even routed the signa through the and still the problem persists. 

    • #211754

      Well my last thought to see if it would fix the problem is to send the video and audio from the VCR to the TV through composite cables and then out of the TV into the capture device. Still it's in black and white.

    • #211796

      Are you sure that your A/D isn't set to be looking for a SECAM signal?  Is it actually set for PAL acquisition?


      I remember once when I was using my ADVC-300 I though I had set it for PAL acquisition, but it turns out that even though I had thrown the NTSC/PAL switch to PAL, I had not thrown the NTSC Setup Level Switch to "Off" or the zero IRE level.  As a result, when I was trying to import the PAL video, I was just getting B&W video, as the300 was looking for a SECAM signal



    • #211798

      There are no switches on the device. It is a Australian tape so eveything should be PAL.

    • #211807

      In the software there are these switches but it doesn't matter to what I change them to it will still be b&w.


      I personally wanted to do it myself as I don't really want to pay for it. I would buy another converter like the Roxio but I want the gurantee that it will work, and also the gurantee that I can refund it if it doesn't work. 

    • #211995

      I won't be editing them, just copying over to my samsung external hdd, and keeping the tapes. I'm just thinking, to buy the Roxio converter or not, as I can't find something at reasonable price tag and also know it will fix my problem.

    • #212043

      I noticed in an earlier post that you mentioned that the video had originally been shot on a Sony Handycam—so I'm assuming you are talking about Video8 or Hi8 tapes.  Do you still have the original Handycam tapes and have you tried copying from those?  If they are Video8 or Hi8 tapes then you would get better video than you would from VHS dubs.  Also if you had access to a Digital 8 camcorde that could playback the older analog tapes, you could hook that up to your computer by Firewire and import your videos into your computer as DV-AVI (PC)/DV-MOV (MAC).

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