Peter, VHS is a great form



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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