Hi8 Archive to Digital video -- Preserving Time code

Discussion in 'Amateur Video Production' started by Videod, May 11, 2005.

  1. Videod

    Videod Guest


    I've searched the archives and not found the answer, nevertheless this
    feels like a Newbie question ;-)

    I have Hi8 (Sony) videotapes, and I would like to buy the equipment to
    transfer to digital. I plan to buy an iMac G5 and a firewire DAC,
    perhaps Datavideo DAC-100. The plan would be to digitize everything,
    unedited and at relatively low compression and archive it to DVD's as
    source material for future editing.

    My Hi8 camera has some form of time code (I don't know it's exact
    specification) that preserves the actual time and calendar date of the
    video, and this is the nub of my question. I want to preserve that
    information for posterity so that when I've forgotten nearly everything
    of the 'good old days' preserved on those tapes, I'll be able to
    reconstruct the chronology. I'm not referring here to the time/date
    title that appears on some videos, but rather to a continuous hidden
    record of that information that's part of the video.

    What do I need to have (and/or do) in order to make sure that the
    calendar date and time become part of my permanent digital record.

    (I'll gladly accept advice on any other aspect of this project too,
    e.g. the choice of DAC, or recommendations on appropriate software and
    video format for the "archiving" step)

    With thanks, Mark
    Videod, May 11, 2005
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  2. Videod

    un8bf Guest

    I can offer that when I transfer/capture my Hi8 tape to my harddrive
    in dv format via firewire, the "hidden record" you refer to is also
    transferred. I'll edit my project as needed and transfer back to
    digital tape and the "hidden record" is still intact; and I can still
    turn the time/date display on or off when I review the tape.

    Once the dv file is converted to mpeg/avi/vob or whatever, the
    time/date data is lost. If you burn the captured dv file to a dvd as
    data (as opposed to dvdvideo) your time/date info will be preserved.
    un8bf, May 12, 2005
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  3. Videod

    un8bf Guest

    I should clarify that I was using a Digital8 camcorder with Hi8 tape.
    If you used a camcorder prior to this model than take heed of Steve
    M.'s advice.
    un8bf, May 12, 2005
  4. Buy a DVCAM deck (like a sony DSR-11). Plug in your camcorder, and
    transfer the Hi8 tapes over to either miniDV tapes or DVCAM tapes.

    This preservers the highest possible quality, preservers the timeline,
    and preservers the timecode. If stored correctly, you will have a
    lifetime, high quality archive, that you don't need a computer to work
    with, unless you want to start to edit them. Which is easy, as just
    popping them into the deck again.

    Richard Ragon, May 12, 2005
  5. Videod

    Videod Guest

    $2 K for the DSR-11. Yikes! :)

    My wife will never go for that!

    Actually, I'm hoping to keep on using my analog Hi8 camera for the time
    being and to stick with analog source material and digital data (DV
    format) on DVD's for the archives.

    Thanks both Richard and un8bf for your replies.

    Both of you suggest using a digital camcorder or deck in the process.
    Has anyone tried this with an analog camcorder going through a DAC into
    a computer?


    Videod, May 12, 2005
  6. Hi Mark,

    I use a Canopus ADVC-55 analogue to DV converter (excellent results, by the
    way) but this doesn't preserve the timecode from my Hi8 tapes.
    Lou van Wijhe, May 12, 2005
  7. Videod

    Videod Guest

    I use a Canopus ADVC-55 analogue to DV converter (excellent results,
    by the
    That's fascinating. I actually have been considering Canopus (perhaps
    the ADVC-100) for this project because it has locked audio. I will be
    just streaming the 2h hi8 tape into the computer, so I can expect some
    serious asynchrony if I don't have locked audio. But your experience
    suggests that the original time code will be lost.

    I'm at a bit of a loss here. If copying my tapes to DV in a DV tape
    deck or camcorder will preserve the time code, it suggests that the
    same should be possible in copying it into DV in a computer. If I'm
    right about that, then the loss of time code with the Canopus device is
    a fault of the device.

    Does anyone have a handle on the technicalities of this particular
    situation? I know that time code comes in different flavours, and I've
    read that the Sony Hi8 flavour is a bit different from the DV standard,
    but obviously if some are copying to DV tapes, they must be compatible.

    Any DV converters out there that preserve this time code AND have
    locked audio (and don't cost an arm and leg -- that's important!)?

    Best Regards,

    Videod, May 13, 2005
  8. Videod

    Videod Guest

    Just a note I should have made before.

    The camera I'm using is a Sony CCD-TR3000 Handycam.

    It's a pretty nice rig, actually. Great picture, S-Video outputs,
    reasonable sound.

    Anyway, I thought that might help someone who understands these things
    better than I do to decipher exactly what brand of time code is used on
    this device...

    Videod, May 13, 2005
  9. The problem is that Hi8 is NOT digital. There must have been some
    mis-communication because copying Hi8 tapes to a different medium will NOT
    preserve the TC.

    PLAYING them in a Digital8 camcorder may. I have done this a couple of
    times. Find an old Sony TRV-320 or something that takes Hi8 and D8 (I have
    a 320 at home) and play the Hi8 tape in the 320 and transfer using firewire.
    This will let the camera read the Hi8 date/time (it's not really TC) and
    transfer the data as you would by firewire.

    Do a look-see and see how much a used 320 could be.
    Henry Padilla, May 13, 2005
  10. I've never heard of anyone experiencing such "asynchrony"
    as a result of capture via one of the Canopus interface boxes.

    We've all heard tales of DVDs that end up with badly out-of-
    sync audio, but that is a result of subsequent processing, trans-
    coding, etc. It is NOT a result of the digitization in the Canopus
    Since you are feeding only the video and audio into the Canopus
    box, where do you think any timecode is coming from?
    Using Firewire preserves not only the DATA (the video and audio),
    but the METADATA (the timecode) in the same bitstream. This is
    not possible using analog connections (video and audio). Commercial
    video either uses an additional wire to carry the timecode, or else
    "steals" one of the audio tracks to store timecode.

    Since 99.9999% of users of the Canopus boxes are feeding it from
    sources without timecode (VHS, 8mm, etc), Canopus kept the price
    down by leaving out any provision for timecode.
    No. The loss of timecode with the Canopus (or any other A/D
    converter device) is a result of feeding it only the video and audio.
    By definition, ANY device that takes only video and audio (as
    contrasted with a digital bitstream like Firewire, USB2, etc.)
    loses any timecode information. The timecode "metadata" is
    "out-of-band" and must be carried separately unless you have
    it interleaved into a digital bitstream.
    Use a D8 camcorder which reads the Hi8 tapes, digitizes the
    video and audio into a DV stream, and feeds the DV to the
    computer via Firewire. Still no assurance that it adds the
    timecode data into the DV bitstream, however. Why do you
    think that you need the timecode?
    Richard Crowley, May 13, 2005
  11. Videod

    Videod Guest

    I've never heard of anyone experiencing such "asynchrony"
    That's my understanding too. I have read posts from others using the
    Datavideo DAC100 who complain about this problem.
    A reasonable question. Since you ask, I suspected that it was coded in
    the video stream in a format that was nonvisible. In my mind, it was a
    bit like SACD where encoding information is hidden in the lowest bits.
    Yes, I know it's analogue, but we all know that analogue media can
    store digital data (just like my hard drive). Essentially, I imagined
    it "interleaved in the data stream" as per your description of DV.
    Well, now you know about my thought process, but I'm the first one to
    change my preconceptions when presented with facts. So I guess the time
    code is somewhere else.

    Do you know if Sony had a way of transmitting this data from "somewhere
    else". It seems to me that the data must be used by their "edit
    I just want it. It tells me when I took the video -- date and time. So
    I know whether it was someone's birthday, or a holiday, or whether it
    was the kids getting up in the morning or going to bed at night. I'll
    have to see if I can borrow a D8 to test out the concept before I buy.

    Thanks for the detailed reply!

    Videod, May 13, 2005
  12. Mark,

    This is a eye-opener description of the locked audio issue:
    Lou van Wijhe, May 13, 2005
  13. One method used by professional formats back in the Analog Age
    was to put SMPTE Timecode ("TC") on one of the (linear) audio
    tracks. This is called "linear timecode" (LTC).

    A more recent method was to hijack one of the video lines (above
    the masked part of the picture) and put the TC there. This is called
    Vertical-Interval Timecode (VITC). In fact if you diddle the
    vertical-hold so you can see the vertical interval, you can still
    see quite a bit of data encoded there. On one of the other "disposable"
    lines is where they put closed-caption data (and "Teletext" in
    Europe) And sometimes you can see one line worth of SMPTE
    color bars and other test patterns.

    However, these methods are very very rarely seen in consumer
    equipment. I've never seen it.
    I believe it is transmitted through the "Control-C" or "Control-L"
    "remote control" cable.
    Richard Crowley, May 14, 2005
  14. Videod

    Videod Guest

    It seems that the consensus on this thread is that playing a Hi8 tape
    on certain D8 camcorders may allow the transfer of date/time to DV
    format. Henry Padilla's done this with the Sony TRV-320. Could I ask
    what camera you or others have manged to use successfully?

    Videod, May 16, 2005
  15. Videod

    C.J.Patten Guest

    I also have the '320. (BTW: Tom usually uses "Henry's" account so thank Tom
    for the 320 test ;)

    Purely theory but the TRV120, 320, 520 and 720 are essentially identical
    cameras. I'd guess if the 320 could do what you need, each of those would.

    I'd also guess the previous model year would also likely do the same thing
    (the x10 series).

    C.J.Patten, May 16, 2005
  16. Videod

    un8bf Guest

    Sony DCR-TRV320.
    un8bf, May 17, 2005
  17. I forgot what name I used at work so when I got home I accidentally used the
    other one.

    Both are cool with me.
    Tom P.
    Henry Padilla, May 17, 2005
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