Hi Matt, glad to have u on board.
I used to have similiar problems. But I was using an 8mm cassette at that time (Both 8mm cassete and VHS are analog videos). As far as I've known, you really can't do much if the source is already not good. The best that I could suggest to get rid the bending-on-top part is by cropping it using an editing software. As for the other quality improvement, you could always color-correct the video also using an editing software.
If you really plan to do so, I suggest you to capture your VHS to the PC as an avi DV (or any other near-to-uncompressed format) first, then edit it, and finally export it to a DVD.
But that's just roughly said. Just wandering, why don't u ask the guy from who you get the footage? U said he succeeded in making it a lot better (I'm interested myself u know)
Hope this helps
ps:what dvd recorder are u using?
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