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Profile of ClintonMagus
I have a lot of home videos ("rare" Smile personal magic performances and other) that I need to transfer from VHS-C video tapes to DVDs or video CDs. Is there a quality, reliable method for doing this myself? I am in no hurry, but I want to get it done so I can get rid of the tapes and reclaim some storage space.
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Dan McLean Jr aka, Magic Roadie
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Toronto, Canada
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Profile of Dan McLean Jr aka, Magic Roadie
I think the easiest way would be to use a stand-alone DVD recorder from a TV/stereo store. Plug your VCR directly into the DVD recorder, program the DVD recorder to insert "chapter markers" every five monutes, and then just play the tape & record the DVD.
There are MANY ways to do this, but I think this probably is the most geekless method.
Dan McLean Jr
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Profile of ClintonMagus
Is there a way to manually insert chapter markers where they actually belong instead of doing the 5-minute thing?
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Profile of mkiger
Almost any DVD authoring program will let you put chapters in. As far as the capturing goes, I bought a Canopus external converter a while back (ADV100). The device thinks it is a digital camcorder, input from the player, output via Firewire. I saw one of these on eBay for about $80.

I bought it because it can overcome the Macrovision copy protection on some tapes.

Briefly here is what I did to get a VHS tape to DVD:

1. Capture the video to hard disk using Scenalyzer as separate video and audio streams.
2. Convert the AVI to MPG using Tsunami TMPGEnc Plus.
3. Added Chapters and a menu using Tsunami DVD Author.
4. Made a Video DVD using Nero Burning Rom.

You can find all you need to know about video at:
Tim Hannig
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Chicago area
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I bought a Sony all in one unit.

Put in your vhs tape, the blank dvd, hit one button, and leave the room.

The downside is it does the 5 minute chapter markers, but I had so many videos, that it would take me forever to do it otherwise.

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Lehi, UT, USA
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I you have a computer, there are some simple video editing systems available. I use the Pinnacle system for simple projects. It is easy to edit, and it will allow you to put the chapter headings where you want.

Be aware that video editing sounds simple and painless to talk about, but becomes very time consuming to actually do.

Good Luck,

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Profile of ClintonMagus
Mike, I'm not sure what all your definition of "video editing" encompasses, but all I want to do is essentially put home movies on DVD, "warts and all" with appropriate chapter markers.

I do have a Dazzle Video Creator, but all I've ever used it for is to get stuff from video to PowerPoint for church presentations. I've had both the parallel and USB versions of the unit. Will this do what I need?
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Profile of Dirko
I do a little video editing with pinnacle and it can be a little time consuming. If you are trying to get around copy right protection to make a copy of VHS to DVD there is a peice of equipment called go video at Best Buy. It sells for around $100.00. Good luck to all in your video adventures
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Profile of ClintonMagus
No copyright problems... These are home videos.
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Profile of Lusion
You would have to go and try demo programs to see which you like best
Jeff Haas
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Here's the way to break it down...

There are two steps:

1. Get the video into your computer
2. Edit it into a format you like, and burn it to DVD.

You can use one of the stand-alone VCR/DVD units that will do it all for you, it's the easiest way, but then you have no control over what the end result will be. It's up to you if that's good enough, or if you want to spend time on the computer making the DVDs work the way you want.

Anyway, getting the video into the computer is the easy part. Any CompUSA or similar store will have several accessories that can either be installed in your computer, or plugged into it, that will take the output from a VCR and convert it to a computer file. Once you have that set up, you literally start the "video capture" function of the software on the computer, press play on the VCR, and wait for the tape to play all the way through.

Just for shopping purposes, here's a link to CompUSA's website, and their video capture page:

You can also go to and type "video capture" into the search box, you'll turn up a bunch of reviews of various capture devices, this may be helpful.

Anyway, once you have the video actually in your computer, you can either:

A. Just burn it to a DVD, without chapter markers. Then it acts like your video have to fast-forward to find anything.
B. Spend time in the software scrolling through the video file, and when you find a spot you want to be able to jump to, set a chapter marker.

If you set chapter markers, then there will be a way to put them on a menu so you can click on the one you want and jump to it. You should check to see what software came with Dazzle, it may be all you need. You'll have to play around a bit to learn how it works.

Hey...when I looked up Dazzle on Cnet, I found this article that's a good basic tutorial on doing exactly what you're trying to do. Check it out!

Well, hope this gets you going in the right direction.

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Profile of Banester
Here is a great site as well: . I bought my editing equipment from them and they have great Tech support! They just about walked me through my first editing job on the phone. They also have a lot of material free of charge in regards to training.

If you really aren't sure which equipment to go with, give them a call they will recomend some for you based on what you tell them you want to do.
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Profile of ScottRSullivan
Or buy a Mac. It does all that built in. Smile

(I'm gonna run and hide now as the Windows guys throw stuff at me!)

On a more serious note, I'll vouch for the Video Guys website. They are pretty good about knowing things.

But in the end, I think Dan's got the best solution. Just buy a cheap standalone VHS/DVD burner combo unit. Not only can you then do a direct transfer, but you can set it up like a VCR to record anything off the TV, at full broadcast quality.

The biggest constraint with me is time. Editing takes time. The standalone machines are automated, saving a TON of time.

The standalone recorder: It's cheap, its effective and it's FAST, as in REAL TIME.
The computer: You've got to capture (you must capture in 1x speed, so one hour of tape will take one hour just to capture.) Then you've got to edit. Then you design the menu. Then you have to render it to the mpg stream used by DVDs. Then you spend time burning (all my DVDs are burned at single speed for maximum compatibility and reduction of errors in the burn process) - so that's one more hour to burn.

So one hour of footage will now take you 3 hours to convert to a DVD. With a standalone, it'll take just over one hour (it takes 2--3 minutes to finalize the disc in these machines.) That's not too bad, but when you've got 9 tapes, one hour each, that's at LEAST 20 hours of time that you must commit to the project. If you recorded at slow speed (4 hours per tape), you're now looking at DAYS to do your project and a TON of hard drive space.

Plus, with a standalone you've got: No computer to worry about. No upgrading hard drive space. No buying analog converters. One button and it works. Go and play while the machine makes your DVD.

I own a video production company and have run the cost numbers. For paying projects, that time is being paid for. For my own personal home movies, for now I just dump it straight over to DVD at the highest quality.

Now, ask me again in another month and I'll be dumping everything to DVD and ALSO to the hard drive as uncompressed Quicktime and watch it all through iTunes at full resolution on my big screen TV with a cool little new AppleTV.

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