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Transfer VHS to DVD - The DIY Way

If you like to DIY (Do-It-Yourself) and you have a lot of old VHS or Super 8 home movies lying around, then doing a DIY digital transfer might be right up your alley. Ready for the challenge? If so, read on for more information and get you moving in the right direction.

Some people like to do things without any help. I understand - that’s me. If you like to DIY and you have a lot of old home videos, you may just have yourself a new project. Here is an overview of how to do a “Do-It-Yourself” digital transfer.

Video transfer is the conversion of analog video to a digital format. VHS is analog video recorded on magnetic tape. Magnetic tape has a limited life span and needs to be transferred to digital before too long in order to preserve the data on it. Preservation is probably the biggest reason that so many home videos get transferred to digital. Other reasons are that DVD is just more convenient.

First, do the appropriate amount of research. Before buying any of the electronic or computer equipment you will need, research as much information as you can beforehand. Look at owner’s manuals - both for the equipment you already have and any new equipment you plan to purchase. If you are going to use your current computer in your transfer studio, then you will need to make sure the computer is up to the challenge. Sketch out a pipeline to identify what you will need in addition to your computer. Do you need an external drive? Maybe you need more RAM. Consult a local computer store or electronics store if you need some additional help at this stage.

There are a lot of DIY transfer methods. One method utilizes a video capture card or device - or a graphic card with video capture capability to capture the analog signal and translate it into a digital file format that your computer can read.

If you have a Mini DV camera, you can bypass the video capture devices and use the built-in FireWire (also known as ieee 1394) to connect directly to your computer. Any camera and computer combination with ieee 1394 ports and a cable with which to connect them can provide this scenario.

A variation of this procedure is to connect your VHS player via cable to your Mini DV camera. You can record the material from the VHS tape onto a miniDV and then you will need to connect the Mini DV camera and the tape you just made to your computer to digitize it into an uncompressed file format.

Finally, you can also purchase a device that will record from your VHS tape directly to DVD for you. The one big negative of this method is that you cannot edit your DVD later. An example of this kind of device is one of those DVD VCR Combo Players. It plays a VHS tape and then records the content to DVD. There are also DVD Recorders that can connect to your VCR and then record to DVD. You'll just need to buy the right kind of cable to connect the two machines.

That’s it in a nutshell. Good luck on your new DIY project. RememberFind Article, the time to start is now. I hope this article will help get you into action on preserving your family history on a safe and convenient digital format. Good luck!

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For over a decade Marty Holthaus coordinated visual effects details for more than twenty high profile Hollywood movies. He now writes about VHS to DVD transfers. To read more click on this link to his site, DVD VHS Transfer.

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