How to Convert a Video Tape to Digital CD

by Eliana Kalsky Images

Many of us have old video tapes lying around with footage from family events, such as weddings, birthday parties and college graduations. Unfortunately, however, VCRs are on their way out in favor of DVD players and media centers. There are benefits to transferring your cherished video memories to CDs. You can easily jump between scenes, or chapters, and CDs are much more durable than videotapes.

Step 1

Insert your videotape into your video camera. If you are converting the entire tape, then make sure that it is rewound to the beginning of the tape. If you are transferring only a particular scene, then cue the tape to that scene.

Step 2

Plug in the conversion cable to the video camera using the firewire. Plug the other end into your CD recorder. This method will give you a copy of your videotape in real time. This is the recommended way to convert videos to CD.

Step 3

Insert a blank CD into the DVD recorder.

Step 4

Press the "Play" button on your video camera. Instruct your recording device to begin recording the video transfer. This is usually done in real time, although some DVD recorders have a hard drive installed, so that you can record the video and transfer it at a later date.

Step 5

Let the tape play through the scenes that you wish to convert to CD.

Burn a copy of your CD. Use editing software if you want to edit the footage, since once you burn the CD, you won't be able to edit it. However, you will be able to make a copy of the CD and edit the new version in the process.


  • CDs come in two different forms: CD-R and CD-RW. It is important to note that they are not interchangeable, so be sure that you are using the correct format for your DVD recorder.


  • Remember to clean the tape heads of your video camera. Tapes, especially older ones, leave behind residue that can result in poor video quality


Photo Credits

  • Images

About the Author

Eliana Kalsky is a freelance writer currently living in Manhattan. After earning her Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees in London, England, she began writing as a career after moving to Miami in 2001. She has published a number of travel articles for both American and British publications.

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