Transfer Video From Analog Camcorder to a DVD Recorder

Back up those tapes to something more permanent.

A camcorder recording live action
Mathias Schindler / Wikimedia Commons / Creative Commons

Transferring Video recorded on an Analog Camcorder or VCR to a DVD Recorder is very simple! For this tutorial, I am using a Canon 8mm Camcorder as my playback device (however, this will work with any analog camcorder: Hi-8, VHS-C, S-VHS and regular VHS) , and a Samsung DVD-R120 Set-Top DVD Recorder as the DVD Recorder. Please read on for information on how to transfer Video from an Analog Camcorder or VCR to a DVD Recorder.

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 separate 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 Analog Camcorder or VCR into an outlet (don't use the camcorder's battery power!).
  4. Power on the Analog Camcorder or VCR and put it into Playback mode. Insert the tape you want to record to DVD.
  5. Connect either an RCA composite cable (VCR, VHS-C or 8mm) or an S-Video (Hi-8 or S-VHS) cable from the output on the Analog Camcorder or VCR to the input on the DVD Recorder. Connect composite stereo cables (red and white RCA plugs) from the camcorder to the inputs on your DVD Recorder. I connect my 8mm Camcorder to my DVD Recorder with front composite inputs.
  6. Change the input on your DVD Recorder to match the inputs you are using. Since I'm using the front analog cables I use "L2", if I were using the rear inputs it would be "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 Analog Camcorder or VCR and see if the video and audio is being played back on the TV. If you have everything connected properly, and the correct input selected, 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.

Remember, this tutorial will work with any type of Analog Camcorder (Hi-8, 8mm, VHS-C, S-VHS) or a VHS VCR.


  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 an Analog 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 S-Video for Hi-8 and S-VHS transfers.
  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, L1 for rear inputs and L2 for front inputs.

What You Need:

  • Hi-8, 8mm, VHS-C, S-VHS or VHS Camcorder or VHS VCR
  • Set-Top DVD Recorder
  • TV connected to the DVD Recorder to monitor the recording
  • RCA cables to connect to your DVD Recorder and TV
  • DVD Recordable Disc of the correct format