How should I capture analog video footage from Beta, Hi-8, or VHS?

How should I capture analog video footage from Beta, Hi-8, or VHS?

One good option is dubbing your analog footage to a DV or HDV tape with the analog inputs of your camcorder. That way, your footage has been digitized and timecoded, and is ready to capture via FireWire into your system as if it had been shot on digital.

If you have Hi-8 footage, there are Sony “digital 8” camcorders with Firewire that will transfer Hi-8 footage (no timecode, though) directly into your computer.

This method has a lot of advantages- your footage is more convenient if you wish to use it in other projects or re-edit your project, it will last longer on digital tape, and you can log & batch capture normally with your editing software.

If you don’t like the idea of doing two passes, and you don’t need the footage timecoded, most camcorders have a pass-thru function so they act as a live convertor box. You will probably have to put your camcorder into “VCR” mode, and maybe “record pause” mode. If your camcorder doesn’t have this option in the menus, you may still be able to capture the video onto your hard drive AS it’s dubbing to DV or HDV (this is a hidden secret feature of many digital camcorders- pass thru to FireWire from the analog inputs WHILE recording).

There are various conversion boxes available, but why would you need one* if you own a camcorder? And if you don’t own a camcorder, buying a Canon ZR is not much more money then a box (and comes with a free camcorder to boot!)

*The exception is a box that doesn’t merely convert, but processes the video to correct problems, like this:

1 Comment

  1. Josh Mellicker 12 years ago

    This article? About capturing analog video footage?

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