Convert 8MM video and archive to DVD or CD?

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Reader Han L. from Denmark writes:

" Dear Dennis,

First of all, thank you for an extremely informative newsletter. I just finished reading yesterday's issue of the Gazette and have a related question about converting VHS video to DVD or CD format. Could you possibly enlighten me on how to convert my old 8MM film productions into digital format (such as DVD or CD)? "

My response:

I get asked this question frequently.

I don't own an 8MM film projector, so I can only speculate on how to go about doing this. Basically: in order to convert the 8MM film, you'll need a way to transfer the movie [output] to the computer [input] using a cable of some sort. The only way I can think of doing that is by using a video output cable (such as an RCA cable) from the 8MM projector to the computer's video input device (such as a capture card).

However, 8MM technology is fairly old technology and I doubt that most (if any) 8MM projectors have a video output port on them. In this case, your next best option is to take the 8MM film to a video conversion shop, and either:

  • have the 8MM convert the video directly to digital format (CD or DVD), or
  • if the shop does not offer conversion directly to CD or DVD (and only does 8MM -> VCR conversion, for example), you can go that route and then input the video from VCR to your computer (refer to yesterday's article for more detail).
  • Either way, you can always digitally re-master the video to your liking at any time in the future and reproduce the movies with subtitles, menus, etc, using specialized video editing software like Windows Movie Maker 2 (free) that comes with Windows XP Service Pack 2.

    Side note: If you don't have XP Service Pack 2 installed on your system yet, you're missing out on major security enhancements (and bonuses like Movie Maker 2)! I've already put together a step-by-step guide on how to install Service Pack 2, and you read up on that here.

    RE: Playing digital movies in your DVD player -- using regular CDs

    Don't own a DVD burner? No problem. If your DVD player supports Super Video CD (SVCD) and Video CD (VCD) formats [most do -- refer to your DVD manual for more info], you can burn your movies to a regular CD and play them in your DVD player.

    You need a utility like Ashampoo Movie Shrink and Burn to convert from Windows Movie Maker format (.WMV file) before burning them onto CD (in SVCD or VCD format). The review on Ashampoo Movie Shrink and Burn is here:

    Movie Shrink and Burn v2

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