Videomaker – Learn video production and editing, camera reviews › Forums › General › Video and Film Discussion › VHS transfer method
- August 11, 2016 at 1:22 PM #90926miamivice25Member
What is the best way to transfer VHS video to DVD, Blu-ray and digital (computer) to preserve top video and sound quality?
Thanks in advance.
- August 12, 2016 at 9:36 AM #214372rs170aParticipant
Firewire capture into your computer, Use your NLE to clean up and build your desired delivery method.
- August 12, 2016 at 10:00 PM #214373JackWolcottParticipant
Buy an inexpensive Digital-8 camera on eBay. Go from your VHS player into the Digital-8 camera via SVHS, out of the camera into your computer via firewire, as Mike indicates. Passing the VHS signal through the Digital-8 camera digitizes it. It doesn’t matter whether or not the camera is in working order for taping; all it’s doing is creating a digital signal for your computer.
There are several dedicated devices on the market that will do the digital conversion, but the digital camera works very well at a third the cost.
- August 15, 2016 at 11:30 AM #214380miamivice25Member
Thank you gentlemen for your comments.. Now where would you recommend that I obtain the firewire component from? What should be my total expense for the methods above? Also what are your thoughts on buying a VHS to DVD combo and accomplishing the task this way? Thank you in advance.
- August 15, 2016 at 12:25 PM #214381ValenMember
Once you have transferred the VHS to your computer, what do you recommend doing to clean up the video in this HD world?
- August 15, 2016 at 12:28 PM #214382JosephParticipant
Why not use a VHS to USB converter? There are a wide variety of converters to choose from for under $50. Some even in the $10 range.
Just remember – it’s still VHS. Garbage in = garbage out. Your quality will never get better than your source.
- August 15, 2016 at 5:49 PM #214385mrveronnParticipant
Hey Miamivice, Jack’s suggestion is the most cost effective way to digitize the signal. You just need a 1394 compliant firewire adapter card (assuming you are using a desktop computer that has an empty/open slot) that will add the firewire capability to your computer to receive the signal from the digital8 camera.
I’ve tried two USB devices and doing a side by side comparison, the image from a Digital8 camera (or through a Canopus ADVC 110 or 330 capture box, or a Blackmagic Intensity Pro capture card) is clearly superior. I have owned and tried all four, and the Canopus ADVC 330 has a slight edge over the other firewire solutions, but it is slight.
Part of the advantage is if you have an SVHS output from your VHS player. That gives the signal the best start. If you just have a composite video output from your VHS player then the difference is not as noticeable between the USB and firewire solutions.
Less noise, better colour rendition, etc… The USB capture device is cheaper, and less cables to fiddle with…but if you want the best image possible, from an admittedly poor source, then the firewire capture devices give the best image.
The Canopus 330 device does a bit of noise reduction and Time Based Code (TBC) syncing and this gives the slight edge. If you have a high end VHS player, then you may already have these features helping to get the best signal from your tapes…if not then it is a consideration for your decision of which way to go…
- August 15, 2016 at 8:02 PM #214386TrevorParticipant
miamivice25 the best transfer method is to use a S-VHS player as the playback device. From here you can connect the player by S-Video get the cleanest analog signal from your tape, plus if your tape was recorded on a VHS or VHS-C camcorder or on a S-VHS deck in VHS mode, even one of the old vacuum-tube models of the late-70’s/early-80’s camcorders, the recorder recorded the signal as two seperate signals. Most people, if they dubbed from another VHS, Betamax or hi8, would use the yellow composite cable that mixed the signals and added noise to the signal (plus this is how most VHS-To-DVD recorder combo units transfer the VHS signal, not to mention the amount of compression that gets added to the signal). And using a yellow composite on a normal VHS or S-VHS VCR would just add noise.
The S-Video cable should be connected to an analog-to-digital converter or a Digital8/Mini-DV camcorder that goes into a computer by FireWire. I tend to use a Canopus ADVC-300 or 700 for VHS transfers. This way I can control how much compression is added to the final DVD.
And forget those VCR-To-USB/MP4 things at stores, they capture at low quality and very low bit rates. Sure VHS may not have the best picture quality, but when you capture a VHS at low bit rates, watch out for poor performance. Plus a number of them, especially with MP4’s do a poor job at de-interlacing.
Of course, depending on how many tapes you have, you might want to just send your tapes to someone, like me who already has the equipment, who can transfer to DVD or even just put the DV-AVI’s/DV-MOV’s on a hard drive that would allow you more freedom as to what you want.
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