Forum Forum (
-   Capture, Record, Transfer (
-   -   Video 8 Capture/Transfer Method 1 or Method 2? (

mjk340 10-13-2009 01:25 AM

Video 8 Capture/Transfer Method 1 or Method 2?
I'm deciding between two methods to transfer my old 8mm video 8 tapes to my PC as avi for editing later. My handycam is broken so I will need to get one as I can't play them. I'm new to this, but I've been reading alot before posting.

Method 1:
I already have a pinnacle dazzle DVC-100 usb capture device and Pinnacle Studio 10. I just need to get a video8 or Hi8 camcorder. I've tried pinnacle with my VCR/VHS tapes and it seems pretty good, but it's all I've used so far.

Method 2:
Get a Digital 8 Handycam that can play the video 8 tapes and transfer via firewire. I read an article on about this and they said it was better than the capture cards they tested. However, I also read on this site that DV was harmful to analog colorspace.

Can you say one is better than the other?

I guess I'm asking what has better analog to digital conversion. Digital technology was new when Digital 8 came out and my Pinnacle Dazzle box is newer. But i'm thinking I should go with Method 2. I'm looking at Sony DCR-TRV series cameras on eBay. Thank you for any help.

admin 10-13-2009 01:27 AM

Method 1 is better.
I'll expand on this tomorrow.

mjk340 10-13-2009 03:37 PM

Thanks. Looking forward to the explanation.

admin 10-15-2009 05:03 PM

DV was created as a shooting format. It's a mild compression in some ways (5:1 data compression), and high compression in others (4:1:1 colorspace, for NTSC).

In a digital equivalent to the analog signal, VHS and 8mm have a mild colorspace compression of 4:2:2. The grain imperfections of consumer tapes/signals also lend themselves to an approximate 2:1 or 3:1 compression, still less compressed than DV.

The "digital" nature of DV, and its higher resolution, makes it far better in terms of shooting video. But shooting new video and digitizing existing video are not the same thing. Converting VHS/8mm to DV would be acceptable if it were going to stay as DV.

The real problem comes in when you take that DV and again convert to another compressed (lossy) format, such as DVD, Flash or H.264 streaming (Youtube), or even Blu-ray disc. DVD, for example -- the most popular and typical conversion -- uses 4:2:0 colorspace compression. The 4:2:0 is similar, albeit slightly more lossy with interlace, than 4:1:1.

Compressed colorspace conversions are where you can really "cook" your colors, mess up hues and saturations, and generally give video an unnatural look. This is the most common problem of using DV conversions off VHS tapes. By the time you get to the DVD, it's overly rich in some ways, muddy in others, and hues may not match the original sources anymore.

PAL DV stays in 4:2:0, so you're fine in PAL.

There's a decent writeup on colorspaces over at -- just realize it's mostly about SHOOTING video. The theory of 4:1:1 being superior to 4:2:0 starts to fall apart when applied to converting between formats (tape > DV > DVD), as the theory just does not translate to what happens in practice, even on those overpriced Canopus boxes.

For years, DV was solely used in cameras. DV converter boxes and software are really more of a recent invention, an answer to problems found in computer capture cards many years ago. Those old capture cards, which ran on vastly underpowered computers compared to modern standards, were often subjected to loss of audio sync, dropped frames, and choppy video. DV boxes were more or less idiot-proof, with locked audio and in-box processing that eliminated the need for the computer's CPU. All the computer needed was a firewire port, a fast enough hard drive (7200rpm suggested), and enough idle CPU to transfer the incoming DV data to an AVI or QT file.

So when you see "they" talking about comparisons to capture cards, it's a leftover opinion from a now-gone era.

Capturing in something "lossless", such as HuffYUV, which uses 4:2:2 and a very mild data compression (similar to consumer tapes!!!), you're able to create a capture that is not overly compressed or has introduced artifacts. Then you can take that lossless capture, and edit it, finally converting to whatever you want, be it a DVD or something else.

That's how you create the best video, and hence why it's the best of the two proposed methods.

If you want a process judged "best" solely by merit of speed, then a DVD recorder works better. However, DVD should not be edited, at least not too often, as it's also compressed. If you record in a 1-hour "XP" type of mode, then compression is minimal (still below DV, however).

Your Dazzle box is fine. I just tested one using Pinnacle Studio 12, and I thought it did an admirable job of capturing in HuffYUV. It capture okay in MPEG-2, although worse quality than a decent DVD recorder. I would not edit in Pinnacle or make a DVD in Pinnacle Studio, instead suggesting Adobe Premiere Elements.

I suggest Hi8 cameras for playing 8mm tapes. If you only have a few tapes, we transfer 8mm tapes for about $10-15 each.

mjk340 10-16-2009 03:53 PM

Thank you very much. I'll take your advice. Studio 12 is actually what I have.

A couple more questions... For example, I captured VHS at 720x480. It was set for 4:3 but when I playback the video in Media Player or Real Player it seems to be 1.5 aspect ratio, but looks unstretched. I see this site suggests 352x480 so maybe I'll try that.

I set to capture as avi, but there is a background rendering codec to choose. If i set it to automatic, I think it uses a dv codec. The other option is mpeg 1/2 or browse to my own codec. DV is not what I want and mpeg is lossy right? Is this where HuffyYUV comes in?

Thanks for suggesting Hi8 cameras. Since my tapes are only video8 I was wondering if there would be any benefit (or drawback) to using the Hi8 camera. I'll get a Hi8 camera (non-digital) and I suppose it will have S-Video. If anything the Hi8 will be a newer camera model than my original camera.

There are settings for color, hue, contrast, brightness, sharpness during capture. Should I leave these flat and fix later with a good editing program? Assuming the capture preview looks the same as on a TV.

I'll try to make a donation. Thanks again.

admin 10-16-2009 09:04 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Use VLC for playing. Window Media Player (WMP) and Real Player are known to not properly respect the aspect ratio (AR). VLC almost always respects AR.

Your "own codec" is the correct one. use HuffYUV or HuffYUV MT (multithreaded, for dual- and quad-core CPUs). For capturing, either is fine. For your convenience, I've attached it to the bottom of this post.

Fix colors in several places: in a hardware proc amp, during capture if available, or in post-processing. Proc amps often do the best, being hardware, but slight changes still work well in software, be it during capture or in an editor. It's really your choice, see how it looks both ways, decide from your tests.

If you can make a donation and/or upgrade your membership, that helps keep the site alive! Thanks.


mjk340 10-21-2009 09:11 PM

In my question about resolution, I was thinking that it would be best if the pixel ratio matched the aspect ratio which would make square pixels. What resolution should I capture at?

admin 10-22-2009 03:07 AM

I would capture at 720x480.

The device is attuned to that size in mind. Plus that's a DVD-compliant size.

If you want to save space with 352x480, do that during editing, encoding or filtering stages -- the "slow" resize methods can be better than on-the-fly internal resizing done by a setup like this. It's not always noticeable without experienced eyes, but it can be there. It varies from setup to setup -- I speak only to this card and this software, right now. (Anybody else reading this should ask about their hardware/software.)

Remember to read the article about video basics, including the information on bitrate. Currently that guide is here: --- it may be split and expanded in the near future, coming weeks/months.

mjk340 10-31-2009 12:19 PM

Seems I can't select my own codec. I installed Huffyuv but don't know how to use it. Pinnacle support said Studio 12 probably doesn't support it.

mjk340 10-31-2009 12:24 PM

Seems I can't select my own codec. I installed Huffyuv but don't know how to use it. Pinnacle support said Studio 12 probably doesn't support it. I want to try Huffyuv. Also, I'm concerned if 2.39 GHz and 2 gb of ram is enough to use Huffyuv without dropping frames. I turn off the capture preview, antivirus software, disable screen saver and monitor power mangagement to free up resources. I have plenty of hard drive space.

admin 11-01-2009 06:11 AM

Not sure what I was thinking when I wrote about HuffYUV some posts back. Pinnacle Studio v12 (not sure about other versions) does DV, MJPEG and various levels of MPEG-2 and MPEG-1. High quality capturing is still possible, using those settings, without HuffYUV.

However, HuffYUV capturing should still be possible with an alternative freeware or low-cost option. I'm looking into those now.

The "old" guide on video capturing AVI with iuVCR still applies, so I'm running some tests with the updated version of it. See

I'll add it into the work queue for testing.

If you want a faster test and guide update, upgrade to a Premium Member and I'll do it this coming week instead of 3-6 weeks from now.

Yes, your computer is plenty fast. I was doing similar capturing 8+ years ago, and your current specs far exceed what was top-of-the-line then. No problems at that time, either. Just follow all the instructions on the preventing dropped frames guide at

HuffYUV is about 30GB/hour, I believe. DV is 13, uncompressed is 75, HuffYUV is somewhere in the middle, forget the number off top of my head (would need to refer back to notes).

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 09:12 AM

Site design, images and content © 2002-2022 The Digital FAQ,
Forum Software by vBulletin · Copyright © 2022 Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.