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I have a home video on VHS which I want to transfer to someone else. As I don't have two VHS recorders I am looking into other ways to duplicate the footage.

I am considering two options to do this:

  • Using a Canon 550D with a Sigma AF 18-50mm f/2.8-4.5 DC HSM OS lens to film the footage from a full HD 27 inch TV in 1920x1080 at 24 fps.
  • Using a cheap VCR to USB adapter to capture the footage directly to the hard-disk.

What is the preferable option in terms of quality?

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The best option would be either to send it out to someone that has a good capture capability or invest in a decent quality RCA capture card. The USB option will work the best of your two suggestions, but it is still likely going to be a decent quality loss (granted, VHS in general may not be that high to begin with.)

The first option is not worth considering as the result would be completely substandard.

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For me this are the possibilities:

  • VCR to USB adapter
  • VCR / DVD recorder device (you can still find them second-hand)
  • Video card for computer with video input

Don't do your first option, it's not worth, the quality will be very bad.

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The second option is likely to work better, as it is converting the signals electronically, rather than optically.

The first option relies on the calibration of the monitor, the synchronisation between the camera's shutter and the refresh rate of the screen, and the ambient light in the room whilst filming etc etc.

Also if the frame rate of the TV is 24fps, this will be different from the VHS, which would have been recorded at either 25 fps in the UK or 29.97 in the US.

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