VHS to DVD? Mini DV camcorder with pass through?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by boxlight, Jun 24, 2008.

  1. boxlight macrumors member

    Oct 15, 2006

    My wife and her mom have a bunch of home movies on VHS they want converted to DVD.

    I went looking for a Mini DV camcorder with analog-to-digital pass through or at the very least a video-in so I can play the VCR and record on the cam. But none of the entry level (or next to entry level) cams seem to have that. (I looked primarily at Sony and Canon).

    Can anyone suggest a cam that can do what I need? Alternately, what do I need to play my videos into my Mac and record there? Would one of those EyeTV tuners work?

    Thanks, box
  2. Michael CM1 macrumors 603

    Feb 4, 2008
    Man, you thought of something way more complicated than I could ever dream of! :)

    The EyeTV Hybrid looks like what you'll need. I have a similar piece of hardware that is basically a box with RCA inputs and a DV output. With that EyeTV unit, looks like you'll just need a VCR with a coax output (which I think all of them have) and you're golden. You plug everything up, get your tape ready in the VCR, open iMovie, select the video input source, and then start playing the tape. I know I didn't thoroughly explain everything, but it's really not too difficult.
  3. Dimwhit macrumors 68000


    Apr 10, 2007
  4. CaptainChunk macrumors 68020


    Apr 16, 2008
    Phoenix, AZ
    For the price of an entry-level camcorder, you can get a Canopus ADVC110, which will take analog A/V in from your VCR and convert it to DV over Firewire. They work great.
  5. boxlight thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 15, 2006
    Thanks for the suggestions, everyone.

    Just for the record, the reason I was thinking about something like a camcorder or an EyeTV tuner is that if I bought a simple analog-to-digital converter, after the VHS tapes are copied it'll sit there useless to me. Whereas the camcorder or EyeTV is something I can continue to use.

    I may try the EyeTV route -- does anyone know if there's much difference between the EyeTV Hybrid and the EyeTV 250?

    Thanks again.
  6. Randor macrumors newbie

    Feb 27, 2008
    Vancouver, Canada
    I have a Canopus ADVC-100 which does an excellent job of importing analog video over firewire to a PC or mac. It also adds SMPTE timecode to your video as well, so the clip behaves just like native digital video as far as your editor is concerned.

    Another thing I was very impressed with is how it handles breakup on the source videotape. If your original VHS tape loses sync because something was crash-recorded on top of something else, or there is just blank tape being captured, the ADVC box generates fresh, clean video with good timecode. It clip still looks all broken up on the captured clip, but it still loads properly into your editor.

    Apparently the ADVC-110 can generate colorbars and tone to record back onto your VHS deck and then re-capture into FCP to setup your waveform monitor and vectorscope. A lot of people don't know about this technique and how much it can clean up old videotape, or even how to use colorbars to calibrate your preview monitor.

    Hope this helps

  7. ftaok macrumors 603


    Jan 23, 2002
    East Coast
    Excellent point. If a DV bridge will go unused after transferring, then that's $$ down the drain.

    The 250 has hardware encoding, so you could use it with a lesser Mac. It's also a little pricier. Both of these include an A/V dongle, so you can use the Composite or S-Video output from your VCR. Keep in mind that the EyeTV uses MPEG-2 (and I think MPEG-4).

    I'm not really sure about this, but I don't think the MPEG-2 files from EyeTV are ready for DVD burning, meaning that you'd have to re-encode to MPEG-2/VOB files. You might want to look into that.

    Also, if you want to edit the VHS footage, you might want to stick with a miniDV (or HDV) camcorder. You'll retain maximum quality by using DV and it'll be easier to edit (using iMovie or Final Cut). Just make sure you have lots of Hard Drive space.

    One last option. If you're not interested in editing the footage, why not buy a VHS/DVD Recorder. Most of them can do direct VHS to DVD dubbing, plus you'd end up with an ATSC/QAM device to help get you ready for 2/09 (although the EyeTVs are also ATSC/QAM devices).

    Good luck!
  8. gdelprete macrumors newbie

    Jul 31, 2007
    Can you provide more information on the subject? I'm going to convert VHS tapes to digital video (most likely h264 since I don't need DVD playback) and would really like to be able to get most quality out of the conversion.

    Also, I'm going to do this work on a MacBook Pro 15'' with 2GB ram & 160gb 7200rpm internal hd. I'm wondering if my computer can sustain this job.

    I've also a 500gb external 800Mbps firewire disk, but don't know if I can use it while also grabbing via firewire. Will I encounter bandwidth problems?

  9. mkjj macrumors 6502a


    Jun 2, 2003
  10. Elwood42 macrumors newbie

    Jul 8, 2008
    that one does not support the analog pass through
  11. CMD is me macrumors 6502

    Dec 7, 2006
    I just replied to a similar post. I have a 2 yr old Sony HC90 which has A/V pass-through. It works great. I used it to import all my old 8mm video to iMovie for iDVD. It was $1200 2 yrs ago... or was it 3yrs? but you may be able to find a used one for not too much. Actually I'm upgrading to a HDV and may be getting rid of it -- too bad the marketplace forum here is closing next week!!
  12. mikeyPotg macrumors 6502

    Mar 20, 2006
    I can't recommend that enough. I have one for my students and we use it just about every day. There's also a trick to getting past copyright protection (for educational purposes, not for resale or anything!)

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