Mini DV film tapes can be transferred to a computer by converting them to DVDs using a DVD recorder or importing the movies directly to a computer with the appropriate equipment, cabling and software. The specific equipment, attachments, cabling and software required depend on the method of transfer and the operating system and capabilities of the computer being used for the transfer.
One of the easiest and most straightforward methods is to use a DVD recorder. The mini DV camcorder is connected to the DVD recorder using cables that fit the available ports; play the video, and the film is recorded in a digital format suitable for use on a computer. A popular cabling option is IEEE 1394, which is commonly known as FireWire or i.Link connections. A High Definition Media Interface cable is another option, but older camcorders may only have S-Video or RCA video options, which can also work.
Direct capture on a computer requires a port that is compatible with the camcorder and software to handle the conversion process. Free software such as Windows Movie Maker for PCs and iMovie for Macintosh computers works fine. If the computer does not have the appropriate video input ports, an adapter card may be required. Users can also choose to buy stand-alone USB adapters that convert S-Video and RCA video streams to cabling that connects to standard computer USB ports.