21 Replies Latest reply on Nov 11, 2010 4:15 AM by Faqanda

    Convert VHS Tapes to Digital

    Bob Ward Level 1

      This may not be the right forum to pose this question, but I will try anyway.

       

      I have Premiere Elements 2.0.  I have numerous old family VHS tapes that I need to get converted to a digital format.  The local commercial stores charge $20 per tape for the conversion to a DVD.  With the number of tapes that I have, that will cost more than I can afford.

       

      I have read reviews about both software and hardware that are advertised as being able to do the conversion to digital.  Do any of you folks have experience in converting VHS tape to digital and what software/hardware would you recommend that I purchase to get a good quality conversion?

       

      Once converted, I plan on using Premiere Elements to edit and enhance the final product.

       

      Thanks,

       

      Bob

        • 1. Re: Convert VHS Tapes to Digital
          Bob Ward Level 1

          I should add that I did a search on the forum and did find some previous topics on

          VHS to digital conversions.

           

          Any software or hardware that I might buy would have to be compatible with Windows 7.  Some reviews have indicated problems with Win7 recognizing the conversion hardware.  I do have a FireWire connection on my computer.

           

          Bob

          • 2. Re: Convert VHS Tapes to Digital
            the_wine_snob Level 9

            Bob,

             

            If you wish to later edit the digitized output from those VHS tapes, please do NOT transfer them to DVD. The file format in DVD's is MPEG-2 and both highly compressed (loosing some quality from a medium not known for high quality to begin with), and are also GOP (Group of Pictures), so to get frame-accurate editing has to change that back to an I-frame-based format.

             

            To get the best results with your tapes, you will want to look into an A-D bridge, like the ADS-Pyro, or the Canopus/Grass Valley ADVC-110. This will hook to your computer via FireWire, and to your VHS deck via the normal cables. You can then use PrE to Capture from that deck through the A-D bridge. Those files will be DV-AVI Type II w/ 48KHz 16-bit Audio, and that is as good as it gets. Now, you will need to consider the HDD space that you have available, as 1 hour of those files is ~ 13GB in size.

             

            Good luck,

             

            Hunt

            • 3. Re: Convert VHS Tapes to Digital
              the_wine_snob Level 9

              This FAQ Entry will give you some more tips on Capturing analog material digitally.

               

              Good luck,

               

              Hunt

              • 4. Re: Convert VHS Tapes to Digital
                Bob Ward Level 1

                Thanks for the response Bill.  I am a novice at this, so your insightful comments are a big help.

                 

                Are both of those conversion boxes Win7 compatible?  Seems like I read something about folks having problems with the Canopus and Win7.

                 

                I have a 640 GB hard drive on a new Intel quad core computer and nVidia GTX 275 graphics card.  So I should be good to go from that end.

                 

                Bob

                • 5. Re: Convert VHS Tapes to Digital
                  the_wine_snob Level 9

                  Bob,

                   

                  I have heard of no issues with Win7. There are no drivers involved, just FireWire 400, which is fully supported in Win7.

                   

                  As for your HDD, I would first think of adding two more HDD's. Many feel that having 2 is adequate for Video-editing,  I recommend a layout like this:

                   

                  C:\ OS, programs and probably the Page File

                   

                  D:\ Projects and Scratch Disks

                   

                  E:\ Media files

                   

                  Now, with a bunch of VHS tapes, I would also look into an external HDD, just to store those Captured files. I edit to/from a bank of FW-800's and migrate my Projects between my laptop and my workstation. These are fast enough to edit to/from. FW-400, probably still the standard are too slow, in my workflow, but are excellent for archival storage.

                   

                  Good luck,

                   

                  Hunt

                  • 6. Re: Convert VHS Tapes to Digital
                    Bob Ward Level 1

                    Bill,

                     

                    I don't know what kind of image quality some of these old VHS tapes might have.  If I were to get the ADS-Pyro, does it have any kind of automatic image enhancement capability built into the hardware, or, would I have to do any required touch-ups in Premiere Elements?

                     

                    Bob

                    • 7. Re: Convert VHS Tapes to Digital
                      the_wine_snob Level 9

                      Bob,

                       

                      I am not familiar with the ADS-Pyro, but I know people, who are. They hang out at Muvipix.com in the various Communities (their term for fora). Many folk there do use it, for just this purpose. If you post there, they can give you tons of info.

                       

                      The Canopus ADVC-300 (big-brother to the 110) does have timebase corrections. It's more expensive, but can save countless hours of adding Effects and processing the footage in PrE.

                       

                      Good luck,

                       

                      Hunt

                      • 8. Re: Convert VHS Tapes to Digital
                        Bob Ward Level 1

                        Bill,

                         

                        From the reviews I have been reading for the past hour, the Canopus ADVC 110 is getting much better press than the ADS-Pyro.  So I may spend the few extra bucks and get the Canopus 110.  I am not doing these conversions for professional purposes, I just want to get my old VHS tapes into a digital format.  So it sounds like the 110 should accomplish that, without getting too expensive.

                         

                        Thanks again for your help.

                         

                        Bob

                        • 9. Re: Convert VHS Tapes to Digital
                          Bob Ward Level 1

                          Bill,

                           

                          One last question.  I still have Premiere Elements 2.0.  Will this version have all the capabilities I need to work on the digitally converted VHS tape files?  Or should I upgrade to a more recent version?  PE 2.0 is probably not Win7 compatible, so I may have to upgrade anyway.

                           

                          Bob

                          • 10. Re: Convert VHS Tapes to Digital
                            the_wine_snob Level 9

                            Bob,

                             

                            I cannot answer this question, as I know nothing of PrE 2. I started with PrE 4, and still use PrPro 2.0 mostly. Maybe someone else can field your question, as I am not qualified here - sorry.

                             

                            Good luck,

                             

                            Hunt

                            • 11. Re: Convert VHS Tapes to Digital
                              Steve Grisetti Adobe Community Professional

                              If you are capturing with the ADS Pyro AV Link or Canpus units, you'll be capturing as DV-AVIs, the ideal format for ANY version of Premiere Elements (and virtually any PC-based video editor, for that matter).

                              • 12. Re: Convert VHS Tapes to Digital
                                the_wine_snob Level 9

                                Steve,

                                 

                                Do you know of any possible issues with PrE 2.0 (if anyone should, it would be you - after all, you wrote the book on it), as I cannot directly address Bob's specific question on that version. I assume, from your comments, that PrE 2.0 will have zero issues with Capture over FW from the A-D bridge.

                                 

                                Thank, and good morning,

                                 

                                Hunt

                                • 13. Re: Convert VHS Tapes to Digital
                                  Bob Ward Level 1

                                  Bill, Steve,

                                   

                                  I think the fact that I will be doing the video capture on a new Win7 computer will dictate that I upgrade to a current version of Premiere Elements that is Win7 compatible.  My existing copy of PE 2.0 is on an old XP machine with no Firewire connection, so I will be doing all my video work on the new Win7 machine.

                                   

                                  Thanks again for all the help.

                                   

                                  Bob

                                  • 14. Re: Convert VHS Tapes to Digital
                                    the_wine_snob Level 9

                                    Bob,

                                     

                                    Got you! I'm facing similar, as I will probably be going to CS5 PrPro, and will then need to go with Win7-64 bit, and a new machine to run it.

                                     

                                    Good luck,

                                     

                                    Hunt

                                    • 15. Re: Convert VHS Tapes to Digital
                                      John T Smith Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                      >a new Win7 computer

                                       

                                      Before you do... be sure to read about hardware setup http://forums.adobe.com/community/premiere/hardware_forum

                                       

                                      What I am going to build is listed near the top of my notes page... from what I've read here, you need a SUBSTANTIAL computer to run PreElements 8

                                       

                                      http://www.pacifier.com/~jtsmith/ADOBE.HTM

                                      • 16. Re: Convert VHS Tapes to Digital
                                        Bob Ward Level 1

                                        John,

                                         

                                        I just had a new computer built by Puget Custom Computers.  It is an Intel i5 Quad core with 4 megs of RAM and an nVidia GTX275 video card with 896 MB of memory, 640 GB HD.  If that won't work, I am in trouble.

                                         

                                        Bob

                                        • 17. Re: Convert VHS Tapes to Digital
                                          John T Smith Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                          >4 megs of RAM, 640 GB HD

                                           

                                          You are in trouble... I presume you meant 4 GIGS of ram, which is OK for a 32bit version of Windows

                                           

                                          But only one hard drive is very simply NOT going to work well !!!

                                           

                                          You need AT LEAST two hard drives... that is separate, physical hard drives, NEVER partitions on one drive

                                           

                                          Minimum for SD video

                                          Hard drive for Windows and all software

                                          Hard drive for all data and temp files

                                           

                                          Some people add a 3rd hard drive for temp/scratch files

                                           

                                          I only have 2 hard drives (go to my link) and do OK for SD video

                                           

                                          Tell your builder to add AT LEAST a 2nd hard drive for data and temp files... one Terrabyte drives are reasonably priced these days... do NOT get a "green" drive to use for video editing... you need a full 7200rpm drive

                                          • 18. Re: Convert VHS Tapes to Digital
                                            Bob Ward Level 1

                                            Yes, that was mis-speak, it is 4 gigs of RAM.

                                             

                                            I do have 3 external hard drives that I use for multiple back-ups of everything.  I will probably buy another one just to use for Premiere Elements.  I was thinking maybe a 1 or 1.5 TB drive.

                                             

                                            Bob

                                            • 19. Re: Convert VHS Tapes to Digital
                                              the_wine_snob Level 9

                                              Bob,

                                               

                                              On my laptop, I have a 3x SATA II HDD setup, but because I migrate Projects between it, and the workstation, do have many Projects (w/ Assets, Scratch Disks, etc.) on a bank of 1 - 2 TB FireWire 800 units. When I build the new workstation, it will have both FW-800, plus eSATA, and all new externals will be eSATA, as they are faster than the FW-800's.

                                               

                                              Spreading the workload amongst 3x internals is a really good move, and will pay dividends, when editing video.

                                               

                                              Good luck,

                                               

                                              Hunt

                                              • 20. Re: Convert VHS Tapes to Digital
                                                John T Smith Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                An external USB drive will NOT work for video editing... only for file backups

                                                 

                                                An Esata external will work, as will an external Firewire drive (but, do be aware that having a camera connected via Firewire as well as a hard drive may cause problems... or, at least I *think* I remember read such here)

                                                 

                                                A 2nd internal hard drive is best

                                                • 21. Re: Convert VHS Tapes to Digital
                                                  Faqanda

                                                  For those who are looking to convert their own VHS tapes, you can find information on that by visiting the following link.

                                                  http://faqanda.com/021_how-to-convert-vhs.html