Analog Video Questions

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by BreederCreature, Dec 10, 2007.

  1. BreederCreature macrumors member


    Mar 17, 2007
    CT, USA
    Here's my plan:

    I want to make a homemade video with a used analog vhs camcorder and play the finished product through 2 black and white tvs at the same time. I have one vcr. Is this possible?

    Also, is there a certain brand of vhs camcorder I should look for? I have veeery little money and the video will be in black and white with no audio anyway, so I just need decent video. I looked on ebay and there are a zillion cheap ones, I just don't know which one to buy. Or maybe I should shop around a few Goodwills first?

    From my understanding, I'd end up editing the video by recording the playback from the vhs camcorder onto a blank vhs in my vcr right?

  2. Super Macho Man macrumors 6502a

    Super Macho Man

    Jul 24, 2006
    Hollywood, CA
    Yes. The VCR probably has composite out (yellow jack). But you need to see what kind of inputs the TVs have...

    1) If they have composite input (yellow jack), all you need is an RCA cable to each one. RCA jack on VCR --> RCA cable --> RCA splitter --> 2 RCA cables --> TVs.
    2) If they are pre-1990s, they may have only an RF input. It may be either a coaxial F-type connector or two screws. If it's the 2 screws, go to Radio Shack and get an adapter for 2 screws to F-type. In this case you won't use the VCR's composite (yellow) output, you will use its RF output. Same wiring diagram as above but substitute RF for RCA.

    They also make splitter cables, i.e. cables that split off themselves without having to buy separate splitters. These might be a couple bucks cheaper. The poorly paid Radio Shack slave will be able to help you.

    Splitters will cause a minor reduction in video quality, but I'm guessing you don't care too much about that since you're talking about b&w TVs and a VHS camcorder. If the quality loss is too much, try an amplified splitter, but those are more expensive.

    Pretty much all VHS camcorders suck compared to any modern digital camcorder. eBay and Goodwill are both good places to try. I guess try to stick to the major brands and make sure from the seller that it works. Use high grade tapes (relatively speaking of course :) ) in SP mode. Maybe someone else on Macrumors could help you with specifics better than I could.

    Although it's totally stone-age by today's standards... yes. You would have to do some sort of dubbing between the camcorder and VCR. You will have a source tape and an edit tape... queue up the edit tape in the VCR and the bit to record in the camcorder, hit record on the VCR and play on the camcorder, hit stop... etc. The cuts will be neither clean nor precise, it will look like an absolute abomination... oh dear. :eek: But, it's unique, I like it. :)
  3. huntercr macrumors 65816

    Jun 6, 2006
    What are you going to edit with? Are you going to do "in camera" editing? How were you going to convert to B&W?

    Is this an art project or something? You'll probably be alot happier to borrow someone's DV video camera and load it up in iMovie to do your editing. Then export your video to DVD ( cause if you try to put it back out on VHS it's going to look like crap ) You'll be able to dial up the contrast and make your video look pretty good under iMovie.

    And then use a DVD player with plain old RCA cables for your video out, and not connec the audio. Use a Y splitter for the RCA video jack to run signals to both TVs.

    Hope this helps.
  4. BreederCreature thread starter macrumors member


    Mar 17, 2007
    CT, USA
    I plan on having the tvs onstage while my band plays shows, so it's just a background element for our live set. I don't want people's attention to be drawn to the video for too long, so I don't want it to look professional or anything.

    I don't plan on converting the video to black and white, the tvs I own are black and white tvs. They're also both pre-1990, so I'm gonna have to go with Super Macho Man's option 2 for playing the video.

    I only own a vhs player (got it for $1!), so I'd rather record straight to vhs. I made a film in school a few years ago editing on my vcr (didn't have a computer) with my cousins camera (it has little cassettes in it, I don't know what that's called). It came out pretty good, so I think that'll be fine for what I'm trying to do.

    I have to take into consideration that while on tour, all our equipment may and probably will be stolen at one point, so the cheaper/crappier, the least, for background stuff haha.

    Thanks for all your help guys. I think I'll check around some Goodwills first so I don't have to pay shipping.

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