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Capturing from a Camcorder

Once you have recorded all the video and audio that you need the next step is to capture it onto your computer. If you are using a camera that records onto a DVD you can simply put the DVD into your computer's DVD player. However as mentioned later, DVD camcorders do not give best quality, so we recommend using a MiniDV format camera. The easiest way to capture to computer is to connect using a Firewire cable and card. On the camera you plug this into the socket usually marked DV, and to the Firewire socket on the computer.

You need to make sure you have the right cable. On the left of the picture you see the elongated D shape of a 6-pin Firewire plug, and on the right is a 4-pin plug. The socket on the camera will always be 4-pin, on the computer you will need to check whether it is 4 or 6-pin.

Capturing from VHS tape or other analogue source

In order to capture video from VHS tape and convert into digital form you will need to connect your VHS player to a PC Video Capture Card. There are many of these on the market and they vary in price and performance. ViewCast's Osprey 100 is a good introductory card at a reasonable price, but is limited in performance (is not able to capture full size video). The Osprey 220 is an excellent card but is around 3 times the price of the 100. Alternatively, you can also buy a separate device that automatically converts VHS tapes to DVD format and records onto a DVD disk.

With Windows Vista and XP, when you connect your input device (camera, VHS player) to your PC and turn it on, software will automatically appear on your PC that will allow you to start the capture.