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2ball 10-23-2019 09:12 AM

Video8 capture jaggy lines, editing?
I'm new to video capturing, but I have done a lot of research. I am attempting to tackle saving 30 or so 1990's era video 8 videotapes to my hard drive.

I have a computer with a firewire and a connection on my camcorder. I can see and capture the video in an AVI format. The captures are very large a 3-minute video is 700 MB. The captures are low-quality jagged edges, slightly blurry and random oil in water rainbow things popping up. I'm using VirtualDub to capture. I've tried a few others, they all produce similar results.


1. On the initial capture, large files, I can see all of the horizontal lines in the video. This makes the edges of people and things look a little jagged. Especially when they are moving. When I compress the files MP4 or compressed AVI, the jaggedness and lines go away.

Why does this happen?

Can I capture in the compressed format in VirtualDub? or will it always be a 2 step process? (capture then compress)

2. I can't plug and unplug the firewire into my computer and have the computer recognize it. I have to restart the computer with the firewire plugged in for the computer to recognize it. Once I turn the camera off the computer will never see the camera again until I restart the computer. Has anyone heard of this? is there a fix to this?

3. It would be easier to capture the entire video and then edit it later. Is there a free program that will allow me to easily take clips from the main video and make them their own clip?

4. True or False? Video 8 is technology from the 1990s. It was before HD tvs. It was meant to play on an SD tube tv. In fact, it would probably look ok on a tube TV. At this point, we have all forgot how shitty SD tube TVs were. There is nothing that can be done to make the output of a video 8 capture look HD.

5. Is there 1 program that will do everything, capture, compress, and edit (cut, trim, add text) that people like that is easy to use? or am I better off using a few programs?

6. The "VCR" tracking interference thing that happens (the distortion that moves up the screen then goes away), Is there a way to get rid of that?

7. My captures seem a little dark. I can brighten them?

latreche34 10-23-2019 11:37 AM

Are you capturing digital8, Hi8 or video8 tapes?
There is no such one step in capturing, The only one step I know of is paying someone else who knows better to do them for you.
If you are capturing Hi8 or video8 via firewire, there are ways to improve the quality by eliminating the DV format and capture straight to lossless AVI but the files will be huge like few GB's a minute. but since DV files are considered big by your standard then I think this is not an option for you.

Line spacing that you see is normal, it's called interlaced video, when you converted to MP4 the program de-interlaced the video for you but you lost half of the resolution without knowing it.

The ideal way to capture Hi8 and video8 is using a camcorder with a built in line TBC and output via S-Video cable to an external TBC/frame synchronizer (to eliminate the vertical distortion you described) and out to an external capture device or a desktop capture card and capture using Vdub and de-interlace later during compression or compress on the fly using vdub2 if you don't like big files.

keaton 10-23-2019 12:42 PM

Lots of questions. The answers to most of them are on this forum. It is better to tap into the vast resource of knowledge and example videos posted on this forum over the years. I won't try to repeat it all here. Lot of research on this forum will serve you very well if you are trying to get the most of those Video 8 tapes. Although, you may have Digital 8 tapes, since you mention firewire. I believe this forum won't recommend using that capture approach. If you have Svideo (ideal) or Composite Video output, use that method instead.

The advice on this site is to capture lossless HuffYuv AVI (it has about 2.5 to 3x compression of the raw RGB AVI, around 25 to 35 GB per hour) in Virtualdub, using Svideo (if possible) or Composite (if don't have or acquire a camera that has SVideo output) output into an external Frame TBC (expensive and maybe some in the marketplace of this forum), or maybe try a Panasonic ES10, 15 or similar DVD pass thru recommended on this forum if you don't have several hundred for a quality External Frame TBC (DVD Pass Thru is not a replacement for an external TBC, but does help for some things you may experience). The output from external TBC or DVD Pass Thru would then be to a recommended video capture device (see forum), the ATI AIW stuff is best regarded, but requires XP, unless you go for a ATI USB600, which can work in Win 7, I've read. There are some other USB based capture options that may be recommended, but many are going to make your video look worse, so research on forum. There is a Virtualdub Capture Guide on this forum.

Once you've captured lossless, there's tons of knowledge on this forum, many with example videos, that show how to solve issues with Color/Contrast, timing errors, dropouts/comets, and various other issues one finds with analog video. Doing this in Virtualdub and Avisynth is most recommended (both free). It depends on how much you want to learn and how patient you are, but it's the superior way to clean up/restore your video, before compressing it to MPEG2 or MP4.

I have captured a few Video8 tapes using the recommended setup mentioned, and then did a lot of color correction, timing error and general noise type cleanup, before authoring to DVD. Camcorder video is usually the worst in the sense that lighting conditions are changing frequently, often inadequate, or you get color casts when shot indoors from the color of the lights not being the natural daylight the camera sensor is designed best to handle. I also saw some pretty strong Red casts. Fortunately, a lot can be corrected with some great Virtualdub plugins (part of the Vdub and Filters pack you can find for download on this forum).

Anyway, it all depends on how much time and money you want to spend. Doing it right takes a lot of both, unfortunately. There is a lot to learn by going through the posts on this forum. It took me many months to learn the basics and feel competent in doing good video restoration. Most of my education came from studying this forum's vast well of knowledge. Best of luck to you!

dpalomaki 10-24-2019 02:18 PM

What are you using to play the tapes? Is it a Digital8 camcorder? If so, which model?

As you start into this process you need to clearly define your goals and budget. Goals in terms of how much restoration and beautifying of the raw video (on tape) you want to perform (i.e., how good is good enough for you). Budget in terms of time and money you want to invest in gear and software, the learning curve, the process and end product. A 90% solution takes perhaps 1/10 the effort of a 99% solution, especially for one new to video restoration.

1. As you have seen, DV capture via firewire produces fairly large files. In general SD video looks better on conventional SD TV sets with CRT displays, and not very good on HD displays. Further, the software (and its settings) used to display the video can have a large effect on how it appears on a computer screen. The DV format was developed as a mainly consumer acquisition (shooting) SD format and can be edited on modest power computers. However, it is not an optimum format for capture of existing analog tapes (e.g., VHS, Video8, S-VHS, Hi8, Beta) when you plan to do restoration of the captured video.

2. Firewire (really IEEE1394) also knows as iLink, is a bit fussy, and it is not uncommon to have to follows a specific power on sequence to have the drivers and attached gear properly recognized. Further, it is not truly hot swap - connections should be made while gear is powered off. People have on occasions fried firewire ports trying to do hot swap. Win 7, 8 and 10 often need to have the so called "legacy" firewire drivers installed before some gear will allow ingesting video. It is older technology that is disappearing from current PCs - for good reason.

3. Yes, you can digitize now and edit later. Several products are available - see recommendationselsewhere.

4. Basically true. Your resolution is limited to what the original recording captured. You can do things to put it in a HD format, you can process the image to remove noise and correct color balance and exposure, correct some playback artifacts, and make it more pleasing to watch, but it is still an SD image.

5, The all-in-one program would be a NLE (non-linear editor) and there are many available. Simple consumer program run under $100, and professional-class programs start around $700 or so. However, there are free and low cost individual tools available that individually may do a better job at what they do than a typical NLE. NLE's are available in student/education versions at a substantial discount. Either way there will be learning curve. I use the Edius NLE, many people use Adobe Premiere, and there are NLE products available from Corel and others. (NLEs are primarily focused on turning a lot of shot video into a finished final product for viewing, not image restoration.)

6. Some image artifacts such as rainbows, image tearing, etc. may be an issue with the player and using a different player and TBC may correct it. Some artifacts such as at a scene change in the video may be a result of recording start/stop when the video was shot.

7. Lightening dark video is part of the restoration process . Most NLEs and some of the individual tools allow adjustment of image parameters such as color balance, brightness, contrast, gamma curve, and offer other filters and effects. Dark video could also be a result of poor exposure when shot (very common for home video), an out of adjustment player, or in the case of digitizing an analog video stream improper connections.

2ball 10-25-2019 09:10 PM

I am playing the tapes on a Sony DCR TRV103. That is not the camcorder that recorded the tapes. I picked that one up at a thrift store for $7. I do have 2 other camcorders somewhere. The tapes say video 8.

thanks for the info so far. still researching.

latreche34 10-25-2019 11:44 PM

Try to find a D8 camcorder with built in TBC and DNR, those make analog tapes look better with cleaner picture.

2ball 10-26-2019 08:34 AM

Video8 is digital or analog?

dpalomaki 10-26-2019 09:24 AM

Video8 (some times called 8mm video) recordings are analog. Quality is similar to VHS.

Digital8 (aka D8)is a digital recording in DV format but it uses Hi8 (and 8mm) video tape.

Many (but not all) D8 machines can also also playback Video8 and Hi8 tapes. But Video8/Hi-8 machines cannot play D8 recordings. D8 machines typically have both IEEE1394 (firewire) and S-VIDEO outputs.

2ball 10-28-2019 08:51 AM

Does a digital8 camera do the analog to digital conversion when playing an 8mm video through Firewire?

How do I tell what format (analog or digital) the video on my video 8 tape is, 8mm video (analog) or HI8 (digital)?

dpalomaki 10-28-2019 09:46 AM


Does a digital8 camera do the analog to digital conversion when playing an 8mm video through Firewire?
If it can play Video8 with firewire output it does the conversion internally.


How do I tell what format (analog or digital) the video on my video 8 tape is, 8mm video (analog) or HI8 (digital)?
One way is to try it in a player that understands all formats. The player will usually tell you the tape format. However, if you try it in a known working Hi8 camcorder and it does not play it may be D8 recording. But 8mm tape was also used for other purposes such as computer backup so it is possible a tape might not have video on it.

Digital8 came out in 1999, so if you know the recording is from before 1999 it will not be Digital8. After 1999 it could be D8, but D8 was never very popular.

Note that some Hi8 camcorders used "digital" in their name but that referred to the use of internal digital signal processing and not the video recording format.

latreche34 10-28-2019 02:49 PM

A digital camcorder that plays analog formats will display Hi8 and D8 but nothing for Video8 tapes, You can tell if it's an analog format if you fast forward while playing, if it displays noise stripes it's analog.

Digital 8 camcorders convert analog tapes (Hi8 and Video8) to DV via firewire and as most members here agree that DV quality is not that great, It is better to capture analog tapes from S-Video output to an external capture card and ideally done with a camcorder that is built in line TBC and DNR as I mentioned previously.

Some home Video8 and Hi8 tapes were recorded on some Sony camcorders that have the option XR (eXtended Resolution), It is best to play them back with a camcorder that has that feature, Offcourse you can play those tapes back with a normal camcorder but you won't be able to take advantage of that extra resolution.

dpalomaki 10-28-2019 04:37 PM


...DV quality is not that great...
For use as a capture format for purposes of video restoration processing of analog video.

It was good (for its day) as an acquisition (shooting) and editing format for consumer and prosumer applications. Compared to the analog formats it replaced (e.g., Video8, Hi8, VHS, S-VHS) it offered significantly improved signal to noise ratios, bandwidth, and no generation loss when making digital copies.

Its issues are DV uses a lossy compression scheme which means cumulative compression/decompression artifacts with each transcode and for NTSC the vertical color resolution is 240 scan lines (better than typical visual acuity for color images) but again potential cumulative processing artifacts.

Digital8 had additional the handicap in that the camcorders were generally based on the old Video8/Hi8 camera heads with optics and sensors that did not take full advantage of the DV capability.

cbehr91 10-29-2019 12:15 PM

I'll echo what others have said about DV...great shooting format for its time, but it was never meant as a medium to digitize analog video. Even back in the mid-to-late 90s there were far better formats to do that such as Digital Betacam, DVCPro50, and later MPEG IMX.

Capturing Video8 through FireWire is not ideal...get yourself one of the recommended USB sticks or cards.

2ball 10-29-2019 12:57 PM

Thanks for the info so far.

To be clear, for better results, I should be looking for a camcorder with TBC and DNR and an S-video outlet.
The S-video will go to an S-video capture card (that I also need to add) and recorded through VirtualDub in lossless Huffy.

Sounds like there is also a USB device that I could use instead of a capture card. Can someone point me to a list of recommended external devices?

Also, I want to say when I transferred VHS tapes 5 years ago, I picked up a Canopus Twin Pact100, new from a college that was getting rid of their analog equipment. I never got it to work because I couldn't install the software on any computer past Windows XP. I ended up just using a VHS DVD all in one deck.

keaton 10-30-2019 12:28 PM

The ATI 600 USB is the most often recommended USB based capture device on this forum. There is another that comes up on this forum a lot, the Diamond Multimedia VC500 USB.

Lordsmurf has some ATI 600 USBs for sale in the Marketplace area of the forum. I started with one of these, and then changed to a capture card with Win XP (ATI AIW). One thing you may notice with the USB capture card option (definitely with ATI 600 USB, not sure about the VC500), is it has no control of the Levels (i.e. Brightness and Contrast), which means you may see video in the Virtualdub Preview Histogram going into the red (i.e. too dark or too bright). If so, the only solution is to get an external Proc Amp (a piece of hardware added to your video path, an external TBC such as the DataVideo models have this feature built in), or use a capture card that provides these controls (preferred method in my opinion). Just as audio needs to have a levels check before capturing so it isn't too soft or too loud/clipped/distorted, video capture is the same way. If you are lucky, it will just be in range. But if not, you cannot solve the problem later in post. It can only be resolved in capture phase.

Of course, without a recommended external TBC (we all know they are rare and expensive), you have the risk of trying to capture tapes with glitches that cause the capture to stop when you hit a rough patch, or you may just get some rather unpleasant jumpiness in the video, audio/video drift out of sync, etc. without one. This is a risk going in. I processed a few Video 8 tapes a while back that were about 20 years old. I was fortunate most of them played very well and so they really would have done well without one. I used a Panasonic ES10 on them, and it was enough for some that did have a bit of a roughness to them. But each tape can be different, just my limited experience.

Best of luck to you!

2ball 11-05-2019 08:03 PM

Is this the ATI 600 usb I'm looking for?

msgohan 11-06-2019 01:35 AM

That's it, but it needs to come with the analog input adapter cable.

cbehr91 11-06-2019 11:32 AM

Video8 suffers from many of the same pitfalls of VHS like chroma bleeding, etc. Ideally you'd need both a line TBC (like one found in certain camcorders and VCRs) and a frame TBC in the chain to get the cleanest signal. A passthrough DVD recorder probably isn't enough, and can introduce other unwanted artifacts. It's hard to say for sure because every tape, video deck, and camcorder are unique.

I have had an ATI 600 USB for years and can tweak the capture levels in VirtualDub just fine based on what the histogram is telling me.

BW37 11-06-2019 02:47 PM

If you haven't found the correct playback device for your 8mm tapes here's a good thread which includes a list of good ones:

2ball 11-06-2019 06:04 PM


Originally Posted by BW37 (Post 64688)
If you haven't found the correct playback device for your 8mm tapes here's a good thread which includes a list of good ones:

Nice, that's exactly what I was looking for.

So it looks like I can get a used camera with a TBC in the $100 range and a $50 capture card.

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