My grandmother is in the midst of converting her massive family VHS collection to DVDs. However, she wants to be able to erase sections of the tapes which were recorded incorrectly (static) or contain certain undesireable people which we hope never to see/recall ever again.

She has been doing this by stopping recording on the DVD recorder and allowing the VHS player to continue playing, but this has resulted in flaky performance from the DVD player -- it eats the disk occasionally which is annoying when you've been watching the VHS tape for a long time.

What we'd like to be able to do is read the disk into the computer, remove the segments we don't want, and reburn the video back to another disk using the computer.

I know there are ways to do this using a variety of seperate programs to rip the MPEG 2 stream out of the DVD and play with the video in Windows Live Movie Maker, but this is for my grandmother, and I need a simpler (preferably one step) solution so that I can explain how to use the software to her.

Also, the solution by no means needs to be free -- I'm willing to shell out a bit in order to make my grandmother's tape project work :)

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    Your headline and the body of the question are slightly at odds. If it comes down to it, which takes priority - easy of use or quality? Quality really has to take a back seat, imo, because you're converting from VHS and no amount of artifacting/compression the editing/encoding process adds will compare to the hit the quality takes just from being a VHS source. You should edit your question to say "What's the easiest video ingestion and editing software for a grandmother to use?"
    – Uninspired
    Jan 23, 2011 at 20:44
  • @Uninspired: The biggest thing I want to avoid is recompressing the video over and over and over and over again. Not only does it look like crap when this happens, it makes doing things extremely slow. Yes, easy to use is an important tenant, but it can't be achieved in such a manner that there are large visible defects in the resultant video (which reencoding over and over does) May 4, 2011 at 15:33

1 Answer 1


What I recommend is recording directly off the tapes to the computer. That's easy and not too expensive. A product that does what you want is the Elgato Video Capture ($85).

Using this, you get a file on the computer that you can edit however you want. Any video editor will allow you to remove portions of video.
Recording directly also prevents any loss of video quality that can result from converting between formats / storage mediums, since you just do it once.

Hope this helps!

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