Is there a VCR to DVD-R interface on the market?

I would like to record my old VCR tapes onto DVD using my computer’s DVD-R. Is there a program/hardware interface out there that will allow me to do this?

Assuming that your DVD-R drive is a recordable DVD-R drive, yes. Bunches.

You will need a hardware capture card and DVD authoring software (sometimes bundled with a recording drive (aka “burner”))

We will now awit the flood of links, followed by the move of the thread to IMHO once recommendations start pouring in. :stuck_out_tongue:

p.s. - what kind of processor, RAM, and hard drive are you using? - video is quite resource-intensive.

What you need:

Video Capture Card (should run you around $40-80).

Video Capture software, DVD Mpeg2 encoding software, DVD authoring software.

You’ll also need a fair bit of patience :wink:

Now you can go the easy way and use a single comercial app to do the capturing, editing, authoring and burning, but usually you’ll have little control over the final product.

This is what I do (granted a bit complicated, but I get good results):

Capture with Video Wave 5 (from Roxio).

If it’s a TV show I use TmpegEnc to cut out the commercials (without having to re-encode).

Then if I need to edit anything video-wise I use either VirtualDub or VideoWave 5 again (depending on what I want to do), and re-encode (unfortunately).

If I need to edit anything Audio-wise, I ripp the audio track using TmpegEnc and use Goldwave to edit the audio (clean it up, add effects, etc).

Then I take my final product and I encode it to DVD quality mpeg2 using TmpegEnc. I vary the bitrate and audio quality depending on how much I want to fit unto a DVD and the quality of the recording (is it a movie or a tv show, etc).

I finally use either DVDit! or TmpengEnc’s DVD authoring utility to authort the DVD, the I burn the image using Easy CD & DVD creator.

Sounds like a lot right? :wink:

Takes me about 30 minutes to get up to the encoding stage. Takes about 2 to 3 times as long as watching the video to encode to DVD quality Mpg (no way around this so I usually get everythign ready in the afternoon, and leave the computer encoding overnight).

Then it takes about another half hour to author the DVD and get it ready for burning. Burning takes me about 15 minutes on my x4 DVD burner.

Have fun! :wink:

Pentium 4, 512 MB, 2.40 GHz

That’s adequate :wink:

I’m using a set-top recorder, so I’ll be watching this thread - the next machine I build will have a DVD burner, and I’m just starting to dig into exactly what I’ll need to do whatever.

Q for those who know: Would a multi-processor PC be of use to any of the encoding packages, or are they all too dumb to realize the second processor exists?

If I want my 4.7 gb DVD to hold exactly 2 hours of video, how large will the capture file be? In other words, how much compression is done, and does it vary depending on the capture s/w used?

I am assuming that using a separate hard drive for the data is preferable to having both the data and s/w on the same drive. Correct?

Different drives don’t matter much when it comes t encoding video, so don’t worry.

I can fit about 4 hours of good quality video in a 4.7 gb DVD. 2 hours of excellent quality video, and about 8 hours of TV quality video.

If you got alot of videos its much easier to do with a Dvd Recorder, like a Panasonic E30 E50 or E80.

If you use your computer you need a ton of HD space, something like about 1gig for every ten minutes of video.

TMPGEnc supports multi-processors. Since it is one of the best video conversion utilities around, you might want to invest an a multi-proc box if you’re doing some heavy conversion. Otherwise, you’ll just have to wait a little longer. I don’t have a mult-proc box to test the multi-threading feature, so I don’t know what kind of performance advantage it’d give you.

Standalone DVD recorders like handy mentions have a few drawbacks. First of all, you don’t have the editing functionality that you have while using software. if you already have a decent computer, the cost of the standalone burner is excessive. You can now get a fairly quick DVD burner for around $120 or less. A lot of video cards offer video recording, or you can pick up something like ADS Instant DVD 2.0 Recorder for $199. Adding in the video converter might make the prices almost equivalent, but keep in mind you can do lots more with a computer DVD burner (burn tons of data to one disc, backup/copy DVD’s, make picture DVD’s, etc, etc).

Two tips here:

  1. Go to for huge amounts of information and forums dedidicated to just this task.
  2. It’s nice to have two hard drives. It doesn’t matter how big a drive you use, if you are processing a 20GB file on a single drive, the read/write head is going to be buzzing back and forth for a long long time. Do your work bouncing between the drives.

You’ve offered great advice, and I’m not here to nitpick or anything, but the above process is unneccesarily labor-intesive.

The fastest and easiest (once you get used to it) manual method is via the use of AVIsynth. I use VDub to capture if I’m using a card with VFW drivers, or VirtualVCR for a card with WDM drivers. I use HuffyUV as my capture codec.

What AVIsynth does is frameserves the video to the encoder. The encoder sees a small pointer file (your AVIsynth script) as the actual AVI. By modifying the pointer file, you modify how the encoder sees the file when it’s doing it’s work.

Example: to cut out commercials, you’d open your AVI up in VDub, find the start and end frames for the commercial breaks, and put them into your script like this:


That would cut out three commercial breaks and feed the encoder nothing but the TV show. AVIsynth also has tons of filters like Vdub. That’s the entirety of my script, too, so it’s pretty easy. Since the end product will be DVD-compliant and I captured at 720x480, no resizing or deinterlacing is neccessary. If you wanted to do those things, though, you can easily add them to your script.

You can then open up your AVIsynth script like a regular video file in Vdub, Save As WAV, and presto, you have all the audio for your show with no commercials, perfectly synched to the video.

Another big advantage of AVIsynth is that it works in the YUY2 colorspace. When you start switching back and forth between colorspaces (like you do when frameserving with Vdub instead of AVIsynth), that takes extra encode-time. Choose the “–>Convert to YUY2” HuffyUV configuration option when capturing.

TMPGenc works great with AVIsynth files. BTW, if you’re not already, use CQ VBR mode with MPEG-2 video when using TMPGenc. Takes half as long as 2-pass and quality is comparable (some even say better) due to a slight flaw in TMPGenc’s 2-pass function. Search for a program called CQmatic to find the optimal CQ value for whatever you’re encoding.

Chefguy (or anyone else looking for a simpler solution):

WinDVD Recorder makes a great realtime capture app. Your results won’t be as good as the above process since it’s encoding in realtime, but it’s very easy. You can capture from your TV card straight to DVD-compliant video.