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  1. I have a client who brought me a box of old Hi8 camcorder tapes to digitize, but I'm not experienced with Hi8 and I need some help sorting out a problem. I figured it would probably come up again at some point, so I went ahead and invested in a refurbished Sony EV-C200 deck to play them on for capture. It came with several Sony ProMP P6-60 tapes included that had some content on them, and I figured they would be good for testing.

    My capture rig is tape deck to a Canopus ADVC-300 via S-VHS and RCA and then to the PC via firewire. I've used this rig for nearly 20 years to capture LaserDisc, VHS, whatever, with no issues. My problem is that the tapes that came with the deck play great and I can capture them perfectly, but the tapes my client brought me just give me a black screen like they are blank. If I fast forward while capturing, it captures a few seconds of old-timey static like a TV tuned to an empty channel.

    My client's tapes are Fuji and Maxell as opposed to the Sony tapes that came with the deck, but other than that I can't find any difference. They are all Hi8 MP tapes. Why would some play fine, but not others? I can't go back to my client and say, "Gee, your tapes appear to be blank" for a lot of reasons, starting with I have no reason to believe they are and I don't want to look stupid to my client. I've looked through the manual and didn't find anything obvious, but is there maybe a switch somewhere? The only thing I've noticed out of the ordinary is that when the tapes are playing, the "STEREO" light on the deck display flickers off and on like it's not sure what it's receiving.

    Anybody have any idea what might be going on here with these tapes?
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  2. Member The_Doman's Avatar
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    I only can think they are Digital8 recordings?

    How can you tell Digital8 vs. HI-8?
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    TLDR that topic: read posts 21, 22 and 23. They contain the guts of the issue.

    Or, you could ask the client what model camcorder the tapes were shot on. That will give you a clue about what they are, that is, what format they were shot with (V8, Hi8 or Digital 8). The fact that the tape case itself says "Hi8" is not a real indicator of what format was used for recording, because you can use tapes marked with "Hi8" in a Digital 8 camcorder to record D8 format.

    I will add that that Wiki list is incomplete. Not mentioned on the list is the PAL TRV-330E, which I have, and it does the lot: plays Video 8/Hi8/D8 and passes though/converts analogue video tapes (inc VHS) to Digital/Firewire.
    Last edited by Alwyn; 29th May 2024 at 21:03. Reason: Last para added.
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  4. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Linx View Post
    but I'm not experienced with Hi8
    Then why would you accept such a project?

    My capture rig is tape deck to a Canopus ADVC-300 via S-VHS and RCA and then to the PC via firewire. I've used this rig for nearly 20 years
    Compressed quality, no TBCs. Yikes. Not pretty.

    Posts like this are revealing.
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  5. Member
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    Shock! Horror! Lordsmurf has found yet another "wannabe" who hasn't graduated from the LS University's 30 year-long Masters course in all things Video.
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  6. Capturing Memories dellsam34's Avatar
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    Usually whenever there is a transaction one would expect a good service, If the customer is aware or asked for DV that's fine, But if the DV files are converted to h.264 at lower bitrate, that's a double loss and the customer should be given options of quality with different prices and let him decide what to choose, One size fits all is not a good way to do business.

    Anyway back to the topic, most consumers don't know what format their 8mm tapes are, If you want to add the format to your service make sure you get a D8 camcorder capable of playing back analog tapes, or better yet get 2 camcorders one is a pure D8 camcorder and one is a Hi8 camcorder with line TBC, S-Video and stereo audio out, and XR feature capable, It's known as a gimmick feature but according to Sony it adds extra bandwidth to the signal to boost the horizontal resolution, It was made for both V8 and Hi8 alike, some customers may have tapes recorded that way to take advantage of that extra quality. Later on you may find yourself needing yet another camcorder if the customer has PCM audio encoded analog 8mm tapes.
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  7. D8 vs Hi8 was my initial suspicion, but this deck is supposed to play both formats according to the manual, which is one of the reasons I picked it. I wanted maximum compatibility. If that's not the case, I'll need to do something else. So I guess the course of action is to find out the model of camcorder used to record them, yes?
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  8. Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
    Originally Posted by Linx View Post
    but I'm not experienced with Hi8
    Then why would you accept such a project?
    Well, how else would you propose that I learn things and expand my business? I have a very forgiving client that I've known for a long time, but that doesn't mean I'm anxious to look stupid to him.

    Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
    My capture rig is tape deck to a Canopus ADVC-300 via S-VHS and RCA and then to the PC via firewire. I've used this rig for nearly 20 years
    Compressed quality, no TBCs. Yikes. Not pretty.

    Posts like this are revealing.
    So are posts like yours. For the record, I fully expected to hear from you with something like this. I'm very familiar with you and I've learned a lot from reading your posts over the years. You're a smart guy, but you're also a colossal asshat. And in point of fact, the Canopus does have a TBC and is a perfectly serviceable - if older - piece of capture equipment. DV 4:2:0 is just fine for analog. I'm not about to try to capture in 4:4:4 just so I can get lordsmurf's seal of approval.

    In summary, if you don't have anything helpful to say, you can just **** all the way off.
    Last edited by Linx; 30th May 2024 at 11:27.
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  9. Member
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    Originally Posted by Linx View Post
    D8 vs Hi8 was my initial suspicion, but this deck is supposed to play both formats according to the manual, which is one of the reasons I picked it. I wanted maximum compatibility. If that's not the case, I'll need to do something else. So I guess the course of action is to find out the model of camcorder used to record them, yes?
    The Sony deck you mentioned above, the ev-c200, is apparently not comptible with digital8
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  10. Member Cornucopia's Avatar
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    Confirmed: that model only supports NTSC, and only V8 (equiv to VHS) or Hi8 (equiv to SVHS), but not D8 (equiv to DV).

    Could be an issue of D8, could be an issue of wrong standard (PAL, SECAM), could be not accepting non-standard Long Play (yes, it was an option), could be simple tape corruption.

    None of the Canopus ADVCs ever had a TBC. To say so is misleading. They have, like any other device that digitizes, a frame buffer, so what comes in gets "locked" into place in a standard grid of pixels. But that doesn't mean its timebase is corrected. It isn't. It just "burns in" whatever mistimings it is given.

    4:2:0 is fine for much of analog, except NTSC DV does not use 4:2:0, but 4:1:1 instead, and converting to 4:2:0 (which all modern codecs use as their consumer default) means another round of loss & interpolation (and loss!). But the complaint was also that it is COMPRESSED using DV's DCT, and converting AGAIN to h264, etc, is another amount of (unnecessary) loss.

    That's what they were trying to warn you about.


    Scott
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  11. Originally Posted by Cornucopia View Post
    Confirmed: that model only supports NTSC, and only V8 (equiv to VHS) or Hi8 (equiv to SVHS), but not D8 (equiv to DV). Could be an issue of D8, could be an issue of wrong standard (PAL, SECAM), could be not accepting non-standard Long Play (yes, it was an option), could be simple tape corruption.
    Standards are really not an issue here. This is all NTSC. So apparently there's another variant of *8 that I wasn't aware of, and that may be my issue. The seller represented the unit as being able to play all the formats, and I did some quick Googling before buying but it seems I missed that distinction.

    Originally Posted by Cornucopia View Post
    None of the Canopus ADVCs ever had a TBC. To say so is misleading. They have, like any other device that digitizes, a frame buffer, so what comes in gets "locked" into place in a standard grid of pixels. But that doesn't mean its timebase is corrected. It isn't. It just "burns in" whatever mistimings is is given.
    I don't see any reason to waste time delving into technical details that aren't relevant to my problem. If it was relevant, it might be different. All I'm going to say is that the one I bought was advertised by Canopus as having a LTBC, it was tested and well-reviewed at the time by people who thought it had one, the documentation says it has one, and it continues to be advertised as such on the secondary market. https://www.adorama.com/vdcaadvc300.html Maybe it does. Maybe it doesn't. Maybe Canopus lied. I absolutely don't care, because the simple fact is it doesn't matter one bit. It's what I'm using, I don't have any problems with it, it's not related to the question I asked, and people's opinions of it are not helpful to my problem. I only included it as contextual information that might be useful to help diagnose my issue, because if I hadn't, people would have been saying "You need to provide more info." Why do some people feel the need to continually prove their superiority about every little thing instead of just answering the question at hand?

    Originally Posted by Cornucopia View Post
    4:2:0 is fine for much of analog, except NTSC DV does not use 4:2:0, but 4:1:1 instead, and converting to 4:2:0 (which all modern codecs use as their consumer default) means another round of loss & interpolation (and loss!). But the complaint was also that it is COMPRESSED using DV's DCT, and converting AGAIN to h264, etc, is another amount of (unnecessary) loss.
    Sorry, I did in fact mean 4:1:1. I don't talk about color spaces very often because it's just me most of the time, and I'm an old geezer who's killed a lot of brain cells over the years and I'm prone to brain farts. Look, I'm not disputing that DV is compressed and the color sampling is low quality. Everybody knows this, it's not a secret. But it's a perfectly acceptable (to me - the only person whose opinion matters here) level of compression for capture of what amounts to very low quality signal to begin with. You don't know what my workflow is or why I do it the way I do, it's completely irrelevant to my question, and there's no reason to comment on it except to try and show off how much smarter you are than everyone else in the room. Why can't people just help with my problem and stop there? Why do we need all the extra commentary on everything else you personally think I'm doing wrong and/or don't know?

    Originally Posted by Cornucopia View Post
    That's what they were trying to warn you about.
    Well, "they" did an exceptionally poor job of it, and the only thing "they" accomplished was to make me feel alienated, unwelcome, condescended to, and pissed off because I don't already know everything there is to know about everything. And if I did, I wouldn't have to ask a question, now would I? This is why I lurk and don't post, and I'm sorry now that I did. These forums are incredibly unfriendly and unhelpful sometimes.
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  12. Originally Posted by davexnet View Post
    Originally Posted by Linx View Post
    D8 vs Hi8 was my initial suspicion, but this deck is supposed to play both formats according to the manual, which is one of the reasons I picked it. I wanted maximum compatibility. If that's not the case, I'll need to do something else. So I guess the course of action is to find out the model of camcorder used to record them, yes?
    The Sony deck you mentioned above, the ev-c200, is apparently not comptible with digital8
    This is a great example of a helpful answer that moves me closer to a solution. Thank you for that.
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  13. Captures & Restoration lollo's Avatar
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    Linx, do not listen to non-sense crusades against analog to DV capture. While being (sligthly) inferior in quality to a lossless 4:2:2 approach, especially if you plan a restoration, is easier and provide good results. (BTW the 4:1:1 versus 4:2:0 for analog signal digitalisation is just a legend).
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    I think this shows conclusively that the V200 doesn't do D8 (this is an excerpt from the manual); no D8 symbol is shown. Another clue is that I think that if it played D8, it would have a Firewire Out port.

    Image
    [Attachment 79502 - Click to enlarge]
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  15. Capturing Memories dellsam34's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Linx View Post
    D8 vs Hi8 was my initial suspicion, but this deck is supposed to play both formats according to the manual, which is one of the reasons I picked it. I wanted maximum compatibility. If that's not the case, I'll need to do something else. So I guess the course of action is to find out the model of camcorder used to record them, yes?
    Don't feel bad about your purchase, that deck is decent especially if it's in great condition, I personally prefer camcorders over home decks for compact video formats because camcorders don't get used much compared to home decks used regularly for recording TV programs, therefore camcorders are usually in better condition. Not sure if that deck has a line TBC but the Canopus ADVC-300 can be used in passthrough mode as pseudo LTBC if you wish to go the lossless route and encode to h.264 directly without going through DV, DB83 a member from the UK here confirmed it works very well in passthrough mode at stabilizing the video, You do need an additional analog capture device though via USB or PCIe.

    With that deck covering the analog tapes, all you need now is get a D8 camcorder, It only needs to work in playback mode, so you probably can get away with one that is faulty in shooting but good for playback, make sure you have a return policy in case it wasn't as described, D8 only needs a firewire port to work, no need to any extra device in between, The same goes for DV and HDV camcorder formats, Albeit HDV uses a different program since it's MPEG-2 1440x1080.
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