How do I digitize old VHS tapes? Card recommendations?

Discussion in 'Amateur Video Production' started by Shane Berringer, Jan 2, 2004.

  1. Hi, I am about to build or buy a new computer. Graphics cards have
    always been my weak area and I know next to nothing about them. I want
    to learn how to get those old VHS tapes digitized onto the computer
    and burnt out to DVD. I have the DVD burner and regularly burn data
    and files to it.

    1) What graphics card should I get? I know there are many brands but
    are there some recommendations and what features I should get? I have
    read some negatives to using s-video in with a graphics card is having
    to sync the sound. Should I ditch that idea and get a run-of-the-mill
    graphics card and find some specialty "encoder" device or something?

    2) Once I figure out a way to hook up the VCR to the computer, what is
    the process? I think my ultimate goal is to get it into MPEG-2 format
    which I supposedly can burn to a "regular" DVD, but are there
    intermediate steps? I read that you might have to go from VHS to DV to
    MPEG-2 and then burn the MPEG-2 to DVD.... but i don't have a DV cam

    Thank you in advance for any help. I am excited about learning how to
    digitize video.
    Shane Berringer, Jan 2, 2004
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  2. My personal preference is to buy the cheapest graphics card
    I can get. It has absolutely NO effect on video import/edit/export
    (as long as you aren't using the graphics card, of course!!!)
    My preference is a firewire port (which you may already have?)
    and a Canopus ADVC-100 converter box. That combination will
    be compatible with any/all upgrades in the forseeable future.
    If you want to do any editing (which I would think that you
    will need to do?) then DV is the preferable format to import
    and edit in, at least in my opinion. There are any number of
    options to convert the DV to MPEG2 for making DVD, etc.
    Richard Crowley, Jan 2, 2004
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  3. For about $70 buy the AVERMedia ultraTV card. You can capture movies from a
    VHS player using the cable input or composite input.
    It works like a dream. You can even feed your cable into it and capture any
    TV program. Windows Media 9 Encoder (free) will convert the files you
    captured to WMV or you can use numerous other conversion programs to convert
    to mpeg-2.
    Gerald Newton, Jan 2, 2004
  4. Shane Berringer

    Sanman Guest

    I would make sure your new system has a firewire card and get an analogue to
    DV converter box. That puts your video on your hard drive in standard DV
    format and is about 13 gigs per hour of video. Then, as long as you don't
    want to do any editing, you just import that into a DVD authoring program of
    your choice, and create chapter points and menus. When you burn the DVD, it
    will take a few hours to convert to mpeg2, and then the DVD will burn in
    anywhere from 15 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the speed of your burner
    and media.

    Do some research on the software you need, since there are several out
    there. Plan on doing some trials and many tests before you commit to a
    program, and a method of encoding.

    It doesn't matter what kind of video card you have with this method, and the
    video files on your hard drive will be much smaller than if you were to
    capture them with a video card, because a video card might not convert to
    DV. On the other hand, you could look for a card that converts strait to
    mpeg2 as it captures. That won't allow you to edit any of the video though,
    and I'm not sure of the quality. Some programs, like DVD Workshop, will
    convert to mpeg2 as you capture from a standard capture card, and on a fast
    computer with proper settings, the quality is very acceptable in my

    Anyway, those are some options.

    Sanman, Jan 2, 2004
  5. Shane Berringer

    Nomen Nescio Guest

    If I were to get a consumer grade graphics card (read: <$450) with the
    capability to capture video, it'd be one of the most recent ATI
    All-In-Wonder cards.
    That's very true.

    Also, you can run into the problem with too much PCI traffic causing defect
    in the video capture. This is a real big issue with VIA-chipset based
    motherboards, less with AMD/nForce chipset based motherboards, and almost
    non-existant in recent Intel chipset based motherboards.
    I would.

    I'd recommend you get a Canopus ADVC-100, which will take your analog video
    input and convert it into DV25. This DV25, normally in the form on an AVI
    file, can be edited, then encoded into DVD-Video compliant audio/video
    streams, which can then be authored/burnt as DVD-Video.
    Yes, as described above.

    There is also software out there that can capture directly, in real-time
    and on-the-fly into MPEG-2 video and MP2/LPCM audio.
    That's (one of) the function(s) of a Canopus ADVC-100, to go from VHS to
    Nomen Nescio, Jan 2, 2004
  6. I should add. The AVERultra TV 300 card will record in MPEG2, MPEG1, or
    Gerald Newton, Jan 2, 2004
  7. Shane Berringer

    luminos Guest

    Terrible advice. The LAST thing you want is this hardware for his purpose.
    Can you read?
    luminos, Jan 2, 2004
  8. Shane Berringer

    luminos Guest

    More stupid advice. You do not want to convert the analog to DV then to
    Mpeg2. No way [unless
    you want to do extensive special effects/ that case set aside
    hours and hours for one video].

    Get a direct to Mpeg hardware encoder from ADS or Adaptec or Pinnacle.
    luminos, Jan 2, 2004
  9. Shane Berringer

    luminos Guest

    Sigh, yet another person giving terrible advice. DO NOT GO TO DV unless you
    want to spend
    your life doing the encoding.
    luminos, Jan 2, 2004
  10. bulls#(t, There hundreds of people in this newsgroup that have this
    card, and its extremely rare to have anything bad to say about this
    converter. In fact, the Canopus ADVC-100 will not only work with every
    PC operating system, but it even works on Macs too. Making it one of the
    most reliable universal hardware devices on the market!

    Richard Ragon, Jan 2, 2004
  11. Shane Berringer

    Sanman Guest

    What a polite and articulate individual. I'm sure you can trust his
    opinion. BTW, what is the price point for a GOOD hardware mpeg encoder? A
    firewire card is $20 and you can render in the background and use your
    computer as usual while rendering, or do it at night. We all have to find a
    balance between time and money.

    Sanman, Jan 2, 2004
  12. Shane Berringer

    Oscar Guest

    Luminos is wrong. The ADVC-100 is excellent. One of the few products that
    does what it says.
    I bought one about a year ago and have never had a problem with it. I can't
    say that about any other piece
    of hardware purchased ever.

    Oscar, Jan 2, 2004
  13. Shane Berringer

    Oscar Guest

    Did you ever consider there might be editing involved?

    Ignore lumios posts altogether. HE IS THE IDIOT.

    Oscar, Jan 2, 2004
  14. Shane Berringer

    Bariloche Guest

    Yes. You.
    It's the computer that spends its life encoding. While its us that
    spend our life enjoying the outcome. And the outcome is much better
    and enjoyable when its captured to DV or AVI, and then encoded to mpg.
    Bariloche, Jan 2, 2004
  15. Shane Berringer

    Jim Guest

    I tried them all, save yourself time and money and buy Canopus
    ADVC-100 and get the program SCENEALYZER to import the video. Believe
    you won't regret it. I wasted $$$$ and months of time.

    Jim, Jan 2, 2004
  16. Shane Berringer

    Srm72499 Guest

    Why sceneanalyzer (I'm new). I've been using Win Movie maker, and haven't
    encountered any probs. Does sceneanalyzer just have more features, or does it
    do a better job?
    Srm72499, Jan 2, 2004
  17. Shane Berringer

    Nomen Nescio Guest

    If people want to convert their VHS tapes into *valid* NTSC DVD-Video, and
    they don't want to "waste" bandwidth using LPCM, then they're going to have
    do some encoding (to Dolby Digital [AC-3] audio) anyways.

    BTW, "spending your life" encoding depends on (1) how much stuff you end up
    converting and (2) how powerful your computer is. I get 2+X realtime DV25
    to MPEG-2 video conversion and at least 9X realtime DV25 to 192Kb/s 48KHz
    2-channel Dolby Digital audio. I am able to tweak the bitrates to get
    exact filesizes so I can produce SVCDs and DVD-Videos that just barely
    fill, but don't go over, the 800MB/4.38GB space on a CD-R/DVD-R. I
    normally encode overnight when I sleep anyways, so whether it takes 3 hours
    or 8 hours normally makes little difference to me.

    There are times when capturing directly to MPEG audio/video makes sense,
    such as when you need VCD/SVCDs quick, don't care about editing, hard drive
    space is very limited, are only making PAL DVD-Videos, etc. Just realize
    the limitations of doing so, just as there are downsides capturing to DV25
    Nomen Nescio, Jan 2, 2004
  18. I wanted to thank everyone for the input, especially since I was
    leaning toward trying to buy a more expensive card and now will likely
    go for the converter. I might do some very minimal editing and I'd
    rather be safe than sorry and will go with the DV approach rather than
    directly to MPEG-2. Quality is more important to me right now.

    I already checked out the Canopus ADVC-100 and it looks like a great
    conversion tool. My follow up question is this:

    I thought I read somewhere that many DV cameras can also somehow
    convert analog/VHS to DV and can output to the computer. The Canopus
    looks to be around $250 to $300 and I think some DV cams go for the
    $500 range. Will these do the same job? It might be worth an extra
    $200-$300 to get both a conversion tool and DV camera wrapped into

    thanks again to everyone for the responses
    Shane Berringer, Jan 2, 2004
  19. Shane Berringer

    Rudy Benner Guest

    Something to check, will the same camera also do a D/A conversion? Its nice
    to be able to digitize your old VHS material, its also nice to later make a
    VHS tape of your finished product, or even to be able to port your work over
    to the BIG SCREEN for examination. The ADVD-100 will do both, it also
    handles S video both ways.
    Rudy Benner, Jan 2, 2004
  20. Shane Berringer

    Sanman Guest

    A DV camera with analogue to digital pass-through will do the exact same
    thing. (You might have to fiddle with some menu settings) I have tried a
    few different makes and it seems to me that the Sony camcorder did the best
    job converting.

    Sanman, Jan 2, 2004
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