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? It seems tough, doesn't it?

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

Once you learn the basic concepts, capturing video is not a difficult process at all.

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 range of FireWire cards.

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 Honestech VHS-DVD.

This neat little device has ports to allow analog video input from your analog camcorder or VCR. It then outputs the converted digital video via a USB cable into your computer's USB port.


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.

There are some good deals on video capture devices here.

An All-In-One Video Editing Program

Frustrated by your video editing efforts? You and try but just can't produce a professional looking movie? Then you should check out Movavi Video Suite. This all-in-one package contains powerful yet easy-to-use tools for any video processing need - edit, enhance, convert and share. You can easily create brilliant movies by adding special effects and convert your video into any of 170+ video formats, or burn it to Blu-ray Disc & DVD.

Related Articles

You may also wish to read the following related articles:

How to buy your first digital camcorder
A guide to selecting a computer for digital video editing
Video editing software and how to choose the right product
A guide to selecting and buying VCD and DVD authoring software
Top 5 video editing software programs