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moxiecat 09-06-2011 09:19 AM

Question on timecode and capturing analog tapes
Hey everyone,

I got a question today that is confusing to me.

Basically, a person wants to transfer his Video8 tapes to AVIs. He wants the resulting files to be created as such: "Each time code break causes a new file to be created."

Unless I'm wrong, Video8 tapes do not carry time codes. And even if the converting device added them, there would not be any breaks in an analog tape--right? As far as I know, the analog tape would transfer from beginning to end with a continuous timecode.

He also wants "date and time to be added to the output." Again, unless the camcorder created an on-screen stamp, there is no way to know this with Video8 tapes. Date/time information is not carried digitally. So even if he wanted an onscreen stamp to be created on his new AVIs (yes, dumb), it would be impossible to do this because the information would be unknown.

Am I missing something here? Do these questions make sense or does this person clearly not understand how Video8 tapes are different from digital tapes? I'm starting to think I'm the crazy one--or at least, the confused one! :)

NJRoadfan 09-06-2011 09:50 AM

Unless those tapes contain Digital-8 recordings, neither is going to happen. Only a select few Hi-8 analog camcorders encoded the date and time, even then I don't think there is a way to extract that timecode short of displaying it during playback. You may be able to simulate the timecode breaks using a Digital-8 camcorder playing back analog tapes, it depends if the camcorder stops the DV stream when there is a break in a recording.

admin 09-06-2011 11:05 AM

"Digital8" is just DV on an 8mm (Hi8) tape, and it carries all the nuances of DV. There are several revisions to DV, of course, and I don't recall all the features of the revisions, and thus don't know off-hand of which revision(s) of DV that Digital 8 uses.

Analog Video8 or Hi8 doesn't have timecodes in this manner. Those would be on-screen notations, if anything. And in this case, yes, as you say, the person giving the directions has no concept of analog 8mm recordings. Based on the information, I think this person was reading something random online. Sort of like how people spend 30 minutes on Wikipedia, and suddenly consider themselves legal experts, historians or doctors. That's just my gut feeling here.

Generally speaking, a person that know that much about Digital8 would have just done the transfer themselves, with the unusual exception of the camera no longer being available. I've found most Digital8 owners, however, keep their cameras long-term. Many of those cameras aren't even a decade old yet (1999-2005), and are almost all Sony camcorder products (meaning "well made" and likely to still be around).

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