The easiest way to convert 8mm to DVD is to use an 8mm to digital service.
That would be ideal if you have an 8mm tape or two to convert.
However, if you’ve a bunch of tapes, accumulated over the decades to convert, then the cost might be prohibitive. Also you may not want to trust your priceless family memories with a third party.
If you don’t have the budget to use a tape to digital service or don’t want to take the risk of using one, then you would have to convert 8mm to DVD yourself.
You may be wondering if this is diffuclt to do. Is there are steep learning curve? What would be the cost and equipment investment?
Yes, you can do it yourself. It’s not rocket science really. About the equipment, chances are you already have most of what is required.
So, how do you convert 8mm to DVD yourself?
The main idea is you tranfer your video from your 8mm tape to your computer and then burn a DVD from there.
To convert 8mm to DVD yourself , you need to have the necessary equipment.
You’ll, of course, need a computer. If you’ve a decent computer, you’re half way through the battle.
Now that you have an 8mm camcorder and a computer, you would need a video capture device. Why?
It’s because you can’t connect your camcorder directly to your computer in most instances. 8mm camcorders aren’t like smartphones or modern-day camcorders which can connect directly to your computer through an USB port.
8mm camcorders come with AV ports not supported by computers by default.
We’re talking about RCA and S-Video outputs. You can connect your camcorder to a TV but not to a computer. You would need an adapter for that. It is called a video capture device.
The case however, is different if you have a Digital8 camcorder.
Digital8 Camcorder and Analog Video Capture Device
You can only do it if you’ve a DIgital8 camcorder. A Digital8 camcorder comes with a Firewire port. If your computer has a Firewire port, then you can connect your camcorder to your computer with a Firewire cable.
Video quality is high when you use a Firewire connection to convert 8mm video to DVD. However, a Firewire video capture also eats up on storage space.
An hour of digital video footage captured over a Firewire connection would need about 13GB of space.
Of course, if you’ve a newer computer, space would not be an issue, but with older computers you would have to be equipped with the necessary storage. You may need an external hard disk for the extra
Analog Video Capture Device
If you don’t have a Digital8 computer or if you do but don’t want to go through the hassle of setting up a Firewire connection, then you would have to use an analog to digital video capture device to transfer video from your camcorder to the computer.
The video capture device, converts the analog signal from your camcorder to digital before sending it to your computer.
Analog video capture devices don’t offer offer the quality of a Firewire video capture. However, if you’re just aiming for DVD quality , you would be satisfied with this mode of video capture.
Type of Video Capture Devices
There are two types of analog video capture devices – internal and external.
Internal video capture devices usually come in the form of a PCI card which you woulne need to install physically in your computer motherboard. This would require you to open up your computer casing and install it. So, this option would not be attractive to many.
Of course, there are some video capture cards offer good quality video capture. They are usually pro-grade and you don’t really need them if you’re just converting home moview.
USB External Video Capture Device
An external video capture device would be ideal for most users. All you need is an USB connection on your computer.
So, you would have no problem connecting an extermal video capture device to your laptop computer.
These external devices used to come in large sizes. But these days they are handy – some just slightly larger than an USB thumb drive.
You can easily get them to work with your computer with the supplied driver. A simple video editing software in also thrown in to enable you to capture video and simple edits.
At the time of writing, you can get these
If after capturing video to your computer and editing it, you need to burn it to DVD, you would need a DVD writer installed in your computer.
As DVDs aren’t popular in this age of MP4 and pen drives, not many computers, particularly laptops, which come with DVD writers.
Still, if you insist your captured file be burnt to DVD, then you can opt for an external DVD writer, which you can plug into your computer USB port.
From the above guide you can see that it’s not really difficut to convert 8mm to DVD yourself. Once you get started, you’ll familiarise yourself with the process.