How to Transfer Digital 8 to PC

By Stephen Lilley

Updated September 22, 2017

Items you will need

  • Digital 8 camcorder

  • PC

  • Windows Movie Maker software

  • Dazzle DVD Recorder hardware

"Digital 8" (properly known as "Digital8") videotape is a type of 8mm videotape used by certain brands of digital video camcorders. While the format has been abandoned for the smaller and higher-quality "MiniDV" format, it is still common to see older Digital 8 camcorders in use today. Transferring the footage to your computer allows you to edit it and burn it onto DVDs that are playable anywhere. Just how easy transferring Digital 8 video to your PC is depends on the hardware specifics of your PC.

Connect your "Digital 8" video camcorder to your computer. This can be done in a variety of ways. If your computer's video card has red, white and yellow composite audio/video input/output jacks on it (known as RCA plugs), simply connect the camcorder's composite cables to these jacks. If it does not, check to see if your video camcorder has the capacity to use either a USB or FireWire cable to output video. If it does, simply connect one of these cables to the appropriate inputs on both your computer and the camcorder.

If neither of these methods are available to you, you'll have to buy an additional piece of equipment. The Dazzle DVD Recorder is an example of a piece of hardware that plugs into a USB port on your computer (See Resources). The Dazzle device has the composite inputs necessary to connect your Digital 8 camcorder to your PC. This device can be found in electronic stores like Best Buy and online retailers like, and currently retails for $49.99.

Open your digital video editing computer software. This can be an expensive video-editing program like Adobe Premiere, or you can find a cheaper alternative. PCs running the Windows operating system come with a video-editing program called Windows Movie Maker that will work just as well. Windows Movie Maker can be found by clicking on the "Start" menu and selecting the "Programs" sub-menu.

Rewind the Digital 8 videotape in your digital video camcorder to the beginning. Your editing software will capture footage off of the tape in "real time," which means that the footage is transferred to your PC as it plays. As a result, the tape needs to be rewound to the beginning in order to capture all of the footage.

Capture your Digital 8 footage. This will involve finding and selecting the "Capture" option in whichever digital video editing computer program you've chosen to use (see References). If the camcorder is connected to the PC using the FireWire port, the software will control the camcorder, automatically starting the camcorder and capturing the output video to a file on your PC. If the camcorder is connected to the PC using the composite cables, you may have to start the camcorder playing manually, then hit the "capture" button in your editing software when the video reaches the point where you want to begin capturing it. Once the footage has been captured, you can edit it from within your digital video editing software or use the same software to burn it directly to a DVD.