Digital Video Articles, Tutorials, Guides & Q & A

VHS, Video Conversion, video formats, Video Production

VHS-C Wiki: Best Way to Convert VHS-C to Digital? You Have Three Options

Convert VHS-C to Digital

Updated 4.12.2021

How to Convert VHS-C to Digital without a Camcorder

The best way to convert VHS-C to digital without a camcorder is through a VHS player with a VHS-C cassette adapter.

This is an easy fix and you don’t have to spend much to take this route.

But before we go into that, let’s take a quick look at the VHS-C tape format.

VHS-C History

VHS-C, developed by (Victor Company of Japan) hit the market in 1982. The main selling point was compactness.

The C attached to VHS doesn’t denote anything superior.

The C means Compact. So, VHS-C stands for VHS Compact or Video Home System Compact.

In other words, it’s the smaller version of VHS. Everything else about it is the same as VHS – from tape width to video resolution.

The dominant format then was, of course, VHS. However, when it came to video cameras VHS had drawbacks. Firstly, the size and weight deterred folks from taking a VHS camcorder with them for vacations.

VHS-C camcorders were around half the size and weight of VHS camcorders. That made it ideal for it to be carried around during travels.

JVC called the VHS-C camcorder the ‘lightest video recorder’ back in 1982.

Of course, this was all before the arrival of Video8, about two years later in 1984.

But then VHS-C had a major drawback. If you wanted to share your family or vacation videos you would have to copy them to the VHS format.

Also, if you want to playback your VHS-C tapes, you would need an adapter (discussed below).

Another shortcoming is VHS-C has a much shorter playtime compared to VHS. Back in 1982, the VHS-C iron oxide tape came with a 20-minute playtime.

Around 1989, JVC increased the tape playtime to 30 minutes, allowing it to record up to 90 minutes of video in EP (Extended Play) mode.

A VHS-C camcorder unit from the Billboard 8 Jan 1983 issue.

VHS-C Features

While Video8 can’t be played through a VHS player, with VHS-C it’s possible as will be explained below.

But then VHS-C has a rather limited playtime – from 30 minutes to 60 minutes.

It has a horizontal resolution of 240 lines.

VHS-C to Digital Equipment

The VHS-C to digital equipment needed is a VHS-C playback device (camera or player), a video capture device, and a computer with video capture software (usually comes with your video capture device).

VHS-C to Digital Process

Connect your video and audio out from your video camera/player to your video in and audio in of your video capture device. You’ll need, composite or RCA cables.

Power on your computer and launch the video capture/editing software.

If you’re using the video capture software that came with your video capture device, follow the instructions in the manual.

Then power on your VHS-C camera/player.

Press Play on your VHS-C camcorder and at the same time start your capture through the software.

VHS-C to Digital without a Computer

If you don’t have a functional VHS-C camcorder then you can undertake video capture through a VHS player with the setup mentioned above.

For this, you would need a VHS-C to VHS adapter.

With this adapter, you can slot your VHS-C tape into it and pop it into a VHS player to capture video to your computer.

This is the standout advantage of having a VHS-C tape compared to an 8mm tape which you want to convert to digital.

For an 8mm tape, if you don’t have a functional camcorder, you would have to buy an 8mm video player, which is costly compared to a VHS player, available for much, much, cheaper.

Where to Source for VHS-C Adapter

Of course, you can’t find new VHS-C adapters as the VHS format is practically dead. You can source for one through eBay or Amazon or your neighborhood thrift store.

Check out the Best VHS-C Cassette Adapters.

Copying VHS-C to DVD

If you would like to copy your VHS-C to DVD, you can do it in two ways.

If you have a DVD recorder, then you can connect your VHS-C camera or player to the recorder, insert a blank DVD in it and start recording.

The second option is through computer video capture as explained above. After capturing video and storing it as a digital file on your computer, you may proceed to burn it is as a DVD.

Most video editing programs have burn-to-DVD as an export option.

For this, you must have a DVD+/-RW drive or a DVD writer on your computer.

VHS-C to Digital Service

If you have only a tape or two to convert to digital, you could check out the neighborhood tape to digital conversion service.

This would save the money of sourcing for almost-obsolete equipment and setting them only to store them away after the conversion.

VHS-C to digital conversion service offers quality conversion with their high-end equipment and you can rest assured you’ll get your converted video in your preferred digital video format.

References

Basic Camcorder Guide: Everything You Need to Know to Get Started and Have Fun

Free Video Workshop