There are several different options available to help you to effectively transfer and convert your old VHS tapes to the DVD format. The two main categories involve making a choice between converting the tapes yourself or choosing to work with a commercial VHS transfer service instead. If you go the route of converting your VHS to DVD by yourself, you will have a lot more control about how it is all done from start to finish. However, there are a few advantages associated with hiring a service to do it for you.
There are a few different companies that you can go through - both at local commercial service stores as well as on the Internet - that will provide these VHS to DVD services for you. The purpose of this article is to shed some light on a few of the common and uncommon services that you can enjoy by going the commercial conversion route:
* Creating DVD Menus
Most of the conversion services that you will find can add in chapter menus as part of their services when they transfer your VHS tapes to DVD format. The use of these chapter menus will make it easier for you to navigate and select specific moments in time either set by 5-10 minute standard intervals, or by specific events or “scenes" in your video. The standard option isn't very flexible or content-specific, but it is helpful to improve navigation for most uses.
It can be a little more difficult to find a service that will offer a custom chapter placement, so you will want to ask about this type of service in advance if this is what you are interested in doing.
* Putting Cassettes Together
You can hold approximately 2 hours of video on a standard 4.7 gigabyte DVD, so there may come a time when you want to put two 1 hour VHS tapes onto on DVD disc. If you have special editing requirements or if you want to put more than 2 VHS tapes onto a DVD, you will need to do some research to find a company that will offer these custom services.
* Working with High Quality Video
If you need this type of work done you may have to look hard to find a VHS to DVD company that will offer this service to their customers. The video that is on a DVD works by utilizing complex algorithms to help compress the video in order for it to fit properly on the DVD disc. However, every time a video file is edited and compressed, information gets lost - so when this is done many times over, the quality of the video will begin to degrade. If it is your plan to edit the video files recorded on your VHS tapes, your best bet is to start working with files that are uncompressed, and when you are ready to do your final burn to DVD, they should then be compressed in order to get the best quality results.
Files that are uncompressed are extremely large in size, and can be as big as 1.2 gigabytes per minute of video time, depending upon the size of the screen and the color resolution. You can do this type of work at home, however, because of the extremely large size of the files you may have to allocate a portion of your computer hard drive or even purchase an additional external hard drive in order to save your video files for editing. In the case of the person that has a lot of tapes that need to be edited in this way, your best bet will be to save both time and money by finding a service that will do this work for you.
* Fixing Nonfunctional Cassettes
Part of the reason that people embraced the DVD conversion so heartily was because of the fragility associated with VHS tapes - primarily the way VHS players used to “eat" tapes and ruin them. If you have a VHS tape that was damaged in this way, some service companies actually have the tools and the ability to repair or even rebuild your damaged tape.
However, if you decide to get your VHS tape repaired, there are some things you should know. First, if the tape itself is actually broken, you will most likely lose anywhere between a few seconds and a few minutes of video due to the way it needs to be spliced back together for repair - there's just no getting around it. If the case for the VHS cartridge has been damaged, the service will need to transfer over the entire inner tape mechanism to a new cartridge.
It may seem like you could just splice the tape back together yourself or superglue the cartridge back in one piece, for this type of work it really is best to hire someone to do it for you to ensure that it is done properly. If you were to try to repair a broken cassette yourself, again it would be easier for the service to transfer the tape into an empty cassette housing in part because they have empty cassettes on hand for this type of work.
* Should You DIY or Not?
Plenty of people choose to hire a professional service to convert, repair and customize their videos when they transfer VHS tapes to DVD discs instead of trying to do it themselves. When you take on the task of converting VHS video tapes to DVD discs, it can be very time-consuming, especially if you have a large library of tapes, making it more of a huge project than just a simple task. Additionally, if you have extra needs or want to add in special features to your tapes, it is probably in your best interest to just go ahead and hire a service to take care of all those details for you. Unless you have all the right equipment, the experience and the time to do it, you will probably find that hiring someone to convert and customize your VHS video collection is the best option.
* Other Various Services
The term “custom services" is very broad and covers a lot of areas such as chapter placement, adding captions, special menu options and specific editing requirements. Remember that any type of custom service will very likely be quite expensive and it can be difficult to find a local company that will offer these types of services.