Turn your old video into digital memories using Windows Live Movie Maker

Do you have a lot of old home movies stuck on old analog videotapes? If you want to bring that old analog footage into the digital age, you can do it by using Windows Live Photo Gallery. After the video is on your computer, you can edit it in Windows Live Movie Maker to make and save new movies to share with friends and family.

Picture showing an analog video camera and VCR, a DV camera, and a computer
Import analog video through a DV camera to your computer

Windows Movie Maker isn't included in Windows 7, but you can download it for free from the Windows Live Essentials website.

Note

  • Video can’t be imported directly from an analog video camera or VCR to your computer when using Windows Live Photo Gallery. To do this, you need to have an analog capture device installed on your computer. An analog capture device is hardware that converts analog audio and video content from an external source, such as a VCR or video camera, to a digital format that can be imported by a computer. Then, you can use software to import video directly from an analog video source.

What you'll need

Before you get started, here’s a list of things you’ll need:

  • A computer running Windows 7 or Windows Vista

  • Windows Live Photo Gallery and Windows Live Movie Maker

    Windows Live Movie Maker and Windows Live Photo Gallery are part of Windows Live Essentials, which you can download for free from the Windows Live Essentials website.

  • An analog video camera or VCR

    Some popular analog video formats include 8mm, Hi-8, VHS, and S-VHS (to name a few).

  • A DV camera that supports DV pass-through

    To find out it if your DV camera supports DV pass-through, check the documentation that came with your DV camera or go to the manufacturer's website.

  • An IEEE 1394 cable (also called a FireWire or i.Link cable)

  • An IEEE 1394 port on your computer

  • An Audio/Video (A/V) cable

    This cable has three RCA connectors (red, white, and yellow) on one end and a single Mini A/V connector on the other end. Many times, this cable will come with your DV camera.

  • An S-Video cable (Optional)

Step 1: Change settings on your DV camera

Make sure that your DV camera supports DV pass-through, and then enable this setting on your DV camera. When this setting is enabled, the DV camera converts the analog video to digital video as it passes through the DV camera, so the video can be imported and saved as a video file on your computer.

To use DV pass-through

  1. If there’s a videotape in the DV camera, remove it.

  2. Turn on your DV camera and put it into playback mode (often labeled VCR or VTR on the DV camera).

  3. Press the button (or other control) that displays a playback settings menu.

  4. Enable DV pass-through.

    This setting is usually found on a playback menu and labeled as A/V to DV Out, AV to DV, or with a similar name.

  5. Exit out of the playback settings menu on the DV camera.

  6. Turn off the DV camera.

Step 2: Connect your analog video camera or VCR to your DV camera

The next step is to connect your analog video camera or VCR to your DV camera. You can use either an S-Video or composite video connection to do this. (If you have the choice between the two connections, use an S-Video connection to get higher-quality video.)

Show all

Using an S-Video connection

If you have S-Video jacks on both your analog video camera or VCR and your DV camera, then you can use an S-Video cable to connect your analog video camera or VCR to your DV camera.

If you use an S-Video cable, you’ll also need to use an A/V cable too. (The S-Video cable transfers the video to the DV camera, and the audio goes through the red-and-white RCA connectors on the A/V cable.)

Picture showing an S-Video connection
Using an S-Video connection to connect a DV camera to an analog video device

To connect a DV camera to an analog video camera or VCR (S-Video connection)

  1. Turn off the DV camera and analog video camera or VCR.

  2. Plug one end of the S-Video cable into the S-Video jack on the DV camera.

  3. Plug the other end into the S-Video Out jack on the analog video camera or VCR.

  4. Plug the single Mini A/V connector on one end of the A/V cable into the Mini A/V jack on the DV camera. (The Mini A/V jack is often yellow and labeled Audio/Video.)

  5. Plug the red-and-white RCA connectors on the other end of A/V cable into the red-and-white RCA jacks on the analog video camera or VCR.

    Do not plug the yellow RCA connector into the analog video camera or VCR.

Note

  • If you’re importing video from a videotape in a VCR, make sure that the red-and-white RCA connectors are plugged into the Line Out RCA jacks on your VCR.

Using a composite video connection

You can also use a composite video connection to connect your analog video camera or VCR to your DV camera. For this type of connection, use an A/V cable to connect your DV camera to your analog camera or VCR.

Picture showing a composite video connection
Using a composite video connection to connect a DV camera to an analog video device

To connect a DV camera to an analog video camera or VCR (composite video connection)

  1. Turn off the DV camera and analog video camera or VCR.

  2. Plug the single Mini A/V connector on one end of the A/V cable into the Mini A/V jack on the DV camera. (The Mini A/V jack is often yellow and labeled Audio/Video.)

  3. Plug the yellow, red, and white RCA connectors on the other end of the A/V cable into the corresponding yellow, red, and white RCA jacks on the analog video camera or VCR.

Note

  • If you’re importing video from a videotape in a VCR, make sure that the red-and-white RCA connectors are plugged into the Line Out RCA jacks on your VCR.

Step 3: Connect the DV camera to your computer

After you connect your analog video camera or VCR to your DV camera, you just need to make one more connection. Use an IEEE 1394 cable to connect your DV camera to your computer.

Picture showing an IEEE 1394 connection
Using an IEEE 1394 connection to connect a DV camera to a computer

To connect a DV camera to a computer by using an IEEE 1394 connection

  1. Turn off your DV camera.

  2. Plug the IEEE 1394 connector on one end of the IEEE 1394 cable into the corresponding IEEE 1394 port on your DV camera.

  3. Plug the IEEE 1394 connector on the other end into the IEEE 1394 port on your computer.

Step 4: Import the analog video to your computer

Now that everything is connected, you’re ready to start importing video from your analog video camera or VCR to your computer.

To import video to your computer

  1. Insert the videotape that you want to record from into your analog video camera or VCR, and then turn on the analog camera or VCR.

    If you're recording from an analog video camera, put it into playback mode when you turn it on.

  2. Turn on your DV camera and put it into playback mode, which is often labeled VCR or VTR on your DV camera.

  3. Do one of the following:

    • If the Autoplay dialog box appears after you turn on the DV camera, click Import video using Windows Live Photo Gallery.

    • If Import video opens instead, go to the next step.

  4. On the Import video page, do the following, and then click Next:

    • In the Name box, type a name for the new video file.

    • Click Choose the parts of the video to import.

  5. Use the controls on the analog video camera or VCR (or the remote control for it) to cue the tape to the part where you want to start importing video, and then press PLAY to begin playing the tape.

  6. On the Use the camera controls to find the scene you want, and click Import page, click Import.

  7. When you want to stop importing video, click Stop.

  8. On the analog video camera or VCR (or using the remote control), press STOP.

  9. Repeat steps 5 through 8 for each part of the videotape that you want to import.

  10. When you're done importing video, click Finish.

    The imported video is saved as one video file on your computer and appears in Windows Live Photo Gallery.

  11. To add the video into Windows Live Movie Maker so you can start editing it, click the video file in Windows Live Photo Gallery, click Make, and then click Make a movie.

Note

  • You can also import video starting in Windows Live Movie Maker. After you have everything connected, in Windows Live Movie Maker, click the Movie Maker button Picture of the Movie Maker button, and then click Import from device to get started.