Converting from Hi-8 tapes to DVD for home movies




I am a newbie here, so please excuse some ignorance I may have…

I am trying to convert my Hi-8 home movies with my Sony camcorder (which I believe is an analog machine) to a DVD format so I can edit them and get them on an electronic form. I want to do this myself, but I have not had the time to investigate how to do this, so what better way then to reach out to CD/DVD media experts!!

If you could, please advise me of equipment options I may need to convert these and any other information I may need to do this project.

Thanks in advance!



Cheapest, quickest and easiest method is to buy a DVD recorder (set top) with the appropriate input and record directly to DVD. You can later transfer to PC for additional authoring, menus, etc. Consult your camcorder manual for connections to another recorder. Some have firewire, some have S-video, etc.


What is the model number of your camcorder?


My Hi-8 Camcorder is a Sony Handycam Vision CCD-TRV68 NTSC with 460x Digital Zoom.

This camera still works wonderfully and I even hate to give it up, but digital seems the way to go and I will eventually purchase a digital camcorder of some kind.

I purchased some cables to connect from the Sony camera to my Pioneer VCR-DVD Recordable machine at home, but I am afraid that there may be some loss of quality by doing it this way.

I went to my local radio shack and they told me that I cannot connect my Sony camcorder directly to my PC, because there is no USB connection on my camcorder.

Will I need some sort of converter box to help with the picture quality?

Does anyone have any comments, suggestions, any guidance to give me.

I am pretty mechanically inclined, but just don’t have the knowledge needed to do this conversion, or at least I think that anyway.

I would really appreciate any help that anyone can give me.

Thanks so much!



Will I need some sort of converter box to help with the picture quality?

Yes. And unless you want to spend hundreds of dollars on it the quality will be about the same as a DVD recorder. Here’s a pretty good list of various models:


There will always be some loss when converting from analogue (your camera) to digital (DVD disc) video. The point is if this is noticeable or not. If the material in the video tapes is valuable to you, you better start by setting your DVD recorder in the best quality recording mode you can get. Usually, for most DVD recorders this fits about one hour per single layer (4.5GB) DVD. In my opinion, you shouldn’t put more than two hours of video in such a disk, if quality is important to you.

You should make some tests in various recording modes. Connect your camera to the DVD recorder (have a look at the manual for the proper cables/connections). Then record a test 4-5 minutes video in various modes and check the quality. This should give you an idea :wink:

… and welcome to this forum :flower:


Thank you for the welcome to the forum and for the information. It will help me to get some of this video onto my DVD.



[QUOTE=yyy;2297267]There will always be some loss when converting from analogue (your camera) to digital (DVD disc) video. The point is if this is noticeable or not.[/QUOTE]

Very true. In fact, one should not expect DVDs sourced from Hi8 tapes to be as good (picture quality-wise) as a DVD sourced from a professionally-produced source. This is because even high-end consumer analog video sources deliver only about 400 lines (this means “TV lines per screen height”) of horizontal resolution compared to about 500 lines for a “fullscreen” (4:3 aspect ratio) DVD.


I think the best solution is either a DVD recorder (stnad alone) which is a common find nowadays (I personall own a Lite-on 5005) or one of those fancy new USB VCR’s they got (all you will ned is the Hi-8 conversion tape).

Don’t expect great or good quality, remember its only going to get as good as the source, but will now be better preserved in a nicer compact style.


This may be too late or too expensive but if your Hi8 tapes are of ‘real’ value to you, the way to get the best quality in this case is to do what I did.

Buy a used Digital8 camcorder* (as they play both Hi8 as well as Dig8 tapes) on eBay (around $100-$150 - let me know if you want model numbers) as they have direct firewire output. Make sure it includes the correct Sony 4pin to dv 4pin firewire cable

This lets the camera itself internally do the analog to digital conversion giving you the best quality a->d output possible. Then you can connect direct to a computer or DvD recorder which must have the four pin dv input - such as a Panasonic. I also bought my Panasonic off eBay as there are several with analog tuners that sell very cheap these days due to the DTV switchover June 12th.

Nick. . .

  • I have 6 with a live DataVideo switcher


I’ll throw my 2 cents in on this topic, even if it is late.

Copying via a throughput on a DVD-Recorder robs you of editing capabilities and will compress that video into mpeg2 format.

I will list the options available and mention some of the positive and negatives on them.

#1: Buy a Digital8 Video camera or a player like the Sony GV-D200. It will play Video 8 and Hi-8 tapes and send them to your computer in DV via the firewire. Once you have a raw format saved, you will be able to modify it however you want and THEN compress it into the proper formats for DVD (Mpeg 2?). You can use these players to throughput analog input from a VCR as well, though you may have some color issues that can be corrected by editing software.

#2: A Video Capture Card (Internal or External). Several companies produce these products that will allow you to run your video through its inputs. The good ones have built-on hardware that will ensure your CPU isn’t overtaxed while performing the conversion. The upside to this way is that this device can often be used for other fun things. It will produce a fine copy (maybe TOO good if it fills up the hard drive with too many frames that are totally not needed). Many products come with software to edit the raw video and spit it out to another format.

#3: DVD-R device with throughput. It will copy on the fly so it will be as fast as your movie is, but editing capabilities will be limited to taking that DVD which has been compressed into mpeg2 for editing… you will be limited and quality will suffer.

My personal opinion is to totally go out and get a used Digital 8 camcorder or player like that Sony GV-D200… it is costly, but to convert video 8 and hi-8, it is the best. You can do what you want and chuck it onto eBay without much of a loss.


Shoot…I guess I missed something.

You can also get a MiniDV camera and have yourself a new camera PLUS the option of a throughput to plug in your analog source and utilize the camera to output that digitally into a computer.


Hi. I have been trying to convert our Hi8 tapes to a VHS tape. However, each time I try to see if it worked, the imput I play it on (video 2) says I do not have a signal (which is what it does whenever nothing is being played) Is there anything I can do to record my Hi8 tapes to my pc, edit them, and convert them to a DVD?


FYI, I was looking for something to convert a HI-8 tape from my daughter’s wedding in 2003. I found this and ordered it today:

The link in the article to buy it on Amazon is:

Alternately, you can go to one of the various conversion services out there to do it for you. One that appears promising because you can opt instead of going directly to DVD, to upload it in there online storage to edit it first and then create a custom DVD later, and there are sharing options, although the free sharing is 60 days and smaller, the standard is 640x480 and about $40 a month and the premium is DVD quality but about $100 a month - so you might just want the DVD:

This is 14.95 a tape, or Add $10 per tape plus the hard drive or flash drive costs for AVI editable files (you have to buy it from them):

Here is another one:

…and another, scroll way down to bottom for “Video Tape Pricing”:

I almost forgot to mention I also have a set top external DVD Recorder and will also try that as per the post earlier above…

Hope that helps! :smiley:


I have a Sony CCD-TRV52 analog Video Camera Recorder I bought in 1996.

I bought a PYRO A/V Analog to DV Video Converter which is hooked to my computer via FireWire/1394 from which I hooked the “yellow,White, & Red” cables from the output of the camera to the input of the converter.

I then open windows Movie Maker to start copying the same time I start the tape of the camera playing.
The converter has a mode switch that you press for analog to convert it.

Once it is in Movie Maker, you can do your editing or whatever, but---- In order to burn to DVD, you have to have an authorizing software which Movie Maker does not. So, I export the movie to another software program that does burn slides and movies to a DVD.
I have yet to find out how to copy from my camera to that program so I do not have to use Movie Maker for that.
I do my editing in that program also opposed to Movie Maker.