I have some old 'precious' family Hi8 tapes and a Canon UC8HiE camcorder which can play and output them with s-video. I am keen to capture as good quality as I can without spending $1000's and store them on a NAS. Preserving these for future generations and 4k tv's (hopefully depending on the OH)!
I have PC's, mac's. I was looking at Elgato Video Capture card, but the max res is only 640x480. I have read a lot on this forum but it is getting to be a minefield! Anyone any experience with my situation?
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To help navigate the minefield, there are three basic schools of thought.
1) Use a Digital 8 Camcorder or deck to playback the tape and capture as DV video. (My personal preference.)
2) Use a DVD recorder to convert to DVD-compatible Mpeg-2 on the fly.
3) Use a capture card to save as uncompressed, slightly compressed, or over-compressed depending on personal preference.
640x480 is all the resolution you're going to get off a Hi8 tape, although it's worth capturing at 720x480 for editing and authoring to DVD. Any higher resolution and the capture\encoder is simply making stuff up to fill in the gaps.
Hi, to confirm...
1, I have a MiniDV camcorder as well but not a "Digital 8". I assume by your reply a "Digital 8" camcorder will play Hi8 tape and transfer electronically to a PC. However, don't have a "Digital 8" camcorder but a friend might have.
2, Don't have so not ideal.
3, Something like the Elgato then? I think this compresses to H.264 at 1.4 MBit/se.
Will I see the benefit of (1) over (3)?
An ElGato does a few things:
1. Compresses to 1.4Mbps (as you say), which is REDICULOUSLY LOW for home video, even using optimized h.264/AVC.
2. Force to square pixel equivalent 640x480, regardless of whether your equipment can handle non-square or not.
If you EVER plan on editing, this is a bad idea. And showing that on a 4k tv will likely show in high relief the weaknesses of its approach. What the elgato device is doing amounts to an end run to a "web-shareable" & consumeable mp4.
If you want to ARCHIVE, EDIT, and/or doing anything else with this footage, you would use one of those other options. BTW, I would have lumped smrpix's option choices into 4 categories:
3 Uncompressed/LosslessCompressed Analog-type
4 HighlyCompressed Analog-type (whether MPEG2, Xvid, AVC, or even HEVC)
Elgato falls under the 4th category, and is IMO only worthy for casual use. Will you see the benefit (of #1 over #4)? YES. Is it worth it for you? I don't know your situation nor tastes/priorities. #3 is also good (often better), but possibly requires more work in order to realize striking improvement over #1.
Hi, ok, I am convinced - 1 it is.
Am I right in assuming that a digital 8 camcorder has a USB connection to the PC?
I will do some searches on ebay for a 2nd hand one! Any makes I should avoid?
It may HAVE a USB connection, but it would NOT be using that connection for transfer of DV. It would ALWAYS be using the Firewire/1394 connection (which you would also need to have on your PC) for that application. The USB is likely for photo transfer.
Look for a model that specifically states that it supports "analog pass-through". And go with verifiable & reputable sources. Hopefully with the option to return for full refund if necessary.
Also look for a model that specifically states it will play Hi8 and Video8, since some of the lower-end models do not.
Go for a Sony, one of the DCR-TRV series with the highest number you can find unless you can scrounge the use of something like a DCR-VX1000 or 2000.
I found a list, it seems the DCR-TRV120E is the easiest to get hold of on eBay. Will this do the trick?
All Sony Digital 8 PAL (UK system) models. Models marked * will play old 8mm analogue PAL recordings made in Standard 8, HI8, in both (SP) and (LP) modes. All models marked * have switchable timebase correction.
So have been watching for a while now on ebay, Sony TRV238E and TRV240E models are coming up, going for just under £100. The TRV120E is going for more like £60-70. Is there any difference quality in the conversion between these models or will they be using the same processing 'stuff' inside?
Anyone any thoughts on model numbers and the quality of results?
I own both DCR-TRV120K and TRV350K, have used both to play and capture analogue 8/Hi8 tapes, and honestly can't tell the difference between the files taken from each of the same tape. What I would be more concerned is, LP-mode recorded tapes may or may not play back as good as SP (losing sync at times and de-synchronizing audio and video in the created DV-AVI file).For the nth time, with the possible exception of certain Intel processors, I don't have/ever owned anything whose name starts with "i".
there is a huge disadvante to capture NTSC videos to DV-AVI due to color subsampling method. PAL and DV-AVI works better.
i would (as i had before) capture with a blackmagic intensity pro with a panasonic dvr inbetweer for signal stability.
please see my other thread comments or PM me - i will provide more infos when i get back into this capture thing in a month or so.
id change it to "slight", but its a question on how much color informationloss you are willing to take esp. in the case that you might want to "do" something in terms of filtering.
funny enough, i had better analog play resulsts on a TVR120 than on a TVR420 (120 is older) going via s-video out.
if i remember right the compression on the TVR420 was slightly better than on the TVR120.
the difference will always be only slightly better/worse but if i digitize old 'precious' tapes id just go the highest quality route and be done with it.
Last edited by Opticum; 15th Sep 2014 at 07:57.
Opticumm, to clarify, in your opinion the 'highest quality' is from a higher model then?
Better Playback with Analog Out (S-Video to Blackmagic): older model
Better DV Stream Output: newer model (i assume due to better compression chip)
If you see a problem with NTSC DV's reproduction of Hi8 chroma, either it's removing noise which wasn't part of the on-tape signal (that's a good thing!), or your DV decoder on your PC is rubbish. Rubbish NTSC DV chroma upsampling used to be quite common, but it's trivially avoidable at zero cost. Cedocida.
Was about to bid on a TRV350, then noticed it was missing the E at the end. Think it is an NTSC camcorder. Guess that would be a bad idea for my UK PAL Hi8 tapes?
Yup. Very bad idea (won't work at all).