HELP: VHS to DVD/iMovie/ETC

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by nesuser2, Jul 27, 2010.

  1. nesuser2 macrumors 6502

    nesuser2

    Joined:
    May 15, 2004
    Location:
    NW Ohio
    #1
    I have a stack of VHS tapes which I'm sure won't end as family members catch word of what i'm doing but I am trying to be selective. Some tapes don't have a ton of content but I want to go through them and see what I can archive. From what I recall..none of them are storebough tapes, all recorded content of childhood memories or memories from tv when I was growing up.

    I need to cleanup this mess and quick. I'm an imovie n00b and the same applies for idvd(not much to know about idvd though..IMO). I'm curious if anybody has been through this process to say my best actions for retaining quality. I have an old vcr, an old goldstar 8mm/vcr, and a panasonic minidv player(has firewire out/passthrough, which is how i get everything into imovie), and a panasonic dvd recorder. From my experiences...I need more experience with imovie :)

    I guess I am looking for the quickest game plan to clean up my stack of dvd's. I can dub them directly to dvd's(2 hr or highest quality) and mess with importing those clips later or I can play with importing them all at once. On some of the clips of peewee football I'd like to compile them onto dvd's with menu's and whatever else to make them nicer, all in due time or should I figure out how to do it all into imovie now.

    My primary concern is the length of time it takes to get them into imovie and how much space it gobbles up where I can burn up a stack of dvd's and at least have it all archived to come back to later or even take on the road with me since dvd's are a little more luggage friendly(and the player!).

    All input welcome..i've been pushing these tapes around for quite some time..might be time to act on it!
     
  2. nesuser2 thread starter macrumors 6502

    nesuser2

    Joined:
    May 15, 2004
    Location:
    NW Ohio
    #2
    also worth noting, I've looked at buying final cut studio to play with slideshows but i'm guessing there is more learning curve involved here than my schedule would permit immediately but if FCS is the best way to go, then please say so!
     
  3. Dave Braine macrumors 68040

    Dave Braine

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2008
    Location:
    Warrington, UK
    #3
    I know that with a miniDV camcorder you can make a Magic DVD where iDVD automatically imports and then burns a DVD. But, that's with a 1 hour miniDV tape, so I think you'll have to go via the iMovie route.

    You can only import in real time, ie a 1 hour video will take 1 hour to import. Also, it will import from the miniDV player as DV format and that takes up about 12-15Gb per hour of video.
     
  4. nesuser2 thread starter macrumors 6502

    nesuser2

    Joined:
    May 15, 2004
    Location:
    NW Ohio
    #4
    i think the biggest concern with everything is the 12-15gb per hour...which means I can't really just archive it all. I need to import each one and do what I need to do with it to compile that one project/dvd so it becomes more of a "right now" type project in terms of sorting and organizing tapes and content. Could prove interesting!
     
  5. mstrze macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2009
    #5
    Shell out $100 for an external HDD...you might find a 1.5TB drive for that much. buy.com always has good deals.

    I bought a 1.5 TB that I am currently using to archive all of my MiniDV tapes (about 40 of them).

    DO NOT do this as a 'right now' project...you will drive yourself crazy. PLUS, having this video stored on a drive will give you a backup in case you DVDs go belly up at some point. Files on the HD can easily be transferred to another HDD in the future too, so continual backing up of this data will be easier in the future. :)
     
  6. nesuser2 thread starter macrumors 6502

    nesuser2

    Joined:
    May 15, 2004
    Location:
    NW Ohio
    #6
    I will see how many tapes I've got..I'm thinking around 20 vhs and maybe 5-10 8mm tapes. Does anybody have any input on how much quality I would lose if I dubbed them directly to dvd and worked from a stack of dvds. Obviously dvd's can go bad but I figure if I store them properly and stay away from bargain bin dvd's I can at least attempt to stay clear from dvd related issues. I've only had a few go bad on me over the years and it was always related to a dying burner.
     
  7. mstrze macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2009
    #7
    I'd still say store this on hard drives... it avoids a whole host of issues, the number one being the ability to not need to do this project all at once.

    You can upload all the video and store it on your external, then burn copies of the various movies onto DVD at your leisure...OR export the file in any number of formats.

    Burning these items to DVD, there will be some loss as there is compression required. True, it's not going to be all that much, but if you go to and from DVD a 2-3 generations with an original VHS source, you may start to encounter these problems down the road from encodeing and re-encoding.

    With having all of your files stored on a drive, they will maintain their original source encoding and you won't ever need to pull them off a DVD and possibly re-encode them to work with a given movie editing program.

    Plus the BIG thing that you are not even considering at this point is the very good liklihood that 10-15 years hence, finding an optical drive that plays DVDs may be difficult. Your data on the hard drive, assuming you back it up every couple of years, can last forever.

    Again, an external that will do the job for you can EASILY be had for 70-80 bucks (500GB...just found one on buy.com for less than $60!). It will make the job a whole lot easier in the long run...meaning you will NEVER have to go through importing this info again in the future...just pull what you need off the drive.
     
  8. dba7dba macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2008
    Location:
    Near Apple
    #8
    In order to accomplish your goal, you will really need an EXTERNAL Hard drive (preferably Firewire 800 but USB works).

    There are many many advantages with using external HD to store video archives over DVD.

    Pros of HD
    • You can view differetn video files quickly without swapping dvds.
    • You will have to move the files onto new/better media eventually. With DVD, you have to sit there and swap DVD in and out to accomplish it. With an external HD, you drag and drop the files and walk away to do other stuff.

    You just have to spend $100 and get that 1TB external HD.
     
  9. mstrze macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2009
    #9
    Specifically, you won't notice much quality loss at the highest level of 'burning' i.e., the one-hour recording level. The more data you try to record on a DVD with a home theater burner, the greater the compression. Personally, I am fine with the 2-hr compression, but anything longer than this tends to look fuzzy to me. I made a 6-hr DVD recording of a straight 6-hr VHS tape and the results were unacceptable to me on a SD TV...prob going to be much more visible and disappointing on an HDTV.

    Recoding these through iMovie directly to a hard drive means no compression in a broad sense and a generally a 'what you see is what you get' outcome.
     
  10. Mac'nCheese macrumors 68030

    Mac'nCheese

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2010
    #10
    I did the same type of project last year. I bought a Toshiba DVR610 1080p Upconverting Tunerless VHS DVD Recorder for 170 bucks and slowly went through my tape collection, burning what I wanted to dvds. As for quality, I didn't seem to lose much, however, watching the videos first, showed me how bad the quality on my tapes was to begin with. The dvds kept that poor quality but at least its easier to store and save some dvds then those old bulky tapes. Plus, its so much easier to pop it into my mac, and edit some old footage into some new imovies.
     
  11. nesuser2 thread starter macrumors 6502

    nesuser2

    Joined:
    May 15, 2004
    Location:
    NW Ohio
    #11
    kind of my thoughts but we will see. I just counted..34 tapes and 6+ 8mm's..(didn't want to dig into my neat mess too far!). We will see!
     
  12. mstrze macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2009
    #12
    Why are you so opposed to buying an external drive?

    It's obviously not money if you thought about buying FCE.
    :confused:
     
  13. nesuser2 thread starter macrumors 6502

    nesuser2

    Joined:
    May 15, 2004
    Location:
    NW Ohio
    #13
    I would consider the odds of an external hard drive dying to be much higher than losing data on a dvd that is properly stored. Could be because I do repairs for people and see a lot more hard drive failures than other people but I trust burnt discs before i trust moving parts. I don't have an endless budget...but the $100 isn't the issue. Though, I would feel too compelled to have to mirror that data elsewhere.

    ALSO, One dvd recorder I have used in the past allows me to throw the dvd in and import each chapter to imovie which should retain quite a bit of quality but who knows. No emergencies yet but ideas to toss around.

    I appreciate all the replies!
     
  14. mstrze macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2009
    #14
    I'm not really looking at that aspect necessarily, especially since for the size of your project , you can probably buy two 500GB externals for around 100-120 bucks....it doesn't seem to be a big deal. PLUS, you don't have to edit all the stuff now, you can easily burn copies for friends and family or upload to YouTube and share at your leisure.

    It's the process of backing up in AND, as I said...future-proofing your collection. Backing up the stuff on a drive will take maybe an hour or two. Backing up the DVD collection will take days. Wanting to view some of these files on DVD 10 years from now may take you hunting all around for an old DVD player while viewing it on a computer will take nothing more than clicking on the file stored within the system.

    It's like transferring old Super-8 film to VHS in the 80s...it may have been an OK idea at the time, but now some people don't even have access to a VHS player to watch those home movies. Plus tapes go bad over time...and so do burned DVDs despite your hopeful attitude.

    I mean, currently it's hard to argue against a future where everything is stored on a media server in your home (or in the cloud). If this is the case, you now have the prospect of once again going through all of your DVDs and loading them into your computer. Do it now, or do it later.

    And I take the opposing side here and say storing these on a backed-up external is far and away a more safer and saner prospect.
     
  15. nesuser2 thread starter macrumors 6502

    nesuser2

    Joined:
    May 15, 2004
    Location:
    NW Ohio
    #15
    Then I think the thing I need to look at is picking up some externals for starters. And what is the best way to do it that isn't storing the dv files. Even at 12gb per hour...that gets me 41 hours on a 500g drive in comparison to my 34vhs tapes and 6x8mm...that gets me an hour off each one which could be a little short since we know how much one of those old vhs can hold, not that I will want all the content. Is there any way other than dv to store that info? I don't want to encode a bunch because as i've seen and as it's been mentioned, one or two encodings and you will start to see the quality fall drastically.

    Thanks for your input!
     
  16. mstrze macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2009
    #16
    I'm just storing it all as DV files on my external. I'll eventually go back in and free up some space by editing out the 'crap', but for you, encoding is going to be as bad as going to DVD and then importing and then export to DVD again. There will be some quality loss which you won't have if you just keep the DV files.
     

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