A Guide To Capturing Video
Into Your Computer

Hi, do you find it hard to transfer video from your camcorder into your computer? Well, when I first started out in digital video, I couldn't figure out how to do that.

Video in your camcorder needs to be moved to a computer to be edited and cleaned, but back then there were no clear instructions on how to do this.

Well, these days, I know better :)

You can transfer video from your camcorder to the computer using three techniques - FireWire, a video capture device, or SD memory cards.

Now, these video transfer techniques sounds more complex than they really are. Let me explain them in turn so you'll never be confused by video capture again.

1. FireWire

This is the traditional way of capturing video into a computer. Most computers these days have a FireWire port which allows you to hook up a FireWire cable.

A standard FireWire cable for video capture

Now, you connect the other end of that FireWire cable to the camcorder's FireWire port. Once that's done, you fire up a software to start the video transfer / import into the computer.

If you have a video editing program, you can start it and select the "Import Video" option to start capturing video. Remember to switch your camcorder to the "Play" mode to ensure video starts coming over.

2. Video Capture Device

The second way to capture video into your computer is to use a video capture device. There are many of these devices around, and most do a great job of converting analog video to digital video.

A video capture device to convert analog to digital video

What you do is to hook up your camcorder to the device (usually using the RCA cables) and connect the other end to your computer's USB port. Then all you need to do is start up the included video capture software program (comes with the device) and you can capture the video you need.

This type of device is great for digitizing and capturing ANY analog video source into your computer.

For example, if I had a whole bunch of VHS tapes, I can play them on the VCR and hook the VCR to the device with RCA cables. Then I can similarly capture the video into my computer. In fact, this is the technique I use to convert my VHS tapes into DVD.

All in all, there's quite a wide variety of uses for such video capture devices.

3. SD Cards

The third way of capturing video into your computer is via SD cards. This is also my preferred way of capturing video.

Camcorder SD cards are now common and allow for convenient video capture

Camcorders are now pretty advanced and capture video directly onto SD memory cards. You can easily take the SD memory card out of the camcorder, then load it into the card reader of your computer.

Once done, simply select the video in your computer and do whatever post-production processing you want to do with it.

The best thing about SD cards is also that they come in a variety of memory sizes, allowing you to increase or decrease the storage capacity of your digital camcorder as you please.

4. Other Methods

There are other methods of capturing video. For example, many camcorders these days have built-in YouTube support. Meaning that you can capture, then upload the video straight into the Web in a couple of minutes.

In fact, you can do this with the iPhone. For detailed video editing work, I don't recommend this approach - it's best if you capture the video into your computer first, then do the editing you need to do. Once done, then upload your video online.

Wrapping Up ...

I hope you've now understood how video can be captured into your computer. The best way for me these days is to use a SD memory card approach.

If you have video sources that are analog based, it would be good to procure an analog-to-digital video conversion device too. So until next time, have fun with your videos!