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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am ready to dive into the whelm of upgrading my home videos to DV. I have dozens of Hi8 S-VHS tapes, and want to back up the raw footage using my new Sony DRU500A DVD burner and 250GB Western Digital hard drive for later editing and home movie production. I already have a 1394 card and cables, and a friend is allowing my to temporarily borrow his Ulead Video Studio Pro software. Questions:


1. If I use a new DV/1394 camcorder to input the video into my PC (using my analog Hi8 tapes), will the camera convert the video to digital, or do I need an analog capture device attached to the PC? If not, are there external 'DACs' that could perform this function readily available?


2. Right now I am only interested in getting the raw footage backed up and into my PC/onto DVD. What format (MPEG2, etc) would you recommend that I save the footage in which would allow the greatest quality and flexibility in later editing/production? With all of the various formats available (mov, avi, mpg, etc), it's a bit confusing.


Thank you for your help. Links to informative threads are also welcome as my searches didn't turn up the answers I am seeking.
 

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I am actually currently doing this exact thing with my old Hi-8 footage.


1. Yes, a mini-DV camera will convert the footage to digital format IF the camera has pass-thru capabilites. Alot of Sony camcorders have this function. (Hi-8 to mini-DV camcorder to Firewire card in PC). If you use a Sony Digital 8 camcorder (versus Mini-DV) you put a Hi-8 cassette in it and transfer directly to firewire port. I personally have Sony Hi-8 camcorder and use a Canopus ADVC-100 (analog to digital video converter) to send convert the video to digital files and load them on my PC (Hi-8 to ADVC-100 to Firewire port). It's a fantastic converter, but runs about $300.


2. When you first convert/transfer video via firewire to a PC, it is in a raw "uncompressed" state (technically, not exactly true..the DV format is a form of compression...but that's another story). When making DVDs, the only acceptable format is MPEG2..that IS the format for DVDs. You need a software or hardware encoder for this. I happen to use Sonic Foundry's Vegas video editing software for this, but tons of others will do the same.


3. You can do 2 things. Make MPEG2 DVDs (playable in DVD players) of the footage, AND/OR transfer the raw uncompressed to DVD as data files (not playable in DVD players). The latter is perhaps the best, purest form of archiving in a digital format, but it will take 4 or 5 disks for 2 hours of raw video. (properly encoded MPEG2 DVDs can easily hold 2 hours of video)


Here's a link to the Creative Cow forums. Any possible question you have regarding digital/analog video can be found in these forums, and is probably a better forum for this question. Just go to the forums and search for "MPEG2" and "DVD".

http://www.creativecow.net/index.php?forumid=1


Good luck! (you have another obsession lurking around the corner , you know!)


Dan
 

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I have a SONY Digital 8 camcorder. It will play Hi-8 tapes (as well as digital 8 tapes) and allow you to input directly into the computer as AVI files (uncompressed windows video) just as with with the digital 8 tapes through the Firewire connection (my camera TRV840 also has USB connection but I don't use it).


The camera also accepts and converts analog video/stereo audio for digital file transfer to the computer through the firewire connection so you can input VHS source as well.


Don't know if all digital8 cameras have such capabilities - you should check. For sure mini-dv cameras can't play the hi-8 tapes but I would imagine some could convert the analog input to digital live over firewire.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
OK, got the analog to DV answer.


Just one clarification requested. Since storage volume is not a problemn (unlimited DVD's and a 250 GB drive):

1. save the uncompressed 'raw material' footage in avi format

2. do the editing selecting the various avi files as needed

3. then burn the final DVD in mpeg2.


Agree? Disagree? Thoughts?
 

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Agreed. I am doing this as well. Use Scenalizer to split the incoming feed into manageable pieces (select for least precision). Save the .avi for later use. Do edits before MPEG editing.


Quote:
Originally posted by Jetlag
1. save the uncompressed 'raw material' footage in avi format

2. do the editing selecting the various avi files as needed

3. then burn the final DVD in mpeg2.
 

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Agreed, with one caveat. It's true you need to render the DV avi files to the MPEG2 format for DVDs. HOWEVER, you also need some sort of DVD authoring software (e.g., Sonic's MyDVD, Ulead's DVD Movie Factory, to name the bargain basement types) to properly prepare and encode all the necessary subfolders required to burn a "sanctioned" DVD. In other words, you can't just render an MPEG2 file and burn it to a DVD as a single data file and expect it to play in any set top DVD player. (For example, by definition of the "DVD standard", a DVD authoring app will create "VIDEO_TS" and "AUDIO_TS" folders that contain all the necessary video and audio "Objects."


Just want to make sure you have all the tools you need!


Dan
 

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Just thought I'd throw a couple of other things in to the discussion...


Be careful using DVD-Video as an "archival" format. If you capture to DV, you're compressing the original video. Then, you compress again to make a video DVD. Probably the worst thing, though is that there aren't a whole lot of video editing packages yet that will edit MPEG. So, then you've got to "rip" and transcode the DVD's back to DV to work with them, or get a package that will edit MPEG.


If all you need to do at this point is "archive" the footage, and you're going to edit it at a later date, then you could skip the MPEG/DVD video step, and opt for one of two other methods:


Method 1:

Capture your analog video from DV, then just burn a DVD as a data-only disc with the captured DV files (.mov or .avi, depending on your software). A benefit is that when you want to edit the videos, just copy the dv files back to the hard drive and start editing. The drawback is that you're probably only going to get a little more than 20 minutes of DV on each 4.5 gig DVD-R. That's going to run you say, $6-9/hour of archived footage.


Method 2:

Just copy the analog stuff to DV tapes, and don't even mess with the computer at all. It's fast, simple, and fairly economical at $3-4 per 60-min. DV cassette. The good thing is, again - everything is in DV, and the drawback is that the footage must be captured to the computer to start editing.


Of course, neither of those two methods allow for just popping a DVD into your DVD player to watch videos. Decide what is most important for your needs.


SC
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Great info so far, thanks.


Lets see if I have this straight, just playing the analog tapes via the DV camcorder out a 1394 wire and storing them on my hard drive in avi format would result in some compression artifacts? Would they be noticeable, or is most Hi8 tape low enough quality where it would not make much of a difference? I had planned to edit the video in it's stored format, encoding it to mpeg2 only when burning to DVD-R with DVD authoring software.


Also, Has anyone run into problems using the avi format vs. mov or any others for just the archival need. What I am concerened with is if most video editing packages will handle avi files, or is there a file format that is even more 'universally' used and easier to work with?
 

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DV compression is like 5:1 and really isn't noticable.


MPEG2 compression can have variable quality levels (like 10:1 compression to 30:1) and can be noticable, and makes editing harder.
 
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