How to make a video camera live on a laptop screen with a USB cable

Many modern cameras connect directly to your computer via a USB video/audio capture cable to display what your video camera is shooting live on your laptop screen. Your camera may have both S-Video and composite video output slots. Use the composite video connection where available because it gives higher image quality on a laptop display, while S-Video is optimised for a TV screen.

Connect the yellow, red and white connections on the USB cable to the corresponding coloured ports on your video camera. If your camera only has an S-Video port, plug the single black connector into that port.

Plug the USB connection on the cable into a free USB port on your laptop. Your laptop will recognise the new device and inform you when it has been configured.

Turn on your camera and start recording to test the connection. Check that your laptop is displaying the feed from the camera.


Use video capture software such as Debut, QQSoft or Video Edit Magic (see Resources) to record live video from your external camera or webcam on to your Windows 8 computer. Switch on your camera and open the video capture software programme. Select the recording device and desired output format and click "Record" or "Start Capture" to begin recording. Output from your camera is displayed on the screen during recording.

Import video files from your camera with the Windows 8 Photos app and edit them with Windows Movie Maker from Windows Live Essentials 2012.

Things You'll Need

  • USB video/audio capture cable
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About the Author

Isobel Phillips has been writing technical documentation, marketing and educational resources since 1980. She also writes on personal development for the website UnleashYourGrowth. Phillips is a qualified accountant, has lectured in accounting, math, English and information technology and holds a Bachelor of Arts honors degree in English from the University of Leeds.