A while ago I created a tutorial on how to digitize analog videos using your Mac. Recently I had a client bring some VHS tapes which he wanted to include in a powerpoint presentation.
You would think once you’ve done it you can easily fire everything up, make all the necessary connections easily without a problem. Well, it turned out I couldn’t.
After a bit of fiddling, I got it to work. Always points to poor documentation by the Taiwan manufacturer of the bridge I bought.This piece of hardware DAC-100 is from Data Video.
Once I got it to work, I thought I had better take some pictures and put them online somewhere.
As expected that piece of hardware has been discontinued and is no longer around anymore. When I visited that link, I couldn’t find it anymore. No surprise since it’s been a while.
So here’s what the setup looks like. Needless to say, you’ll need a powerstrip since you’ll be plugging in at least 5 devices. I had to connect:
- a VCR
- a tv or monitor
- a powerbook
- an external firewire/USB 2.0 hard drive
- the bridge DAC-100
The VCR can be substituted with your analog video source. When I digitized all my Hi8 tapes, my analog video camera took the place of the VCR in this setup. In this instance since my client brought a VHS cassette tape, I used my old VCR. Good thing I had one laying around.
The tv or monitor is so that when the video source is playing on the VCR, I can cue up when and where I want to import the footage.
My VCR had only 1 RCA out jack and no S-video out, so I had to choose RCA. We all know depending on the age of your VCR, that is not unheard off.
The powerbook is where the software, iMovie will control the whole digitizing.
The external hard drive is where the video is going to be stored once the video is digitized. The stock hard drive on powerbooks are tiny and impractical unless your video source is only a few minutes long.
Besides, once digitized, I will use my MacPro to do the heavy lifting of editing and rendering the finished DVD.Keeping the digitized video on an external hard drive makes transferring to the Mac Pro a snap.
Finally there is the bridge itself the DAC-100. It’s nothing remarkable at all. A basic box with input and output jacks.
That’s why this whole assembly looked like an octopus with lots of wires snaking into one device and out another.
So when you’re done connecting everything, head back to my tutorial in the other section of my website and you should have no problems.
There may be a few differences in your setup. That will most likely be your bridge or digitizing hardware. Or maybe the hardware you use to play you analog video.
If you’re converting your home videos then you must be the kind who trusts no one with those treasures of your kids, family members and other milestones in your life.
It’s tempting to send these old analog tapes out. But doing it yourself is more fun, I’m lying. I know I wasn’t thinking that when I was editing about 10 minutes worth of my infant child just laying there not doing much.
The truth is, I was worried whoever was doing the editing and digitizing would just chop off a part which might be meaningless to them but NOT to me.
If you run into problems with your project, just enter a comment and I’ll respond here in the blog.