Presented here is a unique transfer of a VHS tape, of the cartoon Widget the World Watcher. Aussie kids of the 90s are invited to watch the first minute or so just to watch the ABC Kids intro!
PURPLE PULSARS! Widget and MegaBrain are back for two more awesome adventures!
Widget of the Jungle
Two evil poachers are trapping African elephants for ivory tusks – but ‘Widget the jungle man’ and his pals are here to save them!
Mega-Slank From Titanium
Widget is sent to Earth to foil the plans of that cosmic creepster. Mega-Slank, who is stealing our endangered animals for his interstellar zoo!
© Zodiac Entertainment.
(Manually keyed from the rear of the VHS cover)
Very little information on this eco-friendly cartoon is available on the web, with this blog post being the first to present the ABC version.
While I remember the significant effort put into cleanly transferring the tape, the specific equipment notes are lost. If you were around when video capture was a thing on computers you’d remember all the issues that used go along with doing things live on slow machines. Easily a years worth of forum posting, buying and selling etc went on before I had equipment that could capture real 720×576 25fps cleaning and in sync with lossless audio.
A lot of the issues were a lack of transparency in what the hardware was actually capable of – even the German hardware gurus, Hauppauge, had mishandling resolutions and non-defeatable noise reduction. DScaler saved the day as the software of choice as it bypassed Windows drivers and tapped into the capture chipset directly – allowing a seriously welcome level of control over things like RGB luma and chroma.
Dscaler also had a wide range of de-interlacing options that considered things like cartoons presented on a PAL VHS made from an NTSC master. Things never were simple and because of it YouTube is full of unique VHS content that looks terrible.
Having said that, my transfer of this tape isn’t a shining example of VHS restoration or best practice. The tape was well used when I found it but as you can tell I gave it my best shot.