How to Convert VHS to Digital or DVD Using Honestech
Those old VHS tapes sitting in your attic or trapped at a family members have a lot of precious family memories on them that are literally fading away as those tapes age. You can preserve those memories for yourself and future generations by converting those tapes to digital files, and then going one step further and burning them to DVDs. While there are companies that will do this for a very hefty fee, you can often purchase the software and hardware on your own for as much as it will cost you to have someone else convert one or two tapes. Honestech VHS to DVD is very affordable software that comes with the VIDBOX adapter, which lets you connect your VHS player to your computer so you can capture the video.
Before you can do anything, you have to make sure that everything is plugged in and hooked up correctly, as follows:
- The connectors on one end of the RCA cable that came with the the VIDBOX video capture device should be connected to the Video Out output on your VHS player.
- The connectors on the other end of the RCA cable should be connected to the RCA jacks on the back of the VIDBOX.
- The small end of the USB cable that came with the VIDBOX should be connected to the Micro USB port on the back of the VIDBOX.
- The larger end of the USB cable that came with the VIDBOX should be connected to your computer.
Part 1: Convert VHS to Digital Format
- Click to open your Honestech VHS to DVD software. The opening screen presents you with three options: Easy Wizard Mode, Advanced Mode, and Audio Recorder.
- Click "Advanced Mode." If a dialog box appears asking if you want to allow this computer to make changes to your software, click "Yes." The Capture Settings window appears.
- Click the "Capture Format" drop-down and then select "MPEG-2 file (25GB).
- Click the "Quality" drop-down and select from Best, Good, Normal, or Average as the quality. There are fairly significant drop-offs in quality as you move down the ladder, so I'd advise capturing a short video clip and then reviewing it to make sure you're comfortable with the quality before converting the entire video. Additionally, the higher the quality, the less total video you'll be able to capture. And finally, if you'll be moving this to a DVD, it's important to note that you can only fit 1 hour and 9 minutes of video captured at Best quality onto a DVD, 1 hour and 25 minutes of video captured at Good quality to a DVD, 1 hour and 48 minutes of video captured at Normal quality to a DVD, and 2 hours and 13 minutes of video captured at Average quality to a DVD.
- Click the "TV/Video Standard" drop-down and choose between NTSC or PAL. The difference between the two is the frame rate used and the lines presented. NTSC is the standard in the US and Canada, while PAL is the standard in Europe and Asia.
- Click the "Recording Resolution" drop-down and choose between 720x480, 352x240, or 352x480. For most content, you'll likely want 720x480.
- Review the location where the output file will be placed in the Save Location section. You can click "Change" to save the output location. Make a note of this location to reference later.
- Click the drop-down to the right of Video Device and select the option that contains "VIDBOX."
- Click the drop-down next to "Audio Device" and select the device associated with the VIDBOX.
- Click "OK" to save your selections and close the Capture Settings window.
- Click the red "Record" Button at the bottom of the application to start recording. Wait for a few seconds and then press "Play" on your connected VHS player. The VHS to DVD software will start recording, and you should see the content being captured in the application window.
- Let the content play. Don't do anything on your computer while the content is playing and the software is capturing the video. As painful as it may be to wait, there is no faster way to do it.
- Click the blue, square "Stop" button when the video is done playing.
- Open Windows Explorer and navigate to the folder previously listed as the save location for the output file.
- Locate the MPEG-2 file you created. The easiest way to do this is to sort by the date and time the files were created, and then find the file that was created most recently. You now have a digital version of the content that previously only existed on your VHS tape.
- Save the file to a safe place.
Part 2: Burn Digital VHS Files to DVD
This step involves taking the files you created previously and burning them to a DVD. You can do this using the following instructions:
- Open the VHS to DVD software.
- Click "Advanced Mode."
- Click "Cancel" in the Capture Settings screen. At this point, I'm assuming you've already followed the process in Step 1 to create digital versions of all the content that was previously on VHS that you want to burn to a DVD. Please do this before attempting Part 2.
- Click the blue "Burn" button along the top of the application.
- Click the icon in the lower right corner that features a film strip and a "+" sign to open Windows Explorer.
- Select the file or files you want to burn to a DVD, and then click "Open." The files you selected now appear in the right panel of the Burn window.
- Drag the first file you want to burn to a DVD from the list on the right side of the screen into the panel on the left side of the screen that says "Drag and drop video clip here to burn." Don't worry. The file will not be burned to a disc until further in the process. You'll notice a themed screen appear, with the file you added as "1," with a small preview window and a title beneath it that uses the name of the file as the title of the video.
- Click the "Disc Settings" icon along the bottom of the application. This icon has two gears on it. This opens the Disc Settings window. Don't panic at what you see. These settings will be pre-populated based on the information associated with the first file we pulled in, which is why we pulled it in before opening this section. The only thing we want to double-check is the type of DVD you're burning to. If you're burning to a single-layer DVD, make sure the drop-down to the right of DVD at the top in the Select Disc Type section says Single Layer. Alternatively, if you're burning to a dual-layer DVD, choose Dual Layer in that drop-down.
- Click "Apply" when you're done to close the Disc Settings window, as everything else can stay the same.
- Now that you've validated the type of DVD you'll be burning to, take note of the DVD field in the lower-left corner of the application. Within that section, you'll see a summary of the space that you've used on the type of DVD you'll be burning to, with the space used on the left side of the slash, and the total space available on the right side of the slash. Additionally there is a graphical representation of space used in the form of green and gray bars. The green bars represent space used while the gray bars represent space available. It's important to keep an eye on this.
- Double-click "My Title" at the top of the screen to bring up a Text Input dialog box. In this dialog box you can change the title, the font, and formatting options. Click "Close" when your done to save your changes and close the dialog box.
- Double-click the name associated with the file you pulled in located directly beneath the thumbnail associated with that file to bring up a similar dialog box where you can change the name and formatting information for that title.
- To create chapter points within a file, click to select the file and then click the "Create Chapter Points" icon, which looks like one larger box point to three smaller boxes.
- You can supply the number of chapters you want to break the file into in the "Number of chapters to create" section and then click the check mark to have the program break the file up automatically. Alternatively, you can choose "Manual chapter insertion" and define your own chapter points by dragging the video scrubber to the part where you want to create a chapter and then clicking the check mark.
- Click "Apply" when you're done to save your changes and close the Create Chapter Points window.
- Click the "Select Theme" option from the menu to select a default image to use as a background on the menu screen. Alternatively, you can click "Select Background Image" and choose one of your own pictures to use as the background.
- Insert a blank DVD in the DVD burner associated with your computer.
- Click the red "Burn" icon, which looks like a flame, along the bottom of the application. This brings up the Burn Options screen.
- This is where you'll enter a name for your disc, make sure the drive associated with your disc burner is located, and choose a burn speed associated with creating your DVD.
- Click "Burn." The burn process starts, and the disc will automatically be ejected upon completion. The burn process can take a fair amount of time, so be patient and let the job complete.