How to Convert VHS Tapes to DVD Preserve Your Family Videos for Eternity

Do you have huge family VHS collection? You had better convert them to DVD before the tapes begin degrading or collecting fungus and become unusable. When VHS is converted into the DVD format, you can easily and cheaply make copies and distribute them to friends and relatives. DVD could also be played on the computer. Why, you can even rip the DVD and compress it to a format playable in mobile devices.

There are two ways in which you can convert VHS to DVD. The first is through a DVD recorder. All you have to do is hook up your VHS player to your DVD Recorder with the necessary AV cables (refer to your recorder manual). When you press play in your VHS player, you should press RECORD in your DVD recorder simultaneously.

This will record whatever is in the video tape to disc. In the DVD recorder you can select the quality of your disc recording. Usually you will want to choose the SP (Standard Play) mode which could hold two hours of video.

But then you may want to tweak your video a little before making a DVD. You may want to delete a portion of damaged footage or would want to replace the soundtrack with music of your choice or even add some cool effects or transitions. If that’s so, then you would have to use your computer to get your desired result.

Let’s assume you have a fast enough computer. The next most important thing is to acquire a video capture device. This device would help transfer your analog video footage from the VHS player into your computer in a digital format.

There are two types of device you could choose: internal and external. If you’re a beginner, it’s advisable to stick to an external device. Instead of having to open up the computer casing, you will just have to plug your device into a USB port.

If you have a Firewire port in your computer and a mini-DV camera, then you may not have to buy a video capture device.

Check your video camera manual to see if it has the AV pass-through feature. This means you can send analog video through it and get it to convert to a digital signal before sending it to the computer through the Firewire cable. Your camcorder manual should explain the whole process.

Now that you’ve settled the video capture matter, let’s look at the software aspect. You need a program that can capture video footage into the computer.

Almost all video editing programs can do this. However, if you’re just going to convert a few tapes, you don’t have to run out and buy a video editing software. You can use Windows Movie Maker to capture Video through the Firewire port of your computer.

Make sure you have enough hard disk space – an hour of captured DV takes up about 13GB of space. If you’re transferring a whole VHS then you would need at least twice the space. Once you get the video into your computer, you can easily use Movie Maker to add titles, remove scenes you don’t fancy and also add your favourite soundtracks.

Once you’re satisfied with your editing, it’s advisable to save your file as DV-AVI, choosing NTSC or PAL accordingly. You’re now ready to burn a DVD of your edited video.

Windows Movie Maker does not support DVD burning. Worry not, because you can easily use freeware disc burners like Free Disc Burner to easily create your DVD. This is an easy-to-use program suitable for beginners.


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