Need help choosing between options for digitizing Hi8

Discussion in 'Amateur Video Production' started by SC Miata, Jul 4, 2005.

  1. SC Miata

    SC Miata Guest

    The project goal is to convert home videos on Video8 and Hi8 tapes to DVCAM
    Digital master tapes in DV format while preserving the original picture as
    best as possible. I have the following options available to me and let's
    assume that the cost of the solution is not an issue at this point.

    1) Use a D8 camcorder like the TRV280 to play the original tapes and stream
    the signal out via i.Link directly to my DCR-HC1000 (MiniDV camcorder) and
    directly onto the DVCAM tape. There seem to be a couple of options available
    for me with this approach, though.

    1a) Would it make sense to use a Video Walkman such as the GVD200, which
    costs more than the D8 camcorder? The real question here is if the extra
    cost buys a better tape transport and analog to digital conversion circuit
    versus that of the TRV280 D8 camcorder.

    1b) Does it make sense to stream D8 output into the computer first and then
    later perform a digital transfer back to the HC1000 and to thee DVCAM tape?
    Is a PC any better at capturing the DV stream and writing it to disk than
    the HC1000 is at capturing the same stream and writing it directly to tape?

    2) I can borrow a high end Sony Hi8 VCR that was made in the late 1980's. It
    is a top of the line model and probably an ES version - I just don't
    remember what it is off hand. The idea here is that this might be a high end
    tape transport, providing a better analog picture to start with. There seem
    to be a couple of options with this approach as well.

    2a) Capture the analog output of the Hi8 VCR directly to the analog inputs
    of the HC1000 and record directly onto the DVCAM tape.

    2b) Use the HC1000 as a pass-through device and capture the DV stream to the
    computer. Then send the DV stream back to the HC1000 which writes it to the
    DVCAM tape.

    Thanks in advance for reading my post and providing any input you have.


    SC Miata, Jul 4, 2005
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  2. "SC Miata" wrote ...
    Seems unlikely. I wouldn't spend any more $$$ unless the
    different form-factor were worth it.
    Should be no difference in the data (ones and zeroes).
    Only reason to go through the computer would be to do some
    editing, titles, etc.
    Maybe better. But my first choice would be to use a D8
    camcorder which reads and encodes to DV in an integrated
    Dunno what that would buy you except additional complexity.

    Note that the HC1000 is a very nice (mini-)DV camcorder.
    However, it is not DVCAM (which is the Sony "pro"
    version of DV)
    Richard Crowley, Jul 4, 2005
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  3. SC Miata

    SC Miata Guest

    Thanks for the reply....

    Agreed, which is why I was wondering if in fact there are any diffrences. By
    the way, I meant the TRV480, not the TRV280. The 280 is apparently digital
    Yes, understood on the ones and zeros. These will be master copies so no
    editing. Sorry, I guesss I should have asked the question a little more
    clearly. It was more of a technical reference to things like buffer over
    runs in the camera versus the computer if something like that is even an
    issue. Was also wondering if the ones and zeros get to the disk or tape any
    better with respect to trigggering any sort of error correction.
    That's the whole point.... "Integrated" may not necesarily be a good thing

    Would there be a noticible difference if the transfer was done
    professionally (assuming that there is some pro level gear that does this)?
    Yes. It is understood that I would be writing to the DVCAM tapes in MiniDV
    format using my HC1000. I chose to use DVCAM tapes because of the improved
    durability of the tape itself. It's just a faster frame rate, right?
    SC Miata, Jul 5, 2005
  4. SC Miata

    Alex Bird Guest

    You WHAT !?!?!
    Alex Bird, Jul 5, 2005
  5. "SC Miata" wrote ...
    If everything is working properly, there should be *absolutely*
    no significant difference. If there are problems with data over-
    runs, etc, then you will experience significant data loss/distortion.
    I would NOT anticipate that this would be a problem with most
    It would be my preference as there is less to go wrong interfacing
    multiple pieces of external equipment. It *is* a good thing IMHO.
    Unlikely. Thats the nice thing about digital. It pretty much works
    great or doesn't work at all.
    I have both DV and real DVCAM equipment, but I don't
    bother with DVCAM tape in my DV equipment. Doesn't
    really buy you anything except extra cost.
    Richard Crowley, Jul 5, 2005
  6. SC Miata

    SC Miata Guest

    Thank you for the response, Richard.

    That sounds like it will work out great.... a direct firewire transfer from
    D8 to MiniDV.

    Well, I spent part of today crawling around in my storage unit and dug out
    my Hi8 camcorder. I was actually looking for something else and didn't think
    I still had it. It's an old CCD-TR100. Should I use this directly into
    HC1000 or is it worthwhile to upgrade to the TRV480?
    Good point. in order to take analog into the HC1000, it uses a special cable
    with a proprietary connector HC1000 side. It may not be the worlds greatest
    connection especially when compared to everything being built into one
    I agree that it pretty much works great or it doesn't but once it's in the
    digital format. I think I am really asking specifically about the conversion
    to digital. So there is little to be gained by seeking out a quality analog
    Video8 transport or the A-to-D converter for the conversion to digital?
    I don't expect to see an improvement in picture quality. I don't see enough
    drop outs as it is, let alone enough to notice a reduction in that number. I
    want to keep these as master tapes for a long period of time. I am seeking
    out the better physical characteristics of the tape so that it will hold up
    better over time. Here is some info I found:

    SC Miata, Jul 5, 2005
  7. SC Miata

    SC Miata Guest

    I used to have a Sony D8 DAT recorder and the outboard SBM1 D-to-A
    converter. It worked very nicely and had a better mic amp than the deck did.
    SC Miata, Jul 5, 2005
  8. "SC Miata" wrote ...
    If the TR100 and HC1000 do the job, save your money.
    But then I don't believe in fixing something that ain't broke.

    I would doubt that there is enough difference to worry about.
    Richard Crowley, Jul 5, 2005
  9. The frame rate is the same. The tape moves 50% faster while the heads
    write the same width of track, giving a few microns of unrecorded space
    between each track written by the video head. This gives more margin
    for error when editing, particularly if the deck doing the editing isn't
    the one that did the original recording.

    Regular MiniDV writes the tracks right against each other, making more
    efficient use of tape but making everything more sensitive to any
    alignment differences between two tape transports.

    Is the tape itself any different?

    Dave Martindale, Jul 6, 2005
  10. SC Miata

    SC Miata Guest

    Yes. Here's a quote from

    Maximum Durability
    Although both DVCAM and DV use DLC technology, the DLC layer for DVCAM is
    optimized for maximum durability. It offers a 25% higher level of strength
    for the type of still frame, multi pass editing used by professionals.

    Still Frame Evaluation - The recorded signal level of DV showed noticeable
    loss after 20 minutes in pause. DVCAM held signal level even after 60

    Editing Simulation - Editing tests have shown that DV media begins to show
    picture disturbances after 150 passes. DVCAM shows no noticeable
    disturbances or loss in picture quality after 150 passes.

    Improved Physical Stability
    Magnetic tape is susceptible to expansion and contraction due to temperature
    and humidity varia-tions over time. Excessive shrink-age disrupts the
    position of the recorded tracks and often results in "Off-Tracking". This
    simply means the recorded tracks have shifted and the play heads cannot
    accurately read the information. This type of shrinkage is usually
    associated with long-term storage.

    To minimize the potential of tape shrinkage and recording/playback problems,
    DVCAM media exclusively uses a base material with 50% less shrinkage. The
    benefit is added reliability and confidence that the recorded material is
    there and will play back even after years of storage under reasonable
    storage conditions.

    Tighter Width Specifications
    DVCAM and DV have a width of 6.35 mm (1/4"). The more uniform the tape
    width, the better the record/playback stability and compatibility between
    recorders. DVCAM width is held to a tighter tolerance to offer a higher
    level of reliability and compatibility. DVCAM uses an ultra-accurate
    slitting machine to assure correct tape width.

    Maximum Picture & Sound Stability
    Friction increases between tape and recorder heads after repeated passes on
    the tape. DVCAM media has a significantly lower friction coefficient than
    DV. For the professional, this means greater recorded signal longevity,
    higher reliability, increased durability and overall improved performance.

    There is a difference when you use DVCAM media. As a professional, you and
    your customers deserve to have the best and most reliable end result the
    format can provide. When quality videography is at stake, use the media that
    was designed for professionals - DVCAM.
    SC Miata, Jul 7, 2005
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