7 Replies Latest reply on Jun 1, 2009 6:46 AM by the_wine_snob

    How to Edit Out VCR Control Track?


      I am trying to convert old VHS tapes to be watched on tv (DVDs) and on the LCD computer monitor.

      I haven't yet gotten beyond the preview stage in PE7, but I am seeing a thin streaky horizontal band of video noise across the bottom of most of the clip frames. From a past thread, I gather that the noise is from the VCR control track and that it won't be visible if the final product is viewed on tv, given the limited image area that is displayed on a tv. However, since I want to be able to watch the videos on the computer monitor as well, I'd like to be able to edit out those lines.


      I believe one suggestion offered in a previous thread is to use the preset crop effect and then zoom on the resulting image. But this seems to cost the sacrifice of far too much of the image that is outside the area affected by the noise.


      Is there a way to create a customized crop that just cuts out that narrow band at the bottom of the screen? (And if not in PE7, can it be done in another editing program?)

        • 1. Re: How to Edit Out VCR Control Track?
          Paul_LS Level 4

          Yes, it is best not to zoom as well as lossing more of the frame it also introduces more noise. Best way is to simply use the Crop effect, no need to zoom. You can set the bottom control to a few percent to eliminate the bottom few lines, I also set the same value for the top of the frame to give a symmetrical effect.

          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: How to Edit Out VCR Control Track?
            the_wine_snob Level 9

            One question and then a comment: have you played the Captured material on a TV? If not, you might be surprised that the control track is not seen. The Monitor Panel shows pertty much 100% of the signal. Most CRT TV's have an area of overscan, i.e. they do not show 100% of the image. Part of it, is outside the area that the TV scans.


            If you looked at the full image of most TV commercials, you'd likely see all sorts of "stuff" out near the edges. These are devices used by the TV station to calibrate their system and also to time the commercials. This "stuff" *usually* does not show, when the tape is broadcast.


            If you do test, and because of your TV, see this distortion at the bottom of the screen, then I highly recommend Paul_LS' method. As a general rule, I will use Crop and a touch of Motion>Scale to make sure that the end result is "clean." As I have no control on which equipment a client will play the result, I try to take every possiblity into consideration.


            Good luck,



            • 3. Re: How to Edit Out VCR Control Track?
              Paul_LS Level 4

              Hi Hunt, the OP says he wants to view the video on a computer... so he really needs to crop the video.

              • 4. Re: How to Edit Out VCR Control Track?
                the_wine_snob Level 9



                I had missed that. You are correct, Crop is the best approach to handling the issue then. It would very likely manifest itself on many newer flat-screen TV's, depending on their settings too.



                • 5. Re: How to Edit Out VCR Control Track?
                  Rambutani Level 1

                  Thanks for the input, guys.

                  Unfortunately, as a new user, I did not understand how to adjust effects properties values. The documentation at the Premiere 7 help website is woefully lacking, in my view. A video tutorial, or a very concrete, step-by-step set of instructions would be helpful.


                  Anyway, after playing around the with software for quite a number of hours, and grinding my teeth enough to put my dentists' kids through college and grad school,  I finally figured out how to use the crop effect properly.


                  From the sceneline view (and I believe it also works from the timeline view):

                  Select Edit > Effects > Video Effects > Transform > Crop

                  Click Apply


                  Select the Properties icon on the left of the screen just above the tracks (and just to the right of the words timeline/sceneline). (This is the key step.)

                  Alternatively, instead of clicking on the Properties icon, you can select Window (top of the screen) > Properties.


                  The properties values for cropping the scene will open on the right, in the Edit Workspace. You may need to scroll down to bring all of the cropping properties values into view.

                  The software's default values for cropping the image are:  left 0%, top 9%, right 14%, bottom 20%.


                  For removing the VCR control track, a crop value of 1.8% for the bottom of the image seems to work well with my current setup.


                  I reset the crop values as follows:  left 0%, top 0%, right 0%, bottom 1.8%.

                  Click Done.


                  (I haven't yet played the final product, so I am not sure whether I will need to also crop the top by 1.8% for symmetry, as Paul suggests. However, I'm leaning toward not doing that because I do not want to lose that part of the image. Perhaps an alternative to achieve a symmetric effect without sacrificing valuable parts of the image would be to adjust the Position setting (under Motion effects)? The default Position values in my current setup are 360.0 and 240.0. A change from 240.0 to 235.0 seems to provide a vertically-balanced image, although I have not viewed the final result with this setting.)

                  • 6. Re: How to Edit Out VCR Control Track?
                    Paul_LS Level 4

                    Sounds like you have got the "hang" of it...

                    • 7. Re: How to Edit Out VCR Control Track?
                      the_wine_snob Level 9

                      For the learning part, I strongly recommend Steve Grisetti's book, The Muvipix Guide to Premiere Elements 7, available from Muvipix. Next, Muvipix has a good set of tutorials, and articles on almost everything in PE. The site also has a very active "Community," which is the location for their fora. One can post to/read from the fora with no action, but signing up is free and opens up some functional content. With a subscription, all of Muvipix is available, the training, the functional content, such as original music, motion backgrounds and Menus.


                      Steve also has another book, Premiere Elements 2.0 in a Snap, co-authored with Chuck Engles. Though the title says PE 2, much general knowledge of video production plus universal PE knowledge is contained within.


                      It is well worth the look and I also think the subscription price.


                      Good luck,