Director’s Cut SCART
You can’t remember the last time you bought or rented a video, but you still have shelves full of your well-worn favourites. And then there’s that shopping bag filled with old Hi8 tapes of birthday parties and vacations gathering dust in the closet. What can you do to preserve your video library and bring all of this analogue stuff into the digital age?
An analogue-to-DV converter allows you to capture video from your VCR or analogue camcorder and convert it to digital video. Once you’ve captured it, it can be edited in iMovie or Final Cut and burned to a DVD. Or you can export it back to analogue format (to a brand-new videotape, for example).
Plug and capture
Director’s Cut SCART is extremely easy to use. There are no drivers to install; you simply connect your camera or VCR via SCART, the European standard for connecting home video equipment such as TVs, VCRs, DVD players, and so on. If you’re using Final Cut Pro you can connect a TV or a preview monitor to the outputs. Director’s Cut has two sets of outputs so you can export and use your preview monitor simultaneously. Then you connect the converter to your Mac’s FireWire port.
It comes with FireWire, A/V (composite video and audio), and SCART cables. Director’s Cut has its ports in the rear, which may help keep cables from sprawling over your desk. It also has a headphone jack, for monitoring the source, and Kensington K & Lock support, for connecting an antitheft security cable.
If you’re a hard-core DV enthusiast, you’ve already got your computer, monitor, camera, extra hard drive, preview monitor, and speakers plugged in to a power strip. Thankfully, Director’s Cut draws power from the FireWire cable. You’ll need to plug it directly into the computer (as opposed to using a hub), though, if you want it to be reliable.
Transferring treasured video from degradable VHS tape to DVD means you should never lose that wedding video or precious footage of baby’s first steps. It should also let you ditch the VCR completely if you use a hard-disk-based recorder such as Sky+. £199 is a lot to pay for a few videos. There are plenty of video-to-DVD services available that charge about £15 a tape. But if you have piles of ageing cassettes lying around, Director’s Cut SCART is a simple solution for an increasingly common need. You’ll soon have all your friends begging you to save their old videos, too – so maybe you could all club together for posterity’s sake.