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post #1 of 20 Old 09-11-2019, 03:59 AM - Thread Starter
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DCR-TRV350 to PC

What’s the best method to convert 8mm/Video8/Hi8 tapes played on this Digital8 camcorder to digital files on a PC? This cam doesn’t have AV ports and anyway apparently S-Video or FireWire preserve quality better. I have an EasyCAP DC60 and this cam also came with a FireWire (IEEE 1394) cable. The PCs I currently have with me don’t have S-Video or FireWire ports and I don’t currently have an S-Video cable so in either case I’ll need to obtain additional materials: 1) an S-Video cable to connect between the cam and EasyCAP DC60, and/or 2) a FireWire-to-USB device; in either case assuming I don’t use a PC with S-Video or FireWire ports built in. From what I read FireWire yields better quality than S-Video; would that make a difference with the analog tapes given the cam is digital? And will FireWire-to-USB work the same as a PC with a FireWire port or will there be issues? Or is there another method entirely I should use; this cam also came with a MiniUSB-to-USB cable? I plan to do this once, once and right, so I’ll (reasonably) invest in or find what I need for the optimal result. So which option would you recommend?

TLDR:
Which of these would have the best conversion result (assuming the cam is a DCR-TRV350 and will be playing analog tapes), and would 1=2 and 3=4 in conversion quality?
1. cam -> S-Video -> EasyCAP DC60 -> PC
2. cam -> S-Video -> PC with S-Video port
3. cam -> FireWire -> FireWire-to-USB -> PC
4. cam -> FireWire -> PC with FireWire port
5. another method; e.g. MiniUSB-to-USB
And for your selection what capture/additional software/drivers would you recommend (currently have OBS, EasyCapViewer).

Finally, in addition to the crucial question above, I’m wondering how much space a converted file would use if it’s between 1-2h. Would definitely prefer indistinguishable quality over lossless if the latter is anywhere close to 7GB/min as OBS claims.

Last edited by connorhawke; 09-14-2019 at 03:18 PM.
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post #2 of 20 Old 09-11-2019, 09:54 AM
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#4 , obviously. As a standalone DV capture utility I have been using WinDV. You can find DV bitrate in Wikipedia.
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post #3 of 20 Old 09-13-2019, 09:00 AM - Thread Starter
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So I would use the firewire method but looking at my DCR-TRV350 just now, I can't seem to find a 4 or 6 pin firewire port on the camcorder although the cam came with a 4-to-6 pin firewire cable and specs seemed to suggest this port would be available. Any ideas?
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post #4 of 20 Old 09-13-2019, 10:10 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by connorhawke View Post
So I would use the firewire method but looking at my DCR-TRV350 just now, I can't seem to find a 4 or 6 pin firewire port on the camcorder although the cam came with a 4-to-6 pin firewire cable and specs seemed to suggest this port would be available. Any ideas?
Never mind, didn't think the 4pin was for the dv port first as it didn't seem to fit but trying again just now it does although it's snug. I have a thunderbolt2-to-firewire800, now I just need a firewire800-to-400 and I'll be set to test this out.
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post #5 of 20 Old 09-13-2019, 08:49 PM
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Never mind, didn't think the 4pin was for the dv port first as it didn't seem to fit but trying again just now it does although it's snug. I have a thunderbolt2-to-firewire800, now I just need a firewire800-to-400 and I'll be set to test this out.
Ah, you have a Mac. No idea about Mac capture tools.
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post #6 of 20 Old 09-14-2019, 10:35 AM - Thread Starter
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For capture software I'm using OBS which is also available for Windows. The connection seems to be working. I want to capture using the original resolution of the tape. Should I use 720x480 as Kyle2000's tut specifies at
, or something else? The presets in the menu on my OBS are different and go as high as 1280x720 or "High". Can't find much info on Google about this. Leave Buffering unticked?
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post #7 of 20 Old 09-14-2019, 10:58 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by connorhawke View Post
For capture software I'm using OBS which is also available for Windows. The connection seems to be working. I want to capture using the original resolution of the tape. Should I use 720x480 as Kyle2000's tut specifies, or something else? The presets in the menu on my OBS are different and go as high as 1280x720 or "High". Can't find much info on Google about this. Leave Buffering unticked?
Also, which format should I use (tut suggests mp4).

Sorry for making a new post; there doesn't seem to be a way to edit the above...
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post #8 of 20 Old 09-14-2019, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by connorhawke View Post
For capture software I'm using OBS which is also available for Windows. The connection seems to be working. I want to capture using the original resolution of the tape. Should I use 720x480 as Kyle2000's tut specifies at https://youtu.be/bvLR3Aba2Ck?t=164, or something else? The presets in the menu on my OBS are different and go as high as 1280x720 or "High". Can't find much info on Google about this. Leave Buffering unticked?
His is Hi8, yours is Digital8. Capture over FireWire into DV file. On Windows it would usually be AVI, on Mac it is probably MOV or MP4 (Quicktime DV). You should not choose anything, just save DV as it is from tape into a file. Well, some of your tapes would be analog, but the digital ones will be save bit by bit, exact copy.
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post #9 of 20 Old 09-14-2019, 03:11 PM - Thread Starter
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DCR-TRV350 wasn't listed for Final Cut Pro or iMovie at https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204203 or https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204202 ...

BUT I have iMovie so did a test import of just over a minute. It worked. It imports as a .mov at about 280mb for 70 seconds. At over 20 tapes looks like this project will eat up quite a few gigs... Will have to allocate some spare storage for this before I proceed. At least it works.
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post #10 of 20 Old 09-14-2019, 08:29 PM
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Originally Posted by connorhawke View Post
DCR-TRV350 wasn't listed for Final Cut Pro or iMovie at https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204203 or https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204202 ...

BUT I have iMovie so did a test import of just over a minute. It worked. It imports as a .mov at about 280mb for 70 seconds. At over 20 tapes looks like this project will eat up quite a few gigs... Will have to allocate some spare storage for this before I proceed. At least it works.
Yeah, it is about right (MB though, not mb). One 1-hour MiniDV tape is about 13GB. Digital8 cassettes are also 1-hour, right? But storage is cheap nowadays. Double check that the video has preserved its native interlaced form. Later you can convert it to 60p if you want to upload to YouTube.
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post #11 of 20 Old 09-16-2019, 09:45 AM - Thread Starter
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I've reached an impasse with at least one or two of the tapes I'm trying to convert. These tapes have a mixture of analog, "VHS import (?)" and/or digital sections on the tape and don't seem to import properly on iMovie. Note I am only trying to capture the analog bits; I don't need to record the film or Digital8 bits (the latter of which were tests and have no content).

For example, one tape has analog recordings made using a non-Digital8 camera, apparently recorded in patches over an old animated film; not sure if that film was on the tape to begin with or it was somehow directly imported onto the tape (it's not simply a recording of a TV playing the film), but anyway, it seems whenever the iMovie recording reaches a part of the tape where it shows the film that was recorded over, the prior bits made using the analog camera are not imported (and neither is the film bit).

Another example involves a mixture of analog and digital. It seems if a tape has both older 8mm and Digital8 bits on it, whenever the iMovie recording reaches a Digital8 point then the prior, older 8mm content is not imported while only the Digital8 part is imported.

I'm guessing in either case it is essentially because the tape has different "formats" on it and the software is designed to successfully import only one format at a time. As imperfect workarounds I have done two things:
1) Stop the iMovie recording before it reaches a bit with the film or Digital8, and resume iMovie recording after said bits. The issues here are that (i) at least a partial second at either edge of the analog bit will not be recorded as I work around the film/Digital8, and (ii) several import files are created instead of just one.
2) Do a screen recording, e.g. using macOS's default Screenshot app, with the microphone volume turned up to max (since direct sound capture doesn't seem possible on this) as the iMovie recording is playing. Obviously this is far from a perfect capture of the picture and sound.

Is there a better way around this such that I can do a straightfoward import without needing the workarounds above (as I can with the other, only-analog tapes), perhaps using different soft/hardware or components? For example, is iMovie or something else to blame? Reminder of what I'm using: Video8/Hi8 tapes in a Digital8 DCR-TRV350 camcorder (which can play older 8mm tapes) importing to a Mac with iMovie using a FireWire400 cable, FireWire400-800 adapter, and FireWire800-Thunderbolt2 adapter. Thanks for any help.
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post #12 of 20 Old 09-17-2019, 08:17 PM - Thread Starter
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Another issue, I notice audio starts to lag behind video on some analog videos regardless of whether there are digital bits, any ideas? It only happens a while after the tape starts, and oddly sometimes seems to reset so it's back in sync, but gradually delays again. On another forum I read that changing audio digitization from 12 to 16 bit to match the software worked for someone; anyone know how and if to try it in my case?

Edit: also, my latest import got automatically split into 5 files, at certain gaps in the footage, although it was all analog... wtf?

Last edited by connorhawke; 09-17-2019 at 09:57 PM.
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post #13 of 20 Old 09-18-2019, 09:09 PM
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Did it split at 4GB mark? Or 2GB mark? Do you save onto FAT32 system?
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post #14 of 20 Old 09-18-2019, 09:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Did it split at 4GB mark? Or 2GB mark? Do you save onto FAT32 system?
No, saving to a Mac. It usually split at points where there was a gap in the footage; the split files typically were typically larger than 4gb. An exception being a 0.5s file that seemingly cut off a significant amount of surrounding footage lol.

This happened after switching PB MODE from AUTO to Hi8/8 for two prior tapes so may be related to previously switching the mode? When I checked before playing the tape in question it said AUTO again but I noticed that during gaps the screen was gray instead of blue, which if I recall correctly matched the Hi8/8 mode playback instead of AUTO playback. Will have to recheck and see what I can do to fix this; appreciate any tips in the meantime regarding this and the audio delay described above.
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post #15 of 20 Old 09-18-2019, 10:16 PM
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Sorry, have no idea about the audio delay.

BTW, googled your camera, seems like a very advanced for its type. I thought that all Digital8 camcorders can play Video8/Hi8 tape, turns out I was wrong.

Also, its AV jack can work as an input, so you can use the camcorder as a analog-to-digital converter for any other analog video, like from VHS or TV or I don't know... Video Disc.

I myself am playing with capturing DV over USB - I have a Panasonic GS500 which can do that. Was not able to capture on Mac at all, can do on Windows, but when doing using Vegas I get video only, no audio. And when doing using Movie Maker I cannot get one file per scene, it captures in a single large file. Still, captures in a perfectly valid DV-AVI file, pretty cool.
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post #16 of 20 Old 09-23-2019, 02:07 AM - Thread Starter
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Sorry, have no idea about the audio delay.

BTW, googled your camera, seems like a very advanced for its type. I thought that all Digital8 camcorders can play Video8/Hi8 tape, turns out I was wrong.

Also, its AV jack can work as an input, so you can use the camcorder as a analog-to-digital converter for any other analog video, like from VHS or TV or I don't know... Video Disc.

I myself am playing with capturing DV over USB - I have a Panasonic GS500 which can do that. Was not able to capture on Mac at all, can do on Windows, but when doing using Vegas I get video only, no audio. And when doing using Movie Maker I cannot get one file per scene, it captures in a single large file. Still, captures in a perfectly valid DV-AVI file, pretty cool.
No probs, I tried reimporting using PB MODE Hi8/8 and both the chopped clips and audio delay issues were resolved, which is strange as this mode didn't work well for another tape, causing stutters compared to AUTO mode and not resolving audio delay. I'm now using Final Cut Pro but I doubt this makes a difference as the import system seems the same. Both tapes had mixed analog/digital meaning that any analog sections between digital sections were not imported on a full run regardless of pb mode and had to be retrieved by selective importing. The remaining tapes should be all analog so I'll try just using Hi8/8 mode. Hopefully smooth sailing from hereon out...

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post #17 of 20 Old 09-24-2019, 10:53 AM - Thread Starter
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Question: if I want to make minor edits to a few brief portions of an import and save the video with the original quality (lossless), what export method should I use? I'm using Final Cut Pro.
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post #18 of 20 Old 09-24-2019, 10:05 PM
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Question: if I want to make minor edits to a few brief portions of an import and save the video with the original quality (lossless), what export method should I use? I'm using Final Cut Pro.
No idea, using mostly Vegas on Windows. From what I can find, older FCP versions can print DV to tape, for example: https://discussions.apple.com/thread/704325 While FCPX seems to not have this functionality. Again, found this after just a couple of minutes of online search, maybe you will fare better.
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post #19 of 20 Old 09-25-2019, 11:29 PM - Thread Starter
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No idea, using mostly Vegas on Windows. From what I can find, older FCP versions can print DV to tape, for example: https://discussions.apple.com/thread/704325 While FCPX seems to not have this functionality. Again, found this after just a couple of minutes of online search, maybe you will fare better.
Thanks but not looking to print back to tape, just retain the original quality of the import after making cuts of a few seconds in a few portions.

In the past, I found it was possible to do direct cuts to the start or end of some video types in QuickTime without any apparent re-rendering. However, it doesn't seem possible to do direct cuts on a clip in FCP without re-rendering. It seems the only way to edit an imported clip there is to create a new project with defined settings that may differ from the original clip, dragging the imported clip into the project, making the cuts, then exporting. These imported clips also currently don't seem to be able to have direct cuts applied in QuickTime either, unfortunately. Thanks for any advice.

Edit: of course, if there is another app I can use to achieve what I want (direct cuts to portions of the mov import without compression), I'm all ears.

Edit 2: Just solved the issue with an older version of QuickTime. The cut feature is available in QuickTime 7 Pro and luckily I still have a working registration code for that. I was able to cut the portions with ease and based on the quick save time and comparisons of frames these were definitely direct cuts therefore preserving the integrity of the rest of the footage. I'm not sure why Apple would remove such a useful feature, but in case QT7 Pro becomes too obsolete to use anymore, can anyone recommend an alternative when it comes to that in case it's needed?

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post #20 of 20 Old 09-27-2019, 04:45 PM - Thread Starter
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One more question for now: a few "interference" lines appear at the bottom of all the tapes. They aren't too distracting but wondering if there's an easy way to prevent them. I read that it may be due to a faulty camcorder.

Edit: Based on what I've learned it's head switching noise. It's not too bad that I'd want to spend hours trying to alleviate it and an even longer time redoing imports. But one thing I noticed is these lines seem to vary per play. For example, when I redid an import after I realized the first playback was using the wrong mode, the lines seemed a little more visible and distracting, and frame-by-frame filesize was reduced possibly suggesting quality reduction (the rest of the picture also differed slightly per frame; not sure if this is normal). Is this due to wear and tear or is it random? Is it worth trying another import to see if it improves?

Last edited by connorhawke; 09-28-2019 at 01:52 PM.
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