I am taking on a huge project for my family and I need your help. I have about 120 VHS tapes of home videos that my grandfather made ranging from around 1980 to 1997. They are of various quality. Basically the newer the better. I have been reading some forums on different tools to use.
I want to know what is the best and quickest way to get these converted to DVD? From what I have read I am thinking of going with a VCR that has a TBC built in and then capturing it using a standalone DVD recorder. I need to get this done by Christmas because I am going to give the DVD's as a gift to my family. I would like to have my dvd's with menus, but I don't know if the standalone recorders have that option. My first thoughts were to just use a vcr that I have and capturing it using my PC, but my time is limited and I know I'll have to make menu's, convert, edit etc.... all the video once its captured. That is why I just want to use a standalone.
So, what do you all recommend that I use to get this done. I have a budget of about 1000.00 for equipment. Quality is pretty important to me more than quickness, but I would like to do them as quick as possible without sacrificing the quality.
Here is an example of a set up I am looking up. Is this a good Idea? Your thought would be greatly appreciated.
1.Panasonic AG-1980 (possibly)
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I want to know what is the best and quickest way to get these converted to DVD?
Choose one or the other, not both. I'd choose the quickest method, as you're going to be pressed for time. Don't even consider converting that many tapes by Dec 25th. Trim it down to 30 tapes and work on those.
Identify and document the tapes you wish to use before even capturing.
You can use a program like ConvertXtoDVD which will make basic menus and will encode your material to DVDs for burning.
You're going to be spending time learning a lot of video processing techniques in a short amount of time. There are many ways to do the capturing and many opinions on the best way to do it. The Panasonic AG-1980 is $1000-$1500 alone. Have you considered capturing from a VCR to your computer? You'll probably need an external HD to store the material as you're working on it.
The Canopus ADVC300 is considered a very good quality capturing device with the major video enhancement technology built in:
Techmart sells them for $405
You're not going to want to hear this, but if you have to ask, you don't know enough to really be able to do anything but as quickly as possible and as easily as possible. You simply don't have the time and knowledge to do this kind of thing by Xmas in as good quality as possible because that would require recording to your PC and then re-encoding your videos on the PC to fit on DVD. I can't recommend this to you because, again, you wouldn't have posted your question if you knew how to do this.
Making menus for DVDs can be quite difficult and complicated depending on what you are using to create your DVDs. Use a DVD recorder. Most, if not all of them, offer limited menus for what you record to disc, but there's no ability to edit/change them.
I bought a Lite-On DVD recorder for my dad for Christmas last year and while it works very well and it's easy for him to use, be warned that some Lite-On models can only record mono sound and you may or may not care about that.
The Canpous is a great card for sure and I love Hauppauge cards, but it's almost November and I just don't see you coming to grips with all of this stuff in such a short period of time. It's VERY time consuming to get up to speed as a beginner if you want to record video to your PC. Depending on the card you use, it can sometimes take you several days to get the card working correctly if you've never done this before. You really don't have the time or experience to consider anything except using a DVD recorder.
(Sigh) The Jman speaketh the truth... With a DVD recorder, you could then save the material to your hard drive as MPEGs. Then use Womble Video Wizard DVD to add some simple transition effects and pretty decent DVD menus. That's probably the easiest and best app for your purposes. You might want to get an external hard drive to work on some of this stuff. A 500GB unit is only $150
120 tapes, assuming 2 hours a tape , 8 hours a day capturing is a month.... Do what Soopafresh suggests or better yet learn the process well, maybe make a few discs to hand out at Christmas, some for easter, some for another holiday, some for next Christmas. Personally if I was receiving such a gift that's what I would prefer, makes the enjoyment last longer. Many of those DVD's might go unwatched simply from overlaod...
There's going to be a lot of footage you're going to want to edit out, blank spaces, stuff that's really useless.
As far what to use for capture the VHS deck is probably the most important piece of equipment you will buy. Decide on a deck, the JVC models are good with the TBC/DNR. If you need additional analog equipment like a TBC which you might purchase it as you need it. You might want to check the restortion forum, there is many things you can do to greatly improve the quality of the video before you convert it to digital.
If you really want to do this before christmas a DVD recorder is proabaly the only way to go.
I have article here for getting started: www.nepadigital.com/analog-capture.php
I probably wasn't to clear about my experience or knowledge. I know alot about creating video, authoring, capturing, converting etc... on the PC especially with better quality video like from my dv camcorder or whatever. I can do all that. I'm not an expert but I do know my way around. Basically I dont know much about improving my vhs tapes before I capture them and I never have had a standalone dvd recorder or tbc. I just always used my computer cause it was cheapier.
I'm just wondering if the route of TBC/VCR to DVD Recorder is a good way to go and if there is other options to improve my vhs tapes. Even if I go the route of capture to PC I still want to have my VHS video improved or cleaned up.
I know that if I go to the PC Its going to take my a whole lot longer to get this done.
Also does any of the standalone recorders offer more than just basic menu creation
Thanks for the post so far
You can check manual for your camcorder if it can be used as capture device. I use my Sony DV camera to do this via Firewire connector.
You can insert TBC unit in between if you want.
For editing I use TMPGEnc Xpress. It has few filters to improve video and you can do all the cutting you want. It will export in Mpeg2 DVD compliant format.
However this is not a fast fix so for 120 tapes by Christmas ????, especially if you want half decent DVD.
For authoring DVD I would recommend DVD Lab, it will be worth for what you want to do, you can really make cool DVD with lots of options on menus and video.
Originally Posted by elia12978
Check around the other threads in that forum, there's a lot of good information there.
Again a lot of the anaolog equipment can perform small miracles but it takes time to learn how to use them, trying to improve VHS capture is somewhat of a art form. Futher clean up can be done by lightly applying software filters such a denoising. For this MPEG is not the ideal format to work with and its time consuming. You would know how long it can take to encode a single hour of DV to MPEG, you could just about double that by applying a single noise filter. the more filters you aplly the longer it takes
There really is no magic bullet for the time constraints you have. You can most certainly get decent results with a good VCR and DVD recorder assuming the tapes are in pretty good shape but not as good if you take the time to experiment with various other methods like software filtering.
If this is truely available, this is a great VCR for capturing old tapes:
I own the previous model, sr-v10u. It allowed me to convert old tapes that I'd given up on ever getting a good capture. Standalone TBCs may not correct the stability problems that these VCRs can. thecoalman's post hits the nail on the head. Aged, homeshot VHS footage can be very difficult to obtain good results from. 120 tapes is a major undertaking. Start off with the less precious footage to get your process down, and experiment a lot. Expect to get no more that 90 min. (most likely even less) on a standard DVD if quality is your goal. I'd be impressed if you could get more that 8 DVDs done by xmas that you personnally would be happy with. Good Luck!
PS. You didn't mention anything about how you are going to get your footage onto your computer. If you're lucky you can use your camcorder as a passthru. Otherwise you'll need a capture card or device such as the canopus. My Sony HC96 passthru is unacceptable, so I use a capture card.Usually long gone and forgotten
I, too, use the JVC -SR-10u and it is a great machine. i also bought a stabilizer box as well and it is in-stream goin to my PC thru my ATI All-In-Wonder 8500DV. Sometimes, believe it or not, turning off the TBC and using some of the other settings like Video Stabilizer (can't remember what the other one in the VCR's menu is that I use) will produce a better picture due to tracking issues with older tapes. The key is to experiment and make notes on what works.
A couple of tips for capturing old movies recorded from, say, TV. If they are in black & white, turn off the color on the capture card if that option is available. This makes for a much cleaner picture. I've found that if you can get the tracking right and the audio has a lot of static you can turn the audio to not use the hi-fi setting.
I began working on a similar undertaking about two years ago and am still working on it. It's really hard to ever be satisifed as you go along and you'll always wanting to be buying new and better equipment, but you have a healthy budget to start with.
Ideally I would say with your budget and the age span of your tapes (also you have to consider if your tapes come from different equipment, how well maintained the camera/vcr you used was that the tapes were made on, etc) you should get a good VCR to start with (I have a JVC 7600u and a SR-101US - both great machines and cheaper then the Panasonic) and a standalone TBC. You probably should get a proc-amp or detailer too, but you might not be able to fit that in your budget with the cost of a computer capture card/dvd recorder. Then I would set aside the tapes that give you trouble and save up some more money for a different VCR, because there is no one magic VCR, even among the great ones. So if you are concerned about quality you should probably have a few to try out with the tapes you aren't satisifed with.
I started off with a crummy VCR and a Lite-On 5005 DVD recorder. Then I got a JVC 7600u (~$150) and a DataVideo TBC ($300). Then I got a BVP-4 proc-amp for about $160 that I ended up selling. Then I bought a JVC SR-101 ($280) and some Sign Video equipment (Image Enhancer $314 w/ shipping and a Dual Proc Amp - used for about $300). Plus my DVD recorder which was about $250 at the time I think. So that's about $1600 so far, but I am pretty happy with my setup overall!
thanks for all the replies so far. I believe I'm going to just do as many as I can in the order of most sentimental.
I do have a capture card. Winfast tv 2000 xp. Its not the best but it will work.
I have been just kinda playin around with capturing. I captured an old tape from around 1980. It was really dark and my capture software would do some things like color, hue, brightness, etc. The film was still scratchy and very grainy. It also had some bad ghosting. Is there any software that will correct any of these problems? (I know of a few like ulead or roxio there ok) I know a tbc will do some things. I was just wondering if a program like adobe premiere is any good for that? Can I get filters for certain programs?
Originally Posted by elia12978
Originally Posted by thecoalman
So I think I am in a similar situation as the OP. I am looking to convert perhaps 10 tapes total from VHS to Digital PC. I find that my 14 year old VHS player is broken now. I have significant computer power, and I thought I had a working Hauppauge 350, but this too is potentially broken (possibly the PCI slot I am using). I am looking buying a VHS player and simply running it through the 350, but I think I want something more sophisticated. I can't in good conscience spend more than a few hundred dollars on this, but if it works well I will likely convert my relatives/friends videos to digital. Long story short, can I just buy the Canopus 100 (?) and some reasonably priced VCR that one of you suggests? I simply don't have the time/energy to become a pro at this sort of thing, but I am reasonably technically savvy and capable once I have captured something to AVI or some digital format. Thanks in advance!
Edit: if there is something out there worth it, my budget would probably be $200-$500
Another method that works for me is to use the Polaroid DVD recorder found at many Walmart's for $219. The model is DRM-2001G. This recorder has an LSI chipset that does a very good job of filtering. Even to a casual observer the recordings almost always look better than the tape.
In HQ mode the DVD recorder encodes at 9000 kbit/s so that's about an hour per DVD. I split the footage into hour long segments and copy to a RW DVD to transfer it to my computer. I then use Ulead DVD Moviefactory to add menus and then I burn a final DVD. If your footage is less than an hour there is a setting in Moviefactory to not to re-encode the mpeg. Otherwise you can set a custom bitrate to fit the footage to a DVD.
For important footage like family videos I only try to fit an hour or less on a DVD. For recitals and concerts I try not to go over 1.5 hours per DVD. You may be able to get up to 2 hours if you do a 2 pass variable bitrate encode.
Originally Posted by TheFamilyMan