converting/editing VHS --> DVD

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Magna, Sep 11, 2006.

  1. Magna

    Magna Administrator

    This has never been discussed here (other than a quick stab at it back in 2004) and I've got a problem that needs resolving. Have a huge library of VHS music tapes (videos and live performances, made myself, no copyright issues or anti-copy protection) and would like to selectively assemble a collection of my favorite performances and burn to DVD. That is, I don't want to copy entire tapes, but "extract" a few cuts from each tape, shuffle the order around, and assemble them into however many DVD's it takes.

    As far as I know there are two ways of doing this:

    1) use various hardware video capture products (Plextor, Canopus, etc.), digitize the individual selections I want onto my hard drive, then use video-editing software to assemble them. Finally, burn to DVD. Unfortunately I don't have a Mac with that excellent program iMovie, but instead am stuck with the relatively crude Windows MovieMaker. If I remember right Pinnacle and ULead make video-editing software but I'd like it to be easy to use as all I really want is to assemble and maybe do some fade ins/out to clean things up. Nothing more, nothing complex.

    2) use a DVD-Recorder with a built-in hard drive. I understand these give you considerably more editing/assembling capability than the ones without hard drives (although the latter are fine for copying complete VHS tapes to DVD) but I don't have experience with either.

    If anyone has successfully done this please let me know what steps you would take and what products you would recommend. Thanks.
  2. Tums


    easiest is to copy everything over to DVD recorder with HD.
    then edit whatever at your leisure.
  3. nkhoi

    nkhoi Moderator

  4. Magna

    Magna Administrator

    Thanks guys for your suggestions. Was hoping that someone here at ET has successfully done this -- doesn't seem like converting VHS tapes to DVD would be that unusual.

    Seems the main advatage of using a DVD Recorder as opposed to a Digital Video Converter is storage on the Recorder's HD (hard drive), assuming you get one with a HD, instead of your computer's HD. Either way will digitize the VHS tapes. If the Recorder has a decent editing capability (allowing reorganization of the digitized files, ideally allowing simple fade in/outs) that would be a straightforward all-in-one solution. But if not, then probably would go the DVC route and then have to get some video editing software to deal with the digitized files on the computer HD.

    In other words, 2 key steps. First, digitizing the tapes (either with a DVD Recorder or a DVC, both hardware). Second, somehow edit on the DVD Recorder HD or, if used DVC instead, on the computer HD. Then, of course, there's the 3rd step of burning to DVD but that's the least of my worries. Before that I need to figure out the best way to digitize the tapes, then the best way to edit/organize those digitized files.

    Anyway, any other suggestions? Does anyone know links to DVD Recorder reviews or discussions? Seems like it could be a very useful gadget but I don't know the ins 'n outs of various models, what to look for, etc.
  5. Magna, have a look at Whenever I need to know how to get just about anything done with multimedia, that's the go-to source. Unbeatable breadth and depth of up-to-date info and expertise. (The ET of video? :p) You'll want to start with the "How To Guides" and "Lists" on the left. Then, if need be, browse and search the very active forum.

    Sure, for example, peruse their handy DVD Recorders list, with plenty of specs and comments. Epinions would be another source. I'm sure there're others.

    Personally, I've converted, assembled, edited and burned many a VHS tape to DVD, since the late 1990s. Using nothing but standalone Panasonic DMR-series DVD-RAM / DVD-R recorders, with great results for my needs, every time. Even though I got a Windows XP Media Center PC (with an S-VHS input, nice capture card, software bundle, remote control, etc.) shortly after those came out.

    Many others would swear by the hardware / software-based approach. The latter ultimately offers you more flexibility - things like customized menus, special effects, correcting any problems with your analog sources, etc. - but will likely require greater time commitment / technical involvement / degree of skill, on your part. As is often the case, there's no single "best" method... just like in trading, it all comes down to what fits you best. Have fun!
  6. Magna

    Magna Administrator

    Thank you late apex, very helpful and much appreciated. If anyone else has experience converting VHS to DVD please feel free to throw in your 2¢.
  7. abruzzo9


    1. Buy an internal dvd burner for your computer if you dont alread have one. I recommend this one:

    2. Buy a video capture card. Something like this:
    If you want to go all out on this one, I would get the Hauppauge PVR-350, its pretty much the best you can get:

    3. Get this software:

    4. Hook up your vcr to the capture card and capture your selected clips and then burn to dvd with nero vision.

    Nero Vision is a great, easy to use solution, there are higher quality options but they require alot more time and expertise.
  8. Tums


    the new DVR-HD is a lot more price effective.
    (and more convenient too)

    but watch out for new tech... the 1080 compatible DVR-HD are coming.
  9. abruzzo9


    I agree, although I might wait a bit till there is a price drop. However, considering his source is VHS, converting to DVD-HD would really have no quality jump over DVD....the quality will always be VHS.
    #10     Sep 13, 2006