Just as CD's have virtually replaced vinyl records, so now video tapes are being replaced by VCD's and, more popularly, DVD's. The advantages of using discs rather than tape as a format for video are many, the main three for most people are:
So, with tape based video cassette recorders (VCR's) now being replaced by DVD players and DVD recorders, it is only a matter of time before we are into the job of converting those video tapes we want to keep into DVD's or transferring them to VCD disc. This job can now be done using a DVD Recorder with integrated VHS tape deck or by using a computer
The easy way to transfer from video tape to DVD disc or DVD disc to video tape
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Recordable DVD and Nicam VCR Combi.
DVD recorder & VCR recorder. DVD-R/RW/DVD-Video/CD-DA/CD-R/-RW compatible. One touch record.Up to 6 hours recording time. Up to four recording quality settings.Compatible with Dolby Digital/ DTS. DVD zoom function.On screen programming. Records from DVD to VCR & VCR to DVD. 4 head nicam stereo. Long/ short play. Automatic/ manual tuning. Index search. Front AV inputs.
Transfer or Copy from VHS tape or Analogue Camcorder via Computer to DVD or VCD Disc
This second option is of course nowhere near as simple as the first. It is a three stage process:
COPYRIGHT: - a quick word here about copyright infringement. To the letter of the law it is of course ILLEGAL to copy any work that is copyright protected. DO NOT be tempted to copy anything that has copyright protection for FINANCIAL GAIN. If you do you will be liable to be dealt with severely.
That said, making a single backup copy of a tape for your own personal use is not likely to get you into hot water. The enforcement bodies are more concerned with commercial set-ups that make big bucks from duplicating and distributing hundreds or thousands of bootleg copies of the latest releases. None of this of course applies if you are transferring your own holiday - wedding - party - whatever personal videos.
The recommended minimum specifications for the PC are given on the Computer page. Alternatively there are several other methods of interfacing the VCR and computer. Some camcorders have analog to firewire passthrough. There are also analog to USB2 converters available, and also analog to firewire 'Bridges'. The firewire options normally also transfer audio with the video signal. Those that dont will require a seperate audio connecting lead. This route can lead to annoying picture and soundtrack synchronisation problems. It is recommended to use a passthrough to firewire method which tends to avoid the synchronisation problems (camcorder with this feature or analog video/audio bridge)
21 pin Scart to phono / S-video in-out adapter
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Warning: There are many software programs being offered for video to DVD transfer and DVD copying. Most do not produce DVD's, they can only make VCD's from DVD's or video tape, reducing file sizes at the expense of playback quality. If playback quality is important to you it is best to avoid these 'copy' programs. Remember, making a DVD requires a DVD writer, a CD writer CANNOT produce a DVD.
If you want to make VCD's rather than DVD's, almost any video editing program will do this.
Unless your editing program can also write discs you will also need either Nero 6 or Roxio's Easy CD & DVD Creator 6 to drive your (DVD or CD) burner.
Remember also, not all programs allow for the writing to disc with surround sound. Check this out if this is important to you before parting with your cash.
Copy Protection:- Many commercially produced video tapes are made using macrovision copy protection. Unfortunately macrovision is a less than perfect system that does lead to fluctuations in the pictures brightness levels on tape playback, even when playing original first generation tapes on your VCR. This problem is even more evident when using (digital) video projectors and LCD projection TV's. To overcome this problem when transferring video to computer you can use a RGB to S-Video Convertor (available from Maplin Electronics - search product code "QS45Y"), or similar video signal conditioner or correction device connected between VCR and computer. Once fitted they automatically restore the luma signal that passes through them.
You now need to check out the analog capture page to make a start and connect up your hardware.