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Vcr To Dvd Recorder - Convert that Home Library with VCR-to-DVD Recorders

vhs device quality conversion

As technology continues to advance at an awe-inspiring rate, many of us are standing still with large home video libraries on VHS. Do you remember when VHS was leading edge? It seemed as if it would never fade away. Well, those times are long gone, and those once-cherished VCR tapes are aging ungracefully, and in many cases, simply unusable due to the lack of support. If you find yourself in that situation, then you have the seemingly unenviable task of converting all of that VHS to DVD.

One option is to hire a professional service to handle the conversion for you. These conversion services generally do fantastic VCR-to-DVD conversions. They can touch-up the quality in ways the home user cannot, and they can add a professional touch to the DVDs. Best of all, they do it rather quickly. The problem is that due to the limited nature of the business, the fees are quite high. Since many of us have large libraries to convert, the cost of professional conversion service quickly spins out of control.

The more realistic option is to invest in an inexpensive VCR-to-DVD recorder, and then to perform the conversions ourselves. A VCR-to-DVD recorder is a blanket label that refers to any of a series of technologies that allow us to copy video from a VHS tape to a DVD. In many cases, this is a recordable DVD unit with a built-in VHS tape player, or even a VCR attached to a DVD through its input. Both of these are convenient, cost-effective systems, but unfortunately, they are also the most limited. Generally, you can record one or more VHS tapes to a DVD sequentially, and that is all the control you have. Editing is not an option, and if you are experiencing bad picture quality, you are stuck with it.

For that reason, most people opt for more sophistication. In these cases, a VCR-to-DVD recorder refers to anything that allows us to get VHS video onto a computer or other editing device. Once we have it there, we can edit it in a number of ways prior to burning the edited video to DVD. The most common form of such a device is the analog-to-DV converter. These devices are relatively expensive, running about $150 for the most basic models, but in return, they provide an unparalleled level of control. It is a time-consuming process doing it this way, but the bulk of that process is hands-free.

Another VCR-to-DVD recorder option is the hardware capture device. This device essentially links your VCR to your computer, and records the video in MPEG-2 format. The benefit is that hardware capture devices are cheaper than analog-to-DV converters, and they often work faster too. The downside is that the quality of the film is not nearly as good, and you have far less control at the point of input. However, you do have the same level of control once you retrieve the video.

Whichever VCR-to-DVD recorder technique you choose, there are steps that can take in order to achieve maximum quality. Consider purchasing a new VCR unit, or having your old unit professionally cleaned. Residue that builds up on VCR tape heads is the primary cause of poor VHS image quality. In addition, turn all sharpness controls on the VCR down to a minimum. Less sharpness equals a softer picture, and a softer picture means less noise, which provides a better conversion. The sharpness can be added back later without loss of quality.

Don’t commit to recording a full tape the first time. Start by recording 30-second samples. Adjust the controls on the analog-to-DVD recorder or on the hardware capture device, which may be a software interface, as needed. Perform these tests at least several times. If you take the necessary time now to ensure that you’re getting the best picture possible, you’ll save a great deal of grief later when dealing with a large library conversion.

Finally, if you are using an analog-to-AV VCR-to-DVD recorder, do not be surprised at the file size of the result. It is usual to require 14GB per hour. The next step in the process will be converting it to MPEG-2, which is the step that the hardware capture device does for you. Don’t worry. It’s easy and the DVD editing and burning software will do it for you instead. The files will shrink during conversion to the point that you generally put several or more VHS tapes on a single DVD.

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