VideoHelp Forum
+ Reply to Thread
Results 1 to 10 of 10
Thread
  1. I have recorded 30+ tapes on a Sony TRV350 Camcorder. They are recorded in Digital8. I am going to transfer them to my computer via firewire (Sony Vaio). I know how to capture the video, but I don't know how to get the best quality version.

    I have already tried PMB (default software on Vaio). There were no capture options as far as I could tell, with the default settings resulting in an .AVI file with DVSD type 2 video.

    I then tried AVS Video Recorder. I selected the native format which resulted in a .DV file.

    I was going to try WINDV as a third option, but I have read mixed reviews about its functionality with Windows 7, 64bit.

    My OBJECTIVES are:
    A - archive these Home videos for posterity in the best quality
    B - store the videos on my computer for viewing with a server like PLEX.
    *PMB gave the option of separating the videos on each tape into different files. I would prefer this if it does not sacrifice quality.

    My questions are:
    1) what is the native format of Digital8? I have read mention of raw or uncompressed DV, but how can I tell if the video is raw or uncompressed?
    2) is either of the two options I already tried going to give me the quality I want? If so, which? If not, what should I use?
    3) will I need to convert the files to use with PLEX ?
    4) Knowing my objectives, what do you recommend to achieve them?
    Last edited by Slovey; 3rd Jan 2014 at 13:30.
    Quote Quote  
  2. Member PuzZLeR's Avatar
    Join Date: Oct 2006
    Location: Toronto Canada
    Search Comp PM
    Hi, welcome to the Forums.

    Originally Posted by Slovey
    1) what is the native format of Digital8? I have read mention of raw or uncompressed DV, but how can I tell if the video is raw or uncompressed?
    Digital8 is indeed based on the DV codec, which is compressed. It's also a rather fixed format, with differences mostly depending on whether you're in NTSC or PAL.

    Your most optimal option, particularly for archiving, would indeed be to keep it in its native format of DV. The format on your tapes is already digital, and in DV, and there is no need to go from analog back to digital (ex: VHS), and any conversion is both a waste of time and, in most cases, a loss of quality.

    Yes DV is compressed, but that doesn't mean you will get inferior quality using it for your scheme. Using a lossless codec would be much bigger in file size, and not give you any better quality, and using something like MPEG-2 would save on space over DV, but would be considerably lossy given that it requires a conversion (and would reveal many artifacts, such as on camera pans).

    It's like taking a DvD, that has native MPEG-2 on it, and converting it to lossless. Not much benefit there, even though MPEG-2 is lossy (and even more compressed). Wouldn't a more optimal transfer be a copy of the MPEG-2 instead? (Not condoning piracy, just being hypothetical.) That's what using DV would be with your tapes - a direct copy.

    Your Digital8 tapes will only be as good as the DV video already in them, as the DvD would only be as good as the MPEG-2 on it.

    Use DV.

    Originally Posted by Slovey
    2) is either of the two options I already tried going to give me the quality I want? If so, which? If not, what should I use?
    I think you meant "firewire" when you said "firmware".

    Firewire is the best option to transfer DV video, and it doesn't matter which software you use as long it's done right - by directly transferring the exact same DV video and PCM audio streams.

    WinDV does just that - takes a direct copy of the DV, and audio, on your tapes and wraps it into an AVI container. No quality lost. I haven't tried other DV/firewire software other than WinDV so wouldn't know other options, but I do recommend you stick with firewire and WinDV if it can work on your system.

    Originally Posted by Slovey
    3) will I need to convert the files to use with PLEX ?
    I haven't used PLEX, so not sure what formats it plays, but it doesn't matter. The important thing is that you understand the difference between acquisition/archiving and delivery.

    Acquisition/archiving is what you obtain and keep as your Source. (In your case DV.)

    Delivery is what you encode to for playback. This could be MPEG-2, H.264, DivX, Xvid, etc. - it doesn't matter as long as you keep the Source. Understand that re-encoding, or de-interlacing, is destructive. However, it doesn't matter much unless it plays on what you want it to and you have a copy of the Source. Options change all the time for playback, maybe even yours will too a few years later, but if you have the DV Source, you will always have the highest quality options.

    If PLEX can play the DV directly, great, go ahead and use it. Otherwise encode it to a format that can be playable on it (as long as you keep a separate copy of the Source). You're going to have to check on the formats of your system, or someone else can help here.

    Originally Posted by Slovey
    4) Knowing my objectives, what do you recommend to achieve them?
    Keep the Source. Keep the DV. Hopefully that's clear.

    Use firewire to capture. Use WinDV if it works.

    With editing, DV is among the best, and any consumer editor worth its salt can handle it properly, including lossless cuts and joins. DV is an intraframe format - edits should be a breeze.

    For playback, use whatever is convenient for you, which would be for PLEX. It doesn't matter, as long as you keep the Source.
    Been away for a while and busy with work the last few months so I had no time for forums. My apologies for any emails I couldn't get to in time - missed you all! :-)
    Quote Quote  
  3. Thanks. I did mean firewire - I was typing on an Android phone with SwiftKey and it autocorrected to "firmware" ... which I verified when I made the correction and it did the same thing.

    I understand about keeping the source. Once I get the pure copy on my computer, I will leave it unchanged - I will always keep that copy no matter what forms I create with it.

    I also understand that you are saying DV is the best, and it is the original format that Digital8 uses. However, it can be difficult to know that I have a 1:1 DV copy when the transfer is done. What is a good (free, if possible) program to use to determine what the format of a file is?

    I have captured in what appears to be DV based on the file description, but the video on my computer looks jagged/blocky, kinda like an 8-bit video game, but not nearly as bad. I am using VLC Player to play it back, and I am watching it in the minimized window. I thought it may be because my screen resolution is at 1920x1080, but the video is 720x480 (Digital8 native resolution). Is there some other reason for the poor quality?

    Also, when playing the video through VLC Player, there is no date/time stamp/metadata, though I know it is supposed to be coded into the original. Is there some way to find it, or get it to show up in the transfer?

    Also, can WinDV divide the files by stops in the original recording? Having one long file with months of separate clips can be hard to manage when you want to watch a specific event.
    Last edited by Slovey; 3rd Jan 2014 at 14:02.
    Quote Quote  
  4. Member
    Join Date: Jun 2012
    Location: USA
    Search Comp PM
    DV timecode is embedded metadata and does not play on screen unless you have software that can do that. Try enosoft dv processor. WinDV will break the file down into clips as it's capturing if you set it to do so.
    Quote Quote  
  5. smrpix - I wasn't looking for the timecode on the screen. In VLC Player under "media information", you have the option to see the metadata as well as the format and other info. No metadata shows up. According to VLC, the file is DV, but there is no metadata that I can find. I didn't know if it was embedded in such a way that a player has to be coded specifically to read it.
    I only need to see the timecode/datestamp so I can label the file accordingly.
    Quote Quote  
  6. Member PuzZLeR's Avatar
    Join Date: Oct 2006
    Location: Toronto Canada
    Search Comp PM
    Originally Posted by Slovey
    I also understand that you are saying DV is the best, and it is the original format that Digital8 uses. However, it can be difficult to know that I have a 1:1 DV copy when the transfer is done.
    Yes, DV is the format to use which is best in your case, since it's the actual digital Source unchanged that's on your tapes. Any conversion would result in lower quality and/or higher filesize. What you use as playback is another animal, but anything other than DV would not be your most efficient Source.

    If you conducted the transfer properly it should indeed be a 1:1, or bit-for-bit, copy of what's on your tapes.

    Originally Posted by Slovey
    What is a good (free, if possible) program to use to determine what the format of a file is?

    In VLC Player under "media information", you have the option to see the metadata as well as the format and other info. No metadata shows up. According to VLC, the file is DV, but there is no metadata that I can find. I didn't know if it was embedded in such a way that a player has to be coded specifically to read it.
    Use MediaInfo instead of VLC.

    Originally Posted by Slovey
    I have captured in what appears to be DV based on the file description, but the video on my computer looks jagged/blocky, kinda like an 8-bit video game, but not nearly as bad. I am using VLC Player to play it back, and I am watching it in the minimized window. I thought it may be because my screen resolution is at 1920x1080, but the video is 720x480 (Digital8 native resolution). Is there some other reason for the poor quality?
    It shouldn't be your monitor's resolution at all, or even VLC (but maybe try another, like MPC HC if that helps). It should either be bad quality footage on the tape or a bad transfer to your computer. Hopefully it's the latter, where there is hope.

    How are you capturing? Did you get/try WinDV working with firewire? This is how I would do it. I wouldn't know how to help with other software. Usually I stay away from consumer based software for capturing (that comes bundled with capture devices as well).

    Originally Posted by Slovey
    Also, can WinDV divide the files by stops in the original recording? Having one long file with months of separate clips can be hard to manage when you want to watch a specific event.
    As Smrpix mentioned, but to make it even simpler, with a linear editor like VirtualDub (or VirtualDubMod for batches of edits), you can brush through an entire DV string after the capture and cut out anything you want, whether it's an hour, or even a frame. This is frame-accurate, and lossless if you use Video->Direct stream copy.
    Last edited by PuzZLeR; 3rd Jan 2014 at 22:07.
    Been away for a while and busy with work the last few months so I had no time for forums. My apologies for any emails I couldn't get to in time - missed you all! :-)
    Quote Quote  
  7. Member
    Join Date: May 2003
    Location: Peterborough, England
    Search Comp PM
    Don't forget that when you are playing the transferred (not captured if it is DV-AVI as it is just that, a bit for bit transfer of the digital data from the tape to the hard drive) footage is that what is recorded on the tape is interlaced and not ideal for viewing on a computer. If you were to watch it on a TV it would look a lot less blocky. Some players handle interlaced footage better than others too.
    Quote Quote  
  8. Originally Posted by Richard_G View Post
    Don't forget that when you are playing the transferred (not captured if it is DV-AVI as it is just that, a bit for bit transfer of the digital data from the tape to the hard drive) footage is that what is recorded on the tape is interlaced and not ideal for viewing on a computer. If you were to watch it on a TV it would look a lot less blocky. Some players handle interlaced footage better than others too.
    For clarification - are you saying that it is called "transferring" if it is an exact copy of what is on the tape (DV-AVI in this case) and it is called "capturing" when the footage is modified in any way (into another format)?
    Quote Quote  
  9. Member PuzZLeR's Avatar
    Join Date: Oct 2006
    Location: Toronto Canada
    Search Comp PM
    Originally Posted by Slovey View Post
    Originally Posted by Richard_G View Post
    Don't forget that when you are playing the transferred (not captured if it is DV-AVI as it is just that, a bit for bit transfer of the digital data from the tape to the hard drive) footage is that what is recorded on the tape is interlaced and not ideal for viewing on a computer. If you were to watch it on a TV it would look a lot less blocky. Some players handle interlaced footage better than others too.
    For clarification - are you saying that it is called "transferring" if it is an exact copy of what is on the tape (DV-AVI in this case) and it is called "capturing" when the footage is modified in any way (into another format)?
    I would think Richard_G's post has interchanged the word "transferred" with "captured" maybe accidentally. Just an assumption.

    There are theoretical definitions for "transfer", "capture", "encode", "conversion", etc, but in common language much depends on context.

    Or maybe he thought you captured it into a different format (other than DV)?

    Or maybe he thought you thought that the interlacing (the "raking" effect) from the DV video was a form of bad quality, which you don't see on other displays that handle it differently.

    Would be valid points, but maybe he'll explain more.
    Last edited by PuzZLeR; 5th Jan 2014 at 02:49.
    Been away for a while and busy with work the last few months so I had no time for forums. My apologies for any emails I couldn't get to in time - missed you all! :-)
    Quote Quote  
  10. Member 2Bdecided's Avatar
    Join Date: Nov 2007
    Location: United Kingdom
    Search Comp PM
    Doesn't Windows Media Player play it just fine? It does here (Windows 7).

    If it works, use WinDV. I do. Use something else if you get lost audio, or dropped frames at any unrecorded breaks in the footage.

    I used to use WinDV to split by scene, but then I decided to check for errors before splitting.

    Now I capture (which in the context of DV is just a transfer) to one whole file first, then use this to check for errors...
    http://www.avpreserve.com/dvanalyzer/

    ...then use this to split into scenes...
    http://forum.videohelp.com/threads/360803-Split-DV-AVI-files-on-timestamp-%28like-WinD...-after-capture

    Hope this helps.

    Cheers,
    David.
    Quote Quote  



Similar Threads