The Video Tape Journey

stack of VHS video tapes

In the beginning there were a bunch of VHS video tapes.

In the late 1990’s, Rev. Samuel Kader was giving this lecture series on a regular basis at Community Gospel Church in Dayton, Ohio. They decided to record the series using the state-of-the-art technology of the day – video tape – and sent copies to other churches.

A few years later, I ended up with a copy of the video tape set and decided to transfer them over to DVD’s. The tapes were copies of the originals and were seriously damaged in paces. While the audio was in good shape for the most part, some parts of the video were “mangled”.

After transferring the lectures from VHS to computer disk files (DV25 quality), I did as much video cleanup as I could. Here’s the explanation slide show copied from the DVD version.

Some tapes had tracking problems atthe top or the bottom of the picture. Black horizontal bars were added as needed.
The last half of Part 3 was extensively damaged. The sound was OK, but the video was in very bad shape, with snow, dropouts and tracking errors.
On this tape, many of the frames were completely lost and most others had only one field (i.e., the even or odd lines) undamaged.
The first step was to take each frame of video and split out the even & odd fields. This was done using Premiere and Paint Shop Pro.
Then we used a custom program written in FoxPro to select the images that were OK and 'fill in' any missing frames.
Finally, we masked the video to hide the remaining damaged areas.
While the final video at times resembles and old time movie, it beats watching garbled video and snow.

We are so spoiled today with end-to-end digital video.

The original toolbox to do the transfers and create the DVDs included…

  • Adobe Premiere
  • Adobe After Effects
  • Cool Edit 2000
  • Paint Shop Pro
  • Sonic ReelDVD
  • Microsoft Visual FoxPro
  • Sonicfire Pro

Creating this version of The Hope Tapes, we used the “master” DV25 video disk files and …

  • Vegas Movie Studio HD
  • Sound Forge Audio Studio
  • Mp3Tag
  • FFmpeg

As you watch this series, please forgive the audio and video issues. There are very good reasons why no one uses VHS tape anymore.

And as with all things important in life, it’s the message that counts.

— Chris

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