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Desktop Video News #042 - How to Record Digital Video From Your PC To VCR
May 16, 2006
Issue 42, 16 May 2006

What's Hot

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

Learn the fundamentals of camera movement.

Some common misconceptions about digital camcorders.

A guide to choosing the best Firewire card.

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.

How to Record Digital Video
From Your PC To VCR

© 2006

Youíve probably heard about how you can save a digital movie from your PC to a digital camcorder, but did you know you could save it directly to a VCR as well?

The benefits of this are many. First is that thereís no need for a digital camcorder to do it. You most likely already have a VCR that you can output your video to. The tapes for VCR are fairly inexpensive too, unlike digital tapes.

Connecting VCR to PC is a simple process as youíll see. Once you know how to connect VCR to PC youíll probably use this technique over and over again.

Step 1: Check Your Hardware

The first step in your VCR to PC hack technique is to check your hardware. That usually goes without saying, but both software and hardware are needed to connect VCR to PC and get the results weíre after.

You will need to check out your graphics card. Get behind your computer and look at the output connections. Connecting VCR to PC requires that you have whatís called a 'TV Out' connection. This should either be labeled 'S-Video' or 'Composite'. Either of these will do.

If youíre at all familiar with video connections, you probably know that there are many different types of connections that you can use. Between 'S-Video' and 'Composite', S-Video is generally regarded as providing the better picture quality. S-Video works by separating the color component of the picture from the brightness of the picture, giving a better-looking final image. Nonetheless, for our purpose, either connector will do.

Step 2: Figure Out Those Cables

Okay, youíve found your connectors and they fit in one of the above categories. Now we have to take the next step. To connect VCR to PC we need cables.

Cables come in a wide assortment so you need to find the one that fits into your connector. How do you exactly which cable you need to connect VCR to PC? Check both the connectors on your graphics card as well as the connectors on your VCR.

For example, do you have S-Video connectors on both the graphics card and the PC? If so, you need an S-Video to S-Video cable. However, if you find that the resulting picture on your monitor is black and white, you may need some help with a S-Video to composite converter. Beyond the graphics, you need to connect the audio.

Find the output connectors on your soundcard. You will use a 2 x RCA female to 3.5mm phono Jack cable to connect it to the audio connector on your VCR. Check online for the cables you need or go to your local electronics store.

Step 3: Get the TVTool Software

Now weíre going to the software part of connecting VCR to PC, but first letís check our results so far. If youíve hooked up everything properly, go ahead and turn everything on. Turn on your TV and switch it to VCR channel, and make sure the video recorder is set to the right AV channel.

No magic yet, just a black screen. The next important step in your VCR to PC connection is a software tool. Itís called TVTool, and you can download it from their website. You can install a trial version of their software.

Once itís installed, it will present you with a tabbed control interface. To see your video on TV, click on the big green 'TV Mode' button. Once done, toggle back to your PC using the F2 key on your keyboard.

Now, how do we record? Itís simple. Find a video player for your PC. I recommend the Zoom player because it lets you manipulate the final image for a correct fit to your TV. Then, click 'Record' on your VCR and youíre done!


Connecting VCR to PC might seem a bit outdated to some people, especially in this age of digital camcorders. However, there are simply times that you need your digital video creations output to the tapes you play in your VCR.

If you were to use your digital camcorder to accomplish the same feat, you would first have to record back to your digital camcorder (from your PC), and then record from your digital camcorder to your VCR. Itís a two-step process. But if you connect VCR to PC, you can do the whole thing one fell swoop!

Articles Of Interest

Learn how you can shoot a spectacular wedding video
An overview on how to go about shooting a great wedding video.

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

A guide to selecting and buying VCD and DVD authoring software
A brief guide to buying the best VCD and DVD authoring software.

A guide to selecting a computer for digital video editing
A guide to buying a computer for digital video editing. Learn how to choose a quality desktop or laptop system.

Video editing software and how to choose the right product
Tips on how to choose the correct video editing software for your video production needs.

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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