If you’ve ever gone back to view and enjoy old VHS tapes and other videotapes, then you may have been disappointed by grainy image quality, discolouration, skipping scenes, blurry videos, saturation, and other problems. The good news is that there are video restoration options that can improve video quality.
Capture offers over 20 years of experience preserving memories, so we understand how important it is to you that you can view and share high-quality home movies over social media and preserve your legacy for future generations. Keep reading to learn more about these 5 options and discover how to restore your analogue video format such as VHS.
Professional Restoration Services
Professional video restoration services use the highest quality equipment and techniques to restore VHS quality. This includes everything from repairing damaged cassette boxes and cleaning and splicing the tape to reducing tracking lines, enhancing the colour, and more.
These services will do everything they can to improve the resolution and video quality of your videotapes and they know how to do so without putting your memories at risk. Not only can they lubricate the reels, repair mould and mildew, address humidity, and more, but they can even repair tangled or snarled magnetic tape. In addition, they can usually accept all videotape types including
Companies that offer these types of videotape repair and restoration include Pacific Video Repair and local analogue electronics stores. While prices range a lot, you can often get a single videotape repaired for less than HK$400, even with significant damage.
You can also perform video restoration and repair yourself by cleaning the tape, repairing damage, replacing the cassette components, untangling magnetic tape, and more. In addition, you can transfer to digital format, which makes it possible to use video editing software for video and film restoration, which we cover as option number 3.
While the DIY restoration process can be effective for reducing blurriness in video frames and repairing damage that impedes real-time playback, there are some downsides to consider. First, this process can be complicated and requires you to manually deconstruct the tape, which could further damage your memories.
Additionally, it typically involves complexities and requires a long processing time, especially if you don’t have access to specialised equipment and expertise. While you can find replacement parts and VHS cleaning equipment online, it can be expensive, take time to learn how to use it, and may not be professional quality.
However, if you do decide to do it yourself, check out Capture’s comprehensive guide on how to repair a VHS tape. You can also find restoration tutorials online and can typically find replacement parts on eBay or speciality stores like SMC Electronics.
Videotape Digitisation Services
A videotape digitisation service will digitise your VHS tapes and many of these services will also perform basic videotape repair and case replacement. Using professional and specialised equipment, video transfer companies create high-quality digital copies of your memories, which preserves them in their current or better condition.
The result is not only a repaired and restored VHS tape, but also digital copies that you can effortlessly share, enjoy, and store on computers, phones, CPUs, and in the cloud. Then, you can use simple video enhancement software and apps to restore frame rate, perform noise reduction, upscale videos, and achieve super-resolution that was impossible without creating a digital version.
Capture offers professional videotape digitisation services as well as basic repair for your old videotapes. Plus, we include a USB flash drive and integration with
Video Editing Software
While you will need a digital copy of your videotapes first, you can use video editing software for video restoration. These advanced software tools can help with denoising and deblurring and can even improve frame rate and maximise pixels with deinterlace capabilities. The possibilities are virtually endless and even allow you to address low resolution, combine old memories with new interpolation algorithms, AI models, and anime functionalities for colouration.
While the enhancement to video resolution and ability to repair frames and perform countless improvements are impressive, the best of these software tools is not only expensive, but also complex and designed primarily for tech-savvy users. Many of them require a high-performance GPU as well, which is the graphics card on your computer.
While minor editing is easy using basic apps, it will only do so much like colouration and reduced graininess, advanced video recovery and editing is a skill that takes time to learn. If you are tech-savvy and have good computer vision and understanding, more advanced tools may be an option.
There are some fantastic tools available like AVClabs video enhancer AI that uses deep learning to offer super-resolution upscaling and multi-frame enhancement to create high-definition videos. It costs HK$2,350 for lifetime access or HK$315 per month and can help you edit many file types including MKV, AVI, Mp4, and more.
Online Video Restoration Services
Online video restoration services will perform many of the same actions as video editing software, but do so with expertise and professional equipment. While you will end up paying more, they will perform all the video restoration services for you including using transformer AI and machine learning to improve video quality, reduce graininess, enhance colour, and more.
Similar to video editing, you will need to digitise your videotapes first. After that, you simply provide them with the video and tell them what you want to improve, and they will do it for you and return your enhanced video.
While many of these services focus primarily on marketing content and not home movies, their services can also improve the quality of your digitised VHS tapes. Some, like Hale Channel Films, focus primarily on home movies and offer colour correction, HD video quality, and more.
Best Way to Restore Your Videotape
As you can see, there are plenty of video restoration options for your VHS tapes. Some, like DIY restoration, are affordable but risky. Video transfer services preserve your home movies and make it possible to use video editing software if you’re tech-savvy. If not, you can pay a little more for online or professional restoration.
Regardless of your choice,
*This article is brought to you by Capture HK.
Capture HK is the premier analogue media digitisation company in Hong Kong.
Capture HK's business covers photographs, photo album digitisation, videotapes digitisation, including VHS, S-VHS, VHS-C, S-VHS-C Hi-8, Video8, Digital8, DV, DVCAM, MiniDV, DVC and digital media digitisation, including Secure Digital (SD), Smart Media (SM), MultiMediaCard (MMC) Compact Flash (CF), xD-Picture Card, Memory Stick, USB Drive, CDROM, DVD.