Turning #VHS Digital

I was embarking on a project to bridge the analog and digital tonight. I had an old souvenir program from Epcot in VHS format from the mid-1980s that I wanted to share with my class. I remember getting the video during my first visit to Epcot. This was when the majority of gift shops were lined with yellow Kodak film and the FastPass did not exist, but the place was still magical.

The problem is that very few classrooms even have VHS tape decks anymore. So, it was time to bring out some equipment from the archives. I still keep a VHS player in the basement for important times like these. I fully believe that you should keep a player on hand for every different type of media you keep in your house. I still have a cassette tape deck and an actual CD player (you never know, right?). I had purchased a Pinnacle Dazzle DVC100 several years ago so I could convert VHS to DVD. The problem with this old model is that it was designed for Windows XP along with the infamous Windows Vista. I wasn’t about to go buy a new version. Getting it up and running in Windows 8.1 proved to be impossible, but I was able to get it going using Windows 7 along with an updated driver¬†and version of Pinnacle DVD Recorder from their website.

After all the software was up-to-date, it was as simple as running the composite video and audio cables from the VCR out through the Pinnacle Dazzle and into the laptop via USB. Using the Pinnacle DVD Recorder is a pretty straightforward, wizard-driven process. Don’t expect the world’s best video or audio quality when you get done. Expect VHS quality. That’s roughly what you’ll get once you run through the conversion process.

My Pinnacle Dazzle DVC100 purchase from last decade included a copy of Pinnacle Studio 12, which is about 4 versions behind. This, naturally, was not compatible with Windows 8.1 or Windows 7 for that matter. This wasn’t a really big deal as there is an abundance of video editing software on the market today. Pinnacle recorded in .VOB file-format, which was recognizable by Windows Movie Maker. Because it was already on my laptop, I used it to merge two files together (Pinnacle Recorder maxes out at 1GB filesize), crop off the dead space at the beginning and end, and then export to .MP4 file format.

I look forward to sharing this nostalgic video with class next week!