I have been trying to digitize old video 8 tapes so I borrowed a Sony CCD-Tr400 camcorder to play the tapes. Many of the tapes are being split when rewinding or getting crunched up. Is this a problem with the camcorder or the age of the tapes (30+ years old)? Would a standalone 8mm tape player be more gentle on the tapes? I really don't want to spend too much for a standalone as I just need to output from s-video/composite to the computer for digitizing.
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It's probably the camcorder, though poorly stored tapes can cause problems too.
At the risk of courting controversy, I would recommend you consider a Digital 8 deck or camera for digitizing to the computer.
S-Video under ideal circumstances (well conditioned deck + TBC + top notch capture card + lossless codec + avisynth post-processing) is certainly best, but using a D8 deck will get you 95%+ of the way there with a lot less hassle.
Thanks for your advice. I would love to get a deck like the GV-D200 but they are a little pricey. Looking at the DCR-TRV340 or TRV740 camcorder instead and hoping they do as good a job.
A word of warning on the Digital8 cams: I have a Sony that does the A/D conversion and provides a DV stream over IEEE1394, which is very convenient. But it seems to add setup (7.5 IRE) so the black level is too high. The bug is circumvented by using analog output and an external converter.