Video digitization

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If you have home videos stored in analogue formats such as VHS tapes, you might want to digitize them for portability and as an easily replicable backup.

Unlike tapes, digital videos can be played on a wide range of devices including smartphones and tablet computers, since they are ordinary computer files. Memory cards recorded onto by digital video cameras can be played back immediately on computers and televisions equipped with a memory card slot, without requiring any cables or adapters.

Additionally, digital videos can be copied onto new devices at speeds much faster than the video's original duration, without quality loss thanks to the error correction that any digital data storage device is equipped with, and there is no tape tracking that can be misaligned. The only limit is the data storage devices' throughput speed, where as analogue media can only be ripped at the original speed with minimal quality loss.

Adapter devices exist which convert an analogue composite video signal to a digital signal that can be recorded from a computer's USB port. A VHS casette player typically has a composite video output, meaning a yellow connector for the video signal, and white and red ones for audio. Should it have a SCART output only, a passive adapter can convert the signal to composite.

Any software able to record from an integrated or USB-attached camera (also known as "web cam") should be able to record from such an adapter, including the Open Broadcaster Software (OBS), VLC Media Player, and the FFmpeg command line utility. Many laptop vendors pre-install "YouCam" by CyberLink, and Windows 8 onwards has a bundled camera software.

It might be necessary to set a suitable bit rate, which affects the quality and file size of the resulting video file. A bitrate too low can visibly affect quality, where as a bit rate set too high results in an oversized output file without visible quality gain.

If keeping meta data such as date and time stamps and aperture is desired, which Sony MiniDV camcorders record as a closed caption track in a proprietary format, the only practical way of exporting that information is to play the video back with the data shown, and record it separately.