Converting VHS to DVD

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
I've read a lot on converting VHS to DVD, but I'd like to know if any of you have actually done the conversion.



What hard ware; software; other gadgets, etc? What is your experience?



Among others, one thing I don't understand is how much space does a two hour movie take up on a DVD disk or a hard drive. Elgato claims that transferring two hours in high def takes 4 GB. Newer Technology says that one hour takes 13 GB on a HDD. That's a wide difference.



Any actual experience would be gratefully received.



Thanks

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 17
    dave k.dave k. Posts: 1,306member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sequitur View Post


    I've read a lot on converting VHS to DVD, but I'd like to know if any of you have actually done the conversion.



    What hard ware; software; other gadgets, etc? What is your experience?



    Among others, one thing I don't understand is how much space does a two hour movie take up on a DVD disk or a hard drive. Elgato claims that transferring two hours in high def takes 4 GB. Newer Technology says that one hour takes 13 GB on a HDD. That's a wide difference.



    Any actual experience would be gratefully received.



    Thanks



    Are you importing home recorded VHS movies or commerical VHS movies? If commerical, you won't have much luck with iMovie (Macrovision protection).



    If its just home movies, you will need a bridge. I have this old one.



    http://www.adstech.com/products/API-...id=API-558-EFS



    Works good, but not great...



    Dave
  • Reply 2 of 17
    sequitursequitur Posts: 1,901member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dave K. View Post


    Are you importing home recorded VHS movies or commerical VHS movies? If commerical, you won't have much luck with iMovie (Macrovision protection).



    If its just home movies, you will need a bridge. I have this old one.



    http://www.adstech.com/products/API-...id=API-558-EFS



    Works good, but not great...



    Dave



    Thanks, Dave. The VHS tapes I want to convert are family tapes. I'm concerned that they will deteriorate. Some of them are many years old. I want to capture them on a HDD first, so some of the stuff can be edited out.



    What do you mean, "Works good, but not great?" Did you have problems capturing or are the results not good?
  • Reply 3 of 17
    or you can get a tv tuner card, and hook up a vcr to your computer.



    I also tried hooking up a dvd recorder (One that hooks up to the TV) All you need to do is hook the vcr into the dvd recorder, and push play on the vcr and record on the dvd recorder. This is probably the simplest solution.
  • Reply 4 of 17
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bobazumi View Post


    ...All you need to do is hook the vcr into the dvd recorder, and push play on the vcr and record on the dvd recorder. This is probably the simplest solution.



    You can then use Handbrake (or similiar) to rip the DVD to your HDD.



    I used a Digital camcorder to transfer some VHS to the computer a couple years ago. You could input an analog signal to the camcorder, but instead of recording to the tape, use the firewire cable to send it straight to your computer. I ended up with slightly lower quality than the VHS was (but it won't deteriorate any more now!!)... not much control over levels and such. It worked OK for me, but if they are important to you, it might be worth the $$ to take the tapes to someone who does this type of thing. They will have equipment that gives them much greater control over the conversion to digital... preserving light levels and color much better than the "cheap and easy" home remedies.
  • Reply 5 of 17
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by KingOfSomewhereHot View Post


    I used a Digital camcorder to transfer some VHS to the computer a couple years ago. You could input an analog signal to the camcorder, but instead of recording to the tape, use the firewire cable to send it straight to your computer. I ended up with slightly lower quality than the VHS was (but it won't deteriorate any more now!!)... not much control over levels and such. It worked OK for me, but if they are important to you, it might be worth the $$ to take the tapes to someone who does this type of thing. They will have equipment that gives them much greater control over the conversion to digital... preserving light levels and color much better than the "cheap and easy" home remedies.



    Both the camera and the VCR need to be about the right age for this to work. We tried this once at my school and the VCR wouldn't output onto our new cameras because they would refuse to even register.



    If you've got an old home video camera when mini-dv was recently coming out it should work. Either that or my school has some weird system.
  • Reply 6 of 17
    Update:

    Thanks for all the suggestions. I have decided that the old films are valuable enough to me that I'm going to buy a large (possibly a 1T or bigger) HDD as I have close to 600 hours of the film.

    I don't have a camcorder. All the films were taken on a film camera. I was divorced in days of yore, my ex and my kids moved away, and I wasn't able to continue filming. I had the film converted to VHS - VERY expensive. I now know that VHS isn't stable, and recently, I read that DVD's are not that stable either. Probably, in the near future, I'll find out that HDD have a short shelf life, but that seems like the best route to go.

    I don't have a DVD recorder, but if that's what it takes I'll buy one or ANY gadget that will work.



    At this point, bobazumi's suggestion might be the best for me:

    \t "or you can get a tv tuner card, and hook up a vcr to your computer."

    Any suggestions on what tv tuner to buy? I have a G4/800/1GB ram/ at present. I'll be getting a new computer by January, but I don't figure there's anyway to add a tv tuner to a Mini or iMac. Another reason to want a mini-tower.



    If my films are on a HDD, I'll be able to edit out the chaff from the wheat. If you have any additional suggestions, I'll be glad to hear them.



    I still haven't found out how much space an hour of movie requires on a HDD. Any experience along those lines?
  • Reply 7 of 17
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,188moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sequitur View Post


    What hard ware; software; other gadgets, etc? What is your experience?



    I've used both a capture card and a DVD video recorder as mentioned above. VHS quality is poor no matter what route you go - much lower than DVD quality - but these solutions will get the footage digitized. The DVD video recorder was the easier option as you can let it record without doing anything but you wouldn't get High Def recording. That's not an issue with VHS though as it's lower than DVD quality anyway.



    You do have to do an extra step with a DVD recorder though. A capture card goes straight to edit, a DVD recorder goes to mpeg-2 first, then you have to go back to an edit format and then author back to mpeg-2 again.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sequitur View Post


    Among others, one thing I don't understand is how much space does a two hour movie take up on a DVD disk or a hard drive. Elgato claims that transferring two hours in high def takes 4 GB. Newer Technology says that one hour takes 13 GB on a HDD. That's a wide difference.



    Yeah but Elgato are likely talking about Hi-Def TV streams which will be mpeg-2 compressed. For editing, you'd need it in HDV or similar, although HDV is based on mpeg-2 compression. An SD DV stream will use about 13GB for 1 hour. I'd expect Hi Def to use more but HDV which isn't a good editing format uses mpeg-2 style compression so that is possible.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sequitur


    I have close to 600 hours of the film.



    You've got a long year ahead. 600 hours of capture time + about the same for editing.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sequitur


    Probably, in the near future, I'll find out that HDD have a short shelf life, but that seems like the best route to go.



    HDD has an unpredictable shelf life in that it can die at any time. If you accidentally knock it off the table, that could be it completely. DVDs are safer IMO but I'd say get both. What I'd actually do is go through each set of films and make a DVD image of each then burn a copy of the image to DVD and copy the image onto the terrabyte HDD. This way if the DVD messes up, you can burn a new one easily.



    Get two terrabyte HDDs and you can use one as a quick way to index the movies then store one HDD and the set of DVDs safely somewhere.



    If you keep 500 hours out of 600 hours, that should require 250 DVDs as you can get 2 hours of good quality footage on a DVD and that might all fit on the terrabyte HDD. By the time you finish capturing, they'll have bigger ones anyway.
  • Reply 8 of 17
    sequitursequitur Posts: 1,901member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post




    If you keep 500 hours out of 600 hours, that should require 250 DVDs as you can get 2 hours of good quality footage on a DVD and that might all fit on the terrabyte HDD. By the time you finish capturing, they'll have bigger ones anyway.



    My face is red. I have the tapes in packs of ten on my bookshelves. The jackets say they are 6 hour tapes.

    I assumed that since there were almost 100 tapes, there were (6 X 100 ) 600 hours. Not so. On further inspection, I found they were made at a higher res or whatever and each tape held only 2 hours, so I only have 200 hours (less when I pare them down.)
  • Reply 9 of 17
    guarthoguartho Posts: 1,208member
    Sounds like you're talking about full size VHS cassettes. Them only being 2 hours is a good thing, a very good thing. One of the things my company offers is VHS to DVD conversion. It's a serious pain when people bring in 6 hour tapes because the longer record time means lower quality which means more difficult conversion. SP recordings are much cleaner and muh easier to convert. They almost always go smoothly.



    Ignore all high-def numbers. You won't want to mess with anything high-def anywhere in your conversion process. They were shot in standard def and they're never going to get better than that so you'd just be wasting time and processor cycles.



    DV is just under 14 gigabytes per hour so you can figure each tape is 27-28 gigabytes.



    Quote:

    Both the camera and the VCR need to be about the right age for this to work. We tried this once at my school and the VCR wouldn't output onto our new cameras because they would refuse to even register.



    If you've got an old home video camera when mini-dv was recently coming out it should work. Either that or my school has some weird system.



    Ignore this completely. Converting analog video to DV is a feature that a camera either does or does not do. It has very little to do with the age except that the older and cheaper it is the less likely it is to do this.



    If you don't have a digital camcorder, getting one might be the best way to go. You can eliminate 2 avians with one mineral deposit. Just make sure that analog -> digital pass-through conversion is among the features. I've looked at a lot of camcorders but I haven't paid much attention to this feature because we use a dedicated converter for this stuff so I don't really have a particular recommendation.



    If not a camcorder, you can get dedicated firewire boxes a little cheaper. By virtue of being firewire you won't have to buy a Mac Pro to use a capture card.



    Take a look at everything you're going to spend money on. Since you have so many tapes you'll probably still want to do it yourself, but it's possible that it just might work out cheaper, and certainly less frustrating, to have me do it for $10 per tape hour, our bulk rate for these.
  • Reply 10 of 17
    sequitursequitur Posts: 1,901member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Guartho View Post




    Take a look at everything you're going to spend money on. Since you have so many tapes you'll probably still want to do it yourself, but it's possible that it just might work out cheaper, and certainly less frustrating, to have me do it for $10 per tape hour, our bulk rate for these.



    You're probably right and I should have them done professionally. There is, however, another factor. I looked at a few of them and realized there's quite a bit I wouldn't want on the final copy. I want only my children on the DVD's or HDD. I'd say there is about 1/4 or even 1/3 of wasted footage (not my children). Does your company do editing and what would that cost? Would I be better off, cost wise, to just leave that on the final copy?



    I figure that out of the footage (95 X 2 hours) that I'd only want about 130 to 150 hours. Is there any way I could electronically mark what I wanted or did not want?



    I feel caught between having it done professionally and maybe ending up with more than I want OR trying to do it myself and maybe making a mess of it.



    Decisions. Decisions.
  • Reply 11 of 17
    ajmasajmas Posts: 552member
    On the same subject is there any software to clear up visual noise on the captured DV video, originating from a VHS tape?
  • Reply 12 of 17
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ajmas View Post


    On the same subject is there any software to clear up visual noise on the captured DV video, originating from a VHS tape?



    There's noise reducing software for still images so I have to believe it exists for moving pictures as well.
  • Reply 13 of 17
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sequitur View Post


    You're probably right and I should have them done professionally. There is, however, another factor. I looked at a few of them and realized there's quite a bit I wouldn't want on the final copy. I want only my children on the DVD's or HDD. I'd say there is about 1/4 or even 1/3 of wasted footage (not my children). Does your company do editing and what would that cost? Would I be better off, cost wise, to just leave that on the final copy?



    I figure that out of the footage (95 X 2 hours) that I'd only want about 130 to 150 hours. Is there any way I could electronically mark what I wanted or did not want?



    I feel caught between having it done professionally and maybe ending up with more than I want OR trying to do it myself and maybe making a mess of it.



    Decisions. Decisions.





    Honestly I'd the only place you should use a 3rd party is the digitization process. You're the only one who can truly know which footage you want to keep and which you want to leave on the floor.



    In this vein I would keep the unedited footage until you're absolutely positive you haven't lost anything you'll regret. Then save copies of the edited footage and make DVDs from this content.



    It's going to take some time, but once you've gone through 2-3 of your tapes, you'll start getting real familiar with the basic editing functions and it'll get way easier. When I first started working in iMovie / Final Cut Express it took me forever to build up the timeline, edit footage down to the good stuff, add transitions and titles, etc. After doing a couple of band practices I got to the point where I could cut, transition and title 90 minutes of footage on my lunch break. It would've been even faster but I had to wait for the fades to render.
  • Reply 14 of 17
    mimacmimac Posts: 871member
    I've previously transferred old VHS to DVD via the Camcorder passthru method. I can honestly say that it worked a treat. The results were no better or worse quality wise than the original VHS footage. If you have access to a Cam with the following the give it a try...



    This is what I used...



    JVC S-VHS VCR (could also use a standard VCR) with S-Video Out and RCA (phono) stereo out.

    Sony Digital8 Camcorder with S-VHS input and iLink (FireWire) output.

    G4 iMac - iMovie and iDVD

    SVideo to SVideo cable (good quality)

    FireWire cable 4 to 6 pin

    Stereo RCA to RCA cable (good quality)



    Connections = VCR video out to Camcorder via S-Video cable - VCR audio out to Camcorder via RCA cable (you may need an RCA to 3.5mm Jack converter)

    FireWire from Camcorder to Mac.

    Start iMovie and switch Camcorder to PLAY mode and play VCR. Video is passed through camcorder via FireWire to Mac and captured on iMovie as one or more long clips. Edit as usual.



    As for the life expectancy of DVD media ... Google "Kodak Gold Archive DVDR" or "MAM-A Gold Archive DVDR".
  • Reply 15 of 17
    I just read thing about that , but didn't try that .
  • Reply 16 of 17
    sequitursequitur Posts: 1,901member
    Browsing through a computer store, I ran across a combo Sony DVD R/W and VHS recorder. Info on the box said it could copy from the VHS side to the DVD side. Anyone have experience with that?
  • Reply 17 of 17
    The way that I'm doing this right now is as follows. I've hooked a marantz MV5100 VCR to a canopus ADVC100 via s-video. The whole setup cost me 80$ used (craigslist, value village).



    A VCR with s-video will give a much better output, and the Marantz has image stabilization features up the wazoo.



    The Canopus ADVC100 is like many other standalone analog to DV firewire converters. To your computer it looks like a DV camera (albeit one that doesn't accept controls like "stop" and "play" over the firewire cable). Supposedly Canopus uses the same DV encoding chip in the ADVC100 and 110 that they use in their higher end products, which means an excellent conversion, and also the ADVC100 locks the audio to the video, preventing them from coming out of sync.



    Then I use a program that can be downloaded as part of the Apple Developer Firewire SDK25 (free to anyone with an apple ID registered with ADC) called AVCVideoCap to record the incoming DV stream. I use this instead of quicktime because Quicktime embeds the DV stream in a .mov file, and also creates a million audio tracks - probably a new one every time there's a hickup in the VHS tape. AVCVideoCap just saves a standard .dv file.



    This works well so far. As mentioned, DV is something like 14GB per hour.
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