I have an old DCR-TRV520 that is no longer functional. I want to capture a bunch of Hi8 tapes that were recorded on this model to my iMac. I was wondering if I could purchase any Hi8 camcorder to do the job for me or would it be best to purchase another used DCR-TRV520 to make sure the capture process is smooth? Looking for the most cost effective way for capturing my tapes.
Thanks in advance
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Last edited by stchandl; 7th Jan 2020 at 00:58.
That's a Digital8 camcorder with analog capability. Were your recordings done in analog or digital mode?
Hi, vaporeon800, Unfortunately, I think the recordings are in both analog and digital. I have about 30 tapes and would probably like to make sure both formats can be captured if my assumption is correct.
Has firewire (ieee 1394) out. Simply buy another, drop in tapes, play, capture on iMac (iMovie) to MP4 files and you're done.
If your mac is too new to have firewire, borrow a friend's mac/macbook that has a ieee1394 port for the transfer.
Else, buy a <$100 17" iMac that has the firewire port and use that for transfer.
Capturing to MP4 will notably degrade the quality, especially with deinterlacing.
Digital8 tapes should be "captured" (transferred) bit-for-bit to DV files by FireWire.
For quality, the ideal way to capture Hi8 is to a lossless format instead of having the camcorder convert to DV. But this forum is full of arguments about the degree to which it matters. https://forum.videohelp.com/threads/376837-DV-conversion-vs-lossless-capture-compariso...uto-load%21%5D
You can buy any of the Digital8 models that have analog playback capability. It doesn't have to be the DCR-TRV520. If you're going to pursue the lossless route, make sure it includes an S-Video output; apparently some of the cheap later models are composite-only.
At a sufficiently high bitrate, MP4 versions of DV video is visually "equivalent".
This is similar to people digitizing cassette tapes to MP3 320kpbs and finding the MP3 encodes sufficiently "equal" to the originals that they can toss the tapes.
The advantage being that MP4 is universal and can be played on anything from PC to smartphone to tablet to whatever else is out there. DV files? Only the computer in general. I was thinking that if someone has videos on a format that old, they'd also want to preserve it for future generations. Leaving MP4 files behind is better than DV files in that regard - it just plays.
But, certainly, if you wish to keep the Digital8 tapes in the "original" qualtiy, then record to and keep DV files and make a MP4 version of each.
For the MP4 encodes, note the rates used by camcorders. Many started with 10-18Mbps bitrates, then pushed it up to 25Mbps for MP4, and Sony recently pushed it to 50Mbps for XAVC MP4s (all for 2K video). Since Digital8 is about 1K, you can easily get away with a 20Mbps (overkill) MP4 encode of the original that will likely look identical.
Thank you babygdav for the information. I'm trying to find the most affordable camera for capturing my videos. Is there another sony model I could also consider? I'm looking for the TRV-520, but if there was another that would also work for my needs, it would give me some options on finding one on eBay.
Then, you've got a ton of digital 8 decks like the GVD-200, GVD-800, Sony EV-S550E, EV-S700, EV-S880, EV-S900 , EV-S1000E , EV-S9000E.
Rental, too, if you aren't going to use it after capturing the tapes.
The rare hitachi
All of the models that support external analog -> digital passthrough should also play the analog 8mm formats, as I recall: https://forum.videohelp.com/threads/355121-List-of-Sony-Handycam-Digital8-camcorders-with-analog-digital-passthru
Sony has a short list of models that can't play them so you know some to avoid: https://www.sony.com/electronics/support/articles/00026519