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  1. Hello,

    I recently inherited my grandfathers collection of VHS and MiniDV tapes that he took over his life time of various family events. I do not want this family history to be lost. I converted the VHS tapes to digital with no problem. The MiniDV tapes are proving much more difficult and I do not understand why.

    I have a Canon HDV 1080i HV20A that was used to record the tapes. I purchased Dazzle DVD Recorder HD for its video capture hardware and have tried using its software. The original A/V cables are included with the camera and it is able to communicate with my computer and software provided by Dazzle. However, something is happening with the video and it is coming out choppy. The audio from the tapes come out perfect but the video does not. On the mini screen of the camcorder the video is perfectly fine with no derezzing or skipping yet on my computer screen it is skipping. I have tried to clean the camcorder using miniDV cleaning tapes and purchased multiple wires but ended up with the same problem. Cyberlink Power Director is another program that I use since it worked really well capturing the VHS tapes and comes highly recommended.

    I have included a small snippet of one of the videos that I recently captured but this issue is seen on almost all of the tapes I have attempted to capture. My computer is a Window Surface Pro with Windows 10.

    Any help/advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you very much.

    Sincerely,

    Jon
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    Last edited by JontheScott; 29th May 2021 at 14:00.
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  2. Member DB83's Avatar
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    Totally wrong method. Totally wrong software.


    On the camera there is a 4 or 6 pin ieee1394 port. You connect a firewire cable to that port with the other end going in to similar ieee1394 port on your PC. If your PC does not have this port you need an add-in card.


    Then you can use free software WinDv or SCLive to transfer the content from the tapes to your PC with no quality loss.


    BTW NEVER include an email addr in a post in an open forum. Or be prepared to be spammed.
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    Originally Posted by DB83
    Totally wrong method. Totally wrong software.
    Sorry, but "totally" wrong.

    The HV20 format is HDV, which is MPEG 2. WinDV or ScLive won't work.

    You have a few potential options for the HV20 (I own one, brilliant video camera, BTW).

    1. The tried and tested "Capture the Composite" as you have been doing for your VHS.

    Looking at the Dazzle, it should work with this method. Your test file is very low resolution, 160x120, so you need to delve into the capture software and get that up to the VHS settings you used for your VHS (720x480, I think it is, for NTSC). That's probably why it looks "choppy". I tried mine using Virtual Dub and the video looked beautiful.

    Other possibilities are:

    2. If you have a Firewire port on your Surface Pro, you can use HDVSplit to capture that beautiful MPEG 2 in all it's glory losslessly (data transfer only). There are a few "wrinkles" in getting HDVSplit going but no worries overcoming those. Let us know if you have a Firewire port on your lappy before we proceed further down that path, but this is the preferred method as it preserves the pristine video signal.

    3. HDMI capture. I have never tried this but the HV20 has HDMI Out, so you could, in theory, capture the HDMI output from the HV20 with a computer with HDMI In. I don't know whether your Pro has that capability. If it does, I don't know what software you'd use to capture.

    4. The HV20 also has Component Video out, via the usual "unique" camera video out plug, so that is another option, although there are not a lot of cheaper Component Capture solutions around (that I am aware of). This should yield a superior picture.
    Last edited by Alwyn; 30th May 2021 at 08:03. Reason: Changed the plug type in 4.
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  4. Member DB83's Avatar
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    ^^ He said MiniDV not HDV. I appreciate that these formats are different but let us first establish exactly what he has.
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    I will admit that the HV20 can also be set to record DV... not that you'd want to!
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  6. Member dellsam34's Avatar
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    Capturing DV/HDV via composite is technically wrong, Maybe not totally wrong as mentioned above but still wrong. There is going to be some luma details loss but chroma will be butchered, It is better to capture the native DV/HDV signal recorded on tape and do the mathematical transformation to another format in software, Using analog composite is an ugly way of approaching it.
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  7. Thank you very much for the replies. The surface does not have firewire port unfortunately and several of the videos I watched said that it would not work. I will definitely try messing with the settings as soon as I learn how to. The other problems I have thought of are the Dazzle itself or if my computer cannot handle it however, as mentioned, it captured 8mm tapes just fine. I will give Virtual Dub a try but any other options, tutorials, or ideas will be greatly appreciated. I really do not want to have to send these tapes out to a service because there are alot and it would be incredibly expensive.

    I tried using the firewire method with several cables including the Lysee Data Cables - 1.5m USB Data Cable Firewire 1394 For MINI DV HDV Camcorder To Edit Pc 1394 AM To 4P 4P To 6P,6P and could not get my surface to recognize the camcorder.

    Thank you once again for all the help and advice.

    Jon
    Last edited by JontheScott; 29th May 2021 at 14:22.
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  8. Member dellsam34's Avatar
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  9. Member Cornucopia's Avatar
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    Wouldn't really call that a "method", as other than that ONE PARTICULAR device (or model family), it has never been known to work.

    Scott
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  10. Member dellsam34's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Cornucopia View Post
    it has never been known to work.
    What makes you think so?
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  11. aBigMeanie aedipuss's Avatar
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    panasonic made a couple models of minidv cams that came with drivers/software that allowed minidv digital transfer over usb. support ended with windows 7. i'v never seen any thing else that uses camera usb to computer usb minidv file transfer.
    --
    "a lot of people are better dead" - prisoner KSC2-303
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  12. Member Cornucopia's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by dellsam34 View Post
    Originally Posted by Cornucopia View Post
    it has never been known to work.
    What makes you think so?
    23 years of professional experience working with DV doing transfers. This has been asked and answered before. USB does not have isochronous transfer protocols, which is fundamental to DV over firewire. Without specific drivers and hardware assistance to buffer and translate, it wouldn't be successful in a realtime transfer.


    Scott
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    JonTheScot, what format are your MiniDV tapes in? DV or HDV? The format is displayed at the top of the screen when you play a tape.

    This will do DV transfer to Thunderbolt:

    https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1540615-REG/xcellon_little_brother_thunderbolt_3.html

    Reference: https://www.magix.info/us/forum/firewire-ieee-1394-to-usb-2-or-3--1246122/#ca1555803
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    In that case, if you can organise a firewire connection to your 'puter, DB83's suggestions (WinDV or Scenealyser) will be what you need to "record"/transfer.

    If you're still using the HV20, switch it to HDV. Miles better video.

    What exact device (Surface, Surface Laptop?) do you have?
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  15. Member dellsam34's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by aedipuss View Post
    panasonic made a couple models of minidv cams that came with drivers/software that allowed minidv digital transfer over usb. support ended with windows 7. i'v never seen any thing else that uses camera usb to computer usb minidv file transfer.
    I know you've never seen it, That's why I've demonstrated that it works perfectly under Windows 10 using ScenelizerLive according to the above diagram.


    Originally Posted by Cornucopia View Post
    23 years of professional experience working with DV doing transfers. This has been asked and answered before. USB does not have isochronous transfer protocols, which is fundamental to DV over firewire. Without specific drivers and hardware assistance to buffer and translate, it wouldn't be successful in a realtime transfer.
    Yes, the hardware is the 500-USB, 700-USB and more other devices, and If you read the posts down in the link I posted above, there is another link to Pinnacle's driver page which happen to still work under Win 10, I'm really surprised that in that 23 years you've never come across this knowing that those devices dating back to late 2000's, Wow.
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  16. Microsoft Surface Pro
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  17. Member dellsam34's Avatar
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    I'm not sure if the task you are trying to accomplish will be possible on a Tablet, though you can always try. If you must avoid paying someone with the right gear to do it for you try a Pinnacle device or get a used working laptop with firewire port and finish your project so you can sell it when you're done to recoup some of the money, Though such laptops are not usually expensive. I don't have a Microsoft tablet, otherwise I can try my device to see if it works under a tablet environment and save you a lot of headache but I don't, Good luck.
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  18. Member Cornucopia's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by dellsam34 View Post
    Originally Posted by aedipuss View Post
    panasonic made a couple models of minidv cams that came with drivers/software that allowed minidv digital transfer over usb. support ended with windows 7. i'v never seen any thing else that uses camera usb to computer usb minidv file transfer.
    I know you've never seen it, That's why I've demonstrated that it works perfectly under Windows 10 using ScenelizerLive according to the above diagram.


    Originally Posted by Cornucopia View Post
    23 years of professional experience working with DV doing transfers. This has been asked and answered before. USB does not have isochronous transfer protocols, which is fundamental to DV over firewire. Without specific drivers and hardware assistance to buffer and translate, it wouldn't be successful in a realtime transfer.
    Yes, the hardware is the 500-USB, 700-USB and more other devices, and If you read the posts down in the link I posted above, there is another link to Pinnacle's driver page which happen to still work under Win 10, I'm really surprised that in that 23 years you've never come across this knowing that those devices dating back to late 2000's, Wow.
    Maybe you misunderstood. As I said above: other than that device - or its Family, all of which use the same chipset and all of which have hardware buffer assist and proprietary drivers (and none of which were cheap, even when they were originally made which was long ago), there are no other 1394->USB options that are anyway near reliable.
    There is the firewire->thunderbolt option available to macs, but that also is sporadic in its success.
    I see aedipuss mentioned panasonic, but I believe that was just a rebranded pinnacle from that same model family.

    What about what I said gave you any impression that I didn't know those things? More importantly, what of what I said is untrue? Lastly and most importantly, where BEYOND finding a deal on those rare models are you thinking newbies are going to jank together some semblance of a successful transfer via a firewire-adapted usb cable?
    Facts are facts. If the user has dv, they must get a compatible (likely older) system with proper drivers and connect straight via a firewire400 cable, preferably to a card with a TI chipset. Exceptions to the rule aside (and that demonstrates that they are exceptions and not the rule), that is the only reliably successful way to capture DV.


    Scott
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    Microsoft Surface Pro
    Assuming it's a 4, you have USB 3. You'll be in business with that box I linked to earlier (DYOR). Also, I have a Startech USB3HDCAP coming next week which allegedly can capture HDMI. I'll give you a report as soon as I get it.
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  20. Please do. Yes, I believe that I have a USB 3. Thank you.
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  21. Member dellsam34's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Cornucopia View Post
    Exceptions to the rule aside (and that demonstrates that they are exceptions and not the rule), that is the only reliably successful way to capture DV.
    And his case is a perfect exception were he is trying to capture an ancient format with a modern computer that lacks firewire, That solution is specifically made for his situation, technically and financially. Getting another computer or an external card for close to $300 is not the first path I would go for if I'm in his shoes, I will first try to use what I got with minimum investment and go from there, And that's exactly what I suggested, You may not agree but it is up the OP to make the call.
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  22. Member DB83's Avatar
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    I would like to take a step back in time and ask a Q. that I have not read an answer to.


    Whether the MiniDV Tape is DV (SD) format as the OP stated or HDV (HD) format - maybe the OP is confused since the same tape AFAIK would be used - both are 'in-camera'. So here is the Q. Just how would the recording from in the camera be viewed outside the camera eg on a tv. That, in itself, might open possibilities of transfer to a PC/Laptop. True that quality is going to be compromised but I would still hope that one could get better that 160*120 which the OP's sample offered.
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    All answers are in my post No 3. In short:

    Composite video out;

    HDMI Out;

    Component Out.

    I think the 160x120 is a capture software issue.
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    An interesting comparison between an S-Video capture of an SD DV tape played in a Sony TRV-110e through my IOData GV-USB2 and a DV transfer via Firewire of the same tape:

    Image
    [Attachment 59191 - Click to enlarge]


    Unfortunately, the HV20 doesn't have S-Video Out.
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  25. Just to show everyone what I am working with. Here is a picture of my set up. I also have a Digital Video / Super VHS that I have tried to use as well but I had the same issue with the video capture.
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  26. This is a small clip of what I am dealing with. What the camcorder shows versus the Video Capture program.
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  27. Member DB83's Avatar
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    Of course these usb capture devices such as the Dazzle you have were never intended for the use you are attempting. Your video suggests Time-Base errors due to a weak signal between the playback (the camera) and your laptop. Bit that weakness could simply be due to the Dazzle not being able to process the high bitrate stream from the camera.


    Now what is interesting is the test that Alwyn has done using his usb capture device - I would be more confident seeing the video from these rather than a still image. But the simple situation is that not all usb devices are created equally. More so that a recent topic stated that a certain model of Dazzle no longer worked in Windows 10 (that might have been corrected with updated drivers)


    So it is possible that a different capture device might give you better results - the one Alwyn uses is normally available but only ships from Japan. Yet even getting a few devices to test eats in to budget to get proper DV transfer hardware or out-sourcing the transfers which, I well appreciate, will be just, if not more, expensive.


    Can I make one other suggestion, which will no worse than what you currently attempt. Use your vcr to record to tape from the camera and test the dazzle from that.
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    Jon, what is the model of that Sony VCR? If it is what it looks like, you could put your MiniDV tape in the left side and play it as you would your VHS tapes. You should then be able to capture with your Dazzle.
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