Resolved Moving VHS to DVD, need some help

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by DP812, Mar 3, 2013.

  1. DP812, Mar 3, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2013

    macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2009
    Location:
    Japan
    #1
    Recently, my fiancee's parents asked me if I could archive their VHS home videos onto DVD. I told them I'd look into it, and I was initially put off by Elgato because of the high price tag. Then I found EasyCap DC-60 analog-to-USB capture device for far cheaper. The software it came with is for Windows, but I found a program called EasyCap Viewer that lets me record the VHS tapes onto my hard drive.

    The problem is that the first tape, which was about three hours long, turned out to be a 58 GB file. The first step is obviously trying to get that down to a much more manageable size. What would be the best way to do this? Should I convert it with Handbrake, export it with QuickTime or import it into iMovie and then use Share to iDVD? I was hoping to be able to archive as many movies as possible on a single DVD, so whatever could get me the lowest file size while still being decent quality would be good (I'm recording from VHS, so it's not like I'm expecting Blu-ray or even DVD levels of quality here).
     
  2. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2007
    #2
    tape to dvd

    I had some 8mm Sony video tapes I wanted converted to DVD. Some of the tapes were recorded with the Sony when the Sony was on its last legs and looked poorly.
    I brought the 8mm video tapes to Walmart who sends them out and what I got back was terrific. The poorly made tapes were improved in a dramatic way and I would strongly recommend this service....let the professionals do it.
     
  3. macrumors 65816

    monokakata

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Location:
    Hilo, Hawai'i
    #3
    I'm not sure how much the "high price tag" for the Elgato is, but I can tell you that the BlackMagic Video Recorder works perfectly and is very easy to use. I think I paid about $160 for mine.

    It puts out H.264 video, and for me, a 2 hour VHS tape produces a file about 3 GB.

    I bring the file up in either FCP X, or MPEG Streamclip for trimming and specifying compression.

    I really recommend the BlackMagic device because of its ease of use.

    I don't fear technically-complex tasks, but I regarded the VHS transfers as an annoying task I had to get done, and it would have been so much worse if the doing of it had been a PTA, and especially if I'd absolutely had to manipulate the output files in order to do anything with them. But a 2 hour VHS tape fits on a single DVD, no problem at all.

    I understand that you're asking for software solutions, given those 50 gb files you'll be working with. I'm sure there's something out there but in this case -- money, money I know -- a largely-hardware solution is a slick one.
     
  4. thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2009
    Location:
    Japan
    #4
    That's not an option in my case. I live in rural Japan and there is no one around who does this kind of service.

    I know the Elgato or something else may have been easier, but another turn-off to it is that of all the products Elgato does sell in Japan, their analog-to-digital converter/software is apparently not among them, and the US site wanted to charge me almost as much as the product to ship it to Japan.
     
  5. macrumors 68030

    Dave Braine

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2008
    Location:
    Warrington, UK
    #5
    What is the file format of the video file?
     
  6. thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2009
    Location:
    Japan
    #6
    QuickTime MOV.
     
  7. thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2009
    Location:
    Japan
    #7
    Looks like I've figured this out.

    For anyone else who might be doing the same thing, in EasyCap Viewer, I had the quality of the recording set to the maximum, which accounted for such a huge file. When I set it for others to the medium level of quality, I still got something that looked nice but was a much smaller file size. I imported this into iMovie, added chapters to it, exported it to iDVD (which turned out to be a file of around 7GB) and added menus, and burned up a copy on a dual-layer DVD for the future in-laws. Went back into iMovie and exported it as an mp4 file to put in iTunes so my fiancee can have it on the Apple TV whenever she wants.

    Took a bit of trial and error, especially because of the long wait times.
     
  8. macrumors 68000

    phrehdd

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    #8
    Three hours of hi def VHS taking up 58 GB seems rather excessive. However, you didn't say what format the file came in and if there is audio involved and is it stereo etc.

    It seems many people do a great deal to squash their movies into the smallest formats possible which is a sad waste if they don't examine the quality of the original vs the compressed output. If the original looks bad and one further compresses the data, they will be usually exaggerating some of the flaws and possibly softening the images as well as color shifts and contrast.

    It might be prudent to take that first 58 gig file and experiment. Try different compression levels and play back on your DVD player. Hopefully, you do have a VHS player so you can compare. It really is not a cut and dry item in and item out unless you really don't care about the quality.
     
  9. macrumors 68030

    Dave Braine

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2008
    Location:
    Warrington, UK
    #9
    Don't worry too much about the size of the file when considering making a dvd. It's the length of the movie that is more important. iDVD and similar apps will convert the video to mpeg2 format for the dvd.

    A single layer dvd will take about an 1h 30m, and a dual layer about 3h. If you go into iDVD's Project Menu>Project Info... you can change the quality of the finished dvd to get more onto a disc or choose a dual layer dvd.
     
  10. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 8, 2010
    #10
    Looks like you figured out a solution on your own ... great!

    My recommendation, based on many efforts to digitize old VHS tapes, would be to purchase a standalone DVD recorder. After struggling for many attempts, I eventually got a Panasonic several years ago and it has saved me hours and hours of headaches. Could you do it on a computer? Yes. Could you do a lot better job if you are willing to invest the time? Yes. Could it be any easier than hitting 'play' on one machine and 'record' on another? NO!
     
  11. thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2009
    Location:
    Japan
    #11
    Thanks for the advice. I had considered that, but given that this is going to be a one-time thing, didn't seem worth it to invest in a DVD recorder. I've managed to simplify the whole process a lot, now I just record with EasyCap Viewer, let the tape run out, trim the ends of the video in iMovie and export to mp4 so I can then add chapter markers every 5-10 minutes with Subler and then drop it in iDVD for the in-laws as well as iTunes Home Videos for the fiancee to watch on the aTV.
     

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