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Ripping (forgive me, PLEASE) VHS to hard drive

587 Views 10 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  Suutar
I know that for the most part, we (as a community) are all about PQ and SQ, and VHS just don't cut it in those areas, so DVD is all we ever talk about, BUT...

There are some instances where the need arises to transfer VHS to DVD (or hard drive). One such example is an episode of Murphy Brown that my wife was on. I taped it, and I want to archive it before the tape fades. Another good example is Universal's "Classic Monster Collection" - eight old-time horror classics (Frankenstein, The Wolfman, Dracula, etc.)... on DVD (which is out of print) it's very expensive - $150 to $200. But on VHS it can be found for $40 or so. Obviously the PQ/SQ is pretty crappy to begin with, so why bother with DVD? Geez, the money saved pays for a nice DVD+/-RW drive!

So - anybody have any suggestions on how to go about transferring VHS content to hard drive (and then to DVD)?

TIA! :)
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I've been doing some of that lately.

The best way is to get a good outboard analog to digital converter that sends its output to the computer via firewire.

I didn't want to spend the money yet so I've been using a TV tuner app. WinDVR seems to do a pretty good job at a high quality setting. You can also capture in software such as Pinnacle's Studio 8. I have the s-video connector of the VCR going into the s-video of the tuner card and the VCR's line-outs going into the soundcard's line-in.

Once you capture the video and audio you go into an app such as Studio 8 or MyDVD and convert to DVD format and burn it.
DISCLAIMER: The following information is solely to assist the poster in making a backup copy of software he already owns.

Now that the legal's out of the way, you may want to look at www.doom9.org . Good site with free downloads, especially if you need help with Macrovision.
Just a technical point. I don't think this is "ripping." The appropriate word would be "capturing" VHS to your computer.

Ripping would refer to transferring digital media to digital media, such as DVD or CD to computer. VHS is analog so it needs to be captured and converted to digital during the capture process.
An easy way to get digital video from VCR tape is to use a digital video camera that supports Video In monitoring. You're basically using the DV camera to do the conversion for you and it probably came with the software you need to capture it to a PC.
Ars has a very detailed guide up as well, it starts here:


It is part one of a three part series of which the second is out, but the thrid is still in the works over in the A/V Club.

There is also a bunch of stuff over at Doom9, though I haven't been there in over a year, but I'll assume it's still as good as it was.
I've spent a good bit of time on Doom9 - never noticed ANYTHING that wasn't related to DVD. (But then, I wasn't really looking for it and would probably have ignored it.) I'll look again. Thanks guys!

ElectricLegs - what an interesting suggestion! Seems like I'd get a ebtter capture that way (relative to using my crappy little capture card.) I don't think I can justify the purchase of such a camera, but perhaps I can borrow one.

Brian- the ars guide looks terrfiic - thanks!
The best way without buying a good capture card (not one ATI AIW is close to being good) is the dazzle Hollywood bridge or use a Sony DV camcorder. Connect the VCR to the analog inputs of the DV camcorder and connect the camcorder to your PC via firewire. It's called the digital pass through function. Capture the DV signal with a program like Adobe Premiere or any other editing program. The PQ is excellent not to mention the audio will be perfectly synced. I can't tell a PQ difference between the VHS source and the captured DV. Use TMPGEnc to compress the DV signal into DVD format if thats what you are looking to do.

Borrowing a dv camcorder and using it to convert analog to firewire is a pretty good idea; it also solves one of the major headaches, which is syncing audio and video. I had tried it with a video capture card and inputting audio to my Delta 410 and the results were bad sync. Since I don't have a dv camcorder (they were pretty expensive when they first came out), I got a Canopus ADVC-100, which functions like a dv camcorder for this purpose. I use Pinnacle Studio 7 to capture and Ulead DVD Movie Factory to create a dvd image for burning. I am somewhat happy with the results, but what I would really like is for a way to use the Holo3D for capture and also keep the audio in sync somehow. Anyone solve this yet?

I do it all the time. There are things like family stuff as well as some movies which are not available on DVD.

- cheap (any) 1394 card (~$10-$15)

- DV Cam w/passthrough feature

- Ulead VideoStudio 5 w/Enable seamless capture (f some reason they took it out from 6 and 7). With this feature you can just click "Capture" and come back two hours later and your VHS is on your hard drive and 24GB of hard drive are taken:)

- big hard drive:)

- any DVD authoring tool (although Ulead DVD Workshop is my prefferred app).

That's all.

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I picked up a package at CompUSA that included an Adaptec capture card (had RCA audio inputs and composit and svideo video inputs, hardware mpeg encoder) and Sonic MyDVD 4. Best capture quality I've managed yet, and even though Sonic is kind of pessimistic about what'll fit on a DVD (and generates stuff my STB won't touch), Roxio can take the mpg file and burn it nicely.

I'll dig up the box when I get home.
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