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Question: Basically I have some old footage saved on 8mm tapes off of a video camcorder (this model http://uk.shoppydoo.com/price-digital_camcorder-samsung_vp_w80.html), which I would like to get onto the computer so I can eventually turn it into a DVD.
If anyone can provide me with a detailed explaination of the procedure that would be great, or if you can recommend me a good site that would be great too.

Thanks in advance.

Answer: Chris Villarin chrisvillarin.com Photographer Artist Web Designer Digital Video Effects Editing in Manila Philippines

I wrote this long answer, from years of experience editing. This is not copied from any website. Hope this helps!


Camcorders usually come with connecting cables. Older camcorders have yellow, red and white RCA cables that connect the camcorder to your TV or in this case your computer. Newer camcorders have FIREWIRE connectors that conveniently connect to FIREWIRE connectors in newer computers be it PC or Mac.


If you are using a camcorder with RCA connectors then your computer must have a Video Capture Card or any kind of video capturing device connected to your computer. A webcam is not a video capture device.

RCA connectors/cables come in 3 colors, yellow for video, red and white for left and right audio channel. In some camcorders you will see the 3 outlets with the 3 colors. While other camcorders are provided with a proprietary outlet that needs a proprietary cable with RCA connectors on the other end of the cable. These cables usually come with the camcorder.

Make the connections on the camera and connect the RCA to the outlets of your Video Capture Card/device. Color codes on the RCA and the outlets are important. The yellow RCA is carries the video signal and should be connected to the “video in” outlet of the Video Capture Card/Device. The red and white RCA cables are the left and right audio signal. These can be swapped without any problems.

Sometimes the camcorder has a minijack or headphone jack for outputting sound. And, sometimes the Video Capture Card/Device also uses a minijack to capture sound. If this is the case, only the yellow RCA cable needs to be connected both to the camcorder and the computer. Use a minijack to minijack connector cable to connect the camcorder and the computer. The minijack cable replaces the red and white RCA cable. There is such a thing as a “Y-Cable”. The Y-Cable is a minijack on one end and 2 RCAs on the other end. You can use this if the camcorder and the Video Capture Card/Device have different ways to connect audio signals. With all these complexities you don’t have to worry about connecting the wrong cables because NOTHING WILL BE DAMAGED in case you make a mistake.

Once the connections are done you are now ready to capture the video on your computer. Video Capture Cards/Devices come with programs that allow you to capture video to a location in your computer. Captured video files are most of the times in .avi or .mpg format stored in your computer.


New camcorders and new computers come with FIREWIRE or 1394 Connectors. These are more convenient to use. All you have to do is connect just 1 Fireweire (1394) cable to the camcorder and the computer. Turn on your computer and make sure all the programs that need to load during startup have been loaded. Connect the camcorder to the computer using the Firewire cable. Turn on your camera and set it to “play” mode. Not “record” or “camera” mode. Your computer should detect the camera and prompt you to open the associated program. Open the program and look for the “capture” button.


Leave everything on default and you should be OK. Once you get the hang of it you can start tweaking some settings. Here are common settings that you might want to experiment:

Resolution – this refers to the number of pixel. A 320×240 resolution means 320 pixels horizontally and 240 pixels vertically. 320×240 is the advised capturing resolution for youtube videos. 352×240 is ideal for VCD. 640×480 is the ideal resolution for full screen computer videos. 720×480 is the ideal resolution for DVD.

Data Rate – refers to the amount of data allocated for capturing video(and audio). 300 kbps (kilobit per second) in mpeg-1 format is recommended for youtube. 1152 kbps in mpeg-1 format is for VCD. 2,000 kbps in mpeg-2 format is recommended for DVD. These numbers are here as reference. You will get a low quality DVD if you recorded in 300 kbps mpeg-1. Commercial DVD data rate is 4500 kbps in mpeg-2 format. Data rate also determines the file size of the captured video. The lower the data rate the smaller the file.

Compression – MPEG 4 is for ipod videos, MPEG 3 is for music, MPEG 2 is for DVD, MPEG 1 is for VCD. DV compression is the highest quality compression available to standard desktop/laptop computers. If you plan to capture a video for editing I suggest you capture in DV compression .avi file.


You make DVDs by burning the DVDs in a DVD burner drive. DVD+R and DVD-R are now interchangeable types. Most commercial DVD players can handle both types. Open your DVD burning program. Most of the time DVD burners come with programs to make DVDs. Just follow the instructions on how to make DVDs and you’re done!

One Comment

  1. Reply
    Klute February 12, 2008

    The easiest way, is to connect the video/audio output sockets (from the camera) to the video/audio input sockets to a DVD recorder. All you really need is are the correct AV cables.

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