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  1. Member
    Join Date
    May 2019
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    Boston, MA
    Search Comp PM
    Hi,

    Apologies for these basic questions, but I am a newbie. I have spent the past hour searching this forum and googling and haven't gotten a clear answer.

    I have 50 or so mini-dv tapes filled with precious family memories, recorded on a Sony Mini DV tape recorder. The recorder is still in good working condition. We have new TVs in the house which don't have the traditional RCA cable inputs (red, yellow, white female). Plenty of HDMI connections, but no RCA. How can I hook up my Sony recorder to play on my TV. Is there an HDMI cable I can use to connect the player to the TV?

    And finally, it gives me great anxiety that these tapes are obsolete technology. I would like to at some point transition them to my PC where they can be accessed easier. Is this practical? As I understand it, these tapes are ~ 13GB each. That's 650GB for 50 tapes! What approach do you experts take in converting Mini DV to computer?

    Many, many thanks,
    Doug
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  2. Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
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    United States
    Search Comp PM
    Originally Posted by doug1022 View Post
    I have 50 or so mini-dv tapes filled with precious family memories, recorded on a Sony Mini DV tape recorder. The recorder is still in good working condition. We have new TVs in the house which don't have the traditional RCA cable inputs (red, yellow, white female). Plenty of HDMI connections, but no RCA. How can I hook up my Sony recorder to play on my TV. Is there an HDMI cable I can use to connect the player to the TV?
    You could try something like these to connect your DV recorder to the TV:
    https://www.amazon.com/GANA-Composite-Converter-Adapter-Supporting/dp/B01L8GG6PW/
    https://www.amazon.com/Orei-XD-940-S-Video-Multi-System-Converter/dp/B01AWN6JUY/
    https://www.amazon.com/gofanco-Prophecy-Format-Scaler-Converter/dp/B07FMCW625/

    Originally Posted by doug1022 View Post
    And finally, it gives me great anxiety that these tapes are obsolete technology. I would like to at some point transition them to my PC where they can be accessed easier. Is this practical? As I understand it, these tapes are ~ 13GB each. That's 650GB for 50 tapes! What approach do you experts take in converting Mini DV to computer?
    To transfer DV files from tape to PC hard drive as DV AVI files, you will need a Windows desktop, plus a firewire card (preferably with a Texas Instruments chipset), plus the recorder's DV cable. plus WinDV (free software). You will probably need to manually install legacy firewire drivers for Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 10. Yes the storage space required for DV AVI is 13GB/hour, but 650GB is nothing. Get a couple of 1TB HDDs, one for storing DV AVI files and one for a backup.

    A firewire card with a Texas Instruments chipset: https://www.amazon.com/Profile-PCI-Express-Firewire-Chipset-SD-PEX30009/dp/B002S53IG8/

    There are plenty of editing programs (some freeware and some paid software) which can edit DV files. Some paid editing software can convert from DV to mpg or mp4 formats for export, or author DVDs. There are also free conversion and DVD authoring programs if free editing software is preferred.
    Ignore list: hello_hello, tried, TechLord
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  3. Member Cornucopia's Avatar
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    Oct 2001
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    Deep in the Heart of Texas
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    +1 on all what u_q said.
    Add to that: best to transfer as DV (in AVI container) as stated (keeping tape originals as backups), then edit in good editing app (e.g. Davinci Resolve, Shotcut, Vegas Movie Studio,...) rendering and saving output ALSO as DV (in AVI container). This will avoid losing any of the original tape quality, except for in areas where you modified the image (incl. titles, fades, FX). Do NOT resize yet. Save your original DV avi source transfer files, as well as a copy of your newly edited master as backup also.
    Then, open that edited master and re-save/convert/export to a more modern TV/mediaplayer-friendly version, such as AVC/h264 video + AAC audio encapsulated in MP4 or MKV container.
    This is the workflow I would recommend for EACH of the 50 tapes. You can do all the capping at once, then all the editing & rendering, then all the conversion export, if you want.

    Scott
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  4. Member
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    Aug 2010
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    San Francisco, California
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    And don't wait to transfer them. Many MiniDV tapes are aging poorly and developing dropouts.
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  5. Member
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    May 2019
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    Boston, MA
    Search Comp PM
    thanks for the replies. Very, very helpful. Cheers.
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