Snare And Share Alike

Here's a quick and easy way to capture video

If your company has cans of old movies to archive or new video to put on the Web, you need to find a way (somehow) to transfer the footage to the PC. Newer video cameras have ports that download video directly to ports on your PC-or to ports on cards you can buy for your PC. But those may limit you to movies from…video cameras. Lame! Most of us want to convert a wide range of movie sources to videotape, and then use a single device to bring it all into the computer. And it’s easier than you think.

We’ll assume you’ve projected other sources, such as canned film, onto a wall, and videotaped the projected images, or had a professional do it. (The aforementioned method is how professionals do it, by the way.) In either case, there’s a high risk of your film burning as it’s projected (so make sure the film’s owner OKs this method). Once you have video, you’ve preserved history; now, you can share it.

You’ll need a capture device. We prefer external ones that don’t require you to open the PC or cause you to worry about device conflicts the way PC “cards” or “boards” often do. External devices such as those from Dazzle ( come with software and sell at discount stores such as Sam’s Club for about $79.95. There are higher-end models in the line and other brands available. Whichever package you choose, here’s how to get started.

Install the software that comes with the capture device and plug the RCA (“VCR” plugs with yellow, red, and white ends for video and stereo) from the source, such as a VCR, into the device, then the USB cable from the device into the computer, as per the instructions.
The configuration will vary, depending on whether you have a higher-end capture device with extra ports for monitoring what’s coming up ahead of time; you do this by watching the video on a TV monitor before it comes up in a window on the computer. (For that, we recommend Dazzle Digital Video Creator 150, $149.99 from the company’s Website.)

Use the software to choose settings, such as format and bit rate, if allowed by
your package. Start and stop capturing thefootage you want. Windows has limits on recording large files, so choose an intermission point or two on a feature-length film. Save the clip(s).

You’ve captured it! Now you’re free to convert the clip and stream it from your Website, copy it to a CD or DVD as a data file, convert it to DVD format and burn it to a DVD if you have a DVD burner-and much more.
Once you’re done at the office, you might consider preserving those home movies from your childhood. You can then press them onto CDs for gifts your family will treasure.