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  1. #1
    New Member
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    Help for a Newby

    I could use a little help. I would like to convert my current VHS and Video 8 home movies to hard drive format for the purpose of preservation. Some of the VHS tapes may need repairs because they currently do not play in the VHS machine. There are also some audio tapes I would like to convert to hard drive format for preservation purposes.

    After I have captured the video and audio on hard drive format, I want to edit and export the files to a DVD. I would like to do this task by minimizing the time and expense involved but realize some money will have to be expended.

    My current plan is to find someone who can professionally capture the audio/video and maybe improve the tape quality. Once the data is on a hard drive, I will purchase some editing software and download onto a DVD. I do not currently have a DVD recorder and have other needs that justify a new computer.

    I am looking for some knowledgeable person to review my plan and provide suggestions on ways to improve it. I also am wondering what features I will need from the new computer and editing software in order to avoid incompatibility and related issues and make the process go smoothly.

  2. #2
    Visionary CLPTV's Avatar
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    Aug 2008
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    Help for a newbe

    Greetings, recently, after twenty plus years as an independent producer of regional television..analog... I decided to explore the world of the internet....to my amazement there were places that would allow anybody to upload videos. Well like yourself all my program masters were stored, for almost a decade, on S-VHS tapes, I had an older computer, win 98 platform ..pc.. and some semi-pro svhs play decks. The problem, connetivity..... discovered two solutions.

    First, I went out and purchased ($110) a magnavox dvd-r unit, (for the record, the -r, means it records DVDs), this unit allow for RCA cable and SVHS cable connectivity with most any video player....tape machine - out to DVD machine - in, once to DVD the video and audio are now digitalized, and should last longer then you do! Also there are several ways to play back your DVD on your computer, or.................

    Pinnicle Corp offers a product for your computer which allow you to up-load straight from the video play deck it is called Movies in a box, around $150 last time I looked. This comes with passable editing software, and a converter box which allows in and out tranfer from any external devise RCA, Firewire, and tranfer to a USB port on any computer, software does capture and edit and conversion..AVI,MPEG-1, ect., and presses disc or tapes.

    This won't help fix damaged tapes, but check with Radio Shack and see if they sell a re-packer, amature splice and spool kit, not alot of people do that sort of thing anymore, at least no cheap.

    Best bet is to set yourself up to convert, reviewing and edit ability prior to conversion is deffinately a cost saver.

    hope this helps!
    CLPTV

  3. #3
    Administrator Dave's Avatar
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    If you go to a professional, ask them exactly how they will do the conversion and what equipment they use, them come back here and tell us. I'd like to make sure they are using a high-quality tape machine with some sort of time base correction. I'd also like to know what format it will be delivered as.

    Old tapes that no longer play in a VHS machine can often be salvaged to some extent but you might need a bit of luck on your side as well.

    Once you've got the digital files, you've done the hard part. The rest of your plan looks fine to me. I wouldn't worry too much about compatibility just yet - most video editors will be fine. As for a computer, just about any modern PC or Mac will be good enough. For video editing, graphics power isn't as important as processing power so don't think you need an expensive graphics card.

    I'd say get the video digitised first and see what you end up with. Then we can talk about editing software.
    Dave Owen
    MediaCollege.com

  4. #4
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    Professional's Response

    Thanks for your comments Dave -

    Well, I contacted one professional video place. He seemed a bit reluctant to take on the effort but did not completely reject my request. He wanted to avoid being a video consultant and wanted to stick closer to providing only a product. At one point, he suggested buying the hardware and then telling him what I have.

    The video guy had never had this kind of request before and had to consult with some more knowledgeable people. I have a PC and he uses MacIntosh. The process he had in mind, although not completely thought through, would be pretty labor intensive. My request is not like dropping in a VHS and a while later you have a DVD. The time consuming part is the compressing of the files and then saving to the hard drive. The hard drive would have to be pretty significant for 20 one hour tapes.

    After the discussion, I got to thinking that 20 tapes is probably too many. I may have closer to 5 tapes, but have to refine my estimate.

    He says the project is doable, but could be quite expensive. He threw out the number $800 to $1000. I said that was on the high end for me. I believe some internet sites will allow you to upload and then edit your files for around $40 per 1 hour tape. Therefore his $800 for 20 tapes may not be that far off.

    I am not sure I captured what he said about the software but believe it was called "final cut pro" and would be in MPEG4 or Quicktime format.

    A couple of key issues are emerging for me right now. I want to convert several VHS tapes, but also have 2 Video8 tapes, one hopefully salvagable VHS tape, and several audio tapes. The variety of formats leads me away from buying hardware and doing it all myself.

    Any further advise?

  5. #5
    Hi there, Tuxedo.

    First of all, if this pro you are planning to hire does do some restoration work, I would say it may be a good deal as it saves you lots of time. Real lots.

    And yes, he is using Final Cut Pro suite. The PC equivalent, I believe, is Premiere Pro CS 3.3. Doing it yourself is possible, but be prepared to spend time on it, especially if you are not familiar. However if you are interested to go long term, maybe this is a good learning phase..

    Oh, a DVD recorder will not be an exact fit to what you are doing because it merely saves and burns a DVD-video. I cannot be sure if it saves to other formats. I bought one recently but still has not been able to figure it out... And if you want to transcode for the Net, it'll be a little more of a hassle, but still possible.
    There's no bad camera, just a bad user
    Loong . Singapore

  6. #6
    Visionary CLPTV's Avatar
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    For a Newby

    PS: really dislike the term newby, how about novice it seem more respectfull!

    Again I will recommend, for those who wish to take control of their own destiny, Pinnacle has a miracle product, $150.00 US, which provides a little plesent looking box that allows most anolog drivers, such a VHS or SVHS, and DV players to connect on the face side..SVHS, RCA L/R/V,
    and or firewire, and on the reverse side it comes out as USB and go straight to your CPU, one jump..quick and clean> But wait theres more, If you act right away...just kidding... the box comes with a copy of Pinnacle Studio Ultimate. P. Studio is , if your not familiar, a simple baseline editor suite, it is limited, and yet at time impressive, most important, it has a built in capture ability, a wide span conversion tool files..AVI, Mpeg 1-4,
    audio enhance and edit, cuts DVD, or back to Tape medium, set proxies for Ipod, blackberry and such, and works in both directions . back to Mpeg, or AVI etc. It is quick, easy, and allows you to clean up old mats, before you convert or archive........

    CLPTV

  7. #7
    Yup Pinnacle can be a good one-stop solution if you haven't got any other solutions.

    I put different equipment together and does the same thing, but it just looks more messy. End result- the same thing.

    Different methods, same destination.
    There's no bad camera, just a bad user
    Loong . Singapore

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