converting vhs to digital

lucman2 wrote on 5/2/2004, 8:28 AM
I'm looking for advice on making a decision...
I have many home-video VHS tapes that I'd like to convert to digital and edit in Vegas4.0.

I'm aware that I can use a firewire card and the ADVC-50.

Since I'm in the market for a newer camcorder...My question I better off purchasing a (DV model camcorder) and a firewire card or... should I purchase the firewire card and the ADVC-50.

Appreciate any advice.


Spot|DSE wrote on 5/2/2004, 8:31 AM
Depends on your budget. The ADVC will do better conversion than most of the cheaper camcorders, but if you are looking at a GL/PD level cam, you'll be quite happy with the cam. But there's a whopping difference in cost from an ADVC and a GL2/PD 170
TVCmike wrote on 5/2/2004, 9:12 AM
VHS conversion is a precarious little beast. Any time you go between the analog and digital world is going to present some trickiness, especially with older tapes.

At the capture stage, I would highly recommend you get either a standalone Time Base Corrector or one built into the capture card if you're at all serious about capturing analog source tape. Nearly every other operation can be handled once the goods are captured, but there's no way to resync frames if you've got bad tape and/or a bad deck. That will cause you major quality loss down the road.

With that mindset, you could go two ways. I have a client with an ADVC-100 who uses a variant of johnmeyer's Ultimate VHS restoration recipe to do VHS-DVD conversions and VHS restoration. My client's deck, the venerable Panasonic AG-1980, already had a TBC on board and can do the filtering.

If you want foolproof filtering, then I highly recommend the ADVC-300, which does all of the above because of a built-in TBC and filtering all in one. It's not cheap at around $450, but you can always get a student to buy it for you at or some other outfit like that and save yourself a few bucks. It's all I recommend any more to anyone dealing with analog source because it's easy and works every time.

Both of these solutions are preferrable to using a camera to capture because a camera's primary function is to be a camera. Some people use them as capture devices or miniDV decks, but it's not worth the wear and tear on the device in the long run IMO.
JakeHannam wrote on 5/2/2004, 10:59 AM
"Some people use them as capture devices or miniDV decks, but it's not worth the wear and tear on the device in the long run IMO."

If you are using the camera as a pass-through device (e.g. not using the camera heads), there should be little or no wear and tear on the camera. If you have a large number of VHS tapes to digitize, then you may want to go with the ADVC but if only a few, spend the extra money on a better 3-CCD camcorder.

lucman2 wrote on 5/2/2004, 11:42 AM
Thanks for the replies....

Based on your info...It seems to make more sense for me to go with the ADVC unit & Firewire card to perform my conversions. I have roughly 38 (2 hour) VHS home video tapes that have never been viewed more than once (I initially made copies of them all) and I'm trying to get the best digital quality at a fair price.