Hey there, I'm new here.
Which is the best technique to capture hundreds of VHS, Super VHS, and Mini DV? Can some tools batch automatically?
Like, a tool can capture simultaneously two or more video recording tape?
Thanks, in advice cricchio31
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If batch = multiple VCRs, multiple TBC, multiple capture cards (with multiple computers) or multiple recorders.
I can capture up to 6-7 tapes at once. It's not easy, hard to handle more than even 1 at a time. A consequence of more than 1 capture at a time is a huge data load, and errors/mistakes that require recaptures.
If batch = everything using single piece of hardware.
The best technique to capture 100 tapes is to capture 100 tapes. There is no batch.
Mini DV is already digital: short of the tapes having unexpected serious problems. capturing to PC is basically straight-up file copying from camera to computer. Unless of course you want to perform further editing, change formats, etc after capture.
VHS and SVHS? Yikes. Browse the hundreds (if not thousands) of threads here on that topic. Forget simple, forget speed, forget automatic: its among the most tedious annoying EXPENSIVE formats to capture properly. Key word here being "properly": if you don't particularly care what it looks like, don't plan any editing or retouching, and just want it transferred to a digital format as quickly as possible: buy a bunch of VHS>DVD combo recorders.
Otherwise, buckle up: with "hundreds" of tapes, you're in for a very long, very bumpy, very frustrating ride. Likely months or possibly a couple years of work, not mere weeks.
Last edited by orsetto; 31st Dec 2020 at 10:04.
Like Orsetto said, if you want quality it is a long and demanding process, But if you want a shitty and quicker method like what legacy box does, get a bunch of easycaps USB dongles, a bunch of cheap lenovo computers and capture in mp4, Another alternative way is to get bunch of those VHS-DVD combos (don't know if walmart still sell them) and a pancake of DVD blank media and rip away, The bad news is the videos will be almost unwatchable, the good news is the elderly and the average Joe won't even notice it.
The key thing underlying the responses so far, but not explicitly stated, is that you cannot do any of this work at faster than real time. If you have hundreds of tapes, and have an average of two hours of material on each tape (6-hour tapes can make the average skyrocket), it will take hundreds and hundreds of hours. You don't have to sit there watching all the time, but you have to develop a workflow that solves the problem of when to attend to each tape to transfer to the next one.
My ritual is to use an old cheap VCR that doesn't have enough quality to be used as a transfer machine but can be used to rewind. I put each tape into that VCR. I make sure the tape is rewound and zero the counter. I then fast forward to the end of the tape. The counter tells me how many hours and minutes are on the tape (although if there are large blanks spots between material, I won't see that). I then rewind the tape, label it, and put it into the queue to be transferred. (The FF/REW cycle also helps, slightly, to get a better transfer.) I then set a timer on my capture program so that it stops when the tape gets to the end of what is recorded. Since this is often at a point way before the end of the physical tape, it makes sure I don't waste a lot of disk space with "snow." I also set an audible alarm to beep at the same time the tape is finished so I know to go to the VCR, eject the tape, and go to the next one.
I never rewind the tape, since they are likely to never be viewed again, and I don't want to subject even my cheap VCR to unnecessary wear and tear.
As for the equipment and software needed to do the transfer, orsetto already made the point: read the hundreds of posts here, at digitalfaq.com and at doom9.org about how to capture VHS and 8mm videotapes. The information is already there.