copying VHS cassette to DVD

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by iaddict, Sep 13, 2008.

  1. iaddict macrumors 6502

    May 15, 2007
    Not sure if this is the correct forum to post this on, but here goes. I have lots of old movies that I bought when our kids were little. I was wondering if there was any way to copy them to my Mac and then burn them to a DVD or if there was any other way to do such a thing. It's really the only reason we haven't gotten rid of our VCR.
  2. plinden macrumors 68040


    Apr 8, 2004
    You can attach a VCR to something like the EyeTV Hybrid and copy to the hard drive. Remember the quality won't be any better than the tapes.
  3. iaddict thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 15, 2007
    EyeTV hybrid

    That runs approx $150. Is there a less expensive solution?
  4. thedarkhorse macrumors 6502a

    Sep 13, 2007
    the best and easiest way is to buy a home theater dvd recorder, some of them have VHS built in to them, if not you can hook a vcr up to normal dvd recorder. You should be able to find one for around $100 or even less if you shop around.
    It's pretty simple, play the VHS, hit record, when it's done you finalize the disc and you're good to go.

    Some of them have different quality settings, the one I had at my old job could go up to 8 hours on a standard DVD, although it loses quality.
  5. 11800506 macrumors 65816


    Oct 31, 2007
    Washington D.C. Area
    This is a bit of a work around method but if you have a DV Camcorder often times you can plug in the S-Video (if your VCR has them) or Composite (?) Cables from Video out on your VCR to the respective slots on your camcorder. Then look for a function called Capture or something similar (just fiddle around with the menus), play the video on your VCR and then capture it to the camcorder's media and let it run. Then just hook it up to your Mac and capture it using iMovie. Then in iMovie/iDVD you can burn it to a DVD.

    Most modern DV camcorders allow you to do this. I did it with my Sony MiniDV camcorder and it worked pretty well. If you don't have a DV camcorder I don't know what you can do though. Hope that helps.
  6. NeoMayhem macrumors 6502a

    Aug 22, 2003
    My Canon MiniDV also does this, but if you get a DVD recorder, it is at least twice as fast and better quality.
  7. Bugale Barnenez macrumors newbie

    Sep 14, 2008
    VHS to DVD

    First of all, just to cover my rear, the legal disclaimer... Old movies that were bought may still be in copyright, probably are, and as the copyright owner's lawyers point out constantly, we do not have the legal right to copy them without written permission.

    For material in public domain however, or your own copyright, that you want to transfer to DVD for private use because you don't have space for video cassettes any more, or because of the disappearance of VCRs from the marketplace... well, that's something for each to to judge for his/herself.

    That out of the way, this past year I have copied to DVD several old VHS cassettes. These are films of the family, or 25 year recordings from the TV of old news programmes and documentaries that we want to keep.

    This is how I do it. There are other ways and variations but this is my routine.

    1 - I connect the out-socket (peritel/scart) of the VCR (video player) to the in-socket (Peritel/scart) of our DVD recorder (which has a built in hard drive).

    2 - Start playing the cassette and press "record to hard drive" on the DVD recorder.
    We are now copying, analog to digital.

    3 - Stop recording when finished.

    4 - Recopy from the hard drive to a blank DVD.

    In total it is a slow process.
    In item 2 you are copying in real-time. A one hour documentary takes an hour to copy to the hard drive.

    Then in item 4 you have to recopy to a blank DVD.
    If your recording is less than about 1 hour 20 minutes you don't need compression so this re-writing time is about 10 minutes.
    But if you are copying something longer, say 2 hours, the DVD recorder will have to do all the compression calculations on each image to fit everything onto one single sided DVD. (assuming you don't want to pay the extra cash for double layer DVDs).
    Your 10 minute re-writing time can now stretch out to another hour or more.
    This is bearable if you are just making one DVD but if you want to make more than one copy (say one copy for everyone at the wedding), then each copy has to be compressed and you will be going to bed at 5 am.
    The simplest way of avoiding this is to put the first DVD copy into your Mac, and use Fairmount to extract the Video_TS file to your computer. Then use Toast's Video_TS function to make further copies using the DVD burner on your Mac. (About 10 minutes each because you are copying a precompressed version)

    I point out again what we all know and certainly abide by - copying should only be done when the material can be legally copied.
  8. iaddict thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 15, 2007

    Thanks everyone for the answers. Looks like I'll probably go the VHS to DVD recorder route. I appreciate the input.
  9. highjumppudding macrumors 6502


    Mar 1, 2008
    a pyro av link box or a dv or hdv camcorder with analog input will do the job. id recommend the camcorder solution because then all of your new home videos will be on the digital format.

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