ADVC 110 and EyeTV 250

In my quest to convert my old analog tapes to DVD, I employed two different tools: the Canopus ADVC 110 and Elgato EyeTV 250.

Elgato EyeTV 250

Pros:

  • Easy to use, simple process
  • Works with Toast, iDVD, and other burning applications
  • Also records from cable and other sources
  • Smaller files

Cons:

  • Quality of the resulting DVD is not as good as that of ADVC 110

To turn my VCR tape into DVD, I use EyeTV 250 and Toast 7 Titanium. After hooking up my VCR to EyeTV 250 to my MacBook, I set the input to composit video input and started to import the tape. The import process happens in real time, so it took almost an hour to finish my tape. Next, I edit the tape to remove the irrelevant beginning and ending of the video clip; this part only takes about five minutes. Next, I export the clip to Toast for burning and have the finished disc in about twenty minutes. Overall, it took me about an hour and a half to convert a 55-minute tape to disc. The next step is to verify the result by playing the disc in my home stereo. Overall, the sound quality is excellent and the video quality is good. All is not well, however: the video is a little shaky, thrashing slightly from side to side. Without the ADVC 110 to compare, I would be happy with the result.

Canopus ADVC 110

Pros:

  • Better quality than EyeTV
  • Chapter marks via iMovie

Cons:

  • Large files
  • Single minded device: cannot record from cable
  • More complicated process

To accomplish my conversion, I employed three different pieces of hardware and software: ADVC 110, iMovie, and iDVD. For those who wants simplicity, they can skip the iMovie and import straight from the video source into iDVD. After hooking up the equipment, I started to import the video clip into iMovie. Again, the import process is real-time, so it took almost an hour to finish. Next, I edited out the irrelevant parts and added chapter marks to aid viewing; this process took about half an hour. If I did not add the chapter marks, then the editing would take only five minutes–same as the previous method. Next, I export the movie to iDVD for burning. After spending another five minutes customizing iDVD to my liking, I inserted a blank disc and started the burn process. iDVD took its sweet time to encode the video, which produced the final disc in about an hour. As the result, the process took me about two and a half hour to convert the same 55-minute tape to DVD. The reward for choosing this method is a better video without the shakiness found in previous method. Audio quality is about the same in both methods. One drawback of this method is the file size: the iMovie project demands 11GB of my disk space, while the iDVD project snatches another 3GB. In contrast, the video clip produced by EyeTV 250 weighs less than 2GB. I forgot to record the size of the Toast project, but I think it is from 3GB to 4GB.

Summary

If you want to record from cable and occasionally converts tapes to DVD, EyeTV 250 is hard to beat. However, if you demand quality, then go with ADVC 110.

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