Author Topic: VHS to Digital Conversion  (Read 130 times)

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Offline pg1067

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VHS to Digital Conversion
« on: May 13, 2019, 03:56:22 PM »
A few recent posts in another thread got me thinking about this subject.

I still have a bunch of old VHS tapes.  Some are officially released things, and I also have a few things that I recorded myself (e.g., the broadcasts of Super Bowls 32 and 33).  I also still own a working VCR, which I bought in 2005 or 2006.  When it dies, I assume it will be difficult and/or expensive to replace, so I'm thinking about transferring the tapes to a digital format.

One option would be to dub them onto DVD by using my DVD recorder (to which my VCR is connected).  However, I'm thinking that converting them to something I can store on my hard drive will be better.

I'm fairly unsophisticated with technology, so something that's simple and easy is extremely important, and I'd appreciate some advice who are more knowledgeable and maybe from some who've done this personally.

I was looking at this product, which is rated very highly with a lot of reviews:  https://smile.amazon.com/Elgato-Video-Capture-Digitise-iPad/dp/B0029U2YSA/ref=sr_1_13?keywords=vcr&qid=1557783360&s=gateway&sr=8-13

Any input about this or other products will be appreciated.
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Offline El Barto

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Re: VHS to Digital Conversion
« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2019, 03:58:33 PM »
I used something very similar, and I very definitely didn't pay $85 for it. Since your source is pretty low-res as it is, you should be able to get by with a $15 dongle off of eBay. I'll check later to see what I bought.
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Offline PetFish

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Re: VHS to Digital Conversion
« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2019, 09:40:58 PM »
If you have an old camcorder with a firewire output you can use it to capture the footage.  It goes:

VCR-out > camcorder-in > camcorder firewire-out > PC firewire-in

You have to set the camcorder properly to output .avi or whatever.  If your only option is to go direct to DVD then you can always rip the footage off of that right to your PC, it's just adding another long step (you're capturing it twice) and the fact that you have to go buy blank DVDs.

Offline jingle.boy

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Re: VHS to Digital Conversion
« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2019, 10:55:46 PM »
I forget the product name, but I did this with all my Hi-8mm and VHS tapes 10ish years ago.  I had a dongle that was USB-to-RCA. Used some form of free video editing software - VideoWave I think??  Anyway, took a shit ton of time, cuz I had a lot of home movie tapes.

It was more like this

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Offline Stadler

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Re: VHS to Digital Conversion
« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2019, 07:38:58 AM »
I used the Elgato (though I didn't pay that much either; I was around $50+/- which was worth it to me).  It was so easy I had my other dongle in my hand almost the entire time.  No, I kid.  But it was easy as could be.  I ended up burning all my VHS tapes - some Kiss ones, some Yes and Genesis ones, the tapes I have of the Live Aid broadcast in '85 - to files on my computer.  The biggest problem, by far?  VHS is not a durable format. 

Offline cramx3

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Re: VHS to Digital Conversion
« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2019, 08:00:47 AM »
Yea, it seems that Elgato comes with software where a cheaper one does not.  But there are free ones out there like Jingle said that maybe require more effort on your part to get it right.  I'm not sure, but I'm also not sure that software is worth that much extra money either. 

Offline El Barto

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Re: VHS to Digital Conversion
« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2019, 09:13:01 AM »
Yep. The hardware is essentially the same no matter what you pay for it. I suspect they're all using the same conexant chip. There are some exceptions if you want to capture 1080p, or need to eliminate lag such as for gaming, but none of that matters for VHS. The software is what complicates matters. In my experience you really can't even rely on the software that comes with the dongle. Maybe it works and maybe it doesn't. Video capture software has always been flaky. Pretty sure I wound up using my webcam capture software for it rather than what came bundled with my capture dongle (SIIG). I'd probably just buy a cheap dongle from a manufacturer I'd heard of, and find some free software that works with it.
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