VHS Conversion

March 13, 2015 | Greg Astill

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Have you ever wanted to take a look at those old VHS tapes collecting dust? Maybe take some old home movies and preserve them for future generations to see? Maybe take a collection of them with the idea of editing and restoring them for a celebration? The Digital Innovation Hub at the Toronto Reference Library is happy to report that anyone can now do this thanks to some great resources in the space. Bring in any old VHS tape and use one of two digitizing tools that are available to capture your old videos.

The first device is the Diamond One Touch Video Capture. This device allows you to capture videos with the touch of a button. The One Touch Video Capture records video and audio from almost any device. Capture content from VCRs, camcorders, DVD players, or any device supporting video output through a S-Video or composite RCA connection.

Diamond OneTouch Video Capture
Image Courtesy of Diamond One Touch Video Capture

The other device is a much higher end video capturing tool named Black Magic Intensity Shuttle. The Shuttle is an HD/SD video capture/playback device that supports USB 3.0, and allows you to capture 10-bit HDMI or analog video directly from a camera or tape player. Use it for editing or for playback to watch old footage you haven’t seen in a very long time. 

Black Magic Intensity Shuttle
Image Courtesy of Blackmagic Shuttle

It’s compatible with many of the video editing applications such as iMovie, Final Cut Pro, After Effects and Premiere. 

At the moment the Hub only has a VHS player and can only facilitate the conversion from that format.  But in instances where your footage is filmed on a different format, be sure to bring the camcorder in that it was shot on for the sole purpose of playback. 

VHS to DVD at Digital Innovation Hub
VCR Setup at the Digital Innovation Hub at Toronto Reference Library

Both systems are flexible and give the user options for resolution and a wide range of file formats. More importantly once your footage is digitized, you can easily convert it, edit and export it to any format you like. Maybe use one of the film editing software applications such as iMovie to cut it down and add music and photos to tell a story.

Have fun!!