How much to charge for VHS to DVD?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by katie ta achoo, Jul 7, 2005.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. katie ta achoo macrumors G3

    May 2, 2005
    My mom wants me to convert all our home movies to DVD. (NO! I'm not charging her! haha) So, I found a video converter that I think will work. I was a little shocked by the price and immediately thought to myself: "I could start me a little VHS to DVD business! Rock on!"

    The little venture will be tax free (muahahaha, I'm a minor and will request to be paid in cash.. Sshhh..) and will (hopefully) pay for the converter and my trip to vienna.

    One thing is.. I HAVE NO IDEA WHATSOEVER of how much to charge per hour!

    I was thinking $30 for the first hour and $10 for every hour after that (rounding up to the nearest 1/2 hour). I just made up this amount, and I want to know if it sounds OK.

    Anyone have any ideas of how much I should charge? I'd also burn them a fancy little DVD in iDVD. Does that affect cost at all?
    Please help! :) :)

  2. absolut_mac macrumors 6502a


    Oct 30, 2003
    Dallas, Texas
    If I were you I would call up a couple of places in your area that specialize in video transfer/editing etc and get quotes from them. Price your services accordingly.

    I would also charge a little bit less for a straight video transfer, and more if it includes editing, and the most if it includes editing, adding titles and music etc.

    Good luck and let us know how it works out.
  3. katie ta achoo thread starter macrumors G3

    May 2, 2005

    Oooh, Groovy. Thanks. :) :)

    *crosses fingers*
    come on, neighbor with 300 hours of home movies on VHS. you know you want it all on DVD!!
  4. LethalWolfe macrumors G3


    Jan 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    To expand on that, I know 1 hour photo places are starting to offer VHS-to-DVD services so you'd probably want to call 'round to all the local 1 hour photo places (including places like Wal-Mart and drug stores that offer photo services) and see how much they are charging.

    Getting a stand alone/set-top DVD burner might be a better idea (especially if the customer just wants a straight DVD copy w/o custom menus or anything). A set-top burner can make the DVD in real time where as going VHS->Mac->DVD will take significantly longer. Just imagine if you get someone who has VHS in SLP mode so there is 6hrs of footage per tape. That's 6hrs of video to capture, 6hrs of video to encode to MPEG2 and 6hrs of video to burn (can iDVD even put 6hrs on a disc?).


    If places in you area already offer straight VHS->DVD xfers the hook you'll want to use is to offer what those places can't.
    Such as:
    Organizing the movies - if they have a bunch of tapes w/random stuff on them you could digitize all the tapes, edit it so like themes are together, and give them a DVD that has all the Xmas stuff, and another that has all the B-days, etc.,)

    Event videos - put together a video of photos and home movies for a b-day or some other special event. Obviously you would need a scanner, and be warned that scanning and manipulating dozens, if not hundreds, of someone else's pix can be mind-numbing, soul sucking work. But it can pay well 'cause it takes forever.

    Custom menus (don't tell anyone that yer just using pre-packaged themes that came w/iDVD).

    Just some stuff off the top of my head. :)

  5. OnceUGoMac macrumors 6502a


    Mar 3, 2004
    The real kicker is transferring my 16 mm films to dvd. That cost a lot of money.
  6. njmac macrumors 68000


    Jan 6, 2004
    On another note, because you are offering VHS to DVD transfers, its is a natural "extra service" in this kind of business to also offer to make a slideshow out of peoples photos. I know you need a scanner - but I bet if you start getting business, someone will inevitably ask if you can put their pictures on a DVD or make a slideshow too.

    Some common prices I've seen:

    VHS to DVD transfers: $10.00 - $20.00 for straight transfer, per hour, no menus.

    DVD with menus - $25 - $50.00

    DVD slideshows with music $50-$150.

    Pictures backed up to DVD - $.20 picture.
  7. katie ta achoo thread starter macrumors G3

    May 2, 2005

    I like your thinking (and price structure!) :)
    I already have a scanner, so I could expand my little cottage industry.

    Thanks y'all that responded. This is why MacRumors rocks! :) :)
  8. zap2 macrumors 604


    Mar 8, 2005
    Washington D.C

    ANd becuz im here :cool: :p
  9. puckhead193 macrumors G3


    May 25, 2004
    the sad thing is that its so easy to make a slideshow in imovie/iphoto/idvd....but we'll keep it on the low down
  10. katie ta achoo thread starter macrumors G3

    May 2, 2005

    Sshhh! Don't let the non-Mac users know! My cottage industry will fail if word gets out! :) :)
  11. Rod Rod macrumors 68020

    Rod Rod

    Sep 21, 2003
    Las Vegas, NV
    I recommend getting a cheap miniDV camcorder that has analog to digital pass-through. They're around the same price of those dedicated a-d video converters and of course they have the extra functionality of a basic camera AND they also give you the option of outputting at full (DV) quality out to tape (with iMovie or FCP/FCX, for example).

    Here are a couple of other products you might want to add to your wish-list, which could speed up your work:
    LaCie FastCoder a review of the FastCoder
    ADS Technologies USB Instant DVD for Mac currently $119 from This would be a good alternative to buying a set-top DVD recorder for straight VHS to DVD transfers.

    With either of the above products you'll need to use CaptyDVD (it comes with each of them) instead of iDVD, or you'll have to get DVD Studio Pro (maybe you can get version 1.5 for cheap somewhere). The big advantage is the encoding process will take way way less time using the above products compared to making your PowerBook do everything.
  12. AliensAreFuzzy macrumors 68000


    May 30, 2004
    Madison, WI
    That's why digital industry thrives: no one knows how easy it is to do some of this stuff.
  13. AliensAreFuzzy macrumors 68000


    May 30, 2004
    Madison, WI
    To answer the question you originally posted:
    I do that kind of stuff for people and they usually pay me about $30-40 for a single DVD straight transfer.
  14. Video_Producer macrumors newbie

    Jan 8, 2004
    Best Buy Dupe Ad

    The Sunday Best Buy store flyer in the Boston area has an ad for VHS to DVD trasfer $19.99 and a free second copy.

    Not sure if this is nationwide or not.

    Depending on you customer base I think you'll put too much wear and tear on your own gear to make any real money.


  15. rainman::|:| macrumors 603


    Feb 2, 2002
    Just on the subject of entrepreneurship, especially if you do wind up with a lot of video conversion services in your area, you have to set yourself apart with exceptional service. If you can pick up and deliver, it's a definite plus; make sure you're available to take calls (or return them promptly). In my experience, when consumers have a variety of services available, many won't have a problem working with younger people rather than companies-- but they won't stick around if you seem at all unprofessional. Good luck!
  16. katie ta achoo thread starter macrumors G3

    May 2, 2005

    Ah, without a car of my own, I'd get to bike to pick them up. Hehe.

    And I have experience selling stuff. I can speak professionally, yet still maintain my personality. That's something I learned from Fed Challenge. :)

    and WOW! I got a lot more on this thread than I thought I would. Y'all rock. #1092938 to love macrumors. :) :)
  17. sethypoo macrumors 68000

    Oct 8, 2003
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Katie ta achoo-

    My mom's been on my butt for a few weeks about doing this. What converter did you buy? Make and model number would be great. How do you like how yours works? Does it work?

  18. katie ta achoo thread starter macrumors G3

    May 2, 2005

    I got a MovieBox DV from Pinnacle systems.

    I know, I know, I felt dirty buying something that is regularly on QVC and HSN, I know. After a thorough scrubbing I felt better, haha!

    I walked into the Apple store, and although I called earlier and they put a Canopus AD-110 on hold for me, I got the one that was $120 cheaper (bad kt, BAD!)

    I think it works really well. It was a little stupid and hateful and I wanted to kill it at first, but I had the firewire plugged in on the wrong port. (OK, I didn't read the instruction manual, so kill me!)

    I import using iMovie, save as a disc image in iDVD and burn it whenever I get around to it. I made a test one, stuck it in the DVD player attached to the TV and it works really well. It has the same quality as the VHS did, but each playback doesn't make it worse. (Sweet, sweet DVD! Why weren't you around 100 years ago? ..oh yea.. lasers. My bad!)

    It works well, but oh geezum, REAL TIME IMPORTING! I curse you, VHS! (OK, I'm just really impatient. Heehee.)

    FedEx me the videos, and I'll do it for you (for a price, scroll up in the thread :) :) ). I promise I won't laugh at the Xmas 1993 video, when you were opening presents in your bunny Pajamas. :) :)

    long post summarized: Pinnacle MovieBox DV. Apple store. $200.
    BE SURE TO HAVE AN EXTERNAL HD!!!!! Each hour is about 9 gigs! ahh!
  19. pubwvj macrumors 68000


    Oct 1, 2004
    Mountains of Vermont
    One way to do this on the cheap is if you _already_have_ a DV camcorder then you can connect it to the VHS, turn those into DVtapes and then transfer that to the Mac with FireWire into iMove (el-cheapo, remember) and burn it out to DVD on your Mac if you have the right drive. Pretty easy and no costs.
  20. katie ta achoo thread starter macrumors G3

    May 2, 2005
    Our camcorder is a good 10 years old. We live in the past, but I'm always trying to bring us up to speed, hehe.

    Since there was no way, we'd upgrade (we don't use the camcorder enough to justify getting a new one, even tough new toys ROCK), the moviebox thing was for me.
  21. Mike6Foot macrumors newbie

    Feb 25, 2008
    I got a MovieBox DV from Pinnacle systems. . . .
    BE SURE TO HAVE AN EXTERNAL HD!!!!! Each hour is about 9 gigs!...

    I have a MovieBox DV (Used to use it on a Windows Machine--sorry!) and have captured a few things from my Dish Network DVR (I wish I could just copy the files instead, but haven't figured out how to do that).

    The problem I have is these huge files (like your 9gb/hr) and I'm wondering what is the best way to convert, save, shrink these files without losing quality.

    Can anyone help me on this? There must be some way to get them smaller and still have good quality. Right?

    I'm assuming that I have captured in NTSC: 720x480 @ 29.97fps, and I don't want to lose that. But I want the video to be able to go on DVD or just play it on my computer.

    Any helpful suggestions would be appreciated.
  22. mikeyPotg macrumors 6502

    Mar 20, 2006
    Teachers always bring by tapes to get xferred to DVD since I'm the "tv guy" and I have several VHS to DVD (& vice versa) decks. You just put the tape & disc in and press a button. Then finalize (very important)! Thats all there is to it. You can make very basic menus and even set it to create automatic chapters every ** minutes. I usually don't bother because its annoying without a keyboard.

    If you're looking for a media converter to connect to your computer, I HIGHLY recommend this:

    It's saved my butt several times and (not that I condone this) but it has a way to get around copyright protection. Sometimes a teacher brings in a VHS that has some sort of lock on it for copyright reasons (health/history movies), BUT since the school bought it for education and the original is either old or on the verge of breaking, they tell me its legal to copy... and I'm the new guy so I do as I'm told.
  23. Keebler macrumors 68030

    Jun 20, 2005
    As someone who is in this business, I highly suggest you research the entire video to transfer idea. it won't be just vhs you'll be asked to transfer for #1; #2 there is enough to know technology and understanding video wise you'll need to know in order to provide a quality product. ie. video stabilization; colour correction etc...etc...

    set top tape to dvd burners are terrible in quality. they generally offer 2 settings - 1 is full quality and the other is usually 50% quality. Plus, the menus included are cheap in both looks and functionality.

    Please understand I'm not trying to squash you b/c if you invest some money into quality equipment, it can be a good job for someone at home. There are plenty of tapes out there. Taking your own tapes and converting them is one thing, but taking someone else's family owe it to them to ensure you know what you're doing.

    good luck,

    the prices quoted are within the more than $22 per hour and I charge $5 per edit.

    Slideshows are easy to do as well and for good money although scanning photos properly is important to know before you offer this as well.
  24. highjumppudding macrumors 6502


    Mar 1, 2008
    My suggestion

    $10/hour of footage is a good deal.
  25. Nermal Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 7, 2002
    New Zealand
    As this thread is from 2005, I'm going to close it. Mike, I suggest that you re-ask your question in its own thread.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page