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Zeta83 09-10-2020 03:46 PM

Best quality way to archive analog, Digital8 video?

I have a collection of analog 8mm/Hi8 and Digital8 tapes from the 90s/early 2000s, and I want to copy them to a hard drive to archive them in full quality for future editing and other use, and probably also put them on playable DVDs.

I have a Digital8 camera that can read both analog and digital tapes and transfer them over Firewire, and a Mac Mini 2012 with Firewire. (I also have a 2006 Mac Pro with the old Final Cut Studio HD software, a G4, and an AVID Mac broadcast system from the 90s).

I know you can copy the tapes with iMovie, Final Cut Pro, or QuickTime Player, BUT there are some concerns that I have, such as;

• The DV format used by Digital8 is standard definition, and already uses lossy compression, and the analog 8mm tapes have even less resolution to begin with. I don't want to lose any quality while archiving.

• I understand that the Digital8 tapes can be copied as exact copies over Firewire, but iMovie and Final Cut Pro tend to break them up into clips, which have to be assembled in a timeline and exported as a new file, which could result in loss of quality if I don't use the best format.

• I read somewhere that it's not good to use the Digital8 camera's Firewire output to digitize the ANALOG tapes because it introduces lossy compression to the already not full-resolution SD video, and that it might be better to use the analog output and a separate capture device.

Can anyone give me some advice on the best methods and formats to use for this kind of project?

lordsmurf 09-20-2020 08:19 PM

Best = good hardware workflow.

D8 cam with line TBC > frame TBC > capture card

Exact items matter, not just any cam/TBC/card.

D8 is DV data on Hi8 tape. Yes, you can transfer digital, treat it like DV, Firewire files from cam to computer. But consumer camcorders had lousy optics, lower resolve than 720x480 resolution in CCD/CMOS palette. Even the CCD/CMOS itself didn't always resolve. So you can capture analog to lossless, and quality will be pretty identical. You have choice here. Sometimes Firewire/software for all-digital is PITA, analog capture easier.

The clip breaking is that PITA I refer to. There are also gaps of time lost, few seconds here and there. Those gaps will be present over the analog capture.

Correct, Hi8 over D8/DV/Firewire output is lossy. DV has blocks, color loss. Loss is 50%+ for NTSC, less bad for PAL (tolerable, comparable to DVD).

Best capture cards are for Windows, namely WinXP or Win7. Other Win can work, Mac can work, Linux can work, but all with some degree of nuisance.

Zeta83 12-13-2020 06:46 PM

Forgot to mention it, but my G4 has a Miglia "AlchemyTV DVR" TV tuner/capture card in it (bought back in like 2005).
It has an S-Video input.

I did some tests. It allows you to select a "none" option under the compression/codec menu, but it seems that it makes you use 640x480 instead of 720x480(6).
Also, the captured video looks kind of washed out compared to what it shows coming in. It does have a bunch of brightness/color/image adjustment options but I haven't tried using them yet.

Are you familiar with this card by any chance?

It also has a "Component Y'CbCr 8-bit 4:2:2" option.
If I select it instead of the "none" option, then the colors in the recording look more like the signal coming in from the S-Video port.

lordsmurf 12-31-2020 09:42 AM

Not familiar, or do not recall being so.

Some DVRs do strange things. Never meant for capture, or TBC, or anything like that. Just recording incoming analog/digital cable or satellite. Anything else is unapproved and untested.

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