Quantcast Capturing VHS with my computer? - digitalFAQ Forum
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03-05-2011, 05:12 PM
mny90 mny90 is offline
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Hello all. I've got many old VHS that I'd like to "digitalize", but I think I dont have the required tools.

I dont have a TV Card in my computer (whatever it's called), but I've got an ATI HD4870 which let's me connect my TV to it.

I was wondering if somehow I could connect my VHS machine to the TV, the TV to my computer and then record the video with something like Camtasia studio.

If not, perhaps there's a RCA to USB or a cable of some sort that will let me connect the VHS machine to my computer? I REALLY dont have a clue about all this so sorry for the ignorance What's the cheapest/easier way to do this? Thank you.
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  #2  
03-05-2011, 05:23 PM
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Quote:
I was wondering if somehow I could connect my VHS machine to the TV, the TV to my computer and then record the video with something like Camtasia studio.
No. That won't work.
It's like using a video camera aimed at your TV instead of using a VCR. Same concept, but using computer gear instead. You don't want to "screen capture" video -- that's never going to work. You have to have a video capture card.

Quote:
perhaps there's a RCA to USB or a cable of some sort that will let me connect the VHS machine to my computer
There are some decent USB devices, yes.

Which version of Windows are you using?
.... Assuming you're using Windows. And if you're not, then let me know what OS you are using.

That will determine some of what can be done.

(Side note: And no, newer is not better. Many of the best devices actually run on Windows XP. Less with Vista, and even less with Windows 7. Just to set the record straight on that.)

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  #3  
03-05-2011, 05:27 PM
mny90 mny90 is offline
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I have both Windows 7 and Windows XP.

What are your ideas? Also, I dont think I need to point it out but just in case, I'd like the sound of the videos too. I think I read somewhere that this was a separate process.

Oh and by the way, I actually have a TV card but it's currently not connected to my PC. It's an old PCI Encore ENL TV/FM. Will that help at all?

Last edited by mny90; 03-05-2011 at 05:38 PM.
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  #4  
03-05-2011, 05:44 PM
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lordsmurf lordsmurf is offline
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Quote:
I think I read somewhere that this was a separate process.
No, not at all. If that's what you read somewhere, then I'd suggest you no longer read ANYTHING from that site, and do your best to forget anything that was written there. That's not at all correct.

Which is good news, of course.

Quote:
I have both Windows 7 and Windows XP
Just to clarify, you have TWO computers, yes? One with Windows XP, and one with Windows 7 -- is this correct? Note that the Windows XP "mode" inside Windows 7 doesn't qualify as a separate install of XP, for the purpose of hardware interaction.

One of the best USB2 cards -- and actually one of the best cards, period -- is the ATI 600 USB card. (There are some really excellent internal computer cards available, too, but I get the feeling you're a bit of a computer novice, and that could be a painful journey -- the USB path may be easier to follow.)

Get it from Amazon for about $50 shipped: http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.ht...reative=390957
Yes, it is used (pre-owned) -- you won't find new ones. Almost ALL of the best video hardware was made from 2001-2006, with a few decent devices here and there from 2007-2010. There slim pickings out there these days, even among pre-owned gear. And you'll almost always be buying it online, the local store will have nothing but low-grade crap.

But it takes MORE than simply a capture card...

The other issue with VHS is that it was a noisy signal. The TV hid this from you, but the computer has no such mask. The incoming signal must be clean and as pure as possible. Otherwise there will be severe quality problems, or possibly so many issues that the computer will refuse to record/transfer it ("capture" it, to use the technical term).

For addressing that, you'll almost always need a good VCR. And by "good" I mean an S-VHS or D-VHS VCR, not something that was used over and over again at home, as bought from a consumer store (Target, Best Buy, Walmart, etc).

And even beyond that, some tapes are so full of errors that a timebase corrector is needed.

I know -- it's starting to sound expensive and complicated -- and it honestly sort of is.

All those cheap little $25-100 devices sold in stores NEVER warn you of these problems. Even the better or pro-end devices come with no such warnings. They either do not care (profit over people), or they expect you'll know enough about video to have already planned for this (assuming things that simply are not so).

You would do best to read these guides on this site:

Full list of related video guides, by indexes:

Also... Plan B:

How many tapes do you have? If you have less than 50 tapes, it's often more economical to simply pay a service to do the transfer work for you. (For example, this site provides transfer services, see the Our Services links on the menu at the top of the page.) Even at $20-30 a tape, you're looking at breaking even OR having a savings long-term, after considering all the hardware and software needs, to say nothing of all the learning time you'll have to do. And even then, the pro work will likely be better. Just wanted to throw that out there. You don't HAVE to do it all yourself. (Just be sure you don't go to a strip mall, or use somebody like Walgreens or Wolf -- the work done there is often inferior, using the same junk you could have gotten at Walmart or Best Buy.)

Hope that helps clear up some of the mystery of converting your VCR tapes to DVDs. (Or for Youtube, etc.)

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  #5  
03-05-2011, 06:29 PM
mny90 mny90 is offline
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Wow, thank you so much for all that info. I'm going to start reading now.

Just to be clear, according to what you say this is definitely crap then right? http://cgi.ebay.com/Easycap-USB-2-0-...item27aeb85b27
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  #6  
03-05-2011, 06:44 PM
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Easycap = Easycrap

There appear to be a number of sub-models of that device, with several sets of unique complaints online. A card of the caliber would require lossless or uncompressed AVI capturing, using VirtualDub, but there are reports of VirtualDub not working (either at all, or with audio missing). I firmly believe there are some good EasyCap's out there, but it's just not a reliable device.

On the other hand -- it's just $9 total. I spent more than that last week on losing lottery tickets ($12). That's a tiny gamble. Heck, I might even buy one myself. If it doesn't work, it'll go in the trash. If I were you, I'd buy one, and then continue to research better methods. Can you afford to lose $9 on a bet?

The only caveat is you'll have to learn about MPEG encoding, as you do NOT want to capture with the junky software it comes with. You'd want VirtualDub (freeware), capturing to lossless AVI. So if that sounds unappealing, then look to just skip this exercise entirely, and let's focus on the better method.

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03-05-2011, 07:10 PM
mny90 mny90 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by admin View Post
Easycap = Easycrap

There appear to be a number of sub-models of that device, with several sets of unique complaints online. A card of the caliber would require lossless or uncompressed AVI capturing, using VirtualDub, but there are reports of VirtualDub not working (either at all, or with audio missing). I firmly believe there are some good EasyCap's out there, but it's just not a reliable device.

On the other hand -- it's just $9 total. I spent more than that last week on losing lottery tickets ($12). That's a tiny gamble. Heck, I might even buy one myself. If it doesn't work, it'll go in the trash. If I were you, I'd buy one, and then continue to research better methods. Can you afford to lose $9 on a bet?

The only caveat is you'll have to learn about MPEG encoding, as you do NOT want to capture with the junky software it comes with. You'd want VirtualDub (freeware), capturing to lossless AVI. So if that sounds unappealing, then look to just skip this exercise entirely, and let's focus on the better method.

Mhmm. I still reading the guides you posted.

I've found myself a topic on some other forum and I think a guy wants to, and actually manages to do the same with the same video card I've got. He talks about S VHS and stuff I dont understand tho, but I thought you could take a look at it?

If so, http://futuremark.yougamers.com/foru...d.php?t=100286

Thanks
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  #8  
03-05-2011, 08:24 PM
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I think somebody is that thread is confused.
That card is graphics output only -- there is no video capture input. It's not a capture card.

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