I have about 200 hundred hours of tape on mini-dv and hi8 tapes. I want to accomplish the following:
1) Transfer all the tapes to my computer so that they can be backed up.
2) Use an editing program to make simple DVDs with minimum editing (i.e. add menus, create chapters, trim some of the footage).
3) Retain the highest quality of the picture as possible.
The issue is the amount of disk space required. I started using Microsoft Movie Maker to capture the video because it would automatically rewind the tape and then it would automatically split scenes into separate files. A scene is created for every time camcorder recording was started and then stopped. The output is saved in DV-AVI format and each hour of tape uses approximately 12.5 GB of hard drive. There is simply not enough space on my hard drive to capture all of the tapes.
I have Cyberlink PowerDirector 10 and it saves captured video in MPEG-2, which uses about 4.5 GB of hard drive, which is a third of what DV-AVI uses. If I am only adding menus, chapters and trimming footage on an MPEG-2 file when creating a DVD, will the quality of the picture be as good as using a DV-AVI file? If so, I will need to capture the video to MPEG-2 format.
My system can also write to Blu-ray. Am I better off writing to Blu-ray than DVD? Can I get more video on it? Will the quality be the same or to get better quality, would I need to capture video to another format, which may again be too large for my system to accommodate?
Also, the capture process using Cyberlink PowerDirector 10 is much more complicated than MS Movie Maker, which once started would complete the entire capture process, from rewinding the tape to creating separate scenes. With Cyberlink PowerDirector 10, I have to click through multiple steps in the capture process to achieve the same results, which locks me to the computer. Is there a simple capture software that works like MS Movie Maker but can output to formats other than DV-AVI?
Thank you in advance so much for your help. If you have any other suggestions, I would greatly appreciate it.
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the miniDV tapes should be captured as DVavi, it's what's on the tape. most people use winDV, then import to whatever editor they use. it's the best quality you can get and easily encoded to mpeg-2 for dvd.
the hi8 tapes you will need to do an analog capture of. or run the hi8 cam into the minidv cam and capture DVavi using analog to digital passthrough if the miniDV cam supports it.
how you save them is up to you. full quality DVavi stored on hard drives, or 1/4 the bitrate mpeg-2 convertions to dvd.--
"a lot of people are better dead" - prisoner KSC2-303
If your archive/backup is going to be DVD-R, you might as well just throw all the tapes away now, and start getting over the loss now - rather than in 5-10 years when those DVD-Rs won't play.
Don't assume you'll be able to re-capture in 5-10 years time. You might not have a working deck, and anyone who does have one might be charging far more per tape transfer than you want to pay.
You're looking at less than 3TB to store everything you have as DV-AVI - which is a lossless copy of your miniDV tapes, and a good enough copy of your Hi8. So, for 3TB storage I would buy some HDDs. Keep one set off site, and check every year. Replace every five years.
HDD prices are a little high right now. Might want to wait 6 months. Cost per GB just keeps falling, so the biggest expense is the initial purchase. By the time you want to replace them, the cost will be low enough to not matter.
You say 200 hours? --- How much of that do you really need to keep?
You could save a bucket full of space, by taking a slightly different approach.
Capture a tape using WinDV, as suggested above. Do a quick cut only edit - using something like Virtualdub - to get rid of the 'rubbish' bits.
As the files are DV, that will be quick and easy. Use the 'direct stream copy' option to save the rest. That will be pretty quick to do.
Absolutely no loss of quality at all, but no need to store the 'rubbish'.
Of course, it could be that every single second of your 100 tapes is all 'good stuff', but if you're anything like most of us, quite a lot could be binned without any of it actually being missed.......
WinDV. No way to screw it up. Windows Movie Maker tries to get you to save to WMV which is a huge step down in quality. To save to DV-AVI you need to dig down into "Other".
I have a similar quantity of Hi8+Digital8+MiniDV+HDV tapes (actually more).
I triaged the tapes into categories.
- high priority ... I archive these as DV-AVI or HDV.m2t to hard disks (at least two copies*). I edit down to clips and keep track of them in an Excel database. In many cases I can toss about 30% of clips as junk.
- medium priority ... These get captured DV-AVI but get encoded to DVD MPeg2. Examples are interviews or lectures.
- Low priority ... These I capture straight to MPeg2. Examples are conferences, speeches or product demos.
Thoughts on Blu-ray...
DVDR holds 20-40 min (dual layer) of DV-AVI ... Not worth the bother IMO.
Blu-ray (single layer) holds about 1.8 hours of DV-AVI but these won't play on Blu-ray players, so you must also maintain a computer Blu-Ray drive. IMO this too is not the way to go for archive.
For those programs that I want to play or distribute on Blu-ray, I encode a copy to interlace MPeg2 or h.264.
* By this I mean two copies on separate drives. Ideally one of the hard disks should be stored off site so a fire can't destroy both. I also keep the tapes.
Last edited by edDV; 14th Mar 2012 at 11:36.
When I capture my mini-dv tapes onto my computer using the firewire from my digital camcoder, the scenes are split into separate files when using MS Movie Maker.. When I capture my hi8 tapes by playing the tape on a non-digital camcorder and pass it through to the camcorder via my digital camcorder, the result is one huge file (usually around 25 GB). To do this, I kind of trick MS Movie Maker by selecting an amount of time to capture the data, as opposed to selecting the whole tape, so that the program does look to rewind and play the tape on the camcorder hooked up to the computer (i.e. my digital camcorder). If I purchase a digital8 camcorder and hook it up to my computer via firewire, will the hi8 and 8mm tapes automatically be split into separate scenes when capuring via MS Movie Maker or will I still end up with one giant file? I would hate to purchase another camcorder for nothing.
Last edited by sanlyn; 21st Mar 2014 at 20:29.
I seriously doubt that purchasing a Digital8 camcorder will help:
The reason MS Movie Maker splits your MiniDV captures into multiple scenes, is because MiniDV is a digital format. The recording camcorder stored DV timestamp metadata on the tape indicating the beginning and end of each scene among other things, and the playback camcorder is relaying this information to MS Movie Maker over firewire.
Your analog Hi8 tapes simply don't have this metadata, so automatically splitting a file into scenes requires guesswork (a scene change detection algorithm). This kind of guesswork may sometimes get things wrong: Depending on the intelligence of the detection, it might miss scene changes between similarly-lit scenes, and it might mistake quickly changing levels or fast camera movement for a scene change.
Some Digital8 camcorders are capable of playing back analog Hi8, but I'm not sure if any include scene change detection when encoding to DV. (I've read that Digital8 camcorders capable of playing back Hi8 also have some limitations regarding their audio playback.)
There's probably a piece of capture software that will check for scene changes and split the file for you, but if so, I'm not sure what it is. (Maybe someone else will know?) For all I know, MS Movie Maker might have an option (I haven't found it though). If not, I know there are other programs that will look for scene changes and automatically split your video. A quick search turned up HandySaw DS and AVCutty, but the first is a commercial product, and the latter apparently doesn't work. I imagine there's probably a free software (or at least freeware) equivalent somewhere though...maybe someone else will know?
UPDATE: There's a capture program called Scenalyzer that will split a capture into different files based on optical scene change detection. Maybe you could try that?
Last edited by Mini-Me; 3rd Apr 2012 at 01:55.
As said programs like Movie Maker and WinDV use time code gaps (discontinuity) to identify scene start and stop points. Every time you hit record or stop with a digital camera, a timecode discontinuity is created. In most capture programs you can turn off scene detection if you want a single large file. In WinDV this is the "discontinuity" setting.
When a digital camera is configured to pass external analog video, or when playing analog Video8/Hi8 tapes, there is no timecode to indicate start stop points, only a continuous control track. There is a consumer program called Scenalyzer that attempts to find scene changes based on video analysis. It then uses this information to separate clips. There are also several pro software programs that add additional scene analysis features.
Scenalyzer works OK-ish, but the main "problem" is you just get clip1.avi, clip2.avi, etc - there's no date/time metadata available to automatically name the files usefully.
Unless I'm going to re-edit everything comprehensively in an NLE, I find it easier to have the whole tape as one file and just cut out the bits I don't want, rather than have a jumble of nameless clips and having to stitch them all back together again. If I have burned date/time into the footage at the start of each day (I used to try to remember to do this when filming years ago), then I sometimes cut the captured analogue footage into separate days, and name the files based on the known date it was recorded. This is a manual process though. And it'll leave some footage with a guessed name because the actual date is unknown. (I'm showing my OCD side here!).
Whereas with DV, I automatically have files named...
DV.2007-04-03 09-26.05 079.avi
...which is at least useful. (filmed at 9:26am on the 3rd April 2007, stored on tape 79)