Digitize Video Tape

Digitizing video tapes is an effective way to archive home movies.

Video tape has already become an obsolete technology, and even when stored in the optimal conditions, the quality of taped content degrades noticeably over time. Many people still have libraries of pre-recorded videos or irreplaceable home movies on video tape. The best way to preserve the content on video tapes is to digitize tapes into your computer and create a DVD or back up the resulting video files. The process for digitizing video tapes varies slightly, depending on whether the process is analog or digital.

Instructions

Analog Video Digitizing

1. Install video editing/recording software on your computer, if necessary. Windows Movie Maker is a free software utility available for download for Windows computers. Mac systems come with iMovie installed.

2. Install the video capture card in your computer or connect the external hardware capture device to the USB or FireWire port on your computer.

3. Connect the RCA audio and video cable connectors (colored yellow, red and white) to the corresponding video outputs of the video tape player and on the video capture card or device.

4. Open a new project in the video editing/recording software and start recording. The specifics of this process will vary slightly depending on which application is being used. In Windows Movie Maker, click the “Movie Maker” button, then click “Import From Device”, which will be your video capture card or external capture device. Then, click the device from which you want to import videos, and then click “Import”. In iMovie, select “File” then “Import”.

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5. Press “Play” on the video tape player.

6. Stop recording in the video editing/recording software when the video tape playback is completed.

7. Burn the captured video file to DVD or archive the video file to a storage medium like an external hard drive.

Digital Video Digitizing

8. Install video editing/recording software on your computer, if necessary. Windows Movie Maker is a free software utility available for download for Windows computers. Mac systems come with iMovie installed.

9. Connect the camcorder to your computer via the USB or FireWire port and power it on. Set it to “PC Connect Mode” or something similar.

10. Import the video from the camcorder using the video editing/recording software. The specifics of this process will vary slightly depending on which application is being used. In Windows Movie Maker, click the “Movie Maker” button, then click “Import From Device”, which will be your camcorder. Then, click the device from which you want to import videos, and then click “Import”. In iMovie, select “File” then “Import”.

11. Stop the importing when the tape playback has completed.

12. Burn the captured video file to DVD or archive the video file to a storage medium like an external hard drive.