How to transfer movies from VHS to DVD

Safeguard memories with our step-by-step guide

Here's how to copy your home movies from videotapes to DVD. It doesn't have to be difficult or time-consuming.

A few weeks back, I was trying to tidy up the dumping ground of old technology known as my attic. While digging through this graveyard of old PCs and cables that no longer plug into anything, I found some VHS tapes containing movies I shot years ago. In the spirit of spring cleaning, I decided to put these movies on to DVD.

Here is exactly how I did it.

Getting started

The first thing I needed was a VHS player. Although we replaced our VCR with a hard disk recorder some time back, I still had an old VHS deck lying around. But I didn't just stick the VHS tapes I wanted to copy in there; instead, I connected the VHS recorder to the TV and recorded and played back some TV on a blank tape. That way, I was certain that the device was still working and wasn't going to destroy the tapes I wanted to preserve.

Mechanical devices like VCRs can chew up a tape if they haven't been maintained, and ones that haven't been used in some time are especially prone to this.

Next, I had to decide how to copy the video to DVD. The simplest solution would be to connect the output of the VHS recorder to the input of a set-top DVD recorder. But I wanted to take video from several different tapes and compile it on to one DVD, which is awkward to do with a set-top device.

It's possible - you just record each video as a separate video on the DVD - but you can't easily edit the result. And you can't improve the quality of the videos you're transferring.

I decided to use a video-capture device instead. This would allow me to copy the video on to my PC, then edit it and output it to DVD. Plenty of these devices are available; I decided to try out ADS Tech's DVD Xpress DX2.

The DX2 has a video converter that can accept composite or S-Video signals. It converts these to digital format and sends them to a PC via a USB connection. It comes with Ulead VideoStudio 9 SE DVD software for editing the video.

After installing the software and connecting the DX2 to my PC, I connected the composite video and audio outputs of my VHS recorder to the appropriate inputs on the DVD Xpress device using the set of cables that came with it, and started the Ulead VideoStudio software.

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Richard Baguley

PC Advisor (UK)

5 Comments

Anonymous

1

try a pro service

great article, but if this all seems too much trouble why not just try a pro service like Duplication Station up in Brisbane.. they have very reasonable prices, and they use Digital Time Base Correctors & Digital Noise Reduction where necessary which can really enhance a valuable old tape..

http://www.duplicationstation.com.au

Lynette turner

2

What output do I use to burn the file to dvd.HP video transfer wizard did it by itself but that program is bo longer compatible with Windows 7, so now have purchased NCH USB and software. Whereas before when burning files to DVD HP allowed those dvd's to be played on any dvd player, but NCH will only allow the dvd's to be played on my Samsug dvd player, so what output do I use.

charlotte

3

i upgraded to window 7 now ads dvdxpress does not work on it.
help!

Janine

4

great instructions right through and that's exactly what I have done. Problem I have is the playback on the computer is fantastic (given the quality of the original VHS) but when played back on the TV, the picture is jumpy and pixelated. What did I do wrong? Have tried 4:3 and 16:9 ratio and various editing programs including the Ulead Studio that came with the USB video grabber, but it appears to be the burning process I'm ballsing up. Can anyone help?

justin winter

5

my uncle is trying to convert vhs to dvd whatsa the easiest way to do so and the cheapest

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