Getting started with converting VHS to DVD (need a VCR too)

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by dummptyhummpty, May 16, 2009.

  1. dummptyhummpty macrumors regular

    May 4, 2005
    I'm planning to convert VHSs to DVDs for some extra money and need some advice on the best way to do this. It looks like most people are just using the RCA inputs on their TV tuners to capture. I also saw that one could use a DV camera in a similar fashion (my older Sony supports this). However, I don't own an extra VCR that I can use for this task. I've seen the ION Audio VCR2PC USB VCR for a good price and I was curious as to how good its quality is or if it would work for my goals. Am I better off finding a VCR and using a capture card?

    Also, I just want to confirm that I should not use iMovie '09 as it will deinterlace the video and reduce quality. Is this true? What [inexpensive] editing programs should I be looking at?


    I'm also considering record/tape conversion as well and I didn't know if I should make sure whatever route I go with supports that.
  2. huntercr macrumors 65816

    Jun 6, 2006

    I would go garage sale-ing.... You should be able to find a nice stereo output VCR for like $10. Or just ask around with your friends ( or their parents depending on your age ).

    Then I would use the passthrough on your Sony DV camera to output to firewire. Very clean and will get you much higher quality video than capturing from a tuner would ( in that it will be DV and not MPEGx )

    Use iMovie HD if you have it or any older version. If you use iMovie 08 or higher, I believe you can capture and work in the AIC codec to avoid the deinterlacing problem. Swear I just read that as a workaround.

    Good luck!
  3. dummptyhummpty thread starter macrumors regular

    May 4, 2005
    Great, I actually think my g/f might have a spare VCR I can use. If I have to go looking for one, is there anything specific I need to look for, or are they all the same?

    As to iMovie, great i'll look for the AIC codec. Thanks!
  4. huntercr macrumors 65816

    Jun 6, 2006
    Re: VCR... don't buy anything that looks like a behemoth. If you can't lift it with one hand, avoid it. :)

    I'd look for one made later than say 1990 with stereo audio output with RCA "A/V" jacks. These RCA output jacks are a requirement for you since That's what you're sony camera is going to want for input. ( odds are it came with an RCA to 1/8th of an inch adapter , check the manual if you still have it ).

    There are plenty of higher quality VCRs out there, but if you're just transferring home movies, there will be little difference in quality between different late model VCRs. If you're goin gto charge real money for this, you're going to want to make sure the VCR is in very good shape.

    Re: AIC. The AIC codec ( Apple Intermediate Codec ) comes with imovie 08, so you don't have to look for it, per se, just use that codec when you export.

    Also remember to set your video resolution to standard SD ( NTSC 29.97fps )

    Since you're wanting to do this for money, you might consider buying a 2nd VCR as a backup in case one of them dies.

    If I were you I would do the first couple of jobs for free for people until you perfect your workflow.

    Good luck

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