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Best way to perform this ..

Posted on 2004-09-21
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Hey all gurus,

I have got this analog camcorder with Hi8 tape . I want to convert this to digital so that I can write it out to a DVD or VCD ...
Apart from using a Capture card , is there any other simpler method of converting already recorded analog video to digital.

Also is it worth doing that (i mean worrying about loss of quality) than to buy a digital camcorder..

Your comments wanted..

SR
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Question by:sunray_2003
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25 Comments
 
LVL 55

Expert Comment

by:Jaime Olivares
ID: 12113649
You can use a capture card and Windows Movie Maker, but generally capture cards comes with its own software.
You have to pay attention to capture card quality. Standard NTSC resolution is 720x480, 30 frames per second, so at least you will need a 640x480, 30fps to get an acceptable quality.
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Author Comment

by:sunray_2003
ID: 12113692
As you can see in my question , I would like to know if there is a way other than using capture card
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Assisted Solution

by:Jaime Olivares
Jaime Olivares earned 1000 total points
ID: 12113756
If you have a Hi8 tape, the unique other alternative I know is to use a Digital-8 camera to play tape and capture video through the FireWire (also named iLink) port (using a FireWire cable of course).
About software, could be any, including windows movie maker.
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LVL 49

Author Comment

by:sunray_2003
ID: 12113779
So from what you say , the only way to convert an analog tape to digital to get it to a DVD or VCD is to use a capture card ?
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Expert Comment

by:Jaime Olivares
ID: 12113832
No, with the Digital-8 camera, you don't need a capture card, just a firewire connection/cable. It is usual in most new desktop and notebook computers. Camera will read your analogue tape without problems.
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Author Comment

by:sunray_2003
ID: 12113975
may be there is a confusion here.

What I am asking is , without capture card can I not get Hi8 tape  into digital.
I donot plan to buy a digital camcoder.. With existing Hi8 tapes , what are the methods I can get into DVD
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Expert Comment

by:Jaime Olivares
ID: 12114082
Then, the UNIQUE method is a capture card, without doubts. Take care about card characteristic, as I have mentioned.

But still you can call a friend who have a Digital-8 ...
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Accepted Solution

by:
weed earned 1000 total points
ID: 12114621
What jaime is talking about is putting the tape into a camera that has firewire. Firewire in essence is the "capture card" interface. However if you dont have a camera that can use your tape, and has firewire, your only option is to buy a capture card. You are going to lose more quality this way than with a firewire interface. Is it worth it? That depends. Is it your wedding footage? You might want to take it to a pro who can make a really slick digital copy. Is it your daughter playing with a stick in the back yard? Go ahead and make a relatively gritty digital copy at home. It's your call.

NTSC framerate is actually 29.97 so if you choose 30 you'll get an audio drift that will become annoying. I would also steer clear of Movie Maker. As with most MS products they tend to dumb it down and limit the features so even grandma can use it. You want something with a better interface, and a little more "slickness".
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by:sunray_2003
ID: 12114669
>> However if you dont have a camera that can use your tape, and has firewire, your only option is to buy a capture card.

So the bottomline as I understand is , If there is a camcorder and a Hi8 tape , the only way to get the video out of the tape and make it digital is using a capture card , right ?

So If I donot have a camcorder but got a Hi8 tape , one of the ways is to give it to a pro and get the digital copy done ..
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Expert Comment

by:Jaime Olivares
ID: 12114683
>Firewire in essence is the "capture card" interface. However if you dont have a camera that can use your tape, and has
>firewire, your only option is to buy a capture card. You are going to lose more quality this way than with a firewire interface
This is not a rule, some capture cards has enough pro quality, like some Pinnacle models, countersense some old Digital-8 FireWire cameras have a terrible bad quality.
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Expert Comment

by:Jaime Olivares
ID: 12114714
>>So If I donot have a camcorder but got a Hi8 tape , one of the ways is to give it to a pro and get the digital copy done ..
This is your best option, video professionals use to have the best capture card.
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Author Comment

by:sunray_2003
ID: 12114717
Weed,

>>  Firewire in essence is the "capture card" interface

May be I got confused here.. So if I have a camcorder that records into Hi8  and has a firewire , I can connect a cable between the camcorder to my laptop's firewire and use a software to download the analog video to digital ?
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Expert Comment

by:weed
ID: 12114769
sunray: correct.

The reason youll get better quality from the firewire interface is because the data isnt being transferred down crusty analog cables to the capture card. It's digital from the time it leaves the camera.

Depending on which analog interface you use, RCA, S-Video, Coax, you'll get different quality. And on top of that, a $127 cable will give you different quality than a $5 cable. With firewire it's all the same. The best it'll ever get.
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Expert Comment

by:Jaime Olivares
ID: 12114770
>So if I have a camcorder that records into Hi8  and has a firewire , I can connect a cable between the camcorder to my
> laptop's firewire and use a software to download the analog video to digital
That's exactly what Digital-8 cameras do.
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Author Comment

by:sunray_2003
ID: 12114788
Perfect guys.. You guys really know your subject very well.. Appreciate the help..
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Expert Comment

by:Callandor
ID: 12118261
These guys pretty much handled it for you, Ash.  The DV camcorder will also solve the sound synchronization problem mentioned above with 29.97fps versus 30fps.  I use a Canopus ADVC-100 to convert mine, but DV camcorders have really dropped in price - I think you can get one for less than $400 now.  Don't forget to you will need to capture the incoming Firewire signal and save as avi, and then compress to mpeg2, create chapter titles, and then burn to DVD.
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Author Comment

by:sunray_2003
ID: 12118309
Thanks Al. I know you know this subject pretty much well as the other guys..  Thanks  for your input.

SR
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Expert Comment

by:Jaime Olivares
ID: 12118380
Be careful, DV and Digital-8 are not the same thing.
As far as I know, only Digital-8 can read your analogue Hi-8 videos.
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Expert Comment

by:Callandor
ID: 12118408
True enough, only Sony has Digital-8.  However, it is true that most DV camcorders will function as digital-to-analog converters, so if one hooked up even a vcr with a Hi-8 adapter, or used a Hi-8 camera, it could feed a DV camcorder and convert it to Firewire, in essence doing what my Canopus unit does.
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Expert Comment

by:weed
ID: 12118423
You're still stuck with driving analog data over cables. That's where your quality loss is going to come from.
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Expert Comment

by:Jaime Olivares
ID: 12118448
>You're still stuck with driving analog data over cables. That's where your quality loss is going to come from.
I am talking about **DIGITAL** cameras **WITH** firewire interfaces.
Digital-8 cameras read analogue HI-8 tapes, that what author have said to have.
DV cameras DOES NOT read those tapes, as far as I know, because that's what I have seen when I bought my Panasonic Digital-8/iLink camera.
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Expert Comment

by:Jaime Olivares
ID: 12118459
BTW. This old camera didn't have a good quality even with firewire, that's why I said that to have a firewire interface doesn't means it is better than a capture card.
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Expert Comment

by:Callandor
ID: 12118464
I agree, a Sony Digital-8 will eliminate one step and probably produce the best output.
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Expert Comment

by:Jaime Olivares
ID: 12118494
A Sony camera is always better (and more expensive) than others. If you have the money, buy it!
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Expert Comment

by:weed
ID: 12118605
jaime: i know, i was referring to callandor's idea of hooking a VCR up and using a DV camera to translate. Yes, a firewire camera that could handle sunray's tape would be the best because there would be no analog data over bad cabling.

Though your old cameras quality problems arent due to a firewire interface. That's due to the CCD and to a certain degree, the lens. If you took a tape from a super high quality camera with footage on it, stuck it in your camera, and transferred it via firewire to a computer, the result would be higher quality than what your camera could actually record. What you can move over firewire is the highest quality currently possible, including video capture cards.

I would disagree about Sony cameras. Their high end Sonys compete with the high end Canon cameras, but the lower end canon cameras tend to be better than the lower end Sonys.
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