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  1. Member
    Join Date: Dec 2010
    Location: Massachusetts
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    Hi guys. New here, so forgive me if I'm breaking any rules, or posting in the wrong the place. I've been researching ways to convert my old analong hi8 tapes from my Sharp Viewcam VL-AH50U into digital, and onto my PC, so I can both save them permantly and burn them to DVD. To say that I've been a little overwhelmed by the different products being mentioned in most threads, is an understatement. On top of that, is the cost of some of these units like the ADVC-100/110/300's, or the price of purchasing an old Sony digital 8 series camcorder, which are both in the $100's of dollars. What I'm looking to do is convert these analog tapes to digital and onto my PC to burn onto DVD, as relatively cost effectively as possible. I'm not averse to spending money if it truly is the best way to go. However, if I can get a decent, quality transfer for considerably less cost, then I'd prefer to.

    I'd prefer not to buy a used Sony Digital8 camcorder, since the life expectancy of any unit I purchase wouldn't be guaranteed. Plus, the uses would be somewhat more limited in comparrison to buying a capture device or card of somekind. I build my own PC's, and like learning to do new things, so that also plays into buying a device that I can do some different things with.

    One device I've come across that seems to get decent reviews, is the EzCAP116 USB 2.0 Video Capture Device that costs about $35. Does anyone know if this will work for me? It says it works with hi8 camcorders, but I can't confirm that it will convert the analog hi8 into digital. Anyone know if it will? All advice or info is greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
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  2. Member Knightmessenger's Avatar
    Join Date: Aug 2007
    Location: United States
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    I have heard of the Canopus box being the most cost effective, simple and easiest method to achieve very good results. But DV compression is not the best possible quality. Though I don't know of anything better than DV without doing something as just as complicated as uncompressed.

    I don't know of something that's cheaper. I mean I do have a similar DV box from Pyro ADS but that drops frames like crazy and is not worth the hassle. Which is why I'm looking to buy a Canopus for something that I know will work.

    I'm pretty sure a Canopus box would be better than a Digital 8 camcorder, plus you could use it for other things. The only question would be which one to buy. I've found about 3 on amazon and have no idea what the difference is.
    I've also felt that a Digital 8 playback of an analog Hi8 tape is not as high quality of playback on an actual Hi8 camcorder. Can anyone confirm if this is the case.
    Last edited by Knightmessenger; 23rd Dec 2010 at 13:58.
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  3. Member edDV's Avatar
    Join Date: Mar 2004
    Location: Northern California, USA
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    Alternate to a DV converter is a classic Brooktree/Conexant tuner card that converts S-Video to uncompressed 4:2:2 YUY2. Most people use the "lossless" HUFFYUV Video for Windows codec to lower the bit rate for single disk capture. Fully uncompressed capture would take a 2 disk RAID 0.
    http://neuron2.net/www.math.berkeley.edu/benrg/huffyuv.html

    You can import HUFFYUV files into Virtualdub or most other editors so long as the codec is installed.
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  4. Member classfour's Avatar
    Join Date: Jun 2002
    Location: The Heartland, United States
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    If the camcorder still works, no need to buy the Sony.

    You can either run it through a PC capture card, or to a DVD recorder if you have one.

    I ran mine to a DVD recorder - I didn't have a capture card in the PC at the time.

    Now, I'd run it to my Hauppauge card.
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  5. Member
    Join Date: Dec 2010
    Location: Massachusetts
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    Thanks for the replies fellas. So would this device work for me? Would it convert my hi8 tapes into digital?

    EzCAP 116 USB 2.0 Video Capture

    http://www.ezcap.tv/
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  6. Member
    Join Date: Aug 2006
    Location: United States
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    Originally Posted by Dicka24 View Post
    Thanks for the replies fellas. So would this device work for me? Would it convert my hi8 tapes into digital?

    EzCAP 116 USB 2.0 Video Capture

    http://www.ezcap.tv/
    From what I have read about it, the genuine EZCap 116 is the best of the current devices sold with similar sounding names. I have seen reports that the EZCap 116 works with Virtualdub, and AMcap, if you don't care for the included software. It does not have any comb filters or other noise removal/video enhancing features. An ATI TV Wonder 600 USB (which has comb filters) would likely be better, for about the same price

    I don't have EZCap 116, so the most I can tell you is that it probably will work. ...but having been a member of these forums for a few years, I have to tell you that successful capture of analog tapes of any kind is somewhat uncertain regardles of the capture device used.

    The EZCap 116 delivers uncompressed video to the PC and relies on software for encoding, which places a burden on the CPU, but with an i5 you should be OK. However, some members here find they do better with a hardware DV capture device or hardware MPEG2 capture device, which delver video to the PC already compressed, than they do with software compression. Other people find a DVD recorder suits them best.
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  7. Member, here to learn
    Join Date: Dec 2010
    Location: Pennsylvania
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    You may need a Time Base Corrector in addition to the analog to digital converter when transferring old analog video. See my experience here:

    http://forum.videohelp.com/threads/330060-It-started-out-so-harmlessly%21-I-just-wante...home-movies%21
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  8. My 2cents
    Aviod DVD recorders. DVD is not a good archival format. DVD will MUX and split your footage in to several VOB files making them really difficult to work with in the future. Also DVDr media can be rather unstable. I have DVDr media that has quit working in less than 5 years under optimal storage conditions. Then there is the sheer amount of DVD recorder hardware choices, some of which treat your video awfully.

    If you capture to your PC you then have files you can easily archive to other HDDs and you can also burn DVDs from the files. This is the optimum solution.

    Another 2cents..... I would not trust USB in any operation which demands uninterrupted high badnwidth signaling. Too many cooks in the kitches, the OS is running plug and play monitoring on the bus, voltage on the bus can be unstable depending on your MB and PSU. Some people don't have issues with USB video capture. I never got it to work.

    PCI(e) cards generally have a wider lane and a faster bus on the MB. Though I have no statistics to back up my claim, an actuall capture card should have less potential for failure than a USB device.
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  9. Member
    Join Date: Dec 2010
    Location: Massachusetts
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    mag, is there a PCI capture card you'd recommend?
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  10. Member
    Join Date: Aug 2006
    Location: United States
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    These will likely work better with their XP drivers
    PCI
    http://www.amazon.com/ATI-Wonder-600-PCI-Tuner/dp/B00138GQ60

    PCI-E
    http://cgi.ebay.com/NEW-ATI-TV-Wonder-HD-600-PCIE-PC-TV-Tuner-/170575918545?pt=LH_Defa...7b71df5d1#ht_1

    For what it is worth, the captures made by DVD recorders may not always be optimal quality, but those who find PC capture to be overly frustrating can often manage to use a DVD recorder and save their sanity.

    I mostly capture TV from a cable box, not tapes. I use a PC capture card once in a while, though not often, but I started with a DVD recorder. VOB files are not really difficult to work with. The DVD recorder I have produces a set of VOBs for each recording session when used in Video Mode. All that is necessary is to use VOB2MPG, which joins an entire VOB set into a single .mpg file and puts it on your HDD for you.

    VRO files from DVD recorders that record in VR mode instead of Video Mode are a little trickier to deal with, but it is doable. In most cases MPEG Streamclip can be used to read and split the VRO file into segments containing each recording session and put them into .mpg files. I use Cyberlink Power Director to convert VRO files on DVD-RAM discs to mpg and then edit into recording sessions, since it is better able to cope with any bad sectors on DVD-RAM discs.

    The multiplexing is really not an issue either. VideoReDo, MPEG-VCR, and MPEG Video Wizard DVD are all frame accurate editors capable of working with multiplexed video and audio in.mpg files. They only re-encode a few frames around the cuts, and then only when the cuts are not made at GOP boundaries.

    With good qualitly record-once media like Taiyo Yuden or Verbatim Data Life AZO media (not the Life series discs sold at chain stores), a good burner, and proper storage, recordings on DVD are much more likely to last. HDDs are not the perfect storage medium either. They can go bad sitting on the shelf as well, or die while in use. Some people like to use both recordable media and HDDs for dual backups.
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