Import analog video to your computer by using a DV camera

Do you have a lot of home videos stuck on old analog videotapes that you'd like to transfer over to your computer? If you do and you have a digital video (DV) camera and Windows Vista, you can use your DV camera to import video from an analog video camera (or VCR) to your computer.

Note

  • Video can’t be imported directly from an analog video camera or VCR to your computer when using Windows Import Video. To do this, you need to have an analog capture device installed on your computer, and then use other software that enables you to import video directly from an analog video source.

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

What you need

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

  • A computer running Windows Vista

    Your computer needs to be running one of these editions of Windows Vista: Ultimate, Home Premium, Home Basic, Business, or Starter.

  • 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, see the manual that came with your DV camera or go to the manufacturer's website.

  • An IEEE 1394 cable (also known as 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, it will be included with your DV camera.

  • An S-Video cable (Optional)

Step 1: Change settings on your DV camera

After verifying that your DV camera supports DV pass-through, 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, eject the videotape, remove it, and then close the tape loader.

  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 a similar name.

  5. Exit 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.)

Before you connect your analog video camera or VCR to your DV camera, make sure that both devices are turned off.

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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 source

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

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

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

  3. Plug the single Mini A/V connector on the 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.)

  4. 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.

    The yellow RCA connector should not be plugged into the analog video camera or VCR.

Note

  • If you’re using a VCR as the analog video source, 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 source

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

  1. Plug the single Mini A/V connector on the 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.)

  2. 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 using a VCR as the analog video source, 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

Now that your analog video source is connected 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. Plug the IEEE 1394 connector on one end of the IEEE 1394 cable into the corresponding IEEE 1394 port on your DV camera.

  2. Plug the IEEE 1394 connector on the other end into an 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 into your analog video camera or VCR.

  2. Turn on the analog video camera or VCR. If you are recording from an analog video camera, turn on the camera and put it into playback mode.

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

  4. When the Autoplay dialog box appears after you turn on the DV camera, click Import Video using Windows Import Video.

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

  6. From the Import to list, choose a location where you want to save your video file or files, or click Browse to choose another location.

  7. In the Format list, choose one of the following video file formats for the new video file, and then click Next:

    • If you want to create a single file using the file type that your DV camera uses by default, such as a DV-AVI file, choose Audio Video Interleaved (single file).

    • If you want to create a single Windows Media Video (WMV) file containing all of the information on the video tape, choose Windows Media Video File (single file).

    • If you want to create a WMV file for every scene on the videotape, choose Windows Media Video (one file per scene).

  8. Click Only import parts of the videotape to my computer, and then click Next.

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

  10. On the Cue the videotape and then start importing video page, click Start Video Import.

  11. When you want to stop importing video, click Stop Video Import.

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

  13. Repeat steps 9 through 12 for each part of the analog videotape that you want to import.

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

    The imported video is saved as one or more video files on your computer and appears in Windows Photo Gallery.

Notes

  • You can also open Windows Import Video by using Windows Movie Maker. After you connect your video camera or VCR, your DV camera, and your computer, start Windows Movie Maker, turn on your DV camera, put it into playback mode, and Windows Import Video should open automatically.

  • You can also open Windows Import Video by using Windows Photo Gallery. After you connect your video camera or VCR, your DV camera, and your computer, start Windows Photo Gallery, turn on your DV camera, and put it into playback mode. In Windows Photo Gallery, click File, click Import from Camera or Scanner, click your DV camera in the list of devices, click Import, and then follow the instructions.