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October 22, 2011

SaveThose Memories! Convert VHS Tapes

My old VHS home movies 1983-1992
Well, I finally gave up on the idea of using the Diamond OneTouch system to capture and transfer my old VHS home movies to DVD. It was just too time consuming and inefficient to suit me!

So I opted to purchase a Toshiba DR560 1080p Upconverting DVD Recorder with Built-in Tuner

The reviews said I could pop in a VHS tape and a blank DVD, presss a button and bingo it would transfer.

Cables, Toshiba and Remote
So I set it up (easy), and after 4 days of popping in one VHS tape after another, I now have 13 DVDs, each with 2 hours of old home movies on them! I'm so happy with this machine that I might even offer to convert my brother's old VHS tapes for him.

You can see the cables that came with the machine (also the remote) I didn't need anything except the machine and the remote.

Here's a few tips for you in case you decide to buy one:

Setting up Toshiba
 1. Hook the player to a television so you can see what's playing/being recorded. I used this to note the times and what was on the tape. That way I can make a  detailed list of exactly what is on each DVD and how long each part lasts.

2. Settings. When you turn the machine on, you will be able to set your settings - it's very easy and the manual directs you in easy-to-follow instructions

Blank DVD inserted
3. Insert a blank DVD-RW. Make sure it's RW (Read/Write) Your machine will automatically format it in preparation. When it's ready you see text "VCR>DVD" on the screen.

4. Now you pop your VHS tape into the player and press "DUBBING" That's it - sit back and enjoy watching your old home movies!

Watching a tape being recorded to DVD
5. My DVDs were left on the default setting which gave 2 hours of tape on one DVD. You can change this (follow instructions in manual) if you want. The Dubbing stopped automatically and the VHS tape stopped too so I could simply insert another blank DVD and carry on dubbing.

6. After your DVD has stopped recording, you must use your Remote to select SETUP. Then you choose the option FINIALIZE DISK. This makes the DVD playable on other VCRs. If you don't finialize your DVD you can only play it on the Toshiba you used to record it.

7. I opted to type up my scribbled hand-written notes for each tape and make a neater insert for each DVD

There is a lot more you can do with this machine but I wanted to keep it simple and just get the old home movies done. My earliest is 1983 when my sons were 3 and 10 years old and they had already begun degrading. Time was of the essence!

Now I need to make copies of the DVDs so that I can pass these treasured family memories on.


Kay Strickland said...

Great post! I have been looking at my own set of VHS video, just intimidated at the thought of taking on the DVD conversion. You have given such specific information, inspiration has replaced lethargy! Thanks!.

Christine Woodcock said...

I use Roxio Easy VHS to DVD. It is so easy and while the conversion is happening, I can be working away on something else. I can also edit the videos once they are in my computer and have made slideshows with old still photos and old home movies inter-woven. So much fun and such a great (inexpensive) gift to give to others.
I encourage EVERYONE to get their old VHS tapes converted before we no longer have the equipment available to do so. Great post. Great work!

GeniAus said...

Lorine the lifesaver.

You make it sound so easy - now I just need to see if the recorder is available in Australia!

Olive Tree Genealogy said...

Jill & Kay - it WAS easy! The manual is one of those rare ones - very easy to follow.

I confess tho that I didn't read it and so the first few DVDs I made wouldn't play on our DVD player attached to our big screen TV. They only played on the Toshiba.

It was Terri K. on Facebook who told me I had to finalize the DVDs after recording. So I scurried to the manual and the instructions were there in large print (yay!) and very easy steps.

Olive Tree Genealogy said...

Christine. I just found the Diamond One Touch (which I think is similar to Roxio Easy) to be very time consuming. But I suspect it might have something to do with my old clunker of a computer!

Diane Stringam Tolley said...

I have been looking for this exact thing! Thank you so much!!!

Unknown said...

Unless your manual specifically says to use only DVD-RW disks, you're better to use DVD-R or DVD+R blanks. The +/-RW disks can be Re-Written so they can accidentally be re-used. Some people suggest that the RW formats are not as stable for long-term archiving use as the R formats and some, particularly older models, DVD players won't work with the RW disks. The +/-R disks can be written to only once so there's no way to over-write your files. The only problem I've found with my Toshiba VCR/DVD recorder is the very limited ability to create proper titles for multiple movies on one disk. I've used the Toshiba to record to DVD both TV programs from our PVR and to dub from VHS tapes.

If you want to be able to transfer VHS movies to hard disk for editing, adding titles, graphics, etc.; and you don't have other suitable hardware, you can use DVD+/-RW disks in the Toshiba, then copy the resulting Video_TS folder to your hard disk and use a program like Cyberlink's PowerDirector to open and edit them. When you finish editing, you burn your edited program to a new DVD+/-R disk and make as many copies as you need for family and friends. Your +/-RW disk can then be re-formatted (in the Toshiba) and used for more transfers. Eventually you will reach the last time it can be successfully re-used without losing quality.