Transfer VHS tapes to DVD at the Hinsdale Library
Lance Anderson, adult services librarian at the Hinsdale Public Library, demonstrates how VHS tapes are transferred to DVD with their video editing equipment. | Curtis Lehmkuhl~Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 4, 2013 12:21PM
HINSDALE — The staff at the Hinsdale Public Library can help residents convert videotaped memories to DVD.
The library has a video editing station residents can use for free.
“We have two different systems, one is basically self-contained, and converts VHS tapes to DVDs,” said librarian Mike Oetting.
There also is Adobe Creative Suite software that people can use to edit their videos on a monitor.
“They can do some pretty advanced editing,” Oetting said. “It depends on the expertise of the user.”
The library has upgraded the technology twice since the original purchase about two years ago.
Librarians have trained probably fewer than a dozen patrons during that time. Residents also can borrow a digital camcorder, use it and then put their film on DVD at the library. The staff also uses the equipment to create training films and clips for the library website.
Adult services librarian Lance Anderson suspects more people don’t take advantage of the machines because they may think it’s complicated.
“Copying is easy, editing is a little more difficult,” he said.
A mother of college-age children brought in VHS cassettes with recordings of her children when they were younger and was transferring them to DVD as a Christmas surprise for them.
Another woman brought in the videotape of her wedding in the 1980s. She wanted to copy it on a DVD because she was afraid it would deteriorate.
People have to bring in their own blank DVDs for the transfer. The videotape will not be ruined unless it was already fragile or had not been stored properly.
The process is not difficult, but it can be time-consuming. If a person brought in a tape with five hours of recorded materials, the machine could take about six hours to read it all, plus time for the owner to edit out the gray areas that appear between sections recorded at different times, Anderson explained. The user does not have to complete the transfer in one sitting.
Once a person is trained on how to use the equipment, which is kept in a separate study room, they can reserve the room for their sole use.
The library does not allow people to copy commercially produced videos, such as movies, onto DVDs. Nor could someone bring in videotapes of “All My Children” episodes and put them on DVD.