Import Movies From DV Tapes To PC

The other day, when I was looking for all these videos I recorded my children with DV recorders and I couldn’t find many of them. I found a box full of these DV tapes, dated since 2000+. I haven’t used the DV camcorder for a long time after I got my FZ28 with HD movie recording capability. My DV camcorder is the JVC that’s famous for having “condensation error”Sure enough, after taken it out, the JVD SOD – Condensation appeared again (I believed the CPU was the problem). Anyhow, this tutorial is to use any DV camcorder to export all the DV tape precious contents to our computer for safe keeping or make them into DVDs for families or MP4 to load to Youtube for everyone to watch.

Most of DV tape recorders uses firewire (IEEE-1394) cable for fast frame transfer and less frame drops while transferring. This is NOT USB cable. If yours came with USB cable, it’s for pictures or memory transfer. Anyhow, just check with the manual. Assuming our PC should have Windows 7 by now, if not, your firewire port should have driver installed already. Windows 7 came with Windows Live Essentials: Movie Maker (free for download) that has “movie import function” built in. Windows XP does come with version 2.1 that can capture videos from external devices.

Hook Up DV Camcorder and PC.

Connect mini end of the firewire cable to the camcorder and the big one to the PC, if you use laptop, you may need both mini connections and cable. Connect AC to camcorder, place the tape in and turn the power switch to PLAY. Windows 7 or XP will automatically detect the firewire connection and the device (camcorder).

firewire cable     connection

firewire to PC     firewire to Camcorder

AVC device     autoplay

We can launch the “Windows Live Movie Maker” and import it from the drop down menu.

import from device     Select device

There are 2 options for import the video from the DV tapes: The whole tape or a part of the tape. When we select the whole tape, we just leave it there and come back in 60 or 90 minutes if the tape is full. The other way is selective, we can choose when to stop importing and restart importing. Either selection we choose, there’s also a more options for us to select the folder we want to store all these imported videos.

import options     More import

entire video     entire video

To import parts of video, there is a control panel to play, pause, fast forward, rewind for us to view the tape and select what we want to import. Time consuming but very efficient.

select parts     import part

When everything is done, we will have many large AVI files in the folder that we’ve chosen at the more options. Make sure we get a big hard drive. 5 minutes = 1GB of data.

When we have all these AVI files, we need to use some types of encoder software to convert to DVD files or MP4 to save space and easy to upload to youtube or play with any other electronic devices.

Edit home movies with movie maker


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