We all have friends or family members who fearlessly put on their movie director caps and get behind camcorders to capture special memories and moments. From birthdays to weddings, and school performances to college graduations, personal videos can be priceless.
When all of the fun of directing and shooting is over, the next step is to transfer the files to your computer for safe storage so those same memories will be viewable in years to come.
Transferring videos from your camcorder to your computer is as easy as pushing a button on the camcorder. To get started, connect your camcorder to your PC using the FireWire port on your PC. If you’re having trouble locating the port, a diagram should be available in your camcorder’s manual.
After the camcorder is connected and the computer is booted up, turn on the camcorder. Your computer will automatically display a message that it has located the camcorder hardware. Follow the instructions displayed on the computer, which will guide you through the process of transferring your videos. Unless you’re transferring many movies, this process won’t take long.
Alternatively, most of today’s digital cameras have a mini-movie feature that allows you to capture 15 to 30 seconds of motion. While these camera videos may not be as high in quality as camcorder videos, the video files are transferred in the same way.
Regardless of camera input, be sure to save your movie files after transfer to your PC. Each of the movies will transfer as a separate digital file.
Now you’re ready to either edit the movie or burn the file onto a CD or DVD, provided that your computer has a recordable drive either internally or connected externally. If you’re looking to edit the video, some creative options include inserting chapters, menus or backgrounds using editing software.
For those who really enjoy the video-editing process and like to get a bit more creative, digital scrapbooking is a fun and easy way of saving memories. The idea is similar to creating scrapbook pages with paper and glue, but instead, computer graphics and videos function as the digital equivalent of paper on which you create layouts that look just as good as or better than actual paper pages.
Searching the Internet can dig up free fonts, clip art, pictures and more. Or add borders or wording to specific frames. Image- and video-editing programs typically feature stickers and decorations to add to the creative process. And — there’s no paper scrapbooking mess to clean up!
When you’re ready to burn the final video to a CD or DVD, use the PC’s software, or select a third-party program such as Sony Vegas or Cyberlink’s PowerDirector, and follow the step-by-step instructions.
Combining digital technology and memories with traditional methods is a highly creative process that saves on time and money. And it’s convenient, too: When you’re finished creating a video, you can email the file to all of your friends and family instantly. There’s no limit to what you can create digitally!