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What make and type of video cassette did you find best?


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Old 23-10-2013, 10:29
Soundbox
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Having been copying, transfering and recording on video for a few years now I have a few thoughts on this but I would be interested in your input.

Modern tapes (made this year) 'SONY CD' 'TDK TV' 'KODAK' and 'MAXELL BLACK' are just very poor. Flimsy, drop-outs and tape is left with ripples after being loaded (poor backing).

The best ones:

VHS

JVC PRO (1990's) they came in library cases and the picture has no lines and almost no grain. Just excellent.

Fuji Beridox (1980's) are also very good. Heavy grade tape with solid and sharp recordings.

All Panasonic tapes 1990's to early 2000's - the HD and HD MASTER are very smooth running with decent sharpness.

TDK HS. The older ones were good, after 2000 went cheap and lines arrived after a few uses.

Maxell and Boots (before 1990) are good tapes. A little bit grainy but no drop-outs and seem to last.

BASF Chromdioxid (1980's) an excellent tape with saturated colour but BASF after late 1990's was flimsy and wear prone.

AGFA HIGH COLOR (1980's) bit grainy and prone to creasing when used on some machines but good case and runs smoothly.

Mid 80's Kodak - a fine tape but some miss the linear sountrack (silence).

Late JVC and Maxell S-VHS tapes (post 2000) are horrible and I don't believe they are true S-VHS tapes. Older ones from Panasonic are excellent. TDK S-VHS ones seem to clog the heads constantly on post-1995 Panasonic S-VHS VCR's.

BETA

Fuji Beridox (1980's) - absolutely superb with no problems

Konica (early 1990's) - OK, a little grainy

Sony Dynamicron (early 1980's with orange and yellow case) - horrible tape with constant drop out lines on first use.

Sony Dynamicron (late 1980's with black case) very good with no drop-outs.

I don't know about Scotch I'm afraid.
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Old 23-10-2013, 11:23
Chasing Shadows
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Thirteen years since I last bought, or recorded to, videotape, I am afraid I have no recollection of such things. And to come across someone who has been "copying, transferring and recording" using such obsolete items recently is a bit like meeting somebody from the Medieval period. You might as well ask me whether I prefer pottage or gruel.
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Old 23-10-2013, 19:46
webbie
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Do you prefer pottage or gruel?
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Old 23-10-2013, 20:34
coachtrip_fan99
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Thirteen years since I last bought, or recorded to, videotape, I am afraid I have no recollection of such things. And to come across someone who has been "copying, transferring and recording" using such obsolete items recently is a bit like meeting somebody from the Medieval period. You might as well ask me whether I prefer pottage or gruel.
Hardly...
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Old 24-10-2013, 01:27
Robert__law
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The best ones where memorex in the early 80s later Kodak and TDK tapes
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Old 24-10-2013, 02:14
trayhop123
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re-record not fade away re-record not fade away re-record not fade away
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Old 29-10-2013, 15:48
56up
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re-record not fade away re-record not fade away re-record not fade away
Ha, Ha. Those were the good old days when I used to watch ads.

We used to have 2 video recorders so I could record 2 channels or watch a previous recording and record another channel. Sounds like a good idea, maybe someone will devise something to do that more simply.

Enough of the levity. Most of the recordings I made were transient and the tape was re-used. But some, those I made on my VHS camera and our wedding videos I have long since moved to DVD and MPEG4. No matter what the quality of your tape was, they all suffer from one major problem - print through. If you leave them in a cupboard for a protracted period, one layer will slightly magnetise the layer above or below it leading to ghost images. For long term storage you were advised to wind and rewind the tapes at regular intervals which would move the layers into a different juxtaposition.

I have about 5 tapes left and the video machine is in the garage in cling film. Not likely to retreive it unless I get a request from someone to archive their tapes.
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Old 29-10-2013, 16:35
Nigel Goodwin
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re-record not fade away re-record not fade away re-record not fade away
The power of advertising - spend lot's of money on expensive TV ad's and make the poorest quality tapes the market leader.

They were REALLY poor quality tapes, hence the ASA forcing them to change their slogan to 're-record'.
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Old 29-10-2013, 17:49
D.Page
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The power of advertising - spend lot's of money on expensive TV ad's and make the poorest quality tapes the market leader.

They were REALLY poor quality tapes, hence the ASA forcing them to change their slogan to 're-record'.
Absolutely right. Scotch videocassettes had a terrible reputation (deservedly so), as the tape was very prone to shedding oxide.
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Old 29-10-2013, 19:20
Nigel Goodwin
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Absolutely right. Scotch videocassettes had a terrible reputation (deservedly so), as the tape was very prone to shedding oxide.
Nice little earner, cleaning video heads for people using Scotch tapes!

We never sold them, as we're not prepared to sell such poor quality.
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Old 30-10-2013, 07:03
hardylane
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The stuff I have recently been transferring to DVD from VHS on Fuji Beridox is as good as the day I recorded it. Canon tapes also. Polaroid not so much. Never used Scotch, thankfully.

Latterly, even the own brand El Cheapos were as good.
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Old 30-10-2013, 09:28
Soundbox
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The stuff I have recently been transferring to DVD from VHS on Fuji Beridox is as good as the day I recorded it. Canon tapes also. Polaroid not so much. Never used Scotch, thankfully.

Latterly, even the own brand El Cheapos were as good.
Thanks all for the input. Yes I forgot about the own brand ones. BBC, SKY, Playhouse and Blockbuster tapes all seemed decent. I don't know why the Fuji's were not more popular - they are one of the best for quality.
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Old 04-11-2013, 19:09
td1983
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I agree with you OP, I have been using a Kodak video tape I bought from Poundland last year for archiving stuff, and it's bloody awful, I tell you! It just keeps rolling and jumping all the time on most recordings! You gets what you pay for, eh?

Back in the days when VHS was in fashion, I used to like JVC's tapes. I have a pack of multicoloured tapes they released, in translucent plastic, they were awesome to look at! (And, indeed, they still are!)

I have to say, the best tape I possibly have ever used was a Mitsubishi one from around 2004, a Gold, high-grade one. The picture quality on that was fantastic, really vibrant colours and whatnot.

I also have one of the aforementioned AGFA tapes in my collection too. I bought it in a charity shop, as it had Queen's famous Wembley concert on it from 1986 recorded off The Tube on Channel 4. The picture quality on it was average, the sound quality rather low. I bought the concert on DVD when it came out a couple of years later for a much better viewing experience, but I do still have the video, buried deep at the back of my wardrobe. It had Liverpool stickers of players from the time all over the sleeve-I took them off, though, I just wanted the sleeve to be tidy, plus I'm a Newcastle fan!
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Old 06-11-2013, 00:16
Soundbox
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Thanks for the thoughts td1983. The modern tapes really are the pits quality wise - and so flimsy too.

Those multicoloured JVC's sound fun, I will keep an eye out for those. I have been trial running some Konica XF 'made in Ireland' tapes, looks like early 1990's, and they are very good. I use them for time slip recording TV and one has made 30+ passes and still works lovely.

I know it is me being odd but I do like to use old used tapes for recording modern TV. When the 2013 recording finishes you see the 'over record' lines and then something like Russ Abbot or Minder start up. Sort of a timeless feel, linking the years.
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Old 06-11-2013, 00:25
lionelmorton
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My first Ferguson video only liked Scotch and AGFA. Other brands resulted in dreadful pictures.
I'm not sure what the fault was but I do think there was a fault in the piano key VCR.

When I got my first electronic one I was pleased to find that any of the known brands produced great results.
In later years when I lost faith in VHS and moved to Laserdisc and I used only the special high grade tapes to record special programmes.
There were some really fancy JVC tapes in library cases and they did produced excellent ( for VHS) results.
Got SVHS when it went cheap but found the results from off air were as unexciting as reviews reported although there was a bit more stability.
Stopped using VHS in the 90's which cost me a good few years of not taping things when I should have done . Started again with dvd+r in 2002.

Cheap unknown brands were rarely any good.
SKC was cheap and didn't seem too bad but not a patch on JVC or TDK
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Old 06-11-2013, 16:44
anthony david
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As the OPs problems seem to be caused by the fact that new tapes are flimsy, it could be that they are loading 3hr cassettes with the thin tape normally used for 4hr ones. It is therefore possible that a new pinch roller may help together with a very thorough clean of the mechanism.
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Old 07-11-2013, 00:33
Soundbox
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As the OPs problems seem to be caused by the fact that new tapes are flimsy, it could be that they are loading 3hr cassettes with the thin tape normally used for 4hr ones. It is therefore possible that a new pinch roller may help together with a very thorough clean of the mechanism.
I am not sure exctly what the problem is but it boils down to:

Tape oxide rubs off (white flashes on screen)
Tape creases and wrinkles easily
Some areas of the tape don't have proper coating (steady white line on screen)

I don't think it is the 4hr tape stock being the problem, rather the finishing/polishing and the backing quality being poor.

All my decks are in top order (new or cleaned rollers and back tension set) and using older tapes gives me little trouble. I just can't reccomend the new tapes sadly. Signalex is another poor flimsy one.
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Old 07-11-2013, 16:19
anthony david
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It looks like you have done all the obvious things, TDK tape is available from Amazon and they have a refund policy so might be worth trying.
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Old 07-11-2013, 20:12
td1983
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Further to my earlier post, the first half of that Kodak tape was generally fine, but it seemed to get a lot worse the further down the tape I went. Like you say, it was obviously something to do with oxide particles coming off the surface of the tape, etc. I had bought other, decent Kodak tapes from Poundland, so perhaps I was just unlucky, or maybe it's a because-no-one-buys-them-now-anyway-why-should-we care kind of attitude from them, I don't know.

I even bought a Signalex tape-Poundland's own brand-either last year or the year before-I'd bought one prior to this and it had been fine-and you know what they'd done, they'd actually just used an old prerecorded tape and taped over-or demagnetised it so it looked blank, is that right?-and I could see the movie that was underneath at the end of the tape! I Googled it to see what it was! It was heavy too, indicating that it was an old tape! Never again-cheapskates!
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Old 08-11-2013, 22:57
Kodaz
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It looks like you have done all the obvious things, TDK tape is available from Amazon and they have a refund policy so might be worth trying.
I wouldn't place any value in the "TDK" name here. Although TDK itself still exists, they sold off their consumer division- and a lease on the name- to Imation to several years back.

The consumer product line is now just stuff that Imation slaps the "TDK" brand on- it means little.

Mind you, I don't think TDK made their own CD-Rs (et al) before the takeover, and even if they hadn't sold the division off, I doubt they'd still be manufacturing their own videotapes in 2013 anyway. Even if they had, it's unlikely they'd have been (able to be) as high quality, since people wouldn't be prepared to pay that much for a "legacy" technology.

Similar thing happened with floppy disks and drives; a few years back, just before they were finally rendered redundant by pen drives, they still had a use, but no-one wanted to pay more than necessary for a very out-of-date technology- prices were driven down to the bone and the reliability suffered.
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Old 08-11-2013, 23:20
Doghouse Riley
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We had our first VCR in the late seventies, I rented it from Granada. They charged 9.99 for their "Granada" three hour tapes.
I've no idea who made them, but I've still got a couple with some classic films on them, I recorded at the time.
They still play well on the rare occasions I get them out.
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Old 08-11-2013, 23:26
Kodaz
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I even bought a Signalex tape-Poundland's own brand-either last year or the year before-I'd bought one prior to this and it had been fine-and you know what they'd done, they'd actually just used an old prerecorded tape and taped over-or demagnetised it so it looked blank, is that right?-and I could see the movie that was underneath at the end of the tape! I Googled it to see what it was! It was heavy too, indicating that it was an old tape! Never again-cheapskates!
My faith in the Signalex brand has been damaged. My god, they're driving its good name into the ground!

As for Poundland being cheapskates, that's shocking and unexpected behaviour from a company that sells things for extremely low prices.

What length of tape was it? I thought most films were recorded on nonstandard lengths and tended to be shorter than the usual 3 or 4 hour tapes. Though if the film was over 2 hours, I guess they could sell it as an E120.
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Old 08-11-2013, 23:55
Kodaz
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They charged 9.99 for their "Granada" three hour tapes. I've no idea who made them, but [they] still play well on the rare occasions I get them out.
Worth noting that 10 in 1979 would be over 40 in today's money, so I expect they could afford to make them well- and blooming well ought to have at that price!!!

In all honesty though, I doubt they had to compromise to get the price down later- that probably had more to do with volumes going up and the technology and manufacturing maturing (and startup costs having been covered). If anything I'd have expected the 80s and early-90s tapes to be better.

That said, even accounting for this and the vastly cheaper cost of manufacture in China in recent years, there's *got* to be a practical lower limit to how cheaply one can manufacture a quality videotape, regardless. I suspect the alleged problems with newer tapes are down to the price people are willing to pay for the now-outdated media now being well below this level.

Either that or the VHS copies of Independence Day from 1997 that Signalex bulk-erased for their "blank" tapes had gone mouldy in storage.
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Old 09-11-2013, 13:25
Doghouse Riley
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Worth noting that 10 in 1979 would be over 40 in today's money, so I expect they could afford to make them well- and blooming well ought to have at that price!!!
How times change.

About eighteen years ago, in the multiple retail grocery chains, they were giving away 3hr tapes with 100 fags!
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Old 09-11-2013, 16:13
Kodaz
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How times change.

About eighteen years ago, in the multiple retail grocery chains, they were giving away 3hr tapes with 100 fags!
Yeah, I remember buying packs of 3 tapes- they *were* a decent brand, Samsung I think- for 4 or 5 from Superdrug in the 90s. That was pretty cheap at the time, but not ludicrously so.

Haven't bought videotapes in almost ten years; and that was only because my video recorder had chewed all my old blanks. I bought a new (*very* cheap) VCR, but only as a stopgap- although DVRs weren't quite there for the price I was prepared to pay, it was obvious they soon would be.
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