How to Convert Camcorder Tapes to Computer Files

By Larry Amon

Having a digital camcorder is great for making movies of your family or friends. It can be a lot of fun capturing special moments, but a lot of times people don't know what to do with the DV tapes that the camera uses or how to get them onto their computer. It's quite simple and a short process; you just need the right equipment and an explanation.

Things You'll Need

  • Editing software
  • Firewire card
  • Firewire cable

Step 1

Find a video editing program. You can use anything from a professional level program like Adobe Premier to Movie Maker, the free software that comes with Windows. You'll need the software to upload the video. You can use more complicated software to edit your files in many ways but for uploading, something simple is all that is needed.

Step 2

Put the tape in the camera and connect the camera to the computer via firewire cable. You will need to either have a firewire card or purchase one and install it on your computer. You will also need a firewire cable. The cable should connect to your digital camcorder in a port that is either on the back or in one of the compartments of the camera. The port will be a small rectangle with ends that are a bit rounded. Connect the other end of the firewire cable to the firewire card.

Step 3

Turn the camera on, and it should be auto detected. Start the video editing software, select "Import Video" and select the camera device. You will have to select a format based on the quality and size you want for the file. The tape will automatically rewind if needed and upload the file to your computer.

Step 4

Export or save the file by choosing a name and file type on the save option. Your tape is now a computer video file that you can easily copy or edit, and you are free to use the tape for another project.