Quantcast Hi8 Capture Workflow - digitalFAQ Forum
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11-21-2020, 03:47 PM
robotr0n robotr0n is offline
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Hi everyone,

First of all thanks for hosting this awesome community!
I've been reading through this forum for a few weeks now and I think I've come up with a reasonable solution for capturing my Hi8 tapes, but have some questions.

First of all here's what I know about my tapes: I've got 11 tapes in total, all 1st gen. The Sony camcorder they were shot on is still around and in pristine condition; It was only used to shoot those 11 tapes. It's a TBC + Stereo camcorder. I've hooked up the camcorder to my TV to check out the tapes and 10 of them seem to be in excellent condition. They were all shot between 1996 and 2002. One of them doesn't appear to be in such great shape.
I live in Europe, the camcorder is set to PAL and all of the tapes were shot in PAL, too.

Spending money on capturing my tapes isn't a major concern, but it needs to be a reasonable expense. Going the forum marketplace route would mean spending around $1500 on capturing hardware. So ~$136 per tape, and that simply isn't reasonable to me. Plus getting it shipped here would introduce the whole customs hassle. Therefore I'd like to avoid that.

I still want my captures to be good, quality wise. I want this to be a one off thing, where I'll never have to touch those tapes again.

So what I've come up with is this:
- Get a DMR-ES10 for TBC like signal stabilization
- Buy a Hauppauge USB-Live2 as a capture device
- Capture lossless into VirtualDub

Can I assume that this will yield at least 90% of the quality I'd get with a Cypress TBC and ATI 600? Or are we talking much worse? Just trying to get a ballpark figure here...

Thanks for your help!
-robotr0n
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  #2  
11-21-2020, 04:51 PM
latreche34 latreche34 is offline
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I've had very successful captures of Video8 and Hi8 original tapes using nothing but a Pinnacle USB-500 capture device with Hi8 camcorder built in line TBC and Vdub on Win 10 platform, Always start with basic components and look for more when you develop a problem. Crappy gear require image stabilization, good gear can get away with.
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  #3  
11-21-2020, 07:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robotr0n View Post
Hi everyone,
First of all thanks for hosting this awesome community!
I've been reading through this forum for a few weeks now and I think I've come up with a reasonable solution for capturing my Hi8 tapes, but have some questions.
Welcome.

Quote:
First of all here's what I know about my tapes: I've got 11 tapes in total, all 1st gen. The Sony camcorder they were shot on is still around and in pristine condition; It was only used to shoot those 11 tapes. It's a TBC + Stereo camcorder. I've hooked up the camcorder to my TV to check out the tapes and 10 of them seem to be in excellent condition. They were all shot between 1996 and 2002.
I live in Europe, the camcorder is set to PAL and all of the tapes were shot in PAL, too.
That all sounds good here, for Hi8.

Quote:
One of them doesn't appear to be in such great shape.
Details.

Quote:
Spending money on capturing my tapes isn't a major concern, but it needs to be a reasonable expense. Going the forum marketplace route would mean spending around $1500 on capturing hardware. So ~$136 per tape, and that simply isn't reasonable to me.
Nope. Buy it, use it, resell it. Final cost is much lower.

Quote:
Plus getting it shipped here would introduce the whole customs hassle.
Not necessarily. After years shipping international, I know some tricks.

Quote:
So what I've come up with is this:
- Get a DMR-ES10 for TBC like signal stabilization
This is not ideal for Hi8. The ES10/15 is a budget option that has drawbacks. For VHS, it's tolerable. For Hi8, which is about 2x better than VHS (more comparable to S-VHS), not so much. I mean, sure, yeah, you can do it. But you'll perhaps lose quality -- and it will negate the ability to use the camera TBC, which is arguably better than the ES10 for Hi8 tapes (especially using the camcorder it came from). Anyway, Hi8 is a drop-happy format (likes to drop frames), so line TBC isn't really the issue. Frame TBC is needed. The ES10/15 is not a TBC, and is mostly strong+crippled line TBC with frame sync. And frame sync isn't frame sync TBC (aka frame TBC).

Quote:
- Buy a Hauppauge USB-Live2 as a capture device
Eh. There are better cards.

Quote:
- Capture lossless into VirtualDub
Yes.

Quote:
Can I assume that this will yield at least 90% of the quality I'd get with a Cypress TBC and ATI 600? Or are we talking much worse? Just trying to get a ballpark figure here...
Debatable. On average, not really. Not for this exact Hi8 workflow.

As always, I must remind you/others that I don't use a frame TBC because I want to, or because it gives some sort of "professional quality" (there's really no such thing, seeing as how these are just consumer formats). I do it to truly extract the quality on the tape, without adding errors. It's a requirement, not optional. The only difference is that I keep my gear longterm, while you can buy/use/resell.

Quote:
Originally Posted by latreche34 View Post
I've had very successful captures of Video8 and Hi8 original tapes using nothing but a Pinnacle USB-500 capture device with Hi8 camcorder built in line TBC and Vdub on Win 10 platform, Always start with basic components and look for more when you develop a problem. Crappy gear require image stabilization, good gear can get away with.
But it will give a fail rate.
- DataVideo/Cypress TBC = almost zero fail rate
- ES10/15 alone = some fail rate, maybe 50/50 with Hi8, as it's not a TBC
- Nothing = almost always frame drop issues, therefore audio sync issues. Almost always (majority of time), not always (tiny tiny % of the time).

Image stabilization is about the tape more than the gear. Followed by the playback deck (camera or VCR). But all consumer analog formats are chaos on a mylar tape, and TBCs are needed.

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  #4  
11-21-2020, 08:09 PM
robotr0n robotr0n is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
Details.
There's some horizontal tearing in the footage throughout the entire tape.
Coincidentally, I gave that tape to a friend a few years ago and he connected my Hi8 camcorder to his miniDV camcorder to capture the tape through DV. Here's a frame grab from that recording, the edges don't seem to be perfect, either. The shitty quality most certainly stems from the fact that he transcoded the capture from DV to low bitrate h.264.

Screen Shot 2020-11-22 at 3.02.17 AM.jpg

Quote:
Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
Eh. There are better cards.
I'm not going to buy another PC with AGP. Would the ATI 600 USB card be much better?


Thanks for your comprehensive answer to my proposed workflow!


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