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How to Capture Analog Video in Windows Vista

written by: Jennifer Claerr•edited by: Tricia Goss•updated: 7/26/2011

You may be frustrated to find that you can't capture analog video in Windows Vista's Windows Movie Maker. However, it is still possible to capture analog video in Windows Vista. Find out how.

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    Overview of Capturing Analog Video in Windows Vista

    The simplest way to capture video in Windows is by using Windows Movie Maker. However, Windows Vista's Movie Maker doesn't have a way to capture video from an analog source. Therefore you have to find a different method to capture analog video in Windows Vista. There are different video capture devices you can install on your computer that will allow you to capture analog video from a source such as an analog VCR, DVD player or video camera onto your Windows Vista computer. These video capture devices typically come with a video editing software program that you can use to capture the video. You can then edit your video clips in the software and add elements such as music, effects and narration. If you like, you can also import the video clips into Windows Movie Maker for editing.

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    Buying a Video Capture Device

    There are two types of video capture devices you can install on your computer. External video capture devices connect an analog video source to a computer by USB and an audio cable. External video capture devices are relatively inexpensive and easy to install. Internal video capture cards must be installed inside a computer. They're more expensive than external video capture devices, but they often have features that external devices lack.

    It's important not to confuse a video capture card with a graphics card. There are many high-end graphics cards without any video capture capability, so read the product packaging carefully to determine what features the card has. It's also important to ensure that the video capture card is of a type that can be installed on your computer. Check your computer's documentation to determine how many PCI and PCI Express slots it has available. Also, take care not to confuse these two types of slots; they are not interchangeable. Also, find out if the video capture device comes with video editing software. If it doesn't, and you don't already have video editing software on your computer, you will need to invest in a program with video capture capabilities. Also, make sure the video capture device is compatible with Windows Vista before making your purchase.

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    Installing Your Video Capture Device

    If you've purchased an external video capture device, you only have to plug it in to your computer and install the software. However, if you chose an internal video capture card, the installation process will be more involved. First, turn off your computer and unplug all the cables from the back, the power cable first. Move the computer to a clean work surface over an uncarpeted floor, such as your kitchen table. Use a Phillips screwdriver to remove any screws from the back of the computer, then loosen any thumb screws. Remove the side panel and set it aside. Touch an unpainted part of the computer's internal chassis to discharge any static electricity on your body. Then find a free expansion slot inside the computer. Make sure that the type of expansion slot matches the type of card you're installing. If necessary, remove the screw from the metal slot cover and set it aside. Then, gently but firmly push the card into the slot. Don't force it in, or you'll damage it. Then, replace the screw in the hole over the expansion slot. Replace the cover on your computer and reattach all the cables, saving the power cord for last. Power on your Windows Vista computer and install the software that came with your internal video capture card.

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    Capturing Analog Video in Windows Vista

    You can usually connect your analog video source to a video capture device using ordinary RCA or A/V cables. You should choose component video if it's an option, since this connection method will yield a much better picture quality. Open the video editing software on your computer and start the video capture feature. Rewind your analog video source to a point that's a few seconds to a minute before the point you want to start capturing video. Then play the analog video on the source device. Watch the monitor and listen to the speakers on your computer to ensure that the computer is getting the proper signal. When the video source reaches the right spot, begin the recording process in your video capture software. You can only capture analog video in real time, so if you have a lot of video to capture you may have to wait a while. However, you may want to capture your analog video in shorter clips, as this can make the editing process a lot easier. When you've finished capturing video from the analog source, you're free to import it into any other program you like, including Windows Movie Maker.

    To find out more about editing video in Windows Vista, read How to Edit Movies in Windows Vista Using Windows Movie Maker.

    Sources:

    "Import video from a videotape," http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-vista/Import-video-from-a-videotape