thanx Scott i think you are right too, but how do i begin fixing it?
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Don't know where you are, but if earlier post was correct and you are in Europe somewhere, there should be a number of places you can send it to. I already said I don't recommend doing it yourself.
If the $120 (USD?) given above was only for head/roller cleaning, then that is too much and you should look around for other places...
My philosophy is to try the cheaper options first and then move up the chain. I'm looking at the cost benefit as a percentage of the cost of replacing the camcorder with a similar current model. I guess that is my Accountant courses coming to fruition.
I've been to Europe and I know things tend to be more expensive for various reasons, from VAT to tariffs.
Granted. But, contrary to what I would venture have been your "lucky breaks" on using head cleaning tapes, they can and do create more problems than they're worth.
- Example1: one of the prime things to avoid when cleaning heads is lint fibers (get caught in the playback head gap, changng alignment, sometimes wear down the gap). Yet, almost ALL of the head cleaning tapes I've seen on the market use a fibrous tape composition that includes those same lint fibers!
- Example2: what gets the heads clean the most without abrasion is WET cleaning (you DON'T want abrasion!! DON'T USE DRY CLEANING TAPES EVER!!). Yet, wet cleaning on tapes is random, based on the hope that the tape will "soak up" some of the liquid from a well, which is non-uniform at best.
- Example3: good head cleaning practices (and good tape path, and tape itself practices) ALWAYS say to use clean, new material on the head, throwing away the used. Yet, every one I've ever seen using headcleaner tapes ignore this and REUSE the cleaning tape, over and over. Where do you think the dirt's going to go?!
Note: if this were a straight VHS deck, I would probably feel safe to walk the OP through how to correctly use a swab on the heads, rollers & guides. Or if this were MY CAMCORDER, I'd have no problems knowing what to do myself (since I've worked in electronics for years). But I think it's not a good idea to suggest either "consumer-friendly" solutions which have negative technical merit, nor suggest home, DIY fixits without a user's accompanying knowledge in the field.
Those are the breaks!
Whatever dv compression the camcorder applied, it's there. No removing those artifacts, even if you resave as uncompressed. Think of it as you your new baseline. So just do what you can to keep it from getting worse.
i always thought that there is no compression on the footage that is stored on mini dv tapes
isn't that dv format captured there without any compression?
No. It's been said before: DV is ALWAYS compressed. ~5.5:1 (25Mbps) compared to Uncompressed YUV4:2:2 (~137Mbps).
so that means that there is no way i can retrieve footage from a mini dv tape that would be uncompressed, correct?
you "capture" exactly what is on the tape bit for bit over firewire. DVavi.--
"a lot of people are better dead" - prisoner KSC2-303
DVavi is compressed?
Ok I see where this is going...
One last time and I am out,
DV-MOV is compressed. ALWAYS.
DV-AVI is compressed. ALWAYS.
Raw DV is compressed. ALWAYS.
DV-MKV is compressed. ALWAYS.
Any other container with DV in it is compressed. ALWAYS.
DV is a type of compression. Got it?
im sorry Scot, i got mixed-up, what i wanted to ask was if the compression used in each is a lossless one or not!
http://www.adamwilt.com/DV.htmlRecommends: Kiva.org - Loans that change lives.
DV = LOSSY compression. Not Lossless.
As a general rule of thumb, lossless compression only works out to be at most ~2.5:1. Any more compressed than that and it will ALWAYS be lossy, no matter what the codec.
I have found it remarkably difficult to capture MiniDV tapes to a Mac.
I had many tapes to capture and here are my findings:
MiniDV tapes come in two varieties, either SD or HD.
MiniDV SD tapes create a file which is: .dv
MiniDV HD tapes create a file which is: .m2t
As far as I know, THE ONLY WAY to capture MinDV HD tapes to a Mac, is to use: DVHSCap
As far as I know, THE ONLY WAY to capture MinDV SD tapes to a Mac, is to use: LiveCapturePlus.
Here is the URL for Live Capture Plus: http://www.squarebox.co.uk/lcplus.html
I believe it exists for BOTH Mac and Windows, but I am not a Windows user. LCP is an excellent product with perfect support by email.
Again as far as I have been able to determine THE ONLY WAY to capture MiniDV-SD tapes (.dv files) to a Mac is to use "Live Capture Plus".
Note that in both these cases
** .m2t files using DVHSCap (for HD MiniDV tapes)
** .dv files using LiveCapturePlus (for SD MIniDV tapes)
Note that many people mention other approaches like using iMovie. This is silly, it transcodes your files from the actual format on the tape, to another further compressed or changed format.
You should not do this if you are trying to archive your precious MiniDVs. Archive your MiniDV tapes as the original .dv files (for SD tapes) or .m2t files (for HD tapes).
Note -- for SD tapes. You can "change" the .dv files to .mov files. In this case - as I understand it - you are getting the true pure original information from the MiniDV-SD tape, but it just changes the wrapper, and I believe it separates out the audio track (I am not 100% certain if it transcodes the audio track or leaves it alone). It seems somewhat pointless doing this - probably better to just save as the original file from the tape, a .dv file.
Now note that
... your Mac will very easily and play a .dv file (ie, the contents of a MiniDV SD tape),
... your Mac will very easily play a .m2t file (ie, the contents of a MiniDV HD tape).
(also, if you choose the .mov "variant" of a .dv file, your Mac will easily play that).
Interestingly both SD and HD tapes (ie, .dv and .m2t files) are BOTH about 13 gb per hour. 13gb is about the capacity of a DV tape. Both HDV and DV use the same data rate by the way, HDV is more highly compressed.
But there's a problem!
So you capture all your MiniDV tapes to a HD. Every common media player will play .m2t files, no problem. BUT !!!! there are no media players that play .dv files!
This is annoying! Basically you'll have to connect a Mac (mac mini, whatever) to your TV, to play .dv files.
As many have mentioned, both formats are of course already compressed, off the camera hardware. This causes some confusion because people will say something like "I want to capture this MiniDV SD tape, with no compression" A better way to express this is "no further compression" or "no transcoding" or perhaps best of all "exactly as it exists as a compressed video file on the MIniDV-SD tape". I believe the underlying compression is, Mini DV (SD) is DVCPro (many slightly different varieties of this exist, but it makes no difference), HD (aka "HDV") on MiniDV is Mpeg2.
In short to capture MiniDV tapes to a Mac, you need for MiniDV-SD "Live Capture Plus" .. in fact that also works on Windows I believe. To capture MiniDV-HD (aka HDV) on the Mac, you need DVHSCap (a free utility, once supplied by Apple, you can find it around).
This all works perfectly as of Aug 2012, latest version of every OS etc.
The result is a .dv file for MiniDV-SD, and a .m2t file for MiniDV-HD
Infuriatingly, it is impossible (as far as I know) to find a media player which will play .dv files. (that includes the "apple TV", it does not play .dv files.) Regarding .m2t files, they will play on any common media player. Both/all play perfectly on a Mac, no problem.
Files are about 13 gb per hour (interestingly, NO difference in size between .dv / .m2t).
Now if anyone knows of a media player that plays .dv files ... you are the King! Cheers!
Last edited by FatFattie; 23rd Aug 2012 at 01:36. Reason: fixed typos
.dv files play in QuickTime Player. Mini-DV camcorders (the SD type) are supported natively on the Mac. Use iMovie6 (iMovieHD) and connect the camcorder via FireWire; USB will not work.
Don't have iMovie? Use this: http://www.macupdate.com/download/26065/recdv.dmg
(Worked for me when I needed to copy over 25 years worth of VHS through a Sony DVMC1 media converter.)
The WDTV players (not the "mini") supports M2T (as well as most other common formats).
Just run the .dv file through (for example) MPEG Streamclip to convert it to H264 in a .mp4 container with AAC audio and it will play properly almost anywhere. Keep the bitrate to a reasonable level (below 2000) and it all should be fine.
Hi Rumple, that's a fascinating tip about the "micro app" "RecDV" !! Thanks for that.
It has not been maintained for many years but would appear to still work.
If anyone wants a current maintained full app that records actual .dv files, to repeat I believe the only solution on the Mac is that "LiveCapturePlus" (after a vast amount of searching). It is a paid app but does the job.
iMovie ... just for anyone reading in the future iMovie will not let you save normal .dv files, that's the whole problem with iMovie. You can only save a transcoded version. This is even true of FCP. Annoying!
If you are archiving MiniDV (SD) tapes, be sure to save them for the future as the actual original untouched format, a .dv file.
After you capture all your 100s of hours of .dv files using RecDV or LiveCapturePlus...
As I mention above "Infuriatingly, it is impossible (I believe) to find a media player which will play .dv files. Regarding .m2t files, they will play on any common media player. Both/all play perfectly on a Mac, no problem. Now if anyone knows of a media player that plays .dv files ... you are the King! Cheers!"
(As Rumple explains you can of course process the .dv files to some other format, and then play that. Your archiving strategy might be to capture to .dv all of your hundreds of MiniDV(SD) tapes, and then keep those on HD, and ALSO perhaps batch process all those files to some other compressed format, and use that other set of files just for viewing "today" - keep your archival .dv files for the future.)
I notice that media players are becoming available based on different new chipsets, not just the usual Sigma 864 etc etc - the newer media players seem to be essentially "android" devices. Perhaps, some of those will play .dv files ??
The consumer SD DV format is just called "DV". "Mini" is only used because of the particular tape size generally used in consumer DV cameras ("mini"), which exist but are often replaced by larger-sized tapes for pro usage (2 larger sizes).
The consumer HD DV format isn't really "DV" in terms of compression - at all. It uses MPEG2 recording. It's just that, for backward compatibiity, it stores the data on a same-sized DV tape (slightly different formulation). Because of this compatibility, it is known as "HDV".
Form factor aside, it's MPEG2 Transport stream recording, through and through. Because of it's reliance on the existing tape format, it is designed to accommodate the SAME bitrate (25Mbps) giving the same 13GB/1hour storage needs.
Your issues with iMovie are strange, because iMovie has been (maybe not most recent releases) DV-native. IT DOES NOT RE-ENCODE!
If you capture correctly through Firewire, save & close the app, and go to the captured files folder, you will see that the files residing there are .DV type files.
Also, there is nothing to fear about FCP capping your DV either. Yes, it re-wraps it into a QT .MOV container. Yes, it reads & copies the audio stream into its own separate track, but it doesn't modify/convert it in any way. This is the equivalent of a "Type2" DV-AVI file, as opposed to a "Type1" DV-AVI file with only the internally muxed video+audio.
The raw ".DV" would be considered a "Type1". It saves some space, but is not as compatible with many apps.
As regards DV playback in media players, the DV codec is just a variation of similar DCT codecs (JPEG, MPEG), so a chipset that supports it would be trivial. However, companies haven't seen fit to incorporate it specifically (there are one or two exceptions, but those haven't been used for popular consumer media players).
I believe a lot of this non-support has to do with the fact that DV was always considered a "capture" format, but not necessarily a "destination/distribution" playback format. That's what DVDs, BDs, and Mpegs were meant for.
So as far as the CE companies are concerned, a DV master would have gotten edited and then converted to one of those formats for end-use. Thus, no need to support it in those circumstances.
Don't expect there to be any (non-PC) support for .DV files later, either. It's a deprecated format. HD is where the trend has gone. That ship has sailed.
As far as the original thread was concerned, I wanted to make it clear to newbies the difference between a LOSSLESS codec and a LOSSLESS process:
If you start off with a live image and save it to a format that is compressed, if, upon uncompression, your image has the SAME EXACT BITS as you would had you never compressed it - that is LOSSLESS compression.
So, 100% -> 80% -> 100% again.
If you compress it to a format that basically KINDA looks like it's the same, but isn't quite - that is LOSSY compression.
So, 100% -> 75%.
Lossless processes can START with either a full quality original, or a partial quality lossy copy. But if the process remains lossless, then there will be no FURTHER loss.
So, 100% -> 100% -> 100% -> 100% is a fully lossless process.
Commonly, you shoot lossily, and then try to keep the rest of the process lossless.
So (DV or AVCHD, for example), 100% -> 75% (master tape/file) -> 75% -> 75% -> 75% is a lossless process (except for that original part).
A Lossy Process will continue to "chip away" at the quality. This happens mostly during re-compression/format conversions.
So, 100% -> 75% -> 56.25% -> 42.1875% -> 31.64% is a lossy process where each step only kept 75% of the previous.
This is one of the main & strongest reasons why you want to only re-convert when necessary!
Given the nature of most prosumer camera formats, that original loss is almost impossible to avoid, but by carefully applying successive stages, you can keep the lossy processes to a minimum.
Actually, iMovieHD (not sure about the newer versions) stores the original transferred footage (from the camcorder) inside the project file. Select the file, control-click (right-click) it and select "Show Package Contents". A window will open and you should see a "Media" folder; that's where you'll find the imported clips in exactly the same format as they were stored on the camcorder (which is .dv).
Additionally, should you desire to have an edited version of your video in ".dv" format, just select "DV-Stream" as the export. You'll have a ".dv" file at the maximum possible quality (though no better than the source file) and (in this case) with all the edits you spec'd including titles, transitions, etc.
One thing to keep in mind, however, is the iMovieHD converts everything you throw at it that -isn't- .dv -into- .dv so that cheesy YouTube 240p video you downloaded and dropped into iMovieHD will be blown up to .dv size (but not quality, of course). As an example (I just tried), a 4.9MB video I DL'd from YouTube became 367MB when I dropped it into the iMovie project timeline. The quality, however, still is just as awful as the original.
Exporting as DV-Stream resulted in, you guessed it, a 367MB ".dv" file that is exactly what was inside the iMovie project file. As a final note: iMovieHD seems to work fine on my Core i7 iMac running Mountain Lion (and, wow!, is it fast!).
Hiya Scott! Yeah, I'm only talking about current software on the Mac.
If you have a Mac (2012), surprisingly the only utilities that will let you capture and save one (1x) .dv file from one MiniDV (SD) tape on your old camcorder, are "Live Capture Plus" (it does cost 50 euros) and the neat little headless program Rumple mentioned called "RecDV" (have not tested it extensively).
(It's possible things like Veescope or ScopeBox - anyone who eg makes TV commercials will know what these are - can possibly sort of capture dv, not certain.)
I'm curious, on the Windows PC is it easy enough to capture a dv tape to a .dv file ?
I'm also curious .. android .. just as you say Scott, it's unlikely anyone will bother releasing a media player that plays .dv files. But the new $50 media players are basically android units right?
Would it be typical that you could play such a file under android?? Cheers !
There's nothing magic about it staying ONLY raw .DV, as long as the data isn't converted to another codec re-wrapping is a breeze.
AFA Android devices, yeah, if you count those, you can probably use .DV files (assuming the underlying engine like ffmpeg understands it and has a DV codec installed). Most of the "media player" apps that I've seen on Android devices are really just streaming clients taking their source from a PC server. If that's the case, the server could just as easily transcode in realtime.
Forgive the old thread reply. I have two broken Canon MiniDV camcorders now. Neither device will play any of my tapes.
I will keep searching online for one that works. But in the meantime, are there any other methods for retrieval, other than spending $7 to $14 per tape for transfer? I have about 100 tapes, most have been stored properly inside, and hardly ever used except for 1-2 recording sessions.
Thanks for the reply. I've done that now, twice. Both ZR's have the same issue.
I'm still trying to find one that works, possibly another brand?
Well I bought one in the ebay link, it says it works.
I never had the time to import and edit all the movies I have over the years, hopefully the tapes are all still good.
Last edited by iBuyer; 25th Nov 2012 at 08:00.
Canon ZR units are "standard mini-DV" so any other brand should also work. However, if you -know- your tapes are good but the ZR units you've purchased through eBay didn't work, contact the vendors and get your money back (and contact eBay if you don't).
The old one I bought years ago, plus the used one I got on Amazon, both have the same problem. The tape mechanisms seem fragile. Already refunded for the Amazon order. If this one works, I'll hopefully be able to save these movies once and for all. I don't know about other brands, but the Canons seem to have real problems. Every time you put a tape in, it says EJECT in bright red letters. Doing a search for this issue, it appears there are many, many people in the same boat. Even my tape cleaning cassette says EJECT. None of them will play.
If this one works, after I'm done, I'll pay it forward by selling it back to someone in the same boat.
I have one like that; luckily, my son gave me his old ZR and I was able to get the last of my tapes transferred over to my Mac where I converted them to H264/AAC for posterity.