Question Getting Hi8 (8 mm) video to a PC


Novice Member
(If you want to skip the background control F for four asterisk in a row and that will take you to the entirely relevant part of this thread)
So a few months ago my mother (who gets random old stuff from just about everywhere) gave me an old 8mm case the camcorder (a Sharp VL-AH131), it came with two batteries (I only have one now, the other was either bad or improperly charged; I'll get to charging after and has been opened up to see if I can reverse engineer it to hold standard NIMH cells) all I got was the camcorder and those two dead batteries. No tapes, no video out (there is no USB out; it's from 2002) cables (though it had what looks like a 2.5mm video out and 1.5mm audio out set of jacks and the cable is mentioned in the manual) as well as no charger.
So I puzzled over it for a while until I figured that (during a night of heavy drinking) I may as well try my balance charger (for RC stuff) on it as it has an NiMH mode and the batteries are marked as being NiMH so I used the balance chargers banana plug ports to connect to a pair of croc clips which in turn were connected to two wires and duct taped onto the battery. The first battery I tried started buzzing, fizzling and popping so after using my leatherman and a pair of protective gloves to get the bad cells out of it and into a metal container, then the bin I tried the second battery at a much lower current and it charged. It took a few charges in succession, with me carefully upping the max current until the battery charged up well enough to not die within 30 seconds (then a minute, two minutes, five minutes, etc) so i figured that despite having a Panasonic GH3, a bunch of lenses and a few 32GB cards I may as well get this working, for the sake of nostalgia; once I saw it working I bought a tape, I'm hoping it arrives before new year.

However this leaves me with the issue of getting the information off the tape and onto digital media (if you skipped ahead this camcorder doesn't have an ADC and USB port and the AV cable is missing), my first thought is to set up my own AV cable and run it into a PC. Problem is the audio and video feeds are separated and one is 3.5mm while the other appears to be 2.5mm, the manual shows both connectors connected together and are converted to a set of 3 coaxial (phono) jacks.
Do you reckon I can fabricobble a way of getting this to work via the outputs, do 8mm tapes have a VHS adaptor that can be bought or can you buy a plug in USB compatible 8mm to usb "player" (at a reasonable price)?

Before anyone says it; I know I can get much better quality off my GH3, phone and all I have to do to get the video off it is load it into my USB 3.0 card reader or send it via Wi-Fi to my PC. This is more me wanting to use an old, clunky, old and obtuse technology simply for the sake of having a bit of fun. I picked up a minidisc player for my house (a family friend was clearing his garage) for the same reason. My AVR takes Bluetooth, internet radio, direct Wi-Fi input from my PC but there's something about abandoned technology that I adore and being able to get a slew of old, unlabled minidiscs always makes my day as you never know what'll be on them, such as radio recordings from the late 90s (the same goes for unlabelled cassettes; I've listened to the wall by pink Floyd (FLAC files) but only really enjoyed that time I found an old late 80s case the recorder/player with an unlabelled casette in it, which just happened to have The Wall recorded on it. That went straight into my tape deck.

So if anyone knows how to get the info off the tapes and onto a computer,except for paying a company to do it for me; though I may have a company digitize some childhood tapes of me recorded on a really old camcorder (full shoulder size, tiny little black and white CRT screen for you to watch through. It was broken by my dodgy uncle when I was about 3-4 years old and then stolen about a decade later. Must have sucked for the thieves thinking they grabbed something good but ended up with a broken antique; sadly there were a number of tapes left in the bag though) that my grandmother won in a competition, back when competitions weren't just "answer A, B or C and we'll throw everyone with the right answer into a raffle".


Distinguished Member
Most of the old video standards were video-only so any sort of capture card is likely to have a separate audio input, that's not a big deal.

Three phono connectors carrying audio and video is generally 1xComposite video, 2x Audio (left channel and right channel). The other two common video formats were typically three phono connectors for Component (plus extra for audio) and a mini-din connector for S-video (SCART can carry all three).

So I'd try a 3.5mm mono to Phono cable into an Composite video capture device, and then a 2.5mm stereo to 3.5mm stereo cable for the audio (or 2.5 stereo to 2x phono if the capture device uses those sockets instead of a 3.5mm jack).


Well-known Member
Looks like the camcorder uses a 4 pole 3.5mm cable so video and audio on same connector. Cables are easily available, there seems to be some defacto pole order.

The 2.5mm might be a mic input.

Obviously analogue so no USB or FireWire, you will need a capture card, probably with 3 phono input.

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