Converting/Copying VHS tapes to your computer

I wanted to copy some VHS tapes I had and convert them to digital format on my computer.

If you do not have a digital video deck or other conversion hardware to take VHS tapes and convert them to digital format, then here is a solution I use.

What you need:

  1. VCR
  2. Camcorder with Audio Video inputs and Firewire
  3. Computer with firewire

Put the tape into the VCR and set the tape to the position where you want to start recording. Connect your A/V cable from your camcorder into the LINE OUT of your VCR.

Now if you have a viewfinder or a traditional view lense, you should be able to see VCR playback on your camcorder. If not, make sure your camcorder is set to "VCR" mode.

Now you should be able to hit the record button on your camcorder and it will record whatever the VCR is outputting. Obviously you will want to press the PLAY button on your VCR. Please note: Some camcorders require you to press a button usually to the right of the Record button that sometimes has no label. This is to notify the camcorder that you want to record from an external device such as a VCR in our case.

Once you have finished capturing your VHS data to your camcorder, connect your camcorder to your computer via Firewire and if you are using windows, you should be able to transfer the camcorder footage to digital format using Windows Movie Maker or Vista equivalent. I have also used Nero's capturing utility, Adobe Premiere Pro, and iMovie HD for capturing.

These are generic instructions but may help you get past some speed bumps you may have. I used a Sony Handycam DCR-TRV350 and a Dell Dimension 5150 with a firewire card I added in

Keywords: converting vhs to your computer, vhs to camcorder to computer conversion

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