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How to Transfer Old Camcorder Footage at Home

Life expectancy of magnetic tape is between 10-30 years depending on the tape’s quality. Lower quality tape can last as few as five years. With its limited life expectancy and the ever-advancing world of electronics, transferring your video now will help you preserve the footage and make it easier to transfer in the future.

What you will need:
USB or Firewire Cable- To connect your camcorder to your computer you’ll need a USB cable or a Firewire cable.
AC Adapter- This will have been supplied with your camcorder, but if you’ve misplaced it they cost approximately £ 2.95 – £ 5.89 to replace.

Connecting Your Camcorder to Your Computer:
Plug your power source, which is the AC adapter, into the wall and connect your camcorder. If your camcorder has not been powered on in a while it may take a few minutes to build up enough charge to turn on.
Once you have turned on you camcorder, connect it to your computer using either a USB of Firewire cord.
Your camcorder should be detected by your computer right away, but in the case that a pop-up does not appear on your screen you can find the connection under “Computer” in your settings.

Once your camcorder is recognized by your computer you are ready to make the transfer. There are several ways to make the transfer.
You can transfer directly to your hard drive. Keep in mind that this takes up a lot your computer’s storage.
You can import to provided software for storing and editing.
Or you can transfer your video to a memory device such as an SD card or flash drive. This saves your hard drive space and makes transferring to DVD simple.

Video Formats:
Your video’s format will be dependent on your brand of camcorder. The file extensions of HD videos are TOD, MTS, and M2TS; while SD definition videos have MOD, MPG, MP4, MOV, and AVI extensions. SD video generally cannot be improved to HD video; but, for space and compatibility purposes HD can be downgraded to SD.

Publishing Online:
When publishing video online to sites like Facebook and YouTube it’s recommended that you convert your video to FLV for easy publishing. YouTube also supports MOV, MPEG4, MP4, AVI, WMV, MPEGPS, FLV, 3GPP and WebM. Facebook has many more acceptable formats including 3GPP, ASF, AVI, DAT, DIVX, DV, FLV, M2TS, MKV, NSV, QuickTime, TOD, VOB and WMV.

To get old VCR home videos online, you’ll need to get them professionally transferred to digital format. Contact us to find out more about transferring video and camcorder tapes to digital and preserving your family home movies.