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Digital 8 Camcorder Transfer to PC

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If you have Digital8 tapes that need to be transferred to your computer, we can guide you through the process step-by-step. These steps might not work for you. However, you can always search for a video transfer company to do it for your tapes.

To transfer your videotapes, you’ll need a Digital 8 camcorder that works. A Sony Digital 8 Handycam is what you’re looking for. It was the Digital8 platform’s most popular camcorder and has been so popular.

If you don’t own a working camcorder, we recommend reading our comprehensive list of Digital8 camcorders capable of Hi8 playback. This article will provide information about the different models and locations where you can buy them. I recommend that you get a Digital 8 camcorder with Hi8 capability if you have Hi8 tapes you want to convert. You can also use the same steps as below to transfer Hi8 and Video8 tapes.

You can also ask your friends and family to lend you a Digital8 camcorder, or even transfer some of their tapes.
You can test playback with your Camcorder

If you have a Digital 8 camcorder and have not used it in awhile, check to see if your camcorder is still working. While the batteries might not be working, you should not use them anyway.

The AC adapter must be located and plugged into the camcorder to ensure it powers on. A battery should never be trusted during video transfer. It is therefore essential to have an AC power adapter that can work for you.

For playback testing, I suggest a blank tape with no valuable memories or your “least favourite” tape. The reason is that camcorders can eat tapes the same way VCRs can.

If the tape plays well on the screen, you can take a quick test video and then you can move on to the next step.

Check if your computer supports firewire ports or if one can be added.

Digital 8 video can be transferred by connecting your camcorder via firewire to your computer. This is the only way you can get digital video in 720×480 resolution directly from your digital 8 tapes onto your computer.

You will need a firewire port to transfer video from Digital 8 to digital.

The next best thing is a USB capture tool that connects to your camcorder’s analog outputs. This will capture your video, but at a lower resolution.

The USB port in the above photo is not used to transfer video from tape. It is only used to transfer images from the cards that were inserted into the camcorder.
Add a Firewire Card on your Computer

Firewire cards can be added to any computer desktop or laptop. You’ll get the best results because you can transfer digital video.

Firewire ports available for Laptop and Desktop computers

The video is not only saved in digital format but each clip will be saved to your card drive as an individual clip. This is due to digital data that is stored on the tape such as the start and end times.

When connected via firewire, your camcorder can also be controlled with your computer. Do you want to rewind or fast forward? All possible via a firewire connection.

Firewire ports aren’t usually available on desktop computers. However, it is possible to install a firewire card if you have the right card (see the link above).

The older laptops that have DVD drives usually have a 4-pin Firewire port. You may also be able to add an additional card.

Check the Device Manager to verify if you have a Firewire Card or if your new Firewire Card is correctly installed. If this happens, your firewire (also known as IEEE-1394) is correctly installed.


Digital video capture has the disadvantage of taking more space. An average of 11 GB can be used for each hour of tape storage on your hard disk. However, you can reduce the amount of storage after the video is captured with editing or conversion software.
USB Video Capture Device

You can also transfer via USB video converter. This device converts analog video signals from camcorders and other vcr to digital signals and then sends them to your computer. This will transfer video at a lower resolution than firewire but may still work for you. This is a one-time thing, so firewire may be an option. However, the steps above should work.

Digital 8 camcorders include analog audio and visual outputs. They may have all of their ports (svideo and yellow and red and white), but some camcorders also have a mini 8mm connector that connects to an adapter cable. These outputs were originally designed to be connected to your TV directly, but you can also use them to transfer video to your computer via a USB video recording device.

There are many USB capture devices included on the marker. The USB port connects to your computer at one end and allows you to input your audio and analog plugs. The majority will come with software that can display the output video from your camcorder, and then record it to you computer.

Note #1: If you have VHS tapes and a functioning VCR, you can also connect the usb device to your VCR and transfer them. This is a very handy feature. These devices work with analog video tapes, such as VHS C, Video8, or Hi8.
Connect your Digital 8 Camcorder and your computer
Firewire Connection

Even if your computer has a firewire port, you will still require the correct firewire cable.

You will need a 4-pin-to-4-pin firewire cable if you want to connect your laptop to your camcorder.

You will need either a 6- or 9-pin to 4-pin firewire cables if you’re connecting to a computer. For details on the supports, check your firewire card. The best 9 pin cable for Windows 10 and my Firewire card has been the one I have found to work. Amazon is likely to provide you with the right cable if it’s not available.
Analog Connection (USB video capture device)

Once you have purchased a USB capture unit, you will need it to be connected to your computer and camcorder. Although the steps for each device are different, you can plug the USB capture device into an unplugged USB port on your PC. The device will then either install drivers automatically or ask you to provide them.

These cables may be required or maybe you already own them.

A composite video and audio cable is required if your camcorder features composite output ports (yellow/red/white). An s-video cable is also recommended if your camera and capture card support it. This will allow you to get better pictures.
A 8mm mini Jack on your camcorder will require an 8mm to composite cable

Once you have the cable that you need to connect to your camcorder you can connect the other end to the USB capture device.
Confirm the availability of hard drive space

You will need enough space on your hard disk to store all your video tapes, regardless of whether they are being transferred via USB capture or firewire.

Consider 10GB per tape, although it will be smaller if you use USB capture devices. Then multiply that number by how many tapes are available.

Ex: If you have 10 Digital 8 tapes that need to be transferred, then 10 x10GB per tape equals 100GB.

An external USB hard drive can be used to store video files if your computer runs out of space. They are affordable, quick, and provide tons of storage.

Capture your Digital 8 Video
Capture Video with Firewire Video Capture Software

Firewire Video Capture Software is required if firewire was installed on your computer.

Capture Video Video using USB Video Capture software

The next best option is to capture video with a USB Video Capture Device if you can’t get a firewire cable installed on your computer. While it may be less quality than digital tapes, the video will still be saved to your hard disk.

The capture software that you use with your USB video camera is most likely included with it. VirtualDub, a free video-capture software available for Windows, is likely to have been included with your USB video capture device. Although it may be easy for newbies, it can still be quite difficult.
Capture Your Video

If all goes well, power up your camcorder with the capture software. You should see some kind of blue screen. Next, hit [PLAY] on you camcorder to see your video on your computer.

The software will usually tell you if it cannot detect a signal. This can indicate an issue with your USB capture device’s hardware driver, or with your USB connection.

You can now simply press record on your computer if the tape is re-wound. It will start recording the video to the specified folder. Most likely, this can be selected in the capture program.

When you reach a point in the video that has long breaks or video that you don’t want captured, simply hit [STOP] to stop the capture software. You will then no longer be able to save video to your hard disk.

You can quickly forward or play until you find a clip that you like. Once you have found it, simply hit [RECORD] to save another file.