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Monday, March 24, 2008

Razzle Dazzle: Converting VHS Video to Digital Format

Converting VHS video recordings to a digital format is made easy using the Dazzle video capture device and the bundled Pinnacle V11 software, which is easily obtainable from Maplins the excellent electronics specialists store. In addition to this hardware/software combination you will need a SCART socket with composite video 3 Pin (yellow, red and white, known as 3 Phono (RCA)) male plugs which will connect with the dazzle hardware.

So to recap, what you need to capture the video in a digital format is

  1. Video cassette player connected to a TV with a SCART Socket,
  2. Dazzle video capture device with Pinacle V11 Video editing Software £49.99
  3. SCART socket lead with composite video 3 Pin (yellow, red and white, known as 3 Phono (RCA)) male plugs at the other end of the lead £9.99

(I actually paid £39.99 for the hardware/software combination with a months free trial of the software.I'll need to pay another £20 for a full upgrade.)

You have all you need now to convert VHS Video to a digital format of your choice. The issue now becomes to what digital format and level of quality do you convert the video. Initially i tried to save approx two and half hours into an AVI format in DVD format. I could not quite manage this as i ran out of disk space at 25GB at about the 2 hour mark. I was hoping to edit the end product into manageable chunks at my leisure in front of the computer. In the end i decided to work through the video in real time and saved it to file in chunks of 10, 15 or 20 mins.

I decided in the end to save in an MPEG format at CD ROM quality to save disk space and to make them as easily transferable as possible on a memory stick or CD ROM. Not quite sure what this means for transfer to DVD (Does it need to be in VOB Format? (i think so, but will look into this).

The conversion quality options that are available are to DVD, SCVD and CD. The CD quality seemed adequate to me and during the conversion process for all formats i never noticed and it was not indicated at the end that any frames were dropped during the conversion process. In terms of disk space usage i noted that the following disk storage space was used:

Disk Storage space per 1 Minute of video captured:
  • AVI to DVD: 70MB
  • MPG to DVD: 46 MB
  • MPG to SCVD: 19 MB
  • MPG to CD: 10 MB

For completeness i will look at the other AVI conversions another time and as it stands i am only left with CD Quality originals and i am not sure if they can be transferred onto DVD (I suspect not).

I shall investigate more, when i have time to get the best balance between disk storage and quality of conversion.

Pinnacle V11 + Dazzle Video Creator Combo Pack
Maplins Search for DazzleSCART to 3 Phono Plugs

1 comment:

Marty Holthaus said...

Hello. You have a nice site here. I have a site that is related to this post as it covers VHS to DVD transfer methods. I include a number of options for people to choose from so they can make the right choice on how to transfer their video to digital. Would you be interested in doing a link exchange between our two sites? My site is called DVD VHS Transfer. Thanks in advance for considering my request.

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