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Exporting for VHS??

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Adam Miltenberger
Exporting for VHS??
on Nov 24, 2015 at 12:45:17 am

I've hired a company to manufacture some custom VHS tapes for me. I created a 90 min. video file comprised of VHS footage that was imported from a Panasonic Camcorder into Final Cut 7 via a Grass Valley ADVC110 Bi-Directional Analog/Digital Converter. When I view the video on a computer, I see black bars on the side, due to the 4:3 aspect ratio - totally fine. I sent the VHS manufacturer a .MOV file, and when I received the VHS tapes and popped one into an old TV/VCR combo, there were black bars on the sides, plus the top and bottom - totally not fine.

The VHS manufacturer has no idea why there are black bars on all sides of the video, and he gave me no instruction on how I should be exporting the video file for VHS. Does anyone have thoughts on what could be causing this issue? Unfortunately, I do not know what workflow he is using to export the video to VHS. Should I just get a VCR and go back through the Canopus and create my own master VHS tape?

Here is the video as seen on my computer:

Here is a photo of the VHS video as seen on my TV/VCR combo:

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Mark Suszko
Re: Exporting for VHS??
on Nov 24, 2015 at 3:10:18 pm

Either they outputted your file wrong as they made the VHS duplicates, or "dubs", or more likely, your formatting on your timeline is wrong, or at least your render settings were. Did you use one of the Easy Setups when beginning the project? What specific codec did you choose for the output render?

While you could be sure it was correct if you first made your own VHS dub thru the ADVC converter, you really want to use a higher quality source as the master for making dubs for distribution; copying analog from a VHS to a VHS will make the end product quality very poor. Avoid having to give them a VHS master if at all possible. Ask the duplication facility (what you're calling the "manufacturer", though I doubt they are building the cassettes from scratch) which media formats they can work with, and see if you can find compatible decks for a physical master on something like a betacamSP deck, DVC Pro or XDCAM tape. Failing that, if you have to provide them with a digital file, it should be NTSC, 525 lines, 4:3 aspect ratio, non-anamorphic, 10-bit, 29.97 frame rate.

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Nick Meyers
Re: Exporting for VHS??
on Nov 24, 2015 at 10:11:42 pm

" When I view the video on a computer, I see black bars on the side, due to the 4:3 aspect ratio - totally fine"

well not really,
your source was 4/3, your delivery is 4/3,
you should be cutting in a 4/3 sequence, with no black bars.

as Mark says, your sequence settings should match your clip settings,
which in your case would be DV.
if you are seeing black bars, you are either cutting in an HD sequence
or an SD sequence set to anamorphic

or are the black bars on the source footage?
i can't really read your reference images, sorry.


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