Memories have a lifetime. That’s why we try our best to capture the most precious moments from birth to graduation through photos and videos. In old age, it is quite easy to digitize old photos. Scan, upload, and save to your computer, thumb drive, or cloud. On the other hand, digitizing old videos can be a bit challenging, at least when it comes to captured footage from a dead medium known as the Video Home System, aka VHS.
The format does not last forever and decreases over time. If your valuable home videos are managed to survive so far, you can recover the footage before time runs out. Converting well-known videos can never be flawless – the slightest hiccup can interrupt the transfer signal – but it can be done on a modest budget with a few basic tools.
Below, we’ll show you how to digitally save your moments in multiple formats, including DVD, Blu-ray or digital files. If you’ve been too busy, we’ve also got a list of various VHS conversion services, including prices, to help you save your 20-year-old footage on your first bike bail. If not, do it for successors.
Disclaimer: Copying commercial films and copyrighted material is illegal, but there are no restrictions on copying home videos. Also, you can usually use a copy of Top Song or The Morning Club without doing anything.
Retail VHS to DVD conversion service
To technically eliminate the hand-on process, many large retail corporations offer VHS-to-DVD (and in some cases VHS-to-digital) conversion services through their photo divisions. Stores such as Costco, CVS, Walmart, and Sam’s Club provide video conversions, and many of them use the same company to convert them: Yes Video o If you go to the Yes Video website, you’ll find conversion services starting at 26 26 per tape for the first two hours. Will receive and then receive an additional 26 26 for every two extra hours of conversion. However, the price you pay at Walmart or Target may be lower. These prices have been on the rise in recent years, so if you’re waiting to convert your own tapes, you’ll want to get it.
Available transfer formats include everything from VHS to Betamax, and most services allow you to transfer up to two tapes to a single DVD before charging extra. Alternatively, there are a number of great websites that offer the same service for more affordable prices if you feel comfortable playing VHS tapes yourself.
Companies like Legacy Box also provide similar services. Just mail in your VHS tapes and these will provide you with DVDs, downloadable digital files or a thumb drive full of your memory, instead of original tapes. Prices start at $ 59, which includes the conversion of two tapes.
Using a VHS-DVD combo or separate VCR and DVD burner
If you’ve got a ton of videos to transfer, you can do this yourself to save some green. The best way to convert your own is with a VHS-DVD combination player / recorder. Today, these are old and hard to find. You can find dinosaur models online if you look hard enough – try searching for “combo decks” or “VHS DVD recorders” on sites like Amazon or eBay, or even Craigslist – but these will usually cost you ড 100 or more (and ship forever). Take)), so if you’ve got a huge tape collection it’s only worth it.
You can also buy the items you need for your pieces. If you don’t already have a VCR, you can search online for around $ 70 to ড 100, but again, this is no easy task. You can try visiting Amazon (most options will be secondhand), but you’ll need to resort to eBay or even your local Craigslist, although we recommend caution if you follow these routes – always make sure you have a high review score before your eBay seller has moved forward. Then you will need a stand-alone DVD recorder, which can be a challenge to find these days. Protecting one will probably require the same methods described above.
When you receive the product, you can connect the DVD player from the RCA output of the VCR to the VCR by connecting an RCA audio / video cable from the RCA input of the DVD player. On some models, there may be an RCA-to-HDMI converter to connect the two of you. This is basically the same process you would use with any old video camera that uses tape – just connect the camera output to the DVD recorder via the RCA cable or, if necessary, we only use the RCA-to-HDMI converter mentioned. The process is of course easier with the combo player.
Then the transfer process. Pop a tape on VCR and a blank DVD + R or DVD + RW (some units only accept one of these formats, so double-check it) on the DVD player, then start the transfer process. The method varies between models, but it should be relatively straightforward. You may need to follow the manufacturer’s instructions, but most manuals can be found by Google search if your components don’t match them.
Pro Tip: It’s always smart to clean your equipment and the tapes you move. The effectiveness of various cleaning methods is one thing, but the easiest way is to wrap the cassette and carefully remove any visible dust or dirt using a soft cloth or cotton swab. You may also want to consider cleaning your VCR head using a VHS head cleaner.
Transfer to DVD, Blu-ray, or digital files on Windows and Mac
This process is more involved and requires a few additional materials, but it has its advantages. Specifically, you’ll be able to transfer your tapes directly from a VCR to digital files, unlike any other physical format, by allowing them to be stored on a hard drive or even in the cloud. You can then copy and save the files of your choice and transfer them to DVD or Blu-ray.
Assuming you already have a VCR, the first step is to buy a digital-to-analog converter if you don’t have access. There are many models here, but models like the UCEC USB 2.0 video audio capture card are made specifically with VHS in mind.
Once you have it, connect the digital-to-analog adapter to your computer and your VCR or camera. Most adapters come with software that takes you through the entire transfer process, resulting in a more comprehensive video editor, including importing or burning directly to DVD, including installing the software and downloading the necessary drivers. See the installation disc, manual or manufacturer’s website for more information.
As with the previous method, we recommend checking your tape and VCR once to make sure each tape is clean. The transfer of tape particles can cause defects in the video, while dirty heads can ruin the whole project.
Now for the main event. Insert the tape into your computer with a VCR and a blank DVD or Blu-ray (or external player / burner). The exact conversion steps vary depending on what device and software you are using to capture the video. Recording and digitization will happen in real time, meaning you will have to painstakingly cover the entire length of the footage (or do something else for a while) before finishing the project. Once this is done, the contents will be saved in digital format forever.
At the moment, if all you want is a digital file, you’re done; You can edit, transfer and rename the file as you wish. If you plan to burn the file to a DVD or Blu-ray, you must take one more step. Most conversion software will have the option to burn DVD or Blu-ray after the footage has been transferred. If not, look for the result on your computer and open it in iMovie, Windows Movie Maker, VLC, or a similar program that can burn your footage to DVD. (You can also use these programs to edit the length of your videos)) The burning process will vary depending on which software you choose, so consult the guidelines for more clarity.
Alternatively, you can try using the Direct Digital Conversion tool to easily copy VHS footage to a microSD card for digital use. Be aware, though – you may need an extra cable and a larger SD card (try GB4GB).
VHS from Blu-ray
Converting from VHS to Blu-ray can be complicated. You’ll need a computer with a Blu-ray writable drive – or an external drive if your PC lacks a built-in drive. You will also need third party software to complete the conversion. Windows users will be able to run the free program Imgburn which we recommend despite its lack of updates for many years. The option is paying for a non-free alternative like OpenCloner or BurnHour. For the Mac, we’re in favor of the Leo Blu-ray Creator for ease of use.
However, we need to comment that converting to VHS (or any other tape) is usually not appropriate for this. VHS image quality is low, so your conversion viewing experience may not gain much in the way of upgrading. Keep in mind that Blu-ray players and writers usually also work for DVDs, so you don’t necessarily have to waste your own money.