optimum setup for VHS to disc?



Hi aviasts,
Never the quickest cable in the setup, I’ve tried to digest some of the acres of info available on these forums in particular to the main reason I want a recorder; to transfer various bits of VHS tapes to disc. I posted a short while back and got some very good replies but just want to get some further clarification from the experts. Would the ideal hardware be a recorder with a hard disk which once I’ve transferred bits of tape I could then edit more precisely and then the newly edited and transferred footage now on the HDD could be used as a kind of ‘master’ copy which can then be put (burnt) onto a –R, -RW, +R, +RW depending which recorder I get and what its capable of? One other question, if its not pushing it! If I want multiple copies of the final disc, is the best way to keep burning from the ‘master’ (assuming any of the above is correct) or doing copies of the disc or is the latter method ‘lossy’? Your answers will be a big help in preventing me from making the wrong choices which would be an expensive disaster. Thanks - again!


Active Member
Hi dvdope

My answer to your questions, would be for you to copy,edit and arrange all your footage on to the hard drive of the DVD recorder, and then burn at least two copies onto DVD - one that you will use, and one as a back up copy. Providing that the discs are kept correctly, then there is no reason why your discs shouldnt last for a good few years....maybe decades - who knows!!
Having an unplayed backup is a good idea, then every 12/18 months or so, make a copy of that. It might be an idea once you have bought your recorder, to later buy a cheap DVD player (you can get a decent player for under £50 now) which you can connect to your recorder, in order to make back ups of your discs - there will be a drop in quality, but nothing too drastic - you could even borrow a relatives/friends - this is if you do not go down the PC route - and remembering your last post, this is something you were not ready to do...... Not a cheap or simple hobby - is it?



Standard Member
Uncanny. I was just about to post something along these lines. Without hijacking the thread, can I add another question? I've just bought a Panasonic E85 with hard drisc drive and have got programmes on VHS that I want to back up on to DVD-Rs. Obviously I want to use all available disc space on the DVD-Rs and want to minimise the number of dubs, which may lead to reduced picture quality.


Say I had programmes lasting 15 mins, 25 mins and 45 mins which I want to back-up on to one DVD-R. My first thought was to:

1. Record the three programmes to the hard drive at the highest quality XP mode
2. Transfer them to the DVD-R using the Flexible Recording mode.

The disadvantage is that any chapter points I set whilst the programmes were on the hard drive wouldn't be retained and it would involve two dubs.

As an alternative, is it possible to:

1. Set the Recorder to "High Speed Recording: On"
2. Use Flexible Recording to tell the Recorder there is:

i) 11 mins left on the disc to record the 15 mins programme
ii) 17 mins left on the disc for the 25 mins programme
iii) 32 mins left on the disc for the 45 mins programme

That way each programme would be recorded from the outset at virtually the same, maximum bitrate to completely fill a DVD-R.

3. Can chapters then be added whist the programmes are on the hard disc, then the programmes dubbed to the DVD-R using high speed dubbing, retaining the chapter points?

Would this work? And would there be any noticible improvement in picture quality over the first method I described?
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