Wednesday, April 29, 2015

How to Transfer Your VHS Tapes to DVDs in 25 Easy Steps!

Cleaning tapes and VCRs--my favourite! ;)
 Do you have a collection of bulky VHS tapes taking up room? Do you even use your VCR anymore? Are your tapes growing mold and your precious memories and movies no longer able to provide hours of entertainment? Why not transfer them to DVDs?

Here is the missionary’s guide to transferring VHS tapes to DVD in 25 easy steps! Catherine Rivard, our very own in-house expert shares her fool-proof method recently developed as she transferred 22 equestrian educational videos (most over two decades old)
  1. See ad for free VCR. Find a ride. Go get it.
  2. Hook it up to TV. Doesn’t work.
  3. Thankfully the internet is working, so Google how to clean the heads of a VCR. Find all the supplies. Take VCR apart. Clean heads.
  4. Put back together. Hook up to TV. Doesn’t work
  5. Ask around to see if anyone has a head-cleaner tape. Someone offers one. Walk over, pick it up. Also find out they have a tape cleaner (necessary because VHS tapes in the tropics grow very moldy). So pick that up too. Haul it all back to your house.
  6. Use head-cleaner tape on VCR.
  7. Clean all 22 tapes.
  8. Hook up VCR and insert tape. Get excited when you see a picture. Then, black. Doesn’t work.
  9. Take VCR to your local electronics repair for fixing.
  10. A couple days later, VCR is ready to go. Go pick it up. Hook it up to TV and pop in tape. It works for 30 min...
  11. Then, black. Doesn’t work.
  12. Meanwhile, research ways to transfer VHS to DVD. Ask around for adapters on centre. Hear of one.
  13. Go get adapter.
  14. Realize they don’t have the software. Research work-arounds for software but after much trial and error, realize my computer is too new.
  15. Talk with owner of adapter, realize they do have the software. Go get it
  16. Try to install software, but computer is still too new. Realize this whole program is over 10 years old and just not compatable.
  17. Hear of another adapter on centre that is as far away from your house as possible. 
  18. Go get it. Find out it’s only a year old. But the owner only has Mac software.
  19. Research and download Windows software. Pray the internet works.
  20. Hook up VCR to computer. Start playback…it works for two tapes! (Transfer process includes video playing at real time, then getting processes (at least 10 min), then transferred to Windows Movie Maker (another 20-30 min), then burned to a DVD (20-60 min). At least 25% of the time, the DVD burning fails because of a corrupted DVD—they fail in the tropics too—so start over).
  21. Then VCR dies. I nurse it back to health, transfer a couple more. Finally dies completely.
  22. Hear of another person who has a VCR. Go get it.
  23. Take it apart, clean the heads. It works. Yay!
  24. Then it fails. Reclean the heads. Finicky thing. Nurse it to happiness. It works again! Now just pray the power doesn’t die in mid-recording (because rewinding and fast-forwarding tend to cause catastrophes).
  25. attempting to figure out how to use the tape cleaner...
  26. Finish all the tapes. Congratulations!

Oi! Little did I know that such a (supposedly) benign project on behalf of my riding students would turn into such a monstrosity of several weeks! But, at least my shelf is clean now :)