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Author Topic: looking for an easy way to convert vhs tapes to dvd  (Read 3545 times)
techidave
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« on: November 27, 2009, 09:34:00 PM »

I have a friend who like to convert some old vhs and BETA tapes (football games) to DVD.  It would require some editing to get rid of the unimportant stuff.

The question is:  Is there some kind of hardware box,software or maybe both that would make this easier to do?  He is not very techie but is persistent, so he probably could figure it out.

He is running XP Pro on a 3 or 4 year old computer if that helps.

What kind of recommendations do my fellow dc'ers have?
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scancode
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« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2009, 09:50:15 PM »

I use this baby: EasyCAP USB Dongle Affiliate Link (non-aff link). $11.81 and really easy to use.
Here's a YouTube review: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7EfkfyFRcN4
« Last Edit: November 27, 2009, 10:00:37 PM by scancode » Logged

techidave
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« Reply #2 on: November 28, 2009, 07:09:57 AM »

would Blu-Ray be a better choice than a DVD?  I have heard it is higher quality but have no experience with it.
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Shades
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« Reply #3 on: November 28, 2009, 08:24:50 AM »

If the source isn't that good (inherent to the whole VHS format) don't expect that the end result shows you a better quality picture on Blu-Ray than a DVD would.

Actually, both Blu-Ray and DVD are capable of showing high def. video, while VHS will not.

To be honest, if the video source is not coming from a high def. (digital) camera it ain't worth the effort to use Blu-Ray (besides it storage capacity I mean). Normally a Blu-Ray player is connected to a high def. TV (plasma/LCD) that has a higher resolution than a standard TV. When using a VHS source, put it on Blu-Ray and show it on this setup, the picture will be blown up to this resolution and that will not go gracefully (picture quality wise) most of the time.

VHS is dead for a good reason, let's keep it at that. 
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JavaJones
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« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2009, 02:31:04 PM »

Not to mention the muuuch greater expense of both Blu-ray writer drives and media.

- Oshyan
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MilesAhead
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« Reply #5 on: November 30, 2009, 07:12:25 PM »

I use this baby: EasyCAP USB Dongle Affiliate Link (non-aff link). $11.81 and really easy to use.
Here's a YouTube review: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7EfkfyFRcN4

Hmmm, that looks interesting.  I have a bunch of VHS I recorded from digital cable.  A few are either not out on DVD or the DVD quality is even worse than the VHS.  For $15 and the cost of a VCR it might be worth transferring some of them.

Is it strictly real-time capture?
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scancode
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« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2009, 07:28:59 PM »

Is it strictly real-time capture?

Yup. I guess you could speed up the VCR and then slow down the vid on the pc... But the results would be sub-optimal to absolute crap.
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4wd
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« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2009, 08:34:26 PM »

I bought one of those EasyCAP devices on one of the deal-a-day sites here, (in Aust.), a while ago.

I think it lasted about 1 hour on my machine before I gave up on it.  The drivers they provided, (and updated ones from the manufacturer), would not allow me to capture in full PAL resolution using software that was a lot better than the cut-down rubbish they provided.

I went back to using an old PCI Lifeview Prime34 TV Tuner card's analog input and my choice of software which gave me more control over the input signal and the capture file format.

I gave the EasyCAP to my parents who probably won't mind using the software it comes with.

NOTE: I'm not saying it's a bad device, it just wasn't suitable for me trying to get the best transfer I could within my limited budget, (I already had the TV card).  An external device for digitising the analog signal should produce a better result than a cheap internal card, (less signal interference), but in this case being stuck at 640x480 without resorting to their software was a PITA.
« Last Edit: November 30, 2009, 08:43:29 PM by 4wd » Logged

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techidave
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« Reply #8 on: November 30, 2009, 08:48:39 PM »

so 4wd, what was your choice of software??
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MilesAhead
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« Reply #9 on: December 01, 2009, 12:14:28 AM »

I've purchased at least 4 HP "media center" PCs and I've never used the video card yet.  My dual core didn't have a free 32 bit slot and a fast network was much more important so I pulled the video card to use the slot for a Gb wired card. I don't think it was digital HD anyway.  I toyed with the idea of getting a Sima capture gizmo that bypasses the distortion so you can back up store-bought tapes.  But 2 hours to back up a 2 hour movie is just not appealing. I have much better luck with disc than tape generally speaking.

It's a shame some of these videos are pretty much lost. I have a pretty nice copy of the first version of Lathe of Heaven if the PBS begging and interviews were edited out.  The one you see if you get the DVD looks like it's on a TV with a rabit ears.  Total snow and distortion.  Likewise I got a very clean copy of Battle in Outer Space. Pan & Scan but was much better looking than any copy sold until the most recent 16x9 releases on DVD.  Got it off Action Channel on digital cable.  But I don't really have enough of those collector type videos to make it worth it.

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4wd
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« Reply #10 on: December 01, 2009, 03:13:52 AM »

so 4wd, what was your choice of software??

I use iuVCR because I could not find anything in freeware that actually kept audio/video sync.

I tried VirtualDub(Mod), NanDub, VirtualVCR, AvidDemux and quite a few others, (this was 4+ years ago - probably more like 7), including the cutdown versions of software included with the hardware, (which had other limitations).

iuVCR was the only one that just worked with the hardware I had and gave me the features I wanted in an analog capture program - I have not seen the need to use anything else yet since it still just works.

My work flow is:
a) capture with iuVCR, adjusting the colour/saturation/brightness/audio/filters/etc for the hardware from within iuVCR to get the best colour rendition, output format is usually MotionJPEG or HuffYUV video with PCM 48k audio.
b) load the AVI into AviDemux or Vegas 5, depends on how much extra tweaking I want to do to the colour - Vegas 5's filters are a bit more flexible and the results are easier to see.  Also, Vegas 5 has audio filtering which AviDemux doesn't and it's easier than demuxing, tweaking the audio in a separate program and then remuxing.
c) output to HuffYUV + PCM 48k.
d) encode into the final format using AviDemux, StaxRip or something else more suitable to the final format.

As I said, there's nothing wrong with the EasyCAP device for a straight analog to DVD conversion - I just found it far too limiting for what I wanted to do.  If I could have used it to capture, then I would have to try and remove any stray interference from using an internal card.
Who knows maybe they've fixed the drivers so I can capture in the format and using the program that I want - I'll have to spirit it away from the parents and check smiley
« Last Edit: December 01, 2009, 03:15:46 AM by 4wd » Logged

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