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  #1  
11-15-2014, 09:16 PM
gb27 gb27 is offline
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I know that this question has been asked a million times. And I know Lordsmurf dislikes the Canopus ADVC 110.
But here is my situation: I have a lot of Hi8 tapes I want to edit with FCP and I have more questions than answers.
I have FCP 7.0.3 on my Mac Pro and FCP 10.1.3 on my MacBook Pro. What should my target format be and which version of FCP should I use?
The workflow I plan to use on my Hi8 tapes is to play them on a Sony GV-D200 (S-Video and RCA out) into a Canopus ADVC 110 (Firewire out) to a Sony DSR-11 in order to record it to MiniDV (that way it will be digital and have time code). Plus I still like having a physical tape (back-up copy). I have a lot of HDs so I could capture straight to HD (via FCP). But would that involve capturing without Device Control and would I ever be able to edit the resulting video?
I suppose the real question I should ask is "What is the best way to convert Hi8 tapes to digital while maintaining as much quality as possible?"
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  #2  
11-15-2014, 11:34 PM
sanlyn sanlyn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gb27 View Post
I know that this question has been asked a million times. .........
I suppose the real question I should ask is "What is the best way to convert Hi8 tapes to digital while maintaining as much quality as possible?"
Indeed, it's been asked a million times here and elsewhere, and one million of the answers has always been the same. It's the answer you've seen many times earlier. The "best way" to capture hi8 tape is to capture to lossles YUY2 AVI or other 4:2:2 lossless medium using some form of lossless compression such as huffyuv or Lagarith (there are other lossless compressors as well. DV-AVI is not one of them). Whether or not you use the Canopus is your choice, but it won't give you a lossless capture. Period. Applying fixes such as color correction, titles, overlays, denoising, transitions, etc., will require that DV-AVI be lossy re-encoded yet again, for another step down in overall quality. Because DV is playable only on a PC or via DV camera, you will have to re-encode yet again for web use or for viewing on TV, so that's yet more quality loss.

I don't really think you're that interested in the "best way". It's a lot of trouble, a lot of learning, and a lot patience. And since you appear to be working on a Mac, your limits for that kind of processing are really quite severe. In the end I think you'll go with what you proposed.
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11-16-2014, 12:15 AM
gb27 gb27 is offline
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You assume too much Sir. I'm willing to get whatever gear and software that is necessary to achieve lossless capture or perhaps even hire out the work (I have an email in to the Digital FAQ for a Tape to AVI quote).
Also my father-in-law is a PC software programmer. He programs on a Mac because they run PC programs better than PCs. But I think he still has a few PCs around.
Lastly, I have a Masters degree in Film and Video. As a professor I taught video editing on FCP (and AVID) as well as audio editing on Pro Tools. I disliked the policies of the institution I worked for and left to pursue another career path.
As a Video Professional you should know that if you get out of the loop for a few years (and in my case over a decade), technology does not rest and indeed moves on at neck-break speed. I joined this Forum seeking the latest information regarding the best workflow for Hi8 to Digital conversion. Yes, I prefer to work on a Mac, but if I need to use a PC to get the best video quality I will.
Could I get more information regarding what I asked about without your judgment and scorn???
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  #4  
11-16-2014, 02:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gb27 View Post
And I know Lordsmurf dislikes the Canopus ADVC 110.
Yeah, it's just a lousy choice. There are 3-4 (minimum) better methods. Putting video through the Canopus is like putting the video through a shredder. It's "processed", but that's all you can say about it. The output isn't very good, and could have easily been much better. To add insult to injury, most of the better methods are cheaper, too.

But, of course, that's just the capture card. What comes before it in the workflow matters more.

Quote:
But here is my situation: I have a lot of Hi8 tapes I want to edit with FCP and I have more questions than answers. I have FCP 7.0.3 on my Mac Pro and FCP 10.1.3 on my MacBook Pro. What should my target format be and which version of FCP should I use?
Huffyuv via Perian is really nice. That's truly the best format for SD material, even better than ProRes. (Save ProRes for the HD material; that's where it shines.) This is the method that I use, when using the Mac for the more complex editing. (Not because Mac is better, but because mine has 16gb of RAM and purrs like a kitten with Premiere. Even 6gb with Windows 7 can be hit-or-miss with stability.)

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The workflow I plan to use on my Hi8 tapes is to play them on a Sony GV-D200 (S-Video and RCA out) into a Canopus ADVC 110 (Firewire out) to a Sony DSR-11 in order to record it to MiniDV (that way it will be digital and have time code). Plus I still like having a physical tape (back-up copy). I have a lot of HDs so I could capture straight to HD (via FCP). But would that involve capturing without Device Control and would I ever be able to edit the resulting video?
It's really sort of pointless to create another tape -- and an inferior one, at that. DV has worse color compression than the Hi8 format, and the DV tape (physical material) is worse than the Hi8 tape. You really gain nothing by doing this. The goal should be to recover as much information as possible from the Hi8, and then digitize it. What you propose would make it worse, as well as create an unneeded middle step.

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Originally Posted by gb27 View Post
You assume too much Sir. I'm willing to get whatever gear and software that is necessary to achieve lossless capture or perhaps even hire out the work (I have an email in to the Digital FAQ for a Tape to AVI quote).
I handle most of the Hi8 projects myself, and I really like the format. I know what's possible from it, having seen thousands of tapes over the years.

I can say for certain that the Canopus tends to "smush" the video, both in detail and color palette. Same for VHS. I have a sample here, from another client, and I'll see if I can share it. Lately several have wanted to see comparisons, sending me their Canopus work. It was pretty much inferior in every way. It had ghosting, color loss, and detail loss. In short, yuck.

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Also my father-in-law is a PC software programmer. He programs on a Mac because they run PC programs better than PCs.
Not for video.

Back in the mid 90s, Apple thumbed its nose at most of the video-related software and hardware makers. Apple insisted in an entirely closed OS, running only Apple-made software and Apple-approved hardware. Video/photo/design companies balked, and went 100% into Windows development; Microsoft was very inviting at the time. So the 80s mentality that Mac was for video/design/photo fell to the wayside -- though most continued to believe that myth, and many still do today. In recent years, Mac has gotten it's photo mojo back, but it still falls short for design (mostly web, not print) and especially video. Lately MS has gotten a bit 'too big for its britches' and is now blowing off video hardware makers, too. So video hardware is in limbo these days -- a few things are released for Mac, a few things Windows. It's not the scene it once was. It's why most SD video is still done on Windows XP, and HD on non-current OS X and Windows 7, using older hardware from the mid 2000s.

So there's a history lesson for you.

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Lastly, I have a Masters degree in Film and Video. As a professor I taught video editing on FCP (and AVID) as well as audio editing on Pro Tools. I disliked the policies of the institution I worked for and left to pursue another career path.
Higher ed has way too much politics.

Quote:
As a Video Professional you should know that if you get out of the loop for a few years (and in my case over a decade), technology does not rest and indeed moves on at neck-break speed. I joined this Forum seeking the latest information regarding the best workflow for Hi8 to Digital conversion. Yes, I prefer to work on a Mac, but if I need to use a PC to get the best video quality I will. Could I get more information regarding what I asked about without your judgment and scorn???
sanlyn means well, and is a valued asset of this site. I don't think any scorn was intended.

Not much has changed for analog capturing since around 2005-2007, and most new video methods are for streaming formats. The main challenge is having older hardware in mint/cherry condition. However, that said, what has changed are the restoration methods. What was impossible a few years ago is now possible. Both hardware and software, but mostly software.

When I transfer tapes, I'm able to give you a full analysis of every little flaw I find, and how to fix it. So that alone may be worthwhile, if you want us to do the transfer work. The hardware for capturing is always the costly part. The post-capture editing and restoration is mostly knowledge and time. Maybe a license or two, depending on the software you choose. Much of it is freeware, however.

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  #5  
11-16-2014, 05:02 AM
gb27 gb27 is offline
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Thank you for your detailed (and prompt) response Lordsmurf. I agree that Apple's desire to rule their own Sandbox can be frustrating and that they have often ignored their devout FCP users cruelly. The Video Landscape has changed greatly and quickly. The last time I felt like I was even close to the bleeding edge of tech was when I bought the Panasonic HDC-SD1 before there was even any software that could handle AVCHD. Now my iPhone and DSLR shoot better video than my old camcorders.
I did like my Canon A1 Digital back in the day (way too big and the autofocus was too loud but fun to play with). And what a nightmare to try to balance on a Steadicam Jr (remember those?). When I started undergrad I worked at a place called The Video Editor and that was all analog hell (remember control tracks). When I left Grad school, my school had recently acquired a very expensive Cineon Film Scanner that became pretty much obsolete a couple years later.
I have only recently heard about Huffyav (a couple days ago) and since then I have read about others Lossless Codecs which claim to be superior (Lagarith, MSU, YULS). I simply do not have time to find out how deep these rabbit holes go. I defer entirely to your expertise and perspicacity from years of hands-on experience.
Now I just have to sort through all of my tapes and figure out which ones are worth sending (or driving) up to Nashville for conversion to Lossless AVI. : )
Thanks again for your assistance,
G
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  #6  
11-16-2014, 05:29 AM
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Huffyuv is best.
- Lagarith is fine, but has poorer support (i.e., no Mac, no ffmpeg, etc).
- MSU is Russian stuff that's rarely any good. That goes for all their filters/etc. Lots of theory, little practicality.
- YULS is one of several bit players that has lots of drawbacks
- There have been others, but they died so long ago that I don't even remember what they were.

You sound like you're in my generation.

When I started, all we had was analog tapes (or film) for video, film for photo, and pencil/paper for design. I've was always an early adopter of tech, and still sometimes am, so I've seen the full evolution of digital photo/video and the web. I've chronicle some of this on this site in years past. (And I'm so glad that I grew up before the web, cell phones, camera phones, Facebook, etc. Kids have no privacy these days.)

We're not in Nashville anymore. This is why: About lordsmurf - FAQ and Updates. There were several subsequent posts after that one. In a few weeks, it will have been 2 years, and I'm still recovering. I've been VERY choosey with the types of projects that I'm willing to take on. It has to challenge me, or it has to be something I enjoy. Hi8 is one of them. I'm no longer involved with any of our studio contracts, just some smaller projects, as I still only work limited hours. In other words, just mail them here.

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11-16-2014, 08:08 AM
sanlyn sanlyn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gb27 View Post
You assume too much Sir. I'm willing to get whatever gear and software that is necessary to achieve lossless capture or perhaps even hire out the work (I have an email in to the Digital FAQ for a Tape to AVI quote)......
I'll readily admit to having rushed into an assumption. It's gratifying to sometimes find that the assumption in incorrect, even if it doesn't happen often.

My college ed goes back to Radio/TV/Film as well, in the days when "digital" was exclusive to Hollywood and was nothing like today. Those RTF degrees were slanted at education and esthetics, but of course I still had to know how to put a movie together. But as the college baby boom petered out and the politics of ed careers turned me off, I ended up in "IBM Big Blue" and Windows programming. So rather than an admonition, I should issue a caution. Analog transfers to digital are really ugly. The media were designed for CRT's, not for 60-inch HDTV's. You can make those sources look pretty decent with a lot of effort. The Macs that pro shops and Hollywood use are not like the Macs we mere mortals can buy at Amazon, but are customized hardware and software that none of us can afford. As lordsmurf noted, with a Mac it's not 1984 any more, in more ways than one. I've seen Mac users go through hoops and hurdles in video processing that I, for one, wouldn't have the patience to endure. But that doesn't mean it isn't done.

There are Mac users here who can get into the details better than I can. I gave up on the system in 1998. Not that I haven't been around a Mac since (I've repaired a few in my PC fixup business). But the tools available for XP and to a lesser extent with Win7 are so numerous as to seem endless. As for Win8, it's becoming a dead end for video hobbyists. Since Windows 3.1 those Windows tools are responsible for over 3000 movies in my current collection -- some of which came from 400 hours of old VHS tapes that have never been in digital format and never will be, and some family memorabilia that Avisynth and VirtualDub rescued for prosperity. So I don't mean to turn you away from this sometimes insane activity or to sell your intelligence short. I do say that it's often disappointing to see many users just give up and settle for results that look worse than the originals. In that respect, maybe I'm just over-educated (LOL!) and have high expectations that go back to my teacher's-ed days.

Good luck, and welcome to digitalfaq.
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12-18-2014, 10:21 AM
Bobo_Bourgeois Bobo_Bourgeois is offline
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This is my first post and I want to thank you upfront for the excellent counsel you offer others. Thanks...

I read the exchanges between gb27 and the his excellence Lordsmurf. Very informative. The hands on experience and dedication of both of you is to be commended. I am at the other end of the spectrum. I have good seasoned SLR photography experience (travel, avl light portraits and such...and some light professional wedding work years ago). But it is my recent transition back into pro-sumer "toys" and a recommitment to growing in my semi-professional skills at the new photo/video hybrid world.

My equipment. I have some Canon DSLR's (7d and 6d) and some nice canon lenses (16-35/L and 24-105/L and some primes 85/1.8 and 50/1.8 etc). I will be editing on a new Imac 27in retina that I just bought today!, and I will be using a variety of portable external USB 3.0 drives. I guess that is my equipment profile.

My request. After reading Lordsmurf's recommendations to gb27, it is clear to me that I don't have the time nor patience , nor equipment ... nor interest in buying new devices that might allow me to do something on my own!

Here is my need.
1. I only have 6 Hi-8 Sony tapes and I want to have them transferred in a way that optimizes their digital quality and makes it possible for me to edit them in the latest version of FCP X on my new Imac.
2. It seems that you (Lordsmurf) still like/enjoy transferring Hi-8 to new digital formats, and that you are excellent at that, so I think it makes sense for me to send you the tapes and have you do it!

You can send me an email to <removed> and let me know what the estimated cost would be and where I would send the tapes to (and what kind of digital device you would need to put them on...)

Again, thanks for your great work and your help to others who are struggling along the way of living in a creative digital world...

Larry Bourgeois
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  #9  
12-18-2014, 11:12 AM
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lordsmurf lordsmurf is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobo_Bourgeois View Post
I read the exchanges between gb27 and the his excellence Lordsmurf. Very informative. The hands on experience and dedication of both of you is to be commended.
Thanks.

Quote:
My equipment. I have some Canon DSLR's (7d and 6d) and some nice canon lenses (16-35/L and 24-105/L and some primes 85/1.8 and 50/1.8 etc).
Ooohhh... nice toys! I'm mostly a Nikon user, but my bag of goodies is very similar. (Though, sadly, because of my 2012 stroke/MS issues that have harmed my eyesight, my days as a freelance photojournalist are over. I've accepted that. It's just a hobby from now on.)

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I will be editing on a new Imac 27in retina that I just bought today!
I was just talking to a photographer friend about this several days ago. He's saving up for one.

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and I will be using a variety of portable external USB 3.0 drives. I guess that is my equipment profile.
As I told him, the biggest bottleneck for photo is the hard drive speed. So ditch those old Firewire and USB drives (yes, that includes USB3), and upgrade to eSATA drives with a Thunderbolt converter connection. You'll have a VERY noticeable speed increase in everything you do. It's ironic how Mac goood at photo and video editing, but had the horribly slow drives. (Even now, that's the case. But the converter gives you eSATA power.)

Quote:
Here is my need.
1. I only have 6 Hi-8 Sony tapes and I want to have them transferred in a way that optimizes their digital quality and makes it possible for me to edit them in the latest version of FCP X on my new Imac.
2. It seems that you (Lordsmurf) still like/enjoy transferring Hi-8 to new digital formats, and that you are excellent at that, so I think it makes sense for me to send you the tapes and have you do it!
Yes, we can do those quite easily. I really enjoy the Hi8 format, and know how to extract everything it has to offer (detail, color, etc). It has none of the drawbacks that VHS formats did, though it needs the same caliber of equipment to make that happen.

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You can send me an email to
I've removed your email so you don't end up on a spam list.

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(and what kind of digital device you would need to put them on...)
eSATA drives are ideal (1.5 to 3.0gb!), but a slower USB2/3 drive is fine for just a few tapes worth of transfers. This is assuming you want edit-quality non-compressed video -- which is probably the case, given this conversation.

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Again, thanks for your great work and your help to others who are struggling along the way of living in a creative digital world...
Glad to help.

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12-18-2014, 01:59 PM
themaster1 themaster1 is offline
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I believe the canopus card (semi-pro) allow great A/V sync at least (someone confirm) ; that's better than cheaper cards especially if you want to cap long videos (+30min) imo.
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  #11  
12-18-2014, 07:53 PM
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I believe the canopus card (semi-pro) allow great A/V sync at least (someone confirm) ; that's better than cheaper cards especially if you want to cap long videos (+30min) imo.
Everything should have perfect audio/video sync -- and most cards always have. Length of content doesn't matter.

The idea that only Canopus could sync video was just bogus marketing. (That ended when Grass Valley bought Canopus, as I've not seen it since.) They suckered lots of people in the early 2000s with the "audio lock" marketing. But it wasn't true. A Canopus was just as likely to have audio sync issue as other cards.

The expensive ADVC-300 actually had many issues compared to the 50/55 or 100/110. That included audio problems, specifically audio drifting out of sync.

Only extremely cheap setups ever had issues. For example, the EZCap (EZCrap!) cards.

The equipment before the capture card (VCR, TBC, etc) often matter most here. Those devices, along with the source material, often cause the sync issues. The capture card can't fix a signal that's already broken. That's why a Canopus DV box was not immune.

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