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  1. Member
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    Hi, like a lot of people on this forum, I have a box of MiniDV tapes recorded with a Sony TRV20. What's the best option for video transfer (for editing and/or preservation)?

    1. The only 1394 device I have is my old 2007 Dell laptop, Core 2 Duo T7300, 2.00 Ghz, 2 GB RAM, NVIDIA Quadro PX 360m 512MB Precision M4300. This computer will need a complete wipe and reinstall everything in order to function at any reasonable level.

    2. Send the tapes to one of the many services that convert tapes and movies. Does anybody know if they use the DV transfer or just the analog (lower-quality?) output to create their digital files and/or DVDs?

    3. Use either S-video or RCA outputs into a USB capture device into my current Win7 i7 8 GM RAM computer. (I have a Hauppage WinTV-HVR 950Q capture device on temporary loan from a friend.)

    Which of these options might offer the best combination of high-quality and low-hassle?

    Thanks in advance for any thoughts you might have.
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  2. Member hech54's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by JonathanL View Post
    Which of these options might offer the best combination of high-quality and low-hassle?
    http://www.cnet.com/products/sony-dcr-trv20/specs/
    1 x IEEE 1394 (FireWire/i.LINK) ( 4 pin FireWire )

    The End.
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    Thanks for your quick response, Hech54. My real question is whether it's worth trying to resurrect my Firewire-equipped laptop which crashes every time I try to use Windows Explorer to copy a file.
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  4. Buy a firewire card and cable(if needed) for your current computer. Then use WinDV to transfer the DV AVI.
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    Yes, I've been looking for a Firewire adapter for my laptop (USB), but haven't found any. Can you make a recommendation?
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    Beware of adapters that are merely wired up with no logic. You need digital logic to convert signals. I use a StarTech ExpressCard that works great.
    Last edited by JVRaines; 15th Mar 2015 at 14:40.
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  7. Member PuzZLeR's Avatar
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    I too will tell you to use Firewire and WinDV software. This will transfer the data bit-for-bit from MiniDV into the DV format in an AVI.

    A 2007 machine should be fine, and if you can clean out that laptop, it should be fine for the capture since it's only really a "copy". However, I personally have an aversion to laptop video capture, even for this method.

    I would strongly suggest, as your best option, you buy a firewire interface for your other computer (an internal card, not a USB adapter) and do it on this computer, as also mentioned. These cards are dirt cheap and easy to install and any electronics/computer store/chain should have one, and you don't need a "good one". And you can do your editing on this better machine easier with less of the hassles you wish to avoid. Any editor worth its salt should be able to handle DV format. Get an external HDD to preserve though, since DV video is ~!3GB/hr.

    You mentioned using a capture stick and RCA/S-Video interfaces. You can do it this way but DON'T. Transfering to DV video is a digital exact 1:1 copy. Using the capture stick method is digital->analog->digital and will lose much quality along the way in these conversions.

    MiniDV -> DV is like making a copy of a CD. A CD -> CD copy is exact. MiniDV -> USB analog capture device is similar in vein to making a recording of a CD -> audio cassette -> CD. You lose quality.

    As well, give back the 950Q. You won't need it, even for good analog capture. Unless you're looking for a TV tuner, which is what it is first and foremost, you won't need it. If you ever want to do analog capture down the road (ex: VHS transfer) the 950Q will not support many of the richer features of analog capture anyway.
    Last edited by PuzZLeR; 16th Mar 2015 at 11:39.
    I hate VHS. I always did.
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    PuzzLeR, thanks for your comments. I didn't make it clear that my "other" computer is also a laptop with no Expresscard slot. Sounds like my only option is resurrecting the old Dell Precision M4300. I'll give it a try. Thanks to all for your suggestions.
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  9. Member PuzZLeR's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by JonathanL View Post
    PuzzLeR, thanks for your comments. I didn't make it clear that my "other" computer is also a laptop with no Expresscard slot. Sounds like my only option is resurrecting the old Dell Precision M4300. I'll give it a try. Thanks to all for your suggestions.
    Ah. Ok. I still hate capturing on a laptop regardless. And it looks like you'll need a USB adapter for the Firewire on your newer laptop if you go there.

    You can still capture it to your old laptop once you clear it. It's only a "copy" and not some intensive analog capture. But you should be doing nothing else while it captures. It will be slow in edits though, and have limited HDD space. Or, you can copy the files to an external HDD and edit on your newer machine.

    Or, you can get a firewire-to-USB adapter for your newer machine and capture there. If all goes well, the capture would be easier on the newer machine, and so would the edits later. I personally would have preferred a card, so not sure how the USB adapter would work for firewire though otherwise I would have recommended this second option - maybe someone else can comment here.
    I hate VHS. I always did.
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  10. Firewire->USB seems to work okay for plugging in hard drives but almost never works for machine controlled DV capture. If you try to go this route you will spend a lot of time returning parts.
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  11. Member PuzZLeR's Avatar
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    Thanks for the update smrpix.

    If so, then I would suggest the O/P clear the older laptop, and capture there direct via a firewire cable and WinDV software to DV video and an AVI. Do nothing else while the capture is in progress. Then migrate to an external HDD. (Can use VirtualDub in Direct Stream mode to cut the parts wanted out and save to HDD.) Then use the newer laptop to do edits and processing from the content on the external HDD.

    Given that update, that's my suggestion.
    I hate VHS. I always did.
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    Firewire->USB seems to work okay for plugging in hard drives but almost never works for machine controlled DV capture. If you try to go this route you will spend a lot of time returning parts.
    Words to live by. I purchased a souped-up laptop in 2013 and it came with a built-in firewire port. I never was able to successfully capture via firewire.

    Brainiac
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  13. Member PuzZLeR's Avatar
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    I used to giggle watching people try to do "plumbing work" on laptops, like capturing, encoding, editing, etc, and failing. I would tell them to get a real computer for that - laptops are for convenience, not CPU intensive tasks.

    Now I laugh even more when I watch people trying to do such stuff on their phones.

    The phone-strokers hit a new low.
    I hate VHS. I always did.
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    Actually, my laptop has served me well for video work that did not involve capturing via firewire. I do NOT use it as my first choice though; I use my desktop for 90% of my work. If I need to go mobile and do some video work that is not too intensive (again, no firewire captures), my laptop works fine. However, I would NEVER recommend a laptop as a primary tool for any really heavy video work.

    Brainiac
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  15. Member PuzZLeR's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Brainiac View Post
    Actually, my laptop has served me well for video work that did not involve capturing via firewire. I do NOT use it as my first choice though; I use my desktop for 90% of my work. If I need to go mobile and do some video work that is not too intensive (again, no firewire captures), my laptop works fine. However, I would NEVER recommend a laptop as a primary tool for any really heavy video work.

    Brainiac
    +1 My sentiments exactly.
    I hate VHS. I always did.
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