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  1. I've found a mix of video and hi8 tapes, and intend to capture them, but I don't currently have a working camcorder. I intend to buy one locally, there is a sort of camera depot that has a few Sony TRV models. I will be capturing through svideo to virtualdub. I already have a capture chain setup from recently doing vhs captures. Thanks again to everyone who helped me with that process, you were all very helpful and knowledgeable, and got me going in the right direction.

    As for the camcorders, the available models are available at the moment:

    Sony DCR-TRV30
    Sony CCD-TRV30
    Sony CCD-TRV65
    Sony CCD-TRV87
    Sony CCD-TRV93
    Sony DCR-TRV110
    Sony CCD-TRV128
    Sony CCD-TRV138
    Sony CCD-TRV308
    Sony DCR-TRV230
    Sony DCR-TRV240
    Sony DCR-TRV460
    Sony CCD-TR940


    Are any of those models any better for capture than others? I have a feeling some of those don't play video8/hi8, but can someone recommend one of those? Should I look for one not on that list? I know I will need svideo out, stereo audio, and tbc.

    Thanks
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  2. The first one is video8 only, the second is minidv, so stay away from those.
    I believe the CCD-TRV128 and CCD-TRV138 lack stereo audio, and the latter also lacks S-Video out, so those may not be entirely ideal.

    Otherwise I think they all are at least Hi8, and other than possibly the DCR-TRV110, feature TBC/DNR so should give similar results. (though check the manuals online to be sure)

    If the tapes were recorded on a Video8 XR or Hi8 XR camcorder the XR models (TRV65, TRV87, TRV93 and TR940) may give slightly more detail, but I don't know for certain if the later models lacked the extra XR resolution when playing tapes recorded in an XR camcorder or if it was simply not specified.

    The later models (DCR-TRV230, 240, 460) have the tape opening at the bottom which is a bit less convenient than the older models, where the tape comes out on the top, if you are doing a lot of tapes, though on the flip side since they are newer the electronics may have aged less.
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  3. Member dellsam34's Avatar
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    TRV66 is an XR model as well, XR recorded tapes play in normal quality with non XR camcorders, Kind of like Quasi S-VHS tapes that can playback in any normal VCR without the extra benefit.
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  4. Member bithead9's Avatar
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    i have the trv-460 and like it. no issues, DV works good quality image.
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  5. Originally Posted by dellsam34 View Post
    TRV66 is an XR model as well, XR recorded tapes play in normal quality with non XR camcorders, Kind of like Quasi S-VHS tapes that can playback in any normal VCR without the extra benefit.
    Yeah there are many more, I just noted the XR models from the original list.
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  6. so looks like we just knocked out about half of the list.
    I don't know too much about these tapes yet, and I haven't heard yet of XR. Just starting to look into it all now. interesting these tapes had their own kind of quasi super quality version. I doubt the original camcorder had anything like that. It was recorded on a Yashica kd-h170. Never heard of that brand before, but I'd bet it was before XR.

    There are only 5 tapes, so top or bottom load doesn't bother me. Besides, I just did 30 vhs tapes crouched on the floor so this should be eeeeeasy aha

    So, just to confirm, DCR models play video/hi8 as well? not just the CCD models?
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  7. If your only plan is to transfer old Hi8 tapes, you might want to look into a Sony EV-C100 Hi8 VCR deck. That is what I picked up, to digitize my dozens of old Hi8 tapes. It can be a bit pricey, and finding a good one may be tricky. On the plus side though, the tape transport is much more robust than that of a camcorder. And, your results may be a lot cleaner.

    https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/1220/8770/products/Sony-EV-C100.png?v=1490474847
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  8. Originally Posted by anachronon View Post
    If your only plan is to transfer old Hi8 tapes, you might want to look into a Sony EV-C100 Hi8 VCR deck. That is what I picked up, to digitize my dozens of old Hi8 tapes. It can be a bit pricey, and finding a good one may be tricky. On the plus side though, the tape transport is much more robust than that of a camcorder. And, your results may be a lot cleaner.

    https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/1220/8770/products/Sony-EV-C100.png?v=1490474847
    huh, that's an interesting piece of equipment. Where did you find yours? Do you by chance have any samples from it you can share? I don't mind paying more for overall better quality results. How is the final result cleaner though? Stronger line tbc, or less noise, or...?

    I only have 5 tapes so as long as the transport holds for those 5, I'll be happy!
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  9. Member dellsam34's Avatar
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    A camcorder with S-Video out and line TBC is way cheaper and miles better than a Hi8 home deck, they are rarely equipped with line TBC and they have the plastic gear of death waiting to crack.
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  10. The trouble with camcorders is that they are made to be simple and lightweight. The mechanisms are very basic, and they are really made to play only their own tapes. Tapes played from another camcorder may have noise or tracking lines, simply due to the differences in the mechanisms.

    VCR's, on the other hand, are designed to play tapes from many different sources. Their tracking adjusts to whatever tape is being played (assuming the tape is in a reasonable condition). Their mechanisms are also more durable, seeing that weight is not an issue. I have shot over 100 tapes, going through 4 different camcorders. I have had a cheap camcorder completely fail, after only 8 to 10 tapes.

    The Sony EV-C100 that I have, I spotted for-sale at a repair shop---for a ridiculously low price. It was the high-end unit of the Sony "EV" series. So, I figured that it would be just what I would need, to digitize my countless Hi8 tapes. Really, it was an impulse buy. I had already written-off my old tapes. Now, I am glad that I did it. Of course, with only 5 tapes, you may not need the high-end. There is also an EV-C3 and an EV-C8, which are more economical. To give you some ideas of the selection and prices, here is a page from eBay (ignore the ones that say "for parts" or "read", as these are broken units:

    https://www.ebay.com/b/Sony-EV-Video-Recorders-Players/21168/bn_115403292

    If you don't want to take a chance with eBay, some of these units do occasionally show-up on Amazon.

    I have attached a short clip (280MB) that I recently captured from an old 1990 tape. It's amazingly clean for a tape that's 30 years old. If the attachment doesn't show, perhaps someone could help me with the upload process (this is my first attempt on this site).
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  11. OK, attempt 2 at uploading video clip.
    Image Attached Files
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  12. Member dellsam34's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by anachronon View Post
    The trouble with camcorders is that they are made to be simple and lightweight. The mechanisms are very basic, and they are really made to play only their own tapes. Tapes played from another camcorder may have noise or tracking lines, simply due to the differences in the mechanisms.

    VCR's, on the other hand, are designed to play tapes from many different sources. Their tracking adjusts to whatever tape is being played (assuming the tape is in a reasonable condition). Their mechanisms are also more durable, seeing that weight is not an issue. I have shot over 100 tapes, going through 4 different camcorders. I have had a cheap camcorder completely fail, after only 8 to 10 tapes.
    Not even remotely true, Hi8/D8 camcorders have the highest precision mechanisms, they have higher tolerances than home decks, Therefore they playback any tape with no problems unless the tape is faulty or recorded with a faulty camcorder, They are also better at playing back long play tapes than a home deck, The added TBC functionality made them more preferable than any home deck. Line TBC is a must if quality is priority in the capturing. Once captured without LTBC the jagged edges of lines are baked in and cannot be reversed that's how important line TBC is.
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  13. That really depended upon the unit. The cheaper units couldn't handle heavy outdoor use, or too many rough rides in airport luggage. Add-in the fact that camcorders are constantly being cycled through pause/record/pause. Those precise settings would work loose. Add-in the fact that camcorders generally do not come with a tracking adjustment. My last camcorder was a more high-end unit, which survived well through 60 tapes (needing only a couple cleanings). The cheaper models though, tended to drop like flies, and their later tapes were often noisy, when played on another camcorder.

    Conversely, the Sony "EV" series Hi8 decks that I mentioned, come with the same precise mechanisms. They are specifically built for editing and dubbing camcorder tapes. They also come with the same Line TBC as the camcorders. For proof, see the video-capture clip that I posted above.
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  14. hmmm okay so on the camcorder side, I've been reading the various manuals on sony's website, and I'm leaning toward dcr trv 460.
    But now say, in regards to tracking and noise, if one or all the tapes had a physical issue internally, or were recorded on a faulty camcorder, which would be more likely to play the tape back okay?

    Also, worst case scenario a tape gets stuck in one, which would be easier to remove the tape from without causing further damage?

    I don't think these tapes are in bad condition, they look fine. Just want to avoid any bad scenarios aha

    EDIT: How is there not a thanks button...
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  15. Member dellsam34's Avatar
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    If a tape is recorded on a miss aligned VCR or camcorder only that VCR or that camcorder can playback that tape correctly, The fix is to miss-align the VCR/camcorder in a way that will get a better playback close to the original faulty recorder. Extracting a stuck tape requires some basic repair skills whether it be a VCR or a camcorder.
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  16. Originally Posted by anachronon View Post

    Conversely, the Sony "EV" series Hi8 decks that I mentioned, come with the same precise mechanisms. They are specifically built for editing and dubbing camcorder tapes. They also come with the same Line TBC as the camcorders. For proof, see the video-capture clip that I posted above.
    Only the top of the line models like the EV-S9000 had a tbc. The EV-C100 seems to be an older mid-range unit (from around 1993 judging by the service manual). You can clearly see horizontal jitter at the top of the image in the video you posted, it doesn't feature a TBC. The TBC in the Sony camcorders is very good and keeps the image rock stable. The playback circuitry is newer and more advanced. The VCRs have their useful features, but I would prefer using a newer sony camcorder to the C100 for digitizing. (Not thereby claiming it's a bad vcr by any means.)

    One thing you do need decks for is tapes with PCM audio, but the C100 doesn't support that, that was a feature on the more expensive models. Another useful feature of the decks is much faster rewind and fast forward, so if one is doing a lot of digitizing it can be useful to have one just for that as the camcorders rewind very slowly. The low-end models also lack the blue-screen on tape signal loss, which can be handy with certain bad tapes to avoid blue-screening on damaged material. (A hitachi hi8/d8 camcorder can also be used in for this) In this case you want to use it with e.g a panasonic dvd-recorder or something else that features a tbc function to correct horizontal jitter since it doesn't feature a tbc.

    Some of the decks also had certain mechanism problems, I don't know if this one is one of them, but some models have issues with a gear that breaks. If you want the absolute fancies tape transport you would probably have to move to the industrial/pro editor vcrs like the EVO-9850, but those are bulky, expensive and needs throrough service.

    You are correct though that the camcorders are subject to certain mechanism issues, particularly the retaining bit pinch roller that has a tendency to break causing the pinch roller to get stuck or fall out. They also had a tendency for the guide pins to loosen and get misaligned, maybe more as a result of being moved around than just through playback, though that is fixable.
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  17. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by anachronon View Post
    Sony EV-C100 Hi8 VCR deck.
    That thing is lousy.
    - No line TBC. (correct?)
    - The main user of those tended to run it into the ground, whereas cameras tended to be far less by mom/dad a few times per year, for several years.
    - Ridiculous expensive for zero reasoning.

    the tape transport is much more robust than that of a camcorder.
    Not really.

    Originally Posted by bbmaster123 View Post
    huh, that's an interesting piece of equipment.
    Not really.

    Originally Posted by dellsam34 View Post
    A camcorder with S-Video out and line TBC is way cheaper and miles better than a Hi8 home deck, they are rarely equipped with line TBC and they have the plastic gear of death waiting to crack.
    Correct.

    Originally Posted by anachronon View Post
    The trouble with camcorders is that they are made to be simple and lightweight.
    VHS-C, S-VHS-C, Video8, yes.
    Hi8, Digital8, DV, no.

    The mechanisms are very basic, and they are really made to play only their own tapes.
    Nonsense.

    Their tracking adjusts to whatever tape is being played
    No.

    Their mechanisms are also more durable, seeing that weight is not an issue.
    Pfft.. DEFINITELY not.

    high-end unit of the Sony "EV" series.
    Not really.

    If you don't want to take a chance with eBay, some of these units do occasionally show-up on Amazon.
    Huh? Amazon marketplace is no better/worse than eBay. In fact, worse, because you never know when you're buying something from China/overseas. At least eBay sellers have to list a location, and time of expected delivery.

    Originally Posted by dellsam34 View Post
    The added TBC functionality made them more preferable than any home deck. Line TBC is a must if quality is priority in the capturing. Once captured without LTBC the jagged edges of lines are baked in and cannot be reversed that's how important line TBC is.
    ^ This.

    Originally Posted by anachronon View Post
    in the fact that camcorders are constantly being cycled through pause/record/pause.
    Huh? How is that any different than the VCR/VTR?

    Add-in the fact that camcorders generally do not come with a tracking adjustment.
    A deck has to be really screwed to not play SP mode correctly. Some cameras, like the JVC S-VHS-C models, suck at playing back their own tapes recorded at EP. Yet another reason why the "use the recording camera" is nonsense for that format (S/VHS-C) -- but that doesn't translate to Sony/8 formats.

    60 tapes (needing only a couple cleanings).
    That's insane. A couple of cleanings for 60 tapes? Were they covered in mud or something?

    their later tapes were often noisy
    No. zero reason for it. What can happen, however, is misalign.

    They are specifically built for editing and dubbing camcorder tapes. They also come with the same Line TBC as the camcorders. For proof, see the video-capture clip that I posted above.
    So, that exact model has line TBC? Because I know most Video8/Hi8 Sony decks do not. There's also a question of how powerful the TBCs are. Latter cameras, especially EOL models, took advantage of DDR (mostly because that's all that was available by then), which helped the buffering/correction quality. Crappy weak line TBCs exist. Crappy frame TBCs exist.
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  18. Originally Posted by bbmaster123 View Post
    huh, that's an interesting piece of equipment.
    Not really.
    well, ouch. Just trying to be friendly.

    Anyway I didn't really want to spend a lot of time hunting down rare tech, so I'm just going to buy a camcorder locally.

    If a tape is recorded on a miss aligned VCR or camcorder only that VCR or that camcorder can playback that tape correctly, The fix is to miss-align the VCR/camcorder in a way that will get a better playback close to the original faulty recorder. Extracting a stuck tape requires some basic repair skills whether it be a VCR or a camcorder.
    well I hope it doesn't come to that. I've removed a stuck disney vhs from a vcr before without damage, and repaired many delicate electronics (laptops, printers, cell phones, etc) but haven't taken apart a camcorder before.

    the d8 camcorders are about $100 more at this local source than their video8/hi8 camcorders. From what I gather, the only benefit of having a d8 camcorder would be for dv output, which I'm not going to be using anyway.

    I'll most likely be making a final decision by tomorrow evening

    thanks
    Last edited by bbmaster123; 3rd Mar 2021 at 09:51.
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  19. Well in case anyone wanted to know, today I went and bought the TRV 460 from a local ex Sony camera technician. He's a very nice older gentleman.

    I Found footage I've never seen, which is fantastic. The audio in sections has the same buzzy/clipping sound that one of my "problem" vhs tapes had. Guess that confirms the issue was with the camcorder to begin with.

    Thats about it, now I'll basically capture like I did the vhs
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  20. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by bbmaster123 View Post
    Originally Posted by bbmaster123 View Post
    huh, that's an interesting piece of equipment.
    Not really.
    well, ouch. Just trying to be friendly.
    I wasn't being unfriendly. It's just not impressive gear.

    The audio buzz may be misalignment at recording, and misalign the player may recovered the audio. I've done it many times. It does take patience. Since cameras can be more a PITA to tinker with, perhaps the VCR is something to look at instead. Keep the camera video, and the VCR audio.
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  21. [QUOTE]
    Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
    Originally Posted by bbmaster123 View Post
    Originally Posted by bbmaster123 View Post
    huh, that's an interesting piece of equipment.
    Not really.
    well, ouch. Just trying to be friendly.
    I wasn't being unfriendly. It's just not impressive gear.
    unimpressive and uninteresting dooooo mean different things. Sorry if I'm a bit of stickler for syntax. I don't believe anyone can tell anyone else what is/isn't interesting. I personally think obscure tech as well as tech history is interesting.

    Anyways, super not a big deal, down to drop it and move on
    The audio buzz may be misalignment at recording, and misalign the player may recovered the audio. I've done it many times. It does take patience. Since cameras can be more a PITA to tinker with, perhaps the VCR is something to look at instead. Keep the camera video, and the VCR audio.
    I would have to assume the original camera was indeed misaligned. Everything points to that being true. You can see which scenes were taped over which other scenes, and the newer ones have the issue while slightly older footage on the same tape is fine. everything after the repair shop footage is also fine, so I assume that is what the technician was fixing at the time.

    I could mux the vcr audio with the camera video, but the vcr audio is buzzy during those scenes too so it wouldn't really help much in this case. These are the same scenes from my other thread that had the tracking line near the bottom. I would assume those scenes were dumped after the camera repair making those older scenes not track correctly during the dub to vhs.

    I have been looking online for tutorials on how to adjust tracking with the camcorder, but haven't gotten very far as of yet. I will be holding off for at least another week anyways since my brother's girlfriend wants me to transfer her old tapes too, and I must oblige ahaha
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  22. The "buzz" is definitely an alignment issue. A bit of history: In the mid 80's, "high fidelity" stereo VCR's began to hit the market. This new technology used an added video head on the spinning drum, to record the audio---superseding the old, linear audio track and head (like those found in a standard audio cassette recorder). A new, third diagonal stripe (containing the encoded audio) was added to the video track of the tape, between the two existing diagonal stripes for the two fields of video. This yielded much better frequency response in the audio. When the first Video-8 camcorders hit the market, a short time later, they employed this new audio format as standard.

    Now, to the alignment and "buzz" problem: Wear on the sensitive mechanism of the camcorder caused the diagonal video/audio tracks to be recorded slightly out of position (relative to the sync pulses on the on the linear alignment track). The buzz heard in the audio comes from part of the video signal being read by the audio head. Such misalignment can also cause the audio to interfere with the video. This can appear as a slight flickering of the image, whenever someone is speaking, or there are sharp noises in the recording.

    To allay some confusion, when the hi-fi-stereo VCR's came-out, they still recorded and played a redundant, linear audio track. This was to ensure comparability with the older and lower-priced models, as well as with older recordings. Video-8, however, never came with a linear audio head, as the new audio encoding system was standard from the beginning.
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