7 Replies Latest reply on Mar 21, 2009 7:56 AM by John T Smith

    VHS - improving the look of it

    lymphor Level 1
      I was thinking of improving the look of a VHS material and was wondering if anybody here already dealed with the problem and found a "formula"?
      Thank you,
        • 1. Re: VHS - improving the look of it
          Jeff Bellune Level 5
          Ann Bens posted a good technique in post #3 of this topic:

          • 2. Re: VHS - improving the look of it
            the_wine_snob Level 9
            Along with Ann's suggestion, I have also found that Neat Video Effect (from Neat Image) is worthwhile. As you probably do not have a grey card shot at the beginning of the footage (hey, who ever thinks to do that?), the settings can take some time to fine tune. There is also an increase in Render time, but not THAT bad.

            For VHS editing, I always run the tapes (at normal speed) through, rewind by playing in reverse, not REW speed) to soften any hub bump, or similar. Then Capture with my A-D bridge software to DV-AVI. I use the color and density controls in it, to get the best Capture going in. Once Captured, it's a simple Import into PrP. You will likely get some scan lines, i.e. noise, at the bottom of the frame, depending on exact head alignment of the VHS camera and the playback deck. Usually, this will be beyond the Overscan area of a TV, but if you worry about it, a little bit of the Crop Effect can lop it off nicely. If you need to, a tiny bit of Motion>Scale can get that into the Overscan area. Do not overdo the Motion>Scale, as you WILL see a degredation in the image quality.

            I have found that Effects>Adjust>Levels and Effects>Adjust>Shadow & Highlight (neither in the Auto mode) will help. The Quick Color Correction (Effects>Color Correction>Quick Color Corrector) works beautifully. Remember, your results can differ, depending on which Effect you apply in which order. Experiment with the order, as well as the actual Effect. I usually do the Effects in the order listed. Then, I apply Neat Video and then a bit of Sharpen at the end, as my last Effect. With all of these, "a little dab will do ya." I have never found a use for the "Auto" setting in any of the Effects. One gets pulsing and strobing, or at least I do. I never use Auto.

            There are more ways to do the Effects, but I like to apply to the entire Clip, before cutting. I then Render a small section with the WAB (Work Area Bar), to test. Then, when you cut, you have the same Effects. Remember, these can be tweaked once you make the cuts. The other main way is to cut first, apply the Effects, make their adjustments, then Rt-click the Clip and choose Copy. Select all other Clips, and Rt-click, Paste Attributes. You can still tweak each Clip's Effects, as needed.

            Watch for sound sync issues. Some A-D Bridges displace the Audio by a few frames. Check this out carefully, especially if you have closeups with speech. When I've seen them, they are usually a constant OOS, at about 8-12 frames offset. Before you begin cutting, turn off Snap, and Alt-click on the Audio Track. Nudge it around a bit, until you have established sync. Turn Snap back on, and begin cutting.

            Good luck,

            • 3. Re: VHS - improving the look of it
              Jeff Bellune Level 5
              Thanks for the tips, Hunt.

              I've just been handed a job to do some tape-to-disc transfers, so I'll get a chance to try out your method in combination with Ann's.

              • 4. Re: VHS - improving the look of it
                the_wine_snob Level 9

                Good luck. I hope that your client at least had everything in EP. I got quite a bit of LP and even EP VHS tapes. There is NOTHING that I could find to make the EP stuff look good. Fortunately for the final phase of this Project, if any of that footage gets used, it'll be very, very little and probably a PiP treatment.

                Because of the age, and storage conditions (Southern AZ) of the tapes, I was hesitant to do much with them. That is why I used Play and Reverse Play, rather than FFW & REW. No problem with 38 tapes, so I guess all was well.

                I already had the Turtle Beach PCI Capture Card, but would buy the Canopus 300, if I did not have an A-D device.

                • 5. Re: VHS - improving the look of it
                  lymphor Level 1
                  Thank you all for your responses!
                  I'll put them in practice as soon as I can!
                  Special thanks to Bill Hunt, sadly I have only a DVD VIDEO version of the VHS tape, but your capture advices will be useful to me next time I'll have a VHS tape to adjust :)
                  • 6. Re: VHS - improving the look of it
                    the_wine_snob Level 9
                    Good luck with the Project. Considering the original source material, you might not be dissatisfied with the results from the DVD, unless you did an A-B comparisson. You will take a hit with the two MPEG-2 compressions, but it should not be a show-stopper. We all try for the ultimate image, rightfully so, but many clients are less critical. Still, if we can produce an image, that we deem perfect, then no client should be able to see anything offensive.

                    For "next time," do look into an A-D bridge. You will be pleased with that method. As I mentioned to Jeff B., earlier on, I wish now that I did not already own the Turtle Beach PCI card, as I would have gone with the Canopus 300. Too bad I'm such a cheap S-O-B.

                    • 7. Re: VHS - improving the look of it
                      John T Smith Adobe Community Professional & MVP
                      Old technology, but the Pinnacle Dv500 works great for me... here's one on eBay that says it is new and never used... open for 23 more hours as I write this

                      http://cgi.ebay.com/Pinnacle-DV500-PLUS-Video-Editing-w-Adobe-Premiere-6-0_W0QQitemZ130293 893954

                      Since the Dv500 software has not been updated for newer versions of Windoze or Premiere, I have a separate boot drive with Win2000 and Premiere 6 which I use when I want to convert an analog tape (8mm or Vhs) to a digital file on my hard drive... easy to do with a drive swap housing, or a dual-boot hard mounted boot drive