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-   -   Hi8 and MiniDV conversion workflow: assumptions, questions? (http://www.digitalfaq.com/forum/video-workflows/9684-hi8-minidv-conversion.html)

pavilion 05-02-2019 10:44 PM

Hello All,

Having now fully gone down the rabbit hole of legacy video tape conversion – a subject I literally knew zero about two days ago – I think I am now at a point, thanks to the great posts here, to finally speak intelligently about the subject and devise a top-notch workflow to get me through this project, or even if I use the conversion services here, to better understand how and what need to get done.

I would really appreciate your input and assistance...

Note: The guiding principle for this project is to make the absolute best master archival copy of each tape in the most lossless way, with whatever enhancements to color and image stability possible, without regard to file size. The ultimate goal would then be to edit the material, add titles, chapters, and effects, and format in more manageable sizes for best viewing and enjoyment on a range of specific devices, i.e. desktop, laptop, phone, iPad, and online.

Here are the operating assumptions I am working with based on my research. Please let me know where I am right and where I am off the mark:

1) Because Hi8 is entirely analog, the best source option is to stick with the S-Video Output of my CCD-TRV99 camcorder rather than go out and purchase a DCR-TRV120 or GV-D800 that can actually play Hi8 tapes and output through a DV port, because the DV port signal loses both color and image fidelity in the process. In addition, given the choice between my CCD-TRV99 camcorder and my EV-S5000 VCR, the camcorder will always yield a better S-Video signal. I have no idea why, but so I have read here.

2) For the same reason, despite the fact that MiniDV tapes are already “digital” and my DCR-TRV50 has a DV output that would make conversion to a MacBook Pro both direct and easy, there is still significant downside in using the DV port because the signal gets compressed in the process, and while Macs may be well-suited for DV files, they should not be used when trying to covert analog signals through lossless compression when the goal is to retain as much of the original video signal as possible.

3) Moreover, using the DV port would negate the possibility of using a full frame TBC, which is necessary to stabilize the signal and provide the best output signal. The bottom line therefore is, the only and best way to obtain the closest master archival copy of both Hi8 or MiniDV tapes is to use the S-Video port.

4) Both as a practical matter because of the enormous file sizes for each lossless tape conversion, and because they use lossy compression schemes to squeeze 120 minutes of video onto a DVD, using either of my RDR-GX7 or VRD-MC5 DVD burners connected to the CCD-TRV99 or DCR-TRV50 would be a mistake. The only remaining option, having rejected DVD’s via burners and MacBooks via Firewire, is an XP PC/Capture Card combo using Virtual Dub software with the Huffyuv lossless compression codec.

So the workflows would look like this:

CCD-TRV99 > S-Video > TBC > S-Video > Capture Card > PC > Hard Drive
DCR-TRV50 > S-Video > TBC > S-Video > Capture Card > PC > Hard Drive

OK... so far so good, hopefully. So, here are my questions:

1) How important is it to clean the camcorder heads as I progress through 200 tapes, and are these the right types materials to use: MG Chemicals 407C-250ML Audio/Video Head Liquid Cleaner with MG Chemicals Double Head Chamois Swabs?

2) Are either or both the CCD-TRV99 and the DCR-TRV50 camcorders sufficient for the job, given their age, or does it make sense to invest in something a little less ancient that still had S-Video outputs and that may be found new or nearly new? And would you still always go with a camcorder vs. a standalone player of some kind?

3) I understand both the CCD-TRV99 and the DCR-TRV50 have an onboard TBC of some help to stabilize the image. Can someone please confirm this is true, and if so, is it automatic or do I need to “turn it on”, and generally, are there any other specific settings I need to attend to on the camcorder before playback, or just press Play? And, in conjunction with the question above about newer Hi8 camcorders, are there other Hi8 models with better TBC that I should consider? And just for my info, is there a specific advantage using the same equipment for source playback as was used to record the tapes in the first place, or does it not really matter?

4) What are the best S-Video cables to use for this project. I know there are entire forums dedicated to this subject, but can someone actually recommend a specific make and model for me, and does it stand to reason that with analog cables, shorter is always better?

5) What kind of high quality, full frame TBC device can still be purchased today, and from where? So far, I cannot find any of the ones recommended in some of the posts here. Also, are these devices simply attached in line between the camcorder and capture card and left alone, or do I need to fiddle with adjustments on the TBC itself?

6) Same question about the capture card, which is no longer easily found. Seems everyone here recommends the AIO cards, but what is the best, specific model I should buy, and where can I find it?

7) Other than being equipped with Windows XP, are there any specific PC brands/models that work better than others with these capture cards, or does any tower with card slot work?

8) Given the enormous disk space needed, I am going to need a series of hard drives, and from what I read here, they cannot be USB (I assume all XP supports is USB 2.0), but only SATA. Can someone help me understand how I can run those drives externally so that they can be easily interchanged as needed? Are there cradles that will hold raw drives, and if so, where exactly do they plug in externally, and what specific drive brand and size do you recommend? My vision of SATA drives are the ones mounted internally using a wide ribbon cable, but actually switching those out every few tapes would be a really tough job. I need a reliable system that will ultimately hold about 200 tapes' worth of video.

9) As a general rule of thumb, how large of a file will a 120 minute Hi8 tape produce? Can I assume that I will never be able to put these master archives on a DVD or BlueRay Disc, so then I need to talk about creating backups of these files, which would require an entire duplicate set.

10) What is the actual format name of these digital video files?

And now, for the $64,000 question, assuming these are producing 30-50 Gbyte files per master archive, what in the world do I do next to make them more manageable and useable across a spectrum of devices and also edit and enhance them? Will I be able to plug in these SATA drives into a modern machine for post production, what specific software is best to convert them to manageable sizes, and are Macs invited to the party?

One final thing. I assume this entire operation is governed by the GIGO principle, so that whatever I end up with post conversion, even after using a lossy format that gets the video down to the normal 4-5 Gbytes max that I can put onto a DVD, I am always better off in the long run with that result than by connecting the CCD-TRV99 and DCR-TRV50 camcorders directly to the RDR-GX7 or VRD-MC5 DVD for a quick and easy DVD dub.

latreche34 05-02-2019 11:13 PM

Why do you insist on using DVD as your final medium? Flash media is way cheaper now and can carry any format not just mpeg2 used for DVD.

pavilion 05-02-2019 11:16 PM

I don't particularly. Just though it made sense for long term storage and duplication, but that's way down the road. I need to get the videos converted first.

sanlyn 05-03-2019 02:19 PM

Capturing to lossy media or going to lossy media directly from capture is a waste of time. Might as well ditch the PC and find a decent DVD recorder. Hi8 and MiniDV both have cleanup issues, which you didn't mention. What about input level controls and other common problems? I Realize that newbies and others with no concept of better quality video processing don't care about quality and can't see very well, but why do they always expect to be congratulated for mediocre results that require no skill or knowledge?

pavilion 05-03-2019 02:38 PM

Hi sanlyn,
Is this an admonition of something I said or a response to latreche34?

Quote:

I Realize that newbies and others with no concept of better quality video processing don't care about quality
I thought my entire point was I was trying to achieve the best quality video processing...

sanlyn 05-03-2019 04:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pavilion (Post 61191)
"I Realize that newbies and others with no concept of better quality video processing don't care about quality"

I thought my entire point was I was trying to achieve the best quality video processing...

That was a general tirade against the kinds of misinformation that often gets posted, but doesn't always apply to you specifically or in its entirety. Nevertheless, there's enough misinformation here that it would take at least 2 hours to answer all of it. So I'll attempt to answer some of it briefly, and will have to tackle the rest of it overnight if you still have questions.

You're on the right track with Hi8 getting captured to lossless media, although we recommend that you do it using a lossless compression codec such as HuffYUV or Lagarith. Hi8 video is stored as analog YPbPr, the closest digital colorspace being YUY2, which is what we recommend. It's debatable to discuss analog format resolutions (Hi8 bis said to be similar to SVHS with 400 lines of luminance resolution), but discussing analog "frames" is tedious because analog is continuously varying waveforms and has no pixels. Normally it is captured losslsessly as interlaced 720x480 NTSc (or 720x576i PAL) which is convenient for formats such as DVD or SD-BluRay, is enough luma and chroma resolution for even strong cleaning and other processing, and is easily converted to other formats and frame sizes. Although Hi8 is cleaner and sharper than VHS, it till has many of VHS's noise and signal level problems. The software for capture is VirtuaLDub. The software for cleanup is Avisynth and VirtuaLDub. For reformatting, Avisynth is the utility of choice. For encoding, you can use practically anything.

Consumer DV comes as Type 1 or Type 2 DV (involving two common DV codecs from Panasonic and SONY, and others, but the format itself is called "DV"). DV is never captured or re-recorded. Let me repeat that. DV is never captured or re-recorded. DV is copied 1:1 via Firewire and software for that purpose, such as WinDV. You can plop DV onto a Mac, but why? What can you do with it in a Mac? DV all by itself has signal level problems (notably blown-out brights), compression defects, and plasticky color. There's nothing you can do to clean it up in a Mac except play with the color. You're better off using Firewire and Windows and copying to unaltered DV media. You can then decode lossy DV to lossless working files using Lagarith (DV is YV12, so you can't use HuffYUV) for cleanup of DV's mosquito noise and other compression problems to get much cleaner encodes later, and for reformatting. Again, use Avisynth and VirtualDub for restoration and formatting.

DV transfer does not require a TBC. Hi8 does, at least at the line-level. Hi8 may or may not require a frame-level tbc.

Anything else will be lower quality and/or more work. The "else" might be "OK", "will do", "better than nothing", "almost as good", "good enough", or any of several charitable re-phrases or euphemisms. But it will be lower quality, period.

pavilion 05-03-2019 04:33 PM

I'm a little confused when you refer to "lossless media" or "unaltered DV media". Are we not referring to hard discs or DVD's as "media", so how is media in itself "lossless"? I'll check back later to see more of your explanations, and appreciate your help in answering my questions.

hodgey 05-03-2019 05:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pavilion (Post 61178)
In addition, given the choice between my CCD-TRV99 camcorder and my EV-S5000 VCR, the camcorder will always yield a better S-Video signal. I have no idea why, but so I have read here.

For the best possible quality, you would stick to the analog S-Video rather than going over DV yeah as noted by sanlyn. As for camcorder vs vcr, The camcorder has a line-TBC, I don't think the VCR does. This helps fix horizontal wiggling. Additionally, the camera is a Hi8 XR camera, XR being an extension to the 8mm video formats that supposedly has slightly higher horizontal video resolution. You won't get that extra resolution on the VCR.

Quote:

Originally Posted by pavilion (Post 61178)
2) For the same reason, despite the fact that MiniDV tapes are already “digital” and my DCR-TRV50 has a DV output that would make conversion to a MacBook Pro both direct and easy, there is still significant downside in using the DV port

The the video on MiniDV tapes is already digital, so using the firewire output simply copies the video, which is what you want. No reason to do that over analog. It can be done on a mac, but you have to make sure whatever program you use to record the video with give you back the raw files, and doesn't e.g re-encode to some other video codec.

Quote:

3) I understand both the CCD-TRV99 and the DCR-TRV50 have an onboard TBC of some help to stabilize the image.
It's on by default. You can find the setting in the camera menu. There is no such thing for the miniDV camera as that is already digital.

Quote:

5) What kind of high quality, full frame TBC device can still be purchased today, and from where?
There occasionally some sold here on the forums, or you could be lucky to find one up on ebay. It's possible passing the analog signal through the Sony DVD recorder (camera -> s-video in on DVR or TBC -> S-Video out on DVR or TBC -> capture card) you got may be sufficient if it doesn't have any ill effects, 8mm video is not as demanding as VHS.

sanlyn 05-03-2019 08:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pavilion (Post 61200)
I'm a little confused when you refer to "lossless media" or "unaltered DV media". Are we not referring to hard discs or DVD's as "media", so how is media in itself "lossless"? I'll check back later to see more of your explanations, and appreciate your help in answering my questions.

DVD, BluRay, MPEG, h.264 and DV use lossy encoding. Lossy means that what goes into it is less than what gets compressed. Lossy codecs decide what data elelements are important and what elements will be discarded, usually based on bitrate and/or compression level. Less bitrate and/or more compression means more loss. Every phase of lossy encoding loses cumulatively more and more data. The data lost is never recoverable. Lossy compression results in digital artifacts (macroblocks, grain, distortion, chroma noise, mosquito noise, loss of motion clarity, loss of detail, loss of color density, and increasing stages of image damage, and so forth. Each phase of lossy compression results in added layers and complexity of artifacts. Because of data loss and recompression damage, lossy codecs are not recommended for edits, filtering, or reformatting. Lossy encodes are often referred to as final delivery formats because they are not designed for further modification without damage. In addition, final delivery formats encode using interframe structure, meaning they cannot be cut or otherwise altered without lossy re-encoding.

DV has half the chroma resolution of Hi8 and imbeds analog anamolies and noise as digital artifacts or distortions, such as mosquito noise, that don't exist in analog source and that are difficult to clean afterwards without incurring detail loss. Artifacts eat up final encoding bitrate that is wasted on noise instead of being used for detail clarity. If DV isn't filtered and cleaned up a bit, DV artifacts look worse after final encoding. DV is an obsolete format that fell out of favor and was denied further development with the demise of Pentium III and the rise of DVD and better codecs for video encoding and restoration. Like VHS it was designed for the CRT era. It is not supported by external players or by the internet. So, if you want playback other than on a PC, DV has to go through at least one more final lossy encode to be used as other formats.

JPEG and some TIFF formats are lossy codecs. Each recompression of a JPEG image looks worse than the last.

Lossless encoding means that 100% of what goes into the encode is what comes out, unaltered. Lossless data does not have added compression artifacts. HuffYUV, Lagarith, and UTVideo are lossless codecs designed for video work. PNG is a lossless codec for photo work. PKzip and 7Zip are lossless codecs for data files.

DVD is lossy. I don't know what you've been reading, but if you read that DVD is lossless you didn't read it in this forum. If you think that a DVD disc is "lossless" because it doesn't change every time it is played, you are in a great deal of trouble when it comes to video work. I don't think you're that far back, but you seem to be making a lot of unsupported assumptions about video formats. I don't know where you're picking those up, but it's not from digitalfaq. I think you made the right turn to come to an advanced video forum for better information.
:wink2:

pavilion 05-04-2019 10:28 PM

My apologies, but I am new here and haven't quite figured out how to properly "quote" from previous posts:

Quote:

The the video on MiniDV tapes is already digital, so using the firewire output simply copies the video, which is what you want. No reason to do that over analog. It can be done on a mac, but you have to make sure whatever program you use to record the video with give you back the raw files, and doesn't e.g re-encode to some other video codec.
But if I do that, I cannot pass the signal through an external TBC, because it only has an S-Video input/output, correct? So, the question is, am I better off taking the DV signal through S-Video > TBC > Capture Card, or going straight from DV > Firewire? I don't know why, but I thought Firewire was a Mac only standard, and moreover, the new MacBooks only have USB-C ports, right? Is that the same for PC laptops as well? How would I then go from the DV port to one of these new laptops?

-- merged --

I am really getting an education here, and for that I am very grateful. This whole Hi8 vs. DV is fascinating, because as a complete newbie at the time, I had assumed (and perhaps for good reason based on the marketing push then) that DV was the best and greatest new tech and basically just put away my Hi8 camcorder after that. From, what you are saying, DV is far inferior, but at this point, it is what it is I suppose. I am just grateful for the memories and want to preserve them as best as possible.

I understand what you meant earlier about capturing to DVD being a lossy exercise. I was just distinguishing the physical format of the media, as opposed to a hard drive or memory card, because obviously, to the extent that they just hold data, they are in and of themselves "lossy". If I have a lossless encoded file and copy it to a DVD (i.e. file copy), it is still lossless, correct?

Quote:

So, if you want playback other than on a PC, DV has to go through at least one more final lossy encode to be used as other formats
So, is there any point, instead, to run the DV through S-Video and a TBC and capture it raw, or can a TBC not make any improvements on a DV?

-- merged --

Quote:

HuffYUV, Lagarith, and UTVideo are lossless codecs designed for video work
So, circling back to my OP please help me with a bottom-line checklist of what I need to make this work:

Hi8 Camcorder > S-Video > TBC-1000 > S-Video > AIO Capture Card > XP Computer

1) HuffYUV is the best lossless codec, but what software do I install on the PC to actually do the capture?
2) Which AIO capture card model is the preferred one?
3) Is there a particular PC model you prefer, spec-wise?
4) What kind of file size should I expect for a 120 min. Hi8 tape?
5) Any particular HDD brand/type for the best transfer rate? I am going to need several of them since XP maxes out at 2 TB.
6) Should I use the internal HD bay or can I rig an external drive setup for easy HDD swaps?
7) What format does HuffYUV ultimately save in?

Still unclear about DV... should I just use the DV firewire directly to computer, or use the S-Video > S-Video > TBC-1000 > S-Video > AIO Capture Card > XP Computer?

After I have converted all the video tapes to with lossless HuffYUV, what is my best option (PC or Mac) to then edit, enhance, and compress to various formats so they can play on laptops, phone, online?

Sergei316 05-05-2019 11:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pavilion (Post 61245)
"HuffYUV, Lagarith, and UTVideo are lossless codecs designed for video work"

So, circling back to my OP please help me with a bottom-line checklist of what I need to make this work:

Hi8 Camcorder > S-Video > TBC-1000 > S-Video > AIO Capture Card > XP Computer

1) HuffYUV is the best lossless codec, but what software do I install on the PC to actually do the capture?
2) Which AIO capture card model is the preferred one?
3) Is there a particular PC model you prefer, spec-wise?
4) What kind of file size should I expect for a 120 min. Hi8 tape?
5) Any particular HDD brand/type for the best transfer rate? I am going to need several of them since XP maxes out at 2 TB.
6) Should I use the internal HD bay or can I rig an external drive setup for easy HDD swaps?
7) What format does HuffYUV ultimately save in?

Still unclear about DV... should I just use the DV firewire directly to computer, or use the S-Video > S-Video > TBC-1000 > S-Video > AIO Capture Card > XP Computer?

After I have converted all the video tapes to with lossless HuffYUV, what is my best option (PC or Mac) to then edit, enhance, and compress to various formats so they can play on laptops, phone, online?


I am pretty new to analog video capturing but I will try to answer some of your questions.

1) Use VirtualDUB 32-bit for capturing with HuffYUV AVI.

2) The preferred capture cards are the ATI All In Wonder AGP capture cards. I use an AIW 9700 pro AGP and AIW 9800 pro AGP on Windows XP Pro 32-bit systems. I also use a AIW x600 pro PCIe on a Windows 7 pro 32-bit system.

3) To utilize the AGP video architecture you will need to assemble or find a system with an AGP slot on the motherboard. In both my AGP capture systems I use a Intel D875PBZ Socket 478 motherboard. Be warned that AGP motherboards and systems in GOOD working condition are getting harder to find.

4) With HuffYUV, figure 35-40GB/Hour file size.

5) I prefer the Seagate Barracuda 7200rpm SATA drives for capture. I use multiple 2tb drives for capturing.

6) You can use external drive bays. You will need a eSATA expansion card to use external swap bays. All of my capture systems cases have 4 - 5 1/4 drive bay slots that I have hot swap bays installed in. They are ONLY for capturing the files. I then transfer them to my NLE system for editing, restoring, and encoding.

7) The files will be saved as AVI.

Hope this helps.

pavilion 05-05-2019 11:50 AM

This is extremely helpful... to clarify further... because I am also new to this...

1) VirtualDUB for capturing, set to HuffYUV AVI compression. HuffYUV is a codec that gets installed into the system, i.e. you don't see or open it once it's installed. VirtualDUB in an application you launch to perform the capture. And I assume both are downloadable somewhere, perhaps on this board?

2) Hmm... you mention an "AIW x600 pro PCIe on a Windows 7 pro 32-bit system 7"? Is that card on equal footing with the the earlier XP versions ("AIW 9700 pro AGP and AIW 9800 pro AGP") you mention, because gee, working with Windows 7 in terms of building a machine and using larger hard drives, and USB 3 and stuff is much easier than XP, obviously. But, in the end I want the best output, so I would only use that card if it is equal in quality.

3) I have no clue what AGP means (I imagine something like advanced graphic processor?) but where in the world on Ebay, for example, can I find a machine with that type of slot? Is AGP a common standard? I mean, I am not actually going to build a PC from parts... I need a commercially available machine (HP, Dell, etc.) to add the card to. Is an AGP slot something that would be in the specs, or does it go by a different name? Any help finding such an animal would be so appreciated. I guess I need to start with some model numbers to look for.

4) Wow, so 200 x 120 min. tapes is... 8 TB? Is that right?

5) XP is limited to 2 TB, right? So I need 4 HDD, or less if I use Windows 7? If the latter, I can almost put everything on one WD HDD? But again, I am looking for no quality compromises. So the AIO x600 has to be really top notch.

6) The eSATA expansion boards are pretty universal, or do you have a favorite you recommend? Forgive me newbieness, but what's an NLE system?

7) And once saves as AVI, then I'm off to the races playing with them, getting them down to manageable everyday sizes, adding effects and titles, formatting for devices, etc? The original HDD then become my archives. But I suppose I would also then make a bit copy for extra protection, so I'll need twice the number of hard drives.

What S-Video cables to you recommend... there's so much debate on what to use but at this point with all the other expenses, it makes no sense to cheap out on cables, right?

And what about head cleaning of the camcorder? How necessary is it, and how often during the process, i.e. after how many hours of playback?

JPMedia 05-05-2019 01:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pavilion (Post 61249)
3) I have no clue what AGP means (I imagine something like advanced graphic processor?) but where in the world on Ebay, for example, can I find a machine with that type of slot? Is AGP a common standard? I mean, I am not actually going to build a PC from parts... I need a commercially available machine (HP, Dell, etc.) to add the card to. Is an AGP slot something that would be in the specs, or does it go by a different name? Any help finding such an animal would be so appreciated. I guess I need to start with some model

AGP stands for "Accelerated Graphics Port." It is a legacy computer graphics card slot. With the exception of a few niche motherboards, such as the ASRock 775 775i65G R3.0, there aren't modern motherboards being produced that are compatible with AGP graphics cards.

However, you might have luck searching for a used one on ebay. This VOGONS forum thread has a list of motherboards that are compatible with both Intel LGA 775 CPUs and AGP graphics cards. I know you said that you don't want to build a capture PC from scratch, but many users on the forum [myself included] have done so. It might end up being a less expensive endeavor than you think.

lordsmurf 05-05-2019 01:15 PM

There are some USB cards that are almost as good as ATI AIW, but for lossless capturing only. Some are also NTSC only, or NTSC/PAL only. A big reason that ATI AIW AGP/PCI is best is due to AVI + MPEG capturing, and NTSC + PAL + SECAM + other more obscure signal capturing.

ISA/AGP/PCI/PCIe are card slots in the computer.

Lossless is about 35gb/hour, so do the math knowing that. Leave overhead, and remember drives are 90% of actual rating. So 200 x 70gb. 400 hours x 35gb = 14000gb, 14tb. Probably 4x 5tb drives would be fine, about $450 for storage. And honestly, that's cheap.

One of my main system uses Win7 with USB capture.

NLE = non-linear editor. For example, Adobe Premiere Pro = NLE.

I almost never have issues with s-video cables, often using the freebies that came from JVC and DataVideo. sanlyn recommends BlueJeans brand, and those seem fine as well.

Do not clean VCR/camera heads unless needed. And it's rarely needed. At least 500 hours of playback, if routine. Better is to inspect deck innards, as well as VHS tapes before inserting them.

pavilion 05-05-2019 01:31 PM

I'm a little confused when you refer to a USB capture card. Is that USB in or out? If in, obviously I need a way to get from the Camcorder S-Video > TBC S-Video > Capture Card. If you mean out, then does that mean I can capture to USB drives? I think you've posted many times that USB is far too slow for this. I am only using this for lossless NTSC.

If I must use the ATI AIW, I have no choice but to find a machine with an AGP motherboard. Any idea what ready made XP models (Dell, HP, Lenovo, etc.) would have that?

Am I going to go the same route with my MiniDV tapes, S-Video > TBC > Capture Card, or just use the DV> Firewire, for lossless capture? The second seems easier but missed out on the TBC.

lordsmurf 05-05-2019 04:29 PM

You are indeed confused. Let me see if I can fix that...

USB is to slow to write hard drives.
USB is fine for the capture card, which writes to an internal HDD/SSD.

USB capture > computer/HDD = fine
computer/capture card > USB HDD = bad

Understand now? :)

I'll PM you about some of the USB cards I have available. Look for that tonight or tomorrow morning.

DV is not lossless.
You can do DV camera/tapes > Firewire card input. That works just for DV.
Or, since consumer DV cameras weren't great at resolving, you can actually capture DV tapes as lossless via analog, and it still look fine.
Hi8 over DV would lose 50%+ quality. And you'll for sure want TBC. Sometimes Hi8 can get by with TBC(ish) solutions, unlike VHS.

pavilion 05-05-2019 04:47 PM

Yeah, I kind of thought so. I understand now, but then there's this: When a capture card has a USB input, how do I connect the external TBC (i.e. TBC-1000) that should be situated between the camcorder and the card, when it only has an S-Video output? Is the choice ultimately between using an XP system with an S-Video card and a TBC vs. a Win 7 system with a USB card and no TBC?

When you say DV is not lossless (and I learned that from studying dozens of your educated posts !), does that mean that what is already on the DV tape was "lossied" when it was recorded, or does that mean that when the video gets piped out the DV port, it does so in compressed fashion, at which point it gets "lossied"?

If the latter is true, then it makes sense to actually use the DV camcorder's S-Video output (as opposed to the DV port) to capture the lossless video signal by sending the video by analog (and using a TBC) to get better results than if I sent it through the DV port and firewire.

It had been so many years since I shot these videos, but I remember like yesterday the salesman at Circuit City telling me all about this new DV format (they were very expensive at the time) and how it was so much better than Hi8. Turns out how wrong he was!

hodgey 05-05-2019 05:08 PM

Hi8 is analog video. The DV format is digital, in case of miniDV and Digital8 tapes it's like a big video file but stored on a tape instead of a hard drive or optical disk. It is a "lossy" format, it's basically long stream of JPEG-like images though a bit more primitive due to the limitations of hardware at the time. It lossily compressed when recorded to tape, it's not something you can recover afterwards.

If you are capturing DV over firewire, you get the same 0s and 1s that the camera decodes from the data on the tape. If you use the S-Video port, those bits are converted to an analog signal (and back when capturing.) The TBC won't do anything useful here. There isn't really any good reason to use the analog output for capturing (other than maybe in the very rare case the tape is so badly damaged that it causes issues with the firewire data stream, never had that happen personally though.)

I wouldn't say Hi8 is "better" than DV. DV is in most cases superior provided the same source, it preserves colour much better, and was huge improvement for editing purposes. Converting the data from the camera sensor to an analog video signal is also not a lossless process.

pavilion 05-05-2019 05:43 PM

OK, so that is very helpful. (Slowly but surely, I getting there, thanks to all the wonderful help here.) TBC is only for Video8 and Hi8. All MiniDV tapes have no need for analog output or TBC, but should go straight from the DV Camcorder through the firewire port to a computer. No capture card necessary.

1) Is there any reason to use a PC or Mac for this in particular, and do I still have the same issue LordSmurf raised about making sure to use a HDD with a fast throughput (i.e. sSATA)?

2) The latest Macbook Pros have only USB-C ports. How would I connect to one of them vis Firewire?

3) Ultimately, what then would be the optimal hardware setup to capture the DV tapes (computer and hdd), and what software should I use to make sure it stays lossless when it comes in?

-- merged --

So I am looking back over my notes and see where my confusion began. I had asked much earlier about whether it made sense for me to look into getting a later model Sony Hi8 camcorder (I have a TRV99) that also has a DV port, for ease of converting the video, and LordSmurf and others kept telling me as he has done here, that transferring Hi8 over the DV port will lose 50% in quality, which led me to believe that the same would be true when transferring MiniDV. I just figured that the lossie process was entirely in sending data through the DV port.

What I now realize is... sending DV through DV works fine as intended, because it starts out as digital (for whatever faults it has, the 1's and 0's are already baked in. But in order to send analog Hi8 over DV, it has to do effectively the work of an ATI card, but without a lossless codec, thus resulting is the lost quality. So, bottom line is, there never was and never will be (I imagine) a digital port that can convert and transfer analog video with lossless compression. You'd like to think that over the years, someone would have been smart enough to do that, but I guess not.

Which begs the question: What was the point of Sony coming out with those Hi8 camcorder and video walkman models with a DV port, when using that port would result in such a loss of quality in conversion? Did they just think most people wouldn't care?

Also, just to be sure I know what I'm doing, the "DV" port on these Sony cameras is also called the I.Link port, correct? It looks a little like the 1st gen mini USB port, and I see Sony sells a VMC-IL4435 cable that has two I.Link male ends, but then again I have no idea where to plug one side into a modern day computer. Am I missing the right cable, or the right port, or both? Is that Sony cable a firewire cable, or do I need something else entirely?

-- merged --

So it looks like i will need a Firewire (I.Link) to Thunderbolt 3 adapter in order to work with the MacBook (anyone know which one?), which raises an interesting question. LordSmurf frequently mentions that USB hard drives are not fast enough for capture purposes. This MacBook I have has an Solid State Drive. Will that have the transfer speed I need for the conversion?

sanlyn 05-05-2019 09:18 PM

1 Attachment(s)
What are you going to do with lossy DV artifacts after you get DV into your Mac?

Quote:

Originally Posted by pavilion (Post 61252)
I'm a little confused when you refer to a USB capture card. Is that USB in or out? If in, obviously I need a way to get from the Camcorder S-Video > TBC S-Video > Capture Card.

Capture is USB In. USB capture devices come with a capture dongle and input sockets or cables.
Camcorder S-Video > TBC S-Video > Capture Card -> PC USB input -> VirtualDub

Quote:

Originally Posted by pavilion (Post 61252)
If I must use the ATI AIW, I have no choice but to find a machine with an AGP motherboard. Any idea what ready made XP models (Dell, HP, Lenovo, etc.) would have that?

It's true, to use most AIW's you need an AGP board, but some later AIW's came as PCIe versions. AGP and PCIe PC's that can take AIW's were made by Dell, HP, Gateway, and others. In any case you'd still need XP. But as lordsmurf noted, an AIW isn't absolutely necessary. The later USB capture devices I'll mention in the notes below will produce excellent lossless captures. Part of the expense of AIW's was that they were full-service graphics accelerators and game cards with several accessories, as well as capture devices. The USB models are capture-only.

Quote:

Originally Posted by pavilion (Post 61252)
Am I going to go the same route with my MiniDV tapes, S-Video > TBC > Capture Card, or just use the DV> Firewire, for lossless capture? The second seems easier but missed out on the TBC.

MiniDV-Camera -> Firewire -> WinDV -> AVI.
Digital sources don't require tbc's.
DV source isn't captured or re-recorded. It's copied.

Quote:

Originally Posted by pavilion (Post 61245)
1) HuffYUV is the best lossless codec, but what software do I install on the PC to actually do the capture?

HuffYUV is preferred for capture because it's the fastest of the three and easier on a CPU. The version to start with is 32-bit v2.1.1: https://www.videohelp.com/download/huffyuv-2.1.1.zip.

How to download and manage stuff when you're setting up for capture and post-processing projects: Create a new folder on your main PC or on an external drive. This master folder will be exclusively for downloads (codecs, software, filters, etc.) so that you'll always know where a source and its documentation are located. Inside that folder, make a new subfolder for every a/v add-on that you download. It will help keep you sane and in control.

In Windows, unzip the huffyuv download, right-click on the ".inf" file, and in the popup menu click "install".
For post-capture you will undoubtedly need Lagarith as well, because a lot of post-processing is done with YV12 color. Huffyuv works with YUY2 and RGB, but not with YV12. Lagarith works with YV12, YUY2, and RGB, and makes slightly smaller files than HuffYUV (but it's more demanding of CPU's during capture). It's an easy install and easy configuration for later work. It comes with a 32-bit and 64-bit automated installer, so it will also work for later if you go to 64-bit NLE editors for processing after capture and cleanup. https://lags.leetcode.net/codec.html.

You can decompress and recompress to change lossless compressor codecs without damage, since these codecs are lossless.

UT Video codec handles even more colorspaces but is more complicated to set up, and some PC media players won't read it. Without special handling it doesn't compress as much as the others. You can use it if you want, but if you're starting out and don't yet know what a colorspace is, UT Video can be confusing so I wouldn't recommend it.

The software most people use for analog-to-lossless capture is 32-bit VirtuaLdub 1.9.11. Why? Because 64-bit filters are few and far between, and because a lot of popular free 64-bit video software is still buggy (thanks to Microsoft and its updates). Besides, you have a ton of great Windows a/v utlities and thousands of sophisticated filters available in 32-bit. Later in your workflow, however, 64-bit will be useful, so don't despair.

Get VirtualDub 1.9.11 from https://sourceforge.net/projects/vir...1.zip/download. VirtualDub has no installer. Doesn't need one. Download it into your dedicated a/v downloads subfolder so that you can save the original .zip download. Now, create a new folder on any of your hard drives and name it "VirtualDub". It doesn't matter where you create it, although a lot of people will use "Program Files\VirtualDub" in XP or 32-bit, or they use "Program files (x86)\VirtualDub" in 64-bit machines. Frankly, in my own XP and Win7 machines I just use "D:\VirtualDub". Copy the entire .zip download into the new folder, and unzip it. Then click "VirtualDub.exe". Congratulations, you just installed VirtualDub. It makes a couple of simple registry entries the first time you use it. Make a shortcut to VirtualDub.exe and place it on your desktop.

If you ever want to remove VDub's registry entries, go into the VirtualDub program folder and click Auxsetup.exe. It clears the registry entries but the VDub folder and filters will remain.

VDub comes with a load of builtin filters but you customize it by adding more. Several filter sources exist but the most popular has dozens of add-ons at http://www.infognition.com/VirtualDubFilters/. Filters are added by copying the filter into VDub's plugin folders. Well over 100 are available, including denoisers, color filters, and histograms. If you want decoders for mpeg, mp4, QuickTime, or a few others you can install FCCHandler's array of supplemental filters. I took the trouble of downloading FCCHandler's work, with instructions for each filter. The package is attached as "FCC Handler VirtualDub Plugins.zip". The .zip contains subfolders for each filter and instructions. You need only the 32-bit versions for 32-bit VirtuaLDub. The filters and additional read-me's are also available in different form at https://sourceforge.net/projects/fcchandler/files/.

Does Virtualdub have Help? Yes, go to the top menu and click "Help" -> "Contents". Most people just click on the menus to see what's there and then get the details later. There's an old quick-start guide that's still useful (but take careful note that the deinterlace info pictured is obsolete): http://foro.doom9.org/index.html?/ca...sing_vdub.html.

VirtualDub capture has a similar interface. The newer capture guide is more up to date and shows you how much more control and precision you can get with VirtualDub capture: http://www.digitalfaq.com/forum/vide...-settings.html

Quote:

Originally Posted by pavilion (Post 61245)
Which AIO capture card model is the preferred one?

None of them are preferred. We have always recommended against them as well as other cards designed basically for digital source. Magewell isn't designed for analog sources and has no provision for handling the non-signal level and waveform chaos of analog video. Magewell, Black Magic, and Canopus are not appropriate for analog. Most of the newest capture cards specific for handling analog input are generally USB devices, listed here from the oldest to the most current and easiest to find: ATI 600 USB, Hauppauge USB Live-2, Diamond Multimedia VC500.

While those three are actually very good products, if you really want to get into expensive video get something that actually works well with analog: (A) Aja Kona LHi/LHe/LSe, several models but this one at Amazon is mentioned often here with samples posted now and then, but doesn't work with Virtualdub. Or get (B) Matrox MX02 capture (PCI), which isn't made any more but you find them on sale for a few hundred dollars. If you really want the "professional" equipment of Aja or Matrox for analog source capture, instead of overpriced cards that aren't 'professional' with some formats, you'll have more of a learning curve ahead before you can actually start capturing.

The other method is to get your hands on a legacy ATI All In Wonder AGP or PCie card: Ati All in Wonder Models and History. This is easier to learn, with results that rival those from Aja Kona and Matrox and run circles around Magewell. AIW's are cheaper, but not all that cheap: you need an AGP motherboard, and drivers work only up to XP. ATI cards and sometimes entire capture chain setups with PC's are sometimes listed in the forum's marketplace.

Consensus is that for most purposes, even with bad tapes, the USB devices mentioned are still pretty good. There are many project posts in this forum that used them. They're far better than cheap Chinese spinoffs or overprice junk like EZCap (aka EasyCrap).

Quote:

Originally Posted by pavilion (Post 61245)
Is there a particular PC model you prefer, spec-wise?

For capture, no. People even use old Dell Pentium 4's for analog capture with VirtuaLDub. Anything except a laptop will do (Only a masochist would want a laptop for video work). For faster post-processing you'd want to transfer captured media to a late model PC with 4-core or better CPU's, although a lot of people are still using 2-core for standard definition work. Two operating systems that you don't want are Vista and Windows 10. Mac is inadequate for restoration work. XP or Windows7 are recommended. Win10 is a big headache but you can use it if forced to for some reason or another, but be prepared that some favorite video mutilities just won't work in W10.

Quote:

Originally Posted by pavilion (Post 61245)
What kind of file size should I expect for a 120 min. Hi8 tape?

30 to 35 GB per hour at 720x480 YUY2 with huffyuv or Lagarith is about average. No one post-processes an entire 120 minutes at one time. Home made Hi8 is a disaster for legal video levels and color balance. They change with almost every shot, so Hi8 is usually denoised, corrected and cleaned up in segments using Avisynth and VirtualDub, then rejoined and further edited and encoded in NLE's.

After capture, most people review the results for a few minutes to make sure things are OK, then they transfer the files to external drives.

Quote:

Originally Posted by pavilion (Post 61245)
Any particular HDD brand/type for the best transfer rate? I am going to need several of them since XP maxes out at 2 TB.

If you've been reading forum posts lately, the subject of external drives was discussed just yesterday: http://www.digitalfaq.com/forum/vide...-usb-30-a.html, including mention of capturing to external drives.

Most users capture to internal drives. USB and even eSATA are too slow for capture, IMO, but people do it anyway. Capture should never be written during capture time to the same drive that runs the OS. Users go with external USB drives for archives, such as 3.5" drives from WD or Toshiba. You can spend more money on more complex devices. My current store of unfinished captures and a few archives I want to keep permanently are on 16 WD and Toshiba 500Gb and 1TB drives. The prospect of possibly losing 2TB of once in a lifetime captures is more than I care to think about.

Not all captures and not all lossless intermediate files are kept. The intermediates are usually discarded at project's end, although lots of people keep their filter and processing notes. Many will archive their original captures to very high bitrate MPEG (16,000) or 10,000 for h.264 -- better than mainstream lossy encodes, but not all that easy to clean up if you decide to rework something.

Quote:

Originally Posted by pavilion (Post 61245)
Should I use the internal HD bay or can I rig an external drive setup for easy HDD swaps?

See the above post. You can buy 5.25" drive bays that allow you to hot-swap desktop drives. I used to have one a long time ago, but that was with a Win2000 machine that finally gave up the ghost. Since then I've always used 3 or 4 fixed drives, but a hot-swap bay isn't a bad idea.

Quote:

Originally Posted by pavilion (Post 61245)
What format does HuffYUV ultimately save in?

HuffYUV doesn't "save" anything, it either compresses or decompresses. it's the software that manages all that. Huffyuv is recognized by Virtualdub, Avisynth, most media players, and almost every NLE editor in the world except Premier Pro, FCP, and DaVinci (the latter can't use lossles codecs at all, which is absurd for a high-end product). The container file is always AVI.

You neglected to mention post-processing. "Editing" (i.e, cut-and-join) is only the tip of the iceburg in post-processing analog capture. Fortunately Hi8 isn't as problematic as VHS but it's not exactly pristine. Analog noise is a waste of final encoding bitrate, and the noise looks worse after encoding. Virtualdub is usually sufficient for Hi8 cleanup, although some problems might require the talents of Avisynth. After cleanup, for final encoding, timeline work, and adding special features and transitions you could go with Corel's 64-bit VideoStudio line which is pretty decent stuff and has good encoding for various formats. Cyberlink would be the worst choice, while Adobe is overkill and grossly overpriced for features you'll never use. Corel can use lossless codecs if you have them installed. Lagarith's 64-bit installer was already mentioned earlier, huffyuv 2.1.1 64-bit is at https://www.videohelp.com/download/h...ip?r=bGmrDhRNN.

For web posting and other square-pixel progressive work the only quality choice is Avisynth's QTGMC. Currently it's the world's prime deinterlacer and it does it better than your external player or TV. Avisynth also has resizers that are cleaner tyhan those in most editors. If you think resizing isn't variable and problematic, you're mistaken; if you want better results, use Avisynth. There are hundreds of posts about Avisynth/VirtualDub restoration and repair projects in the forum. They usually deal with severe video disasters, but more normal capture work is also discussed. There are links to some sample troublesome video restoration projects that use Avisynth + VirtualDub in Video capture workflow post #10 and Video capture workflow post #11.

Quote:

Originally Posted by pavilion (Post 61258)
Is there any reason to use a PC or Mac for this in particular, and do I still have the same issue LordSmurf raised about making sure to use a HDD with a fast throughput (i.e. sSATA)?

Yes, you need fast throughput. But why insist on a Mac? Mac deserted video hobbyists years ago, leaving them high and dry. You can work with lossy DV on a Mac, but there's not much you can do with it except play with the colors and cut-and-join. You can't remove mosquito noise or smooth sawtooth edges or correct other DV compression artifacts. There's no restoration and repair on a Mac. The few Macs in professional Hollywood restoration labs are custom designs costing tens of thousands of dollars plus custom software costing even more -- they're nothing like the Macs you buy in a store. Or else they use Windows, Lenox or other custom designed setups.

Quote:

Originally Posted by pavilion (Post 61258)
Ultimately, what then would be the optimal hardware setup to capture the DV tapes (computer and hdd), and what software should I use to make sure it stays lossless when it comes in?

Again: MiniDV in a digital camera that can play MiniDV -> Firewire cable -> FireWire input on PC -> WinDV in Windows XP -> DV-AVI to any hard drive you want.

If you want detailed advice on how to clean up consumer Dv for final encoding, install the free CedoCida DV codec in Windows for work in Avisynth and VirtualDub: http://www.cithraidt.de/cedocida/index.html. If you don't know how to make short video samples from DV, Huffyuv, or Lagarith for posting in the forum, just ask. You should be able create short samples without colorspace conversions or other changes.


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