Using a DV cam to tranfer analog video or, other analog capture options

Discussion in 'Amateur Video Production' started by Z Man, Nov 23, 2003.

  1. Z Man

    Z Man Guest

    As with many folks, I have a pile of VHS and 8mm tapes that I would like to
    transfer to DVD's. I have all the hardware and software needed to create
    DVD's. My question concerns transferring analog video to my computer. I am
    experienced with computers, but a novice at analog transfer. As I understand
    it, one must have a video capture device of some sort. Nowadays, most are
    external USB2 devices. Most reviews I have read of Dazzle products are
    almost uniformly negative. What do you experienced transferors recommend to
    get analog video into my computer?

    As an alternative, I am considering running the 8mm camcorder through my
    Canon ZR10 dvcam. Trouble is, I cannot seem to capture the analog video in
    one step, as plugging in the Firewire cable disables the analog input into
    the ZR10. So, I would have to actually record the analog tapes to ZR10, and
    then transfer the videos to my computer. I don't like the idea of taking two
    steps to accomplish this process. What quality would I expect if I record
    analog->digital, then capture from dvcam to my computer? Would I lose a lot
    of quality?

    So, what should I do? If your suggestion is an analog capture device, which
    one do you suggest? If you prefer using the dvcam, is there any way I can
    capture directly to my computer, or should I just spend the time and do the
    two step process? Any input or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I
    am more concerned with having a good quality DVD than saving a few bucks.

    Here's my computer configuration:

    ASUS P4C800-E Deluxe motherboard
    4GB PC2100 memory
    Intel P4 1.6A CPU
    Onboard Firewire and USB2
    Toshiba SD-R5002 DVD -R/-RW recorder
    LG GSA 4040B multi format DVD recorder
    NVidia GeForce4 MX 440 display adapter with 64MB memory
    WD 200GB 8MB cache hard drive
    Seagate 18GB 15k U/160 drive for video capture
     
    Z Man, Nov 23, 2003
    #1
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  2. Z Man

    Mike Guest

    I use a sony dcr-trv320 which allows video pass-thru. If what you say about
    the ZR10 is true (& I don't know that it is) I'd look for another camera.
    AFA quality goes...if you go directly from your VCR thru your dvcam to your
    pc (without re-recording anything) your quality should be indistinguishable
    from your source. However, that said, the quality of your dvd encoding
    could change that for the worse...not all mpeg-2 encoders were created
    equal.
     
    Mike, Nov 23, 2003
    #2
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  3. Z Man

    Z Man Guest

    I don't really have a need for a DVCam at this point in time. I bought my
    Canon ZR10 for a trip overseas a couple of years ago. Other than on that
    trip, I have used it for less than one hour. In terms of loss of quality,
    though, why should there be any? I need to convert analog->digital one time,
    and one time only. If I record the 8mm tapes first, the analog->digital
    conversion takes place at that point. When I transfer from my DVCam to my
    computer, I am transferring digital data, correct? If so, there shouldn't be
    any further degradation. My problem is that it is less convenient, as I have
    to record each 8mm tape, and then do the transfer. If the 8mm tape runs more
    than one hour, it is even worse, as I have to swap tapes part way through
    the process. What do you think?
     
    Z Man, Nov 23, 2003
    #3
  4. It does look like your ZR10 don't have Analog Pass-Through - double check
    your manual for this. If that;'s the case, your best bet would be to invest
    the time and record onto MiniDV, then out to the computer. Alternately,
    borrow another dig. video camera that has analog pass-through. You won't
    lose quality either way. Anolog Capture cards can be more hassle than they
    are worth. If you have to go this route, look at the Pinnacle or Canopus
    range.
     
    Shaw Goh \(NetPlus Micro Computers\), Nov 24, 2003
    #4
  5. I don't really have a need for a DVCam at this point in time. I bought my
    When you convert the first time (A>D), you convert to the DV standard. When
    you encode to DVD, you compress already compressed material to mpg.

    When your analog material is VHS quality (1/4 resolution), an alternative is
    to capture to HD, and then compress/encode to DVD. That will probably give a
    better end result.

    /Kim
     
    Kim Bjoern Nielsen, Nov 24, 2003
    #5
  6. Z Man

    Z Man Guest

    [see comments at bottom]

    Most of my material was shot on a consumer level 8mm camcorder, but I do
    have some older VHS tapes to transfer to DVD. I am a rooky at this, and
    don't quite understand what you are suggesting. How do I capture to hard
    drive? I would need a video capture card, or USB capture device, correct? If
    this is the way to go, what reasonably priced hardware options do I have? I
    checked on the devices certified as compatible with Adobe Premiere Pro, and
    they are all high end, and quite expensive. There are no USB devices on
    their list. User reviews of Dazzle products are pretty highly negative. I
    can record to my mini DV cam if necessary, even if it is inconvenient, is
    results will be clearly better.
     
    Z Man, Nov 25, 2003
    #6
  7. To capture to HD you'll need "analog video in" capabilities. Some graphic
    cards have it (eg. ATI All-In-Wonder), og you need a dedicated capture card
    (eg. Pinnacle PCTV Rave ($50)). It is a somewhat complex process to capture
    this way (in high resolutions), and it takes a lot of HD - and CPU to
    compress afterwards.

    No doubt, capturing through your miniDV camera will be much easier, and the
    result may not be to different after all.

    /Kim
     
    Kim Bjoern Nielsen, Nov 25, 2003
    #7
  8. Z Man

    Mike Guest

    but...to answer the how of your question...you hook up your VCR audio
    (red/white) and video (yellow) out (these are rca phono type jacks) to the
    cable which goes to the analog in of the digital cam corder ( a mini-din
    type plug in my case). Then you connect a IEEE1394 (firewire) cable from
    the digital port on the camcorder to the 1394 card in your computer (this is
    what you need to transfer to hd). You do not need a capture card...but you
    will need capture software to take the data being pumped to the 1394 port
    and put it on your computer, & you'll need a 1394 card if you don't have
    one. 1394 cards are very inexpensive, and the software is available from
    shareware right on up. I use Vegas.

    From there, you load the .avi type file which is created by the 1394 capture
    software into your favorite video editor, and have at it. The analog is
    compressed (I think around 5:1 but I could be mis-remembering) when
    converted to DV but no further compression takes place until you render it
    into whatever format your destination media requires (DVD = mpeg2, VCD= vcd
    compliant mpeg2, etc.). It will be a large file nonetheless. It is
    possible to capture uncompressed DV in which case the file size will be
    excessively huge. I believe most dv editors expect the files to be normal
    dv .avi files (not the uncompressed dv).

    Some capture "cards" convert the data on the fly to some flavor of mpeg
    (highly compressed) before you are ready to edit. Mpeg is not a format
    designed for editing. That is why some capture devices may make the quality
    worse.
    I've condensed this quite a bit...hope it helps.

     
    Mike, Nov 25, 2003
    #8
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