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Capturing Old VHS cassettes and saving them as files that can play on PC or on TV through USB stick.

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Destination, Dec 6, 2019.

  1. Destination


    Joined: May 31, 2009

    Posts: 19,548

    Capturing Old VHS cassettes and saving them as files that can play on PC or on TV through USB stick

    Basically, as per the topic.
    I am looking through vast swathes of various capture and converter devices.
    has anyone any experience with this?
    Can you recommend a product?

    I am looking to convert old local football matches onto a usb stick from VHS so my father can watch them again.
  2. OpenToSuggestions


    Joined: Aug 5, 2006

    Posts: 10,667

    Location: Derby

    I'd love to know this too. There are so many devices available but I have no idea which ones are good and which are poo.
  3. Meddling-Monk


    Joined: Sep 2, 2013

    Posts: 818

    Not a USB Stick, but certainly a USB capture device, but it's an old one now, so I don't know if its still available anymore. Pinnacle Dazzle Video Creator Platinum (Silver version DVC100), grab yourself some updater that allowed the drivers to capture even with artifacts (or what it thinks is artifacts, causing the macrovision protection to kick in and not record), and just grab any video as required with your favourite capture software.
  4. Meddling-Monk


    Joined: Sep 2, 2013

    Posts: 818

    Basically what you want is:

    1. A Capture Device, this can be USB in nature or some other connection to your PC (The one I quoted in my post above is a USB version). Typically this part is NOT where you run into problems. The only thing you need to make sure is the device has the connections you need to match what you can get out of your VHS player unit.

    2. Either some software that can capture without Macrovision or falsely raised flag of Macrovision that stops the software from capturing, or drivers for the device that can be altered to allow such recordings. (In many cases of older VHS, the jumpiness of the video alone is often enough for most Macrovision detection to raise a false positive and cause the recording to fail, so technically not necessary but in reality quite an important requirement). Typically this is your biggest hurdle, it's not the capture software, or the device itself, but whether its (forced by industry) protection detection is going to screw you over during capture (especially bad if its built into the drivers; although I'm thinking there might be way around this in 3.).

    3. Capturing Software. These days we have VLC (which is free) and it can pull info from pretty much any Capture Device, so software capture isn't a problem in most cases to be concerned about. What I haven't tried lately is if VLC will permit recordings of protected content or not (so I can't guarantee if this works at this time). If it does allow recording, then the issue described in 2 above will not be an issue and you can go direct and grab ANY Capture Device (so long as it has the right connections you use on your VHS Player).

    4. Video Conversion Software. Again, VLC can do this for you and then you can just place the converted videos onto whatever you want for playback on whatever device you need. Although certain devices may not auto-playback unless the video is in a certain format or added onto the USB Stick through specific software.

    So in theory, it's MUCH easier to do that it was a decade or more ago.
  5. b00merang69

    Perma Banned

    Joined: Sep 27, 2019

    Posts: 2,578

    I bought a High End mint but 2nd hand Panasonic VHS/DVD Recorder to do this with about 12 tapes I wanted to keep (I had no VCR), I could easily pop the DVD in my PC if I wanted to now but I am ok with keeping the DVD in s safe place, I made 2 copies of each.
  6. lurkio


    Joined: May 20, 2010

    Posts: 2,982

    Location: World

    I use a PCI card that has a hardware mpeg encoder in it
  7. stockhausen


    Joined: Jul 30, 2006

    Posts: 10,390

    No message.
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2019
  8. Meddling-Monk


    Joined: Sep 2, 2013

    Posts: 818

    Having owned two of those, I can definitely recommend this approach as an alternative option if the DVD disc is the format you want it in (or you don't mind going through another step, capturing it back off the DVD). But just like what I described above, unless you're buying a very select few devices (which are out of production for years now) that also ignored Macrovision detection (I only know of a Sony one and I no longer remember the model now, it was expensive even back then), this likely won't work on many VHS because the detection for Macrovision is usually set to a stupidly (faulty) high level on such devices and so the device will not record it onto the DVD, or you'll just get static/blank screen. But it's a good option if it works (it just needs a lot of perfect scenarios unfortuantely compared with going capture route).

    That'll depend on the VHS player you are using.
    If it has Composite, then make sure your Capture Device has Composite Inputs (Most typically do).
    If it has scart, you need to also get a scart to Composite cable to connect from the VHS Player to the Capture Device. Most of the last gen of VHS players have scart.
    Some VHS players have S-VHS Video connectors, in most cases this isn't necessary considering the resolution you can get from VHS, but if you happen to have this on the VHS player, then you'll need to grab an appropriate cable for its use (if you have approrpriately recorded video).
    This only connects the VHS Player to the computer though (via the Capture Card/Device).
    To record the video, use appropriate software. VLC should in theory work. (I can't test this at the moment as I don't know where my old device is, otherwise it'll be a quick answer to the whole thing).
  9. ron3003

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Oct 25, 2006

    Posts: 1,523

    Location: Skegness

    Years since I did this but as I recall to eliminate any macrovision I used a pair of wireless video senders to transmit what was displayed on the tv screen to a pinnacle capture card in the pc.
  10. jpaul


    Joined: Mar 1, 2010

    Posts: 9,619

    similarly, used a panasonic vhs recorder with rgb scart output (not sure, but thought it can circumvent macrovision, although these were their holiiday videos) into a toshiba rdx32 dvd recorder, recording at highest bitrate & mpeg2 onto a dvdr
  11. visibleman

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Jun 3, 2005

    Posts: 1,394

    Location: The South

    A BTWincap (drivers) supported capture card was the usual go-to method for getting around Macrovision.
  12. Pawnless Endgame


    Joined: May 10, 2004

    Posts: 10,738

    Location: Sunny Stafford

    I use a USB to SCART converter (plenty on Amazon and eBay, just search), and then for software, I use OBS. It's free and primarily used by online streamers, but it's also suitable for capturing desktop, input such as webcam, old computers, old games consoles and so on. I use it to record from my BBC Micro and have done a lot of VHS work too. You can also use green/blue screen with OBS if you wanted to be fancy and overlay yourself on top of the filming.
  13. Destination


    Joined: May 31, 2009

    Posts: 19,548

    Thank you everyone, any of these capture usb to scart which i think is my preferred option, any of them recommended?
    Amazon does indeed have loads, which would one choose?
  14. Salsa

    Wise Guy

    Joined: May 3, 2007

    Posts: 1,939

    I bought this last year from Amazon to copy a load of old VHS onto DVD.

    External USB Video Capture Card -... https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B008F0SARC?ref=ppx_pop_mob_ap_share

    It worked perfectly right out of the box and was very simple to use. Bundled software was ok for creating simple DVDs. From memory it would only record to .avi so I used Handbrake to transcode to an easier to share fornat for USB.

  15. Destination


    Joined: May 31, 2009

    Posts: 19,548

    magic thanks