this question has been asked in one of the forums here and elsewhere quite often.
But although I have checked loads of questions and answers I didn't find any satisfying or unambiguous recommendation.
(In case I overlooked some really comprehensive advice pls apologize my posting, I'd be grateful for a quick pointer at this info then.)
Well, the challenge is about converting all my "analog" Video8 tapes, recorded with an ancient Sony HandyCam, into a digital format.
The conversion shall fulfill the following:
1. No conversion to DVD (reason: DVDs decay even faster than tapes and who knows if dvd readers are still manufactured in 20 years from now)
2. No VOB format (reason: it is most uneconomical)
3. The target format and chosen compression parameters should on the one hand not distort the quality of the source, on the other hand a Video8 cam only produced very low quality videos compared to what even the worst digital camera today is producing
So based on this info:
+ What aspect shall I choose? 720x576 ? Probably this would waste space as I think that Video8 cams (Sony Handycam F355) did nit produce that high resolution. The manual does not tell.
+ What target format: AVI, MPG, MP4 (What would be the best tradeoff between space/compression and conversion time ?)
+ What parameters shall be set in order to apply a level of compression and reduction that equals in the result (both video and audio) the source input, while not further distorting the (low) quality of the source ?
I'd really be grateful if an experienced video expert could give to me and numerous others that have already asked this, profound advice !
Thanks in advance !
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Personally I believe you are working from a series of false premises.
1. Good quality discs are still going strong if well looked after and there is no data to say they will fail in the near future.
2. VOB is only uneconomical relative to some formats, and very economical compared to others. Your blanket statement is simply wrong
3. I have seen a lot of very low quality footage taken by digital video cameras, far lower than Video8 or VHS. And far harder to cleanup because of the compression artefacts
You also have not said;
how you intend to capture this footage
how important it is to you
how you intend to store it once done,
if you intend to edit it all
if you are prepared to put any effort into improving the quality of the footage before compressing it
The answer to these questions will all factor heavily into the recommendations you are asking for.Read my blog here.
(One preliminary question: what do you think you might use the footage for, in the long term?)
There are two major steps in the process: capturing and encoding. I'll only address the encoding side, because I know next to nothing about capturing.
The safest approach is to store them using a visually lossless, fast-decoding codec at very high bitrate. You won't be able to tell the difference between the source and encode, even under close examination. The "fast-decoding" aspect is useful in case you need to edit the video files in the near future, since advanced codecs can be slow to decode (playback) and thus hard to work with in an editor. You can then use this archived footage to make distribution/end-user formats as desired. The drawback is very large file sizes.
One of the possibilities is I-frame-only MPEG-2; see this thread for a possible encoding tool.
What choices are actually available to you will depend on the exact capturing program/method you use. Hopefully others will have concrete suggestions.
DVDs decay even faster than tapes
Read the Blank DVD Media Quality Review
And the DVD longevity guide: How Long Do Discs and Tapes Last?
and who knows if dvd readers are still manufactured in 20 years from now)
Keep a copy on a hard drive, just in case, as ISO files.
2. No VOB format (reason: it is most uneconomical)
3. The target format and chosen compression parameters should on the one hand not distort the quality of the source, on the other hand a
Video8 cam only produced very low quality videos compared to what even the worst digital camera today is producing
+ What target format: AVI, MPG, MP4
How much space do you have available? How many tapes? Estimate the length per tape, and give an overall running time for the whole project.
Further to comments above.
#1 I'd argue DVD is the most likely playable current format in the future. You will have computer DVD capable optical drives available for years to come. A DVD standard MPeg2 file will be similar to VCD MPeg1 today, playable by all. Blu-Ray may not achieve similar acceptance. divx/xvid/h.264 are not yet mass market standardized.
#2 A VOB is just a multiplexed MPeg2+audio+metadata file. The metadata adds little.
#3 "should on the one hand not distort the quality of the source"
That means playback needs to be from a Hi8 camcorder with Y/C S-Video flow to the capture device (no composite PAL or NTSC).
Capture card choices are debatable (uncompressed vs. DV vs. MPeg2 vs. AVC formats). Regardless, Video8 should be archived interlace so that eliminates most AVC formats.
I'd stick to ITU-Rec601 based resolution and coding formats for greatest future compatibility. That means 720x576, 704x576 or 352x576 in 4:2:2 or 4:2:0 color space. 352x576 isn't enough for Video8. That points to uncompressed, lossless 4:2:2, DV or MPeg2 as the better archive formats. The first two seem overkill for Video8 and "lossless" codecs may not have future support. That leaves DV or DVD spec MPeg2 as the preferred archive formats. DV stores as single compressed frames. Mpeg2 uses 12 GOP interframe compression.
Last edited by edDV; 4th Mar 2010 at 11:48.
A DV converter box would not be at the top of my list of suggested items. DV compression really shows it's weakness with home shot sources, when lighting it bad and shots are under or over exposed. And let's face it, almost ALL home movies are like this. DV was not designed as a converter format for dealing with that kind of source. Loss or uncompressed capturing is better. Or just go right to MPEG-2.
I would capture it to DV and leave it in that format. No quality loss (for Video8/Hi8), standard format that everything works with, easy to edit makes it a good archive format. It eats some disk space, but that's pretty cheap these days. Keep a few copies on magnetic media, make sure a family member has another copy just in case, and refresh every few years.
Use a Digi8 camera to get the job done and you'll get both convenience and arguably the best picture quality.
Remember, digital archival is not a mature field right now, so go for overkill and keep the originals.
DV way to go here....positives FAR OUTWEIGH the small chance of problems....'Do I look absolutely divine and regal, and yet at the same time very pretty and rather accessible?' - Queenie