How does one go about transferring video on VHS tape to DVD?

Step 1: You must first capture the video from an analog VHS player and convert it to digital video that a computer can use. bravo The principal way to do this on a PC is to have an analog capture card installed in the PC and then capture the video through the S-Video or Composite outputs of the VCR.  Most PC's do not come with analog capture cards.  If the footage is on mini-DV tape and you have a DV format camcorder, you could capture the video via the Firewire connection which most modern PC's have.  Alternately you could capture the footage to the camcorder (if it has analog inputs) and then to the computer via firewire.  If you don't have a DV camcorder you are pretty much out of luck!

Step2: Once the footage is captured, assuming no editing, trimming or modification to the video are required (in which case you will need an editing program like Microsoft MovieMaker), you must convert the video to a compressed MPEG-2 format that is ultimately the form the DVD accepts.  There are numerous programs that can do this from Nero to MyDVD to Adobe Encore but in most cases your options as to encoding features are limited; for the typical consumer however, providing more flexibility does introduce more confusion.  Cheap encoding methods can take as long as the footage (90 minutes of footage = 90 minutes of encoding) and generally the quality suffers.  Better encoding methods usually take several multiples times the amount of footage.  A good 2 pass variable bit rate encode of 90 minutes of material could take 4.5 hours or more to encode.

Step 3: Now that the footage is encoded to MPEG-2 along with the audio (and you've calculated that it will fit on your DVD (a single layer DVD holds 4.7 GB of data), you must use some program to create a menu and incorporate your compressed video file and menu(s) to the final DVD format.  Nero, MyDVD, DVDit, and Encore are among the many programs that can do this with some requiring more skill than the others.  Also, don't forget to create all the artwork for your menu and DVD disk surface (the later of which will require a CD/DVD printer - we DO NOT recommend paste on labels for DVD's due to the high spin rates of DVD's causing the label to loosen slightly).  There are numerous artwork programs to do the former and we recommend PhotoShop which has no peer.  It is not for the novice user however.

Step 4: Burn your video to DVD.  All of the authoring programs mentioned above will do this and all you then need is a DVD burner which many newer PC's come with.

If this sounds difficult, time consuming and a hassle, let us do it for you!