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  1. Member
    Join Date: Feb 2014
    Location: Abbotsford, BC, Canada
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    Hi, I've been trying to read and learn about the various pros and cons of getting a bunch of old home movies off tape onto my Mac to preserve them and start to edit them. The miniDV tapes I have are easy, the confusion I have is about the "best" way to import the analog stuff I have:
    - Beta Camcorder Tapes from the Mid to late 80's (i have a beta machine to play them back with - SCHFR-60)
    - 8mm Camborder Tapes (sony handycam) from late 80's to early 90's)
    - Some Hi8 Tapes from early 90's to late 90's

    I know the quality of capture I get from the old tapes will not be great as they have sat for too long, but that said, I want to import them once and do as good of a job as I can reasonably do. If it makes more sense to find a service to digitize them that is cool too, but I do have some gear to do it if I can.

    My concerns are:
    - Getting a good stable image with faithful color etc
    - getting as little distortion etc (sorry I don't know all the technical terms).

    Once imported I will edit the videos in iMovie, FCP etc

    For the import if I do it myself I have my Macbook Pro Retina with Firewire adapter and:
    - Canopus ADVC-300 (bought it a few years ago on a deal on ebay after reading a review)
    - DCR-TRV315 Sony Camcorder - analog in, I think it does Digital passthrough, Firewire out
    - Canon Optima Pi - has Firewire, but no realtime passthrough from analog as I understand it

    So questions are:
    1. For the beta tapes: Is it best to just hook the Beta up to the ADVC-300 and import? Do I need a TBC and if so what one under $300 and how much % wise of a gain would I get. Or is it better to run the Beta direct into the Sony 315 and import from there?

    2. 8MM and Hi8 - Same q's - go from Sony Camcorder into ADVC-300, or just play back from Sony in Laptop via Firewire?

    3. D8 would just be imported directly from Sony into laptop

    4. iMovie (Maveriks) does not import Analog playback from the sony camcorder via Firewire, so if you suggest doing the playback/import of the 8MM tapes direct from the Camcorder to the Laptop - should I import using Quicktime (and if so, use High or Maximum setting in Quicktime 10)

    5. For the Beta and 8MM tapes - am I better off using a service to get these onto MiniDV tapes or a hard drive? If so what should I be looking for?

    If any of this is better to do in Imovie 9 or 6 I have those too.


    Sorry for the all the questions, but in reading everything I'm getting a bit confused as to what I should do and what is needed/not needed?

    Thanks
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  2. Member
    Join Date: Jun 2012
    Location: USA
    Search Comp PM
    All of the 8mm tapes can be played from the D8 camera, so you only need the ADVC for the betamaxes.

    In all cases your simplest bet is to go to DV video.

    The real question is whether your mac is too new to accept firewire from ANY digital video device. Your mac probably has a firewire 800 connector and the firewire 400->800 adapters do not work for cameras.
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  3. Member
    Join Date: Feb 2014
    Location: Abbotsford, BC, Canada
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    Thanks SMRPIX,

    Good to know the 8MM tapes are best transferred from the D8 Camera to my Mac.

    My mac has Thunderbolt, and I picked up one of the Apple Thunderbolt to Firewire dongle cables (FW800 plug on it). I also got a Logiix FW800 9Pin to FW400 6Pin adapter cable to plug into that. I can then plug my old FW400 6 pin cable in to the TRV315 Camera and the Mac recognizes it no problem and I have done some test imports from D8 and analog 8MM tapes. So no worries there.

    I think any of the new Macs that don't ship with Firewire ports on them should be able to use the same Thunderbolt to Firewire adapter from Apple. Seems like Apple has done a good job on making sure the legacy stuff is supported which isn't too surprising given how much Pro gear etc is out there that uses FW.
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  4. Member
    Join Date: Aug 2010
    Location: San Francisco, California
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    Originally Posted by smrpix View Post
    All of the 8mm tapes can be played from the D8 camera, so you only need the ADVC for the betamaxes.
    You can also run the Betamax through the Sony if it passes input on FireWire. Use S-Video connection when possible. In all analog cases, however, you may prefer the ADVC300's processing controls if the video needs tweaking or if the audio levels are hitting 0 dBFS. You will also want a frame synchronizer if the video exhibits horizontal wiggles or vertical jitter. There are few choices in your budget range; search the forum for "TBC" and "frame synch."
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  5. Member
    Join Date: Jun 2012
    Location: USA
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    Originally Posted by tdehnke View Post
    My mac has Thunderbolt, and I picked up one of the Apple Thunderbolt to Firewire dongle cables (FW800 plug on it). I also got a Logiix FW800 9Pin to FW400 6Pin adapter cable to plug into that. I can then plug my old FW400 6 pin cable in to the TRV315 Camera and the Mac recognizes it no problem and I have done some test imports from D8 and analog 8MM tapes. So no worries there.
    That's wonderful news. In fact, I'm bookmarking this thread because very few folks have had success with this. Do you actually have timecode/machine control of the camera/decks from the computer? (Even if you don't you're well ahead of the game.)

    Originally Posted by tdehnke View Post
    Seems like Apple has done a good job on making sure the legacy stuff is supported which isn't too surprising given how much Pro gear etc is out there that uses FW.
    This is frequently NOT the case. Well done.
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  6. Member
    Join Date: Feb 2014
    Location: Abbotsford, BC, Canada
    Search Comp PM
    Yes, I have play, pause, rewind control of both the Sony and the Canon. The timecode shows up from the Canon and imports fine. The Sony seems to import D8 fine, but analog 8 I have to do via Quicktime as imovie won't import without a timecode (it looks like it does, but doesn't actually save anything).

    I should note I'm running Mavericks (10.9.1) at this time.

    The only thing I've noticed so far is that the control software for the Canopus won't work on this machine (powerPC only and 10.9 shed the support for old legacy apps). Does anyone know of a control package for it that will work in the newer Intel OSX machines?
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  7. Member
    Join Date: Feb 2014
    Location: United States
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    I've been using LifeFlix for the Mac which has been great. They have really good customer support as well. www.lifeflix.com
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  8. Member
    Join Date: Aug 2014
    Location: USA
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    The best software that I found to capture Hi8 tapes using Sony TRV460 is iMovie HD 6. It can control the camera and the import quality is far superior to Debut or Adobe Elements.
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  9. Member
    Join Date: Jun 2012
    Location: USA
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    Originally Posted by handyz View Post
    The best software that I found to capture Hi8 tapes using Sony TRV460 is iMovie HD 6. It can control the camera and the import quality is far superior to Debut or Adobe Elements.
    DV is DV, a straight data transfer. There is no quality difference as long as the software is actually capturing DV.
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  10. Member
    Join Date: Aug 2010
    Location: San Francisco, California
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    Originally Posted by smrpix View Post
    Originally Posted by handyz View Post
    The best software that I found to capture Hi8 tapes using Sony TRV460 is iMovie HD 6. It can control the camera and the import quality is far superior to Debut or Adobe Elements.
    DV is DV, a straight data transfer. There is no quality difference as long as the software is actually capturing DV.
    Quite true. The quality of the analog-digital conversion depends entirely on the TRV460. Same bits and bytes are going to the computer no matter which capture program you use.
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