Quantcast Digitizing VHS tapes - digitalFAQ Forum
  #1  
02-20-2008, 08:38 PM
mguitonxlt mguitonxlt is offline
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I have around 200 hours of family events recorded onto VHS tape using an old Sony camcorder, which is now unusable. I would like to convert the analog tape to digital and store the data onto my PC hard drive. Quality is important. Any suggestions on how best to do this?
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02-22-2008, 06:30 PM
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Just to verify, these are full-sized VHS tapes, not the compact VHS-C type tapes?


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  #3  
02-23-2008, 12:01 PM
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Yes. They are all the full sized VHS tapes.
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02-24-2008, 02:09 PM
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The next question is budget-based. What kinds of computer, computer software (for video), and video hardware (VCRs, TBCs, etc) -- do you have right right now?

And then, beyond that what sort of budget would you have for buying anything you might need, in terms of video hardware and software?

Are all of your tapes in excellent quality, SP mode recordings, with good color and clarity, with no tracking problems in any VCR? The answer to this question determines any additional filtering that may be needed.

Based off of that information, I can suggest the best option that still fits your budget.

Prices can range from a few hundred to a few thousand, and then the learning curve and time required to perform the projects can also vary from a few weeks to a few years.


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04-18-2008, 11:42 PM
mguitonxlt mguitonxlt is offline
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I have around 200 hours of family events recorded onto full sized VHS tapes by a Montgomery Ward Signature 2000 VHS Camcorder Model 10687. All of the tapes are in excellent quality with good color and clarity and no tracking problems in any VCR (from late 80s to 1999). The camcorder had only one mode (I can only assume it was SP). The video signal is EIA Standard (525 lines, 60 fields) NTSC color signal. The video recording system used a helical scanning system with 4 rotary heads. Audio used 1 track. Pick-up system is sequential color difference, field reverse system.

I would like to convert the analog VHS tapes to digital and store the data on to a Western Digital hard drive. Quality is important.

The tools I currently have are:

1)Dell Dimension E521 PC with Dual Core AMD processors, Windows Vista & 280 GB Hard Drive purchased in 2007. It has USB ports and a Firewire card.
2)Sony Digital 8 camcorder (DCRTRV-480) with Firewire cable
3)Signature 2000 4 Head Hi-Fi VCR Model Number 20204. It has a built-in multi-channel TV Sound Decoder, 19u Clear Picture System, Automatic Tracking function, A.I. Picture Control (Video Noise Reduction), and a Blue Screen noise elimination function. I couldn’t find the technical specifications. The VCR is 10-15 years old. The rear connections have IN (AV1) R-Audio-L, Video and OUT R-Audio-L, with Video. It also inputs and outputs cable.
4)Presidian DVD Recorder – NTSC, Video Recording Format uses a sampling frequency of 13.5 MHz and a MPEG Compression format (DVD-RW, DVD-R). Audio recording format is 48kHz with Dolby Digital Compression format. Input/Output system has a) Video input, Video output, S-Video input, S-Video output, Component video output, Audio input, Audio output, Digital audio output. If you want the specifications on the input output system, I can provide them.
5)Sonic DigitalMedia LE v7
6)Roxio Creator DE Version: 9.0.116
7)Windows Movie Maker 6.0.6000

I am hoping for a solution costing less than $1000 with a learning curve of up to 1 or 2 months as opposed to years.
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04-21-2008, 10:47 PM
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What I'm seeing is SP mode with mono audio, and you say it has good color and no historical issue tracking in other machines. That's outstanding.

The biggest problem with VHS was chroma noise. That's a red/blue misty looking noise that interrupts color. It's easiest seen on a black/dark or red solid image on-screen. The way to remove this is by using a DVD recorder with a built-in chroma reduction circuit (LSI Logic chipsets), or by use of an S-VHS or D-VHS VCR with a line timebase corrector (TBC). So replacing your VCR for about $200-300 might be a consideration, of quality is really of utmost importance. It is to me, so I own a trio of S-VHS machines like this.

A standalone TBC may or may not be needed. It depends entirely on the signal integrity of the tapes (not a visual issue, but a signal-based one). It also depends on the nature of the digital recording device, and how strictly it attempts to interpret anti-copy false errors.

If color and clarity needs no tweaking, then no proc amp or detailer is suggested or would be needed.

Your computer is probably fine. It has the horsepower to deal with most files. The only glut might be Vista and its piggy nature. Or the PCIe graphics interface, or a lack of PCI cards if one exists. Nothing to worry about until there is something to worry about. Computer seems okay so far.

You'll need new software. Luckily, some of it is free or super-cheap.

Less than $1,000 is no problem.

By joining this forum, you'll have no issue picking this up in 1-2 months. Free forums would have been unfiltered/overkill information that would likely cause more confusion than not. Going it alone would have required months, years, of reading. I'll fast track you past all that mess.

On to the questions and information...

1. What is the model of that Presidian DVD recorder? It might be a LiteOn clone that uses an LSI chipset.

2. If you're open to buying a good VCR, should one be needed, I can start to hunt down a deal for you.

3. You will not be needing Sonic DigitalMedia LE. Instead, go download the free (and better for video) ImgBurn here: http://imgburn.com/index.php?act=download

4. You will not need Windows Movie Maker. You will not need Roxio. Better software will be suggested as we proceed. It will yield higher quality and have less errors than those two basic freebie-quality apps.

5. I assume you have some Digital8 tapes to transfer? If so, that will take another method, different from VHS tapes. I can help on that too, just let me know that there are D8 tapes to be done.

I think that's it for now. Answer those, and I'll get back to you.





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  #7  
05-13-2008, 06:18 PM
mguitonxlt mguitonxlt is offline
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Thanks for your response. To answer your questions

1. What is the model of that Presidian DVD recorder?
-- I bought a Radio Shack Presidian DVD Recorder. I can't find the model number in neither the owners manual nor the recorder itself. I suspect it doesn't have one. The Cat. No. is 16-163. It was manufactured on Jul 2006.

2. If you're open to buying a good VCR, should one be needed, I can start to hunt down a deal for you.
-- I am open to buying a good VCR.

3. You will not be needing Sonic DigitalMedia LE. Instead, go download the free (and better for video) ImgBurn here: http://imgburn.com/index.php?act=download
-- Great. Thanks.

4. You will not need Windows Movie Maker. You will not need Roxio. Better software will be suggested as we proceed. It will yield higher quality and have less errors than those two basic freebie-quality apps.
--Good. Better software will help.

5. I assume you have some Digital8 tapes to transfer? If so, that will take another method, different from VHS tapes. I can help on that too, just let me know that there are D8 tapes to be done.

--I should point out that I do not have Digital-8 tapes. In addition to the VHS tapes, I have 40 hours of family video on 8mm analog tapes produced by an earlier version Sony camcorder (Sony Handycam CCD-TRV212 Video 8). I asked questions on the 8 mm tapes in a previous post and await your reply.
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