01-31-2012, 08:59 AM
123wc 123wc is offline
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My uncle, who doesn't know anything about computers or technology, has an old family VHS tape that he wants me to take a couple of screenshots from because he lost the photographs of that particular occasion. I can do this two ways:

1) Take a photograph of the TV screen. But being a photographer I know the resulting images will be horrible.

2) Convert the VHS tape to a digital file and take screenshots of the monitor screen.

So far I think I am going with the second method. So here are my questions:

1. How do I actually transfer the VHS tape to my PC? What hardware, wires, and software do I need? If there is a decent free software, I would prefer that of course.

2. Is there a step-by-step tutorial that shows me how to do this? I know there will be a lot of little things I need to know, such as what file formats to use, and many more little options I will probably need to select depending on the method I will follow and I am sure there are many different methods!

3. Will I actually get decent images from capturing a screenshot from the monitor? Are there specialized screen capturing software that do a good job at this kind of thing? Has anyone tried this and got decent results? (I mean, VHS tape quality is not that great on TV so I donít know how good it will be after being transferred!)

I am using Windows 7, and ATI Radeon 2400 512MB video card that came with the PC about 4 years ago (the video card has not been updated since I bought the PC because the updates make it not work with Windows 7óI will just get a black screen if I update it), and I am using Dell 24Ē LPS monitor which has amazing dynamic range and sharpness (I donít know if the monitor makes any different).

I am looking forward to your feedback, and feel free to give me any additional information,


PS: Sorry for starting a new thread. I realized other people have started similar threads, but because I really donít know anything about this topic I couldnít correlate their needs with mine.
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Someday, 12:01 PM
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01-31-2012, 10:13 AM
volksjager volksjager is offline
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If you only have 1 tape you are WAY better off just having it converted here.
the cost of the equipment to do a decent job would far exceed the cost of having the tape done by pros.

i have gotten decent screenshot captures
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01-31-2012, 11:14 AM
123wc 123wc is offline
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Thank you for the reply

Sorry, what do you mean by "having it converted here"? Where is here?

Please excuse my ignorance :/
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01-31-2012, 11:27 AM
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kpmedia kpmedia is offline
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Originally Posted by 123wc View Post
Sorry, what do you mean by "having it converted here"? Where is here?
digitalFAQ.com is more than just how-to guides and a forum.

Details on our professional video conversion services can be found here: Video Conversion / Tape to Digital

Ideally, what you want to do is have the tape run though a high quality conversion, and output to a lossless file (not DVD). Then using the freeware editor VirtualDub, you can extract the exact frame needed. Once you have the frames extracted, there are method to further improve the quality of the still, using various Photoshop plugins.

Trying to do this yourself will be far more costly, and far lower quality, for just one tape.

To upsize the image for printing, without making it pixelated, use a fractal upsize technique. The former OnOne Genuine Fractals Pro is now named Perfect Resize ($99). I have the previous version, when it was still called Genuine Fractals. After your video is converted, you can upload a few still extractions (inside a ZIP or RAR file), and I can resize them for you.

There's also some video specific cheats that can be done in Avisynth and VirtualDub, to repair/enhance still images extracted from video.

I've taught magazines how to do proper upsizing on low-res images submitted by readers.

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02-01-2012, 03:26 PM
123wc 123wc is offline
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Thank you for the reply. I will let my uncle know what he decides to do.
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