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VHS Tape to Digital Conversion


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#1 Craig Knowles

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Posted 02 November 2005 - 12:06 PM

I'm working on a project where a client needs an old VHS copy of a music video re-cut and re-synced to new audio.

I'd like do all the editing digitally, so I need to get this VHS footage into my computer in an uncompressed format so I can manipulate it as I need to, lay the new audio on, etc.

I did a search online to find someone who could capture/convert the VHS footage (~5min) to uncompressed digital for me, but the marketplace seems to only offer VHS transfer to a playable DVD, and not in a form suitable for editing.

Anyone know where I get can have this done?

Thanks,
Craig

Edited by Craig Knowles, 02 November 2005 - 12:08 PM.

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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 02 November 2005 - 12:44 PM

As I understand it, you just need to run the VHS video-out through an A/D converter. My Sony DSR-11 DV deck does that, for example, although I've never tried it. There are small consumer A/D converters on the market for people cutting old analog video footage, like by Dazzle.
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#3 Mike Lary

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Posted 02 November 2005 - 12:56 PM

I've used a Canopus converter box (it's basically just a card inside a metal case with various I/O ports) to convert VHS to digital. It worked pretty well and the box cost a few hundred bucks.
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#4 Charlie Seper

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Posted 02 November 2005 - 07:42 PM

Craig,

I don't think there's any way to do an uncompressed capture with a computer. It would require way too much bandwidth. The best you can do (and its quite good enough for a small VHS signal) is to capture to DV video.

I take it you're just talking about a standard VHS or maybe Super-VHS tape? Most of us just use the DV Pass-Through feature on our camcorders for that if they have one. If yours doesn't then perhaps you could borrow one from someone. Even very inexpensive cams often have this feature. Chances are you're just running from analog outs on a VHS deck using either an AV cable or an S-Video cable. That's all you'll need really. I wouldn't worry about getting some fancy VHS deck with digital outs because the VHS signal is so small that it won't look any better through a digital out than it would through a regular old S-Video, and even an AV out won't look that much worse. If you could do it, I would go S-Video out of the VHS deck into the S-Video connector on the camcorder and use the AV out to AV in for the sound only. You'll need a firewire out from the camcorder then to go into your computer where you'll capture the signal(s) with whatever NLE software (Premiere etc) you're using.

Just follow the instructions in the camcorder manual for using the DV Pass-Through feature. Its not hard.
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#5 Craig Knowles

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Posted 02 November 2005 - 11:58 PM

Thanks for the help everyone, and I apologize - I just realized this question on not in the proper forum.
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#6 Charlie Seper

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Posted 03 November 2005 - 05:20 PM

Oh I don't know, it wasn't really a post production question. More of an intermediary question, which could go anywhere. Better to put it here probably where there are more guys who deal with analog and DV video on a regular basis. I just got done transferring around 6-hours of VHS footage of Phil Keaggy's old band The Glass Harp for someone in Ohio. Did some gamma correction, ran some noise reduction on the audio, raised the low-end a little on some of it, deinterlaced it, and designed the DVD motion menu. I do stuff like that all the time. But as for getting the footage into your computer uncompressed, I'm sure there's a way to go out of a high-end system onto a DVD or CD, and then you could put it in your box, but I've never done that. If Phil Rhodes happens by and reads this post he can probably tell you the procedure. He reads this forum and answers questions fairly often so, you were still better off posting here I think.

Good luck.
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