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yankeeundercover
Army Fan
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Member since Jan 2010
35348 posts

Converting VHS to digital (CD/DVD)
My SO’s parents have nearly 2 dozen VHS home movies that they want to put into disc.

I know that there needs to be a “VHS analog -> digital medium” converter. Additionally, I’m aware that there needs to be some software on the PC to manipulate the data. And finally, a way to “burn” the data to the disc(s).

As you might imagine, there’s hours of footage that needs to be parsed down and trimmed/etc.

So, in my mind, they get a “VHS/Digital converter”, software (to make the edits), and a burner.

Has anyone successfully done this and if so, any tips on which products to use or suggestions in general?

TIA

eta: they thought of taking them to an audio/visual shop and having them do it, but there’s content that they don’t want included in the final product that the guys at the shop won’t know to cut or not, hence the need for the software to edit the media
This post was edited on 3/26 at 12:19 pm


footballdude
LSU Fan
BR
Member since Sep 2010
367 posts

re: Converting VHS to digital (CD/DVD)
Send it somewhere to get it converted to digital. Plenty of places on the internet. Once it comes back, use the software to edit the digital files until you get exactly what you want.

No point in trying to only convert parts of the tapes. Much faster to convert everything and then edit.
This post was edited on 3/26 at 12:29 pm


yankeeundercover
Army Fan
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Member since Jan 2010
35348 posts

re: Converting VHS to digital (CD/DVD)
Any suggestions on where this could be done efficiently and inexpensively?


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Korkstand
LSU Fan
Plaquemine, LA
Member since Nov 2003
17344 posts
 Online 

re: Converting VHS to digital (CD/DVD)
I'm about to do the exact same thing, so I'll let you know how it goes.

I have an old VCR, and I have a USB capture device.

I will be attempting this with Linux, but I'll try to use cross-platform tools or suggest alternatives for Windows where possible.

I'm thinking it'll go something like this:

1. Hook VCR outputs to capture device inputs
2. Start capturing
3. Insert tape, press play
4. Wait
5. Stop capture
6. Trim start/end
7. Maybe run an automated "clean up" pass
8. Rinse, repeat about 40 times

I'm not looking for pro quality, I just need to preserve these videos in some form before they degrade or are otherwise lost completely.

And I have not even tested this old VCR that I picked up at a garage sale yet, so I might false start a couple times on this. Just thought I would share that I'm in the same boat, and I hope my future experience will help in some way.


yankeeundercover
Army Fan
HMWHC®
Member since Jan 2010
35348 posts

re: Converting VHS to digital (CD/DVD)
Much appreciated, sir. If you wouldn’t mind relaying your experience with this endeavor, I’d be grateful.
This post was edited on 3/26 at 10:55 pm


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Jimmy2shoes
LSU Fan
The South
Member since Mar 2014
6946 posts

re: Converting VHS to digital (CD/DVD)
I have used something similar and had good results. You just have to find a working vcr


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Korkstand
LSU Fan
Plaquemine, LA
Member since Nov 2003
17344 posts
 Online 

re: Converting VHS to digital (CD/DVD)
Sorry it took a few days, but I just did a test run with this capture device, and it looks like it will work just fine.

You can probably find some software more specialized for this for Windows, but as a fallback you can use VLC which is cross-platform. As I mentioned, I am running VLC on Linux, and all I did was hook up the VCR and capture device, which is really simple, and then I used the "Convert / Save" option in VLC. You just choose the video source, maybe change a few options, choose a save location and press "start". Press play on the VCR and VLC watches the video and records it. I went with h264 and it looks to use about 15megs per minute of video. There was a slight interlace issue, which like I said isn't a huge deal for me, but I'm confident I can clean that up either by playing with the record settings, or by post-processing the video with another tool. Once you have the video file, you can trim/edit how you like and transfer/burn it to whatever media you want.

Hope this helps!


EarlyCuyler3
Alabama Fan
Appalachia
Member since Nov 2017
5667 posts

re: Converting VHS to digital (CD/DVD)
This is one of those things I'd definitely prefer to pay someone to do for me as opposed to investing the time and resources into learning to what amounts to be a one-time skill.


Korkstand
LSU Fan
Plaquemine, LA
Member since Nov 2003
17344 posts
 Online 

re: Converting VHS to digital (CD/DVD)
quote:

This is one of those things I'd definitely prefer to pay someone to do for me as opposed to investing the time and resources into learning to what amounts to be a one-time skill.
The thing I've learned about DIY is that there are always several peripheral skills obtained in the process of learning one specific task.

Already I've learned a few things about VLC and what it's capable of. As I continue I will likely learn a few new command line tools, as well as some things about video editing.

I feel like I was able to zero-in on an easy (for me) method to capture video because of things I've learned from "one-time" skills I've developed in the past. Also, I already had the capture device because of a previous project that I did (DIY Ambilight).


Personally, I have a box full of at least 40 VHS tapes that I need to convert, so worst case I will save myself $500 to possibly a couple thousand dollars, during a crazy time where there ain't much else to do anyway. Also, I am more than sure that between all my family we have hundreds more home videos that will need to be converted eventually.


And I'm always good for a crazy business idea, and this experience has given me another one: VHS conversion kiosk. This whole process can be mostly automated. It wouldn't be too hard to build a vending machine with racks of VCRs to do this. Pop in a tape and a thumb drive, and then close/lock the door on your section with a phone app. Pay a couple bucks with the app. The machine can notify you when it's finished, you return and unlock your stuff with the app and go.


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CAD703X
Toledo Fan
Liberty Island
Member since Jul 2008
63342 posts

re: Converting VHS to digital (CD/DVD)
quote:

This is one of those things I'd definitely prefer to pay someone to do for me as opposed to investing the time and resources into learning to what amounts to be a one-time skill.


i have a hundred hi-8 and digital-8 tapes to convert and had a comically poor experience using my sony camcorder and a shitty firewire card for my PC. turns out the camera was the weak link but i had to use it because it was the only thing capable of converting the hi-8 tapes digitally.

fast forward 10 years later and the tapes are still sitting here rotting. i have a guy on ebay lined up that i plan to use but the tapes went missing for several years after we moved houses and i only found them again yesterday! i had given up and thought they ended up melted in the attic or thrown away but they were mismarked in a box labelled 'books' underneath......books.

anyway, tl;dr i'm shipping mine off to that dude in illinois that delivers DVDs and MP4s on a hard drive along with your original tapes. he charges $400 for 100 tapes i believe; well worth it to me to have this done right.

the videos are all going online to google photos, backed up hard drive & dvds and will retain the original tapes as well.
This post was edited on 3/31 at 1:41 pm


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