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Thread: Transfer VHS tape to Digital - How?

  1. #1

    Default Transfer VHS tape to Digital - How?

    I have just bought a new Dig. Camcorder (JVC GR D290) and hope to transfer all my old VHS tapes to Digital. (Some of them are on the small tapes that went in the camera but one is on the large VHS tape). According to the JVC Manual the cable required to connect to the VCR is not supplied but is 'commercially available'. I have no idea what this cable is. Can you advise me please. On a steep learning curve here! Thanks, Peg.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Bournemouth, UK


    Hi Peg, Your old cam or video you are using to play your old tapes with, will have a video out (usually yellow) or an Svideo out socket, this needs to be connected to the same type of socket on the digi cam.

    Next plug your cam in to your computer with a firewire lead (also called ieee1394 or DV link or i-link) next put your camera into playback mode with no tape in it and start your capture program on the computer, press play on your video and hope for a picture on your computer, if this doesn't happen you may have to enable 'video in' on the digi camcorder, it will be in the camera menu and will be covered in the manual.

    Once you get a picture, click on the capture/record button in the capture software and it will record the signal to your hard drive. Digital video is big, so if you have lots of vids to copy, just do one at a time.

    If you are only wishing put your vids on to DV tape then put a blank tape in the digi cam and press record on the camera when you get a picture on the cam screen.(As you have hinted, this is coversd in the manual)

    The leads you need will be Firewire and a firewire connection card if you have not got one in your computer already for the digital videos, and an svideo or yellow video lead for the video to digi cam connection.

    I hope this helps

    Mike W

  3. #3

    Default Vhs to Digital - How?

    Mike, thank you ever so much for all your help. I am hoping to take delivery of a new PC with a 200Gb hard drive , 1 Gb memory and with a DVI card. Until then I cannot make a start as this PC I am using now only has USB1. But thanks to your help I know what I am supposed to do. I will let you know how it goes once I get started - may take a few days.
    Now, to get to the one big VHS tape (not the small ones that go in the camera) do you play it in your VCR and just connect the VCR to the digital camera the same as if you were using your old analogue camera. This is the part it says in the JVC manual you will need a cable not supplied by them but commercially available but they don't tell you the name of the cable. I didn't think it was the one with the yellow, white, red & black connectors at one end as it's been supplied by them. I have learned so much in the 6 weeks since we decided to buy the Dig Camcorder, but reading through the forums last night, I have a lot still to learn. I live in a very rural area with no large electrical /photographic stores so your help is invaluable.
    Thanks again, Peg.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Bournemouth, UK


    The lead refered to is the svideo lead, it has 4 pins and a plastic locating key in the connector, you should alredy have one for your svideo camera. It is the same lead you used to link the Svideo cam to the vcr, otherwise these are available almost anywhere even tesco, asda or B&Q or get 1 from

    Your vcr and cam work in the same way, they both record to tape and play it back.

    You say you have a new pc coming, if it is not to late it would be good get windows loaded on to a smaller drive of about 80Gb and keep the 200Gb just for video capture. This helps to share the load, no matter how fast your machine is, video editing and capture is hard work, but do not despair, it can be done with the 1 drive.

    DV uses about 13 Gb's per hour of video, and of course it will use that amount again when you export your edited video back to the hard drive. Do it 1 tape at a time and transfer it to DVD then you can make space for the next one by deleting captured video you have just finished working on.

    DVD uses MPEG2 video so you will have to encode your edited dv to mpeg2 and author it for DVD, This sounds scary doesn't it, but it really isn,t, reasonably cheap programs like Ulead videostudio do it all for you, there might even be some software with the camera, I don't know much about what JVC bundle with they're cams. and these forums are great places to learn from

    You mentioned your old machine as being only USB1, firewire and usb are not compatible, they are 2 different types of connection. the JVC may have a stills transfer and webcam transfer to usb, but for the digi video from the tape you need firewire.

    Take it one step at a time, only worry about the step your on and don't look ahead to the next one til you get there.

    You'll be fine.

  5. #5

    Default VHS to Digital more questions!

    What a wealth of information - I am so pleased I found this site. Thank you again for all your help. I searched around and sure enough I have an svideo cable, HOWEVER, the VCR, which was new last year, does not have a connection (either back or front) for this cable. It only has scart connections. So am I back to square one?
    The new PC arrived today. I am going to transfer one of the 80Gb hard drives from this one to the new PC for ease of transfer of data so, yes, I could use it for every day work and keep the new 200Gb for digital photography. Thank you for that - I would not have thought of it.
    By the way what does the 'S' in svideo stand for.
    Thank you again for your time and tremendous amount of help.

  6. Default

    SVIDEO....actually SVHS (he's one of the members on the forum)....kiddin'....Super Video/VHS. It's actually a connector provided on many types of video equipment which provide the Input or Output for a higher quality signal....many Hi8, SVHS or Digital camera usually have this kind of connector. You need a special cable (very popular) to connect to this.

  7. #7

    Default VHS to Digital cont'd

    Since writing my last question at 8.30 I have done the following. I found a 6 pin cable adapter with connections on the other side for a red, a white and yelow cable along with an SVideo connection. I set it all up using the cable that was supplied with my digital video camera and plugged it in. I set the VCR to play and the dig cam to play and connected it to the PC. (It will not work without an empty mini tape in the dig cam). Nothing happened. I swapped the settings in the cam menu from 'AV in' to 'S in' - still nothing. However this is what it says in the dig camera handbook and I quote: THE PROVIDED CABLE ADAPTER ACCEPTS ONLY OUTPUT SIGNALS FROM THIS CAMCORDER. TO USE THIS CAMCORDER AS A RECORDER USE A COMMERCIALLY AVAILABLE CABLE ADAPTER.
    This is where I am really puzzled as I have not a clue what they mean and I have emailed JVC to ask them but they haven't had the courtsey to reply.
    However one piece of good news in my tail of woe - I have been able to capture the film from the small tapes in the old video camera through the new one and into the PC. I am really pleased about that as most of the work is on small tapes - there is just one on a large VHS tape. So if it will capture it from the old CAMERA why on earth can the stupid thing not do the same but from the VCR???
    Are all you good people out there sick and tired of my questions? I hope not and that every time I get a helpful reply to one of my questions it hopefully helps someone else. Thank you all again for all your help.
    And thank you bengal for telling me about SVideo.

  8. Default

    Here is how it should go......connect the OUTPUT form your VCR (either RCA connectors or SVHS connector) to the INPUT (RCA or SVHS) of your camcorder (make sure you configure your camcorder SVHS or RCA as INPUT). Then connect your FIREWIRE port from your camcorder to the computer. Make sure your PC detects the camcorder. Also make sure the camcorder is set in Play don't actually have to press PLAY just toggle the camcorder's switch to play mode. Start your capture program and then press press play on you VCR. The CAmcorder should act as a 'pass-thru' device (assuming it's capable of doing so) and you should see a picture on your computer screen...also on your camcorder's display if it has one (most do). Hope this helps.

  9. #9

    Default VHS tape to digital - how? I know how!

    Bengal, sincere thanks for your help with my problem but it wouldn't work so that is why I have been quiet for such a long time. However, though it didn't work you gave me the basis from which to start so if I may I will tell you how I got it to work and it might help someone else with the same problems.
    I phoned JVC and asked what connector I needed to get the dig camera to record from the VCR. They said it was a 21 pin SCART with an AV connection (yellow), an S Video connection (black) and the two audio, red and white. I didn't have one as the one that was supplied with the camera was only a 6 pin hence the reason it wouldn't record. I got one from at a very reasonable price and started again. To cut a very long story short the S Video would not work so used the AV (yellow) and the red and white and connected those to the camera's AV in. Now, according to the reviews given when I bought the camera it is supposed to act as a 'pass through' for the signal from VCR to digital camera to PC. It would not work either so this is what we did (Better half & myself). Connected the digi camera to the VCR as described above, put a tape into it and recorded the old VHS tape onto the mini tape. I must stress IT WAS NOT CONNECTED TO THE PC AT THIS TIME. When it was all on the mini tape, disconnect the AV connection and then connected the firewire. Went into my video editing programme (in my case Moviemaker) and captured the film. IT WORKED!!!!!!!! YIPPPEEEEEEE. I have still to work out how to edit it but I will do that now that I can get the film successfully into the PC. I have Adobe Premiere and just couldn't understand it so sent to Amazon for the book - 'Adobe Premiere for Dummies'. Hopefully I will get to grips with it after I get the book. But I cannot thank you all enough for helping me get started I don't know how I would have done it without you all. Thank you. (No doubt I will be back soon with more questions about editing!!) Thanks again, Peg.

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