Optimal settings for VHS to MP4 conversions for YouTube

  • 1
  • Question
  • Updated 11 months ago
I have hundreds of hours of VHS to convert to MP4, to edit in Camtasia, then to publish to YouTube.

Does anyone have recommendations for the best settings to use, at each stage, to ensure the highest possible quality in the end product?

  • First, for the VHS to MP4 conversion (I have some equipment with which to do this),

  • Then, after I've done my edits in Camtasia, what would be the best format to use for publishing to YouTube?

  • Is there any advantage to rendering at the highest possible resolution?  I could certainly save a significant amount of time by using a lower resolution.

I understand the inherent problems with VHS quality.   I am just looking for best practices to maximize the resulting quality.

Many thanks in advance.
Photo of Tereza

Tereza

  • 36 Posts
  • 7 Reply Likes

Posted 11 months ago

  • 1
Photo of kayakman

kayakman, Champion

  • 6251 Posts
  • 1835 Reply Likes
Many years ago, I worked on hundreds of VHS to MP4 projects; I used a VHS converter I bought on Amazon [about $100] to pull the video off the VHS tapes; as I recall, the converter gave me .MOV files[?], and I used free Handbreak to turn them into AVIs, which I used in the Camtasia projects; custom productions gave me MP4s with player

the VHS converter yielded pretty small dimension videos [640x480?]

there was no benefit working in higher resolution in Camtasia, as blowing up the raw clips just made them blurry; so I edited and produced at 640x480

I don't do YouTube; maybe others can help
Photo of Timbre4

Timbre4, Champion

  • 649 Posts
  • 252 Reply Likes
I used a video converter for VHS that results in AVI files; this was in another editing program to make DVDs from it. Best to observe the project resolution mentioned above to preserve what quality is possible from this. Then use the YouTube share option in each Camtasia project and let YouTube produce mp4 files optimized for the YouTube platform.
(Edited)
Photo of Tereza

Tereza

  • 36 Posts
  • 7 Reply Likes
Thank you both.  Good information.

Any hints about the conversion method - any tweaks that can be made in order to improve quality, if videos are too dark, etc.?
Photo of Timbre4

Timbre4, Champion

  • 649 Posts
  • 252 Reply Likes
YouTube has built-in clip analysis tools; I suggest uploading a sample clip using the YT Share option and then see what "how to improve this clip" suggestions might result.
Photo of kayakman

kayakman, Champion

  • 6251 Posts
  • 1835 Reply Likes
my VHS stuff was old; from early 1980's; most was camera footage, some was film that had been put on VHS way back when; none was good quality

the camera stuff had lots of dropped frames [black flickers]; my fix was to just cut them out, and, if long duration, stick in a frame extension

otherwise, I just used the converted clips as-is
Photo of Joe Morgan

Joe Morgan

  • 5696 Posts
  • 2961 Reply Likes
It's probably better to just convert the video and apply no changes.

When you apply color correction,etc. Then produce it as a mp4. You're subjecting the video to a lot compression. In short, your low quality video. Has video information being discarded to produce the edited new version.
What's wrong  with that?
You're not done with the video yet. You want to bring the video into Camtasia and do more editing. So, what happens is you need to re-produce the video again. With less video information available to compress. The end result is degradation.

When editing video, as a rule. You "Always" want to use the original footage whenever possible.

So any color correction,etc. I would apply in Camtasia and produce the video in Camtasia.

You could even download a video editor like Corel Video Studio 10 trial version for 30 days. It has more robust color,RGB ,luminescence, etc. correction tools than Camtasia. There's no watermark and they don't care if you produce a video during the trial period. I think that route might serve you better in this particular situation. VHS is so low quality to begin with you need all the help you can get.It's one of those now or never things.

Regards Joe     
Photo of Tereza

Tereza

  • 36 Posts
  • 7 Reply Likes
Great insight - thanks everyone!!