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    Which was better, VHS or Video8?
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    I was a teenager and young adult in the 1990s. I used to make movies with my friends on Video8 and VHS in the early to late 90s. Stop motion and live action stuff. Before switching to DV in 1999.
    I remember thinking Video8 was better. That it had more resolution or better sound or something. I'm not sure. It's hard to remember now.
    We shot most of our stuff on my parents Sony Video8 camera. Though sometimes we used my friend's folk's RCA VHS camera.

    After importing many old tapes, I don't know if there was really much of a difference. Doesn't seem like much to me today. But I'm used to HD and 4K today. Maybe the Sony we used had a better front end combo of CCD and lens.

    I used to subscribe to Videomaker magazine back then for a while (wish I had kept those), and read up on all of this stuff back then. I remember wanting all the cool Hi8 and SVHS cameras and linear editing decks and stuff. But I was too young and broke for any of that. So as a bonus question, between those two formats (SVHS and Hi8) which was the better of the two for those of you that used them?


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    As far as IQ, I think we’re too past the point to analyze a difference. They are both so low-quality that most people only view them as being similar to an Instagram filter (the “old” look).

    Physically, maybe one was more reliable than the other, but IDK.


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    I used VHS, S-VHS and Hi8 in their heyday(s) and they all suck by today's standards(obviously). Even back then, as a teenager who had yet to touch a truly professional format, I knew they weren't that great(not that we didn't have fun with them). Then throw in the fact that most of our exposure and evaluation of the formats were seeing the horribly low rez consumer cameras images recorded on them and... Well... Don't fall into the nostalgia trap. They all suck.

    Asking which was better, S-VHS or Hi8, is like asking which would you rather do, get kicked in the stones with football cleats or golf cleats. There might be a tiny bit of difference, but neither one is going to be in any way pleasant.


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    So much of that had to do with what was in front of the tape record heads, but that’s also a truth that largely has not changed. I mean... you can argue h.264 vs. h.265, but if it’s in a $150 palmcorder with a 1/8” sensor, it honestly doesn’t matter.

    As analog tape formats go, Hi8 was more robust than 8mm, and S-VHS was more robust than VHS. Neither was as hefty as BetaSP. But at some point, it largely depended on the front section of the camera. The Panasonic SuperCam was actually a pretty well-designed S-VHS camera. Sony had the CCD-V5000 Hi8 camcorder that didn’t do such a bad job. In all things analog and/or SD, three chips were better than one. And even after digital came around, 3 CCD was much preferred to a single CCD.

    Sony even had higher-end broadcast cameras like the Hyper HAD DXC-327A, along with a modular Hi8 back (can’t remember the model) that was swappable on broadcast camera front ends that could also accommodate BetaSP. I think you’d be surprised by the kinds of things you were watching on TV back then that were recorded on Hi8.

    As a side-note, S-VHS had such highly-regarded sound recording that recording studios popularly used S-VHS video decks to lay back stereo mix archives (audio-only recording).
    Knoxville-based location sound mixer.

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    I might need to watch “Trashhumpers” Harmony Korines film shot entirely on vhs . Id be curious to see some of the pixel cam stuff on the big screen again. I believe slacker had a scene shot with it. I could see some of this retro formats popping up as a middle finger to somebody or something. I hope we still have a few folks who appreciate off the wall formats.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex H. View Post
    So much of that had to do with what was in front of the tape record heads, but that’s also a truth that largely has not changed. I mean... you can argue h.264 vs. h.265, but if it’s in a $150 palmcorder with a 1/8” sensor, it honestly doesn’t matter.

    As analog tape formats go, Hi8 was more robust than 8mm, and S-VHS was more robust than VHS. Neither was as hefty as BetaSP. But at some point, it largely depended on the front section of the camera. The Panasonic SuperCam was actually a pretty well-designed S-VHS camera. Sony had the CCD-V5000 Hi8 camcorder that didn’t do such a bad job. In all things analog and/or SD, three chips were better than one. And even after digital came around, 3 CCD was much preferred to a single CCD.

    Sony even had higher-end broadcast cameras like the Hyper HAD DXC-327A, along with a modular Hi8 back (can’t remember the model) that was swappable on broadcast camera front ends that could also accommodate BetaSP. I think you’d be surprised by the kinds of things you were watching on TV back then that were recorded on Hi8.

    As a side-note, S-VHS had such highly-regarded sound recording that recording studios popularly used S-VHS video decks to lay back stereo mix archives (audio-only recording).
    VHS Hi-Fi was very good. I remember watching Tombstone in my college dorm at the beginning of my freshman year in 1995. Zenith Hi-Fi VHS VCR, Zenith/Allegro stereo receiver(AM/FM, cassette, 8-track, turntable) and Zenith/Allegro 3000 speakers. About a minute after the train pulls into the station near the beginning of the movie, I heard a banging on my door. It was the dorm RA. After they figured out it wasn't a real train that made the sound(there were train tracks maybe 50 yards from my dorm that ran right through the middle of campus), they figured out the sound came from my room.

    xzu1dqhrv4m11.jpg
    *not my actual set

    I still have one in storage. I couldn't bare to get rid of it. It's too cool. The other ones cabinet got trashed by water damage when they were in a different storage building.


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    From a long term standpoint, my SVHS homemade tapes have lasted the test of time vs the Hi8 (same with VHS and 8mm), surely due to the larger surface area of the tape. Lots of dropouts with the small gauge formats. Agreed though that was largely about the front end, the cameras themselves used different chips and processing and that had much to do with the visual quality. Theoretically I could do a scientific experiment since I own working SVHS and HI8 decks but haha only so many hours in the day...!
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    Technically speaking, VHS was the worst ... and the most popular because one could pull the tape out of a camcorder and immediately play it on his VCR . Beta was better (or is it bettah?) but, as a format, it was gone by 1987 or so because of the Sony licensing demands. JVC, the holder of the VHS patents, apparently made none.

    8mm was slightly better than Beta. Super VHS was considerably better than the VHS but, as a format, it was DOA. Hi8 was as good as one could get on a consumer recording level and matched the quality of the best consumer TV's of the era. In 1991, Canon released a Hi8 model with an interchangeable lens mount and it was used on a lot of sets. In the Valley.

    Then there was a series of the Betacams, which were far too expensive for a consumer - up to $50,000 - but were a staple at TV stations before digital.

    And we had covered Sony's analog HD camera in a related thread.


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    Quote Originally Posted by CharlesPapert View Post
    From a long term standpoint, my SVHS homemade tapes have lasted the test of time vs the Hi8
    A question worth asking in that context is whether your Hi8 tapes are evaporated or particle. Evaporated tape theoretically has higher performance (higher coercivity leading to higher signal levels and improved signal-to-noise ratio) but it's a microfine coating that's easy to damage and thus more prone to dropouts. Conversely, all S-VHS (or certainly the overwhelming majority) tape is particle, which is more rugged.

    Similar concerns attend Betacam SP. One of the changes over straight Betacam was to move away from positively archaeological ferric oxide tape, which is why SP really needed dropout compensation.

    P


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    Senior Member Run&Gun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Rhodes View Post
    A question worth asking in that context is whether your Hi8 tapes are evaporated or particle. Evaporated tape theoretically has higher performance (higher coercivity leading to higher signal levels and improved signal-to-noise ratio) but it's a microfine coating that's easy to damage and thus more prone to dropouts. Conversely, all S-VHS (or certainly the overwhelming majority) tape is particle, which is more rugged.

    Similar concerns attend Betacam SP. One of the changes over straight Betacam was to move away from positively archaeological ferric oxide tape, which is why SP really needed dropout compensation.

    P
    If memory serves, the "lower end" UVW series (and maybe PVW series) had to use metal (particle) tape, while the BVW series could use both oxide(in a pinch) and metal tape. Although Metal tape was recommended for best performance.


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