Importing VHS video with Mac Pro

quasar720

macrumors member
Original poster
Aug 11, 2004
45
0
Berkley, MI
My new 2.66Ghz Mac Pro with X1900 XT arrived today and I'm eager to get started on projects. One plan I have is to make digital backups of some of my old decaying VHS tapes from college and earlier. What is the best route for me to achieve this? I'm thinking that I will probably have to purchase some sort of capture card to get the VHS signal into the machine. I don't suppose the X1900 handles this natively right? Does anyone have any experience or suggestions?
 

iBookG4user

macrumors 604
Jun 27, 2006
6,596
2
Seattle, WA
I would suggest getting a VHS to DVD converter and then convert it that way and use handbrake to get the content onto the computer. I've used this method and it works well. I think the X1800 doesn't have that ability built in because I believe that is the All in wonder series of graphics card that handles things like that.
 

SMM

macrumors 65816
Sep 22, 2006
1,334
0
Tiger Mountain - WA State
Tapes from college? Maybe I should come give you a hand ;)

Actually, what you need is a way to convert analog video to digital. There are a few ways to do this. First, there are digital cameras which can take an analog input from your VCR (using RGB connectors), and then send it to the computers by way of FW400. Next, there are video capture cards which install in your PCI/PCI-X slots. These take a direct RGB analog input and convert it to digital. I have never used either method, as I use the third.

I have an external device which basically accomplishes the same thing as those described above. I bought it 3-4 years ago and it works exceptionally well. But, as you know, technology changes and better technology may exist. This particular device has an attachment which defeats Macrovision encoding. Since it could be considered a device which allows illegal copyright infringement, I am not including its' name. I do not use that feature either.
 

carbon14

macrumors newbie
Oct 4, 2006
9
0
Canada
I just did this on my Mac Pro (not old college tapes though:) )

Borrowed a Canopus ADVC-100 I bought for my Dad for his eMac.
(I don't think they make this model anymore).

This is an external box. Firewire connection, iMovie recognized it right away.
 

kered22

macrumors 6502
May 26, 2006
354
1
Torrance, CA
The Canopus box is a great little peripheral. :) I've imported some stuff through it (on the same MacPro, 2.66, X1900 and 2 GB of RAM) and haven't had any problems. There are some USB 2.0 DV boxes out there too if you'd prefer that interface.

If quality isn't too important, you can use something like the Interview which is just a little USB cable with an RCA composite connector. The audio has to be inputted through an RCA to mini jack connector. The maximum resolution is limited, but if you just a cheap, easy video import device, it works fine.
 

Spanky Deluxe

macrumors 601
Mar 17, 2005
4,853
359
London, UK
White & Nerdy said:
If the X1900XT has VIVO then it should be able to
It doesn't. :(

I'm planning on doing this in the near future. I've got a bucketload of old mini-VHS camcorder tapes from when I was a kid to convert - I need to do it soon since VHS tapes degrade and these are videos of when I was with a kid with my parents (who have since passed away), so they're priceless to me.
I've got an Elgato EyeTV Hybrid to watch Sky on my Mac Pro with and I've also got an old VHS machine that I found lying around. My plan is to hook it up, use a mini-VHS to VHS converter module I've got and import the video using the EyeTV Hybrid.
Although some of those dedicated video import gizmos are rather good, if you haven't already got one then I suggest you get a USB2 TV card such as the Hybrid to do the job for you and then you're left with a.. err... TV card for OS X which is more useful to the average joe than a video capture card.
 

asencif

macrumors 6502
Dec 21, 2005
323
0
EyeTV 200

I use an old EyeTV 200 to do this by connecting the VCR to it via S-Video and then use the software from EyeTV to import it. It usually imports it in it's own format, but comes with loads of options to convert it to. DV, Mpeg-4, iPod....etc...
 

quasar720

macrumors member
Original poster
Aug 11, 2004
45
0
Berkley, MI
Thanks for the great responses. I'll check out both of those solutions. My Mac Pro arrived last night so I am eager to get started!
 

kered22

macrumors 6502
May 26, 2006
354
1
Torrance, CA
Congrats, let us know how it works out.

BTW I just remembered that Jim Heid at MacWorld wrote a great article on converting VHS tapes to DVD in the June 2004 issue. I tried to find it online but it's not on the web site unfortunately. It's full of some great advice and tips, you might still be able to get the backissue or they might have it online, not sure.
 

JonasLondon

macrumors regular
Sep 25, 2006
131
0
London
Have a look at FORMAC Studio as well, that worked fine for me. Converts all kinds of stuff really easy. Just hook up your VCR, Hi8 or whatever else that eitehr has the Red/Black/White cable combo or SHVS output. Has Antenna as well, if you need to go through that way (some old VCRs use this I believe).

Good luck,
Jonas
 

quasar720

macrumors member
Original poster
Aug 11, 2004
45
0
Berkley, MI
So I'm finally getting ready to start this project, and I am trying to decide between two different devices: the Elgato EyeTV 250 Plus and the Canopus ADVC110.

I see that people seem to like the Canopus from earlier messages, I was wondering if there are any big advantages/disadvantages for either box? Obviously the Canopus is more expensive ($270 vs $200) but is it worth the premium to have Firewire? Are you getting a more high-end converter? I like the idea of being able to pull down HDTV to my mac with the Elgato unit but that's more of an afterthought at this point.

Also, the main idea is to have a quick and easy way to import the VHS tapes so I can edit them down with iMovie. I think either device will do this but I'm not sure if the Elgato unit will compress it more than necessary (it talks about a 'VHS Assistant' that you can use to send movies to iTunes.) I'm not doing any pro work here, this is basically old family video and some videos of my band from college, but I do want to be able to have full control of editing the video and sound once it's on my mac.

One other thing, I recently upgraded to Leopard so it would be interesting to hear if anyone has had compatibility problems...

Any suggestions or product comparisons would be most appreciated!
 

JesterJJZ

macrumors 68020
Jul 21, 2004
2,414
754
Hands down this will do the best job.

http://www.blackmagic-design.com/products/intensity/

Forget capturing to a DVD format like mpeg2 or even DV over firewire. With this you can capture over pretty much any analog connection and get the highest quality capture. Then you can archive in whatever format you prefer. This will also do HD if you ever plan on doing more with it.
 

Phantom Gremlin

macrumors regular
Feb 10, 2010
216
8
Tualatin, Oregon
Wow, this thread is ancient.

Beware of Macrovision style copy protection on VHS tapes. Some of the capture hardware enforces that. E.g. I think the Canopus ADVC-100 did, but it also had some undocumented cheats to bypass.

I'm surprised nobody mentioned the good old fashioned DVD recorder. I've used mine to transfer a number of files from my DirecTV TiVo DVR and am quite happy with the results. And it's fairly easy (if you accept the premise that operating typical Japanese consumer electronics boxes is "easy"). But certainly easier than most capture hardware and software that requires fiddling with capture control and processing software.