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  1. Member
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    I was interested to identify if high end Hi8/video8 decks could be or not a better player than Digital8 Camcorders for capturing video8.

    I tried to look for evidence about the effectiveness of prosumers Hi8 decks for this use but information was scarce and was difficult to arrive to a definitive conclusion.

    So I decided to try to find out for myself .It took me some time to find a high end video deck with an acceptable price and that theoretical could be in good condition. I recently decided to bought the flagship Sony prosumer deck EV-S9000E ( PAL) (manufactured between 95-99 ) . I have also considered the Sony EVO-9800P, c2000 and S880 but the EV-S9000E had apparently best specs, was easier to find and I got it for a reasonable price.

    The deck has almost all the bells and whistles, namely edit function, TBC, Picture noise suppressing ( off, standard and maximum-only works if TBC enabled) picture control ( Color, Sharpness Y/C delay ),Digital comb filter , drop-out compensation, voice boost,stereo HiFi, PCM, Tracking adjust ( slow,-slow and x2 ) , F- Mechanism and a lot of other goodies that I will probably not use.

    Even If I had some expectations I was prepared to get no better results that the ones I already had with a Digital8 Camcorder as it is a refurbished older unit and the condition even if announced as very good , could not be as announced.

    Iīm putting in some samples if anyone is interested to compare. The video8 tape was in medium condition and has lots of straight vertical lines so must be adequate.

    Preliminary thoughts

    Pros

    . Less noise - It seems to provide captures with less noise ,even with NR disabled. If enabled NR seems to works reasonable well and it can put eventually the question if it will be better to capture with or without NR enabled.

    .Color restitution – It seems the color reproduction is more accurate*namely if using picture color control but it depends on tapes

    Vertical Lines – Seems more effective even without tbc , better than the D8 camcorder

    .Color edge issue the D8 have a significant right color edge issue, this sometimes has a top color edge issue but less omnipresent then on the D8

    .In a tape with quality problems where the D8 in a section almost captured no image and no sound , this one was able to capture the image almost without problems but was also unable to capture sound as the D8. However I feel that for problematic tapes ( but not very problematic) it can provide better results

    CONS
    .It seems to deliver a little loss of picture detail related to the D8 Camcorder even with the picture control sharpness increased. But it depends on tapes .Getting a little more contrast seems to improve detail a little.

    It gets quite hot if working for more then 3/4h continuously even with a normal ambient temperature. It needs to be well ventilated.

    If anyone is interested in any other sample or info about the Hi8/video8 Deck please do ask
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  2. Formerly 'vaporeon800' Brad's Avatar
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    For me, the worst part of all these captures is the "sparkling edges". My own NTSC Video8 captures (played via Digital8 cam) show the same thing. I was expecting the Hi8 deck "Sharp On" to show this, but the "base" capture does as well. They look identical, apart from the typical playback inconsistencies. Are you sure sharpness was really set to off for the initial capture?

    Perhaps a capture from the Hi8 deck in EDIT mode would avoid this issue, though I'm doubting it now.

    My preferred Hi8 deck capture is the TBC+NR on version. The edges don't seem as grungy as the "base" version and there are no horizontal streaks of noise.

    The D8 adds white haloes around everything. I think the choice comes down to whether you prefer a more natural-looking scene where details look smeared, or a "boosted" version where details are clear. I'm not sure which I would go with.

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    I use a Sony EV-S3000 for all Video8/Hi8 conversions with TBC and low NR engaged. It's simply superior to the Digital8 cams I've tried and the dropout compensation is a must for old Video8 cassettes. The cam is more convenient with its built-in DV conversion, but it improperly boosts the black level by a suspicious 7 or so IRE.
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    Well vaporeon800 your opinion is very similar to the only one I have found comparing these type of devices

    https://forum.videohelp.com/threads/235874-Capturing-Video8-and-Hi8-guides

    Related to the samples I posted here there is one that is incorrect ,itīs the Deck_sharp_on_S.avi . All the captures on the HI8 Deck have been made with the edit mode on and I only after remarked reading the manual that when edit mode is on all picture controls ( Color, Sharpness, Y/C delay) are reset, so my capture deck_sharp_on is identically to the base capture . TBC and DNR are not affected by the edit mode so the captures were correctly made and identified.

    I was having the same dilemma as you seem to have and the OP from the thread which link I referred seems to have had. The pictures from the HI8 deck seem more natural , with less noise but with less detail , so which one to choose ?

    In thread Video8 restoration advice , page 2 post 37

    https://forum.videohelp.com/threads/378093-Video8-restoration-advice/page2

    I was having this same dilemma , which capture to choose for restoration , but in that thread jagabo and johnmeyer for example have a different opinion as you can see , kerryann is more 50/50. The detail for me seems quite important and makes me perhaps prefer the D8 but I still have doubts.

    Another particularity is the HI8 deck can capture almost between 50- 70 frames more frames than the D8 from the beginning of the tape and for tapes with light tracking problems it does a better job than the D8 .

    The audio seems to be better than the captured from the D8 and it as a feature voice booster that works quite fine also.

    Itīs really a problem that this type of evaluation has always an important component of subjectivity, it would be easier if we could objectively quantify quality and not depend as much on personal subjectivity.
    Last edited by FLP437; 1st Jun 2016 at 22:34.
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  5. Member Knightmessenger's Avatar
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    Were you able to compare it to a hi8 camcorder as well? I was wondering if people thought the D8 backwards compatible camcorders did a better job of playing an analog tape than a camcorder that is naturally analog.

    I'd also be interested in seeing how a Hi8 deck compares to a Hi8 camcorder since that is what I have to playback those tapes.
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    Unfortunately I have not tested with a HI8 camcorder as I donīt have one.
    However I also wonder what the results will be , but after acquiring the HI8 prosumer deck that as been somewhat expensive ( I already had one medium range ) and the digital8 camcorder and several capture cards ,I think that buying a new camcorder only to satisfy my curiosity will be to much as I think that it will be difficult to extract significant additional detail in new captures even with a pro or prosumer HI8 camcorder. I was a little disappointed with the prosumer HI8 deck , and a HI8 camcorder being of the same technological generation I doubt that the camcorder might have some significant technological development over the deck. If I have not bought the deck perhaps I would had tried a Pro / Prosumer HI8 camcorder but the deck were easier to find and some guys apparently got good results with these decks so I ended up making a choice. However even if the captures are not better in my opinion then the ones from the digital8 camcorder( can a new technological generation like in the D8 make a difference ?) , the deck has been useful for recovering problematic cassettes.
    Iīm still trying to get some additional quality not from the capture device now but from a more optimized workflow/capture cards but here also the differences are very small indeed.
    Last edited by FLP437; 15th Sep 2016 at 21:24.
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  7. Member Knightmessenger's Avatar
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    So did you think the deck did better than the digital 8 camcorder at least? I've been told a Hi8 deck doesn't do much better than a camcorder because the heads are the same and the camcorders had good playback.
    I use two Sony Hi8 camcorders that had the HiFi stereo option, s-video out and have the XR label on them which is supposed to be slightly more detailed than any regular hi8.
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    As you probably noticed by my previous posts I was not very much enthusiastic about the final results obtained from the deck as I was hoping to get clear and better results which I did not, but they are not necessary worst then the ones I got from the Digital8 Camcorder, they are different and in part it will depend on your personal taste.

    Also even if I have used one of the best Hi8 decks itīs a machine with 20 years or more and so I am not sure of the possible impact on the final quality caused by excessive equipment use and repairs more or less well achieved and to what extent the equipment was fine tuned. Unlike the deck my camera D8 is much younger and with much less use.

    That said I think it’s clear at least in my case that the D8 camcorders if in good condition seems to provide better detail that the HI8 deckīs. You get more noise and better detail with the camera and less noise and more smeared details with the deck, however the image and colors seems more natural.

    I think vaporeon800 as summarized the situation “ I think the choice comes down to whether you prefer a more natural-looking scene where details look smeared, or a "boosted" version where details are clear. I'm not sure which I would go with.”

    I have also been able to recover to some point with the deck some tapes with minor tracking or tape problems that the D8 camera was not able to play to get reasonable results.
    I found also the audio from the deck to be better and more detailed and the voice booster feature worked well to enhance voice .

    However in my case I choose to keep the captures made from the Digital8 camera because I prioritized more detailed images ,but it was a personal choice, others would eventually prefer otherwise.
    Last edited by FLP437; 5th Oct 2016 at 22:19.
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  9. Member Knightmessenger's Avatar
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    Ok, so maybe it would be more worthwhile to find a backward compatible digital8 camcorder. They go pretty cheap and with over 200 hi8 tapes in my case, it doesn't hurt for me to have another playback machine.

    Is there anything in the Digital8 camcorder line I should look for specifically? Besides of course one that is backward compatible with hi8/video8.

    Also, I was browsing some Hi8 decks on ebay and I noticed one of them had a feature of digital audio. Is that something applicable to my tapes that already have stuff recorded on them?
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  10. Formerly 'vaporeon800' Brad's Avatar
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    Only if they were recorded using one of the special Hi8 units that supported the PCM feature.

    IMO if you have decent Hi8 players, don't use a Digital8 player. I only have a Digital8 cam for playback so far and would rather have Hi8. But my Hi8 tapes aren't precious, so I haven't gotten around to actually buying one.

    Someone else's samples and my analysis.

    Digital8 playing back Hi8/Video8:
    1. Forced sharpening (worse with Video8).
    2. Boosted and internally-clipped brights.
    3. Forced internal digitization that prevents using a superior external line TBC. And I'm talking about the S-Video output!
    4. Forced chroma DNR.
    5. For the PAL units, that stupid edge color inversion issue.
    Unfortunately in FLP437's case, his Hi8 players aren't doing as good a job as the best NTSC one in the thread I linked.
    Last edited by Brad; 5th Oct 2016 at 05:58.
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    If the Digital8 Camcorder really adds an additional analog-digital-analog cycle even for the svideo output you probably do better staying with yours Hi8 camcorders if they are good, have not too much use and tear, and are in top notch condition.

    However I feel that the condition of the player is extremely important and a little used , well maintained equipment could easily surpass a better equipment with lots of use and refurbished with little care ( my problem probably with my prosumer HI8 deck) and in this context it could be easier to find a D8 in very good condition as they are newer.

    I'm tempted to test a a Hi8 camcorder but it will depends on finding a capable one with a fair price which will not be a quick process.

    Theoretical they should have TBC and DNR , svideo and stereo output ( as also a D8 camera), however my experience with the D8 tells me the DNR circuitry is almost always useless, and the TBC most of the times, these circuits are often very inefficient and related to noise it will be better to capture raw and denoise after, during pos-processing using specific software , also interposing an external line TBC is also usual more efficient ( DVD recorder like the Panasonics in pass-through are known to do a good work). However itīs always best to have TBC and DNR and test.

    After selecting the player you will have to worry with dropouts as analog sources are prone to it and find an external TBC with frame synchronizer. The usual recommended full TBC donīt always work fine are expensive and already difficult to find ( I had a very bad experience with an AVT-8710), as an alternative the use of a Panasonic dvd-recorder usually solves the problem offering line tbc and buffering some frames doing a limited frame synchronizing that is usually enough .

    You will also have to select a capture card compatible with your workflow and capture signal ( svideo, hdmi, sdi ) and with your pc environment( usb , pcie windows version , etc) and eventually select a card including frame synchronizer ( rare ) that could avoid the intermediate tbc,
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    I just found a Sony HI8 XR top of the line, from 1999 model CCD-TVR87E ( Pal ) (one of the last Hi8 XR camcorders series made by Sony ,as 1999 was also the year when Sony launched Digital8) the camcorder was in good condition not to much worn out, working fine and provided with all accessories for a good price ( 80 € ) and I couldnīt resist to see if a top HI8 camcorder model could provide better captures from video8 tapes than captures made from Digital8 camcorder.

    This particular equipment as edit On/Off as well as TBC and DNR and stereo and also the XR definition extension ( with HI8 tapes previous recorded with this system , 440 lines instead of 400 ) also it uses standard audio RCA and svideo plugs which allows the use of better interconnects cables.

    Here there are two samples fron the HI8 and a sample from the D8 ,but it seems that I got a new equipment for my already large collection of players and capture cards as it also doesnīt seem to provide better results than the Sony Digital8 camcorder as it was already the case with the prosumer HI8 Sony deck.

    workflow
    D8/HI8 Cam-> svideo-> Magewell Pro Capture HDMI -> VirtualDub->Huufyuv

    Video8

    Sony Digital8 Cam model DCR-TRV238E Pal
    test_base- tbc off, dnr off

    Sony HI8 XR Cam model CCD-TRV87E Pal
    Test1 – edit on , tbc on, dnr off
    Test2 - edit on, tbc off, dnr off

    The edge color inversion issue present in D8 captures is also present here with the HI8 captures, also the head-switching noise seems to be larger

    info about the magewell card on
    https://forum.videohelp.com/threads/376945-Conventional-analog-capture-workflow-vs-alte...mparison/page2 from post 56
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    Last edited by FLP437; 24th Oct 2016 at 19:00.
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  13. Member Knightmessenger's Avatar
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    Well, I have two Hi8 camcorders that playback HiFi stereo, with an S-video out option and do have the XR designation on them. (TRV 75 & TRV 615)
    Are these considered about as good as it gets?
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    You can find manuals for Sony camcorders at esupport.sony.com

    If you are speaking of CCD-TRV75 (DCR-TRV75 for instance is a digital8 cam) and CCD-TRV615 they both seem to be 1998 models and they appear to have the essential needed characteristics, EDIT, TBC, DNR, Stereo (with RCA outputs instead of jack which enables better interconnect cables) and svideo outputs.

    So both do have the needed pre-requisites , the 615 seems to have been the top of the line of one Sony series of camcorders, but I didnīt find evidence is what capture is concerned of any advantage of one over the other ( usually differences are more related to extra features that have no interest for capture purposes) .

    Most probably all will depend on how good the condition of each one is and how much wear they have. So only one way to find out, try and see for yourself if any of them can provide better results.

    You will only get an advantage with the XR Hi8 series if any of yours tapes were originally recorded on a Hi8 XR model if not the XR will provided standard Hi8 definition not extended definition, the only eventual advantage over the standard HI8 could be newer and better electronics ??.

    From my tests it seems I got the best results from a digital8 camcorder ( comparing with a top Hi8 deck and a top Hi8 camcorder) but mainly in what detail is concerned, however as these are low resolutions formats detail seems important at least for me (but I only tested video8 not Hi8 ).

    Donīt forget you will need a full external tbc , a dvd recorder like the Panasonics in pass-through or a capture card with frame synchronizer like the magewell to avoid dropped or inserted frames that are usual on analog captures.

    Capture with edit=on , if you do use a Panasonic dvd recorder or a Magewell capture card as they have very good tbcīs it will probably be better to stay with camcorder tbc and dnr off , if not probably tbc could still eventually prove useful, DNR will probably be better off always as you can do a better denoizing during the post processing using software and achieving by this way better results.
    Last edited by FLP437; 1st Nov 2016 at 11:35.
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  15. Formerly 'vaporeon800' Brad's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by FLP437 View Post
    I only tested video8 not Hi8
    I think this is important to highlight, as it seems the players apply different processing to each format.

    Hopefully I'll have a chance to look at the samples later today.
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    Instead of rehashing and reopening another repeat thread, I am looking into these pro decks as well.

    The first thing I noticed was the audio on the pro deck here is a lot more pronounced and clearer. Secondly I would just like to say that I prefer the image on the pro deck every time from your samples. I often find about capturing HI8, that the excessive noise you get from camcorders like this (black dots/lines) in unwatchable. I find the image captured from the pro deck looks a lot more pleasant and realistic when the image is blown up. The camcorder looks over-sharpened and although it is more sharp, it's almost artificially sharpened and why noise is introduced. I've found a lot of camcorders do this. Plus a lot of folks are using DV players that are 4:1:1 ratio which further degrades the picture. Not to mention that these camcorders are aging and they were not built as well as these decks were to handle many hours of use. Camcorders have been known to chew up tapes, especially if you want a Hi8 camcorder.

    Now I will say this. My favorite capture here was the pro deck with TBC turned on, but I also like the added sharpness when that is turned on since you mentioned it has sharpness controls. The capture with the TBC looks less sharp. I wonder if sharpness was turned off when TBC was turned on. I don't like the DNR, I feel it's a little too overzealous. Perhaps maximum was selected. I can see it working though on those vertical lines some more so in that regard at least the DNR is working and perhaps it could be used on certain tapes that really need it. You can see how it blurs the motion of the text on the boats, and how that is more easily readable with DNR turned off. Plus the "Deck_Sharp" file seems to have a different contrast and color setting making it more vibrant and brighter which tricks me into believing it is the better picture. Still even with TBC turned off it handles vertical lines way better. I like the color and brightness in "Deck_Sharp", and I feel "Deck_tbc_on_S" smooths out the image a little but the contrast has changed between the files.
    Last edited by BenKlesc; 20th Apr 2021 at 21:07.
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    Originally Posted by FLP437 View Post
    but I only tested video8 not Hi8 ).
    I almost missed this and read past it, this is very important indeed.

    A lot of HI8 pro decks do not handle Video8 very well. Talking to one of my friends Ron who is a professional archiver who has used these pro decks extensively has told me this about his experience trying to archive Video8 on a Teac V-800G-F. Noting that the image wasn’t as sharp as it was on his Sony GV D200, but for his Hi8 tapes it performed really well like he expected it would.

    I still believe the TBC in general will handle vertical lines way better on pro units compared with camcorders, but it should be noted there is a general consensus that Video8 tapes don’t play well on HI8 specific decks like the one used in this thread. For those tapes something like a Sony GV D200 is much more suitable which plays all three formats and suffers less compatibility issues.
    Last edited by BenKlesc; 20th Apr 2021 at 21:14.
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