In this brief guide we look at an easy way to convert VHS videos to digital
Like most people of a certain age, you will have some old VHS videos gathering dust in the attic, garage or spare room.
These will be of the kids, grandkids, weddings, christenings, holidays etc and it’s great to watch these from time to time and think back over special moments shared with family and friends, but what happens when your cherished tape breaks or gets eaten by the ancient VHS player!
This guide has been written because the author had the same thought over and over and decided to play safe. Where do you start to convert VHS videos to digital?
Well let’s look at what digital is. Digital is just a format and a folder on your computer where things are stored and if you make copies, which is very easy to do, you should never have to worry again about losing your precious possessions.
You need the software to make this happen
The software which you download to your PC or Laptop consists of a CD and the appropriate connections from your PC or Laptop to your video recorder. This is the only product you need to purchase and there are many types available.
The kit featured below is the one we used and is available from Amazon if you click on the link here – DIGITNOW! Video Capture – Buy Now from Amazon
The kit to convert VHS videos to digital comes with full step by step instructions which are easy to follow either on-screen or in the paper manual.
The link above takes you to the Amazon page where you can read more about the software and also has a handy short video to watch.
Once you have loaded the software and set up the connections between PC or Laptop and Video Player you can then run the video, press ‘CAPTURE’ on your computer screen and watch the entire video whilst recording.
You can stop and start at certain times or let it copy right to the end. There is also the option to take a still picture at the press of a button.
One point to mention that we came across is on the scart plug that goes into the video player, make sure you set the switch (which we didn’t notice) to either IN or OUT. By default it was set to IN, but the video wasn’t showing on our computer screen until we flicked the switch to OUT. It may be different in each situation, but it’s worth mentioning.
Once the video has played and you’ve pressed ‘STOP’ on your computer screen, the digital file is then complete and should be saved on your computer, probably in the videos folder. When we played the digital file back we only heard the audio but couldn’t see the video.
After we had scratched our heads for quite some time we resorted to asking Google what the issue could be.
Apparently on Windows 10 there is sometimes a conflict between Windows 10 and the default Windows Media Player, which is on most, if not all computers as standard. This may have been sorted out now by Microsoft, but if not you can do what we were advised to do and that’s to download from Google a media player called VLC which is just another type of media player.
We did just that and installed it on our laptop and the file then played perfectly. This issue had absolutely nothing to do with the software that we purchased but was purely a conflict between Windows 10 and the default media player.
Video Cam Recorder Cassette to VHS
If you have video cam recorder cassettes with old films on that you want to make digital, you need to purchase an adapter similar to the one below.
This will allow you to pop your old video cam tape into this adapter and then proceed as you would for a normal VHS tape.
Once your digital files have been saved to your computer you’re just about finished and are then able to sit back and enjoy, knowing your treasured memories are safe.
These files can then be shared with family and friends by putting them on to a memory stick or external hard drive.
If like us you had a lot of videos to save, you may want to invest in an external hard drive. We went for one with 4TB of memory so we never have to worry about it being full. The link is here – Seagate Expansion Portable 4TB External Hard drive
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