Digital Conversion Equipment

The Info Commons has equipment that allows you to convert your analog media—VHS videocassettes, audiocassettes and vinyl records—to digital files. Reserve time with the equipment and bring your media, plus a laptop if possible, to the Info Commons at the scheduled time. Read these instructions and tips in advance of your appointment.

General Policies | Instructions for Reserving Equipment |
Audio Conversion with EZ Vinyl/Tape Converter Software | VHS/Video + Audio Digital Conversion

General Policies

You must have a valid Adult BPL card in order to use the digital conversion equipment.

Please bring your own laptop if possible. You will connect your laptop (we will provide the cords) to the digital conversion equipment and save the file directly to your computer. If it’s not possible for you to bring a laptop, we will provide one, but you still must bring in your own storage device (thumb drive, external hard drive, etc.) formatted in exFAT so that it can be used with a Mac.

You will need to leave a state-issued ID at the reference desk while you use the equipment (i.e. the digital converter and a laptop if necessary). You are responsible for your own as well as the library’s equipment while you’re using it.

Info Commons staff will provide the digital conversion equipment, but we do not assist with the labor. You must also bring in your own storage device for your files.

Instructions for Reserving Equipment

Reserving time with the videocassette (VHS) converter

We have an ADVC110 digital video converter and VCR for video conversion. To reserve the equipment, go to www.bklynlibrary.org/rooms and log in. Choose Information Commons as your location when you log in. Once you have logged in, move your mouse over the blue triangle next to where it says “Information Commons” and select the "IC Digital Conversion Equipment" calendar.

Click in the box in the “Video Converter” line that corresponds to the time when you want to begin.

You can reserve up to two hours at a time, in half-hour increments. You may make up to two advance reservations per calendar month. For detailed instructions, see how to use the Info Commons meeting room reservation system. When you arrive for your appointment, go to the Info Commons reference desk for assistance.

If you are bringing your own laptop, you must have a video editing application, such as Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere Pro, or Windows Movie Maker, on it.

Reserving time with the audiocassette converter

We have an Ion Tape2PC USB Cassette Deck for audiocassette conversion. To reserve the equipment, follow the same instructions as for videocassettes, but make your reservation in the line for “Audiocassette Converter.” When you arrive for your appointment, go to the Info Commons reference desk for assistance.

If you are bringing your own laptop, you must first download the free EZ Vinyl/Tape Converter software onto it.

Reserving time with the vinyl record converter

We have an Ion Mobile LP Conversion System for vinyl record conversion. Because using this converter is not a completely silent process, you must reserve a meeting room and select the record converter as an “accessory” that you want to use. Follow the instructions to reserve a meeting room in the main “Information Commons” calendar. After you’ve selected a time slot in a given room, click the “Add” link next to “Accessories” and check off the box for “Vinyl Converter.”

You can reserve up to two hours at a time, in half-hour increments. You may make up to two advance reservations per calendar month. When you arrive for your appointment, go to the Info Commons reference desk for assistance.

If you are bringing your own laptop, you must first download the free EZ Vinyl/Tape Converter software onto it.

Audio Conversion with EZ Vinyl/Tape Converter Software
  • USB Turntable and Cassette FAQ
  • EZ Vinyl/Tape Converter Software Quickstart Guide
  • The digital conversion process takes place in real time. For example: if your cassette tape or vinyl LP runs 20 minutes, it will take 20 minutes for it to be digitized.
  • The recording will automatically be split into tracks if you check the box “Automatically split recording into separate tracks” or “Split recording into tracks” (Ion recommends this “for typical popular music but may produce varied results when used with other genres like classical music, spoken word, etc.”). It may not accurately split tracks, and you may have to make edits to audio after it is digitized in a program such as Audacity or GarageBand to get your desired results.
  • You can choose not to have it split the tracks (by unchecking the option to “Automatically split recording into tracks”), in which case you will get one single track for each side of the audio cassette or vinyl album.

  • If using the software on a Mac, it will indicate which track number it is on while in the process of digital conversion. When using a PC, it only notes the track number as “Automatic.”
  • If you do a test sample of the audio and it sounds “too quiet,” you can turn up the gain in the EZ Vinyl/Tape Converter Software.

Cassette Tape (Audio)

  • Needed equipment:
    • Ion Tape2PC USB Cassette Deck
    • USB B-type to USB A-type cable
    • Laptop with EZ Vinyl/Tape Converter software
    • External hard drive or flash drive formatted in exFAT to save converted files
  • Tape2PC Quickstart Guide
  1. Make sure the Ion Tape2PC USB Cassette Deck is on and connected to a laptop via the USB B-type to USB A-type cable.
  2. Open the EZ Vinyl/Tape Converter software on the laptop.
  3. When you are ready to record, press Play on the Cassette Deck and then press Record in the EZ Vinyl/Tape Converter software.
  4. It will start recording and record until the end of that side of the tape. When it is finished, it will prompt you to name and save your tracks. IF YOU ARE USING A BPL MACBOOK: Because of the way iTunes is configured on our laptops, it will first give you an error message about saving to iTunes. (If you are using your own device, skip to Step 6).

  1. Before you are able to save, you will need to first open the iTunes application by going to Applications > iTunes and agreeing to the iTunes Software License Agreement. Once you have done this, you will then be able to press OK on the pop-up window and save the tracks through the EZ Vinyl/Tape Converter software.
  2. After you save the tracks, it will ask if you want to record more. If you want to record the other side of the tape or another tape, you would then begin the process over again.

 

Vinyl LP (Audio)

  • Needed equipment:
    • Ion Portable LP Conversion System
    • USB B-type to USB A-type cable
    • Power adapter
    • Laptop with EZ Vinyl/Tape Converter software
    • External hard drive or flash drive formatted in exFAT to save converted files
  • Ion Portable LP Quickstart Guide
  1. Make sure the Ion Portable LP Conversion System is plugged in and connected to a laptop via the USB B-type to USB A-type cable.
  2. Open the EZ Vinyl/Tape Converter software on the laptop.
  3. When you are ready to record, put the needle down on the vinyl LP and press Record in the EZ Vinyl/Tape Converter software. Make sure it's set to the proper speed (33, 45, or 78).
  4. It will start recording and record until the end of that side of the vinyl LP. When it is finished, it will prompt you to name and save your tracks. IF YOU ARE USING A BPL MACBOOK: Because of the way iTunes is configured on our laptops, it will first give you an error message about saving to iTunes. (If you are using your own device, skip to Step 6).

  1. Before you are able to save, you will need to first open the iTunes application by going to Applications > iTunes and agreeing to the iTunes Software License Agreement. Once you have done this, you will then be able to press OK on the pop-up window and save the tracks through the EZ Vinyl/Tape Converter software.
  2. After you save the tracks, it will ask if you want to record more. If you want to record the other side of the vinyl LP or another vinyl LP, you would then begin the process over again.
VHS/Video + Audio Digital Conversion
  • VIDEO 2 PC HD Digital Video Converter Guide
  • The digital conversion process takes place in real time. For example: if your VHS is 20 minutes long, it will take 20 minutes for it to be digitized.
  • Have a hard-drive handy to transfer your files into.
  • Do not press the record button on the VCR, especially when working with recordable/blank VHS—it could overwrite material on VHS cassette tapes.
  • If you're using one of the Info Commons laptops, you must use a Mac laptop because the program is not compatible with our PC laptops.
  • Needed equipment:
    • VIDEO 2 PC HD Digital Video Converter
    • Panasonic VCR
    • RCA cables
    • 400 to 800 pin firewire
    • AC adapter* (only use the AC adapter if converting with a PC. The Mac will supply power through the firewire, so a power adapter is unnecessary.)
    • For converting VHS-C camcorder cassette tapes, we have a VHS-C cassette adapter for loan
    • External hard drive (large output files) formatted in ExFAT with at least 30 GB of free space.
      • ExFAT is a file system for external drives that our Macs require. It is also compatible with PCs so that you will be able to use the files on any computer.
      • The video files when exported can be quite large so depending on how many minutes you hope to digitize you will need more space. For example, a 5-minute video was 1.5GB, so a 60-minute video could run 18 GB. 
    • Mac laptop and video-editing software

Our more detailed instructions:

Please note: digitization length is in real time, in addition to the time it takes you to set up the equipment.

Setup

  • Connect one end of the RCA cables to the font of the VIDEO 2 PC HD Digital Video Converter and the other end to the back of the VCR where it says OUT.

  • Connect the VIDEO 2 PC HD Digital Video Converter to the laptop.

Digitization  

  1. Open the EZcap software on the MacBook.

  2. If the following window pops up, just select Digitizer from the Menu Bar, and then click on EZCap.
  3. Once you have inserted your cassette into the VHS player, and you are ready to start your recording, select Record from the Menu Bar, and then select Record... from the drop-down menu.
  4. Once you have hit Record…, a window will pop-up prompting you to name and save your file. Type the .mp4 extension at the end of the name you have selected for your file, and make sure to save the file to the MacBook’s Desktop.
  5. Once your cassette has finished playing, simply click on the window that pops up during the digitization process:
  6. After the digitization process if over, you can find your saved file on the MacBook Desktop. Drag this file into your storage device.