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  1. Hey All,

    So I have a bunch of live footage that I am trying to archive with my Sony HVR-M15AU. It has been very difficult getting this going. I am pretty much a newcomer to video archiving (been doing audio archiving since I was 12-13). Video seems to be very difficult.

    I have about 100 master tapes that I am trying to transfer. Varying from MiniDV and HDV tapes. I purchased a Sony HVR-M15AU off Ebay and it has been frustrating from day one. I have tried Adobe Premiere, Quicktime and LifeFlix DV Importer (honestly, a waste of money but you win some and lose some) on my MacBook Pro. All with varying degree of success. Adobe and LifeFlix were ok. But when I would transfer back the tapes, there would be "breaks" in the film. I assume that many of these tapes are 15+ years old and are just degrading in quality and while capturing the tapes via firewire, the glitches would make the tapes stop? I really just want to transfer the whole tapes as one whole file. I have the space and the hard drive speed with an SSD and no other programs running on the computer itself while transferring. I have a cleaning tape on the way to clean the heads. This unit was taken care of by PBS California, so I assume they had done decent maintenance on it. But still will clean the unit once the tape arrives. I have also rewound/fast forwarded the tapes a few times before the actual playback of the file in order to ensure proper tension and lubrication.

    The M15AU requires an external monitor in order to make any setting changes on the unit itself which is HIGHLY annoying. Is there any way to use the video editing program like Adobe Premiere or Quicktime as an external monitor in order to make changes to the unit? I bought an RCA to VGA cable to run out of the M15AU into my computer monitor and my monitor won't pick up the playback unit as anything coming out of it? I really don't want to pick up some small display just to run these videos. There has to be some work around?

    Lastly, wanting to transfer these once and just have the raw files, what is the best settings in order to save them at? Quicktime saves them in MOV files in Apple ProRes it seems, which I've read is pretty decent and a 90 minute set will be anywhere from 25-40GB. That seems about right for that. But is there anything that I am missing when I capture this stuff?

    I honestly don't know where to start. I have searched this forum and y'all are VERY knowledgable. But a lot of this stuff is over my head. I just want to be able to capture this stuff in its raw format and then send it off for editing, if necessary. I appreciate any input on this, especially how I can make adjustments of the menu selection on this player. Thank you.
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  2. Transfer via FireWire to DV codec for full quality 1:1 file transfer of the data off the miniDV tapes.

    Premiere should be showing you the tape playing as it's captured on the screen.

    If the errors on the tape are severe enough, the DV capture can stop. Did you clean the heads on the deck? Clean manually, not with those abrasive cleaning tapes.

    "taken care of by PBS California" would be a bad sign for me. Probably workhorse deck with a ton of hours.
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  3. Member dellsam34's Avatar
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    I hope some Mac users will chime in, PC is the best platform for this kind of activities unfortunately. As to the monitor output, Yes the only way to see the menu is via analog outputs (Composite/S-Video/Component), Firewire is for raw DV/HDV data transfer only not a video display output, This was designed for professionals who have a monitor in their equipment, The only way to see the menu is to get an external monitor or an analog video capture device and hookup to the computer, But that may overload you computer CPU, the easiest way is to get an external monitor or hookup to your TV, Most modern TV's still have component input.
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  4. Originally Posted by nicholasserra View Post
    Transfer via FireWire to DV codec for full quality 1:1 file transfer of the data off the miniDV tapes.
    I have done that! But the filesize varies between programs. I have been using Quicktime the most because it has been the most reliable. Should I just stick with audition?

    Premiere should be showing you the tape playing as it's captured on the screen.
    It does, no issues. Should I just use the default settings in Premiere?

    If the errors on the tape are severe enough, the DV capture can stop. Did you clean the heads on the deck? Clean manually, not with those abrasive cleaning tapes.

    "taken care of by PBS California" would be a bad sign for me. Probably workhorse deck with a ton of hours.
    How would I do this manually? Again, very new to video editing. Have been doing audio editing for almost 18 years. Which is childs play compared to this.

    I talked with the guy and he said this unit had very low hours. Less than 900. They bought another unit shortly after that. So that is why I took the chance with it. It's not every tape, so I am really inclined to think it's the tapes themselves. Not the deck.
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  5. Originally Posted by dellsam34 View Post
    I hope some Mac users will chime in, PC is the best platform for this kind of activities unfortunately. As to the monitor output, Yes the only way to see the menu is via analog outputs (Composite/S-Video/Component), Firewire is for raw DV/HDV data transfer only not a video display output, This was designed for professionals who have a monitor in their equipment, The only way to see the menu is to get an external monitor or an analog video capture device and hookup to the computer, But that may overload you computer CPU, the easiest way is to get an external monitor or hookup to your TV, Most modern TV's still have component input.
    I've got so much old and outdated stuff, I am trying to minimize what else I add to the pile of old equipment I have.

    So, even though I got an RCA/Component > VGA cable for my computer monitor. This can't be used as an external monitor? No problem. I will give my TV a go on this and see if I can fair any better.

    Again, this is all new to me and I appreciate all the help on this. I just want to make the best transfers I possibly can. As these tapes are getting up there in age and haven't been played in 15+ years.
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  6. aBigMeanie aedipuss's Avatar
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    HDV and miniDV tapes were 60 minutes usually. both transfer at 13GB/hr. there is no better way. they are straight file transfers over firewire. if it were me i'd have gotten a working canon hv20/30/40 and download the transfers by just plugging in the firewire cable and letting the apple product import it as it wanted to. the mov files are apple wrapped hdv or dv.
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  7. Member dellsam34's Avatar
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    Yes a camcorder probably easier because it has its own display so no fiddling there, However the deck he has has more features like playing back both NTSC and PAL tapes, progressive PAL and NTSC 720/1080 (24p. 25p, 30p). Whether he has such materials on tape or not that's a different story but for people like me who capture for others and live in a diverse country you get all sorts of tapes and having one machine for each format sometimes can be a hassle.
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  8. Originally Posted by dellsam34 View Post
    Yes a camcorder probably easier because it has its own display so no fiddling there, However the deck he has has more features like playing back both NTSC and PAL tapes, progressive PAL and NTSC 720/1080 (24p. 25p, 30p). Whether he has such materials on tape or not that's a different story but for people like me who capture for others and live in a diverse country you get all sorts of tapes and having one machine for each format sometimes can be a hassle.
    Correct. There are multiple formats in the collection I have and I would definitely love to continue to help archive footage for others.

    I can honestly say that MiniDV is an absolute dumpster fire of a media. I have had nothing but problems with many of these tapes. They will stop on playback because the tapes have glitches all through it. I've cleaned the deck head manually and the tape rollers as well. I don't want to go down a rabbit hole and buy another camera or something to try these on another deck. It just seems excessive at this point.

    Anyone have a suggestion on what I should do to try and help these tapes besides FF/REW them a few times before capture and cleaning the heads on the unit?
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  9. aBigMeanie aedipuss's Avatar
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    have you tried setting your capture utility to not stop recording at a glitch? if you set the discontinuity threshold to 0 in windv and number of frames to max it will record an entire tape into one file.

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    I have some HDV tapes I'd like to digitally capture in 1080. I was looking at the specific unit (Sony HVR-M15AU) but didn't know if all I need to capture is a 6-Pin FireWire to USB or if I'd need other hardware or software. I use CyberLink Power producer for Windows 10 for editing if it helps answer these questions.

    If the Sony isn't recommended hardware for this please recommend something else - but I no longer have an HDV camera.

    Thanks!
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  11. aBigMeanie aedipuss's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ckelly33 View Post
    I have some HDV tapes I'd like to digitally capture in 1080. I was looking at the specific unit (Sony HVR-M15AU) but didn't know if all I need to capture is a 6-Pin FireWire to USB or if I'd need other hardware or software. I use CyberLink Power producer for Windows 10 for editing if it helps answer these questions.

    If the Sony isn't recommended hardware for this please recommend something else - but I no longer have an HDV camera.

    Thanks!


    there's no such thing as a firewire to usb converter. you need an actual firewire card/port in your computer to capture with.
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    Originally Posted by aedipuss View Post
    there's no such thing as a firewire to usb converter. you need an actual firewire card/port in your computer to capture with.
    Thanks for the info. Just ordered a card -

    so this Sony device connected to a Firewire PCI card will allow me to capture my HDV's in 1080 relatively easily (I use WIndows 10 +CyberLink PowerDirector)
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  13. aBigMeanie aedipuss's Avatar
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    don't forget a firewire cable to go from the sony to the computer. video cam's normally use a 4pin to 6pin, but that deck probably uses a 6pin to 6pin. check the manual, and get the appropriate one. try using the freeware HDVsplit to transfer the tapes. once on the computer edit with whatever you like. if the sony is in working order it should play/transfer HDV fine.
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  14. Member dellsam34's Avatar
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    I second HDVsplit, I don't think power director is made for lossless capture of HDV, it might encode on the fly if you don't set you project setting right. I used Premiere pro ten years ago to capture DV just to find out the files are not playable on my media player that normally plays DV AVI perfectly. I wouldn't take any chance with any NLE software.
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  15. Member Cornucopia's Avatar
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    Sure, hdvsplit is fine.
    But the idea that major NLEs don't know how to capture is bunk. They wouldn't have gotten where they are today without having this down pat. Sure, there is a difference in features, but that's it.
    Have worked with all the tools from major commercial vendors (Avid/Pinnacle, Adobe, Apple, Sony, GV, Corel, Cyberlink) and never had an issue with DV, HDV, AVCHD, DVD-Video, or MP4 Cam assets. (Only format not sure of is AVC-Intra, cause I rarely encounter it).
    If you are having a problem with them, perhaps look in the mirror for the cause.


    Scott
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  16. aBigMeanie aedipuss's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Cornucopia View Post
    Sure, hdvsplit is fine.
    But the idea that major NLEs don't know how to capture is bunk. They wouldn't have gotten where they are today without having this down pat. Sure, there is a difference in features, but that's it.
    Have worked with all the tools from major commercial vendors (Avid/Pinnacle, Adobe, Apple, Sony, GV, Corel, Cyberlink) and never had an issue with DV, HDV, AVCHD, DVD-Video, or MP4 Cam assets. (Only format not sure of is AVC-Intra, cause I rarely encounter it).
    If you are having a problem with them, perhaps look in the mirror for the cause.


    Scott
    ouch. i thought my nym was aBigMeanie for a reason. shouldn't you leave those kind of comments to me? Happy New Year!
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  17. Member dellsam34's Avatar
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    Yes but transferring a 1:1 stream to hard drive doesn't really require an NLE software, Sure they are good that's why they are expensive, But transferring/capturing is just one of their side functions not the main one like what HDVsplit does. Sure, If I want to go get milk from a convenient store I can take my 4x4 heavy duty truck, But taking the Toyota is not just fine, a lot easier.
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  18. Member Cornucopia's Avatar
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    I agree that it is not NECESSARY to use those NLEs if all you are doing is capturing.

    However, if you ALREADY have the software, and capturing is just one of the multiple workflow tasks you intend to do with those assets (others being editing, compositing, etc), it is quite valid to simply remain in that environment and do them in order. Your truck analogy doesn't hold up there.


    Scott
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  19. Member dellsam34's Avatar
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    Correct, used partial analogy with truck.
    However too a lot of senior members here who do capture/transfer video tapes prefer separate apps for every type of job, say winDV for transferring digital tapes, vdub for capturing analog tapes, QTGMC for de-interlacing, FFMPEG for encoding and so on, I myself got better results this way than using NLE, now you can argue that I don't know how to use it but I can guarantee you is learning how to use an NLE software is much much easier for me to deal with script software and their dependencies. I guess this is one of those instances where we have to agree to disagree, Happy new year.
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  20. Member Cornucopia's Avatar
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    I think it also has to do with workflow & with background.
    I started out editing on a Steenbeck (film) and in a Sony/Panny/CMX ABroll edit suite (video), so NLEs make much more sense. I also have much less assets that need corrective/restorative action than many/most of the hobbyists here, so there is less need to switch over to those other tools. That, and when I do collaborative work, it's a major slowdown to work on those more individualistic toolsets.

    Happy New Year to you as well!


    Scott
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