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Desc:A short video essay about the terrible fake VHS effects you see everywhere nowdays.
Tags:vhs, kids these days, vaporwave, this is important, Chriddof
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Comment count is 15
infinite zest - 2018-03-02

Just as I'm reading about a full-length remake of the rather enjoyable (although way too heavy on C.A. etc.) 2015 short 'Kung Fury.' "Aesthetic" has long outstayed its welcome, but that film will kill it in the same vein as "Grindhouse" before it. Shit, I better stock up on Stussy and Big Dogs shirts, the Nezt Big Thing is coming.

Born in the RSR - 2018-03-02

Hey Zest, did you ever see Manborg?


It's basically Kung Fury, but actually watchable, and funny in a non-"LOL-so-random!" way.

I forget who showed it on MNR one offnight, but it really stuck with me as the proper way to make these things.

It's done by the guys who did that horror movie the Void, which I also enjoyed.

infinite zest - 2018-03-03

Thanks! I'll check it out on Amazon armed with some Gorilla Glue :)

Raggamuffin - 2018-03-02

Like all pedants he misses the point entirely. Vaporwavers and other such people are trying to evoke 4th-gen+ copy of a copy VHS tapes. The kind that would have exposed someone to bootleg ultraviolent anime and horror films at an early age if you grew up at the right time.

blue vein steel - 2018-03-02

That, or a VHS copy of Ghostbusters recorded off TV that has been watched 100+ times by an 8 year old.

Old_Zircon - 2018-03-02

His point still holds because the stuff he's talking about isn't convincing at replicating that.

He definitely doesn't understand the vaporwave thing, but as far as criticizing postproduction techniques in mainstream filmmaking then yeah, this stuff just looks cheap, cynical and lazy most of the time.

boner - 2018-03-02

Chromatic aberration is mimicking a cheap lens, and even then it should only happen in the corners of the picture. It doesn't happen when you copy tapes, the picture just gets noisy and jittery and the colors gradually fade away the more generations you are from the original.

Old_Zircon - 2018-03-03

I don't think it's even that, because a lens wouldn't be able to mess with the alignment of the color channels on the screen like that. This guy's comparison to an old three-tube front projection TV is the closest I can think of.

What it really looks like is the EDGY video effects you'd see on a monitor or maybe the opening credit sequence in a direct to video cyberthriller in 1994. It doesn't really look like any kind of real-world phenomenon.

Still better than fake scanlines, though.

Anyhow, I get and am fine with the idea of kind of impressionistically suggesting an old medium in a new one rather than slavishly imitating it, I just don't think that's actually what people are going for with these effects the vast majority of the time. I think they're cashing in on a trend in the most low-effort way they can. And more importantly, it's just fucking ugly. Worn VHS has always looked interesting, long before it became trendy (or rather the first time it became trendy, back in probably the early to mid 90s, maybe a bit before that) and I'd like to see it used more often and more creatively today.

Seven Arts/H8 Red - 2018-03-03

I find 1980s graphic design and the VHS look visually interesting overall. The 2010s throwback trend of "grid floor/chrome words/slap on ill-fitting Memphis Design elements, maybe a glowing vector background or palm tree as needed, all the neon pastels all the time" is boring as shit. Add poorly-applied chrome aberrations, and it gives the impression that the 1980s were gaudier than they were.

It reminds me of the line in the SNL Live From New York book where Gilbert Gottfried remembers people coming up to him and saying "I liked you in that sketch you used to do with Gilda Radner and Molly Shannon". At least pay attention to how trends, graphics limitations and consumer electronics changed over time. Misapplied, and the net effect is "this is how we think you remember 1985, now here's a flamingo wearing sunglasses".

Seven Arts/H8 Red - 2018-03-03

^ chromatic, flying rectangle WHOOSH

Old_Zircon - 2018-03-03

The early Memphis stuff is really interesting when you start to explore the ideology behind it. Of course, it was practically made for commodification, just like Pop Art before it and Surrealism before that, so it's no wonder that by the end of the 80s it was also (rightfully) associated with the worst sorts of commercial trash. Not that I don't enjoy the commercial trash too, but it definitely overshadows the weird, self-contradictory, doomed ideas about classless societies, rejection of market-populism, and a kind of elitist anti-elitism that it started from.

Old_Zircon - 2018-03-03

Anyhow, all revivalism tends to be lazy and formulaic, regardless of medium.

betamaxed - 2018-03-03

If people want to mimic vhs effects, they should just use actual vhs equipment then transfer to digital for further editing.

Old_Zircon - 2018-03-03

A VCR, a timebase corrector, a few old tapes to record on, and a cheap capture device is comparable to or cheaper than a one year site license of the only "VHS-look" plugin on the market right now that even comes close, and that's assuming you get it all on eBay instead of getting the VCR and tapes at the Good Will or out of your neighbor's garbage or something.

Plus you cant pick up a plugin and smack it with your hand while you're recording to mess with the tracking.

Old_Zircon - 2018-03-03

Basically, doing it with real VHS takes a bit of time to get started with, but ultimately you save money, have more creative potential, and get to be an elitist snob ALL AT THE SAME TIME so it's obviously the way to go.

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