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  1. Member pchan's Avatar
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    All my camcorders are not in working condition and I have a bunch of mini DV tapes. Is there a way to transfer the content in these tapes to PC without a camcorder.

    Thanks in advance.
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    You need a DV or HDV camcorder, or a DV tape player deck, or a service.
    Last edited by Barrythecrab; 16th Apr 2022 at 20:36. Reason: Clarify type of camcorder
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  3. I hope you remember whether your tapes have been recorded on a "PAL" or on an "NTSC" camcorder, and whether in was DV or HDV (I suppose you would know better if it were DVCAM). All of this affects which camcorder you need to get. And don't forget about Firewire.
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  4. Member pchan's Avatar
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    It's in PAL format. I should have done when the camcorder was in working condition. Thanks in advance.
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  5. Member pchan's Avatar
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    I have decided to outsource mini DV tape conversion to a shop.
    I still have a Sony Hi8 camcorder that is still "working."
    I saw on youtube that using a composite to HDMI converter and a HDMI capture device produce better capture.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZC5Zr3NC2PY
    Any recommendation for these two devices ?
    Thanks in advance.
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  6. Capturing Memories dellsam34's Avatar
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    No, composite is not better than Y-C (S-Video) and HDMI is for video games and modern video sources not rec.601 analog video. But miniDV doesn't need analog connectors, it a straight digital transfer, You did the right thing sending the tapes out, I hope they have the right equipement to do it and not some random guy in his bedroom using a shity camcorder and a crappy USB 2.0 or HDMI device.
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  7. Member pchan's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by dellsam34 View Post
    No, composite is not better than Y-C (S-Video) and HDMI is for video games and modern video sources not rec.601 analog video. But miniDV doesn't need analog connectors, it a straight digital transfer, You did the right thing sending the tapes out, I hope they have the right equipement to do it and not some random guy in his bedroom using a shity camcorder and a crappy USB 2.0 or HDMI device.
    Thanks for the reply.
    The mom & pup shop is charging $25(US$18) per video-hr. Will send 1 full 60 minutes tape and see how's the quality.
    I used to use a BT878 to capture composite output to 720x576 AVI on Windows 98. Back to the present, some DVD disks are corrupted.
    DVDs are no good backup. The shop will convert to mp4 in a USB thumb drive.
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  8. Originally Posted by pchan View Post
    I have decided to outsource mini DV tape conversion to a shop. I still have a Sony Hi8 camcorder that is still "working." I saw on youtube that using a composite to HDMI converter and a HDMI capture device produce better capture. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZC5Zr3NC2PY Any recommendation for these two devices ? Thanks in advance.
    The method this guy uses certainly works, but his device is meant for gamers. I don't know whether his device supports 25fps or 50fps that you need in your country. His device does not support 4:3 videos and stretches everything to 16:9. It also changes levels noticeably. Also, his device does not have analog input, so he needs a separate converter.

    I have a similar device (here is a video about it) that I bought on Amazon a while ago. It supports 4:3 aspect ratio for input video, although it pillarboxes it inside 16:9 frame. It has analog input, so does not need a separate analog to HDMI converter.

    But really, if your video is on MiniDV cassette, you should capture it in digital form over FireWire to preserve the original quality.
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  9. Member pchan's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ConsumerDV View Post
    Originally Posted by pchan View Post
    I have decided to outsource mini DV tape conversion to a shop. I still have a Sony Hi8 camcorder that is still "working." I saw on youtube that using a composite to HDMI converter and a HDMI capture device produce better capture. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZC5Zr3NC2PY Any recommendation for these two devices ? Thanks in advance.
    The method this guy uses certainly works, but his device is meant for gamers. I don't know whether his device supports 25fps or 50fps that you need in your country. His device does not support 4:3 videos and stretches everything to 16:9. It also changes levels noticeably. Also, his device does not have analog input, so he needs a separate converter.

    I have a similar device (here is a video about it) that I bought on Amazon a while ago. It supports 4:3 aspect ratio for input video, although it pillarboxes it inside 16:9 frame. It has analog input, so does not need a separate analog to HDMI converter.

    But really, if your video is on MiniDV cassette, you should capture it in digital form over FireWire to preserve the original quality.
    I have 2 sets of tapes. The first was recorded with Sony Video8 Handycam(manufactured July 1996). I have checked it yesterday. It still works to my surprise. My Sharp and Sony mini DV Comcorder are both dead. Since the Video8 handycam still works, so I am thinking of getting a RCA to HDMI up scaler and HDMI recorder e.g. AGPTek can record direct to USB thump drive. I was looking for it and you suggest the same thing. Thank you very much. At $25 per video-hour, and I have more than 10 tapes, the conversion fee more than enough to pay for it.
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  10. Member lollo's Avatar
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    Since the Video8 handycam still works, so I am thinking of getting a RCA to HDMI up scaler and HDMI recorder e.g. AGPTek can record direct to USB thump drive.
    This is not the recommended flow for analog capture. Use instead one of the suggested USB cards and, if your cam has no lineTBC, a specific DVD-R recorder in passthrough mode. Analog signal path should be Y/C.
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  11. Member pchan's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by lollo View Post
    Since the Video8 handycam still works, so I am thinking of getting a RCA to HDMI up scaler and HDMI recorder e.g. AGPTek can record direct to USB thump drive.
    This is not the recommended flow for analog capture. Use instead one of the suggested USB cards and, if your cam has no lineTBC, a specific DVD-R recorder in passthrough mode. Analog signal path should be Y/C.
    Thanks.
    I don't intend to keep the Video8 tapes as my Video8 Handycam may die anytime. I don't even want it on DVD. I have few unreadable DVD discs. I just want it on hard disk or thumb drive and in mp4 format. I can easily plug a set top box and view it on TV. I have a LG RH7321W that can take composite and record in mpeg2 720x576. I could take the mpeg2 and transcode to mp4. Good route to take ?
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  12. Capturing Memories dellsam34's Avatar
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    No, mpeg2 is lossy and then encode to another lossy format h.264 (mp4), double loss, See lollo's post, DVD passthrough does not mean record to DVD(mpeg-2) it means pass the analog signal through the DVD recorder and take the output from the DVD recorder and capture it, The DVD recorder stabilizes the signal.
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  13. Member pchan's Avatar
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    I can access the file on the hard disk and confirm is in mpeg2 format.

    Image
    [Attachment 64200 - Click to enlarge]


    Is this good enough?

    Pass thru = Handycam -> DVD recoder -> USB composite capture.

    The DVD recorder has Ypbpr output.

    Image
    [Attachment 64201 - Click to enlarge]


    Use this AGPTEK HD Capture to output USB Thumb drive.

    Image
    [Attachment 64202 - Click to enlarge]
    Last edited by pchan; 9th Apr 2022 at 05:49. Reason: more info
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  14. Member lollo's Avatar
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    Easiest workflow, should be good enough for your purposes:
    Video8 Handycam -> specific DVD-R recorder in passthrough mode (optional) -> recommended USB capture card

    Video8 Handycam = your device

    specific DVD-R recorder = if your Video8 Handycam has no lineTBC nor S-Video output, you can use one of the specific DVD-R recorder; common models are Panasonic ES-10, ES-15 and some others; search the forum for them (I ignore if your LG RH7321W is on the list).
    The goal of this device is to perform lineTBC (and some more) correction and to provide a Y/C analog signal to the capture card, avoiding its comb filter, which is often poor.

    recommended USB capture card = IOData GV-USB2, Hauppauge USB-Live 2, Pinnacle 500/510/700/710, Diamond VC500, ATI 600 USB and few others
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  15. Capturing Memories dellsam34's Avatar
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    YPbPr capture is okay as long as the DVD recorder has the ability to take the S-Video input and converts it to component, Most have component for the DVD playback only. As said certain DVD recorders only have image stabilization.
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  16. Member pchan's Avatar
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    Hi folks,
    Thanks for all your replies.
    I do not have the USB capture portion. My previous capture was BT878 on WinXP. It captured OK but some videos have gone with DVD disc(I thought DVD disc will last forever). Anyway, my DVD drives are down to 2(maybe I will get a blue-ray player). No point keeping the tapes when there is no way access them except pro shop and it's expensive. I am weighing on get a USB capture device for one time use and don't know what to do with it. Thumb drives and nvme m.2 portable(Orico) as storage and set top box as playback.
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    I am new and reading this too. A lot of things I've read are either old or not specific to my situation. That's what led me this forum. This thread was great until it went to the Handycam part and now I'm sort of wondering what to do. Similar situation I want to xfer MiniDV tapes to my Win 10 pc only I am in the US and have two dead JVC MiniDV camcorders (GR-D30u and GRD370u) and about 50 MiniDV tapes. From what I have read since I am in the US that means I am NTSC? I have looked at the MiniDV tapes and I can't tell what resolution but I think they were HD. (How do you tell?) I am sorry to cut in here but my son is getting older and we have never watched these and I'm feeling guilty now. I am hesitant to buy another JVC MiniDV camcorder off Ebay after what I read where people spend money and they don't work. I had a service do one tape and the quality looked degraded and the colors washed out. I think he used a MiniDV deck too, if I am not mistaken. I like your suggestion with Firewire. I assume that means I need to get another MiniDV camcorder? If that was the case, would I be ok playing/xfering my MiniDV tapes with another kind, such as a Sony MiniDV camcorder to my pc? So confused. Thank you for anything.
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  18. Capturing Memories dellsam34's Avatar
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    There is miniHDV and miniDV tapes, In any case a HDV camcorder can playback both but the transfer can be done using a firewire port and WinDV or Sclive for DV tapes and HDVSplit for HDV tapes. I don't know what service you used but the quality should be exactly what's on the tape since this is a direct transfer not capturing.
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  19. Member pchan's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ScottJVC View Post
    I am new and reading this too. A lot of things I've read are either old or not specific to my situation. That's what led me this forum. This thread was great until it went to the Handycam part and now I'm sort of wondering what to do. Similar situation I want to xfer MiniDV tapes to my Win 10 pc only I am in the US and have two dead JVC MiniDV camcorders (GR-D30u and GRD370u) and about 50 MiniDV tapes. From what I have read since I am in the US that means I am NTSC? I have looked at the MiniDV tapes and I can't tell what resolution but I think they were HD. (How do you tell?) I am sorry to cut in here but my son is getting older and we have never watched these and I'm feeling guilty now. I am hesitant to buy another JVC MiniDV camcorder off Ebay after what I read where people spend money and they don't work. I had a service do one tape and the quality looked degraded and the colors washed out. I think he used a MiniDV deck too, if I am not mistaken. I like your suggestion with Firewire. I assume that means I need to get another MiniDV camcorder? If that was the case, would I be ok playing/xfering my MiniDV tapes with another kind, such as a Sony MiniDV camcorder to my pc? So confused. Thank you for anything.
    miniDV tape format are readable by all camcorders. Firewire is to connect camcorder to PC for transfering video in miniDV tape to PC.

    I am going to get the shop to convert miniDV to mp4 in a USB thumb drive. I will send one mini DV tape just to see the mp4 video quality first. mini DV tape is an obsolete format so there is not point throwing money at it. I am sure you find video conversion service in the US. I just google and Walmart has video conversion service. The pricing seems reasonable.
    https://www.dvdwalmart.com/services-and-pricing/videotape-transfer

    I never trust DVD disc to last. A few of my DVD discs are unreadable. mp4 in thumb drive is the ways to go. You can keep a backup on another thumb drive, NAS or cloud service. Going forward, just get a HD camcorder that record your video into a SD card in standard format(H.264). Just insert SD card into a USB card reader and any desktop or laptop can read it. No more messy firewire transfer.
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  20. Member pchan's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by dellsam34 View Post
    There is miniHDV and miniDV tapes, In any case a HDV camcorder can playback both but the transfer can be done using a firewire port and WinDV or Sclive for DV tapes and HDVSplit for HDV tapes. I don't know what service you used but the quality should be exactly what's on the tape since this is a direct transfer not capturing.
    Is there such consumer miniHDV tape camcorder that is currently in the market?
    SD card or compact flash should be alternatives than tape.
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  21. @ScottJVC, the models you listed do not record in HD. The only consumer HDV model JVC made was GR-HD1, which recorded in 720p HDV, it is not compatible with Canon and Sony models. There is no way of finding whether the recording is HDV or DV just by looking at a cassette. Sony and Canon HDV models can play regular DV though. HDV machines have been out of production for more than a decade. If you are sure you recorded with one of the models you listed, get a standard DV machine, they are cheaper. HDV machines went up in price recently. You will need Firewire to get either DV or HDV off tape, although a few models can do it over USB2+
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    Originally Posted by ScottJVC
    I am in the US and have two dead JVC MiniDV camcorders (GR-D30u and GRD370u)
    Both are Standard Definition DV. Did you use one or both of those to record your tapes?

    It will probably be cheaper to buy a second hand camcorder and do the transfer yourself. You will get an exact copy of the tape, as previously mentioned. From there, you can transcode the DV files to MP4 easily with free software. Of course, if you get keen, you can edit them first (get rid of all the crud), then transcode them into MP4.

    The issues are:
    - You'll need a Firewire port on your computer to do a DV transfer. Otherwise, you'll be stuck with doing a analogue capture (not impossible but more difficult). Firewire ports/PCIe cards can be added to your machine if you have a bit of handyman electronics know-how.

    - You'll need to find out what format your tapes are, whether they are DV or HDV. If you know the model of camcorder that took the videos, that question will be answered).

    Originally Posted by pchan
    miniDV tape format are readable by all camcorders
    That's not correct. Only "tape" camcorders will do it, and only if the format is correct. As mentioned, HDV is a completely different DV format but it is recorded onto the same types of tape.

    Originally Posted by pchan
    I will send one mini DV tape just to see the mp4 video quality first. mini DV tape is an obsolete format so there is not point throwing money at it.
    That is a good idea, checking the quality first (although ScottJVC has already done that and wasn't impressed, by the sounds of it), except that whether you're "throwing wasted money at DV" depends on how much it will cost at Walmart and what the quality of the MP4s is.

    Originally Posted by pchan
    A few of my DVD discs are unreadable. mp4 in thumb drive is the ways to go.
    I wouldn't trust a thumbdrive. Buy a proper external drive eg SSD and have two backups elsewhere.
    Last edited by Alwyn; 10th Apr 2022 at 10:10. Reason: correcting errors.
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  23. Originally Posted by Alwyn View Post
    One of those is PAL, the other NTSC
    They are both NTSC. JVC uses "U" suffix to designate 60 Hz models.
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    Originally Posted by ConsumerDV
    They are both NTSC. JVC uses "U" suffix to designate 60 Hz models.
    Thanks CDV, post amended.
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  25. Member pchan's Avatar
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    @Alwyn,
    I used to have a Sharp Viewcam Z and a Sony DCR-HC90 and both can record and playback. That's what I meant.

    To be safe, upload to Google, Amazon or Microsoft cloud storage. Google drive 15GB - free. Google one 100GB - $1.99/mth. Microsoft Onedrive pricing (5GB-free, 100GB - $3/mth).
    Amazon AWS storage fee.
    https://aws.amazon.com/s3/pricing/

    Or NAS(e.g. Synology) with raid.
    Last edited by pchan; 10th Apr 2022 at 10:42.
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  26. Capturing Memories dellsam34's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by pchan View Post
    Is there such consumer miniHDV tape camcorder that is currently in the market?
    SD card or compact flash should be alternatives than tape.
    Nothing new in the market, all used. The poster is inquiring about transfering his miniDV/miniHDV tapes to computer, he has to buy a used HDV camcorder, modern HD/4K camcorders don't read DV tapes. You missunderstood his post.
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  27. Member pchan's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by dellsam34 View Post
    Originally Posted by pchan View Post
    Is there such consumer miniHDV tape camcorder that is currently in the market?
    SD card or compact flash should be alternatives than tape.
    Nothing new in the market, all used. The poster is inquiring about transfering his miniDV/miniHDV tapes to computer, he has to buy a used HDV camcorder, modern HD/4K camcorders don't read DV tapes. You missunderstood his post.
    Sorry. My bad.
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  28. To recap possible options for the thread's topic: capturing off mini DV tapes. These are the choices:
    • Using Firewire (a.k.a. DV cable, a.k.a. i.Link, a.k.a. IEEE-1394) from the camcorder into a computer - requires a computer with Firewire port. [DV, HDV]
    • Using Firewire into a Mac computer with Thunderbolt 2 port - requires an adapter (see this thread, for example) [DV, HDV]
    • Using Firewire into a Mac or Windows computer with Thunderbolt 3 port - requires an additional adapter (see the link above) [DV, HDV]
    • Using USB on a camcorder that is capable of sending video over USB (so far, select Panasonic and JVC models) into a Windows computer (see this thread) [DV only?]
    • Using analog output (composite or SVideo) into an analog-to-digital converter (which is either an external device connected through USB or a riser card) [any analog source]
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  29. Member pchan's Avatar
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    @ConsumerDV, Many thanks for the tips.

    My objective is to move away from tape. I called up the local Sony repair service and confirmed they no long repair video device with tape. I don't to be in a situation where I need to pay for the extraction of video from tapes. What that in mind, these are the possible options that I can think of.
    1. To preserve what is on the tape in DV format. This will also save the hassle of encoding. If I am not wrong, it's around 13GB per hour?
    2. Encode to mp4 at best possible quality using HandBrake. Not sure how much storage space I will save.

    I am thinking of saving it on SSD and store it in a dry box. How long can it last? I do experience bad USB drive.
    Or Amazon cloud service - AWS S3 glacier.

    I managed to secure a used Sony DCR-HC85E handycam over the weekend. It has a white screen problem. The playback on TV is fine with remote. All my tapes are in the dry box but I will still buy a pair of cleaning tapes. The transfer is still pending on getting my old firewire card to work in Windows 10. Without getting the handycam touchscreen to work, I am afraid that my plan of capturing my Video8 tapes using the mini DV handycam as pass through is in jeopardy. I will try "fixing" the touch screen after all my mini DV tape content is in the PC.
    Last edited by pchan; 16th Apr 2022 at 20:18.
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  30. Originally Posted by pchan View Post
    1. To preserve what is on the tape in DV format. This will also save the hassle of encoding. If I am not wrong, it's around 13GB per hour?
    Yes, 13 GB/hr

    Originally Posted by pchan View Post
    2. Encode to mp4 at best possible quality using HandBrake. Not sure how much storage space I will save.
    Best possible quality (lossless x264 or x265, or any lossless codec) will not save space -- it will be bigger than your DV files. Anything less than lossless will incur some losses.

    Originally Posted by pchan View Post
    I am thinking of saving it on SSD and store it in a dry box. How long can it last?
    No matter what format or what storage media you use you must have multiple copies and monitor them periodically. I recommend at least three copies (one off-site) of anything you can't afford to lose. Compare the contents once or twice a year. If any device shows any errors (doesn't power up, some files are corrupt, etc.) replace it with a new device and copy of one of the remaining good archives to that new drive. Verify the replacement, don't just assume all went well because it was a new drive.

    Do not use RAID mirroring as your sole backup method. Mirroring is an up-time solution, not an archive solution. If the OS goes bonkers and scribbles all over your mirror both (all) copies will be messed up and you'll have nothing to restore from.
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