Old 27-04-2007   #1
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DVD Recorder to convert PAL VHS to NTSC DVD

I have cases and cases of PAL VHS tapes collected from over the years. I have since moved and living in a NTSC region.

I still have multi-system TV and VCR that support PAL and NTSC, but would like to convert my PAL VHS to NTSC DVD for a few reasons:

- eliminate the need to maintain a PAL setup
- VHS tapes and player not as reliable long-term as DVD discs and player
- reduce storage space of bulky tapes

Are any DVD recorders capable to inputing PAL VCR, and then recording to DVD discs in NTSC format? That would be the simplest and most time saving method.

If not, I take it most DVD recorders can accept PAL input and record to DVD in PAL format. This might be my 2nd approach. I'll convert the PAL VHS to PAL DVD. This would at least eliminate the bulky tapes and dependence on a PAL VCR. I can then take my time to use my computer to use software to convert the PAL DVD to NTSC DVD via methods I've seen online. Since I am not computer savvy enough, I figure this is easier than the 3rd method below.

3rd method would be to use a capture device on the computer and connect the PAL VCR to it. Perhaps a Plextor ConvertX USB device which appears to be designed to convert VCR tapes to DVD using the computer? My cousin tells me he has a PVR with a Hauppauge card that does capture as well - is that a better choice than the Plextor? Will either of these capture PAL and let me burn to NTSC DVD easily?

Any help in simplifying this big project would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 02-09-2007   #2
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Re: DVD Recorder to convert PAL VHS to NTSC DVD

I went through the process of converting a bunch of old PAL VHS to NTSC DVD a few months ago and spent allot of time trying to figure out how to do it. Here is what finally worked for me:

First you need a VHS player that will play the PAL format. It does not have to also play NTSC or convert to NTSC as the capture card can do that, but it must play PAL. If it does do the conversion, leave that option off and play it in PAL as your PC can do a much cleaner conversion than your VHS player.

Secondly you need a capture card. I bought a few well-known cards including Hauppauge and Pinnacle and returned all of them because they did not perform this function adequately. The card I eventually bought that delivered superb results was the ATI TV Wonder card. A side benefit is that you also get to watch TV on your PC with this card. It will also accept PAL input. The only downside to the ATI card is that the included capture/editing software is awful and I do not recommend using it.

Thirdly you need capture and editing software. My favourite software for this is Power Director. Be sure to try the demos of software before you buy/download it as some of the programs will not work for you depending on your hardware and skill level.

Note: this process is quite heavy on system resources so you will need a fairly fast PC to do the capture and conversion process. Otherwise you will get “dropped frames” where the PC cannot keep up and loses frames from the movie.

Now you are ready to start the capture process. Connect the AV cables from your VHS player to the capture card input. Open the capture software, select the input device, check all the settings, press play and begin the capture process.

The best way to do this is to use the same app to capture and burn a DVD in one process. Otherwise you will end up with a HUGE (+-40 gig) file on your PC that you will need to convert and burn.

This process takes allot of time and your investment in hardware and software will be $150 to $200. You will also need to be fairly computer literate so set it all up.

If you have less than 5 tapes it will be cheaper and easier to get it done by a professional. You can search online for these services.

Good Luck!
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Old 02-09-2007   #3
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Re: DVD Recorder to convert PAL VHS to NTSC DVD

I should also add that VHS tapes start to degrade quickly after 5 years so if you have irreplaceable material you should convert it sooner rather than later.
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Old 02-09-2007   #4
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Re: DVD Recorder to convert PAL VHS to NTSC DVD

Some VHS movie has been around for over 30 years and the quality still intact.
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Old 05-09-2007   #5
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Re: DVD Recorder to convert PAL VHS to NTSC DVD

ttimx, thank you for the great information. Exactly what I am looking for.
Would you think a Celeron 1.7 GHz is up for the task?
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Old 07-08-2008   #6
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Re: DVD Recorder to convert PAL VHS to NTSC DVD

Quote:
Originally Posted by ttimx View Post
I went through the process of converting a bunch of old PAL VHS to NTSC DVD a few months ago and spent allot of time trying to figure out how to do it. Here is what finally worked for me:

First you need a VHS player that will play the PAL format. It does not have to also play NTSC or convert to NTSC as the capture card can do that, but it must play PAL. If it does do the conversion, leave that option off and play it in PAL as your PC can do a much cleaner conversion than your VHS player.

Secondly you need a capture card. I bought a few well-known cards including Hauppauge and Pinnacle and returned all of them because they did not perform this function adequately. The card I eventually bought that delivered superb results was the ATI TV Wonder card. A side benefit is that you also get to watch TV on your PC with this card. It will also accept PAL input. The only downside to the ATI card is that the included capture/editing software is awful and I do not recommend using it.

Thirdly you need capture and editing software. My favourite software for this is Power Director. Be sure to try the demos of software before you buy/download it as some of the programs will not work for you depending on your hardware and skill level.

Note: this process is quite heavy on system resources so you will need a fairly fast PC to do the capture and conversion process. Otherwise you will get “dropped frames” where the PC cannot keep up and loses frames from the movie.

Now you are ready to start the capture process. Connect the AV cables from your VHS player to the capture card input. Open the capture software, select the input device, check all the settings, press play and begin the capture process.

The best way to do this is to use the same app to capture and burn a DVD in one process. Otherwise you will end up with a HUGE (+-40 gig) file on your PC that you will need to convert and burn.

This process takes allot of time and your investment in hardware and software will be $150 to $200. You will also need to be fairly computer literate so set it all up.

If you have less than 5 tapes it will be cheaper and easier to get it done by a professional. You can search online for these services.

Good Luck!
Hello all,

I live in Florida now and also have a large collection of PAL VHS tapes.

I have converted a few with disappointing results so far. I am going to try doing the PAL to NTSC conversion on the PC instead of externally.

This is how I have been doing it.

1) Play the tape in a Panasonic AG-W1 VCR (which is a multi-standard) with output set to NTSC.

2) Feeding the composite output into an NTSC Sony DCR-HC96 camcorder docking station. The camcorder converts AV input to DV output. Unfortunately the NTSC HC96 will not handle PAL video. Only the PAL model is capable, and to buy a second one is expensive. Anyone have one for sale cheap?

3) The DV output is fed via a firewire cable to a 1394 card on the PC and captured using Adobe Premier Pro 1.5 software.

4) After capture, the "clip" can be edited, chapter markers and titles can be added, then burned to a DVD.

However the results are less than desirable. I get better results playing the tapes directly to my NTSC Sony 40XBR4 TV.

I am going to try your suggested method and let the PC take care of the conversion by outputting from the VCR in PAL, bypassing the HCR96. The only downside I see to this is I will not be able to use the DV 1394 card, and will not be able to capture using Adobe Premier Pro. But if the results are better, I will have gained, not lost.

Regards to all.

PS, I would like to hear from the originator of the thread as to how he made out.
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Old 19-10-2008   #7
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Re: DVD Recorder to convert PAL VHS to NTSC DVD

Old posting, but what the heck...

I have not made any progress in converting a single tape. Knew it was going to be a long term project from the get go...

I've had a PC sitting around with the intention of doing this with a capture card. Have both an ATI All-In-Wonder card and a Hauppauge card to play with. But the thought of capturing at 1:1, then encoding at an even slower speed made me give up on that solution.

The project was rejuvenated when I read about Samsung's new TruDirect DVD burners. Theory is, you can input and burn at in 1 step. 1:1 so that a 2hr tape takes 2hr TOTAL. Needed a new burner recently, so I bought one of these Samsung drives. However, I can't get the TruDirect software to work with the capture cards. The ATI card didn't present the video in a format that TruDirect liked. Don't know how to explain - sorta like ATI wanted to output via the WDM driver in a window that TruDirect didn't want to recognize. The Hauppauge card gave me no video. If you have configured a Hauppauge PVR-150/250 card, you might know what I mean - there seems to be 2 composite and 2 s-video outputs. TruDirect seems to want to default to one of the composites, but I'm guessing the composite I'm using the the other one. Why 2 outputs? Hauppauge also sells an addon for the card that makes the 2nd one available. (http://registration.hauppauge.com/we...oduct=av_cable)

So, all that for nothing. Two *possible* solutions for the above - a newer ATI All-in-wonder (newer than 9600) which uses the new drivers which might present the video in a different manner that TruDirect likes, or buying the Hauppauge add-on cable.

What's new? Well, I bought a DVD Recorder on clearance today to see if the other option I originally thought of would work. Output from multi-system VHS to DVD Recorder. Have yet to try. Hope I can report back in less than 1.5yrs this time...
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Old 19-10-2008   #8
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Re: DVD Recorder to convert PAL VHS to NTSC DVD

Quote:
Originally Posted by mx-5 View Post
Old posting, but what the heck...

I have not made any progress in converting a single tape. Knew it was going to be a long term project from the get go...

I've had a PC sitting around with the intention of doing this with a capture card. Have both an ATI All-In-Wonder card and a Hauppauge card to play with. But the thought of capturing at 1:1, then encoding at an even slower speed made me give up on that solution.

The project was rejuvenated when I read about Samsung's new TruDirect DVD burners. Theory is, you can input and burn at in 1 step. 1:1 so that a 2hr tape takes 2hr TOTAL. Needed a new burner recently, so I bought one of these Samsung drives. However, I can't get the TruDirect software to work with the capture cards. The ATI card didn't present the video in a format that TruDirect liked. Don't know how to explain - sorta like ATI wanted to output via the WDM driver in a window that TruDirect didn't want to recognize. The Hauppauge card gave me no video. If you have configured a Hauppauge PVR-150/250 card, you might know what I mean - there seems to be 2 composite and 2 s-video outputs. TruDirect seems to want to default to one of the composites, but I'm guessing the composite I'm using the the other one. Why 2 outputs? Hauppauge also sells an addon for the card that makes the 2nd one available. (http://registration.hauppauge.com/we...oduct=av_cable)

So, all that for nothing. Two *possible* solutions for the above - a newer ATI All-in-wonder (newer than 9600) which uses the new drivers which might present the video in a different manner that TruDirect likes, or buying the Hauppauge add-on cable.

What's new? Well, I bought a DVD Recorder on clearance today to see if the other option I originally thought of would work. Output from multi-system VHS to DVD Recorder. Have yet to try. Hope I can report back in less than 1.5yrs this time...
I finally found a work around.

1) I play PAL tapes in a Panasonic AG-W1 VCR (which is a multi-standard) with output set to PAL not NTSC.

2) Feed the PAL composite output into a Laird Blue Flame Pro LTM-5500 (Analog to Digital) converter set to PAL mode, where the A/DV conversion is done.

3) The DV output is fed via a firewire cable to a 1394 card on the PC and captured using Adobe Premier Pro 1.5 software. (Same as before)

4) After capture, the "clip" can be edited, chapter markers and titles can be added, then burned to a DVD. The results are region free but in PAL format.

5) Play the DVDs on my PC or on my NTSC Sony 40XBR4 TV using a Pioneer DV-600AV HD up-convert, all-region DVD player.

Keeping in mind everything the video signal went through to get to the DVD burner, I finally have acceptable results.

Not as good as a first generation DVD, but that is OK, as most of my PAL and NTSC tapes will never be issued on DVD. Much of the material was recorded onto tape in the 80s, the equipment was not as good as today, and blank tape was expensive, which meant that I squeezed as much material onto each tape as it would hold at LP speed. Some material was recorder at SP speed, and the difference is like comparing chalk and cheese. Hind sight I guess.

I am building a new PC solely for doing tape to dvd conversion. Cost will be between $2k and $3k depending on which graphics card I select. I should get even better results and much faster burn times.
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Old 25-10-2008   #9
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Re: DVD Recorder to convert PAL VHS to NTSC DVD

Quote:
Originally Posted by mb300e View Post
I finally found a work around.

1) I play PAL tapes in a Panasonic AG-W1 VCR (which is a multi-standard) with output set to PAL not NTSC.

2) Feed the PAL composite output into a Laird Blue Flame Pro LTM-5500 (Analog to Digital) converter set to PAL mode, where the A/DV conversion is done.

3) The DV output is fed via a firewire cable to a 1394 card on the PC and captured using Adobe Premier Pro 1.5 software. (Same as before)

4) After capture, the "clip" can be edited, chapter markers and titles can be added, then burned to a DVD. The results are region free but in PAL format.

5) Play the DVDs on my PC or on my NTSC Sony 40XBR4 TV using a Pioneer DV-600AV HD up-convert, all-region DVD player.

Keeping in mind everything the video signal went through to get to the DVD burner, I finally have acceptable results.

Not as good as a first generation DVD, but that is OK, as most of my PAL and NTSC tapes will never be issued on DVD. Much of the material was recorded onto tape in the 80s, the equipment was not as good as today, and blank tape was expensive, which meant that I squeezed as much material onto each tape as it would hold at LP speed. Some material was recorder at SP speed, and the difference is like comparing chalk and cheese. Hind sight I guess.

I am building a new PC solely for doing tape to dvd conversion. Cost will be between $2k and $3k depending on which graphics card I select. I should get even better results and much faster burn times.
Not sure if your ability to select PAL output or the equipment itself is helping...

First, I'll just report that the Panasonic DVD Recorder DMR-ES16 I tried didn't like the PAL input from the multi VHS machine over composite cable. I get a screen, but black and white and ghostly - typical of output of playing PAL on non-PAL capable system.

I then tried the variations you suggested. Using a DV camera (Sony DCR-TRV33 - explicitely states NTSC on it), and inputing from multi VHS machine and outputing via DV cable, I'm not able to see the video on my PC.

Doubtful that the Samsung TruDirect software will become flexible enough to offer every input from each device. I've somewhat given up on a time efficient PC-based solution. I'm still hopeful to use a DVD solution - perhaps a PAL DVD Recorder can do the trick. Thoughts?
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Old 25-10-2008   #10
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Re: DVD Recorder to convert PAL VHS to NTSC DVD

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Originally Posted by ellax View Post
What do you think about this product:
http://www.hdstep.com/ATLONA-MULTI-S...R-p-16319.html
any references?
Not much. Looked at the specs and I did not see any provision for DV output. Which means to me you are still feeding an analogue (analog) video signal to your TV, VCR, PC or DVD burner.

Since my last posting in this forum, I have burned a number of DVDs originating with a PAL VHS tape and ending up with an NTSC DVD. Here is typical disc info that AnyDVD software shows for one I did recently.

******************************
Summary for drive E: (AnyDVD 6.4.6.6)
PIONEER DVD-RW DVR-K16RA 1.16 05/08/25PIONEER
Drive (Hardware) Region: 2

Media is a DVD.
Booktype: dvd+r (version 1), Layers: 1
Total size: 1900560 sectors (3712 MBytes)

Video DVD (or CD) label: The Field
Media is not CSS protected.
Video Standard: NTSC
Media is region free.

RCE protection not found.
Structural copy protection not found.
Autorun not found on Video DVD.
Bad sector protection not found.
Emulating RPC-2 drive with region 1!
******************************

For viewing, the disc is played in my Pioneer HD Upconvert DVD player and viewed on a Sony NTSC XBR TV. In reality, using the Pioneer DVD player, it does not matter whether the final disc is NTSC or PAL, as the player is ALL region.

I am still building the PC by the way. I am currently using an ACER Aspire 1640 laptop with an exterenal 500GB drive for raw data storage via a USB connection which contributes toi the long burn time. The new PC should reduce this significantly. I can also burn dual layer DVDs to accomodate a 2 hour VHS tape. Thats up to 8GB of "real" Digital video.

The AGW1 VCR was purchased on eBay for around $200, and the Laird AV/DV convertor was just a little under $400. If you buy one, make sure you get the one which will process NTSC and PAL AV/DV conversion. Some models will, and some won't. Check the front view picture and look for a toggle switch next to the power switch. If anyone needs a picture, post a message here with your e-mail address.
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Old 25-10-2008   #11
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Re: DVD Recorder to convert PAL VHS to NTSC DVD

Quote:
Originally Posted by mx-5 View Post
Not sure if your ability to select PAL output or the equipment itself is helping...

First, I'll just report that the Panasonic DVD Recorder DMR-ES16 I tried didn't like the PAL input from the multi VHS machine over composite cable. I get a screen, but black and white and ghostly - typical of output of playing PAL on non-PAL capable system.

I then tried the variations you suggested. Using a DV camera (Sony DCR-TRV33 - explicitely states NTSC on it), and inputing from multi VHS machine and outputing via DV cable, I'm not able to see the video on my PC.

Doubtful that the Samsung TruDirect software will become flexible enough to offer every input from each device. I've somewhat given up on a time efficient PC-based solution. I'm still hopeful to use a DVD solution - perhaps a PAL DVD Recorder can do the trick. Thoughts?
Hi mx-5.

To use a mini DV camcorder, it must be a PAL type. You can't do an AV to DV conversion of a PAL tape using an NTSC camcorder. I have been there, tried that, got the scars and the Tee Shirt.

I bid on a number of used PAL DV camcorders on eBAy, but was either outbid significantly, or sellers would not ship to the USA. If you can find one, you don't need one that is fully functional. You can do the job with a broken tape transport for example. As long as the electronics are OK.

I finally gave up trying, and bought a used Laird LTM-5500 AV/DV DV/AV converter that would process both PAL and NTSC. The Laird cost about the same as a fully functional used PAL DV camcorder. Note that not all 5500s will process both PAL and NTSC. If you need further information, post a reply with your e-mail address and I will send you information.

I have not yet found software at an affordable price that will do as good a job. If I was NBC or BBC America, price would not matter.

I hope this helps.
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