You can transfer video files without using the camcorder’s software if, like most camcorders these days, your camera has a hard drive or uses a memory card.

Quite a few of the camcorder software packages can be difficult to work with and sometimes will not work at all. They usually have limited editing options, often less than Windows Moviemaker offers.

To download files from a camcorder hard drive:

1) Set up a folder on your computer or use the existing My Videos folder. For archiving purposes it is a good idea to set up sub folders with some kind of identifying name; e.g. lake picnic_july2011.

2) Plug the camera in via USB.

3) Plug the camcorder power cable into a wall socket or ensure you have enough battery life left to execute the transfer.

Caution: If you run out of power midway through a transfer, some files may be corrupted.

4) Go to My Computer and select the camcorder drive listed under Device with Removable Storage. This will usually have the brand of camcorder in the name


5) Open the drive and look for the stored video files. You may have to search each folder until you find them. For example, to locate my Canon HFS21’s files the path is:

My Computer>Canon>AVCHD>BDMV>STREAM

6) Select the files, copy (CTRL + C) and paste (CTRL + V) them into your chosen video folder (Step 1).

Once transfered to your computer, you can import them directly into whichever video editing software you wish to use (Windows Moviemaker for example) and edit them.

To download from files from a camcorder’s memory card:

You can use the method above and look for the card reader in My Computer, but an alternative and faster method is to use a card reader.

1) Set up a folder on your computer or use the existing My Videos folder. For archiving purposes it is a good idea to set up sub-folders with some kind of identifying name; e.g. lake picnic_july2011.

2) nsert the memory card into your card reader, and go to My Computer. The card reader will show under Devices with Removable Storage. It may be named as the brand of your camcorder. Each drive letter will represent a different slot of the card reader and you may have to open several to find the correct drive. Note which drive letter is used for future downloads.

3) Open the drive and search for the stored video files. You may have to search several folders until you find them.

4) Select the files, copy (CTRL + C) and paste (CTRL + V) them into your chosen video folder (Step 1).

External card readers are very cheap, usually around $20-30 at the most, and are an excellent way of dealing with video files as the transfer is fast and doesn't rely on the camcorder's USB cable. This also means you are not relying on the camcorder’s power supply, if you are anything like me you will probably be pretty low on battery after a session and not always near a wall socket to plug the camcorder into.



© 2011 zuluclayman