A/V advice for Quicksilver: what do I need?

6 replies [Last post]
Joined: Jan 15 2006
Posts: 53

I want to convert some old VHS tapes to DVD. My VCR has only standard TV-type outlets (rca/cable)

I have a Quicksilver running Panther, with no A/V equipment, and an external DVD burner running off Dragonburn. (So, no GarageBand for me, pooh.)

Can you techy types give me some recommendations and suggestions for hardware and software for the job?


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Dr. Webster's picture
Joined: Dec 19 2003
Posts: 1687
Borrow a digital camcorder

Probably the easiest way to do the transfer would be to borrow a digital camcorder from someone. The camcorder would have to have the ability to pass through anything coming into its A/V inputs through its FireWire output, but many camcorders can do this. Then all you'd have to do is hook your VCR's outputs to the camcorder's inputs, plug the camcorder into your Mac via FireWire, and import the video with iMovie. The other option would be to go out and buy a standalone A/V-to-FireWire converter, but those can be spendy and the cheaper ones have poor quality.


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cwsmith's picture
Joined: Oct 13 2005
Posts: 699
Re: A/V advice for Quicksilver: what do I need?

Inkwolf wrote:

I have ... an external DVD burner ... So, no GarageBand for me, pooh.



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Joined: Jan 15 2006
Posts: 53
I wonder if I know anyone wit

I wonder if I know anyone with a digital camcorder... Tongue Maybe I could ask. My close friends are pretty non-technical, though...enough so that I rank as a computer whiz in their eyes. (That's just...sad...) So, there's nothing simple like a PCI card with RCA input jacks, eh?

Thanks, cwsmith, I'll look into Patchburn, too...don't know if it will help, though. I seem to recall that Garageband refused to even install without the Apple brand DVD burner internally installed. Still, Dragonburn will work to burn it, if I can get it all assembled with other software.

dankephoto's picture
Joined: Dec 20 2003
Posts: 1900

I've got an ADS Instant DVD USB, which captures DVD mpeg2 files directly from analog inputs. While some are skeptical that a USB 1 device can do a decent job, my experience with it (and its terrific software) has been very positive. Compared with identical DVDs 'authored' completely digitally with iDVD, the ADS-produced DVDs were visibly higher quality.

The really nice thing about Instant DVD is that you go directly from analog video to burning a DVD, without the time-consuming need to recompress (eg: an iDVD 'burn' can take many many hours.) It's great if all you want to do is move lots of old analog tapes to DVDs.

Here's one on eBay now.

I've also got an Elgato EyeTV 200, a FireWire tuner/analog bridge which can do the analog-to-mpeg2 conversion, though I haven't yet used it for that myself. Elgato currently sells the EyeTV 250 (similar device?) for $199, which includes a tuner and the analog inputs. Unlike Instant DVD however, neither of those come with the required software to author DVDs. I suppose if you have a recent version of Toast, you can use that for simple DVDs . . . ?

dan k


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Hawaii Cruiser's picture
Joined: Jan 20 2005
Posts: 1434

I've got a Formac Studio TVR. Works ok for me. Some people love them, some people hate them (mostly because of poor support services I think). Just do a search on eBay for "Formac." A few should turn up. There's two versions. The silver version works up through Jaguar. The white version works with Panther. Don't know about Tiger. The silver ones sell for around $50 these days, the white ones run up around $200. There are obviously poor souls out there who aren't aware about the difference and you see the silver ones go for too much sometimes, and of course, the sellers of the silver ones often fail to mention (forget? yeah, right) that they only work up through OS 10.2.8. So if you wanted to save cash you could get a cheaper one and do the input on a Jaguar harddrive. They've got a TV tuner on the TVR version, so that's pretty cool. The silver ones have a radio tuner too.

Eudimorphodon's picture
Joined: Dec 21 2003
Posts: 1203
Vote for the camcorder

I bought a Canon ZR-100 camcorder as an open-box for just $200 for a vacation, and it turned out to be an excellent analog->firewire bridge. I've made a few iDVDs with it and it's pretty much a no brainer. Not a bad investment if you think you might find some use for a camera.

(Just beware that a lot of camcorders *don't* have the AV bridge function.)