Saturday, September 18, 2010

Converting VHS to DVD

A was born before the age of digital camcorders, so all of her (12!) baby videos were on VHS tapes as well as our wedding video and my bridal shower video. I have been saying for years that I was going to transfer them to DVD.  I finally decided that would be my summer project...

I thought the task of converting the videos to DVDs would be overwhelming and difficult.  I looked into getting it done (Costco will convert your VHS to DVD for $20 a tape).  But, in the end, being the DIY kind of girl that I am...I decided to do it myself.

I had decided at the beginning of the summer to take on this project.  A wonderful friend loaned me her VCR/DVD recorder, but the remote was lost and without the remote, I could not figure out how to access the menu.


I went to Costco and bought the Roxio Creator Special Edition 2010 with the VHS converter:

It comes with this handy-dandy USB device that you plug all of those cables and wires that go into your TV in...and then you can watch your VHS on your computer while your computer saves it.
(note: that I took pictures of the same thing on my desk and on top of the VCR to show what it is, how things plug in.)

You have the option of 'Capture & Burn' which would burn a DVD as the recording plays.  Or you can capture individual "chapters"  choose one of a hundred different cute menu backgrounds (everything from Baby to Wedding, Desert to Travel, Candy to Fall Leaves), and have little 'chapters" so that when you pop the DVD in and want to see your child's first's chapter 3!  (beats fast forwarding a VCR tape!) You can also overdub with music and add special effects.

When we originally recorded these videos, we did not do a great job.  We never "faded out" or whatever when we finished recording, so our recordings run one into another...A's birth runs into A getting her first bath runs into my mother in law holding A runs into A gurgling in her crib...So my chapters are vague and long...with all of those things in one chapter, but it beats fast forwarding through video and is nice to have on DVD to watch and even share on line :)

If you want to do a really good job, you would "Stop Capture" after each event, so that you can make nice chapters.

The program takes a little time to get used to, but once you do, you can make DVDs from your VHS in no time!

This has been an incredible project.  There are so many things that I forgot.  Watching myself give A a bath and do baby massage with her, I remembered what that felt like, the baby massage class I took, so many things that I don't normally think about...but that are a wonderful part of our history.  It feels so "right" to start this project as we begin our next new, big, exciting phase.  It reminds me of who our family was before the pressures and politics and interference of school.

Another wonderful thing was finding my grandfather, in full health, saying, "Hiya" to other family members and dancing with my grandmother at my wedding; to watch my grandfather dancing with me at my wedding (he could really 'cut the rug'!) and finding him again joking around at A's first birthday party.  Hearing his voice, seeing him in full health is a wonderful gift.  He passed 8 years ago.

Also, finding my mother in law chatting at my bridal shower; dancing with my father-in-law at our wedding; and of course, dancing with Jason at our wedding.  My mother-in-law holding newborn A and talking to her, singing "Happy Birthday" at A's first birthday party, hunting for Easter eggs with A and playing with A's kitchen set with her.  To hear her voice, see her in full health, enjoying her granddaughter...I am so happy to have these moments captured and preserved.  My mother in law passed almost four years ago.

I have video of relatives who have since passed chatting at my bridal shower, reading at my wedding, making wishes to us on our wedding video and dancing at our wedding.  To see them and hear their voices again is such an incredible gift.

I had thought this project would be overwhelming.  It was somewhat tedious and time-consuming, but not very difficult and well worth it!  My family has been enjoying watching these DVDs together when Jason gets home from work each day.  I am having fun making sampler DVDs (let's face it no one but me wants 72 hours of baby A on video!) of a few minutes of each month of her first two years of life for gifts for family members.