Quantcast Digitalizing Video8/Hi8 to Mac? - digitalFAQ Forum
  #1  
11-15-2019, 08:16 AM
kwiN kwiN is offline
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Hello everyone,

I want to digitalize seventeen old Video8/Hi8 (PAL/SECAM) tapes for my father. I've researched these past weeks and decided to buy a Sony Handycam Video Hi8 CCD-TR780E PAL for 50 euros and Elgato Video Capture for 60 euros. Conclusion: Elgato compresses the files so much that video becomes too pixelated to be acceptable if you want to archive these old videos.

I do not want to invest 500 or 1000 euros in a deck (or are there cheaper alternatives?), so I think my only options that are left are to digitalize with:
- Digital8 camcorder (Firewire > Firewire-Tb3 > Tb3-Tb2), or
- Hi8 camcorder.

There's Sony Digital8 camcorders that analog playback Video8/Hi8 and also have TBC/DNR (not sure if I need DNR, I do need TBC I believe). I've found lists of the models I could use, but these lists vary. There should also be one on this website, but I couldn't find it. Does anyone have a full list?

I could also use a Hi8 camcorder. I read on this website that it's better compared to Digital8, because Video8/Hi8 is "downgraded to DV color on output", DV is "noisy with its denuded, plastic look" and it "loses quality, and it will be extra important for editing and restoration". How big is the difference in quality when digitalizing with a Digital8 or Hi8 camcorder?

Which Hi8 model should I be using? Is my current CCD-TR780E PAL viable? It has S-video. How would I digitalize with a Hi8 camcorder? How would I connect the Hi8 camcorder to my Mac? Would I be using S-video at that point? If yes, are there also Digital8 models with S-video that can do analog out?

I also have miniDV tapes that I will probably digitalize in the future, so I would need to buy the "Firewire > Firewire-Tb3 > Tb3-Tb2"-setup anyway. It's almost 100 euros at the moment. Digital8 cameras start around 150-200 euros. Edit: big file size does not matter. If 17 tapes are 15 GB each I'll end up with 250 GB. I have external hard drives or would buy a new one. I do not need to compress the digitalized files.

Thanks for reading and helping out!
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  #2  
11-17-2019, 01:51 AM
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Replying as I read...

I've never heard of SECAM Video8/Hi8 tapes, only VHS.

Buying the Elgate was a mistake. Almost all Elgato cards have issues, be it quality or technical issues. Elgato doesn't really have models, just "Elgato", so troubleshooting is a PITA. It's only a step above the craptastic EZcap/Easycap cards.

For Video8/Hi8 tapes, a 500-1000€ deck is not needed, just a known-quality model of camera.

For NTSC, DV is terrible format, compresses quality, loses 50%+ color.
But for PAL, the 4:2:0 DV codec is generally fine. Not as ideal as 4:2:2 uncompressed, but also not bad.

I think you're mixing up some facts. Hi8 is Hi8 (or Video8 is Video8), regardless of the camera. True, some Sony Digital8 cameras only output DV, and thus do compress the color and artifacts the output. But again, 4:1:1 NTSC vs. 4:2:0 PAL alters the conversation. Some Sony Digital8 can select if analog is output, or recompressed to DV output. Of course, that's moot if using the camera itself as the converter, analog output doesn't matter here.

A Hi8 camera can only output analog (preferably using s-video, never composite). Since Mac has a limited ingest ability, generally only using DV, a Hi8 camera to a DV box (Canopus ADVC, DataVideo DAC, etc) is not really any different from a Digital8 camera.

MiniDV tapes can just be played on a MiniDV camera.

Both Digital8 and DV cameras will need the IEEE1394/Firewire port for connecting to the Mac computer. Or for a DV box. (There are some DV-over-USB options from Pinnacle, but Windows only, so no point in discussing those here.)

You cannot capture reliably to external HDD. Maybe Thunderbolt, maybe. But even eSATA isn't all that safe, and it's not much different from TB speeds realistically.

With only 15 tapes, I have to wonder if it'll be more feasible to outsource the project? (Note: I have Video8/Hi8 PAL ability.)

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  #3  
11-17-2019, 02:21 AM
kwiN kwiN is offline
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Thank you so much for your reply, I really appreciate it. Things are much clear now.

On the outside of the tapes it sometimes says "pal/secam". I have these tapes for the completeness:
- Video8 P5-60MP = Video8
- Pal/secam 8 P5-90HG = Video8
- Pal/Secam VideoHi8/Hi8 P5-90HMP = Hi8
- Hi8

I hope I'll be able to resell the Elgato

It's great to hear DV is fine for PAL. It seems like I will be buying the right Digital8 model (DCR-TRVxxxE).

With digitalizing miniDV tapes I meant that I would need to buy the "Firewire > Firewire-Tb3 adapter > Tb3-Tb2 adapter"-setup for my miniDV camera anyway, so I'm not "wasting" money buying it for the Digital8 camera. I can use it on both cameras.

My father does have a really old Windows XP with Pinnacle etc, but I feel like that would be a long slow hassle. I haven't tried it yet though. Will the quality be better than with Digital8 & Mac? Also with saving from Windows on external HDD, I don't know if it'll be compatible with Mac when I use the external HDD later on.

With external HDD I meant that's where I'll be saving the digitalized file. I don't need compressed files, because I have enough storage space.

I'd rather do it myself to be honest. Also, since we have miniDV tapes that we want digitalized in the future, I would need the cables and adapters anyways, which are around 100 euros, Digital8 cam is around 200 euros. If we would outsource, it would be 250-350 euros, more than a Digital8 camera. Then we'd still have to digitalize the miniDV ourselves, since we have a bunch of those too. I'd have to check how many miniDV tapes there are. If there's not many, outsourcing could be an option. Still, it feels risky. And others see your tapes.

-- merged --

Another question: with which program should I capture the video? iMovie/QuickTime/Adobe Premier Pro? And in what format am I supposed to save the file? .dv, .mov, something else?
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  #4  
01-15-2020, 03:10 AM
swiego swiego is offline
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Sharing some information on an otherwise rare topic..l hope the thread necro is ok.

Catalina and apps rated against it sis Premiere have lost DV support. So, things are not so great. A Sony Digital8 camcorder plus FCP *will* get you stable DV capture. I had to do a half dozen tapes while staying with in-laws over the holidays with a 16 MBP running Catalina, so it can be done. However, that was the only MacOS option I could make work. On a side note, its kind of amazing being able to capture flawless DV through Thunderbolt 3 even if it required some dongle hell. Using the same port for laptop charging, external PCIe GPU and FireWire 400 capture from a 1990s camcorder? Amazing...

Downside - every other tape caused FCP to bug out and required a restart. Unclear the cause. At the end of the trip I realized Bootcamp, W10 and WinDV work too on Mac hardware, but I only did one tape.

Good luck!
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01-15-2020, 04:09 AM
kwiN kwiN is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swiego View Post
Sharing some information on an otherwise rare topic..l hope the thread necro is ok.

Catalina and apps rated against it sis Premiere have lost DV support. So, things are not so great. A Sony Digital8 camcorder plus FCP *will* get you stable DV capture. I had to do a half dozen tapes while staying with in-laws over the holidays with a 16 MBP running Catalina, so it can be done. However, that was the only MacOS option I could make work. On a side note, its kind of amazing being able to capture flawless DV through Thunderbolt 3 even if it required some dongle hell. Using the same port for laptop charging, external PCIe GPU and FireWire 400 capture from a 1990s camcorder? Amazing...

Downside - every other tape caused FCP to bug out and required a restart. Unclear the cause. At the end of the trip I realized Bootcamp, W10 and WinDV work too on Mac hardware, but I only did one tape.

Good luck!
Thank you for your reply. I haven't updated to Catalina and I will give FCP a try as well.

I did buy a miniDV camera a few weeks ago. I can connect my Hi8 camcorder to this miniDV camcorder and then to the Macbook through Firewire + Thunderbolt adapter. Recording with iMovie does not work, because there won't be any tape in the miniDV, only in the Hi8. QuickTime does work for recording, but the quality seems slightly less than iMovie, but it's the only option. I also only have like 20 tapes, so it's fine and my miniDV camcorder was broken, so now I can also digitalize all the miniDV tapes we have.
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  #6  
01-22-2020, 03:10 PM
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The main aspect of Windows vs. Mac, when it regards video capture, is that more methods are available, easier, and generally better quality since Mac is a DV-centrix workflow.

Newer OS of both Mac and Windows are getting equally terrible, both video-unfriendly.

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