It really depends on whether the friends tapes are home made or if they are commercial tapes. The commercially made ones had Macrovision copy protection, and though it can be side stepped, it is something that has to be considered.
The easiest method for home made tapes is to use a combination machine that has both VHS and a DVD recorder. Walmart still sells them, but they are about $180.
I still have an old ATI TV/Capture card that I used for VHS to DVD, but its been so long, I’ve forgotten which software I used. The Cyberlink software that came with the card sucked rocks, so I used something else. Lots of people used Virtualdub for captures to AVI, but my card went straight to MPEG2.
If you can use Virtualdub, the best quality for captures would be to use a lossless codec like HuffyUV or Lagarith, but it takes a [B]lot[/B] of room. If you need to do any editing, this is the time to do it, as an intermediate step.
Then convert the AVI files to DVD-video using AVStoDVD (HC encoder, two pass).