How to Transfer Mini Camcorder Tapes to DVD

One method used to store the video captured by mini camcorders is videotape. Smaller than standard VHS tapes, mini camcorder video tapes cannot be played back in standard VCRs. The tapes can, however, be played back through the camcorders on which they were captured. If you would like to convert your mini camcorder tapes to a format that makes them easy to play back on your home entertainment system, you can transfer the tapes to DVD for use in a standard DVD player.

Connect the camcorder to your computer using the interface cable provided with the unit. One end of the cable generally connects to a port on the camcorder, while the other end of the cable connects to either a USB port or a firewire port on the computer.

Turn the camcorder on in "VCR" mode, "Playback" mode or "Pass-through" mode, depending on your camcorder. Place the mini camcorder tape that you want to transfer to DVD into the tape deck of the unit and press the "Rewind" button to rewind to the beginning of the tape.

Launch a video-editing program on your computer that can capture video. The native video editor on Mac computers, iMovie, has this capability, as does the native Windows movie-editing software, Windows Movie Maker.

Switch to the capturing mode in the video-editing program. In iMovie, switch to capture mode by dragging the blue button at the bottom left of the screen to the camera icon. In Movie Maker, go to the "File" menu and select "Capture from digital video camera."

Enter a name for the file when prompted by iMovie, and click the "Browse" button to navigate to a folder on your hard drive where you want the captured camcorder video to save. In Windows Movie Maker, you are prompted to perform these tasks after the video has been captured.

Click "Import" in iMovie or "Start Capture" in Movie Maker to begin capturing, and press the "Play" button on the camcorder to begin playing the camcorder tape through the camera. Once you have captured the entire tape, or the part of the tape you want to transfer to DVD, click the "Import" button again in iMovie or "Stop Capture" in Windows Movie Maker. The file automatically saves to the selected folder.

Place a blank DVD in the computer's DVD drive, and launch a DVD-burning program, like iDVD on Mac systems or Windows DVD Maker on Windows systems. Press the button labelled "Import Video" or "Add" to add the video you captured from the mini camcorder tape to the project, and click the "Burn" button to write the video to the DVD.

Things You'll Need

  • Camcorder
  • Camcorder interface cable
  • DVD-R
  • DVD-burning program
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About the Author

Alexis Lawrence is a freelance writer, filmmaker and photographer with extensive experience in digital video, book publishing and graphic design. An avid traveler, Lawrence has visited at least 10 cities on each inhabitable continent. She has attended several universities and holds a Bachelor of Science in English.