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Easiest Way to Convert Camcorder Tapes to DVD

How to Convert Camcorder Tapes to Digital

Do you want to digitize camcorder tapes at home, but don’t want to buy a converter? This guide will walk you through how to transfer your camcorder tapes to a DVD using equipment you probably own already.

mini dv camcorder

Process for Converting Camcorder to Digital

One of the easiest and “least-involved” methods to transfer your camcorder tapes to DVD is to hook the camcorder up to a DVR or other recording device with a DVD recorder. This means that all you need to do is play and record your camcorder tape to the DVR, then burn a video DVD when the recording is finished. With this method, it is also possible to combine several smaller-length tapes onto one DVD, but the combined total run-time must around or below the two hour mark. For the example below, I’ll be using a Sony Hi-8 camcorder.

1. Grab your camcorder and locate it’s RCA (red, white, yellow) cables, as well as the power cord so you don’t lose power during the transfer.

2. Place the video tape you’d like to transfer into the camcorder, making sure it is fully rewound. Next, connect the RCA cables into the video out jack on the camera, or the video out port (This can differ from camera to camera, so consult your manual if stuck. Also make sure the power supply is connected, and plugged into the wall.

3. Insert the red, white and yellow end of the cables into the INPUT of the DVR or recording device. (make note of what input your used, as DVR devices are usually equipped with multiple inputs. This is typically clearly labeled just above or below the colored input jacks as input 1, 2 or 3, etc)

4. Once it’s all hooked up, turn the DVR on and set it on the same input as the step previous. You should now see your camcorder interface on the TV screen.

5. Test out the video and audio by pressing play on the camcorder, turning the volume up on the TV and making sure everything is playing as it should.

6. Now you are ready to transfer the video to the DVR itself. Press play on the camcorder and then immediately after pressing play, hit record on the DVR and now your video will begin to be transferred to the DVR’s hard drive. This process all happens in real time, so you’ll need to wait until the tape or video has reached the end before attempting to burn to a disc.

7. From here, if your DVR supports burning video to DVDs you can burn your discs straight from the DVD copy interface menu (Consult your DVR manual for instructions on this step).

If you want more power over your production such as editing abilities, it’s best to transfer your camcorder tapes to hard drive. This will allow you to insert your video clips into software video editing suites to add additional effects and splice scenes together with ease. To transfer your video to hard drive, there are a number of methods you could employ. For best results, we recommend using a video capture card or device that allows you to capture directly to your computer’s hard drive.

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