View Full Version : Videotape to digital?

11-09-2007, 09:59 AM
Tell me is if this is complicated......

I've got clips on VHS video camera which I'd like to put onto my iMac.

Possible? Or does it need loads of kit etc. to do it.

(I've converted all my audio cassettes to CDs using Garageband/iTunes, and I'm hoping there is a similar route for video).


Allen, London.

11-09-2007, 02:59 PM
need something like a canopus box. to convert analogue video to digital. you could get an eyetv some of the models have composite input and allow you to record that way. Then it's imported into imovie, like any other dv cam

11-10-2007, 05:51 AM
Thanks greentree.

Bit more information:

1) I have DVD recorder etc., and have made DVDs out of most of my videos.

2) I have iMovie (came with the iMac, hadn't noticed it before).

3) iMovie Help says you can go from video camera to iMovie with a Firewire cable (don't have one), or you can import from other sources (mysteriously).

4) I've transferred one DVD's contents to my hard-drive, but nothing recognises it for importing or opening.

5) Am I on the right track, or do I still need the other types of kit you mentioned? If I AM on the right track, any ideas as to how to transfer such home videos from DVD to iMovie, as the help topics don't help much...

6) Should I buy the camera/iMac firewire cable - would that solve problems?



11-10-2007, 05:36 PM
Re 3: You can go from video camera to iMovie using only a FW cable IF your camera has a firewire port. It is HIGHLY unlikely that any VHS camera has a FW port

Re 5: So you can get your VHS to DVD just not to the Mac? That makes it easy. You need a DVD ripper.... Handbrake would be the one to get. It can import from DVD (clips or the whole thing) into a quicktime file that you can then bring into iMovie. It would, of course, be very illegal to use this Handbrake on a commercial DVD.

11-10-2007, 08:26 PM
I think you could also play your VHS on any player, and use a digital camcorder to record it by connecting cables the same way you would connect a TV. Then you would have a digital copy that you could get into iMovie with a firewire cable.

Cables are easy to find or order. You need a player and a digital video recorder to make it happen that has firewire/1394/iLink output (all the same thing: firewire). Maybe you could borrow one from a friend?

11-11-2007, 03:18 AM
I would highly recommend EyeTV; you can get the Hybrid version from Amazon for about $120 (here's ElGato's page on it):


Personally, I got the EyeTV 250 before the Hybrid was available, and it - along with the included software - is THE tool for importing analog to digital (I've brought in VHS, cable and satellite TV at pretty decent quality - not as perfect as a $1400 PCI card, but very usable...)

Just my 2

11-11-2007, 06:38 AM
Hello, and thanks for the replies so far.

Just wanted to say that I've been trying Handbrake this morning as being the easiest to get hold of and cheapest (free) by far, and it is great. Slow, but the older I get the less speed seems to matter... Quality isn't 100% I suppose, but I might try the advanced settings to improve that.

I will look into the other solutions, and thank you again for helping.

Allen, London.

11-11-2007, 10:40 PM
The EyeTV, Canopus stuff, and digital camera ideas that are all transfering analog video to DV over firewire, are definitely preferable routes than to go from VHS compressed to DVD then decompressed (5:1) with Handbrake to a DV file for iMovie, finally back to a DVD. I assume after iMovie you would use iDVD or Toast to make the final DVD. Compressing to a DVD twice drastically reduces quality.

Also if you used an analog to firewire converter with iMovie, you could play out your iMovie project back out through the converter to the DVD recorder for the product DVD. That saves time and there is only one conversion to DVD.