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Transferring Digital8 Tapes to the Computer

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By Katy Sommerfeld

Here at Legacybox, we digitize lots of different forms of media - from print photos to film reels, videotapes and more. We specialize in the digitization of many media formats so that our customers can rely on us for all their conversion needs. One lesser-known and used format that we digitize is the Digital8 videotape. Digital8 tapes and recorders were released in 1999, and they combine the cassette tape format of prior recorders (like the Hi8 recorder) but the resulting video content is encoded digitally. The Digital8 recorder was the last of the video recorders produced and marketed to utilize 8mm video format. 

If you have Digital8 tapes that you would like to save to your computer or on DVD, you’re in luck.

Due to their digital encoding, converting Digital8 tapes to digital video on a computer can be accomplished by a digitizing service like Legacybox or from home if you have the right equipment, time, and patience for the process. In this article, we’ll explain the process of at-home Digital8 digitization and compare the results between hiring a digitizing service and DIY digitization. 


At-home digitization of Digital8 tapes, in essence, requires some form of a converter, whether that be a conversion device or specialized cables to hook up your Digital8 recorder to your computer. First, check your computer and recorder for:

 

  • A/V inputs (red, white, and yellow inputs on your computer)
  • USB inputs
  • FireWire inputs

 

If both your computer and Digital8 camcorder have these inputs, you’re in luck! You won’t have to purchase any additional conversion equipment and should be able to connect your camcorder directly to your computer to begin the digitization process. If you don’t have any of these inputs as an option, never fear. You can purchase conversion hardware that attaches to the USB port of your computer and has all the necessary composite inputs to connect your Digital8 camcorder to your computer. These devices have prices ranging from $30 to more than $100, and not every device supports Digital8 tapes, so double-check the product’s capabilities before purchasing. 


An additional purchase you will need to make, whether you have the necessary inputs or need a conversion device, is video-capture software. Video-capture software on your computer will record the videos from your Digital8 tapes as they play through - this is how the digitization process works. Video capture software is typically priced at $50 and up. 


This DIY digitization process is totally doable, but if you have to purchase conversion equipment and software, the price can add up fast. Legacybox offers Digital8 tape digitization packages starting at just $40, which is already cheaper than most video capture software! Plus, Legacybox takes care of all the work for you. When digitization is complete, we send your newly digitized copies and your originals right to your doorstep. Overall, it is more affordable and more convenient to hire a digitization service to convert your Digital8 tapes for you if you have just a few tapes you’d like to digitize. Let the professional digitization technicians at Legacybox take care of your conversion needs for you so that you can save time, energy, and money! 

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