Many modern desktop and laptop computers allow you to connect a camcorder or video camera, import your movies and burn them to a DVD. While computers with DVD burners cost much less now than they did only a few years ago, they are still relatively expensive and often cost several hundred dollars or more. But you can create high-quality DVD discs for your home movies without a computer by using a standalone DVD recorder that costs much less, is easier to operate and connects directly to your TV for instant viewing. Recording movies from most camcorders is relatively simple and requires no special cables other than ones you probably already have for connecting your TV to a DVD player, VCR or other video player device.
Determine the type of cable connections you must use to output sound and video from the camcorder to the DVD recorder, and then to the TV from the recorder. Generally speaking, most digital video cameras and camcorders output video via a USB or RCA (composite) cable connection. However, a video camera could have other output ports such as FireWire, HDMI or component video. Some older model camcorders might even have an S-video Out port for connecting to a TV. Virtually all DVD recorders have RCA input ports and newer models may have component video, USB or HDMI ports you can use with your video camera. If the DVD recorder does have an HDMI port, ensure that it has one for video input as well as output, as some recorders can output to HDMI but don’t have an appropriate input connector for the cable. Using USB or HDMI will allow you to record audio and video from the camera with a single cable. If you use any other cable type, you must connect cables between the devices for audio as well as video signals. You will also need an appropriate output cable to connect the DVD recorder and the TV.
Set the camera mode to "Play," "View" or "Preview" with the selector switch or the menu buttons before connecting your camcorder or video camera to the DVD recorder. This is the mode used to display video from the camera on a TV and the one you must also use to stream your clips to the recorder.
Use the navigation controls to fast-forward or rewind to the video clip or segment you want to record, then press the "Pause" button.
Connect your camcorder to the "Video In" and "Audio In" ports on the DVD recorder or, alternatively, use a single USB or HDMI cable. Connect the appropriate output cable from the "Video Out" and "Audio Out" ports on the DVD recorder to the "Audio In" and "Video In" ports on the TV.
Use the TV remote control to select the input source for the cable connection from the recorder. For instance, if you connect the cables from the DVD recorder to "Video 1" on the TV, press the Input or Source button until the "Video 1" input label appears on the screen.
Insert a blank writable DVD disc into the drive tray of the recorder and close it. Use the remote control for the DVD recorder to select the input source you used to connect your camcorder in the same way you did when selecting the connection source for the TV. As you scroll through the input sources on the DVD recorder, their input names should appear on the display of the recorder as well as the TV. Stop pressing the Input or Source button when the connection label appears.
Press the "Record" button on the remote or the face of the DVD recorder and then immediately press the "Play" button on the video camera. The video from the camera displays on the TV and the DVD recorder burns it to disc. To stop recording, press the "Stop" or "Stop Recording" button on the remote or the DVD recorder.
Determine whether you want to finalize the disc after you stop recording. Most DVD recorders will prompt you with the option to finalize your disc after you stop recording. If you recorded only a short piece of video, you probably have quite a bit of unused recording space on the writable DVD disc. Consequently, you might not want to finalize the disc until you record more footage to avoid wasting discs. If you select the "Do Not Finalize Disc" option, the DVD recorder closes the recording session but does not close the disc to further recording. If you choose "Finalize Disc," the DVD recorder closes the disc entirely, preventing further recording to it. If you want to play the disc in most DVD players, you must finalize the disc before doing so. After you finalize the disc, you can play it in most standard DVD players as well as in computers with DVD-ROM or DVD-burner drives.
- Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images