The Video Home System (VHS) format was first developed by the JVC Company in the 1970s as a successor format to Beta Max. At the time, the format featured a longer playback time, faster video forwarding and rewind, and a simpler tape storage mechanism. The format would eventually become the predominant video format in the marketplace prior to the widespread adoption of DVDs. A common task that arises for owners of legacy content stored in this format is to convert VHS to DVD.
Steps to Convert VHS to DVD
Step 1 – Purchase a converter that accepts standard video and audio input with a USB or FireWire connection on the opposite end of the conversion cable. The unit will have a red, yellow, and white connector that can be connected to a VHS player. Most converters will come with a software package that supports the conversion process such as the Roxio Easy VHS to DVD conversion package.
Step 2 – Install the Roxio or other software package that you have purchased with the conversion kit. After the installation program launches, accept the default menu prompts until installation is completed.
Step 3 – Connect the converter to the VHS player and then to the USB input on the computer being used for the VHS to DVD conversion process.
Step 4 – Insert a blank DVD-R in the computer’s DVD-R drive.
Step 5 – Click the “Record DVD” menu option in the Roxio main menu.
Step 6 – Enter a unique title for the DVD in the “DVD Title” text menu located on the right-hand side of the Roxio program main screen.
Step 7 – Choose the destination drive on the right-hand side of the Roxio main menu. A local hard or portable drive can be chosen instead of burning the VHS tape directly to DVD. If you choose this option, a blank DVD-R does not need to be inserted in step 4.
Step 8 – Click the “Capture Movie” menu option and then choose the “Burn to DVD” menu choice when complete. Depending on the version of software and age of VHS player being used, you may be prompted to start playing the VHS content before starting the VHS to DVD conversion process.
Steps to Convert VHS to DVD Using WinAVI
Step 1 – Connect the VHS player to your computer’s video capture card. Connect one part of the composite video cable to the yellow composite out on the VCR and the opposite end to the corresponding video-in port on the card. Then connect the red and white ends of the VCR’s RCA cable to the matching line-in port(s) on the sound cord.
Step 2 – Connect the VCR to a power source and turn on the player followed by inserting the VHS tape into the player. If you do not want to record the entire tape, fast forward the video to the point that you desire to begin conversion from VHS to DVD.
Step 3 – Download and install WinAVI Video Capture program on your computer. After installation is completed, launch the application by double clicking the program icon located on your computer’s desktop.
Step 4 – Select the “Play” menu button on the VHS player followed by clicking the “Record” button in the WinAVI application. The default format for the recording or conversion is DVD format.
Step 5 – Click the “Stop” menu option when the recording is complete.
Step 6 – Burn the DVD content to disc by inserting a blank DVD-R into your computer’s DVD-R drive. Then, select the “Burn” menu option and WinAVI will burn the DVD from the content converted from VHS format.
Steps to Convert VHS to DVD Using a Camcorder
For this method you will need a digital camcorder, video editing software like Windows Movie Maker or iMovie on Mac, DVD burner, blank DVD media, and, of course, the VCR.
Step 1 – Locate the video and audio inputs on your digital camcorder. You may see a composite and/or S-Video input and an audio input, probably a 1/8″ ‘line-in’ plug.
Step 2 – Check VCR for the outputs it supports. If it’s a S-Video connection, connect an S-Video cable between the VCR and the digital camcorder.
If it is S-Video for audio, connect a Left/Right (white/red) RCA cable to the VCR audio output and a 1/8″ stereo plug on the other end [the digital camcorder’s audio input]. Connect the 1/8″ plug to the ‘line-in’ on the computer and the white and red jacks to the VCR or camcorder audio output.
If there is no S-Video connection, use the composite (yellow) RCA connection. Use a 1/8″ stereo plug and a three plug (white/red/yellow) RCA cable. Connect the 1/8″ plug to the digital camcorder ‘audio/video’ jack (usually yellow) and the yellow, white and red jacks to the VCR’s audio output sockets – matching yellow to video, white to left, and red to right.
Step 3 – Connect the digital camcorder to the computer using a FireWire connection or the cable that came with the camcorder.
Step 4 – Rewind the VHS tape to where you want to begin recording from. Start the video editing software. Hit the play button on the VCR and the record button on the video editing software simultaneously.
The video should appear both on your computer screen and digital camcorder. You are now capturing the video on the computer.
Step 5 – Your clips are now in the editing software, so you can create a custom video to burn onto a DVD. Drag all of the video clips in sequence to the ‘filmstrip’ portion of the software (located near the bottom of the window). Some software programs may have it as an option to automatically add the videos to the filmstrip whilst recording. When complete, play the video in the software to see how it looks. Burn the DVD if you are satisfied with the results.
Step 6 – Insert a blank DVD into the DVD burner on your computer. Start the DVD burning software. This is likely to be the same as the video editing software, but could be a completely different program. Select the ‘burn’ button to begin burning the DVD. When burning is complete, the DVD should eject. The DVD is now ready to be played in your DVD player.