VHS Tapes & iMovie

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by fred44, Apr 23, 2008.

  1. fred44 macrumors newbie

    Apr 18, 2008
    San Francisco
    Is it feasible (technically possible?) to transfer VHS tapes to iMovie by first connecting VCR to a digicam and making MiniDV and then inputting from MiniDV into iMovie? thx
  2. Barry N macrumors member

    Barry N

    Dec 26, 2007
    Sounds logical. Don't forget that by doing this you will loose a generation and the video will be degraded. Give it a try,and let us know.
  3. davidjearly macrumors 68020


    Sep 21, 2006
    Glasgow, Scotland
    If you mean camcorder, then yes, that is feasible. This depends on whether the camcorder has DV in capabilities or not.

    If your Mini DV camcorder does indeed have DV in capabilities, all you will need is a VCR with composite + phono (scart) or s-video cables and a firewire cable (typically 4 to 6 pin).

    Once you have all the equipment connected together, iMovie should recognise the camcorder and be able to record the contents of the VHS tape directly onto your Mac's hard disk in DV format.

    If you have the correct equipment, this is an incredibly simple thing to do.

    Here are a few useful links: 1, 2, 3.

    Not at all. Recording onto the Mac via DV as I outlined above will not lose any quality from a VHS cassette, as the output will be an uncompressed (DV) digital file.

  4. killmoms macrumors 68040


    Jun 23, 2003
    Washington, DC
    Not really. VHS is already so much lower quality than DV that you will notice very little in the way of loss.

    In any case, my only worry would be that iMovie doesn't support timecode-less capture? Can you do a "Capture Now" equivalent? (Can you tell I've used Final Cut Pro for the last 5 years? :D)
  5. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    That's actually the best why to do it. Most digicams have a "passthough" feature where the analog input is passed on to the firewire output. But iI think it is worth the extra time to place a tape in the DV camcorder and make a backup. I transfered a lot of analog tape that way.

    No, the bottle neck in terms of image quality is the source VHS tape. The DV camcorder is so much better that it will record every small defect in the VHS. After the data is in DV format there is no more generational loss.
  6. ftaok macrumors 603


    Jan 23, 2002
    East Coast
    I don't think it really matters since the timecode will be supplied by the miniDV camcorder ... right?

    I know that I've imported stuff from my VCR through my miniDV camcorder into iMovie (both '08 and HD) and there were no issues. In fact, I use my miniDV camcorder to import footage from my Sony DVR as well.

    To the OP, one thing you have to think about is Macrovision. If you're trying to import commercial VHS tapes, it probably won't work (at least without a SIMA device). You'll get a blue screen.


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