Best way to convert VHS to MPEG4 digital?

BasilFawlty

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 20, 2009
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New Mexico
I'm still rather new to the world of iMac. I have a bunch of old VHS tapes that I'd like to convert to digital. I've seen a product by Elgato that OWC sells, but I've read in at least one review that it doesn't capture stereo audio, only mono. Is this true? If so, are there any alternatives that will capture the stereo soundtrack as well?
 

ppc_michael

Guest
Apr 26, 2005
1,498
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Los Angeles, CA
This one has stereo inputs, so I would assume stereo capture: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0029U2YSA

I have a Canopus ADVC-100 that would work flawlessly for that kind of thing, but it's rather expensive.

Some DV cameras have a passthrough feature; check your camera for a "video in" composite input?

I know you specified MPEG4, but if this is for archival purposes perhaps you could get one of those VHS+DVD recorder combos and copy your VHS directly to a DVD?

If all else fails, if you contact a nearby university I'm sure they would have the resources in their video production department for cheap or free.
 

BasilFawlty

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 20, 2009
450
9
New Mexico
This is an option, but I don't know if it supports audio capture from the source. Also appears to be only for Windows.

http://www.roxio.com/enu/products/easy-vhs-to-dvd/standard/overview.html
Thanks. It looks like they sell one for MAC as well as PC, but for some reason, the MAC version is $20 more than the PC version. The Elgato device someone else on this thread linked to seems to have "stereo" connections for audio also, but is a bit pricier that the Roxio. On the other had, on Amazon, the Roxio has a bunch of negative reviews, whereas the Elgato device has a bunch of positive reviews.
 

careypo

macrumors member
Oct 15, 2011
71
0
I would recommend converting your VHS to DVD, because this give you a higher quality video that you can then re-edit and re-use. Don't put more than one hour of video on a DVD, as this will significantly degrade the quality. I would recommend having it sent to a service that does this, such as Got Memories. They have all of the right equipment to do the transfer.
 

blueroom

macrumors 603
Feb 15, 2009
6,381
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Toronto, Canada
VHS is very low quality by todays standards. Rated for ~230 interlaced lines resolution it'll look like crap when played back on a modern display. That said your best option might be a VHS to USB (VHS2PC) player like ION makes, these things can often be found on clearance at the local WalMart or Radio Shack. Might only be PC though so check first.
 

BasilFawlty

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 20, 2009
450
9
New Mexico
VHS is very low quality by todays standards. Rated for ~230 interlaced lines resolution it'll look like crap when played back on a modern display. That said your best option might be a VHS to USB (VHS2PC) player like ION makes, these things can often be found on clearance at the local WalMart or Radio Shack. Might only be PC though so check first.
The only problem there is, I'm trying to get RID of all my VHS tapes (and DVDs) as they just take up too much space. By the way, I do have the iON turntable which I've used to "RIP" a bunch of my old vinyl albums (for you younger kids, music used to come on large platters of vinyl, etched with grooves).
 

blueroom

macrumors 603
Feb 15, 2009
6,381
25
Toronto, Canada
No matter what hardware you choose to do the capture you're likely going to have to buy some hardware. The VHS2PC is a capture device, once you're done I guess you can put it on eBay.

Once your video is captured (most likely MPEG-1) you can convert it to H.264 with Handbrake BUT be warned that modern video compressors such as H.264 use many reference frames and other tricks to reduce the file size significantly. Your old, noisy and poorly tracked (no timebase correction) will be a difficult compress and the file may wind up larger than the source material and look worse to boot.
 
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