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  • Xrcr9709
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Digitalizing VHS ?

I'm looking for advices on the best way tools to digitalize some VHS tapes.

I want to have perfect and standard archive so what I'd like to get uncompressed AVI if I can get that, or are there lossless formats ?

I have several versions of Sony Vegas, so I think the best thing to do would be to buy a RCA-USB adapter that would create a video input to the computer. I guess they required drivers ?
Is there such a product that you would recommend ?

Also is there a maximum definition to VHS (PAL and SECAM, I'm in Europe) ?

I can spend some money on it, but not a too big amount.

Thank you for you're help.

  • DVDdoug
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Digitalizing VHS ?
Reply #1
What you are looking for is a "video capture device" or "video capture card".  It should come with software, and it's usually best to use the capture-software that comes with your capture hardware.    For video editing and DVD authoring/burning, you can use the software of your choice.

Uncompressed AVI is not common and it requires ~65GB per hour.  I don't think you'll find an inexpensive device that supports it.

AVI/DV is what you get from a MiniDV camcorder.    It's a bit more resonable, at ~13GB per hour. 

If you have a MiniDV camera with composite video & audio inputs, it can often be used in "pass-thru" mode as a capture device (to AVI/DV format) via Firewire.  This is often your best solution.   

Another simple solution is to get a stand-alone DVD recorder.  (DVDs are MPEG-2 encoded)  This is a great option if you want to make direct-copy DVDs.  But, if you want to edit the video, or make nice menus, this is not the simplest option, since you need to take the extra step of copying the DVD to your hard drive and combining the handful of VOB files to one-big MPEG-2 file.

The AMD/ATI All-In-Wonder cards are very popular.  They might support AVI/DV, but you'll have to check the specs.

Happauge[/u][/url] products are also fairly popular, but I believe they only capture to MPEG.  (DVDs are MPEG-2, so the quality can be better than VHS if you don't use too much compression.)

At the lower-price end, EzCap USB device is probably your best option.  But again, it only captures to MPEG.  I believe all of the USB devices have a built-in MPEG encoder, and they send compressed MPEG over the USB connection. 

Watch-out for "Eazy-Cap" and other "fakes".  A lot of people seem to have trouble with these and other super-cheap capture devices.

One thing to be aware of if you want to copy commercially produced tapes. - Commercial VHS tapes are copy protected.  If the capture-device manufacturer cooperates with "the system", you can't make copies.  But, many devices just ignore the "do not copy" signal and they work fine.    VHS/DVD combo recorders always support copy protection, so you cannot use one to copy from commercial DVDs to (or vice-versa).
  • Last Edit: 17 January, 2012, 10:10:11 PM by DVDdoug

  • Xrcr9709
  • [*][*]
Digitalizing VHS ?
Reply #2
Thank you. At least I know I should not go for the USB stuff (or be careful with their specs).

What I want to archive are DIY productions by myself or by others (I've replaced my commercial tapes with DVDs a while ago).
And I'm really not wanting to make DVDs,  rightnow, I only want to have them archived in perfect quality so that I would not mind losing or throwing away the tapes some day.

Is there quality equipment that manages uncompressed avi ? And where does the price range start ?
And out of curiosity, are there equipment that can create MKV ?

PS : Also, from what I read, ATI/AMD All-In-Wonder cards can record uncompressed AVI. But I don't find these card on the site I use to browse for computer devices...
PS2 : Any opinion on this ?
I've read and it says that it records uncompressed AVI ... I should check if I have USB 3.0, but I'm convinced I have some ...
  • Last Edit: 18 January, 2012, 08:38:30 AM by Xrcr9709