Ok, so this forum has a ton of great information. My head is spinning...
A little guidance would be appreciated on this topic.
I've got a bunch of hi8 and miniDV tapes I'm going to convert to digital. I was looking at purchasing a canopus 110 for the conversion/capture of all the tapes and use my iMac 2016 along with my sony TRV and Panasonic PV-GS120 . However, I'm wondering if I can achieve the same or better results using my Dell XPS and a high end card, without needing the Canopus? I'm also going to be converting a few VHS tapes to digital.
Yes, it is clear I'm not an expert or have much knowledge in this area. : )
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The answer is yes and you don't need a high-end card. Read the reviews of SD USB capture devices in this forum and you'll find a few that do a good job. It's more important to focus on the quality of your analog playback and processing before you get to the converter. However, you won't be using a converter for MiniDV because it's already digital and simply transfers over FireWire. If you are happy with DV quality and want to save some bucks, you can probably use your camera(s) to convert Hi8 and VHS (via passthrough) and send over the same FireWire connection.
Thanks JVRanies. I want the highest quality video from my Hi8, MiniDV and VHS videos. Would the video capture card on the PC provide better results? If the Canapos 110 > iMac > Adobe Premiere works just as well, then I would probably go that route as it seems like it would be less work setting it up. I have Adobe Premiere on the PC as well.
The highest quality video will be uncompressed or losslessly compressed. In other words, not lossy-encoded in a format like DV, which is what the ADVC110 creates. Such files can be quite large, although a good lossless codec like Lagarith makes them more manageable. This is how I archive video, subsequently creating use copies in AVC/h.264 (MP4) files that are much smaller and more widely supported by players. Your MiniDV tapes were born as DV, so there is no advantage archiving them in any other format and you don't need the 110 to transfer them.
Now, will YOU see the difference between uncompressed YUV422 and DV? I don't know, but it takes a practiced eye to spot the difference and the advantage is dependent on the quality of the source material. It may be noticeable with Hi8, but probably not with VHS.
First off, there is no such thing as a "high-end card" these days. If you plan to capture Hi8 video to a lossless yuv422 format, a $40 USB capture device gets you 99% of the way there compared to even the "pro" cards from a decade ago. This is one area where throwing more money at the problem in terms of hardware is not well spent. I think the same can be said for VHS despite the endless threads about the need for a TBC.
However, imho capturing to a lossless yuv422 format vs DV-AVI is only useful if you plan on doing serious restoration to your video prior to encoding for the web, dvd, etc. I am not saying your video won't benefit from such work; it is just such work demands significant effort and is rarely within the means of the average video hobbyist because it goes beyond simple hardware into the realm of sophisticated software.
Now if you have a lot of time and money on your hands or, alternatively, if you envision yourself being sucked into the world of video over the next several years, then by all means capture to a lossless format. Otherwise, your ADVC110 captures are likely ready to go straight to DVD or the web. There is a lot to be said for that efficient workflow.