The digital revolution has made it even easier for home movie enthusiasts to get their masterpiece shot and down on tape. Although most DV cameras use a connection type called Firewire (more technically known as IEEE1394) to transfer their tape to your computer’s hard drive, many DV cameras can also transfer their tapes through your computer’s USB port. Although not as fast as Firewire, using a USB connection for a DV camera is still an easy way to capture footage to use in your next epic production.
1. Fire up your favorite video editing program. If you haven’t purchased one, a simple video editing program usually comes with most operating systems. Windows, for example, comes with Windows Movie Maker and Apples come with iMovie.
2. Connect one end of the USB to a USB port on your computer.
3. Plug the other end of the USB cable into your DV camera.
4. Turn the DV camera on.
5. Watch your editing program to make sure that it recognizes your camera. If it doesn’t, make sure that your DV camera is in Playback and not Record mode. Depending on the program, you might also have to explicitly tell it what camera you are using. This is usually in the Settings menu for the program.
6. Cue up the footage that you want to capture. After the program recognizes your camera, you should see a “Preview” or “Import” window with what looks like VCR controls beneath it. This allows you to preview the tape in your DV camera through the USB cable. Use the fast forward and rewind buttons to find the footage that you want to capture.
7. Capture your footage. When you have your footage cued up, press the Record button. Or, in some programs, you need to have the footage playing and then hit the Record Now button. This will capture the footage, frame by frame, and pull it into your computer over the USB wire.
8. Use the editing software to cut your footage as you see fit. You can also add special effects such as dissolves, wipes, fades and titles.
9. Export your footage back out to your DV camera through the USB cable. This will give you a backup copy of your edited program to keep on DV tape. This should be under the File or Export menu in your program.