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Q: Change VHS video tapes to DVDs ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   2 Comments )
Subject: Change VHS video tapes to DVDs
Category: Computers > Hardware
Asked by: seattle-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 28 Oct 2002 10:47 PST
Expires: 27 Nov 2002 10:47 PST
Question ID: 91153
I have several VHS video tapes.  I would like to put this material on
DVDs so that I can  preserve the quality of the material and then
dispose of the tapes.  I want to be sure that the DVDs created are
compatible with common DVD players used to play movies on TV and I
would also like to do this in an efficient and economical way.   My
computer is a Mac G4 running OS 10.2 with SuperDrive .   What is the
best way to do this and what equipment do I need?

Request for Question Clarification by snapanswer-ga on 28 Oct 2002 11:05 PST
Your question implies that you want to do this yourself.  I would
suggest that you might be happier with the results if you used a
service.  Depending on the number of video tapes you are transferring
to DVD, it may be cheaper to use the service (particularly when you
factor in the amount of time required to encode and transfer each

Is an easy-to-use service an acceptable answer, or are you
specifically interested in outfitting your computer to do it yourself?

Clarification of Question by seattle-ga on 28 Oct 2002 11:25 PST
I would rather not use a service to do this.   Time is available so I
would like to do this myself as long as the investment in equipment
and/or software is not too much.   In addition, once I learn how to do
this, I would like to put other analog audio from old vinyl LP
records, reel to reel audio tapes, and cassette tapes onto DVDs as
well.   I assumed (not always a good idea) that video would be the
more difficult and once I learned that I could do the audio more
easily.   Incidentally, using Mac system 9.2, I have used CD Spin
Doctor to put analog audio on CDs, but, considering the additional
capacity of DVDs, would like to use them instead.   Please let me know
if you need more info.   Thank you.

Request for Question Clarification by snapanswer-ga on 28 Oct 2002 11:30 PST
Another researcher will probably be able to quickly describe the ins
and outs of this for you.  Given your system, I believe you don't need
much extra equipment, since my recollection is that SuperDrive is a
writable DVD drive (not to be confused with floppy SuperDrive) and the
G4 should have the horsepower needed.

Good luck with this fun project.

Clarification of Question by seattle-ga on 28 Oct 2002 14:31 PST
Thank you snapanswer for your input.    Yes, the SuperDrive does have
DVD write capability and I hope the G4 has the horsepower.    I would
still like to hear from someone about the interface software and
hardware needed.
Subject: Re: Change VHS video tapes to DVDs
Answered By: molszewski-ga on 28 Oct 2002 17:46 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hello seattle-ga,

Converting VHS to DVD is something that many people want to learn how
to do in order to preserve their home movies or personal tape

Here is a good article about how to transfer your vhs to your mac. 
[ ]  

The link above talks about a DV input box, which you will probably
need to connect your vcr to your mac. The macintosh website recommends
the Dazzle input box in this article:

You may find that the price of the Dazzle is a bit high at $279. It
offers very good quality transfer, which will make your final product
look better. However, you can also check out a cheaper variation of
this product by ADS, called USB Instant Video at:
[ ]

After transferring the video to your mac, you can simply use the
macintosh idvd software to load the transferred clip and burn it to
DVD, or edit it if you choose. idvd is very simple to use, and only
requires a few clicks. However, as with any new technology, all dvds
will not play in every dvd player, and there is not much you can do
about it. Buying 'branded' dvd-r discs (the more expensive ones, not
cheaper bulk packs) will increase the chances of it working in more
dvd players, due to higher reflectivity in the more expensive dvd-r

To sum it up:

1)You need to decide how much you are willing to spend. Remember, a
higher priced input box will mean better quality.
2)Tranfer the video from your vcr using the software included with the
capture hardware or imovie.
3)Use idvd to burn it to a high-quality dvd-r disc.

I hope this helps.

seattle-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $5.00
This is exactly what I was looking for.   Thank you molszewski !

Subject: Re: Change VHS video tapes to DVDs
From: readersguide-ga on 28 Oct 2002 11:47 PST
Just a reminder that unless a format is obsolete (i.e. eight-track,
vinyl, beta) it is technically a violation of US copyright laws to
migrate things to DVD. (If you're not a US citizen, your laws and
rights may vary.

Good luck with the audio conversions.

Subject: Re: Change VHS video tapes to DVDs
From: action-ga on 30 Oct 2002 15:32 PST
The answer you received is excellent.  I just wanted to add that if
you do not already own a digital camcorder (or if you do) some of them
will do what I call pass-through.  In other words, you can hook up
your camcorder via RCA cables to your VCR and hook the camcorder up to
your Mac (via firewire) and it will digitize it for you.  Even if it
doesn't, you can record your analog onto digital and then go to the

This may seem like a waste of time, but if your videos are important,
you may want to keep them in DV format on tape.  DVD's do not store
the data in DV format, it uses MPEG compression.  It can also be
difficult to get your video back off the DVD to edit it later.  I'm
not trying to muddy the waters, but the cost of the Dazzle thingamajig
might pay for more than half of a DV camera which I'd bet you'd want
for future movies...

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