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  1. Member
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    Hey everyone newbie here,

    I am trying to ascertain the best way to transfer over 60 Sony MiniDV (DVM60PR) tapes to a non lossy format to store on my computer to be able to viewed over apple tv, or just simply on the computer, with also the ability to burn to a DVD in the future.

    I just got done trying VIDBOX (bought from amazon) and was less than impressed. There was a very noticeable loss in video quality, compared to playback via composite cables direct from camcorder to tv, the software "captured" in an mpeg format, it had zero options for editing, and would allow me to convert to mp4 for a further loss in quality. That, on top of added judder/stutter in the captured video when panning or zooming, judder that does not exist in the original video when playing from Sony camcorder. I used simple audio/video out to the VIDBOX device, would using an S-video cable fix the issues related to the problems above? It also has a DV in-out which I assume to be firewire, but it went unused in this VIDBOX endeavor.

    Honestly I am just looking for the best way to capture the video in a digital format on my computer that preserves the current quality on the DV tape, if anyone has any experience or opinion regarding the best way to do this I would greatly appreciate hearing from you. Thanks!
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  2. Member DB83's Avatar
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    Well the best way to 'capture' DV to a computer is over firewire in to a ieee1394 port on the computer. Then you have a bit for bit transfer of what is on the tape rather than the transcoding that you have performed by your chosen method.

    Now you say 'computer' but do you have a desktop or a laptop ?. In fact most modern desktops no longer have this port and even more laptops do not have either the port or an expansion port to connect an adapter - do NOT even consider these firewire to usb cables since they do NOT work. But if you have a desktop there is still the option of installing an expansion card on the motherboard.

    If these options are not available you will have go down the transcode method but there should be better quality capture devices available and then use a lossless capture codec.
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    Thanks DB83,

    I am running Windows 10 on a PC I recently built.
    Intel Core i7-8700K, 16GB RAM, RTX 2070, 1TB SSD, Asus z390 MOBO, etc. It's a perfectly capable machine, I've just never delved into Firewire. I could also use my MacBook pro with a thunderbolt to firewire, but like I said, I am looking for the best option to preserve the original video. I wouldn't be opposed to the transcode method if it isn't too lossy and does not produce the stutter/judder that VIDBOX did, I guessing the VIDBOX issue is related to the very limited software, all it did was "capture" the video playing on the camcorder in a mpeg2 codec, which I've read can result in the stutter issue on MiniDV recorded video especially when panning or moving the camera.

    Are you aware of a better product for transcoding with this specific sony handycam line and MiniDV?
    Thanks!
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  4. Member DB83's Avatar
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    There is quite a recent topic on here which I contributed to about using a mac. Again, this is a transcode (now to Quicktime).

    That stutter you see could well be a transcode from interlaced to de-interlaced. Or even a low bitrate for the capture. Or even a combination of both. Without more info on this 'Vidbox' I can not tell.

    But if you have the expansion capability on your new build then consider these :-

    https://www.amazon.com/s?k=firewire+card&crid=3UJQAN1SZ9HR1&sprefix=firewire%2Caps%2C1...nb_sb_ss_i_9_8

    There is only one caveat with the cards. I suggest you do a forum search as there are certain drivers for these cards to avoid. My memory of the particular one is rather fuzzy right now. And I do not wish to advise you to get the wrong one.
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    Yes bitrate for the transcoded videos from VIDBOX is right around 8000kbps, with 30fps. I wasn't too impressed with the quality anyway and lack of options.
    Here is the product: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01IP6N5MA/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    Would trying the same with an s-video cable help at all? Is there a possibility that could solve the issues by increasing the bitrate throughput?

    Ideally I don't want to go the firewire route because I'd like to pass a product along to older relatives would could use it as well. So I'm kind of is a funny spot, I want the best quality, but am trying to avoid the labor intensive, custom processing and editing route. If there was a transcoder out there that could get me the passthrough quality, maybe to h.264?

    Would this one work? https://www.amazon.com/Elgato-Video-Capture-Digitise-iPad/dp/B0029U2YSA/ref=sr_1_9?key...tronics&sr=1-9

    The el gato linked above would output in a different format and I'm hoping that could cure my issues?
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  6. Member DB83's Avatar
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    8000 kbps for mpeg2 is fine = one hour or 4 gb but that is not what is on the DV tape which for that same hour is 13 gb.

    s_video will not make any difference since that only affects the way color is transferred from the camera.

    To be honest, I had never heard of VIDBox. The link you gave went to the UK Amazon site and, frankly, it is over-priced. It may work for VHS but you have a high bitrate on the original DV and the camera has already compromised the recording when you use an AV cable.

    Frankly, any transcoding is a compromise. As I already said, DV should be transferred as is.
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    This firewire card has a TI chipset, which has better compatibility with older firewire devices than some others: https://www.amazon.com/Syba-Firewire-PCI-Express-XIO2213B-Chipset/dp/B006DQ0KD2/

    The description for this card notes that Windows 10 requires legacy firewire drivers to be installed. However, I think that is the case for all firewire cards which are going to be connected to older firewire devices. This video explains the installation process for legacy firewire drivers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CEcS4jGuGaI

    There are many threads at VideoHelp on the subject of converting DV to other formats. If I recall correctly AppleTV prefers an mp4 file containing H.264 video and AAC audio

    [Edit] VidBox is just another fairly generic USB SD capture device. There is nothing special about the hardware. Elgato's hardware isn't necessarily better. Elgato's capture software for Windows encodes to H.264 on the fly in real time but the quality of that video will not be the best. Real-time H.264 encoding can't produce ideal results.
    Last edited by usually_quiet; 20th Jul 2019 at 14:08.
    Ignore list: hello_hello, tried, TechLord
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    DB83 understood,

    So your recommendation is that I do DV firewire transfer from Sony DCR-PC10 to desktop. How exactly would I go about doing this? Is there a software you recommend, will the computer just recognize that an input is coming as soon as I hit play on the tape inside the handycam?
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  9. Member DB83's Avatar
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    Oh. There is one other rather pertinent thing.

    The issue may not be the VidBox but could even be your own PC. Were you capturing from the camera via the box to a single HDD - your only HDD ?

    Capturing to the HDD that contains your OS should only be a last resort since the OS is writing to the drive at the same time as you try to write the captured video - possible result is dropped frames or jerks at the point of viewing. If you only have one HDD invest in a second one and capture to that. It may be the only thing you need to do.
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    Would you get a $20 card that can transfer the tape contents as they are to the hard drive or a $60-$70 crappy chinese product that butchers the video? The choice is yours.
    WinDV is the application to capture via fireware.
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    Originally Posted by DB83 View Post
    Oh. There is one other rather pertinent thing.

    The issue may not be the VidBox but could even be your own PC. Were you capturing from the camera via the box to a single HDD - your only HDD ?

    Capturing to the HDD that contains your OS should only be a last resort since the OS is writing to the drive at the same time as you try to write the captured video - possible result is dropped frames or jerks at the point of viewing. If you only have one HDD invest in a second one and capture to that. It may be the only thing you need to do.
    Yes, I was writing to the same drive. I just attempted to capture to an external HD executing VIDBOX from the main HD and it still has pixilation, bad quality, judder issues. Looks like firewire is going to be my best bet, any hardware/software recommendations for that connection, once I make it, apart from what has been offered from usually_quiet and dellsam34? Thanks again.
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  12. Member DB83's Avatar
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    No other software needed other than WinDV

    I have used it myself.
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    Originally Posted by usually_quiet View Post
    This firewire card has a TI chipset, which has better compatibility with older firewire devices than some others: https://www.amazon.com/Syba-Firewire-PCI-Express-XIO2213B-Chipset/dp/B006DQ0KD2/

    The description for this card notes that Windows 10 requires legacy firewire drivers to be installed. However, I think that is the case for all firewire cards which are going to be connected to older firewire devices. This video explains the installation process for legacy firewire drivers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CEcS4jGuGaI

    There are many threads at VideoHelp on the subject of converting DV to other formats. If I recall correctly AppleTV prefers an mp4 file containing H.264 video and AAC audio

    [Edit] VidBox is just another fairly generic USB SD capture device. There is nothing special about the hardware. Elgato's hardware isn't necessarily better. Elgato's capture software for Windows encodes to H.264 on the fly in real time but the quality of that video will not be the best. Real-time H.264 encoding can't produce ideal results.
    Thanks for the recommendations, I really want to dive in on this stuff you recommended to me, I'm largely unlearnt when it comes to this stuff, but it sounds like this should work. I just need to purchase the above chipset, install in a MOBO PCI slot, install legacy drivers as explained, then I should be able to connect the SONY DCR-PC10 to the MOBO via firewire, correct? What software interface would be best once I hit the play button on the camcorder, or is that not how it works since MiniDV is digital? Will I just be able to transfer the digital file that contains the video without loss in quality since there's no compression? Excuse my naivety.
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  14. Member DB83's Avatar
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    Whilst it is easy to write this now since you bought this VIDBOX from Amazon you should have read the user reviews first.

    Several describe exact the same issues you are experiencing with it. So not only over-priced but not fit for purpose.
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    Originally Posted by DB83 View Post
    Whilst it is easy to write this now since you bought this VIDBOX from Amazon you should have read the user reviews first.

    Several describe exact the same issues you are experiencing with it. So not only over-priced but not fit for purpose.
    True, but to be fair I labelled myself a novice at the beginning of this thread for a reason. I had no idea that MiniDV tapes stored a digital file, I thought that it was a tape, because it looks like a tape, therefore I believed I had to capture the video and the vidbox had the best reviews for those attempting to capture video from older videotape recorders. I came here looking for help after some trial and error, yes perhaps you're right, I should have come here first, but then I would have been ridiculed for not knowing enough or explaining enough of my situation. I tried to help myself first, now I am seeking help. Sorry for the inconvenience.
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    Originally Posted by tarnished88 View Post
    What software interface would be best once I hit the play button on the camcorder, or is that not how it works since MiniDV is digital? Will I just be able to transfer the digital file that contains the video without loss in quality since there's no compression? Excuse my naivety.
    WinDV is good but I'm not sure if it control your camcorder, It might if you hit capture button and the camcorder will start playing back the tape, It has been a while since I used it. If you want full control of your camcorder try ScenalyzerLive.
    DV is streamed and stored on the hard drive in real time bit by bit, kind of like a CD from a coaxial connection to computer. If you hit "start capture" a file is created on your hard drive and when you hit stop the file is finalized, Advanced software like Adobe premiere can detect scenes based on the tape timecode and create separate files for each scene.
    DV is lossy in nature, It is an AVI video file compressed at around 25MB/s but when using a firewire you are not loosing anything that was on tape.
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    Originally Posted by tarnished88 View Post

    Thanks for the recommendations, I really want to dive in on this stuff you recommended to me, I'm largely unlearnt when it comes to this stuff, but it sounds like this should work. I just need to purchase the above chipset, install in a MOBO PCI slot, install legacy drivers as explained, then I should be able to connect the SONY DCR-PC10 to the MOBO via firewire, correct? What software interface would be best once I hit the play button on the camcorder, or is that not how it works since MiniDV is digital? Will I just be able to transfer the digital file that contains the video without loss in quality since there's no compression? Excuse my naivety.
    Full disclosure: I never used firewire for a camera. I used firewire to change channels on a cable box using software on my PC. Somebody else may need to chime in regarding some camera-related technical issues.

    The Syba card requires a PCI-e slot of any sort. It can't be installed in a PCI slot. If a PCI slot is the only slot available, then we'll need to find a different card.

    If it's needed, the Syba card also has a Molex connector for supplying power, which would connect to a Molex plug on your computer's power supply. Some devices do draw power from their firewire connection but I don't know if the Molex power connection is required for connecting a camera. Someone else should know.

    People here usually suggest WinDV or Scenalyzer for DV file transfers, which will be identical to the file stored on the tape.
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  18. Member dellsam34's Avatar
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    Camcorders use a 4 pin firewire so no power pin required since the camcorder has its own power supply. Me too I'm not familiar with desktop firewire expansion cards, I have a Sony laptop with a factory 4 pin iLink (firewire) port. If using a firewire card you need a firewire cable that is 4 pin on one end and 6 pin on the other end.
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  19. Member DB83's Avatar
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    I doubt if the OP actually meant the legacy type PCI slot for a new build PC.

    No. You would not be ridiculed for your lack of knowledge. The whole purpose of the forum is to help. We all have to learn and we never stop learning.

    I am not so technically minded as to appreciate how VHS is stored on tape whereas digital is a series of 0's and 1's. But your method was not a fully digital transfer. By using the AV socket on the camera it was already analog just like VHS but at a higher quality and the capture transcoded that back to digital but not in it's original form.

    I do not think that WinDV has any way to control the camera. But it should recognise the camera as a valid device when it is switched on BEFORE starting WinDV. You hit play and then hit record on WinDV (or even the other way if you want a short blank leader) (having made some capture settings before hand)
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    Thanks guys,

    Here's what my MOBO has as far as PCIe:
    2 x PCIe 3.0 x 16 (CPU)
    1 x PCIe 3.0 x 16 (PCH, at x4 mode)
    3 x PCIe 3.0 x 1 (PCH)

    The SONY DCR-PC10 has a DVI in/out on the front of the unit that looks to be 4 pin. Most Firewire cables I have seen are 4pin and 9pin, and most the ones I've seen here today are 9pin for the 1394b...?
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    Think you are mistaken.

    A standard firewire cable is 4-pin one end (the camera) and 6-pin for the PC card. You need not concern yourself with the faster firewire 800 which is a 9-pin connector.

    This info was already quoted in reply #18 and I just repeat it for clarity.

    A little bed time reading

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IEEE_1394
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    Originally Posted by DB83 View Post
    I doubt if the OP actually meant the legacy type PCI slot for a new build PC.
    I was just covering all the bases. PCI slots can still be found on some current motherboards. When I was shopping for my own Coffee Lake build, I ran across a couple of compatible Gigabyte MATX motherboards which included 3 PCI-e slots and one PCI slot.
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    Originally Posted by tarnished88 View Post
    Here's what my MOBO has as far as PCIe:
    2 x PCIe 3.0 x 16 (CPU)
    1 x PCIe 3.0 x 16 (PCH, at x4 mode)
    3 x PCIe 3.0 x 1 (PCH)
    Any of those slots should work for the Syba firewire card we've been discussing.
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    UPDATE: A little follow up for those on this thread who helped me out or anyone who stumbles on this thread in the future looking for a fix.
    I have it working like a charm at present.
    I purchased this card: Syba SY-PEX30016 3 Port IEEE 1394
    And this FireWire cable: RocketBus 4-Pin to 6-Pin
    Both from amazon.

    I installed the FireWire card on an Asus z390 Mobo, I downloaded WindDV, I opened WinDV plugged Sony PCR-DC10 into computer via FireWire, WinDV detected that there was a device plugged in. Then I clicked capture in WinDV, began playback of tape on the handycam controls, and WinDV saved an avi file for each record/stop moment on the tape (average of 30-60 field per tape; total 13Gb per tape). Beautiful playback of video comparatively, as there is no loss in quality. No legacy drivers were installed to make this process work, it was very plug and play.

    Many thanks to all on this thread who helped me out.

    I do have one more question: I love that each time stamp is a different avi file as I will now easily be able to edit the video and combine as I like, especially in creating “chapters” for a dvd application, but many of the files are only short snippets that are 10-20sec long. Is there a software that anyone recommends that combines multiple avi files into a singular avi file with no compression/loss of quality? For one storage/backup application I’d like to combine all avi files into a singular avi file for each tape (all 63 min off one tape), thanks again!
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    Give AVcutty a shot.
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