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The Long Black Line
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Old March 28th, 2008, 09:49 AM   #1
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VHS to DVD Transfer Advice

Hi everyone! I'm a broadcasting student in Ontario, Canada. I'd like to start a small side business doing VHS to DVD transfers of home movies. At my school we use a Mini DV/S-VHS deck with firewire ports. I've been trying to buy a used one online, but I'm really not able to find one in my price range(under $400). Does anyone have any advice on either where to find one for purchase, or perhaps other ways to capture from a VHS machine onto an iMac? I should mention that I do not yet own a Mini DV camera that I can use at my leisure. Thanks for your help!

Last edited by Matt Ratelle; March 28th, 2008 at 09:52 AM. Reason: additional information
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Old March 28th, 2008, 10:04 AM   #2
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I do a lot of this work for people Matt. I feed S video and audio into my editing pc, timeline the lot and MPEG2 compress. Then I author a DVD, design the print face and case insert sheet, choosing frames from the timeline as stills.

Takes a lot of time but gives the best results. Quickest way is to use a set-top DVD box with analogue in - that way a DVD with minimal menu page pops out in real time.

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Old March 28th, 2008, 10:11 AM   #3
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Thanks Tom! Would you be able to tell me what type of convertor I would need? My iMac only has Firewire and USB.
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Old March 28th, 2008, 10:23 AM   #4
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Ah, if your Mac doesn't have analogue in you're stumped. But many camcorders will convert on the fly, so feed the S + audio from the VHS VCR into your switched on camcorder in VCR mode and take the Firewire cable into the Mac.

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Old March 28th, 2008, 10:28 AM   #5
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Ok...I'd have a buy a dv cam then...which is a bit out of my price range for now. How much of a difference does the camera quality make?
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Old March 28th, 2008, 10:31 AM   #6
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The camera doesn't really effect the video quality as it's simply being used as an A/D converter. An old Sony TRV900 would do just fine and should be well under $400.
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Old March 28th, 2008, 10:42 AM   #7
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I know I've run into problems with artifacting on the mini dv/s-vhs deck in our dub/transfer suite at school...would that still be an issue if I'm simply routing a VCR through a mini dv cam?
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Old March 28th, 2008, 10:46 AM   #8
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Explain in more detail the 'artefacts problem'. Using the cam as an A/D converter should give you no problems whatsoever. My old Canopus Raptor system used the camera as just such a converter for hours on end (to feed a proper TV as a monitor) with never a hitch.
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Old March 28th, 2008, 10:49 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Hardwick View Post
..... Quickest way is to use a set-top DVD box with analogue in - that way a DVD with minimal menu page pops out in real time.....

tom.
yes!!, and if you rip the encoded video from the disk (use a re-writable), then you can pull that mpeg into something else and re-author with your own menu template if you like.

basically you use the DVD recorder as a real-time encoder, but can add value with your own menus, etc.

note I also trim the mpeg with mpeg video wizard so it's cleaned up in the front and back. (and you can keep it in mpeg - no editing, so mpeg video wizard is fine b/c it just re-writes the mpeg, no re-encoding).
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Old March 28th, 2008, 10:53 AM   #10
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Multicoloured blocks appeared in the final copy of the transfer. I'm sure its not actually "artifacting" as that would be bits of past recording being visible on the tape, though it looked quite similar to it.
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Old March 28th, 2008, 10:59 AM   #11
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You do indeed describe artefacts. All the connections ok?
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Old March 28th, 2008, 11:43 AM   #12
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I think so, but the engineers don't really like you messing around with their patch bays! lol
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Old March 28th, 2008, 12:04 PM   #13
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what is a good VCR to use for the conversions? or will any good VCR suffice?
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Old March 29th, 2008, 01:31 PM   #14
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I was wondering that myself...I've been pretty disappointed by the quality of most VCRs...any suggestions?
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Old March 29th, 2008, 03:08 PM   #15
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I use an S-VHS Panasonic NV-HS900 machine, The better the playback, the better the final product.
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