The gadgets and cables you will need to to transfer films from different camcorders to your computer
Q I have a Sony Vaio laptop (model VPCEC3C5E), a Canon UC900 camcorder and a Sony DCR-PC55E Handycam. I also have the Roxio Creator Pro 2012 video-editing program. I wish to transfer my various videotapes from the camcorder and the Handycam to my laptop. I then hope to edit the content on the tapes after the transfer. Can you recommend how I can achieve this?
A There is nothing particularly difficult about what you want to achieve but you will need to the necessary cabling. We will assume that you still have the audiovisual-output (AV-output) cables that originally came with your two camcorders (if not, it should be straightforward to pick up replacements from the likes of Maplin).
Even so, it is important to understand that there are different technologies at play, and therefore different options for getting the video from tape to a computer (a Sony Vaio laptop, in your case).
According to Canon, the UC900 is a mid-1990s vintage 8mm analogue camcorder, while we know the DCR-PC55E Handycam to be a digital camcorder that uses Mini DV tapes. The latter device has a built-in i.Link output, which is simply Sony’s name for the better-known Firewire interface standard.
As such, if you string the supplied cable from the i.Link port to a computer with a built-in Firewire port then, with the right software (and Roxio Creator would do), it would be possible to control the Handycam from the computer and precisely capture footage from its tapes to store them as digital files on the computer’s hard disk.
However, your laptop doesn’t have a built-in Firewire port (or i.Link, as Sony would have it). It would be possible to add a Firewire port by slotting in an Express Card add-on (such as this £15 example from Amazon) but for reasons we will explain momentarily, we will pause at this point to consider your Canon UC900 camcorder.
This older camcorder has only analogue outputs, so you would need to connect its output cables to your PC using a suitable video-capture gadget (such as Roxio’s own £35 Video Capture USB).
The computer will not have any direct control over the camcorder but, by pressing the camcorder’s Play button followed by the relevant Record option in Roxio Creator, you will be able to capture the analogue video and save the results as digital files.
The reason we took this diversion is because it is possible to use the same method with the Handycam, by connecting a cable from its AV socket to the aforementioned Roxio Video Capture USB device.
This is not ideal, because you would have to control playback manually from the camera (rather than the computer, if using Firewire). You would also sacrifice some quality, because the analogue output simple will not be as sharp as a digital connection – but it is the money-saving choice, as you would need to buy only one gadget.
Updating your subscription status