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Digitizing Your Old VHS Tapes

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Johnny Rad
Posted: Mon Jun 09, 2014 11:29 am Reply with quote
Joined: 29 Jan 2003 Posts: 482 Location: The Blue Tile Lounge
Hi guys.

To anyone who had digitized their old skate videos, I was just curious to find out the eqipment used and different methods implemented and which had the best results for highest quality.

So, how did you digitize your tapes?

Have you found a way to bypass Macrovision copy protected tapes?



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bigpapes
Posted: Mon Jun 09, 2014 11:36 am Reply with quote
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I've done this a million times. My most recent set up is:

VCR (RCA jacks) to Sony Mini DV Camcorder in VCR mode (Firewire cable) to PC.

My Camcorder converts analog signals to digital signals on the fly in real time. Then I just use Windows movie maker to capture the digital footage. Then author it to DVD and done. Super easy.

The DVD I sent you a few months ago (the Firm vids) were done this way but with Adobe authoring software which is why the menu is nicer. I've got a new PC since and lost the program. Windows movie maker works just as well, but not nearly as robust.

David

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Johnny Rad
Posted: Mon Jun 09, 2014 11:39 am Reply with quote
Joined: 29 Jan 2003 Posts: 482 Location: The Blue Tile Lounge
Thanks David.

Do you ever run into an issue with dropped frames? Will your PC abort the capture if the tape clitches?

I've transfered a few tapes before but I am gearing up to do about 300 skate videos and was just looking for more info before I jump into this huge project.

Thanks!

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bigpapes
Posted: Mon Jun 09, 2014 12:00 pm Reply with quote
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I haven't had any issue with dropped frames, but I've always had fast PC's. Basically, since the analog VHS signal is being converted to digital in real time, the PC doesn't know what the actual signal is supposed to look like. In this case, if the tape glitches, it will capture in digital as a glitch.

In other words, it should capture exactly how it plays from the VHS. However, this is only true of my set up I am running at home. It really depends on if you have a fast PC and what method you use for the analog to digital conversion.

Hope this helps!

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zowenso
Posted: Mon Jun 09, 2014 12:14 pm Reply with quote
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I'll buy a copy of the PP 88 tour video if you figure out how to bypass the block

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Johnny Rad
Posted: Mon Jun 09, 2014 12:18 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 29 Jan 2003 Posts: 482 Location: The Blue Tile Lounge
zowenso wrote:
I'll buy a copy of the PP 88 tour video if you figure out how to bypass the block


Yes! Seriously. That tape is at the top of the stack. I also recently aquired a Powell tour video from the 90s.


Last edited by Johnny Rad on Mon Jun 09, 2014 12:37 pm; edited 1 time in total

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bigpapes
Posted: Mon Jun 09, 2014 12:23 pm Reply with quote
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Johnny Rad wrote:
zowenso wrote:
I'll buy a copy of the PP 88 tour video if you figure out how to bypass the block


Yes! Seriously. That tape is at the top of the stack. I also recently acuired a Powell tour video from the 90s.


If you have any troubles with those two vids, I can give it a shot. I haven't met a VHS tape that I couldn't transfer.
What's the block on the tape?

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Johnny Rad
Posted: Mon Jun 09, 2014 12:31 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 29 Jan 2003 Posts: 482 Location: The Blue Tile Lounge
bigpapes wrote:
Johnny Rad wrote:
zowenso wrote:
I'll buy a copy of the PP 88 tour video if you figure out how to bypass the block


Yes! Seriously. That tape is at the top of the stack. I also recently acuired a Powell tour video from the 90s.


If you have any troubles with those two vids, I can give it a shot. I haven't met a VHS tape that I couldn't transfer.
What's the block on the tape?


The biggest problem I have run into in digitizing some tapes is Macrovision copy protection. Remember doing tape to tape copying in the 80s and 90s... ever have a tape where the colors would get all crazy and super dark. That's Macrovision. A lot of the biggest skate company's would use this like Powell, Vision, H-Street and others. Some would even have a Macrovision sticker right on the tape.

I just got an analog to digital converter that is said to defeat Macrovision but I haven't had a chance to set it up yet and try it out.

My other biggest problem is the dropped frame issue. Sometimes if the tape glitches or drops a frame the computer will kill the capture.

I should try capturing into my editing program, Final Cut Pro as it might take the capture, dropped frames, glitches and all.

I usually go VCR into the digital converter which firewires into my computer (I use a Mac) and capture it in Quicktime as a raw quicktime file.

The goal is to have all my video files on a hard drive that USB plugs into my Roku and I can pull up any video at any time. The end product being like a skate video iPod that I view on my TV.



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Nolder40
Posted: Mon Jun 09, 2014 1:01 pm Reply with quote
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Some great tips David....

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bigpapes
Posted: Mon Jun 09, 2014 1:06 pm Reply with quote
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Sounds like we are doing it the same, but with slightly different equipment. I think the main difference is that I'm using a full on camcorder as my analog to digital device. I've never had an issue with my PC stopping the capture due to a dropped frame. By the time it gets to my PC, the signal has already been sent as a "digital glitch" or "digital dropped frame". To my PC it's one and the same.

As far as Macrovision goes, never an issue. I've done Powell, H-street, Planet Earth, World, you name it I've converted it.

I would be really interested to see if I could transfer the Powell Tour vid.

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