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How to make a dvd from a vcr tape?

308 Views 4 Replies Latest reply: Dec 15, 2013 3:57 PM by steve359 RSS
cryatalclear Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
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Dec 15, 2013 7:26 AM

I have a mac mini with an external dvd player. Can anyone give me instruction (step by step) on how to copy a vcr tape and make a dvd out of it?  I have lion os. Reading in the community I saw where some people were able to do this.  please help.

(I also have an old powermac with an internal burner.)

Mac mini (Mid 2011), os 10.7.3
  • John Galt Level 7 Level 7 (33,075 points)
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    Dec 15, 2013 11:24 AM (in response to cryatalclear)

    It's a tedious process. What you need is a VHS player, or whatever device can read the tape format you are using such as the camcorder you used to record the video. Then, you need to import that into iMovie. If your tape player or camcorder has a digital output such as a FireWire or USB connection, iMovie will import it. Edit it using iMovie, which can be as enjoyable or as tedious as you make it to be.


    If your tape player does not have a digital output, you will need a device that will convert the signal to a digital format, such as this one: It's about $100.


    After creating your masterpiece iMovie, use iDVD to create a DVD. iDVD is no longer sold by Apple and if you do not already have it on either your Mini or your old PowerMac, you will have to purchase the retail version of iLife on disc from your favorite software vendor. It's about $45. There are alternatives to iDVD but none are nearly as good or as easy to use. It's a shame Apple discontinued it but we can't do anything about that.


    After considering all the above you may wish to investigate a service that can do the conversion for you. I have used a company called YesVideo. They did a good job at a reasonable price.

    MacBooks  iMacs  iPads  AirPorts, OS X Mavericks (10.9),  28 years Apple!
  • steve359 Level 6 Level 6 (12,035 points)
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    Dec 15, 2013 3:54 PM (in response to cryatalclear)

    I use the Elgato device and (by happy coincidence) have SL by default on my MBP so do have iDVD.  iMovie can edit the fine-edges of the separated sets to have clean final product.


    Time consuming as the tape must play at normal speed, and some tapes are made at lower-quality.  I am not cirticizing the person who made the tape, but just stating fact as my brother had not mastered the boom-microphone for the first part of their tapes and some "volume gain" through the Elgato software will be required to make it audible enough, and even then may not quite work.


    BUT ...


    You can then the several clips that you break the original video (long disconnected stream) into more relevant segments.


    And I advise buying DVD-RWs for your experiments AND use an external FW disk for your work because you will generate many many GBs of work files before you get it right for all of the VHS tapes.


    Still ... better than waiting for the VHS tapes to just degrade.

  • steve359 Level 6 Level 6 (12,035 points)
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    Dec 15, 2013 3:57 PM (in response to cryatalclear)

    ALso ... (separate response to hope you see this) ...


    This thread had some good advice from Klaus1:


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