Best way to convert VHS-C tapes to digital form

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Best way to convert VHS-C tapes to digital form

Postposted on Sun Jan 20, 2008 9:27 pm

My parents have about 20 VHS-C tapes from their video camera. Some of the tapes are nearing 14-15 years old and it is clear that they are starting to degrade in video quality. They want me to figure out the best way to convert them to a better format (like DVD's or a video file on their computer).

From my research there are two solutions. The first is to spend a hundred or so dollars on a dvd recorder to transfer the tapes. The problems I see with this is I am stuck with a DVD recorder I won't use and there is no way for me to make sure the video is of the highest quality. (some of the tapes do that thing where it looks like film is rapidly crossing the screen and you can see the black lines) The second option is to ship all my tapes to an unknown company and pay almost $20 to have the tapes converted to DVD....and I don't think it costs $400 to convert tapes.

So I am at a dilemma. Do I find a company to do it or try and convert them myself. I don't need any editing at all (no music, scene transfers, etc.) since my parents prefer them the way they were recorded. All I need to make sure is that they get on a more durable format and the quality is acceptable.

If anyone on TR has experience with this type of work, I would gladly pay to get these tapes transferred.
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Re: Best way to convert VHS-C tapes to digital form

Postposted on Sun Jan 20, 2008 11:36 pm

I worked at Ritz Camera for a while. I've never had a single complaint come back regarding film/tape to DVD conversions. That's the way I'd recommend.
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Re: Best way to convert VHS-C tapes to digital form

Postposted on Mon Jan 21, 2008 1:56 am

http://arstechnica.com/guides/tweaks/vidcap.ars

This guide has probably the best way to capture the video and then encode it to whatever format you want.

Just from skimming the article I see that they recommend the Huffyuv codec for capture... as they should. Since I used to hang out around with a bunch of TV cappers on a certain IRC channel, they'd be talking about how to capture video, etc. etc., so it turns out that they recommend Huffyuv to keep the quality but halve (more or less) the space required for it.

They're also suggesting using VirtualDub as well. All I can say is, bravo.

The only thing that I'd be concerned about is your capture card. Since the article was written in 2003, I'm fairly certain that there is a chance that there are better/less expensive cards out there for you to use. However, capturing video hasn't really changed in that time frame (afaik). You don't have to worry about a HD source either as you're going to capture VHS video. Perhaps the cards suggested in the guide are sufficient.

I also believe the Doom9 community could be of service to you. This guide may be of some use.
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