Converting Your Analog Media to Digital

September 8th, 2008

Whether you have a closet full of your complete VHS library or you just have a couple of tapes you would like to view digitally, you would probably like to be able to convert and store your movies on something that isn't antiquated.  Even tapes and (gulp) LP albums may be collecting dust under your music center.  Surely there is a way to put it all on a hard drive and haul your collections to the local antique store. Here, you will find some basic methods of achieving your goal of converting your analog media to digital and storing it for safe keeping.  The first step is having a place to store and play your newly-created digital masterpieces.  The best method is to use a Portable Media Player (PMP).  Once you have the venue, it's time to start converting. Option 1: Camcorder to Camcorder to Portable Media Player Using a digital video camcorder, connect your analog camcorder to your digital camcorder (making sure to connect both the video and the audio), and connect your digital camcorder to your portable media player via its IEEE 1394 port.  Start and stop both the source camcorder and the PMP manually to capture, then let them run.  This isn't the most customizable method, but it's definitely the easiest "set it and forget it" method. Option 2: Using a DVD/VCR Combo Device A DVD/VCR combo device is a component specifically made to convert VHS tapes to DVDs. The key is that your combo must have DVD recording capabilities built-in, and can simultaneously record a DVD and play a VHS tape. If you own a VCR already, all you need is to pick up a standalone DVD player/recorder which may also be used to convert the video.  You can connect your PMP directly to the unit to capture the video for storage and playback later.  For a more detailed description of this method, refer to this older (but still current) article on Techlore. Option 3: Video Editing Software Capture the VHS video to a computer video editing program using an analog-to-DV converter (which includes many DV/Digital8 camcorders as well as standalone analog-to-DV converters), then encode it to MPEG-2 and author a DVD. This is the most time-consuming method but it gives you the flexibility to edit the video as much as you want, adding transitions, special effects, music, etc. Between the capture time, the editing time and the often considerable time it takes for software encoding to MPEG-2.  This can result in several hours of work for your computer - and you - for each hour of video. These basic methods of conversion are intended for those who have intermediate skills in such things.  For a complete step-by-step guide, refer to this 20-page tutorial on PC Magazine.

About the Author



IOGEAR enjoys long walks on the beach and romantic getaways. While not traveling, IOGEAR enjoys a great game of shuffle board whilst playing the banjo.