Transfer & Edit Your VideoWhichever video capture option you use -- a special video card, a video capture card or a DVD recorder -- the steps for capturing and editing the video from your camcorder or VCR are basically the same:
- Make the connections. Connect the cords from the output jacks on your old camcorder (if it plays videotapes) or VCR to the input jacks on your video capture card or DVD recorder.
- Capture the video. Open your video software and select the "import" or "capture" option. The software should then walk you through the steps necessary for recording the video to your computer.
- Save the video at the highest quality possible. Old videotapes are already of poor enough quality, without further degredating the footage more than necessary during the compression process. If you're short on space, then capture, edit and burn small sections of video at a time. Once you've burned the resulting video to DVD you can delete it from your hard drive, freeing up space for more video transfer.
- Edit out unwanted footage. Once you've transferred the video to your computer you can edit and rearrange the scenes into a nice finished product. Most digital video editing software will have already automatically separated your raw video footage into scenes, making it easy to shuffle things around. Now is also the time to delete the boring stuff and edit out dead time, like the 20 minutes of footage you took with the lens cap on! Generally this process is as easy as drag and drop. You can eliminate choppiness in the final product by adding cool transitions from scene to scene, such as fades and page turns. Other special features you may want to play with include titles, photos, narration, menus and background music.
Create Your DVDWhen you're satisfied with your edited movies, it's time to transfer them to DVD. Again the software will walk you through the steps. Just as with import, you'll probably be given a choice of quality settings. For the best image quality limit the video you save on a single DVD to an hour or less. Choose a high-quality DVD-R or DVD+R disk (not the rewritable version) on which to burn your video. Make at least one backup copy as well, maybe more if you plan to delete the digital video from your computer's hard drive.
Other Options for Transferring Video to DVDIf you don't have a computer, there are options available for transferring video to DVD, sans PC, using a DVD recorder unit. If you want to do any editing before burning to DVD, you'll need a DVD recorder unit with a hard drive. Fancy editing is still best done on a computer, however. Alternatively, you can pay a professional to convert your VHS tapes to DVD, although this service doesn't usually come cheap.