Ways of capturing VHS to computer?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by Cousin Dirk, Nov 3, 2008.

  1. Cousin Dirk macrumors 6502a

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    London, UK
    #1
    Hi all

    I'm currently looking at ways to capture VHS tapes onto my Mac, with an eye to burning them onto DVD as well as perhaps converting some for playback on my iPhone. This is an area where I have little experience, so I'm looking for your suggestions.

    Notes:

    I have a standard VHS player, with composite and S-Video outputs. I don't mind buying a FireWire VHS deck to replace it.
    I not only have the Mac listed in my forum signature, but also a dual core Power Mac G4 1.42GHz so I have the option of buying a capture card, if one exists in my price range.
    Some of the video may require editing, so I need to be able to import it into iMovie or Final Cut Express.
    I want to avoid losing any quality on the video, if possible.
    Ideally, the budget should be no more than £100 - I'm not looking for a £1,000 capture card here!

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. -DH macrumors 65816

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    #2
    You'll need a DV device (DV camcorder, VTR or converter) to convert the VHS player's analog video and audio signals to Firewire. A capture card would also work but would probably be above your budget. Most DV camcorders can serve as a converter so if you have one already you should be good to go. If not, the Canopus ADVC110 works well ... the ADVC300 works better since it has a built-in TBC which can help stabilize timing errors that occur during analog tape playback.

    -DH
     
  3. Cousin Dirk thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #3
    Thanks for that, DH, however the ADVC110 is about double my current budget (and appears to have a somewhat limited availability).
     
  4. bananabar macrumors regular

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    Sep 10, 2008
    #4
    I borrowed a friend's DVD recorder, recorded the VHS to DVD and then used HandBrake to get it into the computer. Long winded, but free.
     
  5. notjustjay macrumors 603

    notjustjay

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    #5
    Easiest option is to buy or borrow a miniDV camcorder. Connect the output from your VCR to the A/V input on the camcorder, and then connect the camcorder to the computer via Firewire. Most camcorders should have real-time pass-through capability so that when you play a tape on the VCR it will be converted to DV at the same time, and you can import this directly into iMovie. Worst case if it doesn't have real-time passthrough capability you would put a miniDV tape into the camcorder and copy the VHS tape, then rewind and play it again to import it into the computer.
     
  6. -DH macrumors 65816

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    #6
    A great way if you like extra work and maximum quality loss. Your workflow compress the video twice ... what a waste of time and effort.

    -DH
     
  7. Chaos123x macrumors 68000

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    #7
    I also use the ADVC110 for analog video.

    Not sure what other GOOD solutions unless you have a DV camera with inputs.
     
  8. bananabar macrumors regular

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    #8
    How incredibly rude. I didn't say it was the ideal way, I just replied to the OP's request for suggestions and gave him a free option.
     
  9. ftaok macrumors 603

    ftaok

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    #9
    Since you have s-video outputs, I would suggest the Canopus 110 since it has s-video inputs. However, you've already indicated that it's out of your price budget.

    Next option would be to buy a used miniDV camcorder. Newer ones that have A/D pass-thru are typically limited to composite. Older ones had s-video inputs.

    If you're luck, you might find one that has a broken tape mechanism, but still works for A/D conversions.

    I have a Canon Elura 100 and it works great for converting analog stuff to DV, but alas it's limited to composite.

    If you want s-video, look for an older Canon ZR unit. I think the ZR-25 has/had s-video, but I'm not sure.

    ft
     
  10. XnavxeMiyyep macrumors 65816

    XnavxeMiyyep

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    #10
    Maybe try a TV tuner. I use an EyeTV to get video onto my computer. Not sure how much quality loss there is, but it costs less than $200 US.
     
  11. Cousin Dirk thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #11
    How does the Pinnacle Video Capture stand in the video capture stakes?

    Also, can anyone confirm if the Canopus ADVC-110 is even still available? Most of the websites on my price searching list it as no longer available or out of stock...

    Thanks for the responses thus far!
     
  12. Moof1904 macrumors 65816

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    #12
    Rude and incorrect. Yes, he is technically compressing the video twice but in this real-world application it's not really relevant.

    1) Considering the quality of the VHS source material, using a relatively inexpensive set-top box to burn 1 hour per DVD will not appreciably degrade the video beyond the limitations of the starting material. Any loss of quality will be so subtle as to be not worthy of mention.
    2) Doing so will result in a backup of the VHS material onto DVD, further safeguarding the video in a convenient format.
    3) Set-top VHS/DVD combo decks are very cheap and even easy to borrow.
    4) Dubbing VHS to DVD like this far less work than stringing cables, messing with a camcorder, or any other conversion headaches that involve a bunch of external hardware attached to the Mac.
    5) Ripping from Handbrake is fast and painless and results in very good quality.

    All in all, this is a pretty good way to achieve the desired result and depending on the quality of the original VHS footage, I think most people would have great difficulty telling the difference between this conversion method and one that's much more work and much more expensive.
     
  13. Chaos123x macrumors 68000

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    #14
    I bought my Canopus box at the Apple store it was only $90.


    EDIT:

    Thats weird it says it's like $250 everywhere now, I did buy it in early 2005 maybe it was cheaper back then.... or I was a lot whole richer back then, and just blew allot of money on something I only use like once a year to get stuff off 3/4 decks.
     
  14. Cousin Dirk thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #15
    That might actually do the trick - depending on its price in the UK when it comes out. Part of the problem is that some of these tapes (fortunately, only about 3) are a continuous 3- or 4-hour programme, which I do not want to split up, meaning I need to get them onto my computer and put them onto a dual-layer DVD.

    Did I also mention, I do have a lot of VHS tapes that I need to copy?
     
  15. Cousin Dirk thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #16
    Yeah, my Apple Store has it listed for £199.95 currently... and most other places that have it in the £150 region state "limited availability".

    I suppose, for the amount of capturing I need to do (especially as it is with an eye to throw out these old tapes for space reasons), it might be worth spending the extra cash (not that I really have the extra cash right now).
     
  16. notjustjay macrumors 603

    notjustjay

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    #17
    Is there a reason you're not interested in the miniDV camcorder approach? It would seem to be the most cost effective to me since, at the end of the day, you'll also have a camcorder.
     
  17. Cousin Dirk thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #18
    Simple - most decent camcorders are out of my budget, and I don't really do a hell of a lot of videoing anyway to warrant buying a camcorder (well I do some, but that's at work with a professional full-DV camera).

    Unless someone can recommend a decent camcorder for less than £200?
     
  18. notjustjay macrumors 603

    notjustjay

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    Canada, eh?
    #19
    Fair enough. I'd think £200 should be enough to buy a miniDV camcorder with pass-through conversion ability though. Especially if you're not planning to actually use it as a camcorder, then optics don't matter at all. Here in Canada I've seen clearout camcorders sell as low as $200-300, and one fellow on another forum bragged getting one clearance-priced at $90.

    I can't offer any model suggestions though (quite happy with my Sony VX2000, no plans to buy anything else for a long while!), but I'm sure someone can offer advice.

    Actually, now that I think of it, I have a number of VHS tapes that I should probably be converting too, while the VCR still works!
     
  19. bki122689 macrumors 6502

    bki122689

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    Sep 18, 2008
    #20
    ok this is simple just find a vhs player that has a firewire port and plug it into the computer and capture.
     
  20. ftaok macrumors 603

    ftaok

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    #21
    Was this intended as a joke? There are very few VHS decks that have Firewire. D-VHS decks do have Firewire, but I'm not sure if they are compatible with iMovie or other Mac-based Firewire capture software.
     
  21. jbsteven macrumors newbie

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    Oct 6, 2008
    #22
    I recently had this same issue and after ALOT of discussion and a fair amount of research I found the easiest approach was to purchase the Canopus 110. They are still available and I believe the cost was about two hundred dollars.
     

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