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Memory Depot

Digitize Your Memories

VHS Video Cassettes

Elgato: VHS Instructions

Digitizing VHS Tapes

Conversion of VHS cassettes is in real time.
A 90-minute tape will take 90-minutes to convert. Please allow additional time to save your project to your external hard drive or to burn it to a DVD.
Check your Personal Session Manager for the amount of time you have left at the VHS transfer station before you start your video transfer: make sure you have enough time to complete your project before your session ends!

Log on to the Memory Depot VHS Transfer Station computer following the instructions located under Getting Started!

Remember, if you need to step away from the computer, click on the image of the clock and select Lock PC. This will prevent anyone from trying to access the computer while you aren't sitting there. When you return, you will need to ask staff for your sign-in number and password to unlock the computer. Minimize the Personal Session Manager box again to continue working.

Basic steps to begin

  1. ~ If burning a DVD, place a blank DVD-R in the DVD burner. The location of the DVD drive/burner can be seen in the image below. Press the button to open the drive. Keeping your fingers only on the edge of the DVD, center the hole in the disk over the raised circle of the drive until it "snaps" into place; slowly push the door back into the computer to close the DVD drive.It should click shut. If the door doesn't close easily, the DVD is not seated properly. Make sure it sits securely in the center of the drive. If the door still doesn't close, please ask for assistance.
    ~ If syncing to your device, connect your flash drive or other storage device to the computer using one of the USB slots.
  2. Turn on the VCR player.
  3. Insert your VHS cassette into the VCR.
  4. Headphones must be used to listen to the audio from your video. Click on the icon of the speaker on the lower right side of the task bar on the monitor to make sure the speakers are on.

     

Transfer a VHS cassette to a DVD

  1. Double click the Elgato Video Capture icon on the computer desktop.
  2. The Elgato window consists of two parts: the left side of the screen is a list of the steps to save your video, the right side will guide you through each step of the process.
    Get Started. This is where you can give your video a name and if you know it, choose the approximate length of your recording. If you select a length of time, Elgato informs you approximately how much space you will need to save your video recording. There is a more complete list of the time/space correlation under the Tips Tab.

    Video and Audio connections are set; simply click Continue until you get to the screen with the red Start Recording button.
    NOTE: If you wish to change the aspect ratio, you can do so on the Connect Video screen. Click on the Other Features Tab for more information.
  3. Press Play on the VCR. The video will appear in the viewing window. Rewind or advance to the position where you want to begin recording. Consider setting the VHS cassette to begin a few seconds before your desired starting point and start recording from there; you can trim the video after it records.
  4. There is an option to mute sound; even on mute, the video will still transfer with sound. You can check the box that says 'Automatically stop recording after xx minutes' but if you are unsure of the exact length of your video recording, just leave the box unchecked.
  5. Record: When you are ready, click the red Start Recording button. There are three options to end the video transfer: you can just let the VHS cassette run until it ends, you can manually stop the recording by clicking the Stop Recording button or, if you checked the 'automatically stop recording after xx minutes' box, the transfer of the video recording will stop on its own when the selected time is done. The recording takes place in real time so consider bringing a book to read while you wait!
    NOTE: Remember to press Stop on the VCR if it is still playing - clicking the Stop Recording button only stops the transfer process!
  6. Trim: You can trim unwanted video from your transferred movie but only from the beginning or end of the recording. There is a bar below the viewing window; move the little triangles below the bar to the points where you want your saved movie to start and end. Freeze frames from the video will appear in the viewing window as you move the arrows. To make sure the trim is exactly where you want it to be, you can position (click and drag) the downward facing arrow above the bar to the potential start point or any other position and then click the play button to the left of the bar. Please be aware that no other video editing options are available at the Memory Depot.
  7. After the transferred video has been trimmed as desired, click the Continue button to finalize the edit.
  8. Elgato will briefly show a box that indicates that you should 'Please wait while the movie is being processed'; when the box vanishes, you have saved the file successfully and need to choose what you would like to do next to burn or save your video to a DVD or your device.
  9. Finish Up: The Elgato Video Capture software saves the captured movie to the computer's Videos folder. NO files are kept on this computer after your session ends so you need to burn the transferred file to a DVD or sync it to your device. Select one of two options in Elgato to save the file:
    •• Add to Windows Media Player Library: Burn the video to a DVD or sync to your external hard drive or USB flash drive. Choosing this prompts a Windows Media Player window to open. To burn to a DVD or sync to your device, please follow the instructions under the Window Media Player Tab.
    •• Upload to YouTube. These steps may vary depending on which option you use to log in to your existing YouTube account, so follow the instructions provided after you sign in. [No further instructions for saving to YouTube are provided in this guide.]


    > While there is an option to play the video recording with Windows Media Player, this will not save the file to your device, it simply allows you to view the transferred video file.
    > Remember, no video editing options are available at the Memory Depot; Windows Live Movie Maker is not available on this computer.
    >It is ok to leave Elgato open while you are saving your video file in Windows Media Player or on YouTube.
  10. You can transfer multiple videos during your recording session. If you would like to create another recording using Elgato, simply press the Again button and the prompts for transferring your video will start over from the beginning. If you are finished, click the Quit button to exit Elgato.

NOTE: Make sure you have enough time left in your session to complete another transfer; if your session time has run out and there is someone signed up after you, you will have to cancel the transfer and come back another time. Check your Personal Session Manager for the amount of time you have left at the VHS transfer station before you start another video transfer!

NOTE: NO files are kept on this computer after your session ends and you are logged off of the computer. Don't forget to burn or sync the video to save your project before you log off!

Close the Elgato and Windows Media Player windows on the computer and after ejecting your VHS cassette, turn off the VCR. Log off of the computer by clicking on the image of the clock on the taskbar at the bottom of the screen. Click End Session. Remember to take your originals, your DVD, flash drive or external hard drive with you!

Windows Media Player

Burn to a DVD: You will be able to play your movie in a DVD player or DVD drive on a computer.

Sync to a Device: The video will save in a data format that will play your movie on a computer or other portable electronic device.

Burn to a DVD

  1. Once the Windows Media Player window opens, click on the Burn tab on the right-hand side of the window.
  2. Make sure there is a blank DVD in the DVD Burner. Make sure you select the correct drive. The internal DVD burner (it can be located along the right hand edge of the monitor) is the D: drive. If a different drive is shown, click Next drive until the appropriate drive appears in the box.
  3. Click and drag one or more video files to the area labeled Burn List.
  4. Once you have selected your file or files, click Start Burn.
  5. Once the Burn is complete, the DVD burner will automatically eject the DVD.
  6. Label your DVD so that you will know what is on the DVD!
  7. When you are finished, close Windows Media Player.
  8. If Elgato is still open, you may choose Again to start another project (if you still have time!) or Exit to close the program.

When finished, to complete your session at the Memory Depot, close the Windows Media Player and Elgato windows on the computer. After ejecting your VHS cassette, turn off the VCR. Log off of the computer by clicking on the image of the clock on the taskbar at the bottom of the screen. Click End Session. Remember to take your originals and your new DVD with you!

Sync to a device

  1. Once the Windows Media Player window opens, click on the Sync tab on the right-hand side of the window.
  2. Make sure your device is in a USB port. Make sure you select the correct drive. In this image, a thumb drive called "MemoryDepot" is the chosen storage device.
  3. Click and drag one or more video files to the area labeled Sync List.
  4. Once you have selected your file or files, click Start Sync.
  5. When the Sync is complete, you may eject your USB drive. Click the little picture of a thumb drive on the Task Bar at the bottom of the computer screen. Select "Eject ___" and when it says "Safe to Remove Hardware" you may remove the drive.
  6. When you are finished, close Windows Media Player.
  7. If Elgato is still open, you may choose Again to start another project (if you still have time!) or Exit to close the program.

When finished, to complete your session at the Memory Depot, close the Windows Media Player and Elgato windows on the computer. After ejecting your VHS cassette, turn off the VCR. Log off of the computer by clicking on the image of the clock on the taskbar at the bottom of the screen. Click End Session. Remember to take your originals and your flash drive or external hard drive with you!

Tips

• A session at this transfer station is a maximum of 3 hours. It takes time to trim and save your video to a DVD or another device. We recommend that you do not attempt to record any videos that are longer than 2 1/2 hours.

You can select a lower resolution to make the file smaller but you may be sacrificing the quality of your transferred video recording. See the Other Features Tab for more information.

• Movie length = Approximate amount of storage space needed:
10 minutes = 178 MB
30 minutes = 535 MB
1 hour = 1 GB
1 1/2 hours = 1.6 GB (845 MB for lower resolution)
2 hours = 2.1 GB (1.1 GB for lower resolution)
2 1/2 hours = 2.6 GB

• It is recommended that you do not use Fast Forward or Rewind to scan through old video cassettes. The cassettes can break or "get eaten" by the VCR. To limit this possibility you can simply rewind to the beginning and record the entire video. You can worry about trimming (or editing) at home after the video has been captured.

• Label the DVDs and the VHS tapes that you have finished burning so you don't get confused as to which ones you have completed!

Other Elgato Features

Preferences

You probably won't need to but you can adjust your preferences before transferring your video. Click on the Preferences button. A smaller box with three tabs will appear. They are titled General, Video and Audio.

General allows you to select the location in which to save (use the default location of the Videos folder on the C: drive; you will transfer the video to your device later in this process) and a checkbox for High Resolution (deselecting the high resolution will create a smaller file but the quality of the recording will be diminished).
Video offers sliders to adjust for Brightness, Contrast, Saturation and Hue.
Audio has a single slider for Audio Gain if you think you need to make adjustments to the sound.

Aspect Ratio

If you wish to change the aspect ratio, you can do so on the Connect Video screen. VHS cassettes were generally recorded at 4:3 to fit the standard TV screen. DVDs are more commonly available with a widescreen option, 16:9. If you try to covert 4:3 aspect ratio to 16:9, it will stretch everything horizontally. Press play on the VCR. [You can switch up and back between the 2 options and watch the video in the viewing screen to see which aspect ratio looks best for your VHS cassette.]


When you have made your selection, click Continue until you get to the screen with the red Start Recording button; click the button to begin recording.

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