vhs tape to vcd format

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I have a lot of home movies on vhs tape which I want to try and transfer to vcd...can anyone help me get started on how to do and what do I need.

-- David Chard (roostown@comcen.com.au), April 22, 2001


You need:

1) A method of getting video from VHS to your computer 2) Software to convert the digitized video into a Video CD-compliant format 3) A CD burner and software capable of burning Video CDs.

Let's take these one at a time.

For capture, you have a number of choices, ranging from very cheap to very expensive. Many high-end video cards (most notably the ATI All- In-Wonder series) integrate video capture. There are also dedicated capture cards; Hauppage makes several inexpensive ones, while Pinnacle Systems makes several not-so-inexpensive ones. Additionally, there are external capture devices that interface to a parallel or USB port. Dazzle has a number of models.

Or you can try my method, which is to use an IEEE 1394 port, also known as FireWire, also known as iLink. 1394 is a high-speed serial bus (sort of like USB on steroids) that's quite capable of streaming realtime video at very high quality. To get your VHS into a 1394 port, you'll need some hardware method of digitizing it. Many Sony digital camcorders feature "analog passthrough": they have analog inputs, into which you can plug your VCR, and 1394 output, and will digitize in realtime.

Once you've got the video in your computer, you'll need to compress it. Standard Video CDs use MPEG-1 video at 1,150 bits per second, and it's a dead solid cynch that your captured video is a heck of a lot higher quality than that. The best way to compress video so small is to sacrifice quality, and many MPEG-1 encoders seem to do just that. The compressor you want is TMPGenc: it's slower than most other compressors, but it produces very high-quality MPEG-1, and best of all, it's free. Available at www.tmpgenc.com.

You may want to edit your video before putting it on Video CD. You can do this before or after compressing to MPEG. Your video capture solution almost certainly will come with editing software.

Finally, burn to CD. Get a good burner... I use a Plextor 16/10/40, and I am extremely thankful for it. If you're planning on producing a lot of Video CDs, you'll want a nice fast burner.

The burner will probably come with software, but the software might not support Video CDs. Roxio Easy CD Creator Platinum (*not* Basic) supports Video CDs, as does Ahead Nero. There's another program out there, CeQuadrat WinOnCD (and its sibling VideoPack), but Roxio bought out CeQuadrat and WinOnCD isn't being made anymore. You might be able to find a copy online somewhere.

Hope this helps, and good luck.

-- Red (red_1972m@hotmail.com), April 26, 2001.

Oh, one other thing. Go to VCDHelp.com, go directly to VCDHelp.com, do not pass Go, do not collect $200. You'll be glad you did.

-- Red (red_1972m@hotmail.com), April 26, 2001.

Let's try that again: VCDHelp.com. Oops.

-- Red (red_1972m@hotmail.com), April 26, 2001.

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