Analog Camcorder (VHS) transfer to computer (CD)?

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Reader Samuel C. writes:

" Dear Dennis,

I have many VHS tapes created from the use of my old JVC personal camcorder (analog). I would like to transfer the VHS video onto my computer and then to CD. I've tried researching this issue on the web, but am so confused because the lingo is too technical for me to understand. I have a 2 year old computer (Dell) with all the bells and whistles, currently running windows XP Home Edition. Can you help? "

My response:

In terms of hardware and software requirements, you will need:

  • a camcorder or VCR to play the VHS video
  • a video card equipped with a video input jack to 'intake' the video as it plays
  • a video cable (RCA or S-Video) to go from your camcorder / VCR to the video-input card
  • a computer to record the video to hard disk (drive C, for example)
  • video capturing software to record the video onto the computer's hard disk (usually comes with the video card)
  • CD burner software to record the video from the hard disc to a CD recordable disc
  • a CD burner to record the video to CD
  • With respect to requirement (b): most computers today come equipped with a video card that only does video-out. In this case, you will need to purchase a video card equipped with video-in (which will replace your existing video card), or, you can purchase a separate video analog capture card.

    In either scenario, the video [input] card should come with its own video capturing software, however, you will probably want to edit the video once it's been transferred to your computer. You can do this with many freeware apps (like virtual dub) to input video, cut and copy frames, add effects, and more. For help in choosing a video card / video capture card, contact your local computer store and explain your scenario.

    Side note: For an in-depth guide on VHS to DVD conversion, Jake Ludington's "Converting VHS to DVD" eBook covers everything a newbie needs to know about DVD authoring, including: Hardware Requirements, Video Capture Hardware (including analog capture cards, USB, Firewire, and PCI), DVD Conversion (how-to copy from VHS to DVD), plus an in-depth look at Digital Video Mastering Software using MyDVD or DVD X Maker. You can read about Jake's VHS to DVD guide in our newsletter.

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