While film-based still photography covered generations of family memories, home movies and home videos gained widespread popularity only in the 1980s, as camera and tape sizes grew smaller and more convenient. The Hi8 video format brought broadcast-quality video to the home user, using compact analog videotape cassettes. Converting Hi8 video to digital form allows you to take advantage of the convenience and flexibility of DVD storage and playback, ensuring that your memories aren't lost to obsolete technology. There are two ways to convert Hi8 to DVD, though each needs special equipment to enable the transfer.
Using a Standalone DVD Recorder
Connect your Hi8 video camera or other Hi8 playback device to the DVD recorder. You may have a number of options, including red, white and yellow RCA-type, S-video or Firewire connectors.
Video of the Day
Place a blank DVD into the recorder and prepare the device to record, using the manufacturer's instructions. Rewind your Hi8 videotape and prepare the camera or playback device to play.
Start the DVD recorder and then the Hi8 video device. You can let the recorder capture all of the videotape or use pause and fast-forward functions to perform rough edits, if these controls are available on your equipment.
Using Video Capture Equipment
Connect your video capture equipment to your computer. These capture devices may require that you have a Firewire or USB 2.0 connection on your computer, or a free HDMI port on your video card. If you own a digital video camera, you may be able to use it as an analog-to-digital conversion device.
Connect your Hi8 video playback device to your analog-to-digital video capture hardware. The Autoplay dialog box may open, giving you a number of options, from which you can select "Import video using Windows Live Photo Gallery." Alternately, if an "Import video" dialog box opens, click "Next," type a name for your video and click "Choose the parts of the video to import."
Cue your Hi8 tape to the starting point for video capture and begin playback. On the "Use the camera controls to find the scene you want, and click Import" page, click "Import." When the tape is done, or when you reach the end of the desired material, click "Stop."
Edit your captured video if desired, using editing software. Free options include Windows Movie Maker, Avidemux and Lightworks Free. Video editing is not essential to transfer your Hi8 tape to DVD (see Resources).
Use DVD authoring software to convert and burn your digitized Hi8 video to a format compatible with DVDs. Depending on the program you choose, you may also be able to create menus and titles for your DVD. Free DVD authoring packages include DVD Styler, DVD Flick and Bombono DVD (see Resources).
Things You'll Need
Standalone DVD recorder (optional)
Video capture computer hardware (optional)
Video editing software (optional)
DVD authoring software
These methods are not restricted to Hi8 video formats. As long as you can connect your playback device to a DVD recorder or video capture device, you can convert analog video to DVD.
In North America, video formats follow NTSC (National Television System Committee) specifications, which is compatible with tapes made with North American equipment. European video systems use PAL (Phase Alternating Line) specifications, which is incompatible with NTSC standard videos without additional format conversion.