Video Capture from VHS

  Gaz W 02:22 14 Jun 04

What is the best option for video capture from VHS tapes? I'd like to save space by transferring a lot of my VHS video recordings to my computer and writing to DVD. I don't want to lose any quality from the original recordings - VHS is bad enough as it is!

I already have a Nebula DigiTV PCI but I don't think that this is (at least yet) up to the job; captured video seems to have "motion blur" and is jumpy despite improvements. Also, the sound is only mono and many of my VHS recordings are in stereo.

Obviously I will be replacing some of these recordings when they are next on Freeview with higher quality versions, but for now it would help to clear out the vast amount of tapes I have!

I don't want to go mad, and want something fairly inexpensive, but whatever it is will need to take either composite or even SCART input, as the RF out on the VCR I want to use has never worked - only for carrying through the signal from the aerial!

  Swampy 05:35 14 Jun 04

The video capture card I have doesn't seem to be up to the job either. A couple of months back I bit the bullet and bought a home DVD recorder. I'm copying all my VHS tapes onto DVDs gradually and it works very well. I think I will get half my lounge back when everything is transferred. I already have a pile of redundant tapes. I know it's an expensive option but I don't regret it. The one I have has a hard drive also and is brilliant for recording from Freeview or analogue. I'm sure there is a PC card that is up to the job, somewhere. Good luck Gaz W.

  georgemac 07:57 14 Jun 04

I have not done this yet - but when I do I am going to purchase a dvd recorder to replace my video. I will then connect the vhs video to the dvd recorder via an s-video cable to reatin the quality, record the tapes to dvd-rw and then edit the dvd's on the PC.

DVD recorders are available for around £200, but I am going to wait a while as either they will become available as dual layer recorders, and if they do the price of the single layer recorders will drop.

click here example of what is available now.

  georgemac 07:59 14 Jun 04

in fact the one above can be connected to the VHS video with a scart cable.

  SEASHANTY 11:05 14 Jun 04

The Liteon LVW-5005 that Blankdiscshop are selling
at £200 (georgemac link above) appears to be £30 cheaper than other outlets I checked. Seems excellent for a starter and I would have purchased this if I did not have the wonderful Panasonic DMR-E85 with the 80GB hard disk and DVD-R plus DVD-RAM. Purchased from the cheapest outlet I could find click here and even that has now increased in price by £20 but it was delivered by City Link less than 48 hours after placing the order.

  JYPX 13:00 14 Jun 04

Could someone just clarify this please. The Panasonic, and others will allow transfer onto dvr-r which can then be edited on a pc? But which machine will allow transfer onto dvd-rw, which would save a wasted disc after the pc editing has been completed.....

  georgemac 13:14 14 Jun 04

I like panasonic but it will not record to dvd-rw or +rw click here

the lite-on dvd recorder click here can record on dvd-rw/dvd-r/dvd+r/dvd+rw so all formats

I think the only advantage the panasonic have is the ability to use dvd-ram which would give a longer recording time

the liteon is more versatile onto which media it can record and seems to have a scart in connection where the panasonic does not seem to have.

I ma sure in time the machines will get better and the prices will get lower.

  Gaz W 13:27 14 Jun 04

If that's likely to be the only option, maybe I'll have to save a bit more! I just thought that maybe there might be a PC card that would allow good capture and allow me to save a bit of money. I am planning on getting a dual-layer DVD writer, which is already cheaper than a DVD recorder, and I have the TV card which records Freeview in its original quality. This will mean I'll be able to put Freeview recordings onto DVD, but I'll still be stuck for transferring from VHS if there's no other option than a standalone DVD recorder.

I wasn't too bothered about editing, although some have commercial breaks that I'd get rid of!

  georgemac 13:44 14 Jun 04

I would think that you would be able to get a capture card to do it - just don't know which one or type - if your video has an s-video output then a capture card with an s video input should do the job.

  SEASHANTY 14:40 14 Jun 04

georgemac - all the standalone panasonics have at least two scart sockets plus SVHS, composite etcetera. Read the full descriptions. DVD-RAM discs are similar to DVD RW discs in that they can be recorded to over and over again. The discs in the caddies up to 100,000 times. The non caddy RAM discs
similar rewrites to DVD RW. The DVD-RAM discs when used in PC based DVD writers such as the LG GSA 4040B and 4082B, which supports RAM can also be used
in similar fashion to a Hard Drive using drag and drop.

Gaz W - I cannot think of a single PC TV card which has a scart socket (Apart from the last Medion
PC supplied by Aldi Stores). However you should be able to input to the TV card using a scart adaptor. Look at some of the products at Cable Universe - click here
Scart to SVHS & phono or scart to SVHS & stereo jack plug might fit the bill for you. Editing out commercials from VHS tapes is extremely time consuming doing it on the PC. Don't bother with it.

  SEASHANTY 14:46 14 Jun 04

Bit more info. I recorded the B & W Minstrels documentary from BBC4 (Freeview) recently onto the Panasonic hard disk. It was a 40 minute programme & sufficiently interesting to keep so I then recorded it onto DVD-R at high speed. The transfer took just three minutes. Now beat that on a PC if you can.

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