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how do i convert vhs or dvc tapes to digital media ie. cd or dvd? Answered

I have many dvc tapes that I would like to convert to cd format so I can reuse the dvc's. My computer has a cd/dvd burner in it but I have not had any success burning dvd's. Can you please document the software, connectors and procedures involved in the process?


for vhs tapes, many modern dvd players that have vhs ports are capable of transfering the vhs onto an empty dvd without any additional cost. for dvc, i'm not sure.

If DVC is the same as DV, then you need to capture to the computer over Firewire or USB.  Video editing software should have a "capture" mode that'll grab stuff over Firewire.  This will result in freaking huge files that probably won't even fit on a dual-layer DVD+R.  If you want to preserve 'em as is without reencoding, they might have to be burned to Blu-ray, or saved to several USB hard drives, or split up into segments that'll fit.  Otherwise, bring them into your editing/authoring software, and export to DVD.   Maybe also to MPEG4 or something which will preserve a bit more quality for a given bitrate than MPEG2.

If your computer doesn't have a Firewire port, you can buy a PCI Firewire card.  They're also built into some sound cards (Creative Audigy 2 ZS, for instance), and some video capture cards (Pinnacle AV/DV).  I mention those cards because I've got 'em, and both were under $100 to buy new.  (The AV/DV was found on eBay bundled with an older but reasonably usable version of Pinnacle Studio for under $50.)

Video editing and/or DVD authoring software is usually bundled with DVD writers, and maybe with some versions of Windoze.  You may also have gotten some with the camcorder.

camcorder ---firewire---> PC
save the avi as-is if feasible (Blu-ray, USB drive, bunch of DVD-R)
Import .avi file into editor/authoring s/w
export/author to DVD (VIDEO_TS folder, or image)
burn (Imgburn is free and very good)

This will be a lengthy process, since presumably the camcorder can only play back in real-time.  And converting from DV to MPEG2 or whatever takes a while, since sometimes several passes are required for best quality.


8 years ago

 You'll need a video capture device. Better video cards come with them and you just hook your VCR output to the video input on your video card. If your video card doesn't have an input you'll have to get a video capture device like a Hauppage VCB for about $50.00. Walmart even has one for $30.00. They usually come with software.
Don't forget though, a cheap system is just that, a cheap system. Video capture from tape can get expensive for a good system. You could easily spend $400.00. 
My system is very old. A Pinnacle DC-30. DVD quality for about $300.00.  Go HD before you drop another cent into tape.