You might be worried about your VHS collection, particularly about how to keep that precious media lasting longer, as well as the space requirements it takes to store all of those bulky tapes. In order to carry out a successful VHS to DVD conversion, you have to know how exactly the process works, and how the two formats are different.
VHS records things in analog. A magnetic tape is coded with the information that makes up the film in the form of magnetic fields. As time goes on, this information can start to lose quality and fade away, until you cannot see the information anymore. Digital video comes in the form of DVD. Digital information is put on these discs which are in the form of computer information, providing a much longer lasting medium for your films and shows than VHS.
Given the differences between the two formats, you have to discern a method to convert from analog to digital, requiring the use of a VHS to DVD converter for your particular duties, so that should be your first step. You can find plenty of avenues by which to get one of these devices, and your particular needs and budget will determine what you actually need to get.
In order to use these new methods, you will really need to learn how to use computers and technology. You will require an analog-to-digital converter in order to implement these methods, and despite the simple nature of some of these strategies, you might have to work to learn how to do others. However, the most advanced the technique, the more leeway and freedom you will have to do with your footage as you will.
Capture Boxes and Cards For Your VHS Tapes
When you convert a VHS tape to a DVD, you might end up with a slight lowering in video quality. If you want the most appealing results, you will want an MPEG-2 encoder, which will use a DVD-friendly format. If you buy a USB encoder box or video capture card, you will have the high quality encoder chip required to convert your video, as your processor will not be a part of this process, all the work falling to the converter box. The final product will then be cleaner and clearer, especially if contrasted with the DV Camcorder. Keep in mind that you will experience a slight decrease in picture quality when you convert from analog to DV, then straight to DVD after that - artifacts can occur that just look terrible.
Despite the fact that it will take a lot of technical know how to pull of this last method, you will get fantastic picture given the right software. If your software has the right features, you could turn your VHS tape into a full blown DVD, complete with menus and transitions, making it look extremely professional.
The DVD equivalent of a VCR is the DVD Recorder, and it will work pretty much like it in terms of function. It can play the DVDs that you insert in it, and you can also hook it up to your television and record what is on screen. Now, you may need to learn the best way to do this in order to get it to work, but as long as you have recorded stuff from a TV onto a VHS before, you should be fine. As an extra bonus, the copy protected movies will be able to be recorded with the help of these devices.
VHS to DVD Recorders
You will find the easiest way to do this conversion with this device. Basically, a VHS to DVD recorder has both a DVD burner and a VHS player inside. Just put both your VHS and DVD media in, and you will dub over the DVD with the VHS footage, much like you could with two VHSs. Those of you who do not have a lot of experience with technology or electronics, you might find this the most effective and easy to use. On the other hand, you will not be able to transfer your copy protected movies to DVD with this device, making it not the ideal solution.
DV/Digital 8 Camcorders.
You will be able to use digital camcorders to convert between analog and digital. Just connect the camcorder between your computer and your VCR, and your VHS to DVD converter is now completed and ready to go. Your VCR will send the signals into your digital camera, storing them in that format. Your camcorder will then send the data to your computer as a digital video file, which is done via the USB cable or FireWire cable you have hooked into it.
Prior to implementing this method, you do have to consider a few technical issues that may arise. You might need a lot of storage space, as DV files can take 14 gigabytes in order to record an hour. More space is needed to convert the file to DVD and burn the disk itself.
VHS to DVD Conversion Service
While this might be the most expensive method to convert your tape, it will require the least amount of work and education on your part. You can hire on the VHS to DVD conversion services of one of many companies online or in your area in order to get the tapes that you want put on DVD. You might have to pay a lot of money though, as much as $100 a tape to get all the nice features.
The price is the only real downside to this option, however. For that price, though, you can get tapes cleaned up so the quality is vastly improved, which is something you may not have the expertise or time to do.
Therefore, you should not feel you have no options when it comes to converting your old tapes to DVDs; it just depends on the hardware that you have and the time you want to commit.