March 31, 2008



I frequently get asked the question 'How do I get my old videos and home movies on to the computer?'. The answer depends on who you are, and how technical you want to get.
If I'm talking to somebody like my aunty the answer is easy - just pay somebody to do it. You'll be able to find lots of businesses that will happily convert your old movies into either a DVD that you can stick in your player, or files that you can load on to your computer.

When I talk to some of my more technical friends, I suggest a product like an ADS Tech PYRO AV Link ($469). The PYRO is an external video capture card that lets you import any composite, S-Video or component video into a DV stream on your computer. You then need to use software like iMovie or Adobe Premiere Elements 3.0 to edit your movie, and some other software to burn it to DVD. You'll need to be competent to use the software, and to edit the resulting movie.

For those of you stuck in the middle there's a new product that just been released called the Pinnacle Video Transfer ($249). Pinnacle Video Transfer is a small black box that simply lets you record analogue video onto any USB 2.0 storage device without using a PC. In fact, only thing to configure on the Pinnacle Video Transfer device is the quality of movie you want to output, and your options are good, better or best ('Best' mode specifies a 720x480/576 (NTSC/PAL).

Capturing video is as straight forward as plugging in a TV, DVD player or video camera at one end, and a storage device at the other end. The storage devices can be anything from a video iPod (including a 3rd generation iPod Nano), a Sony PSP, USB hard drive or even a USB thumb drive. Depending on your output device you'll either be able to access the converted file on the device as a data file directly, but if you use an iPod you'll be able to view the file through the video menu, so you can watch it without using your computer at all.