Digitising VHS Tapes: Part 3(3) – Digitising Process Refinements


In Part 1 of this series, I had worked out a process for digitising VHS tapes, or so I thought. Turns out, things were not as straightforward. The process worked quite well for PAL tapes, but failed miserably for NTSC tapes. The KWoRLD DVD Maker 2 did a terrible job of capturing NTSC footage as seen in the image below.

SnapShot

In Part 2 of this series, I got my favourite VCR, the Samsung Worldwide VCR SV-4000W working again. I also decided to double-check the Canopus ADVC-50 unit I owned and realised I had been trying to watch NTSC footage on it while it had been set for PAL, which explains the lack of colour and the vertical picture roll.

The AVToolBox AVT-8710, while it did a great job of stabilising images, did have some undesirable side effects when coupled together with the Canopus unit. I did allude to this in Part 1. I decided not to introduce it into the mix unless the benefits outweighed the side effects. I was also more comfortable taking it out of the equation as the Samsung VCR had some smarts built into it for automatic image stabilisation.

The schematic below describes my hardware setup for digitising VHS  tapes in both Part 1 and Part 3. The difference is the equipment used as tabled. In addition, in Part 3, the TBC is left out unless deemed necessary. For instance, I used the TBC whenever tape artefacts caused the video capture to abort. It was very effective in these instances.

On those rare occasions that the combination of the TBC and Canopus gave rise to the ghosting issues alluded to in Part 1, switching in the KWoRLD DVD Maker 2 in place of the Canopus resolved the issue. Interestingly and, as the DVD Maker 2 had problems with NTSC, fortunately, I only ever saw this ghosting issue when working with PAL tapes. Working in the analogue rather than the digital domain, presented some quirky issues that have to be worked around.

Video Conversion Schematic Cropped

VHS Digitising Equipment

The Video Cassette Recorder (VCR) reads the physical media and produces an analogue video and audio signal. The Time Base Corrector (TBC) cleans up the analogue video signal. The Analogue to digital Video Converter (ADVC) takes the cleaned up analogue video signal and the audio signal and recombines them to create a digitised (MPEG2) file. Video editing software is used post-processing to extract and clean up the desired video  and produce an MP4 file.

Below is the image of the dancers I worked with in Part 1, but using equipment specified in Part 3 (without the TBC). The colours in the image appear to be far more natural with the equipment used in Part 3.

SnapShot

Edit: Check out these postings as well for other relevant topics.

  1. Digitising VHS Tapes: Part 1(3) – Digitising Process Considerations
  2. Digitising VHS Tapes: Part 2(3) – Samsung Worldwide VCR SV-4000W Repair
  3. Digitising VHS Tapes: Part 3(3) – Digitising Process Refinements
  4. A Bypass Switch for the Time Base Corrector

References

  1. Problems capturing NTSC video.
  2. Captured video is in black and white (NTSC vs PAL problem?)
  3. When I capture NTSC video the picture ‘Rolls’
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