How to Convert Hi8 to Digital

Written by james clark
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How to Convert Hi8 to Digital
Transfer Hi8 video footage to a computer with a digital converter box. (8mm image by Randy McKown from

Hi8 is an analogue video format on a cassette tape once used with certain models of home video camera. Introduced by Sony in the early 1990s, the format gained popularity for its picture quality and compact cassette size, relative to VHS tapes. Transforming Hi8 tapes to a digital format requires a converter box connected to a computer for storing the digital video on the hard drive. Standard audio-video cables can be used to connect the Hi8 camcorder to the converter box. A USB cable is necessary to hook up the converter box with the computer.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Computer with CD-ROM drive
  • Hi8 camcorder
  • Composite AV cable
  • Analogue to digital converter box
  • USB cable

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  1. 1

    Place the software CD that comes with the converter box into the computer's CD-ROM drive. Install the software by clicking each on-screen button when prompted. Restart the computer, and remove the software CD when finished.

  2. 2

    Remove the protective cover over the AV jacks on the side of the Hi8 camcorder using a fingernail to lift off the plastic or rubber cover.

  3. 3

    Connect the yellow, red and white plugs on one end of the composite cable to the colour-coded jacks on the Hi8 camcorder. Plug in the other ends to the matching jacks on the converter box. If the camcorder only has one audio jack, it means the camera records a mono signal only. In this case, connect the white audio plug and leave the red plug hanging freely.

  4. 4

    Hook up the USB cable from the USB port on the side of the converter box to any free port on the computer.

  5. 5

    Turn on the camcorder and the converter box. Double-click the name of the converter software on the computer to open the program. Set the camcorder's mode switch, typically on the top or edge of the unit, to the playback position.

  6. 6

    Insert a Hi8 cassette tape in the camcorder. Fast-forward or rewind the tape to the chosen starting position for recording.

  7. 7

    Press the "Play" button on the camcorder. Click the "Record" button on the converter software to start the transfer to digital. Click the "Stop" button on the software when finished.

  8. 8

    Save the digital video on the computer by clicking the "File" tab to open a drop-down menu. Select "Save As," and choose "Save as MPEG." Type a name for the digital file in the box provided. Click the "Save" button to store the file on the hard drive.

Tips and warnings

  • Use the camcorder's DC power adaptor when converting Hi8 tapes. The battery pack could die in the middle of transferring the tape to the computer, which would ruin the recording.

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