Editing home movies, the easiest way to make DVDs from VHS tapes, Don’s new blog

Sound Advice
By Don Lindich

Week of October 29, 2006

Q: I just read your column about using a DVD burner to make DVDs. My question comes before this. How do I EDIT my old home movies that are on VCR tapes and then burn them onto a DVD?


A: There are two ways to edit your footage: with a computer that has video editing software and a DVD burner, or with a DVD recorder/hard drive combo unit.

You can use a computer to edit your footage, add custom titles and transitions, modify and enhance the footage, and create custom menus with animations. If you have good software the DVDs have better picture quality, too. It is worth the extra effort but if you do not have time to put into it or your computer comfort level is low, a DVD recorder will serve you better.

A DVD recorder with a hard drive allows you to record on to the hard drive, cut out the parts you do not like and then burn the project to DVD. It does not have the computer’s overall capabilities, but is usually easier to edit with the DVD recorder/hard drive combo- provided you get
a good one. I have had success with units from Lite-On, finding them to be easy to use as well as affordable.

Lately I have received a lot of email on the subject of converting VHS to DVD and it seems a lot of people are looking for the simplest way to do it. The easiest way is to get a combo VCR/DVD recorder with a VCR and a DVD recorder in the same component. Most of them have a simplified dubbing mode to effortlessly convert tapes. Just put a tape in the VCR side, a blank DVD in the other side, record, then finalize (close out) the disc.

Q: Do you archive your articles anywhere, for future reference by your readers?

-Chan Chandler, Eden Prairie, MN
A: Yes, I once again have a column archive. Up until last year I had a website for Sound Advice readers, but I was not satisfied with it so I pulled it down last summer with the intention of launching a new, better site. It took me longer than anticipated but the site is finally available.

The new website is in blog form and has a searchable online archive with hundreds of past columns, as well as some of the best content from my old site, product reviews and recommendations, tips and tutorials, ongoing commentary on the industry, and some special features, too. If you enjoy my column you are sure to enjoy the blog even more. It will be updated several times per week so be sure to subscribe to the RSS feed or bookmark it and check back regularly.

Don Lindich’s Sound Advice Blog is found at www.soundadviceblog.com. Please visit and tell your friends, and I welcome suggestions on how to make it better.

Submit your questions to Don and read past columns at
www.soundadviceblog.com .

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