I started trying to convert my old VHS tapes and my newer tapes from my Sony Video 8 to DVDs and I didn't want to pay the $50 a piece it cost to have it done. Also, I wanted to be able to edit my home movies and make nice films. I found programs that promised it was easily. Put your tape in the VCR, plug in this little capture card, edit your film, burn you dvd, and BAM! Perfect DVDs!
I tried every program Circuit City, Best Buy, and a few others had to offer. The programs crashed, the quality of the DVDs were poor or just plain a mess, etc. I tried the endless stream of "downloads" off the internet and the dozens of guides to go with them. I ended up with a huge credit at Best Buy, and a bunch of programs on my computer that are way above my head, confusing, and tiresome!
I spent months researching this on the computer, only to find that there were as many ways to go about this as there were people with video cameras. Unfortunately, I don't have a degree in computer programming, and I no longer want to spend endless hours researching this maze of information. I just want my tapes on DVD.
So, here is my flawless solution. It's not the cheapest, but it works every time and it is cheaper than buying a new qualtiy digital camera and still having to buy the editing programs.
It worked on both my computers.
1) A two year old 4300S Dell, p-4, 1.6 ghz, 120GB, 256k
2) My new 4600 Dell, P-4, 2.8 ghz with HT, 128mb DDR Nvidia GeForce FX, 80 gb, 512 mb at 400mhz.
Avoid any program that captures via USB1/2.
Keep your computer well maintained...defrag, delete old files, etc. Do this on a regular basis...just good sense and keeps your computer from being "over taxed."
Get on line and buy a Canopus ADVC 100 ($225) This little contraption flawlessly converts (captures) any tape you throw at it from your camcorder or VHS. Most packaged capture cards do not... they don't like old or "corrupted" (whatever that is) VHS tapes. Canopus converts any analog tape to an AVI file. These files are huge, but the quality is as good as the original.
You will need a software program for the "capture" and editing. Ulead, Sonic, Roxio, Pinnacle Studio ($99), etc. all offer free trials...use them. See which one you like. I personally like Pinnacle Studio (the capture devices are worthless, don't bother) Studio editing is easy to learn. I've tried all the others, this was my favorite...doesn't really matter, I think most of them will "capture" from the Canopus device...you might want to check that on their web-sites though. Did not have a problem rendering and burning with Roxio or Ulead, but hated their editing format. Since I would rather render to a MPEG2 (and ditch the AVI file) and Nero has flawless burns, thats the route I choose.
Once you have the editing program installed, just plug your little Canopus in (literally, no instruction needed) and the Studio immediately IDs it as a DV...while it captures it breaks your video up in "scenes"...really handy when editing.
Once you have the AVI file, you can take it into your editing program and edit, render, and burn. I do not use Pinnacle to burn...to many crashing problems with rendering to DVD. I always render to an MPEG file, then burn it with Nero. The advantage to rendering to an MPEG file, is because if you ever want to edit a bit more, you can do it with the MPEG file, instead of having to weed through the "raw" AVI file...basically you can delete the AVI file and free up a boat load of space.
That's it. $225 for Canopus...$100 for an editing software, and maybe another $50 for a burning program (may find that free online, but hey, is it worth the time to look, try and fail?) You will save that much on coasters
Some people can do it with the freeware, so people can do it on VCDs (cheaper media)... some people have more time on their hands than I do...I want a quality DVD, not a headache!