VHS is somewhat of a dying medium, as DVDs represent an upgrade in both picture and sound quality and add the convenience of taking up less space. Many people are choosing to convert their personal VHS collection to DVD, but one obstacle can be the presence of Macrovision--a copyright-protection technology added to many commercially produced VHS tapes, including Disney releases. To transfer these tapes to DVD (in DVD+RW and other formats), equipment capable of overriding and minimising the Macrovision effect is required.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- External video stabiliser and DVD recorder or
- Computer with DVD-burning drive and compatible internal or external video capture card
- Composite RCA A/V cables (with optional S-video cables)
- Recordable DVD+RW discs
Purchase a video stabiliser/filter device designed to overcome the Macrovision protection in VHS tapes. Such devices include models by Dimax, Clearpix Media and Star Development. Running the video signal through the stabiliser on the way to a DVD recorder allows you to get a clear picture during the video transfer.
Connect a composite RCA (or S-video) cable from the video output of your VCR to the video input on the stabiliser, and connect a second composite (or S-video) cable from the stabiliser's output to a video input on a DVD recorder. Connect a pair of composite cables from the audio output of the VCR directly to the audio input on the DVD recorder that is paired with the video input to be used.
Load a recordable DVD+RW (or other format) disc onto the tray of the DVD recorder and close the tray. Take any steps required to prepare the device for recording, such as setting the recording mode and initialising or formatting the disc. Set the recorder to the appropriate input to receive the signal from the VCR.
Insert the Disney VHS tape to be recorded into your VCR and cue the tape to the starting point, rewinding or fast-forwarding if necessary. Press "Record" on the DVD recorder and "Play" on the VCR to begin the recording process, and press "Stop" on both devices when finished.
Purchase an internal or external video capture card (whichever you feel most comfortable using, depending on your confidence in installing computer components) that can overcome the Macrovision effect when importing video, such as the Hauppauge Win-TV GO or Win-TV-PVR-250 (or later models), or the ATI All-In-Wonder. Ensure that the card is compatible with your operating system (e.g., Windows XP or Vista) before purchase, and install the capture card or connect it to your computer via USB or FireWire.
Connect a set of composite RCA cables (substituting an S-video cable for the composite video cable if you choose, when available) from an output on your VCR to the input of the video capture card.
Open the video capture/editing software program of your choice and click where prompted to prepare the program to import video. Insert the Disney VHS tape into your VCR and cue the tape to the starting point. Click "Record" or "Import Video" on the software and press "Play" on the VCR to begin importing the video; press/click "Stop" when finished.
Insert a recordable DVD+RW (or other format) disc into your computer's CD/DVD. Follow the on-screen prompts of the video software program to burn the imported file to the DVD.
Tips and warnings
- If your video capture card does not adequately remove the Macrovision effect, consider adding and connecting a video stabiliser as described in Section 1, Step 1 to improve the picture.
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