Articles – VHS to VCD conversion Howto

Converting Tapes to VCD (with Dazzle)

That 1982 tape is really turning from bad to worse and it is actually that constant viewing of it that prevented molds from growing on the tapes. Converting it to VCD will be a good idea and it can last longer.

There are a few VCD conversion kit available that can do just that, converting from a source to VCDs or even DVD. See end of article for some product.

This article will show you in converting a VCD with Snazzi* Digital Video Center (DVC). The Snazzi DVC comes with:

1. The Dazzle
2. Power adaptor
3. All the cables you need
4. Manuals and CDs

My package is old so I am not really sure what types of cables the package originally came with but these cables can be bought from places like Courts or Harvey Norman cheaply.

What you’ll need

You will need a PC with at least 1 USB port and a CDRW drive, a VCR if you are going to transfer a VHS tape into VCD, respective camcorder if you are converting 8mm or miniDV tapes into VCDs.

Here are the items I have ready:

2 x S-Video Cables

1 x Composite Video Cable (Yellow Video VGA Cable)

1 x Sound cable

1 x RCA/RCA Audio cable (Red and white on each end)

1 x RCA/Mini Audio cable (Red and white on one end and normal earphone jack on the other)

1 x Dazzle device + Power adaptor

1 x VCR

1 x Compaq PC with 2 USB port with 1 Iomega CDRW drive + 1 normal 24x CD ROM Drive + Speakers (with lots of CD-Rs of course if you have a lot of stuffs to convert)b

Setting up

Setting up is easy but with all that cables, it’s easy to get tangling yourself together! I just do the setup and left it with all the cables attached and tie them all up to make them look neat. The DVC also comes with a quick setup guide which is really useful in getting up and running quickly. Don’t worry about connecting wrongly as most are color coded (now wouldn’t we have to thank the inventors of these cables!) and should fit into it’s respective slots easily without much effort.

1. Dazzle with nothing…here we go…

2. The Dazzle has 2 sides to it, one is for Input where all connection to this side are input or source of videos that are to be converted. The other side is Output where every connection out of the Dazzle is for viewing, conversion can be done while watching the video on a TV.

Image of Dazzle with close up of all in ports and out ports

3. We’ll start with connecting all the “INs“. Composite Video Cable.

4. S-Video cable in, RCA/Mini cable in, Mic In…

7. Now for all the “OUTs“. Composite Video Cable out…

8. S-Video out, RCA/Mini cable out and lastly, plug in the power source to the Dazzle.

PC Setup

Now plug the Dazzle into the PC’s USB port and Turn on the PC.

Now the Dazzle is detected by Windows, insert the CD Rom driver that came with Snazzi. Click on Next>.

Check on Search for the best driver…

Click Browse on next screen:

Select your CDROM drive with the Snazzi CD ROM…and go to sub folder DazzleDVC…

Click OK, and the following screen appear, click Next>

After some reading and copying of files, it is done! Click Finish.

Software Setup

Now we will setup the Dazzle. Eject the CDROM and re-insert it, the following program will run. Click on “Software Installation”.

Select all the software or the software you need, But the Dazzle DVC is needed, others are optional.

The Installation running…

When it is done, it will run all other software that you have slected in the first step. When all is done, the setup program will exit by itself, it may take some time.

Now to setup the DVC program.

Start DVC Setup

Click Next >> when you see the above, now, Dazzle Setup Wizard will attempt to detect the video source input. Just leave it running.

Source detected! Although the above screenshot just shows a black screen, there was actually playback when the screenshot is taken. Anyway, click Yes to “Do you see the preview” when your video source is detected.

It now ask if you have a TV connected to the Dazz;e’s out. In my case, there isn’t. So I just click on No. And next it ask if there is Audio connected to Dazzle, yes I have and it’s connected to the Mic port of the sound card in the PC. SO I click on Yes and then on Mic.

There you can see the above screenshot, the RCA/Mini cable is connected to the Mic port of the sound card in the PC.

And it’s all done! Simple wasn’t it?!

Converting a VHS Tape to VCD

Now, let’s get on with business!

We’ll convert a VHS tape to VCD. You will first of all connect the cable into the VCR’s OUT and the other end of the cable is going into the Dazzle’s IN. Remember, don’t get this wrong or it won’t work.

Insert the VHS tape you wish to convert into the VCR

And play it! Yes, play it first…

Next start DazzleDVC

And you see the following screen:

Click on the Camcorder icon on the top right corner, it’s highlighted in Green on the following screen:

And again, there is actually a lady doing gymnastics in the above screenshot when it was taken but taking screenshot of moving video seems to just leave it black. No I am not kidding or cheating!

Setting the Predefined Time

Setting the time to record is important and you need to understand what CD-R you will be burning to later. If you’re using a 650mb CD-R like I am, you need to set time of recording to 74 mins or less, if you record using Dazzle over that time limit, later you will have to split that file in order to burn it as a VCD as your CD-R can only hold 74mins, anything longer will not fit into it. On the other hand, a 700mb CD-R can hold 80 mins of video.

I am playing safe and is setting it to 70mins instead, that’s already 1 hour and 10 mins of video on 1 CD. Now you understand why movies VCD you buy from shops comes in 2CDs instead of just 1…because they cannot fit onto just one! Unlike a DVD, where 2 whole hours (or more) of video entertainment can fit into just one disc, but that’s another story/ article…Now, let’s change the settings to our predefined timing.

Click on the little Tab sticking out of the Main Windows and the following screen will be pulled out, click on the tab Recording.

Here, set it to (in my case as I only have 650mb CD-Rs) 1 hour 10 mins and 0 secs. I have also set a path to store my recorded video and that’s in C:\Temp. The rest are left as the default but of course you are welcome to modify it to your likings, just remember a rule of thumb, the better a video quality is, the bigger the file size is going to be thus Good Quality = Big File Size. So getting or having a big hard disk drive is a must in video editing/ recording/ converting.

PC Configuration

Pentium 2 266Mhz
64Mb RAM
10 Gb HDD x 2 (Total 20Gb)
Windows 98 SE


– Contributed by etegration
20 July 2002


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