quality of VHS conversion

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    • #91036


      Help please. I contacted a few “restoration” companies and have been told that I can not improve the quality of a VHS. I transferred a VHS to flash and its dark and grainy, does anyone know where I can get the quality improved?


    • #214503

      Our company does a great deal of work digitizing VHS footage for transfer to DVD, flash drives and hard drives. Generally speaking, VHS follows the rule of “garbage in, garbage out.” Some minor improvements can be made, for example correcting levels and perhaps minor color correction and sharpening, but for the most part what you see is what you get. The VHS format was quite low resolution and the tapes degenerate over time. Digitizing will not improve them.

      You say you’ve transferred the VHS to a flash drive. It’s best not to compress the digital files for best quality. When you capture the VHS it will probably come into your editing software as an AVI file. For best results, leave it as an AVI file. If you must, use Handbrake to compress it as an MP4 file.

    • #214504

      I also transfer a lot of VHS for people to DVD, USB Key and hard drive, and really the best place to start to provide your best quality transfer is with your VHS player. Most people just grab any old VHS player, or try to use the ones that are still bring sold in DVD combos, hook up the yellow RCA composite to a cheap VCR-To-USB converter that they bought at the department store that do terrible on-the-fly VHS-to–progressive-MP4 conversions. Or some hookup the VCR to a set top DVD-recorder by composite and transfer that way.

      Really you need to be using a good quality S-VHS player that can transfer your video by S-Video, and a converter like a Canopus ADVC-100/300/700 that can accept S-Video. I know people say that when dealing with VHS it is “garbage in, garbage out”, but if you are transferring first generation VHS camcorder tapes (either full size or the VHS-C size), where it was the tape the person originally recorded on then you really need an S-Video transfer as you have got very little noise in the picture, especially if it was recorded at SP (it’ll still work at SL
      P/EP, but there’ll be noise from the SLPQ. If youtransfer a VHS by RCA composite then you are adding composite noise to the signal that your converter is going to have to try to remove. And in the digital world that noise will be amplified with compression.


    • #214508

      Also another issue is when your video was taken. A few months ago I had one video that was a first generation tape and was shot on an early full VHS camcorder that used vacuum tubes and one of the shots was of a Christmas morning. Every time that the camera was on the tree, I would get comet trails when it moved away. But that was the only part of the video that looked good, whereas the rest of the video was dark and grainy due to the people only having the sun coming in, they thought there was enough light. But there wasn’t.

    • #214506

      Trevor makes excellent points. We go from an S-VHS player into a Digital-8 camera, which digitizes the video signal. From the camera we go by firewire into our capture utility. This greatly reduces the likelihood of noise in the image.

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