Media Production Mentoring

Free online film school designed with beginning filmmakers in mind.


Convert VHS to DVD to MP3

"It took me 3 hours to convert this video to the proper format."

I understood the frustration. Even with fairly sophisticated tools, it can be pain to convert files from one kind to another. Currently, my project is to convert a VHS to MP3. The video is old and unnecessary. My mom thinks the content is great, but would rather read it. So... how do we go about transferring a VHS to text? Here's what I've finally come up with:

Step 1: We have a VHS player that automatically copies to DVD. Cake.

I dropped my DVD into my computer and tried to rip the audio straight out. No can do. The video files are a jumbled mess of multiple files that do not play sequentially. In fact, I was unable to find the start point anywhere.

Messy DVD Files

Step 2: Open DVD in DVDShrink and "Backup!" the "Main Movie Title" from the DVD.

This makes the once four separate VTS files into one.

Step 3: Fire up VLC and "Convert/Save" to an .mp3 file.

Step 4: (optional) Open the .mp3 in Audacity for further cleanup/editing and export.

I believe the plan is to play the audio to a dictation program which will-theoretically--convert it to text. Here's hoping!

 ~Luke Holzmann
Your Media Production Mentor


Anonymous said...

Another option is to just save time and ship the VHS tapes off to a service to scan for you.

GoPhoto converts VHS to DVD and scans slides, negatives and photos to digital.

Sometimes, time is more valuable than $$... and sometimes, it's actually cheaper to outsource when you factor in equipment cost (but most especially time spent). ;)

Luke Holzmann said...

That is absolutely true. I've taken advantage of such services when I was handed tapes for which I didn't have a player.


VHS to DVD alternative said...

I would suggest not to do VHS to DVD at this point anymore. DVD is already a dying format.

Luke Holzmann said...

In many ways, this is absolutely true. DVDs are quickly being replaced by streaming. Still, for as much as the digital revolution has taken the music industry by storm and YouTube has made quality and availability a moot point, DVD is still a great low-quality video backup and transitional format. It is also, until people get used (and are enabled) to selling and buying videos online, the only way for professionals to distribute their videos. So... I agree... and disagree.

But, based on what you appear to offer, I'd gladly recommend people do what you suggest: Convert their home videos to digital files and upload them to YouTube for free.


Anonymous said...

Hi Luke,

There are also now conversion services that will now directly convert VHS to digital and store and stream directly online. The UK service VhsCloud converts many Video formats to online digital:

VhsCloud Video to digital conversion service

These allow you to privately share videos with others and bypass a more 'open' service like Youtube if needed.