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  1. #1
    4 Star Lounger access-mdb's Avatar
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    VHS capture software

    I want to copy some of my VHS tapes to my PC but am having no luck in finding open source software. Golden Videos was recommended as free but after a couple of days or so it states that I need to pay to continue to use it. Fine, except there's nothing on the website (that I can find) which states this.I've tried AVS video recorder but it just comes up with an error (I've emailed support but there seems to be some implication that this too needs to be bought).

    I've also tried Virtualdub but it just says 'unable to start video capture' - most unhelpful.

    Do has anyone got any suggestions please?

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    Have you tried VLC Media Player?

    cheers, Paul

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    4 Star Lounger access-mdb's Avatar
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    I have VLC but didn't think it captured from VHS players - but now I I can see it plays what's on my player (but with no sound). I can't see where you capture it though....but I'll keep looking. Do you know Paul?

    BTW thanks!

    Well I've managed to capture video, but sans sound - any ideas? I'm using a kworld DVD Maker USB (as a WDM 2860 capture device).
    Last edited by access-mdb; 2014-01-28 at 07:09. Reason: Add some success!

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    3 Star Lounger bassfisher6522's Avatar
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    I don't think you'll find anything free because is requires some sort of hardware converter to be used. That being said, I have used Pinnacle Studios and it worked great. I used it to copy my VHSC camcorder tapes to my PC. This is what I bought.....http://www.tigerdirect.com/applicati...?EdpNo=4170065m I don't know what they have now...

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    As far as I know there are only a couple specific ways to capture using VLC, one using MAC OS version and one using certain capture devices with Linux version. How are you getting the VHS feed into the computer (where are you trying to digitize the analog signal)?
    Sent from Windows ME thru Opera 10.63...just before they crashe

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    3 Star Lounger bassfisher6522's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by F.U.N. downtown View Post
    As far as I know there are only a couple specific ways to capture using VLC, one using MAC OS version and one using certain capture devices with Linux version. How are you getting the VHS feed into the computer (where are you trying to digitize the analog signal)?
    If he is doing what I was doing it for, that was to transfer the analog tape to the PC which then can be burned to a DVD format for saving valuable memories. In my case a lot of family memories.

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    4 Star Lounger access-mdb's Avatar
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    As I said above I'm using a kworld DVD Maker USB (as a WDM 2860 capture device). This connects from the VHS player into a dongle which is plugged onto a USB port for the video and another lead into the mic connection for the audio. When it's all connected I just run the tape and it appears in VLC. I've added a record button (using tools/customise interface) and this records the video, but not the sound. I'm hoping that someone who's used this might have suggestions why it doesn't have sound.

    Huh, just realised my speakers were muted (no sound on a news item, doh!). Sounds are on the short bit I recorded without problem. So thanks to PaulT for suggesting VLC - it's looking good!
    Last edited by access-mdb; 2014-01-28 at 11:46. Reason: Silver surfer moment

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    Cool, I'll have to try VLC on my Roxio VHS to USB capture device, see if it works, I didn't try too hard but it didn't seem to be working with the Roxio NXT software; using an old analog tuner with WMC instead but all the record times need to be set manually or it shuts down after 30 minutes or so.

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    4 Star Lounger access-mdb's Avatar
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    I was having problems when recording when having used the play button (that's after going to media/open capture device). But i then used streaming to a file and it has created a file which works (using VLC) of the whole tape. It doesn't actually show a picture when recording but sound is available so you can tell where you are on the tape.

    Play is great for, well playing tapes rather than recording.

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    Try scenalyzer live. It is old software that is no longer supported but it just works. When I transfer my DV tapes this is the only software that seems to be able to handle the audio and video without issues. Used in conjunction with VLC, Handbrake and Audacity you have a totally free editing station.

    http://www.scenalyzer.com/

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    .

    #access-mdb FWIW and I know this isn't an elegant software solution to your problem but the following is what I do when converting VHS tapes to a digital file for viewing on my pc and as a means of archiving the tape:

    If you're lucky to have or can lay your hands on/borrow a dvd recorder, connect the output of your VHS player (use a good quality SCART to SCART lead) to the input of the dvd recorder then connect the output of your dvd recorder to your telly to act as a monitor for cueing up the the start of your source VHS tape. Then start playing your VHS tape and press 'Record' on the dvd recorder simultaneously and record your VHS tape to a blank recordable dvd disk, ensuring you've set the record length time on the recorder to suit the playing time duration of the VHS tape. When everything is finished, stop the playback and recording of the respective machines, then finalise the recorded dvd disk in the dvd recorder, eject it, put it in the dvd drive on your pc and using Explorer, navigate to the newly recorded dvd disk. Then find all the files with the 'vob' file extension and copy them to a convenient folder on your hard drive. The important files are usually over a gigabyte in size so the copy will take some time - I use a free program called Teracopy as it makes reliable file transfers. Once you've done that, eject the dvd disk and keep it in the dark as a backup copy (making sure you used a high quality disk in the first place) and then using your favourite media player on your pc (I use vlc), use it to play back the vob files. It takes a little trial and error to discover which order they will run in comparing it to your source tape and you can then rename the vob files to suit you so they run in chronological order. You can also create a playlist in vlc to make each vob file string together with the next one so you shouldn't get any annoying gaps in the playback or have to start each vob file manually. Works a treat for me - might be of some help to you?
    Last edited by hampshireman; 2014-01-31 at 02:20. Reason: added extra detail and removed vague instructions

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  14. #12
    4 Star Lounger access-mdb's Avatar
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    The only problem with that is the DVD recorder bit! I'll do some searching for one (but it has to be cheap).

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    Use a video capture device, not a DVD recorder

    I've converted a VHS tape to video files using hampshireman's 'standalone DVD recorder' technique, but wouldn't recommend it. It's a whole bunch of extra steps on top of the methods recommended in the previous posts, and it's using already antiquated technology. DVD recorders are indeed getting hard to find, and support for them will already be limited.

    Also, my DVD recorder ripped to 576i format, whereas purpose-made capture devices might manage the superior 576p.

    For transposing the rest of my VHS collection I'll be using the methods described above in this topic (thanks posters!).

    As the others have stated, this requires buying a capture device, which converts a composite VHS signal to digital input for your computer, and has two (i.e. stereo) audio input plugs.

    bassfisher6522 posted a link for a very nice looking capture device which also has a DV input for more modern devices. However video capture devices with this added feature appear to be rather rare. All you're likely to need is composite video (the one yellow RCA connection) - all video capture devices should come with this. In the very unlikely event your VCR lacks an RCA composite video out socket and two (stereo) RCA audio sockets, you'd have to get a different device and/or cables.

    About any device like these would probably do the job:
    eBay U.S.: video capture devices

    You'll also need RCA plug to RCA plug cable(s) of suitable length to connect your VCR player to the capture device.

    Personally I'll be paying above the minimum for a good brand, and if there's any software bundled I'll be checking it works on Windows 7 before buying. But you can use the freeware mentioned in this topic. I've installed ScenAlyzer, which pmat recommended, and it looks very nice. Bundled programs are sometimes awful anyway.

    If your computer already has a TV tuner card, it's possible it has composite video and stereo audio inputs which could negate the need to buy a video capture device.

    Happy transposing. Like you I'm looking forward to freeing up a lot of shelf space currently occupied by VHS tapes!
    Last edited by bigbadsteve; 2014-02-05 at 22:43.

  16. #14
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    Daewoo used to make a DVD recorder + DVR which could record either and transfer content of either to the other format - model #DF-4100P.

  17. #15
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    #access-mdb - I see you live in the UK (as I do). Have you looked at Richer Sounds in Exeter? (this will mean nothing to our non-UK cousins reading this). I have just looked at their website (6/2/14) and they have available a LG RHT497H MR DVD Recorder Multi-Region Playback 160GB HDD recorder with Freeview tuner for £79. If it's not available at your store in Exeter, it can be bought through their website and have it delivered to you. Might be worth investigating?

    #bigbadsteve, I'm afraid I don't fully agree with you. What is the point in recording analogue PAL video from a VHS tape in a format/resolution which is probably higher than using the method I previously described? Surely the idea would be to PRESERVE the recording, not improve it? And how could you improve on a signal that doesn't have the resolution within it in the first place? Yes, I DID say it wasn't an elegant solution that I described so admittedly there will be a few extra steps but hey, if it works? And if one is keen to preserve old VHS recordings for personal posterity, then a few extra steps (which will only be done once when you make the conversion) should be a small price to pay? And there will always be a software media player available somewhere that will play vob files on a pc and once you've made the conversion, who cares if dvd recorders become obsolete or unsupported as you suggest? You've already done the conversion once and will never need to do it again, so why worry?

    Also, once you've bought and used a dedicated video capture device, what then? You effectively have a white elephant on your hands because it only performs one function, whereas the dvd recorder I have previously identified for access-mdb will still operate as a dvd player and a digital tv tuner and HDD recorder for say, the 2nd bedroom/your kids/your den etc. Surely better second use of a piece of equipment that you might have to purchase specially compared to a dedicated piece of equipment? Just saying...

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