Best VHS to digital for under $500?
March 8, 2010 11:34 PM Subscribe
I'm looking for a way to convert old VHS tapes to digital. I have archival material and want the highest quality transfer I can get for under $500. I'd prefer to use a Mac to store and edit the resulting digital file before burning the output to a DVD.
posted by zippy to Technology (19 answers total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
So I've got a few VHS tapes and I want to do a superb job of transferring them to DVD. I want no audio hum and minimal video artifacts. I want the highest resolution and highest quality digitization possible with < $500 of hardware hooked up to my Mac if that's the best way to proceed. For all I know VHS to DVD copiers from CostCo rock. But see my hardware below.
I'm OK with giving this job to a company that does great conversions to something suitable for editing (whatever RAW mode for video is called). I'm definitely going to want to fiddle with the material ... I mean edit it ... mainly to select the scenes I want, once I've got it on my computer.
I only have three tapes. I don't intend to do this conversion for a living. I just want this one job done right.
When I photograph, I shoot in RAW mode before converting to JPEG. I'd like to do the same here if possible. Digitize the source with a minimum of artifacts, and do it right before converting to a standard burnable DVD.
The source is a professionally made studio VHS recording circa 1997 (not studio as in Macrovision, studio as in some friends with a high-quality small studio made this).
So, it's a 12+ year old VHS tape or a copy of a 12 year old master that probably hasn't been viewed in a decade. I'm expecting non-perfect source material here, and I want a converter that can deal with this without choking.
Hardware budget: $500 or less
1) Mac Mini with 50GB free, no firewire
2) 2007 Macbook Pro with 20GB free, Firewire, Parallels (so I imagine VirtualDub is an option)
3) Some extra USB and Firewire drives lying about
What video capture device will be rock solid and give me excellent audio and video? Will it let me fiddle and also let me have a simple workflow when I'm tired of fiddling?
I'm planning on borrowing a VHS player with component video output if I can find one.
Are there questions I should be asking, but am not because I'm a newbie? What are they?