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Old May 13, 2012, 02:53 PM   #1
Join Date: Jun 2011
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VHS Bad Head Switching Noise

I've got two VCRs that are giving me grief with playing back VHS tapes. I've used the Elgato Video Capture device for a LOT of movies but have decided to re-capture all footage from VHS as the output quality is garbage. So, I got a Dazzle DV-Bridge analag to digital converter to use with firewire.

However, I've noticed a major problem with all of my newly captured videos with what seems to be Head Switching Noise that INCREASES with the playback of my VHS tapes.

After a certain period of time, my videos look like this:

The problem increases over time. From the above image you can see clearly head switching noise (which I'm fine with) but a portion of what would be the very top of the image is now brought down to the bottom part of the video. Why is that?

If I stop the VHS playback and press play again, the problem is fixed;

I have two VCRs, a Samsung and Goldstar. Before I was using the Samsung and Elgato and I did not see any of this 'image shift' for any of my videos from the 10+ VHS tapes I recorded. Now I'm trying to use either Vidi or Quicktime 7 Pro to capture to a raw format and the image is really messed up.

I tried using Elgato AGAIN, using the same tape and running the video for about 30 minutes and the problem does NOT seem to be as bad in elgato as it does via firewire:



But again, stopping the video and playing it again readjusts the picture and everything looks fine.

Could this be a problem with my VCRs? Or the tape itself?
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Old May 13, 2012, 06:13 PM   #2
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This is how bad it gets using the Dazzle DV Bridge with a Samsung DVD-V3500 VCR player and Vidi 0.4.7 from Analog/Composite to Digital/Firewire.

My Elgato seems to be working perfectly fine.

*Note, after playing my videos on my Elgato I immediately pulled the yellow video cable and ran in through the Dazzle DV Bridge with Vidi and right off the bat I got the shifted image. I pulled out and reconnected the video cables from the Dazzle DV Bridge and the image was shifted back properly. I tried pulling out and putting back in the cable to the Dazzle device a few more times and noticed I was replicating the problem. Going back to the Elgato while it was still recording (expecting a video feed) the image was perfectly fine.

I think its safe to say its a problem with the Dazzle DV Bridge, at least via Composite cables. I don't have a VCR with S-Video out to try this with unfortunately but it looks like the unit needs to be tossed.

Last edited by wikus; May 13, 2012 at 06:29 PM.
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Old May 25, 2012, 08:52 AM   #3
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My God, I can't believe it. You still use the ancient VHS? Move on to Blu-ray. Or at least DVD.
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Old May 25, 2012, 09:20 AM   #4
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If you look at the position of the knee in the school bus scene, it looks like the dazzle is just capturing more of the video. The elgato is cropping the bottom of the picture more, which is hiding some of the head switching noise.

VHS has a ton of inherent picture quality issues but are hidden since most analog devices will crop the sides and top/bottom of the input to remove things like head switching noise, closed captioning data (which would show at the top of the picture), flagging at the sides, etc.

If the Dazzle has better quality, my recommendation would be to capture the video in a raw format (like DV or AIC), then use a program like Handbrake to encode that into H.264 using the picture controls to deinterlace/decomb and crop the noise from the picture.
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