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  1. Member
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    Hi, first time poster but I have looked over many of the relevant posts.

    I have a Panasonic GS320 miniDV camcorder. It has DV out as well as USB 2.0 My laptop, of course, does not have a firewire port. I have discovered that I can hook up the camcorder using the USB port and capture it using Windows Movie Maker 2012. This saves it as an avi.

    My questions:
    a) is this an "avi-DV"?

    b) is the quality going from the camcorder to the PC through the USB the same quality as if it were going through the firewire port? For one hour of miniDV video, I get a file that is approx 12 Gb, frame rate is 29fps, 720 x 480, and 2 channel 1024kbps, 32kHz audio.

    Like others have posted on here, my intention is to capture the miniDV tapes to an external hard drive for safe keeping and to be able to edit down to smaller (less boring) video chunks of the kids.

    Thanks for your help!
    Last edited by HoomHow99; 8th Jan 2015 at 11:20. Reason: OP update
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  2. Member hech54's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by HoomHow99 View Post
    is the quality going from the camcorder to the PC through the USB the same quality as if it were going through the firewire port?
    9 times out of 10......No.
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  3. USB on that cam is for stills and very low quality webcam. Use firewire to transfer your tapes.
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  4. Member Cornucopia's Avatar
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    a) No, unless on the extremely remote chance that BOTH that particular camera and WMM support the use of the same non-standard protocol. Likely, the camera provides a "preview" stream via USB and WMM is capturing it (probably to WMV). Both the "preview" and the WMV would be prone to great loss of quality compared to an original DV stream.

    b) See above. If they accept DV transfer (again, rare) you could have a DV stream with standard DV quality. If not, you will get another kind of stream with another kind of (lesser) quality. Even if the bitrate is the same.

    ********************

    So I looked at the manual: it says when using the cam via USB, the cam operates as a Webcam. And its webcam spec is 320x240@~6fps using MJPEG. So it could be that WMM (which accepts input from webcam drivers) is capturing the "webcam" stream but storing it as a DV file, in which case it is "upconverting" it. Since WMM doesn't possess any specialty algorithms for upsizing of framerate nor resolution, it won't be a good job of upconversion. So the quality should still suck.

    Do a test: run Debut video capture/recording software (freeware, IIRC) and see if it sees that camera as a source (when plugged into USB). If so, it is seeing it as a webcam. Check what resolution(s) it offers - most likely it will be what I mentioned or smaller.

    Do another test: record a bit with Debut. record another bit of the same cam with WMM. Run both through MediaInfo and post detailed text reports here. Also compare the outputs visually and tell us your thoughts on the comparison.

    *************

    My suggestion is to:
    A. Get an adapter that allows for firewire capture on your laptop
    B. Get a desktop with a firewire PC card
    C. Borrow from a friend who has A or B
    D. Send your DV tapes to a transfer house
    E. Get a new camera that is HD and saves to SD card (may need to upgrade PC to handle this, however).
    or
    F. Live with the quality loss of using it as a webcam

    All depends on how much you like that cam, what your budget is, what your discernment of quality is.

    Scott
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  5. Member The_Doman's Avatar
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    Some DV camcorders indeed can transfer the full DV stream through USB, from the specs from that Panasonic it seems possible.
    http://panasonic.net/avc/camcorder/dv/global/products/nv-gs320/
    USB 2.0 compatibility lets you upload DV data to a PC at high speed over a single USB cable.
    The problem is getting the right software to work, most only support DV through firewire.

    But you should try the (now free!) ScenalyzerLive
    http://www.scenalyzer.com/

    I have used that software myself capturing the full DV data through USB from camcorder, it's worth a try.
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  6. Member Cornucopia's Avatar
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    The link you cited is a couple of bullet points of marketing features that do not explain any real specifics. Read the manual, pgs 53-59, 77. Even that is vague about what is possible with this camera.

    And the problem of getting the right software to work is NOT the only problem. It needs to be commonly supported via the software on the device, the USB drivers on the PC/Mac and in the capturing software.

    Possible, but rare & unlikely.

    ***************

    I'm curious, which camera and drivers did you use to actually get DV through USB? (Model #s, please)

    Scott
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  7. Member The_Doman's Avatar
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    As metioned only a few (DV) camcorder model types support transfer of the full DV stream through the USB connection.
    JVC and Panasonic sure have a few models which can do it.
    Even analog/DV passthrough was working with USB ( i think it was a JVC i used)

    Why so many franticly denying it is possible?

    Also here someone with the same model:
    Check: Youtube: Firewire vs USB Video Transfer Cable Quality Test From DV Tape

    Originally Posted by HoomHow99 View Post
    b) is the quality going from the camcorder to the PC through the USB the same quality as if it were going through the firewire port? For one hour of miniDV video, I get a file that is approx 12 Gb, frame rate is 29fps, 720 x 480, and 2 channel 1024kbps, 32kHz audio.
    The file size seems fit for a full hour DV capture, only preferable it would be 48 kHz audio, but that could be a setting in recording options of the camera.
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    Ok, thank you very much for your help!
    I transferred over a smaller video and used MediaInfo on it. This is what it said about the video (basic setting in MediaInfo -- if you would like more video information and I should change the settings in MediaInfo let me know and I will repost the info):
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    General : C:\Users\Chris\Videos\2014-12-10 05.35.54.avi
    Format : AVI at 28.9 Mbps
    Length : 2.68 GiB for 13mn 17s 130ms

    Video #0 : DV at 24.4 Mbps
    Aspect : 720 x 480 (1.778) at 29.970 fps

    Audio #0 : PCM at 768 Kbps
    Infos : 2 channels, 32.0 KHz

    Audio #1 : PCM at 768 Kbps
    Infos : 2 channels, 32.0 KHz
    --------------------------------------------------------------

    Also, yes, I did just recently by a new HD camcorder because I don't want to have to deal with these tapes forever and have inferior quality

    IF the quality that I am transferring is not the same as I recorded on the miniDV tapes I can borrow another computer from a friend to transfer the tapes. However, if I can do it with mine I'd be happier.

    And when I do use WMM for to capture the video the "source" I do click on doesn't actually say the name of my camcorder. Instead it recognizes it as "Digital Video Cameras - Video Edit"

    Thanks again for your help!
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  9. Member Cornucopia's Avatar
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    @The_Doman, why are you using "frantically"? Who is being frantic? Also, NOBODY has said it is/was impossible, just not probable.

    OK, that was consistent with a DV format. However, I'm not surprised, as I hinted that if it were able to capture SOMETHING, it might also be upconverting it to the DV format specifications. The proof of whether this is real DV vs. upconverted webcam DV is in the viewing of the quality.

    Looking at that comparison link actually gives hope, though. If that YT uploader is not scamming (always a possibility), it is very possible that it would work for you in your situation. Unless I'm mistaken, that user has the same model camera you do.
    Note: I warned that you would need a combination of those particular USB drivers & capture software (MotionDV) supplied by the camera for this to work. It seems that is what the YT user chose for their capture method, so that just reinforces that strategy. I STRONGLY suggest you do NOT use WMM to capture, even if it is capable.

    Again, if the quality is already acceptable, you may not need to look any further. Let your eyes be the judge.

    @HoomHow99, thanks for the MediaInfo info. Normally that sample would not really be enough detail to verify & answer all the questions that might arise, but I think for the purposes of my question above it will do. It also might now be moot.

    Scott
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    The old Panasonic NV-GS400 could copy from camera to computer via USB2. I think I used to use WMM or something for the transfer.
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    Thank you! Ok, so looking at the MediaInfo stats it does appear that I am capturing at the best quality. Is this correct?

    I will look into MotionDV to use instead of WMM.


    On a bit of a continuation from this topic, can you guys/gals suggest a decent editing/converting program to use? I have about 20 tapes of my kids and obviously if I recorded 10 minutes of birthday party, only 2 minutes are decent, LOL moments. I would like to edit these tapes down to viewable highlights. Someone recommended DVD slideshow ...
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  12. Member Cornucopia's Avatar
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    No, MediaInfo states that the format you are storing the file is equivalent to DV. Does not mean it actually is capturing it at the best (in this case, DV) quality.

    For the 3rd time: it might be capturing a webcam's quality-worth of signal and upconverting it to the DV format. Or, it might be capturing the DV signal (in DV quality) to the DV format. Either way, it is ending up looking like the DV format. But if you value your quality, you DON'T want the first thing to happen, only the 2nd. But you CAN'T know just by looking at the specs of the file - you HAVE to look at the visual (and audible) quality to decide.

    *********************

    DVDSlideshow (GUI) is for slideshows, on DVD.

    You don't have slides, so that wouldn't make sense. You never once have mentioned that DVD is your final output. What I read above was "save in original high quality", "edit" and "make available for the kids". Many kids these days don't have the equipment nor the inclination to use DVD - they want an MP4 (AVC+AAC) file that will play on their phone/tablet/deviceX.

    My STRONG recommendation (if you value quality):
    1. Do NOT get an All-in-1 app: Get a separate editor and a separate encoder and (if you need it), a separate authoring app.
    2. What editor to get depends on how fancy/complex your intended output is going to be. If very simple, most editors will do (even WMM, though I still don't recommend it for other reasons). I often recommend Sony Vegas Movie Studio for hobbyists.
    3. For converting, these days I'm recommending Hybrid, Handbrake, or MeGUI for general AVC/AAC in MP4/MKV kind of stuff, and HCEnc for MPEG2 kind of stuff.
    4. For authoring, check out DVDFlick or DVDAuthorGUI, and burn with ImgBurn.


    Scott
    Last edited by Cornucopia; 23rd Jan 2015 at 02:12.
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  13. I used to shoot video using a variety of panasonic NV-GSxxx cameras, not one of them would transfer the DV video from the tape on the camera to a pc using USB2, because it would be impossible, it was never fast enough, and that was the reason why all those cams had the firewire port put on there, at great cost to the camera manufacturers.

    DV is 13gb per hour of video, and the video on that tape is transferred in real time (obviously it has to because that is the way mini tape works, it records real time, so needs to transfer real time as well, so 1 hour of video takes 1 hour, and USB2 cannot cope with that, so i am surprised by these claims that USB2 will do it.

    the USB port on those cameras was only to get the photos.

    I used to use WinDV 123 to transfer my DV tapes to the computer, only via firewire.

    BTW, those who claim they used USB2 to transfer their DV tape video to their pc, can you all tell me how long it took to do it, and what software or application did you use, cos my head is spinning right now about how it is remotely even possible.
    Last edited by glenpinn; 23rd Jan 2015 at 02:18.
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  14. Member Cornucopia's Avatar
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    @glenpinn,
    Yes, USB2 is in general not able to provide the SUSTAINED, ISOCHRONOUS realtime streams necessary for proper capture. Those USB ports WERE originally meant just for the photos. However, there are a few specialty drivers out there that DO allow such "DV" capture, and moreso with USB3 and Thunderbolt.
    So, there are NOW a very few methods that bypass the strict use of ONLY firewire. Some start as firewire at the cam and then convert to USB/Tbolt, and one or 2 allow "DV" capture directly from (just) the USB.
    In all of these scenarios, the transfer is realtime. (though it IS possible to transfer tape in faster-than-realtime: I have used VHS dupers, and DigiBeta and HDCam edit decks that have that capability)

    DV uses 25Mbps for the video, plus audio, userdata, timecode, etc. to get to around 36Mbps. Firewire claims 400Mbps bandwidth, though 100-175Mbps is more likely its regular day-to-day real-life max. USB2 claims a max of 480Mbps, but because it is a shared buss and has more overhead, its real-life transfer rate is probably more like 35-60Mbps. Thus, it might be able to do a DV transfer as long as there are few "distractions", but the main sticking point is the isochronous transfer protocol. Hence the need for specialty drivers.

    Scott
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  15. Thanks for that informative rundown about USB to transfer DV Tape, however i would never use USB to do that, and maybe it is possible now, but i never heard of being able to do it years ago when i was shooting in DV format.

    Originally Posted by Cornucopia View Post
    My STRONG recommendation (if you value quality):
    1. Do NOT get an All-in-1 app: Get a separate editor and a separate encoder and (if you need it), a separate authoring app.
    2. What editor to get depends on how fancy/complex your intended output is going to be. If very simple, most editors will do (even WMM, though I still don't recommend it for other reasons). I often recommend Sony Vegas Movie Studio for hobbyists.
    3. For converting, these days I'm recommending Hybrid, Handbrake, or MeGUI for general AVC/AAC in MP4/MKV kind of stuff, and HCEnc for MPEG2 kind of stuff.
    4. For authoring, check out DVDFlick or DVDAuthorGUI, and burn with [url=https://www.videohelp.com/tools/ImgBurn]ImgBurn[/url
    Sorry but i think that telling people that it is best to use separate tools for every step is wrong and ill informed, especially when you added the bit where you said (if you value quality)

    Yes do it if you are so inclined and able to, but not many people are, and therefore using multiple tools just complicates everything for them.

    If you are the type who knows what they are doing, and can get your head around using 3 or 4 tools, great, but it is definately not "Better" and it definately wont always get you "better quality"

    Back in the old Dvd days with Mini Tape conversions, i advocated the use of at least 3 tools, but that was back then, now its different, even if they still want to do Mini DV tape conversions.

    I used WinDV to transfer Tape to computer, TMPGEnc xpress to edit and convert to mpeg2, then either TMPGEnc dvd author or DVD Author Pro to do my authoring and burning.

    These days there are lots of decent all in one tools, and because i can, i will offer VideoReDo as an option if you want to spend $100us.

    I have been using it for 2 years (now using their Pro version) but their new version 5 will do beautiful frame accurate cuts, it joins, it has a beautiful title creation tool to add titles and credits to your video (in this case his DV-Avi video from his tape) it has a Smart rendering tool, it encodes with a full set of built in presets and profiles, or you can make your own, it has a built in Dvd authoring tool, and it has a built in burner, all for $100us, and in my opinion it is the best single timeline software on the market.

    This guy can use WinDV 123 to transfer the tapes to his pc with firewire (or USB if he can get it to work) then import that video and do his edits, add titles or credits, output to a Dvd compliant mpeg2 file (pal or ntsc) then import that into the built in Dvd tool, add a menu screen if he wants one, Author the video, and burn it in their burning tool.

    Or he can use it to do the same thing and then output the edited DV-Avi video to h264 in an MP4 container to watch from a usb drive onto his TV.

    Also, when you suggest an editor for DV-Avi, if you suggest using Movie Maker, will that actually support importing of DV-Avi, and even if it could, he then has to do the encoding to whatever format is required after editing the video (could output to h264 mp4 for example) so there is no need for an encoder in this scenario.

    suggesting Sony Movie studio is not free, but it seems to have a lot of nice features for the price (mostly that i dont need) and i believe it supports capturing Mini DV tape, but it is an All in One solution, so i cant understand why you threw that into your list when you suggested avoiding such software and just use separate apps for everything.

    I am somewhat confused by your logic to be honest.

    Edit: i just installed Sony Movie Studio 13 trial now to see what it can and cannot do, and wow, what a tool, dam that interface is very very full on, and i dare say that would kill most novices inclination to want to edit before they even started.

    Edit 2: Yep, as expected, you get what you pay for, this thing would kill most users, dam its even killing me, there are far too many output presets and they are not customizable, just way too complex to use for most people in my humble opinion, and again i dont get why you recommended it because it is an all in one tool.

    Might be better off spending a bit more and buy the Movie Studio 13 Suite instead, get Bluray support as well, but no point getting that if all he needs is a tool to import his DV-Avi video, edit, and convert to non Dvd format.
    Last edited by glenpinn; 23rd Jan 2015 at 03:41.
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