How to Transfer 8mm Video to a Computer

By Rianne Hill Soriano

Updated September 22, 2017

Items you will need

  • 8mm video tape

  • Computer

  • Video camera or tape deck

  • Camera cable

  • Video-editing software

  • Video capture device (if needed)

An 8mm video is shot using an 8mm tape.
i digital video cassette image by TEA from

8mm video refers to various types of videocassette tapes including the Video8, Hi8 and Digital8 and MiniDV formats. These tapes are typically digitized into digital video files so that they can be stored, played and archived in the computer. The digitized footage can be used for burning the original 8mm footage to DVD. The video files also provide easy access to compatible playback options using various video-playing software and multimedia players and gadgets.

Insert the tape to a compatible tape deck or video camera in “VCR” mode.

Cue the 8mm tape using the tape deck or video camera. Press the buttons “Play,” “Stop,” “Pause,” “Rewind” and “Fast Forward” to check the contents of the tape and set it to the beginning to prepare it for digitizing.

Connect the deck or camera to the computer using the appropriate RCA or USB cable.

Open your video-editing program and make a new project. Provide a project name for your file.

Click the “Capture” button in your video-editing software. While its location depends on the video-editing program used, this is typically found under the “File” menu. Wait for the “Capture window” to appear on the computer screen.

Make a test playback by pressing the “Play” button in your tape deck or camera. The footage will play on the “Capture window” if the deck or camera is properly connected to the computer.

Press “Now,” “Capture,” “Record” or any similar button to confirm the digitizing of the footage being played by the deck or camera. The button name depends on the video-editing program used.

Press “Stop” on the "Capture window" or “ESC” from the computer’s keyboard to finish the capturing process for the footage being transferred from the tape to the computer. Each captured file gets stored in an applicable folder found in your video-editing program’s editing interface.

Continue capturing all footage intended for digitizing by cueing the video in your tape and pressing the digitizing button in your “Capture window.” Press “Stop” or “ESC” to finish each capture process.


Digitizing footage from the tape to the computer requires real-time capturing. For instance, if you need to capture a 1-hour footage in a tape, this requires 1-hour capturing time to digitize the entire tape’s contents.


If you are using an old video camera or tape deck for the process, it may not have the USB cable that can readily connect it to the computer. In such case, you need a video capturing device that can connect the camera or deck to the computer.