dvd from vcr

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by fjs08, Nov 26, 2003.

  1. fjs08 macrumors 65816

    Jun 25, 2003
    Is there a way to use my Powerbook with OSX (Panther) and the dvd burner that comes with it, to convert old vcr tapes of my kids into dvd's for better and longer preservation of the events???


  2. ftaok macrumors 603


    Jan 23, 2002
    East Coast
    There are a couple of different ways you can go with this. The first thing you should do is let everyone here know what kind of equipment you have (i.e. digital video camera, dv bridge, etc.)

    1. If you have a miniDV or Digital 8 camcorder, you could transfer the contents of your VCR tapes to the camcorder. Then you can inport the contents of your "new" digital footage into iMovie and then burn the DVD using iDVD.

    1a. Alternatively, you could use the camcorder as a "pass-through" and go from VCR -> camcorder -> iMovie.

    2. You could purchase a DV bridge that connects to your Mac's firewire port. It'll do the conversion from Analog signal to DV on the fly. These are usually compatible with iMovie. Look for the bridges by Formac, Canopus, or Dazzle. NOTE - Dazzle has been bought out by Pinnacle.

    3. There are several USB options for importing video. I think Belkin makes one. Basically, you hook up your VCR to the Belkin device and it imports the video as a Quicktime file. I'm not sure if it's a mpg or a mov file. Subsequently, you can import that file into iMovie. Just note that some mpg files will need to be "demuxed" before importing into iMovie.

    4. There is one other option that can create DVDs. The unit does the mpg conversion and then burns it to a DVD. The only problem is that you can't add special effects and stuff like that. I can't remember the product's name, but if you do a search for "VHS to DVD" or something like that, you'll get lots of good threads.

    Hope this helps.
  3. fjs08 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Jun 25, 2003

    Thanks for the note. Gee, these are old vcr tapes. I do have a newer, less than 1-2 years digital camcorder. I have, I think somewhere in a closet, an old camcorder that I used to record the vcr tapes, plus I have a couple of vcr players that hook up to the tv (which no one uses anymore with the advent of dvd's). Can I hook up the vcr to the digital camcorder and then to the mac???
    I'm going to reread your note, because the answer may be in there already. For me, it was a lot of info to digest<g>. I'm new to this stuff.

  4. ftaok macrumors 603


    Jan 23, 2002
    East Coast

    As long as your "newer" digital camcorder has what's called an A/V passthrough, you'll be able to transfer your VHS material to digital. Basically points 1 and 1a.

    For the record, which camcorder do you have? Make sure that it's compatible with iMovie (most are).
  5. colinet macrumors 6502

    Sep 5, 2003
    I've got the Dazzle on my G5 which I use with a Hi8 Sony. The quaklity is great WHEN it works. It's really temperamental and erratic. Don't touch the Dazzle.
  6. krimson macrumors 65816


    Oct 29, 2003
    Democratic People's Republic of Kalifornia
    there was a thread like this last week.. i dont remember where it is was posted, but there were a few additional suggestions in that one as well.
  7. jedolson macrumors newbie

    Nov 28, 2003
    analog to digital to dvd

    I am in the process of converting old 8mm analog video to dvd through the mac...some questions befor I invest in more gear to do it. I am thinking that rather than put $ in to a converter device I should buy a DV camera and use it as the interface/converter to the mac ...good way to go or no ?
    I have heard that due to the newness of dvd recorders their speed is reallllllllllyyyyy s l o w...and that it wwould be good to wait a while till the dvd writers move to higher speeds. True?
    It would be good to have an example from someone who has done this e.g. if I have a 1 hour tape that I dump to my g3 through a dv camera...then do some cut and paste, add some text save it and burn it to a dvd...is this a day long project or what? Assuming it was all edited and saved how long on a 2x dvd writer will 45 min of video take to record/burn. Also...how much hard drive space will 1 hour of video require ?
  8. Italchef macrumors 6502

    Nov 3, 2003
    Maple, Ontario
    I was on here a few weeks ago and asked the same question. The users here were more than helpful with their input and so I will share this with you. Here's the link to the thread and I hope that it works. If it doesn't, do a search under my user name and you'll see the thread link there. Let me how you get on as I haven't yet ventured there.


  9. fjs08 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Jun 25, 2003

    Thanks. The link worked. Loads of info.

    Thanks again.

  10. jedolson macrumors newbie

    Nov 28, 2003
    Video editing

    Thanks for the links and info...very helpful...also found help at the mac dv list:

    I am running a G3 and do not have the 2.0 USB. I am wondering if I should use a 2940 adaptec SCSI card (which I already have) and external SCSI drive (already have the enclosure) to do the Vid stuff on or is it better to go with a firewire attached external drive...not sure which would be faster...anyone done that math already ?
  11. tomf87 macrumors 65816


    Sep 10, 2003
    Re: Video editing

    That would depend on the 2940 card in question. I believe firewire would be faster than the 2940, although the hard drive in the enclosure may not be as fast. If the hard drive in the enclosure is slower than the 2940, then go SCSI.
  12. jedolson macrumors newbie

    Nov 28, 2003
    scsi vrs firewire for video edit drive

    Thanks Tomr ...I am a leetle bit confused ...lets restart. I have available a 2940W/2940UW PCI SCSI card...and I have an external enclosure. I would purchase a new SCSI drive for the enclosure. So...assuming the drive I bought was capable of running at the capabilities of the 2940 would that be a good - same as or better alternative than an external firewire drive...assuming the firewire is standard B&W G3 issue.

    I am assuming that the firewire that came on my G3 is faster than the USB.

    The issue is transfer rates...right? Since the write from G3 to drive is one of the actions that takes so much time I want to optimize that bottleneck...money is an issue also so using what I have (2940 and enclosure) would be best as long as it is in the same ballpark (speedwise) as the firewire alternative.

    Thanks for your input.
  13. drdarrow macrumors newbie

    Dec 2, 2003
    DV Camera is a better Digital Bridge

    About 25 days ago I bought a Dazzle DV-Bridge at Fry's for exactly this same purpose... copying all my old kid videos to something permanent before they go to analog heaven (the taped signals, not the kids).

    To my great disappointment, the Dazzle DV-bridge is unreliable. It did work beautifully when it worked, but "flawlessly" is necessary when you've got old tapes that you need to just "play to hard drive". The Bridge constantly and aggravatingly would just stop sending the video signal to my computer.

    I finally borrowed a friend's Sony DV-27 (or something with a 27 in it) digital camera. It has firewire in/out and an AV in/out for analog. you can use the same 1/8" AV input for all three signals (Video, and Right and Left audio) in or out... the camera "knows" which way you're going.)

    When you switch the camera to VCR mode and remove any tape in the camera, then turn on the menu and find the option that is something like "Pass A/V to DV out" or something like that (I am SO sorry I can't remember the actual words, but you'll find it), then when the AV 1/8" cable is plugged into the port, and the Firewire cable is connected to your Mac, any signal coming into the camera from, say, your VCR or old-school VHS full-size Camcorder simply shows up in iMovie, which switches to camera mode automatically upon receiving the signal. At your whim, you can ht the space bar or click "Import" to record segments or everything to your hard drive -- even rewind or ff when playing! No matter how bad your old VHS tape is, it will be converted on the fly to digital on your hard drive. (Alternately, you can have a tape in and record it to the DV camera tape for later dumping to the hard drive in total or in segments, but it doesn't pass the signal through while recording to tape).

    As the VCR tape plays to the hard drive, iMovie3 will break it into 10 minute segements and place them on the clips panel, or the timeline/movie panel (prefs in iMovie). 9:28:01 to be exact.

    You can then edit them (taking out overly long shots, etc) and make nicer transitions, add a bed of music to tie it together, and do nice fade-ins and outs, and titles! And then you can put a tape in and dump your new creation, sound and all, back to DV tape straight from the Mac's iMovie controls.

    Better: When you're done editing in iMovie, close it and open iDVD3 (worth the $50 price of iLife simply for the following reason): iDVD3 recognizes iMovie's resulting .mov file and prepares it for DVD burning following all the sound edits, volume adjustments and tranistions, etc., without having to Export to DV Stream first!

    In short, with a $400 - $600 camera as the bridge, you can play a VHS tape directly to your Mac (with firewire), edit it if you choose, and burn it to iDVD3 immediately after any editing, preserving it forever in a non-degrading digital form.

    I will take back my $200 bridge and instead buy a camera which does the same thing much better, and has the added benefit of BEING A GREAT CAMERA!

    BTW, using the VCR as a tuner, I can record anything the VCR is tuned to, as well. Since I have cable, I get very good, clean signals, and can record 60 minute shows, easily on my 120 GB hard drive. Edit the commercials out, and (Export to DV to create a audio adjusted full DV, /mov file) and you can burn decent VCD's with Roxio Toast (with a CD-bruner, not necessarily a DVD burner. I'd much rather have a shelf of 20 CDs than a shelf of 20 VHS tapes. And CD-COPY makes it a breeze to make copies for relatives and friends. With discs being about a dime (in quantity) you afford to make archival copies for yourself, too.

    DVD copies are better, by far, and you can make cool menus and stuff, and this can be done with the right equipment.

    How much are your memories worth?
  14. lexxel macrumors newbie

    Dec 6, 2003
    vhs to dvd

    Helo everyone!
    It is great explanation about this task, thanks guys.
    I just have a question about HD space.
    How much HD space it will take for approximately 2 hours movie, when transfer to HD is complete, before it will be ready to burn to DVD?
    and what is the cheapest DV Cam will do the job?
    Thanks in advance
  15. drdarrow macrumors newbie

    Dec 2, 2003
    How Much Hard Drive Space for 2-hour A/V to DV Video?

    According to this website it comes out to approx 3.6MB per second.

    3.6mb/sec = 261mb/minute = 12.96gb/hour = 25.92gb/2hrs.

    That's raw numbers.
    But then, you need to keep in mind that that does not include the room (unknown to me) needed on the same or startup drive (not sure which) to process and burn all the video remaining. And it also doesn't count other clips from elsewhere that you want to add, or transitions (which manufacture a given number of frames (30 per second) to create that transition). Even though a 2-second transition, such as a Cross Dissolve, "borrows" one second from each of the clips it joins, and doesn't add any time to the video, the borrowed segments remain on your hard drive, and now have a 2-second transition added (7.2mb more). In fact, any of the edited clips remain "full clips"--snipped parts are hidden, but on your hard drive unless you specifically throw away (permanently) the segments you don't need (which can be a time consuming proposition)

    My opinion: Don't get anything less than an 80 GB hard drive -- they aren't too very expensive anymore. (I just got a good deal on a 120GB Western Digital internal for $119 - $50 rebate = $69!) and it is almost filled, because I have a lot of transitions I actually want to burn to differnt compilations. I wish I had bought two!) In two years they'll come free in Alpha Bits, anyway, but I needed one now.
  16. drdarrow macrumors newbie

    Dec 2, 2003
    Cheapest Camera for A/V - Digital Pass-Through

    That's what I am currently researching. I don't need stuff like "built in image effects" etc. So I am searching Google with this search string looking for good cameras with few bells and whistles, good optics, good optical zoom, and low-light capabilities, and a/v-dv pass-through. (Is that asking too much)?

    I would appreciate any leads you find. Share your research here!

  17. lexxel macrumors newbie

    Dec 6, 2003
    Thanks a lot

    David, Thank you so much for info.
    If I will find some good deals for dv camera, will let you know.
    thanks again,
  18. drdarrow macrumors newbie

    Dec 2, 2003
    Cheap Cameras for VHS Bridge to DV and then DVD

    Don't take this as an endorsement or recommendation, but I bought a Canon ZR60 last week, and have been experimenting with it. I have nothing to compare it to, but it's doing the job much better than the Dazzle Bridge. The digital conversion ability is simple: Just set the menu selection to A/V -> DV = ON and the VCR signal shows up on your computer's DV editing software screen.

    You can get a current comparitive price list from Pricegrabber.com if you click here. At the time of this writing, delivered price [from a retailer with plenty of good reviews] to my zip code in CA is about $360 -- which is not bad considering the Dazzle Bridge was about $200 and doesn't record anything, has no lens, and--oh yeah--didn't work.

    I bought mine at a local Costco for $399, but it comes with a nice, padded Canon-emblazoned camera bag, a blank 60 minute tape, and an extra battery. I think the extra $40 I spent is more than covered in the extras. (Canon charges $80 for this extras kit).
  19. ftaok macrumors 603


    Jan 23, 2002
    East Coast
    Re: Cheap Cameras for VHS Bridge to DV and then DVD

    I think that the one thing that DV bridges have over camcorders with AV pass-through is that they aren't hindered by Macrovision.

    Let's say that you want to import something from a commercial DVD and use it in an iMovie project (not for profit - personal use - should be legal under fair use). With a DV bridge, you just hook up your DVD player to your DV bridge and viola!

    If you use your DV camera, I don't think you could hook up a DVD player and import into iMovie. I think that Macrovision would block that type of transfer.

    Someone correct me if I'm wrong.
  20. drdarrow macrumors newbie

    Dec 2, 2003
    I think there are other ways around that, like MacTheRipper for getting data off a DVD, and then newer versions of Toast and especially Toast with Jam, as I understand it will allow you to drag VOB (DVD Audio/Video) files to the "Make a DVD" window and then export the audio and video to a DV file.
  21. drdarrow macrumors newbie

    Dec 2, 2003
    BTW, I took the Canon back in about two weeks' time, and got a Sony TRV-38 instead, and have been very happy with it. I have converted many Analog (VHS) tapes to DV using it as a bridge, and have recorded TV shows, like the Olympics Gymnastics events right into iMovie for removing commercials and cutaways, and from there to iDVD, with chapters. Awesome.

    To record TV shows, use your VCR as a tuner, and connect your special 3-tipped AV IN/OUT cable to the Camera > AV/IN and the other end of the cable's three RCA jacks (Red, White and Yellow) to your VCR's OUT. Make sure the Camera's menu setting for AV Pass-through is turned on (wording will differ from model to model). Connect the camera to the Mac using Firewire, then fire up iMovie. Switch iMovie to Camera mode, and you'll see the TV show playing on your Mac. Click IMPORT (or hit the space bar) whenever you want to record/not-record.

    Way too simple.

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