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How To Transfer Video from a Digital Camcorder to a DVD Recorder


Transferring Video recorded on a Digital Camcorder to a DVD Recorder is a snap! Recording to a DVD is a way to back up your tape, and it allows you to easily share and watch your home videos. For this tutorial I am using a Sony DCR-HC21 MiniDV Camcorder as my playback device, and a Samsung DVD-R120 Set-Top DVD Recorder as the DVD Recorder. Please read on for information on how to transfer Video from a Digital Camcorder to a DVD Recorder.
Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: Depends on length of source video

Here's How:

  1. Record some video! You'll need some video to transfer to DVD, so get out there and shoot some great video!
  2. Turn on the DVD Recorder and the TV that the DVD Recorder is connected to. In my case, I have my Samsung DVD Recorder hooked up to my TV via an RCA Audio/Video cable from the rear outputs on the DVD Recorder to the rear RCA inputs on my TV. I use a seperate DVD Player for playing DVDs, but if you use your DVD Recorder as a player as well, use the best cable connections you can to connect to the TV. See the article Types of A/V Cables for more info.
  3. Plug your Digital Camcorder into an outlet (don't use battery power!).
  4. Power on the Digital Camcorder and put it into Playback mode. Insert the tape you want to record to DVD.
  5. Connect a Firewire (also called i.LINK or IEEE 1394) cable to the output on the Digital Camcorder and the input on the DVD Recorder. If your DVD Recorder does not include a Firewire input, you can use Analog cables. Connect an S-Video or RCA video cable and composite stereo cables (red and white RCA plugs) from the camcorder to the inputs on your DVD Recorder. I connect my Digital Camcorder to my DVD Recorder with a front Firewire input.
  6. Change the input on your DVD Recorder to match the inputs you are using. Since I'm using the front Firewire input, I change my input to "DV", which is the input for recording using the Firewire input. If I was recording using the front analog cables it would be "L2", the rear inputs, "L1". The input select can typically be changed using the DVD Recorder remote.
  7. You'll also need to change the input select on the TV to match the inputs you are using to connect the DVD Recorder. In my case, I'm using rear inputs that correspond to "Video 2". This allows me to view what I'm recording.
  8. You can now perform a test to make sure the video signal is coming through to the DVD Recorder and the TV. Simply start playing the video back from the Digital Camcorder and see if the video and audio is being played back on the TV. If you have everything connected properly, and the correct input select, you should be seeing and hearing your video. If not, check your cable connections, power, and input select.
  9. Now you're ready to record! First, determine the type of disc you'll need, either DVD+R/RW or DVD-R/RW. For more info on Recordable DVDs read the article Types of Recordable DVD Formats. Second, change the record speed to the desired setting. For me it's "SP", which allows up to two hours of record time.
  10. Place the recordable DVD into the DVD Recorder.
  11. Rewind the tape back to the beginning, then start playing the tape while pressing record on either the DVD Recorder itself, or by using the remote. If you want to record more than one tape on a DVD, just pause the recorder while you switch tapes, and then resume by hitting pause on the recorder or remote a second time after you start playing the next tape.
  12. Once you have recorded your tape (or tapes) hit stop on the recorder or the remote. DVD Recorders require that you "finalize" the DVD in order to make it a DVD-Video, capable of playback in other devices. The method for finalizing varies by DVD Recorder, so consult the owner's manual for information on this step.
  13. Once your DVD is finalized, it is now ready for playback.


  1. Always use AC power when playing a tape through a Camcorder, never battery power.
  2. Make sure you use the DVD format that works with your DVD Recorder.
  3. When using analog cables to record from a Digital Camcorder to a DVD Recorder make sure you use highest quality cables that the DVD Recorder accepts, and that the Camcorder outputs. If possible use Firewire for an all digital transfer.
  4. When selecting a recording speed on the DVD Recorder use 1 hour or 2 hour mode. The 4 and 6 hour modes should only be used when recording TV shows you don't plan to keep, or long sporting events.
  5. Make sure you set the correct input select for the inputs you are using on the DVD Recorder. Typically, DV for a Firewire connection and L1 and L2 for analog inputs.

What You Need

  • Digital Camcorder
  • Set-Top DVD Recorder
  • TV connected to the DVD Recorder to monitor the recording
  • FireWire cable...
  • ...or Analog cables if your DVD Recorder doesn't have Firewire input
  • DVD Recordable Disc of the correct format
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