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vhs to dvd conversion recommendations needed

Old 04-09-05, 08:36 AM
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vhs to dvd conversion recommendations needed

I am about to convert some old home videos that are on vhs to dvd, can anyone recommended an all in one product (meaning hardware and software) that will do this with a vcr (I already have a dvd burner for the output)? I would like to obtain the best quality I can, so any products that are able to improve video quality once imported would be great, I only need to put in chapter stops and a simple menu on the dvd.

Recommendations from experience are appreciated.
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Old 04-09-05, 10:16 AM
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get a mac. imovie and idvd = yum
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Old 04-09-05, 10:31 AM
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Buying a mac just to convert my vhs is not an option, I already have a pc which I just paid off (3.2 Ghz P4 1 Gig Ram).
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Old 04-09-05, 10:33 AM
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I also use an iMac. The included iMovie and iDVD allowed me to easily edit and put on DVD piles of old betamax tapes. To transfer the analog tape to the digital input necessary for the iMac, I use a Canon ZR45 camcorder (which sees triple use as the converter, a still digital camera and a camcorder). You can buy a converter only, but for the cost it seemed to be a waste for me. The camcorder was nearly the same price (this was about 2 years ago, so look for even better deals now). A DVD will do about 2 hours of video maximum with the iMovie/iDVD setup.
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Old 04-09-05, 10:41 AM
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Check out www.videohelp.com. I think they might be able to help you.
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Old 04-09-05, 10:43 AM
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I have a Dazzle 150 and that has been working great for me
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Old 04-09-05, 11:45 AM
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JustInsane, does the software included with the dazzle 150 have any restoration options? I would like to improve the quality of the original video if possible.
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Old 04-12-05, 09:38 AM
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Anyone else have suggestions on software? I would really like to improve the a/v quality if at all possible
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Old 04-12-05, 09:51 AM
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VHS to DVD conversions are a nightmare-ish hell, especially if you're a perfectionist. I second checking out www.videohelp.com, and also recommend www.digitalfaq.com. I consult those on a daily basis in regards to my conversions.

You're going to hear a lot of "upgrade your VCR" and I will agree with that. The SVHS JVC 9000 models are the best, as they include a number of built in features to help improve playback of VHS tapes to produce a cleaner capture.
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Old 04-12-05, 12:37 PM
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thanks for the info lotsofdvds, I did a quick browse on digitalfaq.com and it looks to have a lot of valuable information. I am trying to do this conversion without buying a new vcr, but I guess I may have to if I am not happy with the captures from my current one.

I am leaning towards purchasing Pinnacle Studio Moviebox 9 to do the capture, does anyone have any opinion on the capture quality, features, etc.?
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Old 04-12-05, 03:02 PM
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My system came with the Pinnacle software(studio and other graphic help and extras included) I use it with my Dazzle that also came with my system. I have used it to convert and edit over 150 vhs to dvds. All came out great. Of course the video quality will only be as good as the vhs video. Pinnacle has specials on the software usually. go to the web site and check it out. It is easy to use. As the much used saying goes, If I can do it so can you.

good luck .
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Old 04-12-05, 03:22 PM
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First of all, how many VHS tapes are we talking about here?

I ask because back when I was collecting VHS, widescreen VHS even, I thought I had a pretty good sized collection. I think I had about 200 or so pre-recorded VHS tapes. I also had about the same or more of TV-recorded tapes with 3-4 movies per tape. This was about a 15 year long collection.

I have been collecting DVDs for only 3.5 years now and already have double or more DVDs that I had in VHS. Why? That's easy. DVDs are much cheaper. I used to pay top dollar for VHS Widescreen, usually $20, while the FS versions were around $15. Now that DVDs drop in price quite regularly and quickly, and you're able to get them in Widescreen, you can amass a large DVD collection buying bargin bin titles and still get widescreen and 5.1 sound.

What I'm saying is that it may not be cost effective into transfering VHS to DVD in the long run, if the DVDs of such titles are readily available and cheap enough. I remember back before I got into DVDs, someone tried to tell me what I had to do to transfer VHS to VCDs, and it sounded like a lot of work and not worth the effort for just an optical disc with VHS resolution of 240i.
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Old 04-12-05, 03:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Mike Lowrey
First of all, how many VHS tapes are we talking about here?

I ask because back when I was collecting VHS, widescreen VHS even, I thought I had a pretty good sized collection. I think I had about 200 or so pre-recorded VHS tapes. I also had about the same or more of TV-recorded tapes with 3-4 movies per tape. This was about a 15 year long collection.

I have been collecting DVDs for only 3.5 years now and already have double or more DVDs that I had in VHS. Why? That's easy. DVDs are much cheaper. I used to pay top dollar for VHS Widescreen, usually $20, while the FS versions were around $15. Now that DVDs drop in price quite regularly and quickly, and you're able to get them in Widescreen, you can amass a large DVD collection buying bargin bin titles and still get widescreen and 5.1 sound.

What I'm saying is that it may not be cost effective into transfering VHS to DVD in the long run, if the DVDs of such titles are readily available and cheap enough. I remember back before I got into DVDs, someone tried to tell me what I had to do to transfer VHS to VCDs, and it sounded like a lot of work and not worth the effort for just an optical disc with VHS resolution of 240i.
If he's anything like me, it's not the movies that are available on DVD that he's worried about. It's the old beloved TV shows that will never make it to DVD, old TV specials, maybe some home videos....
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Old 04-12-05, 03:51 PM
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That's what I'm doing... thousands of tapes of stuff that'll never see the light of day on DVD.
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Old 04-12-05, 05:26 PM
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Originally Posted by lotsofdvds
That's what I'm doing... thousands of tapes of stuff that'll never see the light of day on DVD.
Thousands? OK, but how many of those can you not live without? Just because they'll never make DVD, do you need all of them?

Because quite frankly, I'm amazed at some of the stuff that actually does make DVD.
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Old 04-12-05, 06:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Colleen
If he's anything like me, it's not the movies that are available on DVD that he's worried about. It's the old beloved TV shows that will never make it to DVD, old TV specials, maybe some home videos....
Actually he specifically mentioned home movies. I am in the same quandry right now, how best to convert. I have a VHS/DVD-R platform, as well as a MiniDV camcorder I could use as a bridge to the digital world. Right now I'm not doing anything while the VHS tapes crumble slowly to dust.
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Old 04-12-05, 08:35 PM
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Heres my two cents, if you are talking about ALOT of movies, just invest in a stand alone DVD burner. It may actually be easier and less hassle. On the computer side just recently I started putting some cartoons that may never make DVD on DVD from VHS and my setup is basic. I use an ATI TV tuner card that came with my Media Center PC using AV inputs (yellow, white and red) and I input video using Window Movie Maker 2 which lets you input from sources other than digital video. It worked out well for me, was able to edit out the commercials real easily. The only problem with this is a VHS tape holds 6 hours of video, I think I only got about less than 2 from my transfer. Of course I made a DVD with menus and sound and stuff using Sonic My DVD (not the best but its what I have and I am not spending hundreds for good software). But going back to the stand alone I transfered ALOT of home movies for my parents using a stand alone and it worked really good. Whatever you do use DVD +RW in case you mess up.
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Old 04-12-05, 08:48 PM
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I converted many vhs tapes to dvd with dazzle's dvc-150, but the process took forever. The material has to be digitized into your computer, then converted to m2v, then the dvd itself has to be built before you can burn it. It does allow you to insert chapters where you want, but after so long, the file wanted to split and I would lose audio on it. Also, if the tape was old, the audio and video would be out of sync. There is also no updated information for the thing. I think it's no longer being made. I finally got tired of it and bought a dvd recorder, which is amazing. It was expensive, but well worth the money and has many uses. I found that I didn't have the patience to render anything that I changed in the video projects with the dazzle box. It didn't quite look right, either and the audio would be analog only. At least with the dvd recorder, it records to dolby 2.0 so I can play through the digital out. I can't insert my own chapters, but I don't mind. The dvds look great, considering the VHS source. If you want to alter the audio, you should get some kind of audio mixer and crank the signal going into the dvd recorder up.
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Old 04-12-05, 09:02 PM
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Not to discourage the OP, I mean do what you want, but after reading those last two responses, it seems like an aweful lot of work for what could potentially be a lot of wasted effort as to how often would you watch these once done? Back when we had a camcorder in the early '90s, we made several tapes worth of material from around the house stuff to vacations, we would watch the stuff maybe once or twice, and then never ever watch them again.

But hey, if you're really into home videos as keepsakes then by all means find you a good method and get to work!
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Old 04-13-05, 07:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Mike Lowrey
Thousands? OK, but how many of those can you not live without? Just because they'll never make DVD, do you need all of them?
The ones I can't live without aren't being converted, unless I see the value in having them converted for others who might have something I don't. For me, my complete Late Night with David Letterman/Conan O'Brien tapes and non-syndicated Saturday Night Lives are all very important to me. These'll never be on DVD in anything but "Best Of" forms.
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Old 04-13-05, 08:03 AM
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I have about 300 hours of various things that will never come to dvd (home movies and tv shows) that I would like to preserve. I just built a new pc last year and would like to put it to good use. Practically all of this is on 8 hour tapes (in EP mode) and will obviously need to be broken into dual layer dvd sizes, or at least have chapter stops and a menu. Pinnacle Studio 9 does claim to do dolby sound and will support a dual layer burner, so at this point I am thinking of going with that package to do this project. I'll be sure to update everyone on my experience with this.
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Old 04-17-05, 11:41 PM
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Coulda swore I just read this thread but with less responses. Anyway this one makes it sound like I'm better off getting a standalone burner to hook up to my JVC SVHS player and avoiding the computer angle.

So I think the money I was going to spend to add a DVD burner to a new computer system would be better served that way.

Thanks for the info.

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