How to Record a Mini DV to a Computer

Updated July 20, 2017

Mini DV camcorders are consumer favourites because of their portability, versatility and inexpensive recording format, Mini DV tapes. One benefit of Mini DV tapes compared to other recording media, such as DVDs or flash memory, is the tapes allow for frame-by-frame editing, which is highly precise and leads to more accurate cutting and effects, according to the Crutchfield website. To edit Mini DV tapes, you must transfer the footage from a Mini DV camcorder to a computer. Depending on the make and model of the camcorder, you can do this using a FireWire or USB cable.

Insert one end of the FireWire or USB cable into your camcorder. Make sure that your camera is off when doing this.

Insert the other end of the FireWire or USB cable into the corresponding port on your computer.

Turn on your camcorder. Switch the mode to the VCR or Play setting if it is not already there. This setting allows you to view the footage you have already recorded.

Access your video editing software on your computer. Depending on the camcorder and software, this may occur automatically. Often, Mini DV camcorders will come with a basic editing suite. If yours did not, you can purchase inexpensive editing software at most computer stores.

Use your software to capture, or record, your footage onto your computer. Again, depending on the camcorder and software, this can begin automatically. For most, however, you must manually access the camcorder through the software. In general, you can do this by clicking "File" or "Edit" and then "Capture," but this can vary with different editing software. From there, follow the directions and use the software's controls to capture your footage.

Things You'll Need

  • Transfer cable (FireWire or USB)
  • Editing software
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About the Author

Robert Frankel began writing professionally in 2010. He has written for "The Daily of the University of Washington" as a film critic and cultural analyst. Frankel is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in economics at the University of Washington, Seattle, and is a cadet in the Air Force ROTC detachment on campus.