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Desktop Video News #037: Capture Video Into Your Computer
March 16, 2006
Issue 37, 17 March 2006

What's Hot

Learn how to share your digital video creations with friends and family.

A review of Roxio Easy Media Creator 8, a powerful DVD authoring tool.

How to buy your first digital camcorder.

How to shoot a spectacular wedding video.

A powerful tool for editing video and adding special effects.



Ulead VideoStudio

allows you to turn home videos into slick looking productions with ease.

Learn how to use Microsoft Movie Maker using this excellent video tutorial.

Ulead MediaStudio Pro is a quality video editor designed for professional videographers.

Store your video files online with StreamLoad - a premier video storage service.

Pinnacle Studio Plus allows you to easily capture video from camcorders and produce the best home movies.

Capture Video Into Your Computer


OK - You've shot that wonderful video of your daughter's birthday. Now, how can you get it into the computer to do some snazzy editing and perhaps produce a VCD or two?

If the video is on that MiniDV or Hi8 tape, how can you possibly move it out of there into the computer? Seems tough.

Well, let this article help you. It covers the correct way to capture video into your computer and how you can do it right everytime.

Analog or Digital?

The first thing you want to do is to determine if your video is in digital format (MiniDV, Digital8, MicroMV, Digital Tapeless, DVD) or analog format (8mm, Hi8, VHS-C). If it is in digital format, which is increasingly popular these days, you will need to transfer the video to the computer using a Firewire card. If it is in analog format, you will need an analog-to-digital conversion device to do the transfer.

Firewire Cards

A Firewire card is the channel through which video from your digital camcorder can enter your computer. A Firewire cable runs from your camcorder DV output port to your computer's DV input port. Due to the extremely fast transfer speeds that Firewire achieves, the digital video will be transferred with almost zero loss in quality. Most computers do not come with Firewire cards - if you are looking for one, I'd highly recommend the Belkin FireWire card which retails for less than $35 online.

If you want to find out what factors to consider when purchasing a quality Firewire card, you can check out my article on choosing the best Firewire card.

Analog-to-Digital Conversion Devices

An analog-to-digital conversion device converts video from analog format to digital format. These type of device is well suited for the following video editing scenarios:

  • You have video shot by an analog camcorder and wish to convert it into a digital format.
  • You have some old VHS tapes which are growing dusty and you wish to convert them into a digital format.

If you are in either of the above scenarios, I highly recommend you get an analog-to-digital conversion device to help with the time consuming work. One product that I've had excellent experience with is the USB Instant DVD from ADS Technologies.

This is is a neat little device that has ports to allow analog video input from your analog camcorder or VCR. It outputs the converted digital video via a USB cable into your computer's USB port. You will definitely want to check out my full review of USB Instant DVD.


Well, I hope this article has given you some insight into the process of capturing video into your computer. The main point is to always remember what video format you're dealing with. If it's digital, go with Firewire and if it's analog, use an analog-to-digital video conversion device.

Articles Of Interest

How to create a movie with Windows MovieMaker
A short tutorial on how to create a movie clip with Windows MovieMaker

An in-depth explanation of how a camcorder works
An in-depth article which reveals the intricacies of a camcorder. Learn how a camcorder functions and captures video.

Convert digital photos to VCD format
How you can convert digital photos to VCD format using Ulead DVD PictureShow.

How to buy your first digital camcorder
Buying your first digital camcorder. How to find the best deal among the many cameras out there.

All about the different types of camera movement
Learn about the camera movement techniques that professional videographers uses.

For more articles, be sure to visit

Recommended Desktop Video Tools & Services

A Top-Notch Video Editing Program

Ulead VideoStudio is a full-fledged video editing package at a reasonable price. This software allows you to turn home videos into professional looking productions with ease. There are more than 1000 customizable special effects to play with.

Create Great-Looking Digital Videos
Roxio VideoWave Professional is a video editing program that could be the answer to your video editing headaches. If you have trouble creating good-looking home videos, VideoWave allows you to edit and produce Hollywood-style videos with a few mouse clicks.

The Easy Way To Make DVD Movies
Ulead DVD MovieFactory is the quick, easy way to make great DVD movies, music discs and write data on DVDs or CDs. The software allows you to burn video straight to disc using no hard drive space. You can also easily trim video clips or add DVD chapters and titles.

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