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Category: Digital Video

35. How do I make a video DVD from a VHS tape using iMovie and iDVD2?

The following outlines some of the basics of making a video DVD of the contents of a VHS tape, using iMovie and iDVD2.

--------------------- Software requirements:
1. OSX
2. iMovie
3. iDVD2

--------------------- Hardware requirements:
1. A G4 Mac with a superdrive on the internal IDE port, and an available Firewire port. (The B&W G3 can be used if it has a G4 ZIF upgrade. There have also been reports of success using the beige G3 similarly upgraded, and with a Firewire PCI card)

2. A device that will connect to the VCR and convert its analog signals to DV, which can then be sent by Firewire/iLink to iMovie (iLink is Sony's name for Firewire). This device can be either a digital camcorder or a DV bridge.

- Digital Camcorder The VCR's outputs are connected to the inputs of the camcorder, which converts the analog program material to DV and records it onto a digital tape. This tape can then be played back into iMovie. If the camcorder has "analog passthrough," then it can convert the analog program material straight to DV, without first recording it to a tape.

-DV Bridge This is usually an external box that connects to the outputs of the VCR and converts the analog program material to DV, feeding it to iMovie by way of Firewire/iLink. There are various DV bridges available.
- Canopus ADVC-100 - this supports locked audio, which means that the audio will not go out of sync with the video. Without this feature, a lengthy clip can lose sync and resemble a poorly dubbed movie.
- Canopus ADVC-50 - this DV bridge is a PCI card that also supports locked audio. It lacks the ability to convert DV from your hard drive into an analog signal that can be sent to your VCR or to a TV.
- Dazzle Hollywood - this one does not support locked audio.
- Miglia Director's Cut II - this is said to provide a very high quality picture.

--------------------- The process (simplified - for more info, consult the documentation for iMovie and iDVD2):
1. Import video into iMovie.
The DV bridge or camcorder connects to the VCR, and by Firewire or iLink (Sony's name for Firewire) to the Mac. Play back the VCR tape, and record with iMovie.
2. Edit as needed within iMovie
3. Export from iMovie, selecting 'For iDVD" from the popup menu in the Export dialog box. This results in a single DV file containing the edited movie.
4. Open iDVD2, choose a theme and customize it as you wish, and drop your movie onto it. iDVD2 will convert your movie into MPEG-2 over a few hours, and then burn to a DVD-R.

For more information on the process, see the documentation for iMovie and iDVD2.
An alternative to the above is the ADS Instant DVD. This connects to a VCR, and converts the video straight to MPEG-2, which can be made into a video DVD using the authoring software included.

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