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Old March 24th, 2009, 01:19 PM   #1
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VHS to editable footage

A client has VHS tapes that she wants footage edited from. The local transfer place will charge 30.00 for 1 hour of footage to a DVD. To put it to mini DV, for me to capture into my system, they will charge 50.00. To burn it to a file I can use or put it on my hard drive, it's roughly the same - 50.00. This can add up if she wants to transfer a lot of footage. I don't know yet how much she has.

What is the best way to handle this, now and with future clients? I hate to have to charge her an arm and a leg and don't want to charge her more to get editable footage but may have to.

Can I get decent editable footage from DVD video? Is there a program that does a good job decompressing it?

I'm not really set up to capture VHS footage into my system but maybe I should set up for that. However I can't afford to buy any more equipment right now.
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Old March 24th, 2009, 01:28 PM   #2
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Why not just record to your PD170 via composite from the original tapes? If you don't have a VHS deck then your client can bring hers over, or you could probably pick up a new one for about $50. If you can find one with S-video out you could get a slightly better picture. I keep a few decks on hand just for this purpose.

If the client is a friend, you can have a cup of coffee or six while it dubs.
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Old March 24th, 2009, 01:30 PM   #3
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Hmmm. I never thought of that. That might work. I could totally do that.
What about quality? Wouldn't you come off with better quality from a professional transfer place? I don't want to give her budget quality.
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Old March 24th, 2009, 01:33 PM   #4
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They'd be doing the exact same thing, except maybe with a pro record deck. But in any case the destination device will have much better quality than the source. It's going to look pretty bad anyway, as regular VHS is about half the resolution as DV, but once it's digital on your cam you won't lose much more. Certainly it'll look better than going to DVD and back (I think).
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Old March 24th, 2009, 01:39 PM   #5
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Granted the VHS quality esp. of home video would be awful. But would a pro record deck make an appreciable difference?
So if this works, in the future then I should have the customer isolate the clips they want, record them to my camera, and then recommend they have the whole tape transferred at a separate time if they want to preserve it? Chances are their clip footage would be limited, not hours of transfer.
I"ve been running into difficulties with this because I've been recommending people transfer their tapes to preserve them. But the cost can add up and then they put off doing their project because they cannot affford to do both.
I thought I would just work with the local transfer place but it does seem to make the customer's project cost-prohibitive.
This might work as a temporary measure until I can get some transfer equipment.
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Old March 24th, 2009, 01:53 PM   #6
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I've had some clients over the last few years that wanted VHS transfered to DVD so like Adam I keep a couple of VCRs around just for that purpose. I run the CCR thru my 170 as a pass thru, capture using Scenealyzer, then bring it into Vegas to do any edit they might want and render to MPEG for DVDA.
I make sure they understand the quality is not going to get any better no matter what but for most people it's a matter of convienence to have the material on DVD instead of VHS tapes.
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Old March 24th, 2009, 03:17 PM   #7
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There are a number of dv/av converters on the market, if you have to do a lot of this, that let you digitize directly into your video capture software from a vhs deck. We have to do this occasionally, have Canopous (now Grass Valley) ADVC300 converters for the purpose. They have a proprietary chip that does some cleanup and enhancement, as well as software for brightness, contrast, etc. They (and others) make some less expensive models as well. Composite or s-video in, dv firewire out, or vice-versa..../Battle Vaughan/miamiherald.com video team
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