Digitize half VHS, half 8mm? Is it worth it? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 6 Old 05-13-2017, 02:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Digitize half VHS, half 8mm? Is it worth it?

Hi all,
I am presently digitizing my standard 8mm tape collection using a dvdr.

I did a terrible thing and reused my 8mm tapes because I didn't know that was real bad and because I couldn't afford to buy tapes all the time back in the early 90s.

So I made copies of the videos on VHS. Because I taped over the 8mm's I have a fair amount of video that was only half taped over.

My question is would it be worth the effort to digitize the first half VHS and the second half 8mm then mesh them together on a dvd to preserve any resolution the 8mm has over the VHS or avoid any second generation degradation, albeit just for a part of the video?

I know this question may seem terrible but I would just like to keep whatever detail I can squeeze out of these tapes. Personally I don't see any difference between the formats but I never made a second generation recording. (8mm to VHS to DVD)
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post #2 of 6 Old 05-15-2017, 02:07 AM
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I know this isn't exactly an answer to your question, but all I can suggest in cases like this is to try it. Make a test of the same content using as many different copying processes as you can and with your own eyes, determine the best transfer method. USUALLY fiddling with it the least results in the best end product, but not always.

Luke

Evil is charming and beautiful. It makes you doubt yourself. It asks for one small compromise after another until it whittles you down, and it functions best when no one believes in it.-JOA
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post #3 of 6 Old 05-16-2017, 01:29 PM - Thread Starter
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I don't think my eyes can tell the difference really but is it true that 8mm is better than vhs-c?
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post #4 of 6 Old 05-17-2017, 02:53 PM
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ChurchAVGuy nailed it: just try both methods and see if there's enough improvement with the hybrid workflow to make the effort worthwhile. If you don't see a significant difference, it will be a lot easier to just go with the VHS-only workflow (esp using a low-end recorder that doesn't have a built-in hard drive for this type of editing).

My usual rant about this personal camcorder stuff is that realistically, no one truly cares about it anymore. Oh, you may get sincere requests from a stray relative or two, but even they will likely only watch the dvds once and then lose them in a drawer. These videos seem incredibly important in the moment, but 10-20 years later typically bore us silly. Sure, its nice to have a record of family members who've grown up or may have passed on, but inevitably the tapes don't show them at their best and the picture quality doesn't come up to current 42" HDTV standards.

So if you think the VHS dubs copy to digital about as well as the original 8mm tapes, go with the VHS and don't feel guilty. Plain ordinary 8mm wasn't much different from VHS in quality, it just allowed smaller cameras. Fancier Hi-8 and Digital-8 variations could offer better performance, but suffer from higher dropout and deterioration sensitivity. These compromises might mean the VHS copies have some advantages over the originals, if the originals aren't in perfect condition.
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post #5 of 6 Old 05-21-2017, 12:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you Church AV guy and Citibear. I didn't forget you, I was just busy fast forwarding through 1991.

I have done several videos now using some 8mm and some vhs-c. There really is not much visual difference. The places where I butted the videos together have a very large break, noise and distortion between recordings. I have to conclude unless you need every pixel you can get, it is a very large headache to try and put them together. While the resolution of the 2 formats are very close, I understand the audio is far superior in the std. 8mm than the vhs-c. So that may be a reason why someone given the choice of which to digitize would choose the 8mm.

I have been using record pause, which I didn't know I could use and a lot of scene deletes. And for some reason, after I learned how to go frame by frame on the Philips, the scenes I wanted deleted are still there. I am going to redo some that are very important to me but the rest I think I will use the VHS or VHS-C to make the dvds.

never ever reuse your video tapes! This was a nightmare!

ps I have a Philips 3575H dvdr with a hard drive. I put it in my signature but I don't see it there.

Why is the hard drive relevant in this discussion, citibear?

Last edited by airspeed; 05-21-2017 at 12:18 PM. Reason: add info
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post #6 of 6 Old 05-24-2017, 04:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by airspeed View Post
ps I have a Philips 3575H dvdr with a hard drive. I put it in my signature but I don't see it there.

Why is the hard drive relevant in this discussion, citibear?
The hard drive is relevant because if a dvd recorder has that feature, it makes this type of multi-source editing much MUCH easier. When I posted my initial answer, it appeared you were recording your tapes directly onto a dvd using a dvd-only or dvd-vhs model, neither of which has a hard drive. Since you've now confirmed you're using a Phillips 3575, which DOES have an HDD, perhaps we can help you do this project more efficiently.

First we need we need to know how comfortable or familiar you are with your 3575 and its various features like recording speeds and copying from HDD to DVD. This isn't clear from your earlier posts, which sort of imply you're recording directly onto dvds. If that is in fact what you were doing, it is the more difficult and less precise way to go about it.

A better method is to copy all the tapes to the hard drive section of your 3575. Once on the HDD, the Phillips will let you divide the recordings into different parts and trim bad spots like where the camcorder was turned on and off. You can also name each segment to keep track of what came from 8mm and what came from VHS-C. After the recordings are edited and named, you can easily copy them to a dvd in whatever order you need (say, ten minutes from 8mm, then five mins from VHS-C, then seven minutes from 8mm, etc). After the dvd is made, it will play back with just a slight hesitation between segments.

The HDD section of your 3575 is optimized for editing videos BEFORE they get burned to dvd: this editing ability is the key reason people used to pay more for the HDD feature. If you bypass the HDD, and copy your tapes directly onto a dvd straight from the VCR, the edits will not be as precise (and doing it in real time during recording can be tedious and tricky). Recording direct to dvd also reduces your options in case of a mistake: if you screw up the dvd, you have to start over again from scratch. If you mess up on the HDD, you only need to re-edit or re-copy the part that is wrong, while most of the video can be re-used..

My apologies if these are points you already knew, but if you didn't, it would be a great idea for you to get an overview by looking at the index of the huge Magnavox/Phillips thread at the top of this dvd recorder forum. Complete instructions on how to record to the HDD, edit, then high-speed copy to a final DVD are explained fairly well in that thread. It really is the best workflow for making dvds from VHS or 8mm: I can't imagine going straight to dvd anymore. After I tried the HDD>DVD feature, I never looked back.
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