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  1. I couldn't find a specific post that present my explicit needs. I'm a new user and this is my first post.

    I treasure my Hi8 videos of my kids, so I want the best quality analog-to-digital capture capability that I can afford. The hardware devices are hard to find information on the internet (reviews, etc.); because of their maturity, without any new devises becoming available that I'm aware of (most were manufactured in the 90’s).

    Specifically, I'm looking for a complete capture solution configure to maximize quality (at conversion and post-processing).

    Can anyone advise me?

    For flexibility of device input, I've already spent $400+ on a new Canopus ADVC-300 bi-directional analogue-to-digital video converter (FireWire, S-Video capable) and I'm considering a Sony EV-S2000 or Sony EV-C500E player. To my understanding there are three other key solution components.

    Proposed Components (from personal research):
    - Analog Player (Sony EV-S2000 or Sony EV-C500E)

    - Analog-to-digital converter/interface (Canopus ADVC-300)

    - ComputerProcessor (Win8, Max Memory, Dual-Processor CPU)

    - Enhancement/Capture software (Adobe Premiere Elements V11)

    Key Features Desired:
    - Locking option to make sure audio never drifts out of sync with the picture, which can be a problem with some devices.

    - Maximize poor “signal quality” – not to be confused with poor “image quality”.

    - Picture Controller software which allows you to change image and audio settings and apply the available filters to the converted video (i.e. most capable software to address poor “image and sound quality”during analog capture and post-processing).

    Thanks for reading! Please comment on any of the components I'm considering, or general advise. Do I have this right?
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  2. aBigMeanie aedipuss's Avatar
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    are you actually in europe and need a pal unit like the ev-c500e? pal and ntsc stuff is not interchangable.

    what ever you find will be used and in questionable condition. most folks might opt for the digital 8 camcorder with analog to digital passthrough. many also played 8mm and h8mm.
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  3. I need ntsc (sorry I missed the fact that ev-c500e was pal). I currently have a Sony camcorder (CCD-TR818) and Sony Hi8 player (Sony EVC-200). However, neither are playing back very well. I don't think it's the tape, because it's different issues on each one! I considered a repair/cleaning... however, that doesn't come cheap either. So I was considering a reconditioned player that had higher quality. "spend good money on what I really need"
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    Originally Posted by FGMthink2015 View Post
    Specifically, I'm looking for a complete capture solution configure to maximize quality (at conversion and post-processing).
    Are you sure this is what you mean? For quality post-processing, you don't capture to lossy compressed formats, and you certainly don't post-process with them. I'll let other members get into the details of Hi8 playback and capture, but for post-processing analog source I'd recommend you that ignore Premier Elements and simialar apps. For cleanup of analog source, they are far too limited and their encoding isn't that great.

    If your analog source can't be captured directly to lossless AVI, then the capture should be decoded to that format using huffyuv or Lagarith lossless compression in a YUV colorspace for all post-processing (I'd recommend Lagarith). After cleanup and other work, encode with a good free encoder such as HCenc for DVD (there are others), or you can find good free h264 encoders. If your final object is universally compliant DVD playback, go for DVD encoding and authoring. For post-processing you'd have to learn to use Avisynth and/or VirtualDub -- the latter is easier for most newcomers -- but processing in lossy capture formats such as MPEG, DivX, etc., is out of the question. That is, if you're that serious about your family videos.

    Others will undoubtedly chime in with faster and easier ways of doing what you want, but you mentioned "highest quality" a couple of times. Faster-and-easier with analog sources almost always entails quality loss.
    Last edited by sanlyn; 26th Mar 2014 at 05:58.
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  5. Great advise - Thank you so much. I use Adobe Photoshop for my pictures, so I thought I would benefit sticking with Premiere. However, you steared me to capture in different formats (lossless AVI, huffyuv, Lagarith). I guess I have some reading to do!

    As to the difference to ones commitment to "High quality", yet not making a career out of the activity! I'd be interested in something in the middle... your advise, although wonderful, seems like a lot of time to learn. But let's see other input to my challenges first... and I'll try to read a bit more on the content (terms used) of your response.
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  6. aBigMeanie aedipuss's Avatar
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    for the existing playback stuff i'd try a commercial head cleaning tape first. use as directed and keep tryin gto playback a tape. it may take several uses to get old gunk off the heads.

    if that's not enough i'd definitely get the evc-200 repaired, it should be about the best player you can get. probably not cheap but a used working one starts around 300. you could sell it when you are done.
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    Head cleaning tapes are a no-no in my experience and seldom recommended by fans of maintining analog equipment. That's especially true of old equipment. There are proper and fairly easy ways of doing it, but as you probably need maintenance other than cleaning (for example, alignment and belts, etc.), a trip to a competent shop might be in order. Another possibility is finding used equipment in better condition, but at any rate some patience and maintenance is likely. All my VCR's were purchased on eBay, one goes back to 1995. I did get a couple of pieces of real useless junk thru those auctions, fortunately at bargain prices, but the 4 VCR's I have now are going strong. I clean the heads myself. I'm not familiar with the players mentioned but you can probably find posts in this forum concerning them.

    As I anticipated, there's always a bit of stepping-back when more involved processing is mentioned. But I believe that once you see the results of easier methods, you might change your mind. In any case, if you do capture to a more lossless format, keep them around on an extra hard drive. You might want to revisit those captures later.
    Last edited by sanlyn; 26th Mar 2014 at 05:58.
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  8. Sanlyn, Keep up your insightful responses... you're an incredible resource!
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    Dad always said I did things the hard way. It's a genetic defect.
    Last edited by sanlyn; 26th Mar 2014 at 05:58.
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  10. For NTSC Hi-8, just grab a late model Sony HandyCam. They have a built in TBC and DNR and they can be switched on/off independently. All of them have S-Video out with the exception of the stripped down final models Sony released in 2003.

    Do you remember what model camcorder recorded the tape originally? Many of Sony's later models (1997-99) supported stereo audio and a picture quality enhancement known as "XR". Hi-8 XR tapes will play fine on non-XR equipment without a problem, but you won't get the higher picture quality.
    Last edited by NJRoadfan; 9th Mar 2013 at 15:11.
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  11. aBigMeanie aedipuss's Avatar
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    vcr heads are much more likely to be damaged by fumble fingered amateurs than a wet or dry cleaning tape. there is so much mis-information on the net. i especially like the one about using an alcohol wetted piece of white paper on the rotating heads. might as well use damp toilet paper - you're going to end up with the same fibers glued on.
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    If you're a fumble-fingered amateur, you shouldn't be inside your gear anyway. It's cheaper and easier to have someone clean heads properly than to replace them. There are a number of posts here and elsewhere from users whose heads were ruined with head cleaning tape. Best to have it done by someone who knows how.

    Originally Posted by aedipuss View Post
    there is so much mis-information on the net. i especially like the one about using an alcohol wetted piece of white paper on the rotating heads. might as well use damp toilet paper - you're going to end up with the same fibers glued on.
    True, there is lots of weird info out there. Who said anything about paper? And alcohol leaves a residue. Apparently someone didn't used the wrong grade of paper (apparently the same cheap stuff they used to ruin their printer). I've also seen a guy on UTube using cotton swabs. As I said, have it donwe correctly if you can't do it yourself. Many head assemblies cannot be replaced.
    Last edited by sanlyn; 26th Mar 2014 at 05:58.
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