Saturday, May 02, 2009

Simply Dazzling

It's been a little quiet here at kinexxions the past few days. I've been busy, just not writing and blogging. You see, a friend, a young fella I used to work with (who just *might* be my 5th cousin once removed - if we can prove his ancestor was a son of Bela Goodrich), contacted me the other day and, among other things, we discussed converting VHS tapes to digital format. I've got 17 VHS-C tapes from about 10-14 years ago that I'd like to convert. Like I really need another project to work on right now! I still haven't started on that last box of my sister's family photos (but it is in the dining room, waiting, where I can see it, calling me every day) and there are still some genealogy files to be scanned.

Anyway, it seems he has video capture hardware and software that I can borrow! So, last Wednesday evening he comes over, gets the hardware and software (Dazzle and Pinnacle Studio) installed on my laptop, and shows me how to use it. A little over an hour later, he's gone, and I'm on my own! Within about two hours after he left, I had a "finished" movie! It had been converted, edited, and a few scene transitions were added. It does take some time, but I was surprised at how easy it was to learn. Of course, I haven't gotten into adding music or menus, and that first video/movie was only 12 minutes long. I've digitzed two more tapes but haven't edited them yet. But it is a start. Only 14 more tapes left...

Out of curiosity, I did a bit of looking on the 'net this morning for the Dazzle and must say that many of the reviews I saw were not very favorable. Some of those reviews were several years old though. It looks like people either hate it or love it. Guess it depends to some degree on the Dazzle model and the other (computer) hardware used, and their results. Based on those reviews, I'm not sure I would have purchased it. I'm not technologically sophisticated, i.e. I don't know whether my results are "good quality" or not, but I'm happy with the results thus far, and I guess that's what really matters.


Steve said...

Hi Becky,

I've been thinking about digitizing my old home videos, too. Sometimes I think I can actually hear those old VHS tapes deteriorating in their storage boxes.

My sister had many of her old videos professionally converted to DVD - an expensive undertaking. Nonetheless she was delighted with the results and happy she made the conversion.

Congratulations on taking the plunge into video conversion. That's one project this is still on my to-do list!


Becky said...

Thanks Steve. I figured I needed to get the conversions done while the hardware was available for use. Can't beat the cost - Free! I didn't even consider getting them done professionally - I assumed it would be quite expensive.

It's really a fairly simple process and the software is easy to use. Since you are initially capturing the video in "real time" it takes a while and the file sizes can be quite large depending upon the length of the video. I'm planning to get another external USB drive to store the "raw" and edited files on as well as making DVDs that will run in a DVD player (and giving DVDs to other family members).

I'm really enjoying the process and viewing the videos, which haven't been seen for quite some time and most are still in pretty good condition. There are events on them that I completely forgot about!