If you recently uncovered stacks of small tapes known as MiniDVs collecting dust since the late 1990s, you may be wondering what to do with them. You can watch them or convert MiniDV to digital yourself with the right equipment. Or you can save time and possible aggravation and have them professionally digitized, then sit back and enjoy old memories with those near and dear to you, anytime.
How to Play MiniDV Tapes
MiniDV tapes are obsolete and the cameras are no longer in production. Assuming you still own working equipment, you can watch tapes with your old camcorder, an adapter, or an auto-loading DVD or VHS player designed to play both DVDs and mini DVDs. If the DVD player or device has a loading tray, eject it and place the MiniDV in the center in the small indented area. If your device is not set up to play MiniDVs or your still functioning MiniDV camcorder didn’t come with an adaptor, you may be able to find a new or secondhand adaptor that allows you to play them.
Transfer MiniDV to Computer Yourself
DIY MiniDV-to-digital transfer can be done at home if you have the right tools, time, and patience. The process involves connecting the camcorder and the computer via a USB or AV cable. After connecting the cable to the camera and your computer, software is used to create the digital files, which can be saved to your computer, an ancillary hard drive, the cloud, or a memory stick. These are the required supplies:
- MiniDV camcorder or MiniDV tape deck
- MiniDV tape
- USB or AV cable
- Video capture software program
Step by Step MiniDV to Computer Transfer
- Connect the MiniDV camcorder or tape deck to your computer with the USB or AV cable
- Open the camcorder or tape deck and set to VCR mode if you’re using the camcorder
- Load the MiniDV tape into the camcorder or tape deck
- Open the video capture software on your computer
- From the software file menu, click Capture and wait for the window to appear on the monitor
- Press play on the camcorder or tape deck
- Check to make sure the video is playing inside the capture window in the video editing software
- Click Record on the capture window in the video editing software and it will record the tape in real-time
- After the tape has finished playing, press Stop on the capture window
- Playback each digital file to ensure it was copied correctly and plays properly
If you no longer own a camcorder or tape deck, your best option for viewing MiniDVs is to use a professional service to convert them to digital. And even if you do have the right equipment, it can take hours to convert tapes at home and the results can be disappointing using the above method, especially if you don’t have any video editing experience.
Without a doubt, the easiest and most pleasant way to relive nostalgic MiniDV memories is to let the dedicated team of experts at ScanCafe convert your diminutive tapes into a professionally edited and color corrected digital format that lasts forever.