Old VHS tape change of color

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WingJudge's picture
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01/22/2018
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Old VHS tape change of color

Goodevening forum,

Since a while i'm digitalising old vhs tapes of and for my parents. My father who died in 2016, had a lot of old "homevideo's" and to please my mom i started this great job :-)

Now my question : there is a video in the collection where the colors are not right :

For example : from time to time the colors simply disappear for a couple of seconds in B/W and then come back in an unnatural (coloured) way : 
for example the face of a person went yellow and a wooden table became green. 

Is this normal for old tapes (recorded with camera technology begin '90) ? Or is the cause elsewhere to look for ?

Can this still be restored to more normal, natural colors or is it lost forever ?

Thanks in advance and look forward to your answers: -)

Kind regards

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Nivek's picture
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12/03/2016
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Are you not able to adjust the colors? I forgot which program I used when transfering tapes to dvd (back in 2004), but there were a lot of filters that would change the color/hue/tint. I'm sure there are even more available now.

I have noticed that sometimes while watching tapes the tracking can go off and the colors will change, though, most modern vcrs have auto tracking which reduces this effect to just a few seconds. Also, make sure all your connections are tight and the contacts clean. As well, make sure you clean the heads of your vcr regularly.

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WingJudge's picture
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01/22/2018
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Hello Nivek,

Thanks for your answer :-)

I don't know if it's possible with the used prg (Powerdirector) to adjust the colors while recording them (I'm only a beginner).

The vcr that's being used, isn't an old one and hasn't been used much, so I don't think the heads are dirty or the connections aren't fitted tight.

Perhaps my first post wasn't clear enough : it's just with "one" cassette I'm having this problem, the other cassettes are oke.

Is it possible that the colors on old VHS cassettes become unstable or by other words the colors vanish for certain reasons (storage, temperature, ...) ? 

I explain myself further : like with photo's, when they aren't stored on an ideal place they also loses their colors, don't they ?

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chandler0201's picture
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09/18/2016
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You can have degrading of tapes with oxidation, some brands also just don't hold up with age as well.

Lastly, newer VCRs just do not play "old" tapes as well as older VCRs do, the only VCR that seems to play old (30+ year old tapes) as good as newer ones are the JVC SVHS VCRs, and even then, they play tapes recorded in EP rather poorly.

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WingJudge's picture
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01/22/2018
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Hello chandler0201,

Thanks for your respons.

Do you mean with degradion, the lost and/or change to unnatural colors, like I mentionned earlier (yellow faces, bleu walls (normally red) etc ...) ?

If yes, that can explain the problem I experience ... ?

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chandler0201's picture
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09/18/2016
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WingJudge,

Yes it can.  I've even had a commercially duplicated tape revert from Color to Black & White because of tape degradation.  It was only 20 years old too.  I thought at first it was an issue with my VCR, but it did the same thing played in 2 or 3 different VCRs.

Here is an interesting lengthy article on tape aging:

https://www.nyu.edu/tisch/preservation/program/student_work/2015spring/1...

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WingJudge's picture
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01/22/2018
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Chandler0201,

Superb, when I have a little bit more time I'll try to dig me in into this document :-).

But like you already suggested, I think it is the period and place (stockage) that determine the quality of the tape.

Unfortunate but it can't be changed :-( ... we shall look at yellow faces and blue walls if we want to enjoy our homevideos, luckily it's just one :-)