How to Make a Video Look Like a VHS Tape in Movavi Video Editor

Nostalgia for the 1990s seems to be in vogue these days. So, if you know how to create VHS effects, you can get in on the trend with your own vintage style videos. Fortunately, to get the effect of an old recording (with the date on the screen, tracking lines and other tell-tale signs), you don’t need to reshoot your video using an analog camera and transferring the movie to a VHS tape. Instead, you just need to master a few simple techniques to use when shooting and editing your video.

Here is our detailed video tutorial, where we give you step-by-step instructions for Movavi Video Editor.

Change Aspect Ratio

Back in the 90s, TVs used a different aspect ratio, which made the frame look more square. In the 2000s, with the advent of digital television, the ratio changed to 16:9, and the frame became more elongated horizontally. This is why, when we watch old recordings today, we see black margins on either side of the frame.

To create these margins, you need to change the aspect ratio of your video from 16:9 to 4:3. Open Project Settings and select the 4:3 template.

To set the ratio manually, allow changing the aspect ratio and type 1440 in the frame width box. You can cut off the black bands above and below your video using the crop tool.

Add Image Defects for VHS Effect

Original VHS recordings look blurry compared with today’s videos. The standard resolution for VHS used to be 320 x 240, while YouTube today has a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. If you want to intentionally degrade the quality of your video, what will help is the old school VHS video effect. Other features typical for VHS tapes are different image defects like distortion, glitches, or stripes on the screen. These were caused by video cassettes being reused multiple times, with new videos being recorded over the old. In these instances, the magnetic layer crumbles off, leading to damaged image.

If you want to use these kinds of effects in automatic mode, open the Filters tab and add one or more effects from the Retro or Vignettes group.

Drag the filter from the Filters or Vignettes group to your clip

But in order to achieve a truly “worn-out” look, we suggest you create it manually.

Split Color Glitch

When trying to figure out how to make a video look like a VHS tape, the first thing that comes to mind is to simulate the splitting of objects into color layers. Create three copies of your footage, and overlay one on top of the other. Slightly move clips on screen from one another to create fuzzy edges. Add a color filter to each copy of the video:

  • for the first, select Noise – Color Medium (the Noise group);
  • for the second, select Color Mix – blue (the Artistic group);
  • for the third, select Color Mix – red.

For each of the three layers, set the Opacity to 20%.

Blurred edges of objects recreate low resolution of VHS era

Noise

Create a copy of the part of your video you want to adjust with noise and move it to the upper layer. Remove all the effects except opacity.

Look at the three clips on the upper layer of the timeline: that’s where we are going to add noise

In the Filters tab, select the Retro group and add the VHS filter. If you want to apply the effect to just a part of the frame, narrow the area to the desired size using the crop tool and click Apply.

Image after applying VHS filter

Stripes

  1. First, you need to create an image: a rectangle with horizontal grey and white stripes.
  2. Next, import your image into Video Editor.
  3. Click Edit, select the Picture in Picture option and stretch your image so that it occupies the whole frame.
  4. Use a still image to add stripes
  5. Set the Opacity to 30%.
  6. Final shot with stripes

Add Titles

If you want to create the impression that your recording was shot using an old fashioned hobbyist camera, consider adding the date, the word PLAY, and the timecode.

The Date

In the Titles tab, select Simple Text and type the date (the font should be VCR OSD Mono, font size 72). Place the layer with your titles on top of all the other layers and stretch it along the entire length of the film. Move the date to the lower right corner of the frame.

Download the font VCR OSD Mono

The PLAY Title

Copy the date layer and place the copy above. Enter your text and move it to the top left of the frame.

Timecode

Make another copy of the titles layer, select the Timer title type, place it in the upper right corner and make the titles background completely transparent.

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