If you have a collection of family videos or movies that are on VHS tapes, transferring the content to DVDs reduces the amount of storage space you need and increases the content's lifespan. You can take all your old VHS tapes to a company that offers VHS to DVD transfer services, but it's more cost effective to complete the project yourself, and it's actually easy to convert VHS to DVD.
Gather the Supplies You Need
To transfer VHS to DVD you need a computer with two available USB ports, a USB cord, an optical drive that functions as a DVD burner, a VHS player, the VHS tape holding the movie you want to transfer to DVD, analog-to-digital software, video creation software, a VHS to DVD converter (also known as an analog-to-digital adapter), and a blank DVD. If your computer has an internal DVD burner, you don't need an external optical drive or a USB cable.
You can transfer the content from any VHS tape to DVD, but the quality will stay the same, so choose a VHS tape that contains content with as little noise as possible. The clearer the picture is, the better quality of DVD you'll create.
There are several analog-to-digital software packages available, and many include an analog-to-digital converter. Elgato's Video Capture software works with both Windows or Mac computers. Windows users can purchase Coral's Easy VHS to DVD, and Easy VHS to DVD for Mac from Roxio is a good option for Mac users.
Some analog-to-digital conversion software programs can burn the digital content onto a DVD for you. If the software that you're using doesn't, you'll need video editing software to create your DVD. Mac users can use a program, such as iMovie, to burn the DVD. If you're using a PC, Corel Video Studio X8 or Windows Movie Maker are both good options.
Make sure your blank DVDs have enough space to hold your content. A good rule of thumb to follow is to choose a DVD that has at least 750MB of storage space available per hour of video.
Set Up Your System
If necessary, use a USB cable connect an external DVD burner to your computer via a USB port. Insert the software CD into your optical drive, and follow the instructions that came with your VHS to DVD software to install the software on your computer. To connect your VHS player to your computer, plug the end with the USB cable attachment into the computer's USB port and the RCA adapters into the S-Video outputs on your VCR by matching the color on the adapter to the color on the output.
Prepare Your System
Insert the VHS tape into the VHS player, and make sure the tape is queued to the correct starting point. Insert the blank DVD into your optical drive.
Convert the Content on Your VHS Tape
Follow the instructions included with your software to start converting the content on your VHS tape to digital format. The steps may differ depending on your software, but to digitize the tape's content, you'll play the VHS tape while the software is recording. The recording and digitizing process happens in real time, so if you're transferring lengthy movies, you have plenty of time to do other things while it's converting.
Burn Your DVD
After the software is done converting the content of your VHS tape to a digital file, you might see an option to burn the content to a DVD. If the option appears, follow the on-screen instructions to burn your DVD.
If you don't see an option to automatically burn the content to DVD, open your video editing software. Follow the software instructions to open the converted files and burn them onto your blank DVD.