A Few Test Videos on YouTube

As I announced last month, my big project this summer is launching a Television Obscurities channel on YouTube. Progress has been slower than I anticipated but I recently uploaded three test videos. They’re unlisted, which means you won’t find them by searching YouTube. Here they are:

For comparison, here’s how the third commercial (Valenti Chevrolet) looks on Television Obscurities right now:

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It may not be easy to tell, but the video on YouTube is higher quality. Especially if you watch it on a laptop or desktop full screen. Still, I’m not completely happy with the video quality but there’s not much I can do about it. I’m working with VHS tapes that are 30+ years old, recorded at SLP speed to fit more on each tape, and my digitization setup is far from ideal.

I’m not trying to clean up the video but I do clean up the audio to remove hiss as best I can. The raw digitized video is slightly sharper than what you see in the YouTube videos above. Part of that may be due to YouTube compressing the files after I upload them. It may also be due to the video editing software I’m using.

So, before I start uploading large numbers of videos, I’m going to take a little more time to play around with my video editing software. I want to have the best quality video before uploading to YouTube. Whatever happens after that is out of my hands.

3 Replies to “A Few Test Videos on YouTube”

  1. I converted all my tapes to digital years ago. I did it once back around when I first got my previous computer and then again relatively recently when I decided to clear out my tapes. Much of the earlier material is fairly poor quality, but I likely wouldn’t have it otherwise. There were a few things I had taped like preview specials that will never get any sort of release.

    The video looks about as good as one can expect from old VHS tapes. Tapes are usually only around a quarter of that you can get on your computer screen so it’s always going to come across as limited. VHS has a resolution of 352×480, but you don’t have to go that low. The best result from tapes is usually about 640×480 resolution, although you want to capture at as high a resolution as you can convert it down for the final video.

    Use S-Video instead of composite if possible. It gives a slightly higher resolution. It’s also best to set the bitrate high during editing but reduce it for the final video. I’ll even set it at 10,000 for editing but reduce down to 2400 for the final video. There’s usually a balance between quality and storage space. You want the image to be decent but there’s no sense in wasting space.

    I tend to capture in .ts then convert to .avi with Format Factory so I can edit using VirtualDub. For filtering I always use deinterlacing. I can also resize and trim the black bars. I also like to compress with Xvid for video (when I can get it to work right) and mp3 for audio. Virtualdub give a lot of filters and allows the adjustment of levels and other settings, but it’s also possible to mess up the video with them.

    Don’t expect great resolution from old tapes. They’re always going to look a little blurry, even with an SP source.

  2. Looking for my Mom who was only Woman that worked at RCA Labs in Princeton NJ , and was wearing a red dress. So they put herb onscreen to help with levels. Many years later after she died in 1974, I began working at a local NBC affiliate and did Audio, Camara and Computer Graphics. Her name was Marian Spence Elliott, and Ive always wondered if someone put the test in the history of color TV.
    If anyone knew her, or has seen a record of this moment in time, I would love to see this. I’ve spent years looking: I do have a copy of the Audio technician recording some of the movie “Carousel”, which has a song called “You’ll NeverWalk Alone”, which was always her favorite song. Makes me wonder if she first heard it in the lab during that recording. Ironically, she had MS , and lost the use of her legs around 1967, due to complications of MS.
    After working at RCA, she married my Dad, The Rev William Elliott while he was at Virginia Theologic Seminsry,and she worked at the Pentagon for The Chief of Naval Operations.
    Never a dull moment in our Family,
    I am a very lucky Lady. Thank as to all

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