For those of you with a box of old family VHS tapes, here’s one way to convert them to a DVD format.
Most places charge $20 to $30 per tape so it can be a very expensive process. A much less expensive option is the $155 Toshiba DVR620 DVD/VHS Recorder. Best Buy will match Amazons price.
A friend bought this device and I’m helping him do the actual transfer.
It’s actually a fairly simple process once you understand the steps and do them in the correct order.
I consider DVD’s as an intermediate stop into my final product – an MP4 file.
DVD’s are an older technology and need to be converted to a digital format for a hard drive.
– Attach the DVD player to a TV via a HDMI cable
– Pull down the front plastic cover – it gives you access to controls
– Select the correct input on the TV.
– Follow the screen setup to set the date and time.
– It’s a little bit confusing what controls to use.
The machine has physical controls you can push and the remote has buttons you can push.
I will differentiate my instructions by saying which controls to use for each action.
I find the Remote a bit hard to read – I wish the controls were color coded and a bit more organized.
You just have to be careful about what you push.
– Obviously you need to turn it on
– On the remote there is an Open/Close button. What it does depends on what you have Selected on the machine.
If the VCR is selected then the VCR will be ejected.
If you Select DVD – then the DVD will be ejected.
– MACHINE – click the Select button to choose VCR.
– You will be switching between the VCR and DVD – you can either do it on the machine or on the remote.
The machine has a physical SELECT button and the remote has an orange button to select the VCR and a green button to select the DVD.
What I have learned is that you can use the Remote to do all these steps, although it may be easier to just push push buttons on the machine when available.
1. REMOTE – Fast forward to the end of the tape.
This machine will automatically rewind the tape and eject it.
2. If it doesn’t rewind and eject the video tape you need to do that. Click on the Open/Close button.
3. REMOTE – Push the open/close button and insert the blank DVD. Remember to Select DVD on the Machine
4. REMOTE – Press REC MODE (not Record) button (just above the Search button) and set the speed (I use XP for 1 hour tapes and SP for 2 hour tapes.) TEST – with the tapes I am trying to copy (not very good quality) there is no perceptible difference in quality between XP and SP modes when I make my final MP4.
Note – you only have to do this once – it will remember your settings.
5. REMOTE – Press the SETUP button – GENERAL RECORDING – and select RECORDING. Select Dubbing Mode. Select VCR > DVD.
Click the RETURN button to get out of this menu.
Note – you only need to do this once also.
6. REMOTE – Press the orange VCR button and insert the videotape.
6a – REMOTE Press Play and then Pause (not Stop) at the point slightly before you wish to start copying.
7. Machine or REMOTE – Press the Dubbing button.
Push Stop when you want to stop dubbing. You can then insert another videotape to dub onto the same DVD, until it is full.
Note – I just copy one VHS to one DVD.
I will later convert the DVD to a digital file.
8. After adding titles, you should finalize the DVD by pressing the Setup button, selecting DVD Menu and then Finalize (this may take a few minutes).
9. Remote – click Open/Close to eject the VHS tape.
Summary – a bit complicated, but it works and is just a first step to my mp4 files.
I also edit the video files, increase the audio and reduce the background noise with Adobe Audition. You can use Handbrake to convert the files to the final MP4 file.