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vjaaan

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 13, 2010
346
8
I want to play my old VHS tapes (through my old VCR) and capture them into iMovie. I am using a MacBook Pro running Mojave and iMovie 10. I have the Apple converter that attaches my computer's lightening port to the DV out port on my Sony Digital 8 camcorder. But I guess I need a similar converter that will attach my computer to the 3 prong RCA plug? Is there such a plug?

As an alternative, is it possible to capture the VHS tape to my camcorder, onto Digital 8 tape, using the 3-prong cable with the single round plug on other end, that would fit into my camcorder? And then upload to iMovie from the Digital 8 tape (as I am doing with another project)? Or would too much quality be lost?

Thanks for any suggestions.
 

kallisti

macrumors 68000
Apr 22, 2003
1,700
6,109
It might be better to make a post in the Digital Video forum rather than in the Digital Photography forum.

Having said that, many moons ago I found a third-party hardware solution that let me connect my old VCR to my MBP and import a VHS video into iMovie. But that was ~10 yrs ago and I don't know if something similar exists today.
 
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tizeye

macrumors 65816
Jul 17, 2013
1,436
11,804
Orlando, FL
Probably better on the Digital Video forum, but based on the dearth of product reviews at retail sites, probably few users on forum. Years ago had Roxio package of software and converter but it is, and still is Windows only (edit - see below. They hide the MAC version on their website, not on menu but embedded link on PC version details). The good news, a quick search on Newegg "vhs to computer" returned quite a few devices providing composite connection to either USB or HDMI. From the two that were reviewed, appears doesn't go straight to your video processing program but has the embedded software as part of the driver which creates a video file usable by other programs, such as iMovie for playback, editing, etc. The other good news, they are relatively inexpensive. Many appear to be "twins" suggesting come off the same production line with (obscure) company names stamped on them - i.e. cheap electronics. One in particular that I did notice was $28 Item#: 9SIAJGYAPS8564" mainly because it had a MacBook in the photo but then note not compatible with Mohave, with Catalina too new to have been mentioned. I didn't check Amazon, but you may find products with more reviews.

EDIT NOTE: Checked Amazon and their #1 best seller was the Roxio VHS Converter for Mac. Link is to the Roxio site for more detail but cheaper on Amazon. Does confirm in system in system requirement, OSX 10.11 and higher. While designed for conversion to DVD, appears and based on reviews on Amazon, is direct file capture which later can be burned to DVD but is not required to be functional as can use that file directly in iMovie. https://www.roxio.com/en/products/easy-vhs-to-dvd/mac/#overview
 
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MacNut

macrumors Core
Jan 4, 2002
22,370
8,923
CT
I would run the VHS into the Digital 8. That will make it easier to ingest the content into the computer later.

You can also do a passthrough, VHS through the Digital 8 and right into the computer.
 
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vjaaan

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 13, 2010
346
8
Thank you all very much for the suggestions! Now, just as I was ready to do all this, the old VCR I was using to play the videos died. In fact, died with a tape locked right inside it. Now I need to find another operating VCR. :-(
 
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cannondale1974

macrumors member
Jul 4, 2011
37
8
Lexington, Ky.
Got this a few years ago: https://www.elgato.com/en/video-capture

You use EL Gato's app to convert it to a digital video file. And then you can import that into iMovie. I admit, I haven't used it in years, so I don't know how well the software works with the latest versions of macOS. It did work well when I did use it.
I have the Elgato device and absolute LOVE it. Super simple and easy to work with. Works like a charm, search for its on Amazon, I think I paid like $70 for it a few years ago.
 
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harriska2

macrumors 65816
Mar 16, 2011
1,445
704
Oregon
My VCR wouldn't let go of the tape. Had to take the top off the VCR to get it to eject. Then all was well. I see I haven't put the top back on the VCR yet ...
 
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vjaaan

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 13, 2010
346
8
I took the top off mine, but I don't see a way to get it to release the tape.
 
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Lmri

macrumors newbie
Mar 18, 2021
4
1
Probably better on the Digital Video forum, but based on the dearth of product reviews at retail sites, probably few users on forum. Years ago had Roxio package of software and converter but it is, and still is Windows only (edit - see below. They hide the MAC version on their website, not on menu but embedded link on PC version details). The good news, a quick search on Newegg "vhs to computer" returned quite a few devices providing composite connection to either USB or HDMI. From the two that were reviewed, appears doesn't go straight to your video processing program but has the embedded software as part of the driver which creates a video file usable by other programs, such as iMovie for playback, editing, etc. The other good news, they are relatively inexpensive. Many appear to be "twins" suggesting come off the same production line with (obscure) company names stamped on them - i.e. cheap electronics. One in particular that I did notice was $28 Item#: 9SIAJGYAPS8564" mainly because it had a MacBook in the photo but then note not compatible with Mohave, with Catalina too new to have been mentioned. I didn't check Amazon, but you may find products with more reviews.

EDIT NOTE: Checked Amazon and their #1 best seller was the Roxio VHS Converter for Mac. Link is to the Roxio site for more detail but cheaper on Amazon. Does confirm in system in system requirement, OSX 10.11 and higher. While designed for conversion to DVD, appears and based on reviews on Amazon, is direct file capture which later can be burned to DVD but is not required to be functional as can use that file directly in iMovie. https://www.roxio.com/en/products/easy-vhs-to-dvd/mac/#overview
Hello,

I want to share my recent experience with Roxio VHS Converter for Mac
I purchased it one week ago to use it on my MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2017) running under macOS Big Sur after contacting the support to be sure their product would work with my configuration.
After connecting my VCR (an old LG model) to the Roxio Video Capture USB device and the USB device to one of my USB-C port using a USB-C / USB 2 adapter (since I have only USB-C ports), I found that the audio part seemed OK (from what I could hear) but the video part did not work correctly since I got an image which remained lfrozen.
Since the documentation indicated that the Roxio Video Capture USB device should be directly connected to the USB port, I asked the support if this could be the reason and they replied : ... it is only supported with USB ports, all Type C adapters may not support the device and we would not recommend the adapters, connection should be through USB ports => this means that it cannot work on my Macbook.
Since I had looked also at the elgato product, I searched on their site to see if they mention problems with the USB connection because both hardware seemed similar and I found somewhere a mention of problems when connecting USB 2 not directly to Mac in https://help.elgato.com/hc/en-us/ar...have-problems-connecting-to-Mac-USB-3-0-ports and from this
I found in Apple (http://support.apple.com/kb/HT5172?viewlocale=en_US&locale=en_US#8) the following recommandation
"Right now, if you see a problem with the connection to an USB 3.0 port, the best solution we recommend would be to use your device with a powered USB 2.0 hub, which is connected to a USBport of a Mac that supports USB 3.0.
Do you think this could help ? I am afraid that if I buy the elgato product (https://www.elgato.com/en/video-capture) I would probably have the same problem.
I just saw another product (https://www.video-2-mac.co.uk) and all users on Amazon say it is working well including on Big Sur but it looks like the hardware is similar. So why would this one work when my Roxio does not work ?
Is my problem coming from the Roxio, my Mac, the way I connected the Roxio ? Since there are so many products and so many YouTube (some being very technical explaining things I cannot understand) on this issue, I hope somebody can help me to choose a good solution to convert my VHS files.
Thanks
 
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Ubele

macrumors 6502a
Mar 20, 2008
686
119
I did this circa 2014 with a Canopus ADVC-55. Here's one on Amazon for $318. I'm guessing it's long been discontinued, because the going rate when I bought it was $170. It has FireWire out, so you'd need an adapter unless you have an older Mac. I used a 2012 Mac mini, which had a FireWire port, and iMovie. I got the Canopus to digitize a bunch of home videos that were on VHS. For the commercial VHS movies I owned, I replaced anything I cared about with DVDs, because of the higher quality, but there were a few that weren't available on DVD. Some, I was able to digitize, but a few had Macrovision protection, which distorts the outputted signal if you try to copy. They weren't important enough for me to investigate further, but here's an article about ripping VHS tapes to other formats, and there's a section on how to circumvent Macrovision using stabilizers and time-base correctors. It comes down to how much trouble you want to go to and how much money you want to spend.
 
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Lmri

macrumors newbie
Mar 18, 2021
4
1
I did this circa 2014 with a Canopus ADVC-55. Here's one on Amazon for $318. I'm guessing it's long been discontinued, because the going rate when I bought it was $170. It has FireWire out, so you'd need an adapter unless you have an older Mac. I used a 2012 Mac mini, which had a FireWire port, and iMovie. I got the Canopus to digitize a bunch of home videos that were on VHS. For the commercial VHS movies I owned, I replaced anything I cared about with DVDs, because of the higher quality, but there were a few that weren't available on DVD. Some, I was able to digitize, but a few had Macrovision protection, which distorts the outputted signal if you try to copy. They weren't important enough for me to investigate further, but here's an article about ripping VHS tapes to other formats, and there's a section on how to circumvent Macrovision using stabilizers and time-base correctors. It comes down to how much trouble you want to go to and how much money you want to spend.
Thanks for your reply. Since I have only home videos, I do not have to worry about protection so my needs are very basic. From your explanation Do you think that there should be no difficulty to use the Canopus ADVC-55 with my Mac 2007 with Big Sur and only USB-C ports ? I just saw on internet some adds and videos on "ClearClick Video to Digital Converter 2.0" which seems great because it runs without a computer, which reduces the risk, but there are so many videos on YouTube on the Roxio, Elgato, ... which pretend that they work well .!

 
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Lmri

macrumors newbie
Mar 18, 2021
4
1
After new tests on my Roxio VHS Converter for Mac it worked and I have obtained .mov files of a reasonably good quality. I still cannot figure out why it works on all the original camcorder tapes but not (the image freezes) when I try on the VHS cassette made by copying original camcorder tapes into a VHS cassette but, since it works now, this is no more an issue.

I have now digitized my tapes and I would like some advice on the best way to do the next steps. Since each tape contains various scenes, I would like to split each film into one film per scene and “clean” each scene by removing frames to be able to see the interesting parts independently and distribute these files in my family. I originally thought about using iMovie for this work but I find that iMovie seems a bit too sophisticated for this work and made to assemble parts of several films into one film whereas I want to do the opposite so it does not seem to be the right tool. From what I read, Quicktime player could be a solution. I would be interested to have some advice on the best tool to use for this work and also on the format to generate at the end (mov or mp4 files) so that they can be easily used by other people.
 
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