VHS to DVD Questions

I have nearly a complete collection of Disney flicks on VHS that I would like to back up on DVDs. I have been considering adding a second HD to my system along with ADS Pyro A/V Link API-555 and the associated ADS firewire card. I already have a plextor burner & 2.8GHz P4 w/ 512 MB ram.

Will the hardware handle the macrovision protection the most Disney flicks have? If not is there another choice of hardware that would work (Canopus)? Also, do these solutions have most of the audio sync issues taken care of?

I own the old VHS tapes and am not looking to make pirate copies but simply to back them up for use by future grand kids.

I would highly recommend you consider a capture card that supports native MPEG-2 capturing ready for DVD as opposed to the IEEE1394 based products which support DV capture. With DV capture you will have to recompress/convert to MPEG-2, which is a lossy process… DV having half the chroma resolution (YUV 4:1:1) vs. YUV 4:2:2 for MPEG-2.

Speaking of ADS, you have the ADS Instant DVD 2.0, it provides the best quality you can get with hardware encoders as it uses a professional mpeg encoder chip used in high-end DVD recorders costing 5 to 10 times more.

Will the hardware handle the macrovision protection the most Disney flicks have? If not is there another choice of hardware that would work (Canopus)? Also, do these solutions have most of the audio sync issues taken care of?

I use the ADS Instant DVD 2.0 and there are no sync issues here… The hardware locks audio to video. There are always exceptions, despite the audio lock technology, it is not perfect…these consumer units do not fix video timing issues. Audio sync issues will arise especially on poor VHS tapes, particularly VHS copies (2nd generation and above) and also poor VHS player or tapes with very poor / constantly adjusting tracking, this will likely throw off the sync unless you have a high end VCR or use a time base corrector to completly regenerate the sync.

Usually the macrovision detectors are found in all VCRs and are active once the video signal is INPUT into another VCR. As far as a capture cards, from what I know, some have macrovision detectors and will not allow you to capture or cause problems… Some capture devices have what is called a PASSTHRU…they will NOT strip out the macrovision but pass it through. If I am not mistaken, the ADS Instant DVD 2.0 can handle macrovision - I once had to copy my original VHS film to DVD, and it had macrovision, it copied just fine… (I later ended up buying the DVD anyways for quality purposes.) I am not 100% sure, you need to check what chipset is used by your capture device and look on the internet to find the white papers about that chipset.

I own the old VHS tapes and am not looking to make pirate copies but simply to back them up for use by future grand kids.

If you have a capture device you lose nothing to try it out… It worked fine on my ADS capture device, I don’t know for sure about your pyro…I have a hunch it should be no problem.

Do you support the ADS TECH Pyro Link or not? I just bought one yesterday at Circuit City and would appreciate hearing from you because I want to do the same as Crabcakes…convert my old VHS tapes to DVD. I’m a little confused by your comments…on the one hand I think you’re saying he should use the Pyro Link…then I think you’re recommending an ADS Instant DVD 2. Please clarify for me. Thank you.

I never recommende or mentioned the PYRO. I have not used that product… I use the ADS Instant DVD 2.0. The PYRO is basically a card that captures into the DV format ready for editing. PYRO supports the DV codec, not the MPEG-2. If your final destination is DVD, i would strongly recommend capturing straight to MPEG-2 using a product like the ADS Instant DVD 2.0, avoiding you the task of recompressing DV to MPEG-2. For editing MPEG-2 I use womble mpeg video wizard.

I have and use the ads pyro av/link and it copies any and all movies and dv video just fine. It is also supposed to capture in mpeg2 format as long as you use one of their recommended programs (which one is ulead video studio 7,8, or 9). I believe that their are a couple of other programs which allow mpeg2 capture with the ads pyro av/link. I myself have not done that yet. And, I capture my disney movies using dv/avi, then convert to mpeg and burn. The copy is every bit as good as the original vhs tape.

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I agree with Harley2Ride about the Pyro AV Link being able to capture movies just fine. It also keeps the AV sync’d. Some of the older tapes may give you some challenges with capturing because I did experience a small amount of frames being dropping. Having said this I am not sure that the Canopus devices would improve on this problem since it appears to be more of a wear issue on the older tapes. I did all the usual checks trying to resolve and have finally come to the conclusion that I need a TBC unit.

I think some people get around this using a JVC VCR with digi-pure (sp?) technology (my VHS decks while decent do not have the line TBC like the JVC). These JBC decks have a line TBC as well as additional filtering and noise reduction. The Canopus ADVC 300 has a line TBC too I believe. However, your tapes may be in good enough shape you only need the Pryo. If you do need a TBC check B&H Photo; they have good prices on the AVT8710 or the Datavideo TBC-1000.

Be prepared to spend some time when you get into this. Unless your machine can blaze a trail the encoding step can take a while but the end product is very satisfying. If you don’t have the time then Greg42’s method would be worth a shot.

Also, you may want to check out the capturing & restoration forums on videohelp.com; they are full of very good reading “forum.videohelp.com”. The afterdawn forum (video editing) and digitalfaq.com also are a worthwhile read.

Enjoy,
Jim

We got a WinTv 250 card for satalite and VHS backup. For software, Movie Factory and VideoReDo. I’m still very new to this but using these two programs - I can edit out commercials in a one hour TV program and burn a VCD in about 10mins. Just have to figure out how to put two shows on one DVD now.

Both programs cost under $100