Recover Your Old Family Videos

Have an old VHS, High-8, or digital 8 tape recorder? Want to be able to recover your old family videos and store them on your computer or put them on a DVD? By using the Securityman HomeDVR and spending a little time, you can do just that!

Items You’ll Need For The Project

1. A HomeDVR & An SD Card (Sold Separately)

2. Your Old (& Functioning) Video Camera

3. A Computer

4. RCA Cable Adapter (Optional)

5. Blank DVDs (Optional)

6. Some Free Time

Invest In A HomeDVR

The HomeDVR is a small 2 channel DVR that is usually used for recording surveillance footage and security audio. The great thing about this product is that it records all video and audio to an SD card like what you might find in a digital camera. Additionally it can be hooked up to your computer with a USB cable to offload your files.

Anyways the first thing you will need to do is buy yourself a HomeDVR and get your old camera ready to go. You can get the HomeDVR from many different online retailers, which can be found by doing a quick Google search, and browsing through sites such as TigerDirect or CU1. Additionally you will need to buy an SD card for your HomeDVR. If you plan on transferring a lot of video it would be a wise decision to purchase a larger SD card, as it can support up to a 32GB card.

SecurityMan HomeDVR Mini MPEG4 DVR Digital Video Recorder W/ USB Backup

Connect Your Camera To Your HomeDVR & Record

Depending on how old your camera is will determine the type of video/audio output it has. The HomeDVR uses an RCA (red/white cable) input so you will need to connect to those. If your camera does not use an RCA output, you will have to determine what kind of output it has and search for an appropriate adapter to make the connection.

Once you have connected your old camera to video input 1 on the HomeDVR you will then connect your HomeDVR to some sort of monitor; most likely your TV. This is also an RCA connection which most all TV’s have. This will connect from your A/V out port into your RCA video ports on your TV.

Now that all your video connections have been made you will want to insert your SD card into the HomeDVR and then power it on. Next you will power on your old video camera and put it in play/viewing mode so it will be broadcasting the video. Additionally you will also want to make sure that your TV is now on and set to its RCA video channel.

Quick Procedure Checklist So Far

1. Connected the old camera to the HomeDVR with the RCA cables

2. Connected the HomeDVR to the TV through its AV out port

3. Inserted the SD card into the HomeDVR and then powered it on

4. Turned your old camera on and set it to PLAY mode

5. Turned on your TV and set it to its video channel

At this point if you have put your camera into the proper mode and connected your cables correctly, you should be able to see your cameras output on your TV as it’s being streamed through the HomeDVR. If you cannot see this, then you will want to go back through the previous steps and make sure that you have done everything correctly thus far. Also try playing the video on your camera a bit to make sure you are not on a blank part of the tape.

Here comes the tedious part! At this point in the game you will be able to start playing and reviewing your old footage to determine what you want to keep. Whenever you find old video you want to keep you will be able to hit the record (REC) button on your HomeDVR and record the footage you are playing through the camera. To stop recording you will just hit the REC button again, and to review the footage you will go into the playback menu.

This last procedure may go quickly or extremely slowly depending on how much footage you want to recover, but until you are finished or until the SD card fills up this step will continue.

Transfer Your Footage To Your PC

This step is one of the easiest thus far. After having recorded the footage you want, you will go through and power all of your equipment down and disconnect your HomeDVR from the camera and the TV. You will now take your HomeDVR and the USB cable that comes supplied with it and connect it to your computer.

NOTE: Do NOT connect your power cord to the HomeDVR while it is connected to your computer with the USB cord. You will run the risk of damaging or frying out your HomeDVR components.

When you have connected the HomeDVR to the computer the drivers should automatically be installed and you will be able to browse through the files contained within the HomeDVR. At this point all you will have to do is copy and paste your video files on to your computer.

After you’ve copied your video files to your computer it will simply be a matter of rinse and repeat until you’ve backed up all the footage you want.

Burn Your Files To DVD

As no two computers are ever completely alike it will be hard to walk you through this step, but we can cover a couple basic tips.

First of all you will want to make sure your computer has a DVD burner in it, if not then this step is impossible to complete. Next you will want to find out what type of DVD burning software you have and then import the files into it. At this point you will follow the steps indicated by the software and burn the videos to a blank DVD you have provided. The type of files exported from the HomeDVR are simple AVI’s and they will work with most any DVD burning software.

Additionally if you can’t figure out how to get the files onto a DVD, you can always upload them to YouTube if you have an account.

In the end by investing in a HomeDVR you can recover lost memories and moments from your past. So instead of paying a company copious amounts of money to transfer your footage for you; just follow these steps and retrieve those precious family memories for yourself.

Christian M Gillman has worked in the surveillance industry for over 7 years. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter, learn more about surveillance, and find great products at

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