Many children today do not even know what a VHS tape is. Long gone are the days when we had to record images and video on magnetic tape. With modern devices able to do so many things, VHS tapes and players are all but forgotten. I am pretty sure they will soon be in the Smithsonian as part of their media devices collection.
So, the question that typically follows when people hear that is ‘what if I have something on a VHS tape that I want to keep?’ Well, the answer is that it will not be easy. However, there is a possibility that you can keep your dear videos for posterity or whatever reason you need them. There are tools that you can use to recover the information recorded on VHS tapes including:
Mail-In Transfer Services
The easiest way to recover VHS tapes is to send them to a mail-in transfer service. What that means is that you send your VHS tape via mail to a party or entity that can convert it to digital form and then wait for both versions to return. Mail-in transfer services are the one tool on this list that will cost you the least amount of money and effort to recover VHS tapes. It’s a big advantage that it has over the other tools.
The best part is that the work will be done by a professional which increases the chances of success. When trying to digitize VHS tapes by yourself, disastrous results can easily happen. Companies such as Walgreen, Costco, and Walmart offer mail-in transfer services for VHS tapes. You simply leave the tape with them or send it via mail and pick it up or receive it later. The big drawback to this method is that you will be giving your only copy to someone else. So, if something goes wrong, the VHS tape is gone forever.
VHS to DVD Converter
VHS tapes were the precursor to DVD CDs and files. Therefore, it is easier to convert VHS tapes to DVD and then save them digitally than other methods. Converting VHS tapes to DVD is one of the best ways of digitizing them. There is a wide array of VHS to digital converters. Each converter has its advantages and disadvantages. It is up to you to find the one that best suits your needs. You should evaluate the features on each converter to see if it has what you need. You should also pay significant attention to the price of the software. It makes no sense spending $1000 to rescue $5 VHS tapes unless they have incredible sentimental value.
A Projection Device
One of the easiest ways to convert VHS tapes to digital form is using a video projection device. I can almost hear the doubtful murmurs already so let me explain. You should get a VHS tape player to which you can attach a projection device. Thankfully, it is not very difficult to buy or rent a projection device. Many people already have them and use them for entertainment or PowerPoint presentations for work.
Once you have the VHS tape player and the projection device, you should find a pristine surface on which to project the video. If you already have a projection device, you should have a surface that you regularly use. The best surfaces are still as opposed to those that move for example a canvas. You can then re-record the video on a smartphone or a digital video recorder and recover the VHS tape. It is very simple hence it is a tool that most people don’t use. Use support to keep the recording device still as the tape may be too long to re-record by hand.
There is software you can use to restore VHS tapes. However, you will need to find a way to connect the VHS videotape player to your computer. A FireWire cable is a great tool to use to connect your camcorder or VHS tape player to your computer. However, there are new cables that can perform the same function. Once you run the tape the software will start recording automatically. The benefit of using converter software is that it is affordable and you can use it as often as
VHS tapes are slowly becoming a relic of the past. However, if you have a valuable video on a VHS tape, you can restore it using the four tools above. There are many other methods you can use. Select the one that is most convenient and affordable.