Using a video converter

on Sunday, June 29, 2008

Video converters are kind of neat because they don’t require you to break out the tools and open up your computer case. As their name implies, video converters convert analog video of your visit in Aztec ruins to digital before it even gets inside your computer.
The converter has connectors for your analog VCR or camcorder, and it connects to your computer via the FireWire port. Converters are available at many electronics retailers for about $200. Common video converters include
  • Canopus ADVC-50:
  • Data Video DAC-100:
  • Dazzle Hollywood DV Bridge:
All three of these video converters are compatible with both Macintosh and Windows computers. Video converters pipe in video using a FireWire port —so as far as your computer is concerned, you’re capturing digital video. Capturing analog video using a video converter is just like capturing digital video. The only difference is that you’ll have to manually press Play on your analog camcorder or VCR before you start to capture.
If you have a digital camcorder, you might be able to use it as a video converter for analog video. Digital camcorders have analog connectors so you can hook them up to a regular VCR. Hook up a VCR to the camcorder, set up the camcorder and your computer for digital capture, and push play on the VCR. If the video picture from the VCR appears on the capture-preview screen on your computer, you can use this setup to capture analog video. This should work without having to first record the video onto tape in your digital camcorder, which means that using your camcorder as a converter won’t cause increased wear on the camcorder. Alas, some camcorders won’t allow analog input while a FireWire cable is plugged in. You’ll have to experiment with your own camera to find out if this method will work.