There’s a good chance most of us have a large collection of VHS tapes gathering dust somewhere in your home. They’re either in your attic, garage or even basement, let’s go looking for them! There they are--all of your old VHS home movies, sadly on the ground degrading away.
What should we do if we want to watch our old home movies or share them with our family and friends? Do you know anyone with a functioning VCR? In this article, we'll explore three different ways to digitize your VHS tapes at home so you can enjoy your videos in a modern format. But first we’ll cover the costs of digitizing your own tapes and the best VHS converter on the market.
Best VCR to DVD Converter on the Market
One of the most popular conversion options on the market (and the fastest converter available) is the Diamond Video Capture VC500. It can convert a 40-minute VHS tape into a DVD in about eight minutes.
The Hidden Cost of Digitizing VHS Tapes on Your Own
- Time: Think about that dusty box full of old tapes. That’s a lot of personal time to spend converting. Heck, ten 40-minute tapes would take you about an hour and a half. Even more time if your tapes are longer. And again, that 8-minute conversion time is the fastest on the market. Most other converters average out to 15-25 minutes per 40-minute tape, like the AVerMedia DVD EZMaker 7 that takes approx. 21 minutes.
- Money: While most converter software is affordable, ranging between $30 to $80, you do get what you pay for. Some of the cheaper conversion options take twice as long to convert. Also, if you don’t have a functioning VCR you’re looking to spend anywhere between $250 and $800.
- Software Compatibility: The Diamond Video Capture lets you upload your video straight to the internet, play around with some special effects, transitions, and save your video in up to six different file formats, whichever works best for you. But if you’re a Mac user, sorry to say that you’re out of luck as it’s not compatible. And it can be finicky when it comes to working with Windows 10.
Now that we know the actual costs of converting your VHS to DVDs, let’s look at the 3 methods you can use to convert old VHS tapes at home.
Method #1: Record Your Old Tapes Secondhand
- Digital Camera
Anyone who bought bootleg tapes from the corner store back in the 90s will be very familiar with this method. It’s astoundingly simple, but its simplicity is directly correlated with its lack of quality. To start, you’ll aim your digital camcorder at your TV, set it to record, and play all of your old VHS tapes from beginning to end. Once you’ve completed this task, you’ll load those videos onto your computer. As you can imagine, your video quality will be bad, the sound will be worse, and instead of having a box of old home movies on VHS tapes in your home, they’ll clutter up your computer instead. Needless to say, we don’t recommend this method.
Method #2: Use a VHS to DVD Video Capture Device
- VHS to Digital Converter
- Video Editing Software
- VCR (Optional)
The first thing you’ll need to do is purchase a VHS to digital converter box. You can find them on Amazon, they’re not cheap. Next, you’ll install the box onto your computer, make sure you have video editing software, and you’ll begin the process of digitization. Since the videotapes have to play in their entirety in order to fully load on your computer, the amount of time this step takes is wholly dependent on how many tapes you need to digitize. Once the tapes have been transferred to your computer, you’ll want to splice and edit the video files with the video editing software of your choice so that they’re a manageable length. You’ll need to know how to use software like Adobe Premiere Pro or Final Cut Pro.
Method #3: Use Legacybox
No Materials Needed
The only step is to gather your VHS tapes, pack them lovingly in a box, send them to Chattanooga, TN, and let Legacybox do everything for you. You’ll have your movies converted to a digital format in a few weeks.
Comparing the different methods you have one that’s cheap resulting in low quality digitization (method #1), one that’s expensive and time consuming but results in a better quality digitization (method #2) and finally a middle ground where you can get great quality at a reasonable price (method #3).
Sending your videos to Legacybox is easy, low stress, and you don’t have to edit anything. Your old VHS home movies will come back to you on a DVD and as digital files on a thumb drive, ready to watch right out of the box.
If you’re a self-proclaimed DIY person, then converting your own VHS tapes to DVDs will probably be a fun project. But, if you would rather save time and work with digitization experts, Legacybox has free and safe shipping options for all your analog videos. Simply box them up in the package we send you, select the digitization option that works best for the amount of videotapes you want converted and we’ll handle the rest.
Instead of tackling this yourself, let us take care of everything for you. Take advantage of our $9 per tape offer today, and we'll help you preserve those precious memories before they fade away.