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I have this situation:

I have two VCRs, one is a simple LG VHS VCR. It is one of the latest VCRs, with 4 heads and is standard (composite, not S-Video output). The quality is really poor.

The other VCR is Mitshubishi MD-3000 SVHS medical VCR. It was bought new. The quality is fine and sharp when playing SVHS tapes, but during VHS playback. I lost a lot of frames. I have only old vhs tapes and some of them really old. I get strange blue and red pictures.

The question is, if I transfer from VHS playing from the LG to SVHS recording on the Misthubishi, will i get a good quality recording and can I transfer to my video capture card? Or is this only a waste of time?

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You can't improve the quality of a bad recording. Especially if it is because the tape stock is flaking off oxide or is stretched, both of which are common problems with older tape stock. No matter what tape format you transfer it to, it will likely just get worse.

You might get about the same quality by digitizing with your capture card. However, you will likely need to use a fairly high bit rate, because analog artifacts have a tendency to cause low bit rate compression to induce even worse digital artifacts. If you use a low bit rate, expect the quality to worsen when you digitize it.

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  • I'm interested in the point about analogue artefacts causing digital artefacts, could you explain or give a link? Thanks.
    – stib
    Dec 2 '16 at 1:26
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    In my experience, drop outs and tearing tend to worsen macro blocking. They aren't things the motion estimators handle well. Dec 2 '16 at 3:40
  • How would you determine the right bitrate to use? Dec 17 '20 at 1:01
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    @Prometheus trial and error. But you don't want to do too many trials or you risk ruining your tapes or heads before you actually get the material encoded. Dec 17 '20 at 2:30
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    @Prometheus There are a lot of factors that go into choosing the right bit rate for a workflow. What codec? What are you going to do with the encoded material? What is your target audience/device? What is your budget? There are many more questions that drive the answer. I'd suggest asking a new question with specifics if you need more help. Dec 17 '20 at 2:47

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