How to transfer a mini DV tape to a computer

Updated July 20, 2017

Mini DV is a digital audio and video recording format. It comes in a small cassette (mini) and is a very popular format that is used in digital camcorders. The quality is good enough to be used in professional video applications. Before you can edit a mini DV tape, it must first be transferred onto a computer. Transferring content from a mini DV to a PC can be done in a minimal amount of time.

Go to the Windows Live website. Access the download link for Movie Maker and click "Download Now." Click "Run." Check the "Movie Maker" box and click "Next." Click "Next" again to install Windows Live Movie Maker.

Insert one end of the IEEE 1394 cable into the associated port on your PC. Insert the other end into the "Digital I/O" port on your Mini DV Camcorder. Set the Camcorder controls to "VCR."

Click the "Start" menu and click on "All Programs." Click on "Live Movie Maker." to open the video editing software.

Click on the blue box located at the top left of the screen. Click "Import from Device." Click on the icon under the heading that says "Digital Video Cameras." Click "Import." Type in a name for your video project and choose whether to import a portion of your videotape content or the whole tape. Click "Next." If your choice was to import the entire videotape, it will rewind and capture everything from the start of your tape to the end. If your choice was to import "Parts of a video", a control box pops up on your screen.

Using the controls on the "Import Video" box, rewind your Mini DV tape to the part you want to capture to your PC. Click "Import." When it reaches the point in your videotape where you want it to end, click "Stop." Click "Finish." The video saves as an AVI file.

Things You'll Need

  • IEEE 1394 cable
  • Windows Live Movie Maker
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About the Author

Hoot Gibson is a writer and experienced videographer. He currently writes informative articles for online publications. Gibson is a certified technology specialist with the International Communications Industry Association.