Capture VHS tape into iMovie?


macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 13, 2010
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.


macrumors 68000
Apr 22, 2003
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.


macrumors 6502a
Jul 17, 2013
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.
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macrumors Core
Jan 4, 2002
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.


macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 13, 2010
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. :-(


macrumors member
Jul 4, 2011
Lexington, Ky.
Got this a few years ago:

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.


macrumors 65816
Mar 16, 2011
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 ...


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