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.
Iím 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 ďeasy VHS to DVDĒ 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. Iím pretty sure that my external Apple SuperDrive would have made DVDís with no problem, but since retiring, I just didnít have that kind of money for that many DVDís. 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 arenít going to be high def, so converting them using todayís technology probably isnít going to make them high definition.
Again, I might be wrong. Just ask my X.