Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by JamesOK, Jun 24, 2012.

  1. JamesOK macrumors member

    Mar 18, 2012
    Ordered a new MacBook pro retina and I'm planning on converting my old VCR tapes to DVD and/or Mp4 format. What hardware (Besides a VCR) and software am I going to have to get?
  2. SDAVE macrumors 68040


    Jun 16, 2007
    I would recommend MP4 as it's the future. You can always go to DVD and then RIP to have files on demand, but that's up to you. That process also recompresses footage, but that's not really an issue since VHS is already a pretty bad format to begin with.

    Few things to note about VHS.

    1. It's analog and unstable, so you need a good VHS player with a time base corrector to stabilize the footage.

    2. It has dirty edges outside of the frame, so you need to crop it somehow if you are going to go to MP4 so you can have clean edges. You will definitely need something like Premiere Pro to do this.

    3. You will need something like the Intensity Shuttle for Thunderbolt to capture via Composite cables (RCA).

    The Decklink cards come with their own capture software and it's fairly easy to use. You can use the MJPEG codec to start with then convert to whatever format you want, or create DVD's out of them.

    I mention MP4 (4:3, non widescreen) because it's easier to store on hard drives and copy around. DVD is still a good format for archiving, but if it was me, I would do MP4. You can always go from MP4 > DVD, but make sure your MP4s are of the highest quality possible, but you can still save space and use higher compression/lower datarates since VHS is a fairly terrible format already.
  3. JamesOK thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 18, 2012
    Really appreciate the advice! I'll go the mp4 route.
  4. MacPest macrumors newbie

    Mar 4, 2012
    Intensity shuttle

    Have you had any luck with the Intensity shuttle? I have one and have nearly lost my mind trying to make it useful. If you do have the Intensity, have you been able to get good results with the capture software that came with it? At this time my shuttle is on the scrap heap.
  5. SDAVE macrumors 68040


    Jun 16, 2007
    I've had the Intensity Pro for a while (the internal one)'s a fine card.

    I've used it professionally many many times.

    I've done some analog stuff with it a while back for home video transfers (for myself) and it was a good experience.

    What did you have trouble with? You should call Blackmagic. Their support is exceptional.

    You can use Premiere Pro or Final Cut Pro 7 (or X, it should work) to capture, but I've used the Black Magic capture software and it works fine.

    Like I mentioned earlier, if you have unstable analog footage, you will have issues. You might get just a blue capture if the analog footage is out of sync. You need a good VCR to play back. Something like this. I'm sure you can find it cheaper somewhere.
  6. BenClement1978, Jul 7, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2012

    BenClement1978 macrumors member


    Sep 10, 2011
    Antwerp Belgium
    I use a VHS player connected to a TV One Task™ 1T-TBC Time Base Corrector that is in turn connected to a Black Magic Intensity Pro card in my Mac Pro.

    that way i can use any working tape deck and correct the time base..

    Use the BM software to record and FinalCut X for the cropping, color balancing and editing.
  7. MacPest macrumors newbie

    Mar 4, 2012
    Thanks for the ideas, SDAVE. I have four VCRs hanging around the house and they probably have some, but not all, of the virtues of the one in the add. I will get in touch with Blackmagic again more than likely. I become obsessed with a problem and can't let it go to save my life.

    I can't have an internal card because I have an iMac 27" all in one. I'm going to see what I can do with a Matrox MX02 Mini (maybe MAX) because I've been advised that the Matrox has the time base corrector built in. More money but the experiments continue.

    The intensity shuttle getting a video from a Sony BluRay couldn't get a capture without dropped frames and that is with the help of tech support at Core Microsystems. Support was very patient and could see what was happening via the net. My husband was the one doing the work because I do not have the vocabulary needed to communicate about technical matters.

    My old editor was an antique Matrox X breakout box on a pc with XP and Premiere 7. For what I was doing the results were fine but the whole mess was unstable and had too many collapses for my husband to deal with on a daily basis. He thought that if he bought a Mac it would be able to read my mind and automatically provide what was needed. It doesn't quite work that way.
  8. monokakata macrumors 68000


    May 8, 2008
    Hilo, Hawai'i
    I've been pleased by the Blackmagic Video Recorder USB unit. It's easy to use, and the quality -- coming from a Panasonic AG1980 VCR -- is fine.
  9. KeithPratt macrumors 6502a

    Mar 6, 2007
    Were you trying to capture uncompressed HD to a single disk?

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