Convert VHS video and archive to DVD or CD?

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Reader Jim L. writes:

" Dear Dennis,

You have helped me in the past numerous times and for that I'm thankful. I read all issues and sometimes save those articles that I have a current or potential future need for.

In a recent news article, I noticed an ad for 'DVDSqueeze', which copies and compresses VHS/DVD video to a CD. Even though they advertise in your newsletter, I haven't seen a review from you on their software. I have quite a few old VHS tapes of miscellaneous TV programs of yesteryear. They are not valuable enough to copy to DVD, but it would be nice if I could put 2 to 4 hours worth on a CD for archiving.

Do you know anything about their software or can you recommend a similar software? I would like to be able to play the recorded CDs on my standard DVD player. "

My response:

I don't remember seeing an ad for DVDSqueeze, and haven't written a review on it. I did, however, write a review on Ashampoo Movie Shrink and Burn, which is capable of burning video CDs in multiple formats. This may be what you are referring to, and I will explain more about the function of Shrink and Burn further down the page.

As how to convert VHS to DVD or CD: I get asked this question very often in email, so it is worth going into detail. Without getting too technical, you will need the following hardware and software to get the job done:

  1. A video source (VCR, for example) with s-video or RCA video output.
  2. A video input device for your computer. Most PCs today have a supplemental s-video or RCA video output port attached to the video card (where your monitor plugs into the back of your computer). What you will need, however, is a video card that has a video input port, so that you can import the video from the VCR to your computer. If your video card does not have a video-in port, you will need to pick up a designated video capture card from your local computer store, or replace your current video card with one capable of video-in. In either case, make sure the card has an s-video or RCA input port on it (and not just a coax [cable TV] connection, for example).
  3. A video cable to go from the video source (VCR) to your computer.
  4. Video editing software. This will most likely come with your video input device, or you can use Virtual Dub (free). I personally use Virtual Dub editing the video tutorials that are packaged with my supplemental eBooks.
  5. Once the video has been recorded to the PC, you will most likely want to compress the video and audio streams into another format so that it will all fit on 1 CD. You can use Virtual Dub for audio and video compression (the DivX codec will most likely offer you the best video compression). Hint: video rendering is typically not done at the time of capture, as it is very CPU intensive.
  6. If you plan on playing the CD or DVD on your home DVD system and want to be able to choose scenes using menu selections, you will need to use some type of CD / DVD Mastering Software (such as Ashampoo CD Burning Suite). Hint: simply recording the video compilation to disc using run-of-the-mill CD burning software will only allow you to play the video on your computer.

RE: transfer DVD video to CD

As for converting DVD video to CD: DVDs can hold much more information than a CD; therefore, you will need to recompress the DVD movie stream into another format in order to get it to fit onto CD.

For this job, you can use Ashampoo Movie Shrink and Burn to recompress the video using a specialized video codec, such as DivX, mpeg-1 (VCD compliant), mpeg-2 (SVCD compliant) video.

Hint: VCD / SVCDs can be played in most DVD players, whereas a DivX video disc will most likely only work on your computer (although some newer generation DVD players support DivX).

As far as I remember, Movie Shrink and Burn provides you with a link to download the DivX codec for free. It also has integrated CD / DVD recording software built into the program, so you don't need a separate burning program record your compilation to disc.

Side note: For more information, you can refer to the Ashampoo CD Burning Suite and Movie Shrink and Burn articles through our web site.

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