4 Replies Latest reply on Jun 3, 2009 5:44 PM by Kodebuster

    How do you suggest I best import and edit many portions of old VHS?

    Newsrookie Level 1

      I read the recent postings on digitizing the multiple DVD's and found that to be quite interesting and enlightening. I have searched through the archives but didn't run into a posting with exactly my question and I apologize because I know there are bound to be others with the same question. This is what I have and want to do: Vista with an external Seagate attached via USB 2. I have Adobe Premier Elements 3 but I am willing to purchase another form of software and another form of external drive. I do have a Firewire port.


      I have a box of old VHS tapes of my kid's dance recitals, ball games, etc... the tapes are very long but often only have small portions of interest on them and now that my kids are older they are only interested in the 5 minutes of themselves. I would like to import the video and burn to dvd the pertinent portions of the VHS.


      I need to know both the suggested hardware to use to hook to the computer... and what software do you suggest that I use to edit the footage.Or, maybe you have some other suggestions.


      I have used Premier quite a bit. I have never used enormous files like an endless dance recital so I hope that you tell me there is a way I could perhaps find a device that would allow me to view and only digitize the portions I want... or, perhaps it would be better to take these tapes somewhere and have them made into a DVD and then would there be a way to only import a portion of them that way? These are NOT world class videos...(in fact, 20 years later I realize how badly I was wasting my money!! HA!)


      Have I been clear in what I need and the kind of advice I am asking for?


      Thank you for any advice you might offer me.

        • 1. Re: How do you suggest I best import and edit many portions of old VHS?
          John T Smith Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          You need a device that accepts the output from a VHS player and converts the signal to digital to save on your hard drive... once you have a DV AVI type 2 file on your hard drive, you are set to edit with Premiere


          For OLD tapes... spend the slightly more $$ and get the higher model discussed here


          Old forum message - I have not used, only made note of the product "Matt with Grass Valley Canopus in their tech support department stated that the 110 will suffice for most hobbyist. If a person has a lot of tapes that were played often the tape stretches and the magnetic coding diminishes. If your goal is to encode tapes in good shape buy the 110, if you will be encoding old tapes of poor quality buy the 300"

          http://desktop.thomsongrassvalley.com/products/ADVC300/index.php about $500

          • 2. Re: How do you suggest I best import and edit many portions of old VHS?
            Steve Grisetti Adobe Community Professional

            Much better than putting your video on DVD just so you can get it into your computer is a capture device that captures your VHS video as DV-AVIs.


            The FAQs at the right of this forum offer more details.


            • 3. Re: How do you suggest I best import and edit many portions of old VHS?
              the_wine_snob Level 9

              I second John's suggestion of the Grass Valley/Canopus 300 as the ideal capture device for older VHS tapes. This allows for a lot more TimeBase corrections for color and density. Hint: using the included software, capture to DV-AVI Type II files with 48KHz 16-bit Audio. These will Import and edit perfectly in PE.


              As Steve suggests, do not go to DVD, except for archiving. You do not want to edit from these.


              I would also suggest picking up a 2TB external, or a couple of 1TB units. The faster the connection type, the better. USB2, would work, and you probably have a spare conneciton, so long as it's not shared or from a hub. FireWire 400 is better, but you also do not want to share this with your A-D "bridge" device, if at all possible. FW-800 is even better, but you'll probably need a card, or ExpressCard (depending on your computer) to connect. eSATA is the best, but again, you'll need a card, or ExpressCard connector.


              Glad that you are asking before converting all of your tapes to DVD. That is NOT a good editing workflow and is filled with problems and "gottchas."


              It's possibly lost, as of the changeover, but you might look in Tips & Tricks, because I did a full rundown on just what you're contemplating: capturing from old VHS tapes to edit in Premiere. One tip especially with older tapes is to play the tapes at normal speed forward (no Fast Forward), and then play the tape backwards (no Rewind). This gets each tape "tensioned," and aligned on the hub. It can also eliminate "hub bump," from storing partially rewound tapes. The reason for the slower forward and backward play is to not stress the tapes. Fast Forward and Rewind can do this. Older VHS tapes can be quite fragile.


              Good luck,



              • 4. Re: How do you suggest I best import and edit many portions of old VHS?
                Kodebuster Level 3

                Here's what I did, more as an accident, rather than a thought out process to spend big bucks, or get the best possible quality on conversion.


                I had a bunch of old analog tapes, just like you, and always thought it would be very kool to get them in a format I can use and loaded onto my PC.


                When I purchased my DV Handycam, one of the options I looked for was "Analog Passthru" capabilities. This basically allows you to hook up an analog device like a VCR and copy video to your Handycam.


                Desktop "DVD Writers" typically have analog hook-ups and basically can do the same thing.


                With this capability, I then slowly went thru the process of moving all my old tapes onto my PC.


                Did it work, yes it did.


                Was it easy, yes it was (as far as cable hook-up).


                Was it tedious and somewhat time consuming, yes, yes, and yes.


                But over time I did get all my old tapes onto my PC and in a format that was primed for editing. (You can also do some bulk editing of source during the conversion).


                As far as quality, considering the video source and conversion method, I was quite pleased with the end result, and anyone who views the clips (on PC or TV), has a hard time seeing the differences between the end product and the source.


                Would a dedicated HW device like Canopus have given better quality, most likely yes, but for my purposes, the one time use to just move my tapes was not cost effective. The purchase of a Cam with passthru, or a DVD Writer, worked just fine and could be used for other things.


                (One caveat, with Canopus or a HW bridge setup, the process is much quicker as it allows going from analog directly to DV-AVI. And DV-AVI is the format goal for easy editing with PE7).


                One thing for sure, my family and friends get a hugh kick out of seeing themselves (as they've grown older over the years).


                And no one ever complains about the quality of the videos...