camcorder Archives - Digital Converters

Digital Converters
Unfortunately, your web browser is out of date. For the best buying experience, more security and better speed on the Digital Converters website, please update your browser.

The day is finally here. You open your blinds and peer out of your living room window to see the sight you’ve been longing for – your reliable Royal Mail hero brandishing a box with your name on it. The patterned “DC” tape on the box confirms it – it’s your Mini DV transfer!

You grab the box, scramble inside and race to insert your memory stick into the computer. Finally, you can watch all your old memories again.

Feels good, right?

But we know you aren’t the type to stop there. You want to go bigger – so what’s next?

Turn your memories from hours of Mini DV transfers into a montage of best bits fit for the big screen. It’s time to learn how to edit videos!

You Will Need:

For this guide, we will be using Wondershare Filmora, a highly recommended software at DC and unbeaten compared with other editing software.

Importing your Mini DV Transfer Files

To import your files, open Filmora and click the “Media” button on the Top Menu. Then, select “Project Media” from the Side Menu.

This is where you will put your files for editing.

Check your Filmora screen looks like the image below after completing:

To move the files into Filmora, click on the green clapperboard icon shown in the image above. This will open a window where you can select the files you want to import; when you’ve found your video folder, double-click to open and access your individual files.

Next, select the files you want from the folder. Click and drag the files as shown below, or hold “Ctrl” and select the files you want.

Once all the desired files are selected, click “Open” to import the files to Filmora. 

Below are the sample videos included with Filmora, but it should look similar to this:

Now your files are ready to be edited!

Adding Footage to the Timeline

To create anything in your project, it needs to be added to the Timeline.

Drag and drop one of the videos from the Media Screen onto the Timeline as shown below:

Cutting Footage

If you want a specific clip from a video, then cutting footage is the perfect tool for you. Thankfully, Filmora has made this tool easy to use.

At the bottom of the page, there is an empty timeline with a red line that is used as the cursor. Above the timeline, you will see a scissor icon.

Dragging the red line will move the cursor along, and clicking the scissors will cut the footage at the point where the cursor is.

This will allow you to carry a clip of your video freely – as shown in the clip below:

From here, delete the video’s unwanted parts by clicking and pressing the “Delete” key on your keyboard.

Adding Mini DV Transfer Clips Together

After deleting all the video parts you do not want, you can stitch them together to create your montage.

Drag each of your clips to the left to join on to the clip before it, as shown here:

If you want to join two Mini DV transfer clips from different tapes, repeat the steps above with a second video.

Drag and drop your second video to your timeline, only this time drop the video away from your first video so that it does not replace any of the first clip.

Cut the unwanted parts and drag the clips together.

The clip below summarises everything you have learned:

If you’re still standing after this information overload, congratulations!

You’re now ready to make the best birthday party montage anyone’s ever seen!

 

Want to edit your camcorder tapes and enjoy them with your family for years to come? Convert your tapes with the number one professional digitisation service in the UK!

We all know how the Hi8 handheld camcorder changed the way we saved memories. But, how has it changed the landscape and theory around professional filmmaking?

The release of 8mm camcorders in the 1980’s paved way for a new era of home filmmaking in which everything could be recorded in the palm of your hand. The alteration in size began a new fashion of filming “anywhere, anytime” with the best part being the easiness of watching 8mm transfer onto a television without the added need of a video player.

Within 10 years, everyone seemed to be documenting their lives with the help of their nifty handheld camcorder. The novelty of having a smaller camera formed a new style of taping. Videos consisted of long, continuous takes which jittered through time documenting the normal, unseen moments of our lives. Without realising it, the camera owners were changing the sphere of documenting history. Each special moment became a filmed documentation of our culture and the way we lived in the late 20th century.

As the Hi8 camcorder developed from 8mm video to digital, amateur film recording of grainy pictures, shaky framing and raw content became instantly recognisable. It was looked down upon by professional filmmakers who had skilled the art of developing beautiful pieces of film and used a repertoire of semiotic language to tell their story. The main criticisms of home camcorders being the low quality footage compared to photographic film recording, and the constant reminder of the camera’s presence due to the hand of the person filming causing the frame to shake.

Little did they know they were knocking a new type of collective auteur generated by our society’s culture and shaped by the flaws of a handheld camcorder. Each video held an awkward intimacy that could not be captured through professional filming. Moreover, the rawness and unplanned nature of the filming made the videos feel authentic in their documentation of events. Professional filming no longer held the same authenticity as these recreational videos. And thus, began a new style of directing to construct an ‘authentic’ reality through the lens of a shaky camera.

In 1999, Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez effectively exploited, fetishized and commodified reality through the marketing and release of their film The Blair Witch Project. It broke so many conventions in filmmaking as the film mimicked a group of students documenting their findings on the Blair Witch. The film was captured on an Hi8 camera held by the actors themselves and was edited to look like the audience was watching evidence of the Hi8 transfer found by the police. It consisted of trembling shots which pulled the audience through the story by limiting their perspective with extreme close-ups and grainy, dark shots of the woods.

Yet, it was their marketing strategy which brought the success of this film. The producers divulged themselves in falsely creating the appearance of a true documentary by using the newly formed online chatrooms to spread rumours of missing students and myths of the Blair Witch. On IMDb, the actors even had the dates they died written on them to leave the public wondering whether the film was genuine. By obscuring the truth from reality, the film made a killing in the box office (248.60 million USD) and altered the conventions of mimicking reality to sell a film.

The distance between conventional filmmaking formed by semiotic codes, expensive cameras and perfect shot-takes was broken by filmmakers trying to replicate amateur, handheld camera recording. Throughout the next twenty years, there became a novelty to creating horror and sci-fi films through a character’s documentation of the events. The camera became part of the film and the audience would not forget its presence.

By having a person behind the camera, directors could use it to obscure what is happening on screen and limit the amount of information given to the viewer. In 2008, Cloverfield a film about a monster attacking New York City, was released. The marketing campaign followed in the same pursuit as Blair Witch by using the internet to release snippets of information on the film. However, Cloverfield did not pretend to be real documented footage. It gleamed of a Hollywood marketing team and captured the nation’s attention by withholding key information on the film – including its’ name.

What we do know is that the film was recorded through a handheld camcorder and it is set in New York (drawing similarities to 9/11). The shaky-cam filming created the characters to feel authentic as they reacted to the events. The long takes and sharp cuts mixed with the shaking, raw footage of characters running away from the threat is a constant reminder of the camera’s presence and limited perspective given to the audience. Mix this with the character’s ignorance on the monstrosity unfolding in front of them, it replicated the grainy videos seen online of the twin towers covered in smoke when 9/11 struck. The film’s footage mimicked exactly how the digital era would have witnessed a monster’s attack.

Ironically, whilst promoting the film Paramount capitalised on fan’s amateur filming by asking them to film their own version of events. The mimicry of shaky-cam filming had turned full circle as fans attempted to show how “authentic” filming should be done.  And this convention of filming has continued: it is seen in films like District 9 (a film which documents aliens held in an immigration camp), Chronicle (teen boys filming their newfound superpowers) and continues with the development of the mobile phone’s camera.

Essentially, the origin of the shaky-cam proves that all types of recording can be used professionally if marketed well. The conventions of filmmaking are constantly changing, and it is not limited to big budget production companies to change it. As consumer camera’s change from the classic Hi8 so does the filming industry. Watch how social media has already changed the conventions of reality in films or television shows.

Do you want to relive your own shaky-cam work?

At Digital Converters, we transfer all 8mm tapes (Hi8, Video 8 and Digital 8) to digital formats. You can choose to have your tapes converted to DVD, USB, or a cloud download to watch on your television, phone, or computer. Our technicians can repair your tapes and ensure that you receive the best quality version of your videos.

Follow this link to get started!

“Unprecedented times” has been knocking around the news for the last year and with another set of rules to help stop the spread of coronavirus coming into action, anxiety around the future can be felt within us all. Looking towards the future is beginning to feel like a tireless charade. Which is why I’ve been taking comfort in the past by watching old camcorder tapes.

Recently, I have fallen into watching Scrubs for the billionth time. It began whilst I was listening to “Fake Doctors, Real Friends”, a podcast series where the two lead actors of Scrubs re-watch the show. But, with the outbreak of television series being released on Netflix, it had me questioning why I’ve been choosing Scrubs over something new.

In all honesty, with the pandemic changing the future day-by-day, it has been soothing to watch something where I already know the ending. Likewise, my family (and many other people) have taken this time to watch their old memories after choosing to convert their camcorder tapes to digital. At Digital Converters, we have never been busier as the public choose to take comfort in the past, and with the winter season approaching there is no better time for you to follow in pursuit.

The beginning of lockdown surprised everyone with (what felt like) endless free time and no more excuses to put off those chores. It was time for spring cleaning and decluttering the houses. No longer were those tapes going to sit uselessly in closets or attics. By using a videotape transfer service, families could take their 100 camcorder tapes and save them on a singular memory stick. An easy solution to declutter the house.

After choosing to use a video to DVD service, families and friends can share their better times on the big screen. Personally, I loved watching my brother as a pre-schooler prance around the house in an over-sized fireman’s outfit. It has been a nice reminder to see how far we have grown as a family. Soon, this pandemic will be a strange memory to the start of a new decade. Meanwhile, it has been fantastic converting our camcorder to digital formats because of the cloud download option. Although we couldn’t be together physically, we could still bring the family together virtually.

For younger families, if you are worried about schools closing again, transferring your video to DVD can be a fantastic opportunity to get your children or grandchildren interested in history and geography. Transferring your camcorder tapes to DVD’s means you can watch your holiday videos and documentations of your family history on the television which can bring great excitement for your children. They can learn about new countries whilst watching your younger self potter around them!

As we approach the winter season, it is time to think about bringing the family in new ways for Christmas. One way could be through using a camcorder to DVD service and gifting your family with special memories of the past. Many families have years of Christmas videos captured and now is a great time to bring them into the present. Choosing to transfer your videos to DVD’s means that everyone can come together to watch your collection of home videos. Or, if you are worried about not seeing your family, you can now watch your videos on Zoom by converting to cloud!

Now has never been a better time to embrace the past and with the help of Digital Converters it has never been easier.

Did you film 40 minutes of the bottom of your handbag? Want to create a moving montage of your best moments? By using an editing software, you can tailor your digitised videos exactly how you would like them.

In this article, we will cover the requirements needed to edit your footage – as well as our top recommendations for editing software!

You Will Need:

  • A PC or Mac that can handle editing software;
  • Basic knowledge of computer use;
  • Your video tapes transferred to USB or Cloud using a film digitisation service.

Wondershare Filmora

Available on: PC, Mac, iOS and Android.

We thoroughly endorse this software – and for good reason! You’ll be hard-pressed to find an editing software as elegant, intuitive, and feature-packed as Filmora.

Filmora offers all the functionality of any high-end editing software in a simple format. Its user-friendly interface does a good job for any first time editor. If you fancy really pushing the boat out and jazzing up your converted footage: Filmora offers various titles, visual effects, and even a library of royalty-free music to bring your home movies to life!

Unfortunately, there is a cost to Filmora with a lifetime licence priced at $69.99 (£51.14). There is a free trial if you would like to test the waters before buying – or, an annual subscription for those only wanting a short-term answer to editing their videos.

Pros

Cons

  • Advanced features for a professional touch
  • Simple interface for beginners
  • Royalty free music – great for editing cine reels     
  • Expensive for short-term editing

 

Official Page: https://filmora.wondershare.com/

Adobe Premiere Rush

Available on: PC, Mac, iOS and Android

Another editing software available on multiple platforms, Adobe Premiere Rush is a cheaper alternative to Filmora (at least in the short term) despite carrying the Adobe name.

Adobe Premiere Rush may lack some of the features of Filmora, but this also results in it being less complex and easier to learn quickly. One of the perks of Adobe are there interactive tutorials to help you learn the basics of their programmes.

If you’re looking for a fast, effective editing software for a one-off project or short-term use, the £9.98 per month price tag is more than justified. (Just make sure to cancel your subscription when you’re done!)

Pros

 Cons

  • Cheap alternative for short-term editing
  • Simple interface for basic editing
  • Interactive guides teach you the basics quickly        
  • Can only pay a subscription fee
  • Limited editing features

Official Page: https://www.adobe.com/uk/products/premiere-rush.html 

iMovie

Available on: Mac, iOS

If you own an Apple computer, chances are you already have iMovie. It comes bundled for free with new Mac purchases – and is easy to download if not installed.

Apple is renowned for their innovative, stylish and simplistic design; and this philosophy is carried over to their software. iMovie’s user interface is very easy on the eye without much of a “form over function” issue. iMovie also includes all the basic editing features, such as: splicing, colour effects and even a green screen feature.

Once your masterpiece is ready to be enjoyed you can easily share your masterpiece on social media with iMovie’s seamless social media integration feature.

Pros

Cons

  • Stylish and simple to use
  • Already installed on many Macs
  • Easy to share videos on social media
  • Only available for Apple users
  • Basic editing software

Official Page: https://www.apple.com/uk/imovie/

Avidemux

Available on: Windows and Mac

If you’re looking for a free and easy software to do simple edits on your footage, Avidemux could be for you. This software is completely free and offers a few basic features: cutting and connecting different clips, adding subtitles, and cropping/resizing your footage.

Avidemux is a great option if you want to cut together some chosen clips from your footage. It may not be the most flashy (or even the most functional) but it performs the basics well. What’s not to love?

Pros

Cons

  • Easy to use for beginners
  • Free to use
  • Very basic and limited editing software

Official Page: https://sourceforge.net/projects/avidemux/