Backing up VHS to DVD?

I would like to backup all of my purchased VHS tapes to DVD. I paln on using my digital camcorder to convert thte VHS analog into digital video and use Pixela Imagemaker (capture software supplied by Sony with the camcorder) to capture the digital stream to an MPEG file on my PC. I will be using an NEC ND-1300A DVD burner. My questions are these:

  1. What, if any file conversion(s) are required to the MPEG files before they can be written to the DVD?
  2. What software should I be ?
  3. Do I really have half a chance of making this work or can someone sugest some tutorials ?

Thanks in advance for any help -

I would check out the following items before doing any conversion:

  1. Since you use a Sony camcorder, I suspect that the captured AVI file is in DV (digital video) format. DV has much higher color resolution than Mpeg2. If your captured software does the real-time Mpeg2 conversion, this is both good and bad.
    Good: storage pace saving since DV stream takes approximately 200-250 MB per minute of video+audio. No need to do mpeg2 conversion after capture.
    Bad: No control over the conversion process such as de-interlacing, color correction, interpolation algorithm, motion compensation adjustments, time-based correction for analog tapes, etc.

  2. The conversion to mpeg2 if required is very time consuming. Time is definitely money here. And it costs money to purchase and put the video material on DVD-Rs, not to mention the cost of having a nice label for the DVD-R.

  3. In most cases, you will be disappointed anyway with the overall conversion process regardless of the mpeg2 encoder used, since VHS tape resoultion is around 320 x 240 compared to 720 x 480. What this means is your picture comes out fuzzy and the color is false or saturated or even shaky (if no TBC is done) when playing back on a DVD player. We all get used to DVD quality and it is hard to go back to VHS.

  4. Since the conversion purpose is to preserve old tapes, it may be cheaper to buy equivalent ones on DVD. Check Ebay, you maybe in for a surprise. Besides, you get better picture quality and DVD features such as menus and subtitles.

Good luck with your project and check out the following DVD conversion sites for your needs:

I just did a conversion and found it pretty easy. I just hooked up the dv camcorder to the vhs and recorded to the camcorder. Then I downloaded the DV to an AVI file by using moviemaker (windows XP).

Roxio DVD creater came with my dvd burner. I was called DVD Builder. It was very basic, but still it worked with no problems. I will probely upgrade to one of the ULEAD software programs out there eventually.

Burned to DVD using a dual format MEMOREX burner on RICHO type DVD +R.

Good luck.

I didnt download the VHS directly to the harddrive because I dont have a capture card.

I have the ability to Capture VHS directly to my hard drive but once it’s there I don’t know how to compress it to make it fit the DVD. Any VHS over 60 minutes won’t fit the DVD, is there a way to compress the data?

I have used Easy CD CREater Pro to Capture the VHS tape and the same program to make the DVD file, but when I go to burn it, it’s too large a file. If I say “Fit to disk”, it wrecks the movie. Obviously I’m missing a step, any suggestions?

There are many different things to try. You can use DVDSHRINK to shrink the movie down without losing much quality, or you can split it into two files and burn it to 2 dvd’s. I took a 5hr vhs and smushed it down to one 4.5gb dvd. The quality is still on par with the original vhs tape, and I have it all on one dvd. But, I used Vegas Video and Adobe Premiere, both of which have high quality encoding software. You output will depend a lot on the quality of each step. For example, you should always capture as AVI if you plan on doing any editing at all. While there are many capture cards that will work, the results are much better if you use a quality solution such as the PLEXTOR capture device, ADS PYRO AV/LINK, or CANOPUS AV/LINK. These devices are all rated as semi-professional solutions, and cost anywhere from $149.00, to $250.00. The encoding software is also very important. Some of the better ones are Canopus ProCoder, and Mainconcept, but there are other good ones. Regardless of what some other posters say, you can do this, and end up with a nice quality end result. One of my projects was removing ex-spouse and family from 6hrs of vhs video. After editing out all the bad parts, doing some contrast and color correction, adding intro screens, captioning, etc. It came out as a very nice finished product. Before you take on doing this, I highly recommend that you spend at least 10 - 15hrs reading up I spent weeks reading articles there, before I ever started my first project. And I’m glad that I did.

just bought a DVD/VHS recorder, much easier and good quality.

That’s fine if you don’t need to do any editing.

I agree with the posts above.

I had hundreds of VHS tapes that I wanted to convert, and I had no need to edit. So, I chose to go this route:

-Purchased a standalone DVD recorder (a fairly inexpensive one). Made sure it would produce DVDs that were compatible with my own DVD players (in my case, DVD-Rs). Final cost was about $230.00
-Purchased a low-cost, bottom of the line time base corrector. Exact cost was slightly less than $200.00.
-Hooked up an existing VCR, and started one dub each night at bedtime, and another each day as I left for work. I always used the best possible recording speed, even if it meant splitting three or four of the very long tapes to two blank DVDs. That was my own choice.

The final quality does not appear to be any worse than the original, and some of them actually look a bit improved, due to the work of the time-base corrector.

If you need to edit, though, go with a PC and some sort of video capture device.


This is how I do my older home movies -
1-play the old hi8 tape on older camcorder hooked up to new DV camcorder.
2 - from new DV camcorder send it through firewire hookup to Pinnacle on my computer (i use high quality mpeg, not the DV setting)
3 - using Roxio DVD builder i do basic editing and splitting/chapter work and encode and burn to DVD.

lengthy process but comes out great!

Not sure the about the specifics of your software, but it seems that you should be able to decrease the capture bit rate to fit more than one hour on a DVD.

What card are you using to do the capture?

I agree with silver spirit Use a stand alone to transfer vhs to dvd Lord knows its the only thing that their good for.
ps… Youll need a Device to remove macrovision on vhs. 30 bucks tops

Read my old thread and you’ll find your answer’s. :bigsmile: