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  1. Member
    Join Date: Nov 2012
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    I have numerous MiniDV and Digital8 tapes that I want to capture to my computer (Windows 7 Pro, 64bit, 1394 port.)

    What's the best software to use for this?

    I want the capture to be lossless, just capturing the raw DV. Format wise I'm hoping to go ideally to "raw" DV, but TypeI DV-AVI, or TypeII DV-AVI are OK too.

    When I search videohelp.com, I see utilities like WinDV, DVIO, EnoSoft DV Processor, and even VirtualDub mentioned. But then again, Windows has its own capture tools (Windows Movie Maker, or Live Capture, or whatever it's called now).

    What's the down side of using the Windows based built in tools (I assume there is one or people wouldn't be going for third party software)?

    Thanks!
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  2. aBigMeanie aedipuss's Avatar
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    windows doesn't deal with raw DV. type 1 or 2 is fine. windv is free, tiny, easy to use and does everything needed. don't overlook the config button before capturing for the first time.
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    "a lot of people are better dead" - prisoner KSC2-303
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  3. Member
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    Thank you. What would be the second choice after WinDV? I've had audio capture problems with WinDV and am looking for an alternative.

    Also, have you tried the built in Windows tools-- I'm curious why nobody uses them. (I used them in 2007 or so on WinXP and had weird results, the captures looked good but I was never able to reverse the fields in any tool I tried... it was as if it captured them interlaced but labeled them deinterlaced, or something weird like that... but am not sure if my experience was unusual or due to user error.)

    Thanks!

    (PS, I posted an earlier question today that went into details about the audio problems I had with WinDV in case you're curious what didn't work for me with WinDV... unfortunately I was insanely long winded: http://forum.videohelp.com/threads/351216-Capturing-Digital8-and-MiniDV-tapes-on-Windows-7-WinDV-alternatives )
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  4. aBigMeanie aedipuss's Avatar
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    second choice is not easy, they are all old. so whatever you can get to run on win7 i suppose. i've captured thousands of tapes with windv, i wouldn't use anything else. part of my video business is capturing minDV tape.
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    "a lot of people are better dead" - prisoner KSC2-303
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  5. Member
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    Thank you again.

    I had a lot of good luck with WinDV for a while... but then that audio problem (which as far as I can see has no solution) kind of broke off my brief crush on the tool. I would guess most peoples' tapes don't push WinDV to whatever dark corner it is that creates the bad resampling, but maybe it's something about my D8 16bit/48kHz tapes. I still wish I could use it since it was a really great utility, and I wish someone who knew how to do these things would update it for 2012. But I'm sure it's not a huge audience of users who need it anymore, so I can see why nobody has done so.

    Anyway, thanks for your thoughts and insight on the topic-- it's really useful!
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  6. Member
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    Ever since I started capturing Digital8 via 1394 years ago, Stoik Capturer has worked well enough for me. Currently I'm using it with a Windows 7 32-bit laptop with built-in 1394 port. I'm unsure whether it runs on Windows 7 64-bit.

    Stoik Capturer does occasionally drop a frame or two, but that I've also found with other software I tried with the same camera, tape and computer.

    I've tried the tools that come with Windows and on my current machine they perform as accurately as Stoik Capturer, from a capturing point of view. I ended up not sticking with them because they either offer too little flexibility or do too much, like immediately adding the capture file to video collections and such.

    Edit: with Stoik Capturer mind the above config caveat before capturing, but every time in this case. It has two config-related buttons - Compression and Tune. The Tune -> Audio Format settings get lost between sessions.
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  7. Member
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    Thank you-- that's really helpful!-- especially the note that you've tried Windows' tools and they work but it's more about flexibility and features (too much or too little). I really like the idea of a standalone capture tool personally, so Stoik sounds worth a try. (Though I'm a little troubled by the comment on the Stoik page on videohelp.com that says the user had audio issues with it, because audio is the problem preventing me from using WinDV-- have you had audio issues with it?) I still haven't tried the Windows tools (just got Windows Live Essentials installed last night) but I'll probably try those too and compare notes. Anyway, thank you for the helpful reply!
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  8. Member
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    Scenalyzer Live is worth looking at. I have tried all manner of capture utilities, and Scenalyzer is the best hands down (at least for me.) It has never given me any problems. If you do try it, make sure you set the options for capturing.

    BTW, I am running Windows 7 Pro 64 bit.

    Brainiac
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  9. Member
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    I remember stumbling across Scenalyzer at some point, maybe it's worth a try too (especially since from the sound of it you have it working on Win7/64bit.) Thanks!

    On another front, does anyone who might be reading this, have any suggested settings for the machine during capture? I've always assumed when frames get dropped in captures it's because the machine has too much else running. So I always do things like disabling all virus protection (after disconnecting from the internet first of course), and try to disable anything else I know I don't need during a capture.

    But is there any kind of straightforward way of doing this? I'm guessing one can't capture in safe mode since safe mode doesn't load any drivers (and I'd need the 1394 driver at least) but is there any analogous "kinda-safe-mode" that runs lean? Thanks for any thoughts!
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  10. Member
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    I run Scenalyzer while doing all kinds of things on my computer and have NEVER experienced a dropped frame. I remember years ago, you would not DARE mess with the computer while capturing video. But I think modern computers are a lot more forgiving.

    As a matter of fact, I have 2 Sony VX-2100 SD cameras. I tried capturing from both cameras at the same time with Scenalyzer, and still did not get any dropped frames.

    It's a good idea to make sure the drive that you are capturing to is defragged before capturing to it. And when I capture, I capture to internal SATA drives. That probably makes a difference as well.

    Brainiac
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  11. Member
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    I agree with you Brainiac, modern machines are more than capable of coping with the ~28Mbps = 3.5MB/s transfer rate of DV.

    I should perhaps add that the dropped frames I mention above could be attributed to old tapes in hindsight, not hardware performance.
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  12. Member
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    I have been using Microsoft's Windows Movie Maker on my Win7Pro x64 laptop, and so far so good. No dropped frames at all. It is a simple tool but it seems to be adequate for my needs (in fact I prefer simple.)

    One thing that keeps puzzling me, though, and I was wondering if anyone reading this might know. Some of my tapes were 48kHz/16bit audio, in particular most of my Digital8 tapes. But most are the more common MiniDV, with the more common 32kHz/12bit audio.

    But what I don't understand is, when I look at what codec is on the captured audio (i.e., using VLC), it reports 32kHz/16bit for the audio of my MiniDV tapes. The audio doesn't sound bad or anything, but I'm still a little unsettled by why it says 16bit on the capture instead of 12bit. (The Digital8 tapes, where I used 48kHz/16bit, all do say 48kHz/16bit in the codec description.) Is this OK? Why would it say 16bit instead of 12bit, if the tape's audio is supposed to be 12bit?

    (PS, I should add, sometimes the audio doesn't sound right in VLC, but so far all the movies I've captured sound fine in Windows Media Player.)

    Thanks for any insights!
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  13. aBigMeanie aedipuss's Avatar
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    32khtz 12 bit was never common. it was the secondary type of audio and was intended for 4ch audio. 48/16 was for 2ch.

    32/16 is not an allowed DVavi type audio.
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  14. Member
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    Originally Posted by siphon View Post
    I'm still a little unsettled by why it says 16bit on the capture instead of 12bit.
    My guess is that's due to a conversion done by Windows Movie Maker during capturing. It could be because it does not support 32kHz 12-bit audio output, or that it tries to avoid the non-compliance on your behalf (as I think aedipuss suggests). Either way, it's a conversion you'd have had to do yourself.

    If you're suspicious of the conversion quality, see if you can capture in the native 12-bit format and then do the conversion yourself. I don't recall seeing a setting for audio output format in Movie Maker so you might have to use another capture tool.
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  15. Member
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    Thank you for the insights, everybody!

    I realize 32 kHz / 12 bit may not have been common in higher end production, but consumer level dv cameras like mine, inexplicably made that the default audio mode, so for people like me who didn't at the time know to change it, it was common.

    I still haven't managed to capture a 12 bit file and attempt the conversion myself-- I think to do that I'd need a Windows based tool that can save raw .dv stream files, and as yet the only one I'm aware of is Enosoft (which I haven't yet tried.)

    Interestingly, I looked back at some of my WinDV captures from last year, and I see the exact same thing with WinDV-- the 32 kHz files all say the audio is 16 bit, even though I know 32 kHz / 16bit isn't supposed to be a legal DV audio format. At the time I thought that was a bug in WinDV but now I'm wondering if there is some kind of correctness about it, since both WMM and WinDV appear to do it.. and maybe my WinDV captures were OK all along.

    The theory that it's decompressed already, doing a conversion I'd have otherwise have had to do myself, also makes a lot of sense. I do remember reading somewhere that the 32 kHz / 12bit audio on MiniDV cassettes is compressed, and the 48kHz/16bit isn't, so maybe it's just the exact same stream uncompressed. I still would like to know for sure so I don't have to keep feeling like maybe my captures (and I'm doing a lot of them) are all bad and will need to be redone. (Like, is it some kind of deterministic compression like gzip, where it doesn't matter what machine does it, or is it sort of a "secret recipe" kind of decompression, where a good editing program might result in a better quality final sound than whatever WMM is doing on the fly.)

    Another possible explanation that occurs to me is that it could just be user error-- like, maybe looking at what VLC or QuickTime say the codec is, isn't what I'm supposed to do-- maybe I'm supposed to look, say, in a video editing program to see what it says about these imported clips.

    Anyway, if I ever figure out a definitive answer to what the story is I'll update here-- or if anyone else has any insights what the reason is for this discrepancy I'd love to know.
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  16. Member Cornucopia's Avatar
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    The default on cameras - consumer or pro - is supposed to be 16bit/48kHz. If it started using 12/32 for whatever reason, that's just bad luck (and you guessed it, they are ALL known to have compatibility problems).

    You're right, there is no such thing as 16/32. However, what you're experiencing COULD be because of one of two other possibilities:
    1. The app doesn't like "12 bit" because it doesn't fall cleanly on 8bit boundaries. There are historically a number of audio apps that have a real hard time with both 12 bit and 20 bit. Sometimes even 24 bit has been weird, but it shouldn't be since it can be 3x8 instead of 2x12. So the app adds "padding". The contents of the file is still 12/32, but extra zeroes have been added at the end of each odd byte so that the app and more likely, other apps, can read it cleanly. Remember, computers are DUMB unless smartly programmed.
    2. The app that you're using to READ these files is incorrectly REPORTING it as 16/32 even though it truly is 12/32. Similar programming shortsightedness like #1 above, but this time during the read cycle, not the write cycle.

    I agree, WinDV probably worked as well as any could have.

    BTW, 12/32 is not "compressed" in any way, shape or form. It's pure LPCM. Note that OFTEN 12/32 is used when trying to record 4-channel material, not 2-channel, as aedipuss mentioned. Maybe that has something to do with your problems.

    I'm not trying to dis you, but unless you're well versed in DV technology, I wouldn't rule out user error.

    Scott

    edit: I'm curious, why do you think it is preferable to capture "RAW" as opposed to in an AVI or MOV container?
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