Whatís the best method to convert 8mm/Video8/Hi8 tapes played on this Digital8 camcorder to digital files on a PC? This cam doesnít have AV ports and anyway apparently S-Video or FireWire preserve quality better. I have an EasyCAP DC60 and this cam also came with a FireWire (IEEE 1394) cable. The PCs I currently have with me donít have S-Video or FireWire ports and I donít currently have an S-Video cable so in either case Iíll need to obtain additional materials: 1) an S-Video cable to connect between the cam and EasyCAP DC60, and/or 2) a FireWire-to-USB device; in either case assuming I donít use a PC with S-Video or FireWire ports built in. From what I read FireWire yields better quality than S-Video; would that make a difference with the analog tapes given the cam is digital? And will FireWire-to-USB work the same as a PC with a FireWire port or will there be issues? Or is there another method entirely I should use; this cam also came with a MiniUSB-to-USB cable? I plan to do this once, once and right, so Iíll (reasonably) invest in or find what I need for the optimal result. So which option would you recommend?
Which of these would have the best conversion result (assuming the cam is a DCR-TRV350 and will be playing analog tapes), and would 1=2 and 3=4 in conversion quality?
1. cam -> S-Video -> EasyCAP DC60 -> PC
2. cam -> S-Video -> PC with S-Video port
3. cam -> FireWire -> FireWire-to-USB -> PC
4. cam -> FireWire -> PC with FireWire port
5. another method; e.g. MiniUSB-to-USB?
And for your selection what capture/additional software/drivers would you recommend (currently have OBS, EasyCapViewer).
Finally, in addition to the crucial question above, Iím wondering how much space a converted file would use if itís between 1-2h. Would definitely prefer indistinguishable quality over lossless if the latter is anywhere close to 7GB/min as OBS claims.
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Last edited by connorhawke; 11th Sep 2019 at 10:04.
I always use #4 on an old computer, but I realize that new computers don't have firewire ports anymore.Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence -Carl Sagan
Digital8 should always be transferred via Firewire because that will give you a perfect copy of the digital bits stored on tape, with zero change and absolutely no degradation.
For 8mm and Hi8, which are analog, the ideal is to use S-Video, with composite (the single, round yellow connector) being the slightly lesser quality alternative. Both of these assume you have a good capture system and know how to use it so that you don't drop frames, and don't alter the colors, the shadows, or the highlights.
As a third alternative for your analog tapes, you can have your camcorder digitize the tapes and send them over the Firewire/1394 cable. I really like doing this because it avoids the problems so many neophytes have with their analog capture system dropping frames, blowing out highlights (because they set the proc amp inccorectly), etc. If you know what you are doing, you'll get a better capture using S-video with a good capture card, but if you are new to the game, you'll get better results with Firewire, letting your camera digitize the tapes.
So I would use the firewire method but looking at my DCR-TRV350 just now, I can't seem to find a 4 or 6 pin firewire port on the camcorder although the cam came with a 4-to-6 pin firewire cable and specs seemed to suggest this port would be available. Any ideas?
My mistake, didn't think the 4pin was for the dv port first as it didn't seem to fit but trying again just now it does although it's snug. I have a thunderbolt2-to-firewire800, now I just need a firewire800-to-400 and I'll be set to test this out.
Your suggested method DV->FW400-> / FW400->FW800 / FW800->Thunderbolt is the ONLY combination that will work on a mac. Never heard of anybody trying this with a PC Thunderbolt port (your original post says you have a PC.) I'm very curious. Please let us know if this works
Ignore list: hello_hello, tried, TechLord
The connection on my Mac seems to be working. For capture software I'm using OBS which is also available for Windows. I want to capture using the original resolution of the tape. Should I use 720x480 as Kyle2000's tut specifies at https://youtu.be/bvLR3Aba2Ck?t=164, or something else? The presets in the menu on my OBS are different and go as high as 1280x720 or "High". Can't find much info on Google about this. Leave Buffering unticked?
I'm not entirely clear whether "connection on my Mac" means that you are indeed using the Firewire cable into the Firewire connection on the Mac. If the answer to that is yes, then there should NOT be any choice as to what resolution to use because you are simply transferring bits from the camera. Those bits already exist on tape, if you are transferring Digital8, or they have been encoded to DV AVI by the chips in your DCR-TRV350 if you are transferring analog 8mm or Hi8 tapes (or encoding other analog sources via pass through). Either way, since that camera is NTSC, the video should be 720x480 and that should be the only choice in whatever software you use.
You do NOT want to "capture" the bits coming over the Firewire connection and convert them into something else.
If you were using a Windows computer, or if you had Windows installed on your Mac, I'd recommend using Scenalyzer which, IMHO, was the best DV AVI transfer software for doing your job.
I am using the connection you specified (specifically Thunderbolt2-FireWire800 and FireWire800-400 adapters and a FireWire400 6-4pin cable), and on OBS when adding the video source there is a preset menu which shows different resolutions. I'll untick preset and manually input 720x480 then. Thanks for confirming that's the correct one to use.
I thought I edited my previous post with this additional question but seems it disappeared: tut suggests formatting to mp4. Any differing suggestions? I want virtually indistinguishable but not necessarily lossless if it means each file will be over 100gb.
DV data is normally transferred from the camera directly rather than captured because it is already in digital format. If my memory hasn't failed me, DV AVI files are 13GB/hour. I am not sure if OBS works for DV transfer anymore. I looked for advice and saw some reports indicating that DV transfer is broken. Maybe someone else knows how to proceed.
The preferred tools that are recommended by VideoHelp members for DV transfers on a Windows PC are WinDV, as well as ScenalyzerLive, as already stated. Some editing software for Windows can also import DV from a camera. I think iMovie could import DV but I'm not sure that is an option today. Apparently Final Cut Pro X can also import DV from a camera. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fiQNHaIZh9IIgnore list: hello_hello, tried, TechLord
Ok, I didn't get to the actual capturing stage yet (due to these questions I had) so you and the others may well be right. I'll try it out soon and use another software if it doesn't work.
I tried to figure out whether OBS Studio has the right code built in to treat Firewire input as a digital stream rather re-encoding. A quick search didn't give me my answer, and I don't have time for more.
However, your question as to whether you should use MP4 indicates that it does NOT handle Firewire input from a Digital8 camcorder correctly . I say this because not only does it make no sense to have an option to set resolution, you should also have absolutely no choice as to what format to use to store the video. This is because the video is already on the tape in DV AVI format (which is indeed 13 GB/hour, as stated above), and the Firewire cable is simply doing a digital transfer of that data. The same is true if the camera encodes the analog 8mm or Hi8 tapes. That data will be stored on your computer in DV AVI format, and you can proceed with your editing from that point.
If the OBS software changes it to something other than 720x480 or re-encodes it to MP4 format -- or any other format than DV AVI -- then you've screwed up the video.
Last edited by johnmeyer; 14th Sep 2019 at 15:06. Reason: another dumb typo
Apple updates their OS every few minutes and more recent versions do not include any DV codec unless you use Premiere Pro or Final Cut X. (Not sure if VLC still supports it.) The most recent version I believe will not even allow you to load Quicktime 7 anymore. (Somebody correct me if I'm wrong.)
You may want to consider getting the free trial of Premiere for long enough to complete this project. Even iMovie automatically transcodes to ProRes these days.
DCR-TRV350 wasn't listed for Final Cut Pro or iMovie at https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204203 or https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204202 ...
BUT I have iMovie so did a test import of just over a minute. It worked. It imports as a .mov at about 280mb for 70 seconds. At over 20 tapes looks like this project will eat up quite a few gigs... Will have to allocate some spare storage for this before I proceed. At least it works.
You could open the captured video in Mediainfo and it will tell you for sure whether the DV codec is used, but that step is probably not necessary (unless you already have Mediainfo installed, in which case it is a trivial operation).
MOV is basically the Mac equivalent to AVI meaning it is their "wrapper" which contains the DV video.
So it sounds to me like you're good to go. When you've finished your edit you can save it in MP4 format, or encode it to MPEG-2 to put on DVD, depending on what you are planning to do. Either way, I always recommend leaving everything in interlaced format, but others have different opinions on that.
Looks like you're in luck! That's great.
I've reached an impasse with at least one or two of the tapes I'm trying to convert. These tapes have a mixture of analog, "VHS import (?)" and/or digital sections on the tape and don't seem to import properly on iMovie. Note I am only trying to capture the analog bits; I don't need to record the film or Digital8 bits (the latter of which were tests and have no content).
For example, one tape has analog recordings made using a non-Digital8 camera, apparently recorded in patches over an old animated film; not sure if that film was on the tape to begin with or it was somehow directly imported onto the tape (it's not simply a recording of a TV playing the film), but anyway, it seems whenever the iMovie recording reaches a part of the tape where it shows the film that was recorded over, the prior bits made using the analog camera are not imported (and neither is the film bit).
Another example involves a mixture of analog and digital. It seems if a tape has both older 8mm and Digital8 bits on it, whenever the iMovie recording reaches a Digital8 point then the prior, older 8mm content is not imported while only the Digital8 part is imported.
I'm guessing in either case it is essentially because the tape has different "formats" on it and the software is designed to successfully import only one format at a time. As imperfect workarounds I have done two things:
1) Stop the iMovie recording before it reaches a bit with the film or Digital8, and resume iMovie recording after said bits. The issues here are that (i) at least a partial second at either edge of the analog bit will not be recorded as I work around the film/Digital8, and (ii) several import files are created instead of just one.
2) Do a screen recording, e.g. using macOS's default Screenshot app, with the microphone volume turned up to max (since direct sound capture doesn't seem possible on this) as the iMovie recording is playing. Obviously this is far from a perfect capture of the picture and sound.
Is there a better way around this such that I can do a straightfoward import without needing the workarounds above (as I can with the other, only-analog tapes), perhaps using different soft/hardware or components? For example, is iMovie or something else to blame? Reminder of what I'm using: Video8/Hi8 tapes in a Digital8 DCR-TRV350 camcorder (which can play older 8mm tapes) importing to a Mac with iMovie using a FireWire400 cable, FireWire400-800 adapter, and FireWire800-Thunderbolt2 adapter. Thanks for any help.
When different formats are recorded on the same tape, you'll have to stop the capture; fast forward a little bit to get fully into the section with the other format; start playing; then, while playing, reverse the tape until you get to the boundary where the format switch happens. Don't actually go to the boundary or you'll have to repeat the whole operation.
You'll lose a little "head" at the beginning of each format change, usually 2-5 seconds.
^ So yeah that's what I figured; no way to have one seamless import with both formats I guess.
But wow, even this workaround was trickier than I thought it'd be. I'm mainly just writing this for reference in case I have to deal with this again in the future (hopefully not) or in case it helps anyone who runs into the same issues I encountered:
If I played directly from the beginning of the tape and hit Import from shortly after the beginning of the relevant analog section following a digital portion to shortly before the end of the analog section, nothing imports. If I instead jumped to the relevant analog section by rewind/ff and tried recording the same area without ever playing the digital portion during this run, it imports but the image becomes choppy and the sound becomes distorted.
The way to avoid both of these issues, and I found this out by arduous experimentation, was to start recording at the digital portion preceding the relevant analog portion, then press Stop (not just Pause) right after the relevant analog portion starts, then likely close and reopen the import panel and hit Stop again (it usually didn't seem to import otherwise), then Import, and it can be recorded to the start of the next Digital section, after which an import for the analog section is formed without needing to hit Stop Import.
As for the tape with "VHS" bits, if I started importing from a VHS bit to an analog bit to another VHS bit where I stopped, it imports UNLESS played from the start of the tape.
So yeah, when you mix different formats together on a tape really weird rules apply to get imports to work. I'm not sure if some of the necessary steps above were due to a fault in the software, components, etc or if these are universal.
Still missing a second or so from the beginning of certain imports as a consequence of avoiding mixing digital with analog portions during imports but I guess this is the best that can be done. I at least have screen recordings for the missing portions. Need to move on to the other tapes before I tire out the camera... I really hope these are the only two tapes with a mix of formats.
Last edited by connorhawke; 17th Sep 2019 at 01:59.
Try changing PB MODE from AUTO to Hi8/8 as described on pg.251 of the manual; PDF is attached. Can't test it myself, as I don't have any mixed recordings, but I think I did find that it recovered a little bit more at the start of my analog tapes this way.
Another issue, I notice audio starts to lag behind video on some analog videos regardless of whether there are digital bits, any ideas? It only happens a while after the tape starts, and oddly sometimes seems to reset so it's back in sync, but gradually delays again. On another forum I read that changing audio digitization from 12 to 16 bit to match the software worked for someone; anyone know how and if to try it in my case?
Edit: also, my latest import got automatically split into 5 files, at certain gaps in the footage, although it was all analog... wtf?
Last edited by connorhawke; 18th Sep 2019 at 00:00.