My VCR’s motor didn’t take much effort to fix. A little bit of super glue, some solder to bridge the traces, and by the next day it was working again! Better still, the dab of grease that’d gotten on the one copy of Metamorphoses didn’t have any impact on it, which was a huge relief.

After capturing that one Metamorphoses tape, I ended up with more questions than I’d expected. It seems like every time I look at it, it has more surprises in store for me. A known problem may be due to the fact that I’m capturing it on a VCR that doesn’t support SECAM – periodically, the brightness will shift either up or down, then back again. What was surprising, this time, was that the brightness shift happens roughly every 3.5 seconds. It’s so precise that it has to mean something, but I don’t see much point in figuring it out. The important thing is that it’s not the tape – I’d captured it twice, and in both captures the shifts occur at different times.

The biggest surprise was when I tried to de-interlace the video. That it’s interlaced at all is somewhat infuriating – I thought the standard method of transferring film to video in Europe was to speed it up from 24 frames per second to 25. In this case, though, it appears that the first 24 frames of every second are interwoven with the next frame, while the 25 frame is a whole repeated image. This is a somewhat easy fix – for the first 24 frames of every second, half the image just needs to be time-shifted.

…except that doesn’t actually improve the quality. Instead, what it reveals is that the film was apparently processed digitally, and its vertical resolution was cut in half before it was transferred to tape.

While the halved resolution is disappointing, at the very least it’s still much clearer than the copy I’d found on Youtube. And since my VCR can’t play back the tape in color, that Youtube video could still be useful – I could extract its color, and combine that with either or both of my captures… and that’s where I ran into another surprise – my copy and the one on Youtube are cropped slightly different.

I’d bought two copies of the film, just in case one of the tapes ended up being bad in any way. Now I wonder what I’ll find when I’m able to capture the other tape. Maybe it’ll be cropped like the Youtube version, or different still? Maybe it’ll even be full resolution!

For now, the captures I have may just be something to tinker with when I’ve nothing better to do. The raw signal from my VCR is either too weak or otherwise wrong for capturing with a Domesday Duplicator, and since this film’s resolution was halved, I’m not sure if there would be any benefit to using the Domesday. And even if I do use it, it may be quite a while before VHS-decode can process SECAM. The only other option I can think of is to find another VCR that does support SECAM, but the ones I’ve seen are expensive. And whether they work is another issue…