Sunday, June 22, 2008

Upload MiniDV Footage to your PC or DVD

Surprisingly, this is one of the only easy to use devices to upload old footage into your computer. In fact even I had trouble finding it because it's called a DVD Recorder. I had to have the Best Buy salesman help me find it, and even then I didn't believe him when he said that's what I needed to upload footage. It can record your DVDs but it's more useful to take your old VHS videotape and upload it to your computer hard drive. NOW...some rules:

1. When you upload footage do it in chunks, don't upload an hour's worth of footage. Computers still hate video because it takes up so much space so you will be able to manage your footage much more easily if you upload a little at a time. It will all go back together fine in Windows Movie Maker or another Video Editing software so don't worry about stopping and starting. Just make sure when you stop, you back up a little before you start recording again so you don't miss anything.
2. Don't throw away your old VHS after you have uploaded! Put it in a shoebox in a dark, dry closet but don't throw it away. You never know what is going to happen with computer storage in years to come.
3. Remember that hard drives crash. So you should edit your old footage as soon as possible, OR back it up to another external hard drive for safe keeping. (another reason not to throw away your original footage)

You can buy this Dazzle box at Amazon and then move your VHS machine close to your computer. Hook it up with the cables you use to hook your VHS to your TV. The Dazzle box has an SVHS plug which you should use if you have it. It's better quality.
If you have more questions that what I've addressed here, just post a question.


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  2. These Dazzle boxes are good if you still have a deck to play back your old tapes. VCRs are still pretty easy to come by, but people with old 8mm camcorders may find their camcorders don't work any more. You can still buy an 8mm player for around $500, but unless you have a lot of tapes, you may be better off checking out a company that does 8mm to DVD transfers.

  3. I agree with your 8mm comment. As a teacher, I tell students to bring in old video tape for transfer and to use for graduation videos, family videos, etc. But 8mm comes in so many flavors - Hi8, 8mm and Video8 I sometimes don't have the right format. Many schools used 8mm and I have students now with Hi8 camcorders borrowed from their computer teacher.