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Thread: Problem digitising NTSC VHS tapes?

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    Should Get Out More Taipan's Avatar
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    Question Problem digitising NTSC VHS tapes?


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    Hi All,
    I'm currently digitising an archive which contains some VHS tapes. I picked up a Magix converter and it works perfectly on UK tapes but the archive contains some tapes which were produced in the USA and have orange NTSC stickers on them. I've changed the regional settings in the supplied MAGIX software from PAL to NTSC Japan/USA but even if i then flick round in the various display formats PAL/NTSC/Secom its either B&W, or vivid green and purple of B&W with some purple. I've even tried changing connectors, despite it working okay on UK tapes. Would a NTSC tape need a different scart socket per chance? Or any ideas why i cant get the same picture with a US tape that I can with a UK one?
    TIA

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    Should Get Out More RiceBurner's Avatar
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    Default Re: Problem digitising NTSC VHS tapes?

    IIRC NTSC operates at a different frequency to PAL, can you play with the settings much in the software?

    I remember my Dad having a VHS player that was capable of reading NTSC, but that was something like 35 years ago....... (he might still have it tucked away somewhere though, the hoarding git).

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    Should Get Out More Julian_Boolean's Avatar
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    Default Re: Problem digitising NTSC VHS tapes?

    Throw your home made porn in the bin.

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    Default Re: Problem digitising NTSC VHS tapes?

    Quote Originally Posted by RiceBurner View Post
    IIRC NTSC operates at a different frequency to PAL, can you play with the settings much in the software?

    I remember my Dad having a VHS player that was capable of reading NTSC, but that was something like 35 years ago....... (he might still have it tucked away somewhere though, the hoarding git).
    Seems everything we tries fails and we a JVC vhs player that has a sticker on it saying it plays NTSC on PAL TV.

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    Should Get Out More RiceBurner's Avatar
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    Default Re: Problem digitising NTSC VHS tapes?

    Quote Originally Posted by Taipan View Post
    Seems everything we tries fails and we a JVC vhs player that has a sticker on it saying it plays NTSC on PAL TV.

    Theoretically the player should be doing the conversion for you before the output is sent. (obvs). I assume you've either read the manual, or tried every single button and switch on both ends of the player? (the PAL/NTSC switch might be hidden on the back).

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    Should Get Out More Taipan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Problem digitising NTSC VHS tapes?

    Quote Originally Posted by RiceBurner View Post
    Theoretically the player should be doing the conversion for you before the output is sent. (obvs). I assume you've either read the manual, or tried every single button and switch on both ends of the player? (the PAL/NTSC switch might be hidden on the back).
    Yup. Even tried another player, which again works well with PAL but same problem with NTSC. Cant see any logic to it at all!

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    Should Get Out More Horse's Avatar
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    Default Re: Problem digitising NTSC VHS tapes?

    Quote Originally Posted by RiceBurner View Post
    Theoretically the player should be doing the conversion for you before the output is sent. (obvs). I assume you've either read the manual, or tried every single button and switch on both ends of the player? (the PAL/NTSC switch might be hidden on the back).
    ^ That. If the player is doing the number crunching, there should be no need for any additional work. Unless you need to record the PAL output from the aerial coax and convert that to digital?

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    Should Get Out More Horse's Avatar
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    Default Re: Problem digitising NTSC VHS tapes?

    Too late.

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    Should Get Out More RiceBurner's Avatar
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    Default Re: Problem digitising NTSC VHS tapes?

    Quote Originally Posted by Horse View Post
    ^ That. If the player is doing the number crunching, there should be no need for any additional work. Unless you need to record the PAL output from the aerial coax and convert that to digital?

    actually - that's a point - Taipan - which output from the player are you reading?? SCART or the coax out?? you may need to try all of them.

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    Should Get Out More Taipan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Problem digitising NTSC VHS tapes?

    Well it maybe that I was overthinking this with a bit of coincidence chucked in for good measure. I decided to try some more tapes and some are working okay!. Looks like its just degradation of the vhs tap media, probably due to storage?! Its just odd that they flicker in and out but I guess thats the tape degradation and we've further compounded the look by playing with the multitude of settings! PAL I on both settings now.

    Somewhat amusingly, I have a couple of younger members of staff looking at the whole VHS set up. They've heard of VHS and seen them on TV but this is the first time they've seen one IRL and in operation. They are quite impressed by my knowledge and was surprised at 7 day timed and repeated recording as they didn't expect that to be available back then!! Talk about making you feel old!

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    Default Re: Problem digitising NTSC VHS tapes?

    Quote Originally Posted by Taipan View Post
    as they didn't expect that to be available back then!!
    Did you see the furore about Netflix or another proposing to offer a 'watch at 2x speed' options? I had a VHS player that did that in 1984! It even adjusted the sound down to normal pitch.

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    Default Re: Problem digitising NTSC VHS tapes?

    Quote Originally Posted by Flexderec View Post
    How is it?
    Crap. 3 worked fine but it wont see the rest. Audio comes through, but either no video or green and purple video with varying wavelengths depending on selection of pal, ntsc or secom. Changed connectors, leads everything but just wont work. I've committed too much time to it, so have dumped it on the IT support guys.

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    Default Re: Problem digitising NTSC VHS tapes?

    IT guys understandably turned their noses up at this as our SLA doesn't really cover support on ancient media lol. So here's where we're at , well nothings changed to the above really. We can watch the NTSC vids find, but can not convert them. Tired some freeware (VirtualDub) that is primarily for NTSC its the same as using Magix, the udio is fine but it will not convert NTSC clearly no matter what form of NTSC, PAL or SEACOm we select, we have literally tried everything. Audio is fine but purple and green or B&W video. This is the same with composite or even using s-video.

    Anyone know or think something like this would be worth a punt? Our Admin people will just outsource it, but I'd rather be able to do this myself as I hate being beaten by things like this.

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    Default Re: Problem digitising NTSC VHS tapes?

    Quote Originally Posted by Taipan View Post
    Audio is fine but purple and green or B&W video.
    You're well beyond the limits of my (now a decade out of date) knowledge on this, but . . .

    IIRC PAL is quite 'clever' in that it's a monochrome signal with colour overlaid (which is why the same signal from an aerial can be watched on a either a B&W or colour telly. So I wonder if that hints at where the issue actually is*?

    Hating being beaten is one thing, but bashing your head against a brick wall is pointless and painful. If you're using the same tapes, equipment and settings, which work for most tapes, then that suggests that specialist knowledge may be needed.

    * Or tell them that the original programme was made in monochrome?

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    Default Re: Problem digitising NTSC VHS tapes?

    Play the footage back on the biggest telly you can and then film it with your phone.

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