How to Convert a Sony 8mm Analogue Video to Digital

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With the advent of digital technology, there has been a strong shift in the way video is captured. Unfortunately, that doesn't help with all of the video you already have in your library. Video conversion is a great way to preserve your analog videos in a digital form. Digital video takes up less room, lasts longer, and can be enhanced for a higher quality experience. There are a variety of ways for you to convert your videos, and some will work better than others.

  • Depending on the size of your analog library, you may want to consult a professional. Large libraries can take a long time to convert on your own, and for a decent price, you can take it to a processing warehouse, where they will transfer all of your videos and give you back the originals, plus the digital copies.

  • Another option is to buy a Sony Digital 8 camcorder. Sony Digital 8 camcorders will play your analog 8mm tapes and export the video as digital through the firewire. Insert your 8mm tape, connect the camera to your computer and capture the video onto your computer. Burn it to a DVD, and you have a digital copy. This only works if you have Hi8 video. Standard 8mm may not work.

  • Buying an analog to digital conversion box, is also an option. This is a relatively cheap system, that lets you plug in your analog video camera, and then burn the files over to a DVD. It's similar to a VHS DVD converter box. This is a fairly cheap option, but you'll pay more depending on the quality level you want to achieve. It also can take a long time depending on the size of your library.

  • A fairly common approach, though it results in lower quality digital output, is to use a projector system. This is usually used for Super 8 film stock. Project the 8mm film on a screen, and then record the projection using a digital camera. The quality of your results will come down to how much care you put into it. You can achieve relatively high quality if you take the time and are careful, holding the camera steady or, ideally, using a tripod. This is also ideal if you are doing a rush job and don't have time to send your video out.

  • Purchase a stand-alone DVD recorder system. Plug the analog camera into the DVD recorder using AV cable, and then burn a DVD. Take the footage from the DVD and import it into your computer for cleaning or editing purposes.

Tips & Warnings

  • Examine what your conversion needs are. Try to choose the process that will ultimately give you the highest quality for the lowest cost.
  • Make copies of your tapes before you convert them. If the tapes are damaged, they will be gone forever. It's always important to make a backup.
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