Hello, Looking at transferring my old family VHS tapes. In the past I've used a DVD recorder, but I no longer have a working machine. I see several options out there now for transferring VHS straight to my computer. Anyone have any recommendations? I've thought about just buying a used DVD recorder as they are affordable these days, and the results were always good.
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If you're on a recent Mac running a more current OSX version, skip that alternative: Apple screws with video input OS and hardware support so much nowadays that its not worth tearing your hair out. Most good advice you find here and elsewhere will pertain to Windows PC workflows: if you don't want to acquire a Windows PC to dedicate to the task, go right back to the DVD recorder solution you were happy with before. These machines get a lot of criticism from perfectionists, but as you say they're simple and get the job done. If you personally find the results satisfactory on a large flat screen TV, "don't worry be happy".
I haven't checked prices and availability in the Canadian used market lately, but if prices have come back down to earth I'd recommend Pioneer models DVR-450, DVR-550, DVR-460, or DVR-560. These units have built-in hard drives, which makes preparing the DVDs a *lot* easier. You record the VHS to the hard drive, then make your edits on it, then burn the DVD from the hard drive layout. This allows much more versatile editing than recording directly onto a DVD, and you can quickly burn backup copies for yourself or other people. These four Pioneer models have good video encoders that handle VHS input reasonably well: I've been using them for years. The older 540, 640, and Sony clones like RDR-HX780 are similar but their encoders are a tad too fuzzy for VHS (recordings come out a bit blurrier). Avoid Phillips or Magnavox models: they can make unexpected glitches in the VHS copies that you won't see until you play back the copy (that gets annoying real quick), also some of them use a slightly odd dvd format that can prove troublesome later if you decide to copy the DVDs to a computer media server. I haven't used a Panasonic: some people love 'em for VHS, some decidedly don't: YMMV. Any other brand will either not be available with the HDD feature, or so old they won't work well with VHS or have electronic reliability issues.
Combo VHS/DVD recorders are convenient, but you're stuck with whatever condition or quality the VCR section has, and without HDD you're stuck recording direct to dvd with no ability to pre-edit (cut out commercials, separate TV episodes or music clips, etc).
Use the best VCR you can lay hands on, preferably at least two of different brands (tapes that don't track well on one should play better on the other).
Suggestions for excellent (if old, pricey and hard to find) VCR models here:
Something that'll grab uncompressed 10-bit videos would be on the better end of things.
You'd want a stable video signal coming into it, or add a time base corrector. (Others have used a vhs deck, even an analog to hdmi converter to clean up the signal before the Blackmagic grabs it).
Otherwise, Panasonic dmr-ez48v dvd+vhs deck, pioneer dvd deck, etc as long as the vhs tapes play stable.
I don't suppose you've been reading all the bad press about BM and analog for years. BM hasn't been recommended for analog source except by BM's advertising and noobs who don't know much about video processing and can't see worth a dam in the first place. You're better off with a good player and a decent DVD recorder, or get into a Windows PC. I don't know why people bother getting Macs for video work. It's not 1984 any more.
Last edited by LMotlow; 24th Apr 2020 at 08:13.- My sister Ann's brother
The linked thread has one recent user that has it working.
Best video quality doesn't mean it's easy.
Any basic capture device like this can do a decent job, and for many is plug and play easy to capture.
Lots of ways to do it.
Vhs deck to dvd deck. Done that, works, easy.
Vhs+dvd all in one deck. Done that, even easier
Ati AIW pc card. Done that, needs install and setup, capture settings tweaking, works.
Vhs to hdv canon hv10 input to hdv tape to firewire on playback to pc. Done that, takes 2x the time, works.
Vhs to canopus advc-110 to firewire card in pc. Done that, needs microsoft legacy firewire drivers under win10, works.
All these ways work, but they do compressed captures to mpeg-2, dv, hdv, analog 480 avi formats.
More expensive things like the Black magic Shuttle and higher ($$$$ cards) can do uncompressed 10-bit captures, so better if you take the time to get it to work. Might be easier to get it working on macs given one review on bandh.
I’m not an expert, by any means. And virtually all who contribute here are smarter than me. But I recently converted 35 or so 18-25 year old 8mm analog Sony tapes to digital format using Roxio “easy VHS to DVD” kit that I bought at BEST BUY. Of course my 8mm camcorder no longer worked, so I had to locate a refurbished one on eBay. Plugged the dongle into the 8mm tapeplayer, then plugged the other end of the dongle into my USB port on my 7 year old MBP. The dongle converted the analog signal to digital, and the Roxio software recorded the each tape into separate movies. Before I saved each one, I was able to edit out stupid stuff. Each two hour tape used up about 2.7GB on my MBP 1TB SSD. I’m pretty sure that my external Apple SuperDrive would have made DVD’s with no problem, but since retiring, I just didn’t have that kind of money for that many DVD’s. So I transferred all the movies to four 125GB SD cards, and gave each of my kids their own copy of their childhood movies.
Hope this helps.
im not expert too but from what i m seeing that for get best results, more deailt via firewire, second a colossus or ati 600 usb.
i still not transfer my tapes jsut looking to get best meanwhile im learning.
Thanks everyone for the great advice. Still undecided but I'm leaning towards the old school DVD recorder route. Currently shopping the local classifieds.
The thing to remember is that video tapes taken 20 plus years ago probably aren’t going to be high def, so converting them using today’s technology probably isn’t going to make them high definition.
Again, I might be wrong. Just ask my X.
I am interested by the comment from Orsetto : "If you're on a recent Mac running a more current OSX version, skip that alternative: Apple screws with video input OS and hardware support so much nowadays that its not worth tearing your hair out"
because I have a MacBook 2017 with Big Sur and I just purchased Roxio Easy VHS to DVD for Mac after verifying with their support that it would work with my config but I could not make it work because I could hear the audio but the video looked frozen on the window. After contacting the Support it looks like the way I connected the hardware was incorrect because I used a USB-C / USB adapter whereas Roxio needs to be connected directly to the USB but this is not possible because I have only USB-C ports. While searching I saw a comment on the elgato site that some Mac have a problem when connecting the elgato to the USB port and they indicated that using a powered hub might help. My impression is that the other products like Elgato are probably similar so it is probably easier to avoid using the MAC like you wrote. I just saw a product "ClearClick Video to Digital Converter 2.0" where everything is done outside the MAC. Have you heard about this product ? Thanks
"ClearClick Video to Digital Converter" is just another cheap POS. You're paying for the LCD, not quality conversion.
The video quality will suck. Just compressed deinterlaced junk that looks worse than a Youtube video from 10+ years ago. The "MP4" is lossy H.264, and they bundle it was NCH software (which often acts more like malware than video software, I seriously had to reformat a computer once because of NCH junk).
Older Mac of had some certain cards (both good and bad) that worked well with Videoglide.0
Unfortunately, with newer macOS, you're screwed, your only option is the Canopus DV box method. (Or far worse cheap Chinese card methods.)
LMRichard, are you using one of Apple's adapters with Roxio's dongle or a third party adapter? Apple's adapter should work for what you're trying to do, but if not you might have better luck with something like HYPER's Hyperdrive 2 that has a bunch of ports on it and basically adds back what Apple took away. That being said, they're supposedly adding USB–A ports back to the MacBook Pro line this year, so there may be some light at the end of the tunnel o' dongles.Specs: Mac Mini (Early 2006): 1.66 GHz Intel Core Duo CPU, 320GB HDD, 2GB DDR2 RAM, Intel GMA 950 integrated graphics card, Matshita UJ-846 Superdrive, Mac OS X 10.5.7 and various peripherals. System runs Final Cut Express 3.5 for editing.
Thanks LordSmurf; I'll be trying to get my hands on one of those as my previous method for similar captures involved actual DV tape.Specs: Mac Mini (Early 2006): 1.66 GHz Intel Core Duo CPU, 320GB HDD, 2GB DDR2 RAM, Intel GMA 950 integrated graphics card, Matshita UJ-846 Superdrive, Mac OS X 10.5.7 and various peripherals. System runs Final Cut Express 3.5 for editing.
After retrying my Roxio video capture on other tapes, it now works with my MacBook Pro 2017, 2,8 GHz (MacOS Big Sur 11,2,3) connected to VCR LG model MG64 thru an Apple USB-C to USB adapter as shown on the picture.
[Attachment 57975 - Click to enlarge]
I do not know why the first cassettes failed (the image was frozen) and it works on the latest cassettes. The tapes on which it works are original SECAM tapes from a camcorder (read in a VHS-C cassette adapter) whereas the other tapes were made by copying the original camcorder tapes (the same as the original ones) into a full VHS cassette. Please note that both work correctly when the VCR is connected to a TV.
The quality of the film I got is reasonably good and I wonder if other ways of converting the VHS could give a better quality knowing that these video are home videos. Since I see from the answers that users on the forum have a lot of expertise, I would like to ask some stupid questions on the different stages to understand the impact of each step :
- the Roxio usb video capture hardware
- the mac usb port and the macOS
- the Roxio Video capture software
I still wonder what the Roxio usb video capture hardware really does and what can be the differences between this hardware and the hardware of the other products, e.g. like legato ... Are they differences between the hardware made for PC and for Macs ? Why would they change their hardware to work with new OS versions since the VHS is the same and this seems more a matter of software ?
The mac usb and the macOS. Since the comments show that experts consider that PCs are much better than the new macs, I would be interested to know what is missing on Macs. What would do the HYPER's Hyperdrive 2 add back what Apple took away ?.
Concerning the capture software do you know what the software really does and if it has a big impact on the quality apart from reading the data and creating the output file. Is the file created directly from the data read on USB or is it created from the image appearing on the Roxio video capture screen meaning that the mac hardware managing the display plays a role. Are they general products which directly read the data coming from these different usb video capture hardware without requiring the Roxio software ?
Since the solution with Canopus ADVC-55 seems very much recommended, please clarify where it does things better.
I don't know if the ADVC-55 does SECAM. I know it does PAL and NTSC.
I have an ADVC-300 which is a 55 with bells and whistles. It uses a Firewire connection to the computer and what I live about it is it is fire and forget. You start your recording and it works flawlessly with perfect audio synch.
The 300 allows real time changes to the picture but I don't know if the 55 does.
I would like some advice on the best way to continue after digitizing the tapes. Since each tape contains various scenes, I would like to split each film into one file per scene and “clean” each scene by removing some frames to be able to see the interesting parts independently and distribute these files in the family. I originally thought about using iMovie for this work but iMovie seems a bit too sophisticated for this work and may be the wrong tool since it seems made to assemble parts of several films into one film whereas I want to do the opposite. If I change my mind I could always in the future use iMovie to regroup some of the files together and this first work would not be lost. From what I read, Quicktime player could be a solution. I would be interested to have some advice on the best tool to use for this work and also on the format to generate at the end (mov or mp4 files) so that they can be easily used by anybody.