Converting VHS tapes recorded on a professional mid 1980's editing deck - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 10-25-2012, 04:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi,

I'm about to embark on a project to convert all my VHS tapes to DVDs. I have all the computer components and work-flow setup. I'm having a problem with several tapes.

These tapes were recorded/edited on professional editing equipment at the local cable company in the 1984-1986 time frame. When I play them on a standard home VCR it appears that I lose sync at each edit point. The video looks OK on a TV, but the digitizer seems to be totally confused at every edit point. (This is an educated guess about what is happening.)

Does anyone have any advice?

After reading through the forums I have a few ideas related to the possible need for an external TBC, or maybe just a good VCR like the Panasonic AG1980. Another thought was possible issues with differences in video heads used in older pro equipment as mentioned here: http://www.avsforum.com/t/1362310/panasonic-ag-ds555-svhs-player-any-info-tips#post_20992214

Any advise or thoughts would be greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance! smile.gif

Mark

P.S. I only have 4 tapes that exhibit the above problems (which were recorded on pro decks.) The rest of my tapes were recorded on home equipment in SP mode and seem to playback fairly well, but I'm thinking might benefit from a Panasonic AG1980 for optimal transfer.
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post #2 of 12 Old 10-25-2012, 04:31 PM
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In case it's an index-mark problem, try one or two other VCRs... maybe you've got one that's not affected by index marks?

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post #3 of 12 Old 10-25-2012, 04:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Good thought! Thanks for the quick reply. smile.gif

I just bought a Panasonic AG-1980P on e-bay. Since I have only one working VCR I figured getting one of these (for $150 shipped) is a good choice for converting all my "normal" tapes, and maybe it will solve the problem on these special tapes.
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post #4 of 12 Old 10-25-2012, 04:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Good thought! Thanks for the quick reply. smile.gif

I just bought a Panasonic AG-1980P on e-bay. Since I have only one working VCR I figured getting one of these (for $150 shipped) is a good choice for converting all my "normal" tapes, and maybe it will solve the problem on these special tapes.
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post #5 of 12 Old 10-25-2012, 04:37 PM
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I had a Mitsubishi U-69 that had TBC.
I wanted a AG 1980 at that time 1992 they were in that 1500-2 grand price?

So i got the U-69 thought it was the best vcr i had ever had--But over time i had problems with sync.
I replaced the U-69 with a JVC 9911.The best tapes were BASF Pro.They still look good.But the TDK's and Maxell's not so good.

If your recordings are of a personal nature then there may be pro services around.Tech colleges use to have equipment for transfering tape.
Ebay use to have a few AG-1980's

I started replacing most movies from sales on amazon or walmart.
Just got a couple of hdmi's from amzom.
They may have newer rca or whatever line you may need.

Just went over to ebay 299.99 and UP on the panasonic ag 1980.
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post #6 of 12 Old 10-25-2012, 05:16 PM
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Nothing to do with the video heads.

Sounds to me like a broken (CT) “control track”. With pro decks, when planning on insert editing - you’re supposed to lay a signal of uninterrupted black video first. This insures an uninterrupted control track when you proceed with insert editing (over-laying audio or video or both over the uninterrupted control track.

Sounds like

A) The cable co didn’t lay a CT track prior to insert editing and the CT is broken and while your prosumer VCR/TV can compensate the digital capture card can’t.

B) The cable co simply used the rec/ pause button (instead of inserting over the laid CT to edit) breaking the CT. You may get similar break up while trying to capture home VHS recordings when the recordings have pauses in-between segments.

C) The cable co did lay a proper CT track prior to editing but your capture card still gets confused because the video may be cutting at the wrong interlace field. This would be due to cheap editing gear.

An external TBC should take care of or a least help with this problem. If you have a newer JVC try enabling the “stabilizer”. The stabilizer in the JVC decks (even the newer cheap JVCs have this) tries to rebuild the CT pulses. This may or may not help but is worth a try before investing in an external TBC. Working with capture cards external TBCs should be used because as you found out they don’t like to lock unto bad VHS signals.

I don't own a Panasonic AG1980 so I will leave comments regarding that deck to actual owners.
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post #7 of 12 Old 10-25-2012, 05:36 PM
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Since you've already gone ahead and purchased an AG1980, you may as well wait until you get it, and see if it helps with your problem. It might, or it might not: Super Eye's theory about the interrupted CT signal appears the most likely, and an AG1980 on its own cannot always repair this. Note "used" AG1980s come in every imaginable condition, from barely working to like new. I own seven of them in assorted condition: the ones that were recently rebuilt are dramatically more effective than the unserviced units. The AG1980 has a number of fragile capacitors on its TBC circuit board, and TBC performance is very sensitive to condition/age of these caps. This circuit can also interact with other subsystems, causing color noise and other issues. Not trying to scare you or anything, just make sure you're aware condition is everything with an AG1980 vcr. Most require a bit of servicing to get the max performance they're capable of.

If the AG1980 does not fix the edit point issue, your best bet is to pick up an external TBC, either the DataVideo TBC1000 or AVT-8710. Each can be found used on eBay for under $200 if you're patient. After encoding these four "problem" tapes, you can put the TBC back on eBay and resell it for close to your purchase price, recouping most of the investment. You could also buy these TBCs new, but the AVT is $240 and the DataVideo is $449 at dealers like B&H.
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post #8 of 12 Old 10-25-2012, 08:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks Super Eye. This sounds plausible to me. The equipment was new Panasonic gear and it seemed good quality. I did the editing myself, and remember that we never laid down any video before doing the insert editing. So, I would guess this, or your point C is/are the problems.

CitiBear: Thanks for your thoughts as well! Do you have, or know where I can get information on which caps are typically the problem on these VCRs? I'm handy with a soldering iron and wouldn't mind replacing them myself as long as I know which ones they are and what sort of replacements I should use.

Since I want to do this right, and only one time, I think I'll get a DataVideo TBC1000 and re-sell it after the project is done.

Again, thanks to all that have given feedback! It's very much appreciated. smile.gif
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post #9 of 12 Old 10-25-2012, 09:28 PM
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STOP right there!
I bought a couple oif these units on ebay, and let me tell you,
DON`T PAY FOR THEM! DO NOT SEND THEM YOUR HARD EARNED MONEY!!!!!
ANYTIME, I HERE ABOUT THESE UNITS ON DUMP BAY,
IT TAKES ME BACK TO WHEN I bought MY 2 1980 units, and they BOTH needed A TON of work!
1 unit cost me $250 for the unit PLUS $150 in repairs,
the OTHER 1980 unit cost me $200, then when I got it, it was broke!
BOTH THE SELLERS LIED ABOUT THEM BEING IN 100% PERFECT WORKING ORDER!
PAYPAL AND THE SELLER AGREED TO ONLY HALF, OF MY MONEY BACK! THEN I TOOK IT IN FOR SERVICE THIS YEAR FOR $40, ONLY, ONLY TO FIND OUT IT NEEDED
NEW VIDEO HEADS PLUS OTHER STUFF FOR A WOPPING $450!


GET YOUR MONEY BACK NOW! OR YOU`LL GET SCREWED OVER LIKE I DID!!!!!!!!!
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post #10 of 12 Old 10-26-2012, 12:55 AM
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Regarding eBay, test the AG1980 thoroughly the day it arrives on your doorstep. If there's the slightest thing wrong with it, contact the seller to negotiate a lower price or a total refund. Rule of thumb, mechanical problems are easy to fix, video problems require a total rebuild (expensive). Use your judgement on whether the AG1980 in question is worth a repair or not. BTW if the seller balks or is unhelpful, file a complaint in the eBay dispute console immediately to ensure eBay freezes your money in the sellers account pending a forced refund.

Regarding DIY replacement of AG1980 caps, my advice is "don't try it." The AG1980 was the most convoluted, over-engineered-but-underbaked VCR Panasonic ever sold (and that includes super-high-end pro decks). When it works perfectly, it works perfectly, when it flakes electronically, there is no such thing as an "easy" or "inexpensive" repair. There are countless caps in the unit, and they fail in a cascade with one board contaminating another. Video issues invariably require replacing groups of tiny surface-mount caps, which is difficult under typical DIY circumstances. The 1980 circuit topology is notorious for "whack-a-mole" tendencies: you replace three caps that test bad, and then another six go out, you replace those six, only to find another twelve go out. A durable repair job that guarantees at least a couple years of reliable operation typically involves replacement of some 30+ caps.

For a brief overview on repairs, see this link. For extensive discussion of the AG1980, see this AVS thread. The two best-known repair specialists for the AG1980 are JOTS Electronics in Texas and Southern Advantage in North Carolina.

The perversity of used VCRs is that normal inexpensive typical 4-head HiFi models have small circuit boards that almost never go bad, simple power supplies that never go bad, and fairly reliable mechanics. Since you can buy them anywhere for $25, if they break you just trash them and hit Craig's List for another. The drawback is their video playback is mediocre at worst and just OK at best. A Panasonic AG1980, or JVC SVHS with TBC/DNR, or JVC or Mitsubishi DVHS with TBC/DNR, can offer significantly better playback. BUT, the AG1980 and old JVC SVHS models are fragile and costly to repair, while the DVHS models are newer and usually in perfect condition their purchase price can be up to $500. Used, mind you. There's really no middle ground: you pay thru the nose for a fancy used VCR and cope with the headaches, or settle for a traditional good-but-cheap VCR to get reliability at the sacrifice of optimum playback quality. Its a tough call money-wise.
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post #11 of 12 Old 10-26-2012, 05:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks once again CitiBear for the great info! smile.gif

My thoughts exactly with the VCR: as soon as UPS drops it off I'm unpacking it and going to put it through it's paces. (Luckily I only have about 50 tapes to convert so I can do it fairly quickly.) I'll do a full evaluation that day and follow the steps you outline if I find problems.

Last night after I asked about capacitor replacement it struck me, "what if they are surface mount?" I'm not crazy enough to touch surface mount components. (I know, that's dating me. wink.gif When I last played a lot with electronics, surface mount caps were almost unheard of...at least in the world I soldered in.)

ChrisSwanson72 I appreciate your thoughts. I'm buying the VCR from an electronics dealer who has a 100% satisfaction rating and over 2500 sales. Hopefully this means I'm getting what they are advertising, and if not, I can resolve the issue. (I also have 14 days to return the VCR if there are problems, and I'll be glad to use it if the VCR doesn't do what it is supposed to.)
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post #12 of 12 Old 10-26-2012, 08:36 PM
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Come to think of it,
I WAS going to buy that 1980 on flea bay!
On payday, Friday, however, since you beat beat me to it,
and as USUAL, I got screwed over again,

I WISH YOU NOTHING BUT HORRORS AND NIGHTMARES WITH THIS VCR!
THAT will teach you!
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