How to Rip a DV Cassette to the Computer

Written by nathan mcginty
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How to Rip a DV Cassette to the Computer
Rip your DV cassette to the computer. (mini dv image by Adam Tomasik from Fotolia.com)

The DV (Digital Video) format is used for transferring and storing digital video files on storage media such as cassettes and hard drives. When you make a copy of a DV file, it is digitally duplicated such that the two files are identical. The advantage of this format is that it doesn't suffer from the dropouts and glitches common to other video formats such as VHS. "Ripping" is the process of transferring a digital format to your PC. Most commonly this is referred to when ripping DVDs, but it can also be applied when transferring DV files, such as ripping a DV cassette to the computer.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Mini DV deck or DV camera
  • IEEE 1394 cable
  • Computer with DV input
  • DV capture software

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Set up your DV source next to the computer. This could be a mini DV deck or a DV camera. Plug the DV device into an electrical socket, or ensure that it has enough power to last through the length of DV cassette that you want to rip.

  2. 2

    Connect the DV source to your computer with an IEEE 1394 cable. These are also referred to as "Firewire" cables. The name was coined by Apple for use in its operating system, but the name has since become synonymous with IEEE 1394 cables on all operating systems. The connections on DV devices are usually 4 pin, which the DV ports on computer systems are the larger 6 pin type. Some laptops, however, also use the 4 pin type.

  3. 3

    Power on your DV source.

  4. 4

    Power on your computer and log in to the operating system if you have not already done so.

  5. 5

    Start your video capture program. Most operating systems now come with a capture program included. On Windows machines, this is Windows Live Movie Maker, while on Mac OS this is iMovie. If you do not have a video capture program, there are a number of free shareware and trialware programs available on the Internet for download. See Resources.

  6. 6

    Ensure the capture program can see your DV source. This can usually be set in the "Preferences" or "Setup" portion of your capture program.

  7. 7

    Cut your DV tape up to the section you want to capture. In the majority of capture programs, the screen is broken up into three sections: the preview/capture window, the capture bin and the timeline. The preview/capture window has controls similar to a VCR and allows you to shuttle the tape backwards and forwards to select the portions that you want to capture. There may also be a check or selection box that will allow the program to capture the whole tape for you.

  8. 8

    Press the "Capture" or "Record" button to begin ripping your DV cassette to the computer. The computer will begin capturing your footage in real time. Press "Stop" or "End Capture" when you have captured the footage you want to rip to the computer.

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