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Memorial Hall Library

Convert VHS to DVD

The library has a VHS Digitization Station that can be used to transfer home videos to DVD.

The Digitization Station is located in the Reference Area and is available on a first-come, first-served basis whenever the library is open. For more information, read the Frequently Asked Questions below or contact our Reference Desk (978-623-8430 | rdesk@mhl.org).

VHS Digitization StationVHS Digitization Station FAQs

What is this?

The VHS Digitization Station allows you to convert VHS videocassettes to digital files and optionally transfer them to DVDs. The station consists of a VCR connected to a computer and honestech VHS to DVD 8.0 Deluxe.

How much does it cost to use?

It is free, but you will have to supply your own blank DVDs (DVD+R, DVD-R, DVD+RW, DVD-RW).

Can I digitize a VHS recording without burning it to a DVD?

Yes. You can convert the VHS recording to a video file that can be copied to a USB flash drive or uploaded to an online storage or video hosting service.

Can I convert other types of video tapes (Hi-8, VHS-C, 8mm, Digital 8, BetaMax, etc.)?

If you have videos stored on VHS-C cassettes (once popular with JVC and Panasonic camcorders), we have an adapter you can use that works with our VHS player. For other types of video tapes, if you can bring in a device capable of playing the tape (for example, the camcorder that shot the video), we can try to connect it to our digitization hardware and convert the video directly. If you have the A/V cable that came with your camcorder, bring it. If you don't, we have a 3.5mm four-pole to 3x RCA composite & stereo audio cable you can use. It is compatible with most MiniDV and Digital8 camcorders made by Sony, Canon, JVC, Samsung, Panasonic and Sharp. It also works with many Hi8 camcorders.

Is it safe? What if the VCR eats my tape?

So far we haven’t had a problem but if you are concerned that your VHS tape might get damaged, you should consider taking your tape to a professional service that offers a safety guaranty. 

How long does it take to digitize a video recording?

Conversion takes place in real time, so an hour-long video recording will take at least one hour to convert. Burning to a DVD takes several minutes more. It is a good idea to budget more time than you think you’ll need.

What if I want to record portions of a video recording?

The software has an Advanced Mode that allows you to record portions of recordings from one or more tapes. Advanced Mode also lets you add transitions, special effects and text to the digitized file. If you are burning to DVD, Advanced Mode also lets you create custom disc menus.

Do I have to make a reservation to use the digitization station?

No, it is available on a first-come, first-served basis whenever the library is open.

Do I have to stay during the entire conversion process?

No, but you are responsible for your personal property. Library staff cannot look after it while you are away.

What if I need help? Will you do this for me?

While we cannot do the whole thing for you, we’re happy to help get you started and work through any issues you come across! Step-by-step instructions are available at the digitization station.