Have you stumbled across a huge collection of home videos lying for ages in your attic? Well, there’s a possibility that you may not remember what’s on them. Besides, they are covered in a thin film of dust on the surface. While going through the labels, you got excited by a flood of nostalgia. Now, all you want to do is to look for a VCR or HI8 player.

During all this, you begin to wonder how long all these tapes are going to last! Everything has expiry date and so does these tapes. The iron oxide in these tapes used to make up the sound and pictures stored on your tapes slowly separates itself from the plastic substrate. This happens because the binders used in video tapes production have no defense mechanism for humidity or excess temperature change.

 Even the low levels of moisture in the air can cause irreparable separation. If the irreversible deterioration has already occurred, immediate transferring can help you to get back what’s left to a digital format prevents further data loss.

Therefore, transferring your video tapes with the help of VHS to DVD Converter doesn’t only seem easy; it is the best way to preserve your footage.

You could employ the services of a professional video tape conversion. In case you have some experience with computers, then you can do this all by yourself too. Here is the simple guide, how you can carry out this process all by yourself.

  • Get Organized

First things first, while you think of digitizing your box of memories, do the inventory of what you have—index it, organize it and grasp it. This trick would work on VHS tapes or 45, whether its 10 mini DV tapes or a small army of hi8’s. It might be possible that your collection have all of them. Also, have a look at what you want to covert as it is going to take time to digitize them.

  • Get Equipped

If you don’t have realization of the fact that you will need specific tools to digitize your VHS tapes properly. If you are fortunate, then you would have much of the needed items on your hand. However, you may have to purchase a few items to get started with.

The foremost important equipment is to have a decent PC or Mac. While less expensive stock computers are fine for other jobs, they are not built for capturing analog video and rendering large digital files. If not more, then at the very least, you would require a computer equipped with a decent graphics card, a firewire card, and plenty of hard drive space. It would be better to bulk up on RAM before you get started. While you work through your tape collection, let your computer focus on the task at hand. It isn’t recommended to multitask while capturing video. Mind the fact that many computer retailers can outfit your PC for you.

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What else would you require for digitizing your VHS tapes—a Capture card, a device that converts analog footage into a language that your computer understands! Capture cards that is able to handle the job without dropping frames go for between $100 and $1,500.

Once you get your hands on a good capture card, it’s time to decide about the capture software you’ll use. The most recommended one is Adobe Premiere Pro or Apple’s Final Cut. Both the software offer uncompressed capture of analog source material without any frame drop. In case you prefer a free option that’s a bit easier to use, consider iMovie (Mac) or Windows Movie Maker.

Note: Before getting into this VHS tape digitizing process, take time to learn how to perform the various functions in the software. If you are new to video editing, take a quick course on the related websites or watching tutorials on YouTube to learn Premiere Pro, Final Cut, Movie Maker, or iMovie.

Lastly, you will need a clean VCR or camcorder that fits your tapes. And, if you take time to clean the video heads using 99% isopropyl and lint free cloth before you get started— it is more likely that you will get better results.

  • Get to Work

The process is simple: plug your VCR into your capture device with the help of a composite cables or an S-video cable. Then, via fire wire plug your capture card into your PC or Mac. Open your capture software, and start its dubbing function. Load your tape into your player, press Record on the software, and then press Play on the deck.

No matter long or short the tape is, settle-in, for the job and it must be played in real time. This is done because what you see on the capture software is what you’ll see in the end file. When the tape finishes playing, simply push Stop in both your software and on your deck.

Then begins the production process and post that cut the parts and pieces out of the recording that you think are no good. After editing, it’s time to compress your huge files into something useable. The most recommended ones are MP4 files and the H.264 codec for compression. You can export to those settings directly out of Premiere Pro, Final Cut, iMovie, or Windows Movie Maker. While the process is  bit tedious,  it is going to take time too. You can expect your computer to take anywhere from an hour to a few hours to finish encoding a file each tape. Once it has finished, test your file. It should playback on any PC or Mac.

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  • Make Copies

Well, this is an add-on, but it would save you from further hassles. Backing up your family videos will save your family memories. It is better to create at least three copies of your media. There is an easy to make copies— upload the files to your favorite cloud service, create DVDs, or make additional copies on thumb drives or external hard drives.

Video tapes have a shorter shelf life than almost any other medium. So, if you want to preserve your family history, make sure to get your video tape collection digitized and backed up properly and on time. Whether you choose to get it done by professionals or to do it yourself, just make sure you get it done. Electrovid has helped thousands of families save their memories by transferring video tapes to digital formats.