how -good- is dv-in

Discussion in 'Video Cameras' started by foldface, Oct 27, 2003.

  1. foldface

    foldface Guest

    I'm new to camcorders and have not got any old analogue tapes to
    transfer to digital format. Similiarly I'm quite at home with a pc
    and expect to transfer any films I make to svcd/other (is this realistic in
    terms of quality?)
    Question, do I need dv-in. In particular I'm thinking of the canon MV600i
    and wondering could you actually copy from VHS tapes to SVCD via
    the camera or is there no chance of that, would the quality be awful?
    (Not commercial tapes so macro-vision irrelevant)
    I want an appreciation of the capabilites of DV-in. Any comments

    foldface, Oct 27, 2003
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  2. foldface

    Tony Morgan Guest

    You've raised a number of issues by your questions.

    IMHO, unless you're a "happy-snappy" and intend to remain one (which
    from your questions you clearly are not), you do really need DV-in. A
    large number of people think that they don't need it, then a month or so
    down the line realise that they do.

    Anyway to focus on DV-in in relation to you intentions....

    A lot (most?) camcorders with DV-in permit you to input analogue video
    (e.g.from your VHS recorder) and transfer it to your miniDV tape. Then
    of course you can capture into any of the video editors. Sony in
    particular do provide this feature BTW - I'm not sure how universal this
    is with other makes. If you haven't got DV-in then your camcorder will
    not have this feature.

    You're use of the term "SVCD/other" suggests that eventually you might
    (eventually) get a DVD burner. In this case you'll probably make a movie
    now for SVCD then later want to put that same movie on DVD. Transferring
    your SVCD movie to DVD directly will likely result in a noticeable loss
    of quality.

    Ideally, IMHO, when you've made a movie you really should keep a
    high-quality "master" - this means keeping it in DV format (and not
    MPEG-2 which SVCD and DVD do). Since you need 3.6Mb of disk space for
    each second of video, storing your "masters" is a problem. The cheapest
    (and only IMHO) way of storing movie masters in DV format is by writing
    them to miniDV tape - which requires DV-in.

    The last point you seem to raise is that of reading video in from VHS
    (which seems to suggest that you're thinking of saving your masters on
    VHS). Not a good idea since the quality of VHS is about one half that of

    There's one last point I should mention. Some manufactures seem to be
    now preventing buyers from enabling DV-in (which on older models was a
    possibility). I have no personal knowledge of this - I'm only going on
    what I have heard here and elsewhere.
    Tony Morgan, Oct 27, 2003
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  3. foldface

    foldface Guest

    A lot (most?) camcorders with DV-in permit you to input analogue video
    And whats the quality like for this? e.g. compared to a tv capture card
    in a pc. Could you capture a tv film and transfer to a pc? I don't even know
    if this is technically feasible because of horizontal line numbers or other.
    Got one

    One thing I'm obviously missing out on here is information on the size,
    format and quality of the images captured and you obviously know about this.
    At 3.6Mb/s you'll need 1.3G/hour. DVDs are around the 75p mark for DVD-R,
    around 18p for CDs (yes, changes per minute, probably cheaper now), so media
    of that format is fairly cheap. A one hour movie will fit on 36p worth
    of CDs so it sounds practical'ish.

    Think I just need more information

    Thanks for your reply

    foldface, Oct 27, 2003
  4. foldface

    Ian Guest

    Your storage figures are out by an order of magnitude:
    3.6MB/s = 200MB/min = 12GB/hr
    That shows you how much compression is used to squeeze a film onto DVD,
    and how much more for SVCD. That is why Tony was suggesting keeping
    your masters as DV on tape. To get 1 hour onto 2 CD's you would have to
    compress by a factor of 10 from DV, which will have very obvious quality

    Ian, Oct 27, 2003
  5. foldface

    Tony Morgan Guest

    It depends on the capture card. Both TV capture card and camcorder use
    hardware codecs. I've used the Aver TV Studio card (which is one of the
    better ones), but my Sony camcorder should be better all other things
    being equal [1].

    The thing to remember though is that you cannot *improve* quality, and
    the quality of VHS is low (240 lines resolution). The other thing to
    remember is that the TV capture cards convert the analogue to MPEG-2
    which is lossy. Your camcorder, however, will convert the analogue to DV
    which is not lossy (or as near as you'll ever get non-lossy).
    With a camcorder there's a limit of course of one hour's video (1h 30m
    on LP). With the Aver TV Studio (actually the software that comes with
    it) there's a limit on one hour of video. But in both cases it's easy to
    stitch together the two or more video lengths into a contiguous file/DVD
    movie using any of the popular video editors.
    My sums say 12.96 G/hour.
    I wouldn't say so. Once you start doing any video work you'll find
    yourself "watching paint dry" forever. If you're gonna have to sit
    around watching to change disks it's a real pain.

    Even at the prices/calculations you're talking about you're going to
    need 19 CDs at 18p = £3.42. DVD's work out or 3 DVDs at .75p = £2.25.

    Then of course, you're going to have to split the video file into 19
    (for CDs) or 3 (for DVDs) suitably sized files/sub-movies. Then stitch
    them back together afterwards. Both these operations are fiddley to say
    the least and will take some time.

    Far, far easier (using most video editors) to split into 1 hour slices
    and use miniDV tape. And a very small difference in cost. If you've got
    to save a few pence like this to give yourself a great deal more hassle
    (and spend considerably more time) then I'd be suggesting that you
    shouldn't be doing video in the first place :)

    Of course, there will be some who'll argue the case of camcorder head
    wear, but providing you buy quality miniDV tapes this shouldn't be an
    issue. My TRV-30 hasn't even had to have it's heads cleaned once in 2
    years of fairly heavy use - simply because I don't use cheapo tapes, but
    pay the £1 extra each for quality tapes.

    I should maybe add that there is also a viable alternative if you're
    using Vegas 4, using DVD disks with a backup program like Veritas - I
    have tried this using the DVD-RAM facility that my DVD-R burner has. But
    the bottom line is that you may still have to swap disks for larger
    Tony Morgan, Oct 27, 2003
  6. foldface

    Tony Morgan Guest

    In message <byjfoQI3bXn$>, Tony Morgan

    Forgive me for following up on my own post but perhaps an explanation
    about Vegas 4 might help below.
    Vegas captures each shot (clip) as a separate DV AVI file. Then when you
    edit/make your movie, it saves a "blueprint" as well of all the editing
    and how your create your movie in a .VEG file. This includes everything,
    including titles, transitions etc This means that you not only retain
    all your clips, you can also immediately recreate your edited movie, or
    (using the individual "clip" DV AVI files) create another movie using
    the same (or some of the) clips.

    Keeping the whole lot in a folder allows you to quickly
    backup/delete/restore everything in one swoop. And of course your backup
    program will prompt you to change disks as appropriate, making
    everything relatively painless.
    Tony Morgan, Oct 27, 2003
  7. foldface

    Jerry. Guest

    Mr Morgan seems to have changed his tune, he used to advise people to use a
    Aver TV Studio card to convert analogue > DV, now he seems to be saying to
    do so will give crap results - all this after doing his usual 'net bullying'
    on myself for suggesting the use of a Canopus Analogue <> DV card...

    Oh well !
    Jerry., Oct 27, 2003
  8. foldface

    SjT Guest

    SVCD is surprisingly good actually, as is Divx/xvid but they are not
    supported by a huge number of players.

    Its worth investing in a DVD-Writer though, especially when the
    pioneers (Generally accepted to be the better drives) can be had for
    under £100, with which you can do other tasks, not just video.
    DV-In will only take a DV-Out source, so unless you have a VHS player
    that has DV-Out it is not possible to capture to digital via the
    DV-In, you need AV-In which is analogue capture.

    On the MiniDV tapes the footage is stored in DV format which is
    3.5mb/second you then need to upload this to your computer, make any
    changes you wish to apply, and export to an mpeg format (i.e.
    vcd/svcd/dvd/custom) which can be burnt onto cd/dvd.
    DV-in is mainly used for recording back edited footage in raw DV
    (3.5mb/sec) footage.

    I prefere to spool any master video that i have onto dvd in DV
    (3.5mb/s) format, it takes a few discs but its done and i can free my
    tapes up for re-usage.

    I create amateur movies so this works well as all my clips are a
    series of short clips that i put together to give me different camera
    angles etc.

    I dont need DV-In, only you can decide if you do, basically if its not
    much difference in price get it, cause it normally means you get
    AV-In, which is handy.
    SjT, Oct 28, 2003
  9. foldface

    Tony Morgan Guest

    This is misleading (if not wrong).

    With many camcorders that have DV-in, you can also import analogue,
    writing to the miniDV tape. Without DV-in you don't have this facility.

    And, I might add, it is extremely useful. I have a friend who spent
    about £200 on a Canopus card - and was very pissed-off when I showed him
    that he could use his DV-in camcorder.
    Tony Morgan, Oct 28, 2003
  10. foldface

    SjT Guest

    Yes, i have seen that on most sony camcorders that have DV-In, it
    doubles up as the AV-In port too, but i didnt know if that was the
    norm for certain on canons etc.

    I was primarily making the guy aware that he would not be capturing on
    his camcorder over a digital connection from a VHS unless it had DV
    Output, and that it would be AV-In that he would have to use.
    SjT, Oct 28, 2003
  11. foldface

    Rob Davies Guest

    Maybe I missed something earlier in this thread - but there must be plenty
    of DV cameras with AV in but no DV in. Also no Sony camera that I know of
    shares the same connection for AV and DV in. Dv is invariably by firewire
    cable and AV by a separate port,

    Rob Davies, Oct 28, 2003
  12. foldface

    Tony Morgan Guest

    In message <bnmlas$13dlk0$>, Rob Davies

    I believe you are wrong. And I'd be interested to which DV-in camcorders
    your assertion applies. You've maybe also missed the fact that "AV" in
    this context stands for Analogue Video (as opposed to DV (digital
    video)). Hence the Sony menu selection of AV-->DV OUT which means
    Analogue Video (in) connected to DV OUT (firewire) - see below for
    further on this.

    The reason why DV-in is absent/disabled is because of import duty
    reasons - where a DV-in camcorder is categorised as a VCR which carries
    a higher duty. So a camcorder without DV-in can be sold appreciably
    cheaper than on with.

    Exactly the same applies to analogue-in - with analogue in, its a VCR
    (as far as import duty is concerned), without analogue-in in it isn't.
    I never suggested it does.

    The firewire control signal switches the video input source to the
    firewire port. If there's no firewire control signal the camcorder's
    signal processor sources the video from the camcorder's analogue
    port(s). This latter, BTW, only works with the two REC buttons on your
    camcorder's control panel (and not the normal red Record button. These
    buttons are shown at: in para (3)
    near the bottom of the page. One button seems unmarked which sometimes
    causes confusion.

    If the AV-->DV OUT is set to ON (instead of the default OFF condition)
    the camcorder goes into "pass-through" mode. This allows you to connect
    an analogue source (aka an external VCR or analogue camcorder) to the
    camcorder's analogue port(s) and that analogue video is then converted
    to DV and presented at the firewire port (as DV-out). Then, your video
    editor (connected via the firewire cable) can capture the analogue
    signal from an external analogue video source.

    Even better, using the above, you can connect your camcorder to a Sony
    VCR or analogue camcorder using a LANC connector, and the start/stop of
    transfer is automatically synchronised. Similarly you can do the very
    same thing using the optical data link which is on many Sony camcorders
    and VCRs.

    I know, I know - the manuals are crap :)
    So much is obvious. But see above.
    Tony Morgan, Oct 29, 2003
  13. foldface

    Rob Davies Guest

    Not an Assertion - more like a hypothetical question.
    However, a quick search shows there are at least *some* such cameras around,
    how many I have no idea.

    You've maybe also missed the fact that "AV" in
    No, that's exactly how I read it.
    Thanks, I have a Sony and regularly use this feature.
    As is well known.
    My response was to SjT, who *does* seem to suggest it does.

    Agreed; they're like Computer help files -especially when they fail to
    mention how to do something useful, commonly required but not obviously
    achieved, yet go on rapturously about how to switch the bloody thing on or
    As I said, I must have missed the original aim of this thread during a
    clean -up.

    Rob Davies, Oct 30, 2003
  14. foldface

    Tony Morgan Guest

    Name just *one*. I have to be direct since you have failed to do so.
    Tony Morgan, Oct 30, 2003
  15. foldface

    SjT Guest

    Yeah sorry, i must've been thinking of Panasonics then?! ;oP
    SjT, Oct 31, 2003
  16. foldface

    Tony Morgan Guest

    Again, care to cite a Panasonic model that does? I think you've made an
    erroneous assumption here. If you think about it, you'll see why it's
    *extremely* unlikely.
    Tony Morgan, Oct 31, 2003
  17. foldface

    SjT Guest

    Its never made sense to me before, and ive never really fussed about
    it as ive never needed the feature, or looked into it much.

    I think i probably got the idea because alot of DV-In enablers also
    enable the AV-In too.. And im sure Eddie who used to post here told
    me his panny was like that.
    SjT, Oct 31, 2003
  18. foldface

    Rob Davies Guest

    You *have to* be direct, or you *like* to be direct? OK - I suppose if it
    makes you happy, here's a link:"AV+in"+"DV+out"&hl=en&ie=UTF-8 -
    as I said, a quick search suggests that there are such cameras - and no, I
    haven't bothered following it up.
    In the same quick search I found this:"AV+in"+"DV+out"&hl=en&ie=UTF-8
    Maybe that's where SjT gets the idea that DV/AV share the same port - it
    certainly gives that impression.

    Rob Davies, Oct 31, 2003
  19. foldface

    Tony Morgan Guest

    It doesn't make me happy, but since you repeatedly fail to give a
    sensible response - I suppose it should make me happy.
    Clearly you haven't. You obviously missed this:

    "The PV-DV851 does have Analog inputs, both S-Video and composite using
    a specific cable supplied with the camcorder. It also has pass through
    capability, which means the camera will convert the analog signal into
    digital format and pass it along through the IEEE-1394 cable without it
    first having to be recorded to tape."

    And it doesn't provide "AV in but no DV in" as you suggest. It's
    pass-through - just like you get with many miniDV camcorders.
    Perhaps. But reading through and then applying just a minute amount of
    logic, it isn't as you suggest. The AV In jack is the headphone socket
    (which is used in association with the s-video connector) to drive a TV
    or VCR as in most camcorders. And the AV In is the Mic socket, which can
    be used to "audio dub" - again just like most camcorders.

    All a far cry from "AV in but no DV in".
    Tony Morgan, Oct 31, 2003
  20. foldface

    Rob Davies Guest

    Sensible enough to anyone who's sensible enough to read it.
    Where does it say that on the page?
    So why doesn't it advertise DV in capability?
    If its an "AV In", why is it used to *drive* a TV / VCR? (serious question).

    And the AV In is the Mic socket, which can
    I *love* your friendly / positive manner. ("..applying just a minute amount
    of logic..."; "...repeatedly fail to give a sensible response..."). Do you
    have any friends or have you driven them away by insisting on "being right"
    in the most arrogant manner?
    A reminder - I said a quick search suggests that AV in cameras without DV in
    do exist (OWTTE), it was results like that posted above which gave me this
    *suggestion*. I can't be bothered to follow up with detailed searches
    because it's frankly not that important to me. I shouldn't have bothered
    going even that far to answer your question - after all, this stems purely
    from a hypothetical question of mine "there must be many cameras with AV in
    but no DV in" (?)
    The fact that you were the only one to jump on this statement tells me that
    (1) It has some truth (2) No one else cares or (3)....................

    Rob Davies, Nov 1, 2003
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