Quantcast Best quality way to archive analog & Digital8 video? - digitalFAQ Forum
09-10-2020, 03:46 PM
Zeta83 Zeta83 is offline
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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?

Last edited by Zeta83; 09-10-2020 at 04:25 PM. Reason: Rephrasing
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09-20-2020, 08:19 PM
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lordsmurf lordsmurf is offline
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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.

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The following users thank lordsmurf for this useful post: archivarious (09-22-2020)

8mm, archiving, dv!, firewire, hi8

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