What Causes "Voice Echoing" ("Ghosting") On VHS Tapes And DVD?

Discussion in 'DVD' started by David Von Pein, Aug 18, 2003.

  1. David Von Pein

    David Von Pein Producer

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    Many times, especially on VHS videotapes, the soundtrack has an "echo" quality which is quite annoying. That is to say, you can hear the next line being spoken a second or so BEFORE it's heard in "full" on the tape/DVD.

    Does anyone know what causes this "ghosting" or "echoing" or "double sound" (or whatever it's officially called)?

    Actually, this isn't ONLY present on just VHS & DVD transfers of programs. I've noticed it during OTA programming as well.

    I had never noticed this echoing on any DVD until I put in a Twilight Zone disc recently (Volume 7; "The Hitch-Hiker"). There's a highly-noticeable "echo" in the dialogue during the scene where Inger Stevens meets the sailor at the gas station late at night. Much of the dialogue here "shows up too soon" (if you will), softly being heard just before the actors speak the words.

    The majority of this Twilight Zone ep. is not plagued by this ghosting. However, during the final scene (which has Inger phoning home from a phone booth), this annoying double-talk surfaces briefly again.

    Can someone with this TZ Volume check their copies to see if the echoes are present. The echo is there on my DVD of this episode, as well as my VHS copy of the program.

    Does this bother anyone else? Or -- Does anybody even notice this, or even have the slightest idea of what I speak? (It's most prominent, I've noticed, on many VHS tapes, mostly of TV programs I believe.)

    Does it have something to do with the shows being shot originally "on tape" that causes this "double" soundtrack effect?

    That particular "Zone" episode was not shot on videotape, however; it was on film.

    One game show that I've noticed it on (shot on "tape") is "Password" (1960s variety). The "bell" that signals a correct answer on the show can always be heard "in advance" of it actually happening on the aired tape.

    Curious phenomenon I thought. Just wondered if some of you could explain why it occurs?
     
  2. Peter Apruzzese

    Peter Apruzzese Producer

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    That phenomenon is usually referred to as "print-through", where a greatly reduced pre-echo is heard. It usually comes on material from a magnetic tape source, where simply having the tape wound on itself on the storage reel causes a slight transfer of sound to the layers of tape above and below. Most of the time, this would be masked by the normal noise in a television, but, with the greater fidelity available today, it can become audible. I've heard a few CDs from old tape masters that suffer from the same issue.

    If you are hearing it on both a DVD and a VHS of the same program, then it's in the master materials.
     
  3. David Von Pein

    David Von Pein Producer

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    Thank you, Peter.

    Must be the master on the Twilight Zone issue then, since there's the exact same "pre-echo" heard on the DVD that exists on the VHS version.

    You'd think, though, that through re-mastering the material this echo would/should have been removed once transferred to DVD.
     

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