Now that most of us are still encouraged to stay home and not venture too much into the outside, disease-infested world, it is for sure that a lot of us have already rediscovered family memorabilia. If there is something that this pandemic has taught us, it is that family memories are truly invaluable. Births, family vacations, school programs, graduations, weddings, Thanksgivings, and Christmas can only be truly appreciated if they were captured in old photo albums and VHS tapes. And knowing how precious yet delicate they are, the thought of converting these photos and videos into digital formats has surely been considered. The good news is, for photos, the process of digitizing them is quite easy and straightforward. Turning old videos that have been stored in VHS tapes to digital may be a bit more challenging, although there are a number of ways to do it.
If you have old family videos in VHS, take note that the VHS format is temporary and has a tendency to degrade. After all, we may have experienced some videos getting erased as we used the same tape where we recorded a momentous family to record a TV show. That only goes to show that the VHS format is not permanent. So, while you still have the time, why not make it a project to transport these videos to the digital era?
DIY Plan A: With a DVD recorder
One easy way is to have a DVD recorder. You would only need to spend on a VCR player, a DVD recorder, and some DVD-R discs where your videos will be transferred to. With some cords, you can connect them all to your TV and after some hours, viola! Your home videos will now be on digital format!
If you want to save some cash and are willing to put in a minimal amount of work, a DVD Recorder is an easy do-it-yourself option. It allows you to pop in a VHS (you will need a VCR for this), insert a DVD-R disc, and press record to dub the video over. There’s a lot of waiting involved, but it isn’t a ton of active work, and it’s much cheaper than using a professional service if you have a lot of tapes.
DIY Plan B: Connecting your VCR with your computer
Now, if you don’t want to use a DVD recorder, another way would be to use your trusty computer and a VCR player. With cords to connect your VCR player and your computer, you can digitize these videos. Make sure you have some DVD-R discs (unless your computer has some seriously huge space where the digital videos will be saved to) so that your converted videos can be played not just on your PC or laptop, but also on your DVD player. Of course, you will also need a software that creates DVDs.
Connect your VHS video player to your PC using the cable or cables supplied with your chosen software. It should look something like the photo above. You may need a special Scart cable which has the red, white and yellow cables, or your video player may already have these outputs. (You won’t be able to use front-mounted white, red and yellow connectors are these are almost always inputs – not outputs.)
Use a professional
If you want a professional to do it because you don’t want to be hassled by DIY and you think you may damage your old videos, there are digital transfer services you can take advantage of. There’s no need to invest in software and equipment, but you’ll have to shell out for their services, though. Also, you need of course to check whether the professional services near you are open or not, since a lot of stores are still closed.
Costco offers a digital transfer service through its Photo Center. You can transfer several types of videotapes to DVDs including VHS and S-VHS, Beta, VHS-C, Hi8, Digital 8, 8mm and MiniDV.
If you are considering using professional services to shift your home videos to digital, you may also need to trust the pros like Hard Drive Recovery Group if you need to recover some files that have gone missing. Read more of our services here: https://www.harddriverecovery.org/hard-drive-failure.html.