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  1. Hey all, have a couple questions I need answering. I have a sony ccd trv-85 camcorder that plays old Hi8 tapes I need to digitize. I understand dv or avi format is the best overall, and I want to save these tapes in high quality forever.

    1. Can I play the tapes off my sony trv-85 and pass-through using a non-sony mini-dv camera like this canon zr100? It seems that this would be much cheaper than buying a sony. Will that work, or do both need to be sonys?

    2. If that pass-through works, could I just plug the mini DV camera (which is converting the analog to DV) into my computers firewire port directly and capture video using a program like Scenalyzer? Or do I need a capture card between the DV camera and the computer?

    3. What would be the optimal ports to plug into my original Hi8 tape? It has the standard RCA out ports (red white yellow), and an S-video port, which would be the optimal way to plug this into a DV camera? Here is a picture

    Thanks for taking the time to help a new guy out.
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  2. Member DB83's Avatar
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    A couple of answers.

    1. It should work. It does not have to be a Sony DV camera. Just one that has the appropriate connectors. The Canon appears to fit that bill.

    2. Yes. You can connect the pass-through DV camera direct to your PC's firewire port and transfer the video to the PC. Most on here would suggest you use WinDV for the transfer program.

    3. S-video is better but the DV camera does not have a s-video connection. So you have to use the rca cable that comes with the camera which splits/joins the three signals in to one.

    An alternative to a DV camera would be an ADVC from Canopus which will have a s-video connector. These are more expensive than that camera so you pays your money and takes your choice.

    The other alternative to DV is to acquire a capture card/usb device which, again, will have s-video. Then you capture as lossless avi which is actually better quality than DV but file sizes are also significantly larger.
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    Lossless FFV1 compares pretty favorably to DV. I typically get 20 GB per hour versus 13 for DV.
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  4. Originally Posted by DB83 View Post
    A couple of answers.

    1. It should work. It does not have to be a Sony DV camera. Just one that has the appropriate connectors. The Canon appears to fit that bill.

    2. Yes. You can connect the pass-through DV camera direct to your PC's firewire port and transfer the video to the PC. Most on here would suggest you use WinDV for the transfer program.

    3. S-video is better but the DV camera does not have a s-video connection. So you have to use the rca cable that comes with the camera which splits/joins the three signals in to one.

    An alternative to a DV camera would be an ADVC from Canopus which will have a s-video connector. These are more expensive than that camera so you pays your money and takes your choice.

    The other alternative to DV is to acquire a capture card/usb device which, again, will have s-video. Then you capture as lossless avi which is actually better quality than DV but file sizes are also significantly larger.
    Awesome, thanks. That brings up another question for me. If I were to get the ADVC from canopus, wouldnt I need to buy a TBC too? I like the DV idea because it comes with TBC and DNR built in, and is cheaper too. Lossless avi seems nice but we have so many tapes I dont think I could store them efficiently so I might just go with DV. Ive seen videos comparing DV with lossless and the difference doesnt seem nearly as disparate as other methods of digitizing. (I can hardly tell a difference from the youtube videos Ive seen)

    I might just get a digital 8 sony camera so I can bypass my older camera and plug it straight into the computer, one less thing that has to connect and one less thing to go wrong.

    Thanks for the software rec as well.
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    Yes. DV pass-though does have the advantage when it comes to TBC.

    You might not need a TBC with other capture methods. And many dvd-recorders can act as a TBC. Read on the forum for more info on this.
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  6. Originally Posted by DB83 View Post
    Yes. DV pass-though does have the advantage when it comes to TBC.

    You might not need a TBC with other capture methods. And many dvd-recorders can act as a TBC. Read on the forum for more info on this.
    Cool, yea Ive been reading the threads, its just taking some time to understand what I need vs what I dont.

    From what I can tell, TBC and DNR can actually make images worse if you dont need them. But that if you do need them, not having them can make digitizing impossible. Would you say thats accurate?

    If I used the dv camcorder --> win DV, would I need to adjust the blacks from digital level 32 to level 16? or would it be at digital level 16 to begin with? I think that may be a problem with VHS players actually, as I also read that "All DV camcorders output correct 16-235 levels over IEEE-1394 (aka I-Link, Firewire). " So DV seems to be easier again.

    The less stuff I have to mess with the better. thanks again youve been a big help.
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    I would be wary with DNR since overuse will make your image worse.

    From what I read, most consumer camcorders do not adjust black-levels accurately. But I could be wrong on this so do not take my word as gospel. And I'm in PAL-land so its a difference ball game.

    Maybe one reason to use a ADVC which, certainly in the higher models, has the circuitry to deal with this. (My ADVC 300 has such a setting although, as I stated, in PAL the setting is not appropriate)
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    You do not need an external TBC. The trv-85 has TBC circuitry built into it along with DNR. As for capture methods, the cheapest and probably best is a USB2 device (e.g. I-O Data GV-USB2) with S-video input that you DEFINITELY should use over the composite video out on the camcorder. I would use AmarecTV over WinDV, VirtualDub, or any other software as those all experience audio sync problems according to many a user on this sub. AmarecTV seems to be the only one free of such problems. The only gotcha is the USB2 devices cap to a YUV422 lossless format (e.g. Lagarith, UTvideo, etc.) which average about 30 GB/hr. A Canopus ADVC or something similar will encode your video to YUV411 DV-AVI which is smaller at around 13 GB/hr, great for archiving, but lossy. However, these devices are much more expensive than a USB2 device, and you can always transcode a lossless cap to DV-AVI yourself with ffmpeg or some front end gui.

    IOW, you do not need a mini-dv pass through camcorder. If you were capturing VHS tape from a VHS player without TBC, then the situation could be much different. But the trv85 has everything you need for great caps built right into it. And editing a lossless cap is not really a big deal these days. So very simple: camcorder -> S-Video + RCA audio -> USB2 device -> AmarecTV -> lossless capture.

    Lastly, as for superwhites and blacks, that can all be handled in post, so no real reason to worry about it during capture, unless for some reason you feel a need to fiddle with the proc amp.
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    Why the world keeps adding verbiage to threads like this is beyond me, it has been covered in hundreds -- no, thousands -- of similar posts, from as recently as a couple of weeks ago to several years ago and every month in between. not to mention threads that have the same informatio0n and have been going on for months if not years. Well, it's good to get updated I guess. So what's new here?
    .
    Originally Posted by SameSelf View Post
    As for capture methods, the cheapest and probably best is a USB2 device (e.g. I-O Data GV-USB2) with S-video input that you DEFINITELY should use over the composite video out on the camcorder.
    We often get "cheapest" and "best' in the same sentence at VH, but things never really work that way, do they? In this case I disagree. For another decent cheap USB capture dongle, try the Diamond VC500, an old mainstay that's been around (and tested in this forum) for quite some time.


    Originally Posted by SameSelf View Post
    I would use AmarecTV over WinDV, VirtualDub, or any other software as those all experience audio sync problems according to many a user on this sub. AmarecTV seems to be the only one free of such problems.
    You won't get lossless with WinDV, and you won't get it with a camera that converts to DV before sending video to a capture device. I never have anything to say about audio sync problems because I've never had that problem. But I see posts (and recently) that even Canopus users have sync issues. So the best advice there is to follow instructions in detail, and if you still ain't got no sync then try something else until you get it. That seems to be the method seen posted most often. Looks like AmarecTV is the winner here, I never see sync complaints from its users.

    Originally Posted by SameSelf View Post
    The only gotcha is the USB2 devices cap to a YUV422 lossless format (e.g. Lagarith, UTvideo, etc.) which average about 30 GB/hr. A Canopus ADVC or something similar will encode your video to YUV411 DV-AVI which is smaller at around 13 GB/hr, great for archiving, but lossy. However, these devices are much more expensive than a USB2 device, and you can always transcode a lossless cap to DV-AVI yourself with ffmpeg or some front end gui.
    Why would you transcode to DV-AVI? The format has been obsolete since windows 98.

    Originally Posted by SameSelf View Post
    Lastly, as for superwhites and blacks, that can all be handled in post,
    No it can't, not if it's blown out during capture.

    The advice for lossless methods, and even for lossy DV, is usually wasted on most users these days., The reason for capping to lossless or near-lossless media is to insure decent results through a restoration and repair process. How many users these days are willing to undertake that process? I'd think we need to advise those who are new to analog transfer that the results take time and care if quality is of any importance. If it isn't, just get a DVD recorder and have at it, which is what a great many users end up doing anyway, and most of them wouldn't know quality video from a hole in the ground, or don't care.

    The best advice would be to browse this forum going at least 4 years back and working forward, since many members who really knew how to do this stuff to higher standards aren't here any more. Grab every tip you can from capture and restoration threads. After a little browsing, you will very very very soon catch on that you either want to really do it right, or not. Most people give up early. YouTube is proof of that.
    - My sister Ann's brother
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  10. Originally Posted by SameSelf View Post
    You do not need an external TBC. The trv-85 has TBC circuitry built into it along with DNR. As for capture methods, the cheapest and probably best is a USB2 device (e.g. I-O Data GV-USB2) with S-video input that you DEFINITELY should use over the composite video out on the camcorder. I would use AmarecTV over WinDV, VirtualDub, or any other software as those all experience audio sync problems according to many a user on this sub. AmarecTV seems to be the only one free of such problems. The only gotcha is the USB2 devices cap to a YUV422 lossless format (e.g. Lagarith, UTvideo, etc.) which average about 30 GB/hr. A Canopus ADVC or something similar will encode your video to YUV411 DV-AVI which is smaller at around 13 GB/hr, great for archiving, but lossy. However, these devices are much more expensive than a USB2 device, and you can always transcode a lossless cap to DV-AVI yourself with ffmpeg or some front end gui.

    IOW, you do not need a mini-dv pass through camcorder. If you were capturing VHS tape from a VHS player without TBC, then the situation could be much different. But the trv85 has everything you need for great caps built right into it. And editing a lossless cap is not really a big deal these days. So very simple: camcorder -> S-Video + RCA audio -> USB2 device -> AmarecTV -> lossless capture.

    Lastly, as for superwhites and blacks, that can all be handled in post, so no real reason to worry about it during capture, unless for some reason you feel a need to fiddle with the proc amp.
    Awesome thanks for the advice, I had no idea my trv85 came with TBC. It looks like I will do that as I'd prefer lossless quality. The s-video port for video sounds like what I need to use too. I looked into amarectv and it appears to be the best program Ive seen so far. These are some really ancient tapes from 30 years ago so I will find out soon how good they still look haha.
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  11. Originally Posted by LMotlow View Post
    Why the world keeps adding verbiage to threads like this is beyond me, it has been covered in hundreds -- no, thousands -- of similar posts, from as recently as a couple of weeks ago to several years ago and every month in between. not to mention threads that have the same informatio0n and have been going on for months if not years. Well, it's good to get updated I guess. So what's new here?
    .
    Originally Posted by SameSelf View Post
    As for capture methods, the cheapest and probably best is a USB2 device (e.g. I-O Data GV-USB2) with S-video input that you DEFINITELY should use over the composite video out on the camcorder.
    We often get "cheapest" and "best' in the same sentence at VH, but things never really work that way, do they? In this case I disagree. For another decent cheap USB capture dongle, try the Diamond VC500, an old mainstay that's been around (and tested in this forum) for quite some time.


    Originally Posted by SameSelf View Post
    I would use AmarecTV over WinDV, VirtualDub, or any other software as those all experience audio sync problems according to many a user on this sub. AmarecTV seems to be the only one free of such problems.
    You won't get lossless with WinDV, and you won't get it with a camera that converts to DV before sending video to a capture device. I never have anything to say about audio sync problems because I've never had that problem. But I see posts (and recently) that even Canopus users have sync issues. So the best advice there is to follow instructions in detail, and if you still ain't got no sync then try something else until you get it. That seems to be the method seen posted most often. Looks like AmarecTV is the winner here, I never see sync complaints from its users.

    Originally Posted by SameSelf View Post
    The only gotcha is the USB2 devices cap to a YUV422 lossless format (e.g. Lagarith, UTvideo, etc.) which average about 30 GB/hr. A Canopus ADVC or something similar will encode your video to YUV411 DV-AVI which is smaller at around 13 GB/hr, great for archiving, but lossy. However, these devices are much more expensive than a USB2 device, and you can always transcode a lossless cap to DV-AVI yourself with ffmpeg or some front end gui.
    Why would you transcode to DV-AVI? The format has been obsolete since windows 98.

    Originally Posted by SameSelf View Post
    Lastly, as for superwhites and blacks, that can all be handled in post,
    No it can't, not if it's blown out during capture.

    The advice for lossless methods, and even for lossy DV, is usually wasted on most users these days., The reason for capping to lossless or near-lossless media is to insure decent results through a restoration and repair process. How many users these days are willing to undertake that process? I'd think we need to advise those who are new to analog transfer that the results take time and care if quality is of any importance. If it isn't, just get a DVD recorder and have at it, which is what a great many users end up doing anyway, and most of them wouldn't know quality video from a hole in the ground, or don't care.

    The best advice would be to browse this forum going at least 4 years back and working forward, since many members who really knew how to do this stuff to higher standards aren't here any more. Grab every tip you can from capture and restoration threads. After a little browsing, you will very very very soon catch on that you either want to really do it right, or not. Most people give up early. YouTube is proof of that.
    I definitely dont mind doing it the right way, even if it takes some time. theres plenty of methods of transfer so picking the one with the best mix of quality and ease can be tough.. It looks like Ill just have to take this project as it comes even if it takes a while. we have literally hundreds of 8mm and hi8 tapes from 30 to 20 years ago. Ive been getting confused reading threads and posts from other forums, some of which have differences in method which seem minute to me, but actually change everything regarding quality and conversion (such as me reading that firewire is better than usb, and assuming this still holds true today - it doesnt)
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    Originally Posted by videon00b View Post
    I definitely dont mind doing it the right way, even if it takes some time. theres plenty of methods of transfer so picking the one with the best mix of quality and ease can be tough.. It looks like Ill just have to take this project as it comes even if it takes a while. we have literally hundreds of 8mm and hi8 tapes from 30 to 20 years ago. Ive been getting confused reading threads and posts from other forums, some of which have differences in method which seem minute to me, but actually change everything regarding quality and conversion (such as me reading that firewire is better than usb, and assuming this still holds true today - it doesnt)
    Firewire -vs- USB lossless isn't better or worse for most folks, it's just different. DV is not lossless and has DV compression artifacts that don't exist in the analog original. Old analog tapes are noisy and have chroma problems, so the capture method depends on how much extra cleanup lossy DV entails. That cleanup and repair can be very basic and make mild but visual improvement over the original, or it can be extensive and very picky depending on what you expect and have the patience for. Analog is already trouble enough without adding DV compression to the workflow. DV involves two lossy compression stages, one for capture and one for final output format. The rule of thumb is that two stages of lossy compression are not better than one. In either case, cleanup, color work, etc., involves intermediate working files that are usually processed as lossless for best results, whether your original is lossless or not. So it's your choice.
    - My sister Ann's brother
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    Originally Posted by LMotlow View Post
    Why the world keeps adding verbiage to threads like this is beyond me, it has been covered in hundreds -- no, thousands -- of similar posts, from as recently as a couple of weeks ago to several years ago and every month in between. not to mention threads that have the same informatio0n and have been going on for months if not years. Well, it's good to get updated I guess. So what's new here?
    Then why did you just type an over 600 word response??? Nearly 3X as much verbiage than I added. We have ourselves a winner folks. Congrads.

    Originally Posted by LMotlow View Post
    We often get "cheapest" and "best' in the same sentence at VH, but things never really work that way, do they? In this case I disagree. For another decent cheap USB capture dongle, try the Diamond VC500, an old mainstay that's been around (and tested in this forum) for quite some time.
    Disagree all you want, but you should add some verbiage to this thread if you really feel that strongly:

    https://forum.videohelp.com/threads/369761-Startech-USB3HDCAP-opinions#post2370996

    Originally Posted by LMotlow View Post
    You won't get lossless with WinDV, and you won't get it with a camera that converts to DV before sending video to a capture device. I never have anything to say about audio sync problems because I've never had that problem. But I see posts (and recently) that even Canopus users have sync issues. So the best advice there is to follow instructions in detail, and if you still ain't got no sync then try something else until you get it. That seems to be the method seen posted most often. Looks like AmarecTV is the winner here, I never see sync complaints from its users.
    Since audio sync problems usually don't become obvious until well into a capture, your advice is to waste a bunch of time testing software until you find the correct settings or one that works? Brilliant.

    Originally Posted by LMotlow View Post
    Why would you transcode to DV-AVI? The format has been obsolete since windows 98.
    Let's see, the OP has hundreds of tapes. A conservative 250 hours of lossless caps would require 7.5 TB storage vs 3.25 TB for DV-AVI. Sometimes these things matter.

    Originally Posted by LMotlow View Post
    Originally Posted by SameSelf View Post
    Lastly, as for superwhites and blacks, that can all be handled in post,
    No it can't, not if it's blown out during capture.
    He was asking about capping to 16-235 vs 0-255. It doesn't matter assuming he might want to make some level adjustments in post anyway.

    Originally Posted by LMotlow View Post
    The advice for lossless methods, and even for lossy DV, is usually wasted on most users these days., The reason for capping to lossless or near-lossless media is to insure decent results through a restoration and repair process. How many users these days are willing to undertake that process? I'd think we need to advise those who are new to analog transfer that the results take time and care if quality is of any importance. If it isn't, just get a DVD recorder and have at it, which is what a great many users end up doing anyway, and most of them wouldn't know quality video from a hole in the ground, or don't care.
    No, the real the reason for lossless caps these days is that USB2 devices are cheap and convenient. Plain and simple. Like it or not, these tiny, cheap little devices have made things super easy for the novice and most of the advice on this sub out of date. The OP has a camcorder with built in TBC and DNR (both which can be disabled), so a USB2 device with S-Video and AmarecTV (free) and a lossless codec (free) are literally all the OP needs. No need for wasting money on a DVD recorder and hundreds of DVDs. Use your brain, dude. And since most people watch video on their devices these days what good would a DVD be anyway? Thus adding the additional lengthy step of copying the DVD to computer.

    Originally Posted by LMotlow View Post
    The best advice would be to browse this forum going at least 4 years back and working forward, since many members who really knew how to do this stuff to higher standards aren't here any more. Grab every tip you can from capture and restoration threads. After a little browsing, you will very very very soon catch on that you either want to really do it right, or not. Most people give up early. YouTube is proof of that.
    Or, post a question politely asking for advice so that someone with the same equipment shows up and clarifies a few things that nobody else has commented on.
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    SameSelf,. I understand your outlook -- don't bother me with details, just get quick n dirty and have it done. Those are your priorities, and seldom if ever has there been a posted demo of the supposed quality you say you get. I agree: do what you can, within budget, within skill and time constraints, and suit yourself. Some people want better. Most people wouldn't know better from trash and don't care. They're not your videos.

    I've never had audio sync problems, so I wouldn't know what to advise. I've always followed the word of those who don't seem to have that problem, and I get the same results they do. They said you need a good frame tbc, that's what I use. They said you need a decent VCR or camera in good shape, that's what I used. They said you don't play PC games or multi-task while capturing, so I didn't. They said use the best and tested capture device you can find for what you can afford, that's what I did. I went through some trouble and had to read some installation and usage instructions, so that's what I did. More than 400 hours of captured tapes later, no problems. Not once. Sorry to find you've had such a hard time. Look in the mirror.
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  15. Originally Posted by SameSelf View Post
    Originally Posted by LMotlow View Post
    Why the world keeps adding verbiage to threads like this is beyond me, it has been covered in hundreds -- no, thousands -- of similar posts, from as recently as a couple of weeks ago to several years ago and every month in between. not to mention threads that have the same informatio0n and have been going on for months if not years. Well, it's good to get updated I guess. So what's new here?
    Then why did you just type an over 600 word response??? Nearly 3X as much verbiage than I added. We have ourselves a winner folks. Congrads.

    Originally Posted by LMotlow View Post
    We often get "cheapest" and "best' in the same sentence at VH, but things never really work that way, do they? In this case I disagree. For another decent cheap USB capture dongle, try the Diamond VC500, an old mainstay that's been around (and tested in this forum) for quite some time.
    Disagree all you want, but you should add some verbiage to this thread if you really feel that strongly:

    https://forum.videohelp.com/threads/369761-Startech-USB3HDCAP-opinions#post2370996

    Originally Posted by LMotlow View Post
    You won't get lossless with WinDV, and you won't get it with a camera that converts to DV before sending video to a capture device. I never have anything to say about audio sync problems because I've never had that problem. But I see posts (and recently) that even Canopus users have sync issues. So the best advice there is to follow instructions in detail, and if you still ain't got no sync then try something else until you get it. That seems to be the method seen posted most often. Looks like AmarecTV is the winner here, I never see sync complaints from its users.
    Since audio sync problems usually don't become obvious until well into a capture, your advice is to waste a bunch of time testing software until you find the correct settings or one that works? Brilliant.

    Originally Posted by LMotlow View Post
    Why would you transcode to DV-AVI? The format has been obsolete since windows 98.
    Let's see, the OP has hundreds of tapes. A conservative 250 hours of lossless caps would require 7.5 TB storage vs 3.25 TB for DV-AVI. Sometimes these things matter.

    Originally Posted by LMotlow View Post
    Originally Posted by SameSelf View Post
    Lastly, as for superwhites and blacks, that can all be handled in post,
    No it can't, not if it's blown out during capture.
    He was asking about capping to 16-235 vs 0-255. It doesn't matter assuming he might want to make some level adjustments in post anyway.

    Originally Posted by LMotlow View Post
    The advice for lossless methods, and even for lossy DV, is usually wasted on most users these days., The reason for capping to lossless or near-lossless media is to insure decent results through a restoration and repair process. How many users these days are willing to undertake that process? I'd think we need to advise those who are new to analog transfer that the results take time and care if quality is of any importance. If it isn't, just get a DVD recorder and have at it, which is what a great many users end up doing anyway, and most of them wouldn't know quality video from a hole in the ground, or don't care.
    No, the real the reason for lossless caps these days is that USB2 devices are cheap and convenient. Plain and simple. Like it or not, these tiny, cheap little devices have made things super easy for the novice and most of the advice on this sub out of date. The OP has a camcorder with built in TBC and DNR (both which can be disabled), so a USB2 device with S-Video and AmarecTV (free) and a lossless codec (free) are literally all the OP needs. No need for wasting money on a DVD recorder and hundreds of DVDs. Use your brain, dude. And since most people watch video on their devices these days what good would a DVD be anyway? Thus adding the additional lengthy step of copying the DVD to computer.

    Originally Posted by LMotlow View Post
    The best advice would be to browse this forum going at least 4 years back and working forward, since many members who really knew how to do this stuff to higher standards aren't here any more. Grab every tip you can from capture and restoration threads. After a little browsing, you will very very very soon catch on that you either want to really do it right, or not. Most people give up early. YouTube is proof of that.
    Or, post a question politely asking for advice so that someone with the same equipment shows up and clarifies a few things that nobody else has commented on.
    It sounds like everyone recommends the best way they know to do the job, which is understandable, given the complexity and number of options for conversions. A lot of the older information probably is redundant now that we have devices like the VC500 or the IODATA GV. Both look good but I think Ill go with the IODATA since it has higher reviews, and I wont be using either ones proprietary software for the job. I think the audio sync issues likely stem from the software or tape rather than the USB device anyway (at least for higher consumer grade quality devices like these mentioned above).

    Follow up question: You mentioned that usb2 devices encode to YUV422, but that this is not good for archiving. So, which codec do you suggest I encode with afterwards, which will make the file size smaller, but the resolution not noticeably worse, or is that not possible? I wouldnt mind splurging on a 4 TB hard drive or two, but backups are always preferable.

    Also, I have 8mm tapes which play on my trv85, as well as hi8 tapes. Should I leave both DNR and TBC on or off for 8mm, and on or off for hi8, when transferring? Is there a general rule, or does it vary tape by tape?

    thanks so much for the help. These are all the questions I have (for now), hahaha.
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    There's nothing wrong with YCbCr 4:2:2 encoding per se. It's pretty much the standard for SD material. For archival purposes, you may want to stay away from DV encoding because it stores half the color resolution at 4:1:1 subsampling. Some people can see the difference and many can't. I convert analog video to the lossless FFV1 codec for archiving, which runs around 20 GB per hour.

    Hardware DNR is a matter of taste. Some people argue that it should be used because it's tailored to the analog format and machine you are playing back on. Others will say that better results can be achieved in the digital domain after conversion. I would definitely leave the TBC on unless it makes the picture worse, which can happen on occasion.
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    Originally Posted by videon00b View Post
    Follow up question: You mentioned that usb2 devices encode to YUV422, but that this is not good for archiving. So, which codec do you suggest I encode with afterwards, which will make the file size smaller, but the resolution not noticeably worse, or is that not possible? I wouldnt mind splurging on a 4 TB hard drive or two, but backups are always preferable.
    The idea behind the initial capture file is that it's your working copy, and should be as faithful to the original as practicable with the chosen gear. To add to what JVRaines posted, there are any number of permanent archival formats you can select, although most people don't archive 100% of their captures. Your working copy is for edits, repair and cleanup, color correction, denoising, adding fancy features for final edits in an editor, then ultimately encoding to a final delivery format like DVD, BluRay, special versions for web posting, versions for playback from USB drives and external players, streaming over home network servers, or whatever final playback you want.

    But you have start with as good a capture as you can get with whatever you have to use for it. What you do with that original is open to a ton of possibilities.
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    Originally Posted by videon00b View Post
    It sounds like everyone recommends the best way they know to do the job, which is understandable, given the complexity and number of options for conversions. A lot of the older information probably is redundant now that we have devices like the VC500 or the IODATA GV. Both look good but I think Ill go with the IODATA since it has higher reviews, and I wont be using either ones proprietary software for the job. I think the audio sync issues likely stem from the software or tape rather than the USB device anyway (at least for higher consumer grade quality devices like these mentioned above).

    Follow up question: You mentioned that usb2 devices encode to YUV422, but that this is not good for archiving. So, which codec do you suggest I encode with afterwards, which will make the file size smaller, but the resolution not noticeably worse, or is that not possible? I wouldnt mind splurging on a 4 TB hard drive or two, but backups are always preferable.

    Also, I have 8mm tapes which play on my trv85, as well as hi8 tapes. Should I leave both DNR and TBC on or off for 8mm, and on or off for hi8, when transferring? Is there a general rule, or does it vary tape by tape?

    thanks so much for the help. These are all the questions I have (for now), hahaha.
    I think archiving YUV422 lossless is overkill when dealing with hundreds of tapes. Sure YUV422 sounds like a Garden of Eden, twice as much color information, what's not to love, amiright? But, after doing lots of comparisons, the benefit is really minor for SD videotape. And all delivery formats are YUV411 anyway. I posted a comparison of the I-O Data a while ago. You can look for yourself to see if there is anything to really be gained that would benefit your intended audience.

    https://forum.videohelp.com/threads/379847-I-O-Data-GV-USB2-NTSC-Capture-Test

    Like JVRaines said, leave DNR on unless you plan to do NR yourself in post. Just be aware that NR is tedious and hard to do well (even with slick plugins like NeatVideo), otherwise you end up with overly soft footage that looks even worse.
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  19. My $0.02:

    1. Firewire DV capture via Scenalyzer "just works:" no audio sync problems in the 20 years I've been capturing analog. Yes, you do get some blocking artifacts from the DCT compression, but play the results of a few minutes captured this way and compare that with a few minutes captured using an uncompressed capture setup. If you freeze frame, you will definitely see a difference, but if you don't notice it at all when playing (which I suspect is what you will find), then for my money, the disk space saving and the lack of complications during capture (in my experience) makes this a good compromise.

    2. ALWAYS do tests where you try different variations. In particular, try a short capture with, and then without, DNR. My experience is that DNR done in an old analog camcorder or deck is inferior to what you can later do with digital noise reduction, and in some cases, actually makes the video worse (analog DNR often kills details). TBC usually helps, but if you read through the several hundred posts on this same subject (as someone already referenced, there is nothing new in this thread), you'll find a lot of situations where internal TBCs can actually make the video look worse. Having said that, I usually hear good things about the TBC circuitry used in Hi8 camcorders.

    You have a huge task ahead of you, and therefore you want a capture workflow that is "bulletproof." Do 4-5 tests, on different tapes, each of 4-5 minutes. Then, look for dropped frames, glitches, and audio sync issues. There should be none. Even one dropped frame is too many.

    Once you know your capture system is working perfectly, the next advice is to fast forward and then rewind your tapes. The reason I do this is to get the timecode (from the camcorder tape counter) so you know how much video is on each tape. If you use Scenalyzer (which is an amazing program), you can set a stop timer for about one minute more than the time you get from the tape counter after you fast forward. This way, you don't end up with lots of files that have thirty minutes of noise at the end that you have to trim off. Finally, set a kitchen timer to that same time so you are reminded to stop the capture and get to the next tape. These things really matter when you are doing a big capture project.
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  20. Cool, thanks for all the input everyone. I have a couple more minute questions now that Im all geared up and ready. these might be a little more straight forward than my previous questions.

    1. should I get some head cleaning tape off ebay? this is a 20 year old camera I bought, and while Im not planning on going to "wetgate transfer" extents to get the best quality, it might be good to clean the head on my camcorder every few tapes, since Im playing a bunch of (likely dirty) tapes from decades ago. or is this not worth the trouble?

    2. my sony ccd-trv85 came with an edit button. I believe one person mentioned in another thread that this is for people copying their tapes to VHS. I should leave this off, right?

    3. my camera also some other options on it. should I leave "auto-tv on" on, or turn it off?

    4. my camera has display set to LCD. should i change it to V-out/LCD rather than just LCD?

    5. i understand 720/480, 29.97 is the proper resolution for hi8 (in amarectv anyway). Is this the same resolution I should use when digitizing Video8 films? (do i need to change amarecTV settings when I change between hi8/ video8?)

    6. audio stereo system is set to BTSC in amarectv. thats ok?my camera is set to Hi-fi sound through stereo.

    Im about to start digitizing these old films, sampling versions with TBC and DNR on or off. Ill be posting some samples soon, thanks!
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  21. 1. should I get some head cleaning tape off ebay? this is a 20 year old camera I bought, and while Im not planning on going to "wetgate transfer" extents to get the best quality, it might be good to clean the head on my camcorder every few tapes, since Im playing a bunch of (likely dirty) tapes from decades ago. or is this not worth the trouble?
    No, do NOT clean your head, ever, unless the picture starts to break up and show snow, and unless it does this on more than one tape. Heads can clog up from old tape, but they also do a pretty good job of keeping themselves clean. Most people create problems when they use cleaning tapes. You should view this as a last resort, rather than something you do periodically, like dusting your furniture.

    2. my sony ccd-trv85 came with an edit button. I believe one person mentioned in another thread that this is for people copying their tapes to VHS. I should leave this off, right?
    I have posted about this recently. You MUST read the manual that came with your camera to know exactly what this does, and whether it should be on or off (you can download a PDF version of the manual if you don't have yours anymore). Usually you turn it ON when transferring video. Turning it ON disables all the sharpening and noise reduction, both of which may make the picture appear to be sharper and less noisy, but it also destroys details and actually screws up the picture. You can do a far better job of enhancing the picture, if you want to take the extra step, if you do that digitally, after you capture the video. These analog circuits are very, very crude, and will destroy detail that you can never get back. It is very important to have this switch set correctly.

    3. my camera also some other options on it. should I leave "auto-tv on" on, or turn it off?
    I have no idea. Read the manual to see what it does.

    4. my camera has display set to LCD. should i change it to V-out/LCD rather than just LCD?
    If the capture doesn't work at all, try changing this setting. Otherwise, don't worry about it.

    5. i understand 720/480, 29.97 is the proper resolution for hi8 (in amarectv anyway). Is this the same resolution I should use when digitizing Video8 films? (do i need to change amarecTV settings when I change between hi8/ video8?)
    I don't know what capture setup you decided to use, but if you are capturing via Firewire, it the format will be DV and the resolution will be 720x480. With that workflow, you cannot change these (which is actually a good thing).

    6. audio stereo system is set to BTSC in amarectv. thats ok?my camera is set to Hi-fi sound through stereo.
    I think you meant "NTSC". That is correct. Hi-Fi is what you want, although if the audio was recorded only via the linear soundtrack, it will probably default to that for that one tape, and then go back to Hi-Fi if the next tape has recorded audio on that track. This switch is only for tapes that have both Hi-Fi and linear audio, and where the audio on the Hi-Fi track isn't playing correctly. I dont' know about Hi8, but in VHS, this actually does happen once in awhile.
    Last edited by johnmeyer; 14th Jul 2017 at 12:28. Reason: better formatting
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    Originally Posted by videon00b View Post
    5. i understand 720/480, 29.97 is the proper resolution for hi8 (in amarectv anyway). Is this the same resolution I should use when digitizing Video8 films? (do i need to change amarecTV settings when I change between hi8/ video8?)
    NTSC aspect is 4:3, which works out to 640480 square pixels on a modern computer display. Digital video standards dating back to the 1980s use rectangular pixels (they are a little skinny) and capture more of the video line for slop, so if you are running through your MiniDV camcorder, you will get 720480 pixels. The frame rate is 29.97i in any case.

    For video conversion, I use a PCIe card that has horizontal timing adjustment, so I line up the image and capture at 640480 square pixels.
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    Originally Posted by JVRaines View Post
    For video conversion, I use a PCIe card that has horizontal timing adjustment, so I line up the image and capture at 640480 square pixels.
    I assume you'll be on standby here to tell the O.P. how to make a DVD or BluRay from that. Looks like its hard drive or stick only. Better find some USB sticks on sale to mail to the folks.
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    DVD? Blu-ray? Is that some kind of ancient technology?
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  25. Originally Posted by johnmeyer View Post
    1. should I get some head cleaning tape off ebay? this is a 20 year old camera I bought, and while Im not planning on going to "wetgate transfer" extents to get the best quality, it might be good to clean the head on my camcorder every few tapes, since Im playing a bunch of (likely dirty) tapes from decades ago. or is this not worth the trouble?
    No, do NOT clean your head, ever, unless the picture starts to break up and show snow, and unless it does this on more than one tape. Heads can clog up from old tape, but they also do a pretty good job of keeping themselves clean. Most people create problems when they use cleaning tapes. You should view this as a last resort, rather than something you do periodically, like dusting your furniture.

    2. my sony ccd-trv85 came with an edit button. I believe one person mentioned in another thread that this is for people copying their tapes to VHS. I should leave this off, right?
    I have posted about this recently. You MUST read the manual that came with your camera to know exactly what this does, and whether it should be on or off (you can download a PDF version of the manual if you don't have yours anymore). Usually you turn it ON when transferring video. Turning it ON disables all the sharpening and noise reduction, both of which may make the picture appear to be sharper and less noisy, but it also destroys details and actually screws up the picture. You can do a far better job of enhancing the picture, if you want to take the extra step, if you do that digitally, after you capture the video. These analog circuits are very, very crude, and will destroy detail that you can never get back. It is very important to have this switch set correctly.

    3. my camera also some other options on it. should I leave "auto-tv on" on, or turn it off?
    I have no idea. Read the manual to see what it does.

    4. my camera has display set to LCD. should i change it to V-out/LCD rather than just LCD?
    If the capture doesn't work at all, try changing this setting. Otherwise, don't worry about it.

    5. i understand 720/480, 29.97 is the proper resolution for hi8 (in amarectv anyway). Is this the same resolution I should use when digitizing Video8 films? (do i need to change amarecTV settings when I change between hi8/ video8?)
    I don't know what capture setup you decided to use, but if you are capturing via Firewire, it the format will be DV and the resolution will be 720x480. With that workflow, you cannot change these (which is actually a good thing).

    6. audio stereo system is set to BTSC in amarectv. thats ok?my camera is set to Hi-fi sound through stereo.
    I think you meant "NTSC". That is correct. Hi-Fi is what you want, although if the audio was recorded only via the linear soundtrack, it will probably default to that for that one tape, and then go back to Hi-Fi if the next tape has recorded audio on that track. This switch is only for tapes that have both Hi-Fi and linear audio, and where the audio on the Hi-Fi track isn't playing correctly. I dont' know about Hi8, but in VHS, this actually does happen once in awhile.
    Awesome. Thanks for letting me know about the head-cleaning tape and edit button. I read the manual again and made the changes to my camera.

    I made a thread in this sub-forum comparing some captures I made but I made an error in rendering the pixels and re-sampling, Ill make another comparison clip in a few hours there with (hopefully) the proper corrections
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  26. Originally Posted by JVRaines View Post
    Originally Posted by videon00b View Post
    5. i understand 720/480, 29.97 is the proper resolution for hi8 (in amarectv anyway). Is this the same resolution I should use when digitizing Video8 films? (do i need to change amarecTV settings when I change between hi8/ video8?)
    NTSC aspect is 4:3, which works out to 640480 square pixels on a modern computer display. Digital video standards dating back to the 1980s use rectangular pixels (they are a little skinny) and capture more of the video line for slop, so if you are running through your MiniDV camcorder, you will get 720480 pixels. The frame rate is 29.97i in any case.

    For video conversion, I use a PCIe card that has horizontal timing adjustment, so I line up the image and capture at 640480 square pixels.
    I see. Should I be capturing my videos in 640x480 for Video8 / Hi8 videos (rather than 720x480)? If I dont need to capture the extra pixels then its just wasted space you know.
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  27. Originally Posted by SameSelf View Post
    You do not need an external TBC. The trv-85 has TBC circuitry built into it along with DNR. As for capture methods, the cheapest and probably best is a USB2 device (e.g. I-O Data GV-USB2) with S-video input that you DEFINITELY should use over the composite video out on the camcorder. I would use AmarecTV over WinDV, VirtualDub, or any other software as those all experience audio sync problems according to many a user on this sub. AmarecTV seems to be the only one free of such problems. The only gotcha is the USB2 devices cap to a YUV422 lossless format (e.g. Lagarith, UTvideo, etc.) which average about 30 GB/hr. A Canopus ADVC or something similar will encode your video to YUV411 DV-AVI which is smaller at around 13 GB/hr, great for archiving, but lossy. However, these devices are much more expensive than a USB2 device, and you can always transcode a lossless cap to DV-AVI yourself with ffmpeg or some front end gui.

    IOW, you do not need a mini-dv pass through camcorder. If you were capturing VHS tape from a VHS player without TBC, then the situation could be much different. But the trv85 has everything you need for great caps built right into it. And editing a lossless cap is not really a big deal these days. So very simple: camcorder -> S-Video + RCA audio -> USB2 device -> AmarecTV -> lossless capture.

    Lastly, as for superwhites and blacks, that can all be handled in post, so no real reason to worry about it during capture, unless for some reason you feel a need to fiddle with the proc amp.
    Hey so I actually do have some VHS tapes I need to digitize(my grandmothers funeral ~1992, family get togethers, etc). I have a VHS player without a TBC but I could use the IO data GV2 usb device Im using for my video8 tapes.

    Do you think getting a line TBC would help my video8 cassettes more than the built-in TBC? It appears as though I will need one to digitize these VHS tapes. Do you have any youd reccomend? Ive heard some people saying ccd-trv85 TBC's are more of a stabilizer than a real TBC.

    I havent had any problems so far but have only used one tape thats just 17 years old, so it probably didnt even need a TBC at all. Thank you
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    Originally Posted by videon00b View Post
    Do you think getting a line TBC would help my video8 cassettes more than the built-in TBC? It appears as though I will need one to digitize these VHS tapes. Do you have any youd reccomend? Ive heard some people saying ccd-trv85 TBC's are more of a stabilizer than a real TBC.

    I havent had any problems so far but have only used one tape thats just 17 years old, so it probably didnt even need a TBC at all. Thank you
    It sure did.

    You should know the difference between a line-level tbc and a frame-level tbc. You might be able to get away without a frame-level tbc (until you start seeing dropped frames and bad audio sync, which is common without one), but you always need a line-level tbc for analog tapes. If your player doesn't have a line tbc, use a pass-thru device such as a Panasonic ES10 (https://forum.videohelp.com/threads/319420-Who-uses-a-DVD-recorder-as-a-line-TBC-and-what-do-you-use).

    A line-level tbc corrects scanline distortion within individual frames, eliminating wiggles, vertical distortion, and horizontal jitter. A frame-level tbc corrects frame timing for exact video/audio rate and can defeat copy protection.
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    Originally Posted by videon00b View Post
    I see. Should I be capturing my videos in 640x480 for Video8 / Hi8 videos (rather than 720x480)? If I dont need to capture the extra pixels then its just wasted space you know.
    I would say "yes" if you intend to archive these videos as computer files. The only reason to use the DV (720) format is if you are archiving as DVD-Video, which uses this format.
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    640x480 is square-pixel format for 4:3 images only (and only 4:3). 720x480 isn't the "DV format", it's a standard frame spec for anamorphic standard definition video formats using 4:3 or 16:9 DAR, including DVD and standard definition BluRay/AVCHD. You can't use 640x480 for any of those output formats -- it's square-pixel for PC, media player, or web posting only. Since you'd want the higher quality for DVD or BluRay, I'd say capture as 720x480. Meanwhile if you don't have a PC or media player that can play 720x480 as 4:3 or 16:9 DAR, get a better PC or player system. Even the worst players (except WMP), set top players, media servers, and player TV's can handle 720x480 playback properly, whether it's interlaced, telecined, or progressive. People who eat away at their lives with all the unnecessary resizing and re-encoding are wasting their time.
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