Step-By-Step: Burn Your Own DVDs for Backup or Video Playback

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From Videotape To DVD

Making video DVDs from videotapes is one of the big attractions of buying a rewritable DVD drive. Here's a summary of the process.

1. Video from a digital video camcorder feeds into a FireWire or USB 2.0 port (depending on which port type the camcorder supports) and is stored on the hard disk.

2. Video from an analog camcorder (VHS, 8mm, Hi-8) or VCR feeds into an analog capture card or an external USB 2.0 capture box (see find.pcworld.com/38300, for example), which converts it to digital format. The digital version is stored on the hard disk.

3. Through software (included with the DVD burner), you can create DVD menus, convert the stored digital video into the MPEG-2 format of video DVDs, and write it to the DVD media.

4. The resulting DVD can play on most stand-alone DVD players, although some older players may have trouble handling it.

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