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Movies and Video For people making movies and editing video with their Mac.

Analog (VHS) Video Capture using macbook and imovie


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billenium

 
Member Since: Mar 19, 2011
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Hi,

I'm trying to capture some old family VHS videos and put them onto DVD for safe keeping and I'd like to use my macbook if possible. I just wondered if anyone could suggest the best way to go about this? can you capture video straight from the VHS player in imovie or idvd? also what is my best option in terms of cables.. i'd like to ideally retain as much of the original quality as possible s id be grateful if someone could give me some advice.

Thanks

Bill.
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chas_m

 
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You didn't say what kind of model Mac you have (which would have been helpful), but basically you have three options (that aren't junk):

1. An analog-to-digital converter from Canopus:
ADVC Professional Family | Grass Valley

2. An analog-to-digital converter from El Gato:
EyeTV 250 Plus

3. Some digital video cameras have what's called "pass through," meaning it has connectors that allow (say) a VHS deck to be connected and converts the signal to digital (this generally was only available on older, Firewire-based digital camcorders).

To answer your second question, once you have the converter in between the deck and the computer, then yes, the footage can go straight into iMovie or iDVD.

As far as cables go, here's the bottom line: this is VHS you're talking about -- the absolute crappiest video format ever invented. You can spend a bundle on Monster cables if you want, it won't help. They will still look crappy, even more so once you start looking at them on high-definition computer screens. S-Video connectors will help more than composite (RCA) cables, but that's about all you can do.
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billenium

 
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I have a 13.3" macbook with the following spec:-

Model Name: MacBook
Model Identifier: MacBook5,1
Processor Name: Intel Core 2 Duo
Processor Speed: 2.4 GHz
Memory: 4 GB

I understand that the quality will be no better than what is on the video tape however i am most interesting in preserving as much of the original quality as possible. I have had a look at the conversion hardware and it looks to be quite expensive. Do i really need to use this? is it no possible to capture the video straight from the analog source and let the computer do the conversion?
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MightyGem

 
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Unfortunately, no.
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The problem isn't really with the conversion. The problem is getting analog content (your tapes) Into a digital device generally requires some additional hardware since the MacBook doesn't have connections for video input. Once the video is brought into the computer it can either be imported directly into iMovie or converted into an appropriate format then imported into iMovie.

Other than the suggestions Chas_m has already made the only other thing I can think of is that there are some DVD burners that can record from the tape to a DVD. Some TiVo units can do this as well.

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chas_m

 
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Once you DO get the footage into the computer, make sure it comes in as "DV" format, which will take up huge amounts of space but will preserve as much quality as possible.
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stub

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billenium View Post
Hi,

I'm trying to capture some old family VHS videos and put them onto DVD for safe keeping and I'd like to use my macbook if possible. I just wondered if anyone could suggest the best way to go about this? can you capture video straight from the VHS player in imovie or idvd? also what is my best option in terms of cables.. i'd like to ideally retain as much of the original quality as possible s id be grateful if someone could give me some advice.

Thanks

Bill.
I have just purchased the vhs-2-mac convertor kit 45 it works ok quality is as original tape, only problem is time it is very time consuming, 45 min tape take 45min to down load then a further time to process it must go to the computer hd but you can then move it to ext drives etc, you can then process & edit etc through imovie and burn to disc via idvd another thing is the file size 45min tape about 18gb so you need a good lot of hd space, elgato make something similar but cost about 80 plus cables, if you havent got time there are companies who do it for you look at iscan.co.uk cost is between 8 & 10 a tape
hope this helps
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