MONACO 1989 // How to make DSLR footage look like VHS.

I knew that I wanted to do something different from the previous ‘holiday highlight’ videos I had done before we got on the plane. We were only in Monaco for a few days and despite having an amazing time, the footage I got wasn't particularly exciting. I decided that I probably wouldn't end up doing anything with it unless I thought of an 'edge'.

I decided to play off of the absurdity of how lavish the few highlights I caught on camera would look when strung together and make the video akin to the zeitgeist defining 80s pop music videos I've always loved (see Duran Duran - Rio).

Blood Orange JVC VCR

In order to achieve an 80’s look I had to make my sharp DSLR footage look like it was filmed with a shitty over the shoulder RCA camera. There are several after effects plugins that would give my desired look but I wanted to get it to look as realistic and genuine as possible, and the use of a generic plugin seemed like a cop-out. I cropped my 16:9 HD footage down to 4:3 and edited it into the 90 second video. Then burned the film to a DVD, and plugged the DVD player into the back of a dusty old VHS player. As it’s 2014, I didn't have any spare blank tapes lying around. When I was a young, I found out that if you put a small piece of tape over the tab on a copy-protected VHS tape, you can record onto it, so I ended up ruining my sister’s copy of The Parent Trap.


I ripped the VHS back into Premiere Pro, colour graded and added titles - the whole process probably took a day from start to finish and I’m really pleased with the outcome.