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12-31-2018, 03:23 PM
chetnet chetnet is offline
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Hi All!

So, after 5 years, I found some time to again transfer my remaining 8mm tapes to my computer. I had already done 20 previously, but still have about 50 more to go. Anyway, it seems my software keeps noticing a 'break', and stops recording, even though I have all settings indicating to keep recording. I'm not sure if I should try a 'new' camera, or try to clean this one perhaps? Here's what I'm using:

> my original Sony DCR-TRV103 NTSC
> most tapes are Sony Video8, Hi8, or TDK MP Hi8
--- the earlier 1991+ tapes were recorded on my Sony CCD-F77 (still have)
> PowerDirector 13 on Windows 10, i7, AMD Radeon R7 200 series
> firewire/1394

1. If I should try cleaning first, what advice? (compressed air? etc?)
2. If I buy a new 8mm cam off of ebay, which ones best with firewire?
- I don't care about recording, nor do I want to spend more than $100 if I can help it

Basic goal is to get best quality backed up on-line, assuming as an avi file like others I've done, with editing and burning to dvd later down the road (which I've done plenty of times).

Thanks for any and all comments!!

Happy New Year!!
Chet
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  #2  
01-01-2019, 08:18 AM
Eric-Jan Eric-Jan is offline
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According to technical spec sheets, Hi8 is even better then SuperVHS, i don't know how this translates to the real world, but having a Hi8 player hooked up to a capture device, maybe a TBC in between, would be a good option, i don't know how much a DVR as pass through would have effect on the quality of Hi8.
btw. best quality, and a budget, don't mix best most of the time, it's one or the other.
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  #3  
01-01-2019, 01:39 PM
ehbowen ehbowen is offline
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Well, as the man said, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. I just captured/copied (for Sanlyn!) the two clips below from my Sony GV-D800 Hi8 Video Walkman which has both FireWire and S-Video outputs. Same tape, same player.

First clip workflow was Player>>TBC-4000>>ATI AIW X1800 PCIe, capturing lossless with HuffyUV on VirtualDub 1.9.11 under Windows XP, all connections S-Video. The second clip's workflow was a direct digital capture via FireWire from the player to an ATI AIW 8500DV with FireWire port using MiniDV (under Windows XP) as capture software. Look at the clips and tell me what you think.

I will note that the all-digital clip is 25% longer and yet comes out as less than half the file size of the analog capture, so if storage space is critical that might sway your verdict. Yet with a top-quality 4TB Seagate drive available for less than $120 including shipping and taxes, I would argue that it shouldn't sway it much.

Edit To Add: If you were capturing MiniDV tapes I would say to use a direct digital copy via FireWire since, as long as tape errors are minor, you can't really get any better quality than what the camera already recorded on the tape in compressed digital form years ago. But 8mm/Hi8, like VHS, is inherently an analog source. So I think you're best off keeping as much of the analog quality as possible as far into your storage and processing workflow as possible.

Second Edit To Add: I should note that while the Sony player is a Hi8 spec, the original camera this video was recorded with was a downmarket cheapie...a Sharp ViewCam 8. So it's not a Hi8 source tape.


Attached Files
File Type: avi ChristmasTestEd.avi (95.29 MB, 30 downloads)
File Type: avi ChristmasTest2.19-01-01_13-18.00.avi (43.74 MB, 20 downloads)

Last edited by ehbowen; 01-01-2019 at 02:11 PM. Reason: Correct stupid goof!
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  #4  
01-01-2019, 02:05 PM
hodgey hodgey is offline
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Yeah WinDV is nice, it will record as long as there's something coming from the camera.

Are the problematic tapes recorded on the new or the old camera?

Tapes recorded on the Sony DCR-TRV103 are going to be in the Digital8 format, i.e the video on the tape is digital, while the older tapes will be in the analog Video8 format. The label on the tape itself doesn't actually say what format it is, the 8mm video tapes are interchangeable. The newer Hi8 and Digital8 tapes had improved tape formulations so they would generally be more reliable, but they could still be used to record Digital8 on.

If it's the new tapes it could be a playback issue, with the analog tapes I think the camera will just output whatever it sees so there shouldn't be any break. Digital8 tapes will typically show gray or frozen lines or big blocks if the heads are dirty, while on analog tapes there will be a lot of noise.

I haven't used that particular software so I can't say much about what would make it stop. On Digital8 tapes the recording on the computer will normally pause if there are breaks on the tape though.

Side note:
On the DCR-TRV330 we had you could make it output 48khz rather than 32khz audio by setting it in the settings menu, I presume it works on other camcorders too. Not sure if the difference will be noticeable though.

Last edited by hodgey; 01-01-2019 at 02:17 PM.
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  #5  
01-01-2019, 03:44 PM
Eric-Jan Eric-Jan is offline
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Any noise is mostly due to poor light conditions, so you should not remove that for a good transfer, as it will have an impact on other details in the video image. mpeg compression will also slightly reduce any noise.
I would be careful to do any cleaning, what i noticed with equipment from a thrift store was: after playing a few tapes, heads seem to clean them self due to usage, if that's not the case you can try to clean (with care)
If your "breaks" are not present while doing a digital transfer, a choice is easily made

Last edited by Eric-Jan; 01-01-2019 at 04:04 PM.
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  #6  
01-02-2019, 10:07 AM
chetnet chetnet is offline
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Thanks for the replies folks!

Update: had kind of a false alarm....in PD13, there was a parameter about stopping capturing if idle for 60 seconds. For some reason, that was being triggered. I unchecked it and it will continuously record once again.
.
1. I will review the S-video vs firewire videos a bit later. I'm thinking I'm going to stick with the firewire regardless, since quality is good enough and it keeps me from passing thru another adapter to my pc.
.
2. Yes, 80% of my 8mm tapes were recorded before 1999, so one the old original camera. The Hi8 camera seems to play them back and transfer just fine.
.
3. Do you all have any experience with how many I can transfer per day without hurting the camera? I noticed after my 4th tape yesterday it was getting a really good smell to it, ha. I'm thinking I should limit to 3 per day.
.
4. Think this camera will last another 50 tapes? If not, my original questions remain then....advice on next camera to finish. Part of me thinks to get same exact model since I have the chargers, etc.
.
Much appreciated! Happy New Year!
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  #7  
01-03-2019, 08:36 AM
dpalomaki dpalomaki is offline
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What kind of a "good smell"? In general any smell from a camcorder is not a good sign. Implies heating of a component that is out-gassing as a result of the heat. If not a rubber-like smell might be a capacitor.

Allowing a cool off period between tapes is a good idea. I would start with the length of the tape just played.

50 standard Video8 tapes could be up to 100 hours. Whether or not it will last that long is anyone's guess.

FWIW: the same charger often fit several models so you may not have to limit yourself in that respect, just do the research for charger compatibility, usually listed in the user manuals.

Firewire transfer of analog source tapes is DV compression - not the best for restoration processing, but if you are satisfied with the result that is what counts.

On paper the Hi8 format is slightly better than S-VHS. But there are so many additional variables involved, such as camera head quality, record/play electronics quality, tape quality, and tape physical robustness to name a few, they are overall about equal. Hi8/Video8 was mainly an acquisition format, never had any success as a distribution format. The addition of time code capability to Hi8 camcorders made it convenient for linear editing.
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  #8  
01-03-2019, 09:18 AM
chetnet chetnet is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dpalomaki View Post

Firewire transfer of analog source tapes is DV compression - not the best for restoration processing, but if you are satisfied with the result that is what counts.
First, thanks for your full reply. I will certainly allow time between tapes to increase my probability of the camera lasting.

So, based on your experience, are you indicating I should get better quality using S-Video transfer vs Firewire, on the Video8 tapes? And related, would I get just as good quality using the original Sony CCD-F77 camera, with only RCA outputs, to do the transfer? Honestly, I never thought about comparing and had always assumed using the newer Hi8 Camera, with firewire output (and S-Video) would be best, as I would eliminate the adapter in between camera and pc.
.
Thx for your comments!
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  #9  
01-03-2019, 10:37 AM
hodgey hodgey is offline
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The older one will most likely look worse, both because the playback quality of that generation of cameras isn't as good as the newer ones, and due to capturing via composite/RCA cables rather than S-Video.

ehbowen's example videos should give an idea of the difference between capturing from firewire or capturing via S-Video with a very good analog capture setup.

Quote:
FWIW: the same charger often fit several models so you may not have to limit yourself in that respect, just do the research for charger compatibility, usually listed in the user manuals.

Read more: http://www.digitalfaq.com/forum/vide...#ixzz5bYxqUq2B
All the newer (like post 1997-1998 and up to the last ones) Sony 8mm cameras use the same chargers as the DCR-TRV103 you got as far as I know, including all Digital8 capable cameras, and even the early miniDV cameras.

One thing about the DCR-TRV103 compared to the newer models, is that it doesn't seem to have the TBC feature that stabilizes the horizontal wiggling the analog tapes will have. So, it's possible there may be a difference there, but I don't know how noticeable it is on the camera you have, or if it has the functionality but doesn't mention it.
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  #10  
01-03-2019, 07:58 PM
chetnet chetnet is offline
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Thanks Hodgey for the reply.

I couldn't get the one avi vid above to play for some reason, so I did my own quick test. It appears the S-Video connection, via a Hauppauge USBLive 2, has deeper contrast than the firewire, and is 1/3rd the file size as well (I used a 720x480 mpg format in my PD13). I'm a bit shocked it looks better at first glance and that I never did this test many moons ago. But I also need to test the firewire-avi file in PD13 and add contrast to it there and see if it looks better than the S-Video mpg file. Attaching a comparison pic of the screenshot. If the S-video is comparable, and 1/3rd the file size, that may be the way to go, huh? With the avi file being 3x the size, I would assume it contains more quality data and would look better in the end, by the time I burn to DVD possibly, no? (Of course, I realize these are old 8mm and not expecting highdef here, ha).

Any other comments based on these findings? Thx!


Attached Images
File Type: jpg Fwire-vs-SVid-screenshot.jpg (52.7 KB, 11 downloads)
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  #11  
01-04-2019, 07:47 AM
dpalomaki dpalomaki is offline
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One file probably did not play because a required CODEC is not available on your computer

FWIW: difficult at best to judge video from a JPG image. FWIW in the JPG image the blacks appear to be crushed in the SVID-mpg file with a loss of shadow details especially noticeable in the lower right in the Recall box, below the Cathy sock, and the snowman's scarf, and some highlights are close to blown - indicative of the too high contrast for the material. Higher contrast can give "snap" to an image but at some cost in shadows and/or highlights. When doing an s-video source capture you will need to take care not lose desired shadow and highlight detail to proc amp settings or similar settings and effects in the signal path.

Keep in mind that DV and MPG use very different compression schemes, which will have different temporal artifacts on playback. DV has about 3x the data rate of DVD-class MPG. DV uses intra-frame compression, each frame stands alone as a complete frame, better for editing, especially on low horsepower systems. MPG uses inter-frame compression, comprised of a repeating stream of one complete frame and perhaps 17 (if NTSC) of incremental changes to that frame. That allows higher compression ratios than DV.

Using a lossless file format would be even higher file size.

For Digital8 recordings the firewire transfer represents what was recorded on the tape. On the other hand S-VIDEO captures represent the net of the D/A (if a D8 tape) and A/D converters and amplifiers, filters, etc. in the signal path from the information recorded on the tape (whether analog or digital) to the output of the capture card.

Last edited by dpalomaki; 01-04-2019 at 08:16 AM.
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  #12  
01-04-2019, 08:55 AM
chetnet chetnet is offline
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Thank you very much for the thorough reply, dpalomaki!

I agree in that the S-Video seems like it's trading off details in the shadows, for the contrast. I definitely need to test the avi file with more contrast. I think the reason I never compared before was because I remember reading (again, like 10+ years ago) that avi/firewire would be better for editing the video.
.
It has definitely been eye opening though to see that S-Video is fairly close in quality and also saving a ton of space. However, if my goal is to save the best raw files, on-line first, then it's definitely looking like I will stick with avi/firewire transfer.
.
Now, hopefully this camera is going to last another 50-80 tapes, before I move onto my Mini-DVs, ha.
.
Thx a bunch!
Chet
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  #13  
01-04-2019, 11:44 AM
dpalomaki dpalomaki is offline
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Firewire for the Digital8 and and any MiniDV and HDV tapes (if the tape can be reliably read for firewire transfer). For VHS, S-VHS, Video8 and Hi8 I suggest you test an s-video capture to a lossless format if you intend to do image restoration work. Then go with what works best for you.
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  #14  
01-04-2019, 12:27 PM
chetnet chetnet is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dpalomaki View Post
Firewire for the Digital8 and and any MiniDV and HDV tapes (if the tape can be reliably read for firewire transfer). For VHS, S-VHS, Video8 and Hi8 I suggest you test an s-video capture to a lossless format if you intend to do image restoration work. Then go with what works best for you.
Thanks again! This is a response I was really wanting to see, nice and clear-cut based on tapes. I'm not sure my PD13 allows me to do S-Video capture (actually thru USB via adapter) to a lossless format?? I will try to research and test that though. These are formats PD13 does support for video:
2D Video: MVC (MTS), MOD, MOV, MOV (H.264), Dual-Stream AVI, MPEG-1, FLV (H.264), MPEG-2, MKV (multiple audio streams), MPEG-4 AVC (H.264), 3GPP2, MP4 (XAVC-S)* NEW, AVCHD (M2T, MTS), TOD, AVI, VOB, DAT, WMV, DivX**, WMV-HD, DV-AVI, WTV in H.264/MPEG2 (multiple video and audio streams), DVR-MS, DSLR video clip in H.264 format with LPCM audio, H.265/HEVC (MP4/MKV/M2TS)

I assume though that AVI is the only lossless format here??

Thx again!
Chet

PS. Just thought of something else...most of the tapes I recorded on the CCD-F77 were Video8 and Hi8. If the resolution for this camera was say 640 x 480, it would make no sense to transfer to a 720x480 format, right? But having said that, I can't seem to find out what the F77 recorded at. Comments?
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  #15  
01-04-2019, 01:50 PM
dpalomaki dpalomaki is offline
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Quote:
I assume though that AVI is the only lossless format here??
AVI is a "container" file that holds encoded video. The video is encoded by software called "CODEC." An AVI file may contain video encoded by a number of different codecs.
See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Audio_Video_Interleave
A common reason PCs can play some AVI files, but not others, is that the PC does not have the necessary CODEC available on it to decode the video in the AVI file.

Many CODECs in common use today are lossy. In the interest of saving storage space and bandwidth in the encoding process they toss image content/detail that most folks cannot see under typical viewing situations. This works OK for final distribution products/files like DVDs and Bluray. However, for initial capture and intermediate work a lossy file is not a good choice. The reason is that in processing the images, as happens with restoration and some types of editing, the data may go through several rounds of decoding, mathematical processing, and encoding. The losses and and round-off errors accumulate leaving unwanted visible artifacts behind. Some CODECs allow the user to select the degree of compression and loss.

Other threads at this board go into more detail on recommended CODECs for capturing video.
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