Genealogy: Other options for transferring video to DVD

By Barry J. Ewell

Professional service  
Pay a professional to convert your VHS tapes to DVD–although this service is expensive.  It may be worth the money if the thought of doing it yourself makes you cringe.

Use a DVD recorder
If you don’t have a PC, you can use a DVD recorder.  The basic method for transferring video from VHS to DVD using standard equipment isn’t complicated.  You can connect a RCA cable from the VCR’s video and audio outputs to the DVD recorder’s inputs, press Play on the VCR, and press Record on the DVD recorder.  That’s all there is to it.  You don’t need any additional gear, such as a PC video capture card because the DVD recorder has all the necessary capture and conversion features.

There are several situations you may want to consider, however, before using a DVD recorder: 1) Unfortunately, there’s no way to speed up the recording process; every minute of tape takes a minute to record, 2) Even though the DVD recorder’s remote allows you to separate scenes, as well as add a menu with titles and corresponding photos (selected within the video), editing features are very limited and time consuming. In fact, you will probably need the patience of Job to do anything other than transferring video to DVD, and 3) if you plan to add special features to your video (such as narration, background music, rearranging scenes, or adding photos), using a computer is a better option.

Genealogy: Create your DVD

By Barry J. Ewell

Once your film is “clean,” the file gets compressed into MPEG-4 format before being burned onto a DVD. Your video editing software will be able to walk you through the process. A couple of recommendations are as follows:

  • Limit your video transfer (to DVD) to one hour or less for best quality.
  • Purchase high-quality, write once DVD-R or DVD+R discs; do not use DVD-RW or DVD+RW (rewritable) discs.
  • Burn several versions of the video to DVD (especially if you are going to delete the images off your hard drive), using at least two as backup copies. Note: DVD-R is the most compatible with DVD players (an important detail if you are sharing your DVDs with others).
  • Test your DVD recordings on several DVD players (yours and other family members) to make sure they play.  If not, you will be able to trouble shoot what the issues are and correct accordingly.

25+ Genealogy Webinars and Tutorials

25+ Genealogy Webinars and TutorialsBy Barry J. Ewell

The following webinars are presented by Barry J. Ewell and  cover hundreds of topics that designed to help the genealogist find greater success in genealogy and family history research.  Most of the webinars are about 1 hour in length.

Barry J. Ewell is the founder of He is a writer and researcher with extensive genealogical experience in internet and field research, digital and software resources and mentoring genealogists. Research interests include Eastern U.S., United Kingdom, Scandinavia, Germany, and Russia.

Search suggestions: Once you find the webinar that you are seeking do one of the following:

  1. Scroll and page to the webinar.
  2. Copy and place the webinar title or portion of the title in the blog search field, click search and you will be directed to webinar.
  3. Click on the listing and your will be taken to the video.

The webinars that are included in this category are as follows:

  1. Webinar: Digitally Preserving Your Family History and Heritage
  2. Webinar: Fifty Google Searches Every Genealogist Needs to Know
  3. Webinar: Supercharge Your Research: Cut Ten Years off Your Learning Curve
  4. Webinar: The 30 Second Genealogist…How to Find Genealogy Answers You Want Now
  5. Webinar: Ancestor Immigration and Migration: Keys to Unlocking Family History Continue reading

Webinar: Ah Ha! I’m a Genealogist and Love’n it

Presenter: Barry J. Ewell
Presentation: In every genealogist’s life, there are those moments and experiences that change our course, give us the inspiration to solve the brick wall, or even cause us to laugh out loud. Barry will share his ten “ah ha” moments as a genealogist that will give you cause to say, “I’m a genealogist and lovin’ it”.

Genealogy: Which file formats to consider for digital migration strategy

Genealogy: Which file formats to consider for digital migration strategyBy Barry J. Ewell

The following table is intended to help you develop guidelines for preparing files for digital archiving. It is not intended to provide full preservation for formats listed under Low Confidence Level. Unfortunately it’s not possible to provide a single list of file formats that are appropriate for all use cases. The best formats to use for each of an object’s files will vary depending on how those files will be accessed and used, how they were captured or created, and their relationship to other files in the object. Continue reading

Genealogy: Keeping personal digital video

Genealogy: Keeping personal digital videoIf you are using a camera or other device to record digital video, you are following in a long tradition of making personal and home movies. You may want to keep some of these videos for a long time.

Technical file quality is an important consideration for digital video. Videos that are posted on the Web, for example, are often grainy and have less information than the original version.
Continue reading