Posted by Logan6 
January 31, 2007 01:34AM
ok. So what is the best way to get the best signal out of a standard VHS tape? An Industrial VHS player with composite out (which I have an older 4 head beige 1990 Sony)? Or is an S-VHS player the way to go (with an S video signal out)? Thanks.
January 31, 2007 05:22AM
The best way is a VHS with an S-Video signal out.

Luminance and chrominance are combined along with the timing reference ?sync?
information to make composite video. This is a form of an analoge compression and the color information is reduced. Working with composite in Post-Production is very limited in several aspects.

Is a component conection. The 2 signals, luminance and chrominance, are not combined, wich provides better quality and better use in Post.

Rui Barros
Editor Colorist Trainer
Lisbon, Portugal
RTP Post-Production
Apple Certified Trainer FCP 7
Apple Certified Pro FCP 7
January 31, 2007 06:37AM

The best way to play a VHS tape is on the machine that made it. S-Video tape machine heads are tuned to the S method of tape format. They are forced to play regular tapes a non optimized way which never looks as good.

The S output of an S machine playing a standard tape is fuzzier than a regular tape machine playing a regular tape.

An S tape made on a S machine and played on an S machine using the S output blows the doors off any other combination, but it has to be S the whole way to get the maximum--or sometimes any-- benefit.

January 31, 2007 12:16PM
Thanks Koz - That's good to know!

What machine would you suggest for capturing a standard VHS tape for best results (it's archive interview footage I need to restore for 35 mm blow up)?

Ben King once suggested a Panasonic model with Component and TBC that can be found here:


If I can't get hold of the same machine that recorded the tape, and it's a standard tape, what would you suggest I do?

(I apologize if I'm hijacking this thread..hopefully I'm on topic) : )

January 31, 2007 12:46PM
<<<(I apologize if I'm hijacking this thread..hopefully I'm on topic) : ) >>>

If thread wander was a sin, I'd been in Hell a long time ago, handbasket or not.

<<<f I can't get hold of the same machine that recorded the tape>>>

By that I meant as close as possible to the original machine, not the exact same one. Any machine that old is likely to have all its belts and rubber pucks turned to sticky debris a long time ago.

Machines with Time Base Correctors are very desirable because correction errors in digitizing go away. Also, some of them allow you to change brightness and contrast to compensate for substandard tapes--although technically, you could do that later as long as the video level didn't smash whites so bad that it created permanent damage.

Rememer, too, that I'm typing this in the middle of a machine room with calibrated glass television monitors and full set of video scopes. Your mileage may vary.


We have one of those. Excellent deck if kept up. What you lose in using an S machine may be more than made up by having a TBC, excellent tape handling, and professional external machine control.

February 01, 2007 02:22PM
So to sum it up. It sounds like that the best signal out of a standard VHS tape is to use a TBC standard VHS deck. Second in line would be a standard VHS deck. Then an S-VHS.

Yes, I unerstand the benifits of the S video connection. but i guess in this case with Standard VHS. Ole Composite is the way (only way) to go if using Standard VHS machines.

The Sony unit I have is a SVO160. It has BNC video out whhich I have a adapter to RCA - then take my RCA over to my firewire enabled camera. It also has some other crazy connection in back called "TV" with an 8 pin female receptor. I have no idea what this is and have never seen this connnector before.

BNC and RCA Video is basically the same signal correct? just a more secure connection?
February 01, 2007 03:01PM
I disagree with this notion that an S-VHS deck makes for an inferior VHS playback. No VHS deck can give you as clean a signal as even a consumer S-VHS deck can - not even those wonderful "Professional" VHS decks Panasonic used to push.

Especially in the case of consumer/prosumer decks, though, watch out for hidden menu items that want to improve playback. Some of them may improve, some may destroy. If it's important to you I would capture with and without each major setting and see what really looks better. May be different for different parts of the program, eeven. While you're at it take it in from a VHS-only deck too. You might like the look.

In the higher-end but now aging consumer market, look for S-VHS decks starting with "HR-S...". The HR-S7500U and up have an actual TBC as well as more of these bells and whistles you'll want to test.
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