I don’t see where you are

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I don’t see where you are losing a generation. Either capturing direct to a DVD or putting in into you computer & then burning the DVD both record the same signal coming off your VHS tape deck on DVD. Digital video doesn’t have generational loss. But their quality is massively influenced by compression changes.

The use of a time-base corrector will let you tweak the video signal from the VCR, but it doesn’t improve it. So if you think the video looks better direct from the VCR then it does burned to a DVD, your problem is not the video. Your problem is with your compression. To keep the best quality you absolutely have to burn at the level that puts the least time on each DVD. A DVD can hold 6 hours of video, which is six hours of compressed MPG2 video. You can also set the MPG2 compression so that only a half hour or so of video will fit on the same DVD. Common sense tells you the video compress to six hours in 4.2 gigs is not anywhere near as good looking as even one hour compressed to 4.2 gigs. Look at SP video vs. EP or LP video and you’ll see the same thing happening.

On the other hand if the video doesn’t look great come out of the VCR, you very likely need your heads cleaned. VCR’s require routine cleaning to remove signal blocking build-ups of oxide on the video heads. But I’m guessing this isn’t your problem, but it wouldn’t be solved by a TBC either

What are your settings for burning video to your DVD? Are you coming directly from the VCR into your digital capture device? These are the questions that need to be answered first. Then we can offer real advice & guidance. To be honest, I’m concerned you are confused about the relationship between digital & analog video. And I think that is at the heart of your difficulties. Let state once again, while analog video cannot be copied without generational losses, digital video is a file, just like a Word document, and cannot by its very nature be degraded by copying it. But the process of putting video on a DVD requires a certain amount of compression (according to the quality settings and other factors) that frequently degrades the quality of the video signal. It would be like compressing a Word document by removing all the articles, pronouns & uses of the verb “to be.” The resulting, much smaller document would be nearly impossible to read.

So let me know what your digital recording parameters are. Then we can work towards locating the source of your problem.

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