A Visual Guide to Transferring Video from VHS to DVD in 15 Easy Steps

This article describes two approaches to making the transition from video cassette tapes to digital DVDs, both of which result in the same…

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Those old home videos that aren't exactly holding up well in their old age can be preserved, shared, and even improved by having them converted from VHS tapes to DVDs. This article details two approaches, both of which result in similarly high-quality video. In the first option, a standalone DVD recorder is used. The alternative is to digitize your VHS tapes on a computer using an analog-to-digital video converter and then burn them as MPEG files to DVDs.

  1. 1

    Get a DVD recorder. In essence, a VHS-to-DVD recorder instantly creates a DVD copy of your original tape. [1]

    • Online or at major electronics retailers, you can find DVD recorders for $100-$200. On Ebay, you can find one in good condition for around to .
    • A DVD recorder is the quickest and simplest way to convert VHS to DVD, but it does not allow for much customization in terms of menus, buttons, or chapter settings.
    • A DVD recorder with Firewire connections allows you to transfer tapes from a VCR or camcorder with higher quality. Firewire connectors resemble USB ports, but they are flatter and tapered at the end.
  2. 2

    Seek out the proper cable. It's possible that the cable you need to connect your VCR/camcorder or DVD Recorder to another device came with your device, but if not, you'll need to go out and get one.

    • An RCA or S-Video cable should work with both your DVD Recorder and VCR. The DVD recorder and the VCR both have corresponding red, white, and yellow ports that accept RCA cables. The end of an S-Video cable has four tiny, round pins. First, you should check the backs of your devices to determine which type of cable is required. For -$10, you can buy the appropriate cable from an electronics retailer or online.
    • The camcorder's original cable should be compatible with your DVD recorder. To replace it, you need only spend between and $10 at a local electronics retailer or on the internet.
    • Make sure the Firewire port configuration on both your DVD recorder and VCR/camcorder is identical. A Firewire cable's shape and number of pins are not universally standard. The necessary cable can be purchased for –$10 from any electronics retailer or online.

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  3. 3

    Join your video recorder (VCR) and DVD player.

  4. 4

    A tape and a DVD-R should be placed in the VCR and DVD recorder, respectively.

  5. 5

    Put your DVD recorder into recording mode. DVD recorders require an initial start-up to ensure that the beginning of the video is not lost.

  6. 6

    Start the video recording device by pressing the play button. As soon as you've finished recording with your DVD player, start playing it back on your VCR or camcorder.

  7. 7

    Remove unwanted segments from the video. Quickly skip through unwanted segments by pressing "pause" on the DVD recorder and fast-forwarding the VCR/camcorder. To make a cut, stop the DVD recorder when you get to the end of the desired segment, then resume playback from the beginning of the tape.

  8. 8

    The tape must be stopped. To end recording when you reach the end of the video or when you reach the end of the segment you wish to record, select "Stop" on your DVD player.

    • When the tape runs out, the video will stop playing automatically, and so will the recording on your DVD player.

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  1. 1

    Get your supplies in order. A video camera, an analog-to-digital video converter, a computer with a DVD burner, some blank DVD-Rs, video editing software, and DVD burning software are all necessities.

    • A single hour of video will require several hours of work with this method; however, you probably already have most of the equipment necessary, apart from the converter. You can add transitions, effects, music, etc. to the video in any way you like with this method.
    • It is possible to find an analog-to-digital video converter for anywhere between $15 and at most major electronics retailers or online. The more expensive converters include powerful editing programs as standard.
  2. 2

    Use an analog-to-digital video converter to transfer footage from your video cassette recorder to your computer. The red, white, and yellow RCA cables are for the analog side of the dv converter, while the USB port is for digital output. Hook up the RCA cables to their corresponding terminals on the back of the VCR, and the USB cable to your computer.

  3. 3

    Bring up your editing program. This program is bundled with Macs and many versions of Windows, and it is also downloadable separately. If you're interested in more sophisticated movie-making tools, you can upgrade to a paid version.

    • That would be iMovie, the Apple computer's video editing program.
    • Movie Maker is a program available on personal computers. Standard on Windows 7, Vista, and XP is the Movie Maker program. It's available for free download on Windows 8 and 10. [2]
  4. 4

    Bring the movie in. Time and storage space are needed for this. A 1 Gigabyte to 2 Gigabyte MPEG file is the result of two hours of footage.

    • Click on File > New Movie in iMovie and then choose a template. Next, click the "import video" icon (it resembles a downward pointing arrow) at the top. In order to import your video, just follow the on-screen prompts.
    • To import a digital video into Movie Maker, go to the File menu, then choose Import from Digital Video Camera.
  5. 5

    Make some changes to the text. At this point, the method's advantages become apparent. Before burning your video to DVD, you can modify it by adding menus and chapters.

  6. 6

    Create a DVD disc.

    • Simply save your movie by going to File > Share > File on your Mac. If you don't have any burn software already, like Burn for OS X, you'll need to get some. [3] To burn a DVD from your movie, use this program.
    • You can use Movie Maker on a PC for this. Select "Save Movie" > "Burn DVD" from the menu that appears. In order to create a DVD, just follow the on-screen instructions.
  7. 7

    Check to see if your computer goes to sleep automatically when burning a This may cause problems with your DVD burning and ruin your movie.

    • This can be adjusted in a Mac's System Preferences > Energy Saver. Place the slider for "Turn Display Off" all the way to the left, and then click "Prevent Computer from Sleeping Automatically" Remember to reset everything to its original state when you're done; your computer really does need to rest.
    • Power options can be found on a Windows PC by clicking Start > Control Panel > System and Security > Power Options > Choosing a power plan > Modifying plan settings > Tailoring advanced power options > Tweaking advanced options. Alter the settings for "Sleep after" and "Hibernate after" to "Never" If you change any of these options, remember to put them back to their original state when you're done.

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Travis Page

Travis Page is a co-author of this piece. Cinebody's Head of Product is Travis Page. Cinebody, based in Denver, Colorado, is a user-directed video content software company that enables brands to create real-time, authentic, and engaging video content with anyone on the planet. He attended the University of Colorado at Denver and earned a bachelor's degree in finance. There have been 238,764 views of this article.

Co-authors: 32

Updated: The date August 17, 2022

Views:  238,764

Categories: Changing Media Formats | Recorders and Players for Video

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