Tape to Video File

A series of how-to guides to ease the process of getting video files from tape sources

This will be a multi-part series that is simply my process of getting digital video files from tape recordings. This is not necessarily the best or most professional way. It is, however, the way I use and the way I have achieved some decent and watchable results. I will take you through what is required and warn you of some things to watch out for so you can get the best quality possible without sacrificing quality or cost.

When I started doing this kind of work I was using a medicare VCR which only had a mono audio output which I compensated by using a mono audio splitter. The audio track on those recordings turned out to be shotty not to mention the sub-par video quality versus the superior VCR I now use.

You have to keep this in mind when doing this kind of transfer:

  1. Your ending quality can only be as good as the playback device (in my case VCRs and camcorders)
  2. You only want to playback the full tape once (any more is torture)
  3. Cutting corners effects quality and that’s ok depending on what your ending quality is

I will go through these six steps the same steps I use to help guide you through getting the best results of your tapes:

  1. Setup capture card, VCR,and huffyuv codec and VirtualDub software
  2. Capture in .avi using huffyuv and VirtualDub capture software
  3. Edit video into smaller bits using VirtualDub and direct stream copy function and cutting out unwanted parts. create a naming scheme and stick with it.
  4. Attempt to repair video if tape is damaged or has other imperfections
  5. Convert into more manageable and workable codec using a media encoder depending on end product
  6. Burn to DVD or store onto archive disk.