What hardware do you recommend for video capture from old video camera or VHS tape?

I have a couple of old video cameras that utilize RCA outputs (Red, White, Yellow) and a camera with S-video out. What hardware do you recommend for capturing the play back from those devices to covert to digital?

I see that there are some USB devices being sold as such, but just wondered it someone here can make a recommendation.


Between the two? Get one with S-Video if you can.

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I don’t have any specific recommendations, but I second to use the S-Video output out of the camera. I know that StarTech has some devices but I don’t know if that would be the best value.

So a friend of mine did his old Wedding VHS with this… looked pretty good to me. … well as good as crappy old VHS looks LOL.

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I hadn’t envisioned a stand-alone unit but this looks like exactly what I need. Much appreciated.

Being a media snob – I wonder how their encoding algorithm could/should be tweaked. One of the benefits of just getting access to a direct feed via USB in or an expansion card is that I could fiddle with the raw feed and codecs to my heart’s delight or detriment.

I’ll give it a spin and see how it works.

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I used a generic USB capture device a few years ago (made by Pinnacle, if I remember correctly.) Linux recognized it (because, of course it does) and I can’t remember having any major issues. I’m not sure if I ended up using VLC player to record/capture the input, or if it was Handbrake.

A lot has changed and developed in the software since then, so I’d bet its probably a much smoother process these days.

I used OpenShot the other day to repair an old VHS capture that had lost frames for some reason or other, and I could hardly believe how far that software has come! Wow!

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FWIW, I converted a few old home movies a long time ago and went through this same search. I used an El Gato for a while but I ran across some post or article (no idea where now) that actually suggested an SVideo or Composite to HDMI adapter and then just a cheap HDMI capture card and it really did work better. I got much cleaner video without all of the software tweaking I was attempting with the El Gato. The two separate devices were also cheaper combined than the El Gato (though I had already purchased it so in my case that didn’t matter).

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I don’t remember which ones I used but it was something like this. It does the upscaling for you in hardware which I think had something to do with the better quality although I am only guessing.

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This sounds like a valid mechanism. A little outside the box thinking which is a bit future-proofed for some early gen HD home movies.

This looks very promising. I bought this converter and an HDMI to USB 3 adapter. It’ll be here in a week. Thanks!

Awesome! Let me know how it works. I hope I didn’t lead you astray! :slight_smile:

Just curious if you’ve had any luck with this project?

Back in the day before I had a digital video camera and instead recorded on tape, I’d use a Canopus video converter to capture video into an old PC. Had to get a firewire card for one of the pci slots though. It worked fairly well, I would also allow capturing video from the tv as well. The highest resolution it would capture was 720p.

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I used to have a camera that had firewire. It was a quick and easy way to access what was on the camera. But the tapes I’m looking to convert are Hi8 and VHS; so there’s no straight forward way to connect.

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A VCR with component connections in the back should work for the VHS and some converters. That’s assuming the VHS tapes are your personal tapes and don’t have copy protection. I don’t know what to tell you what to do about the Hi8 if you don’t have a Hi8 camera. Even then you might have to use the same manufacturer.

I actually have the Hi8 camera and it’s functional. That’s the heart of the quest – to digitize those Hi8 tapes.

You’ll almost certainly have to get some adapters for the S video. There are S/Component video to usb adapters on Amazon.