• How to transfer VHS tapes to your computer
  • How to transfer VHS tapes to your computer
    Written by battye
    Sat Aug 29, 2009 4:19 pm

    Following on from my previous article about recording the output of a computer screen through VHS screen capture, this article outlines how to capture VHS video back in to your computer. This can also apply to DVDs, and doing it this way can have some advantages (such as quick and dirty editing) but for DVDs using a program such as Handbrake is advisable as it works faster than real time and it is featured filled.

    There are numerous reasons why you might want to copy VHS video cassettes on to your computer; such as copying old VHS videos into a digital format for posterity, creating back up copies of old videos, or putting your videos in a format that allows you to easily burn to DVD.

    In order to capture VHS video, you must connect the VCR to a video camera (camcorder), and then connect the video camera to the computer. It is possible to connect your VCR and computer directly, but special software is required which can be very expensive. Using the camcorder method you do not need any additional software besides Windows Movie Maker which comes with the Windows operating system.

    STEP 1

    You need to get an A/V cable (3xRCA to 3.5mm jack). In the output area of your VCR plug the 3 RCA jacks (yellow - video, red/white - audio), and then plug the 3.5mm jack into the camcorder. Alternatively, you can use an S-Video to S-Video cable to use S-Video to transfer the video signal.

    STEP 2

    Plug the firewire cable into the camera and the computer and open your editing software, such as Windows Movie Maker. Ensure that the camera is turned on. Some camera's have a setting to enable output through to the computer (such as A/V -> D/V OUT) which will need to be turned on.

    STEP 3

    If you are using Windows Movie Maker, press the "Record" button. Insert the VHS cassette tape into your VCR and press play, if everything is set up correctly you should see the video playing in the record area of Windows Movie Maker. Press the "Record" button once you are ready. The video will capture in real time.

    STEP 4

    Press "Stop" and follow the prompts to save the file. Windows Movie Maker allows either WMV or AVI format.

    STEP 5

    Make the necessary edits to the file if you need to, and then press the "Save Movie" button to finalise the file. Then you can upload the file to YouTube, upload to a blog, send in an email, burn to DVD, etc - whatever you would like to do with the file you can now do as the video is stored on your computer.


    This is it! As you can see it is quite easy to transfer a VHS over to your computer. One important thing to remember is that the WMV format gives you quite good value (in terms of filesize). To make the filesize smaller, you are able to decrease the resolution.
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