Archiving and editing old tapes

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    • #39510

      Not meaning to beat a dead horse, but even after reading dozens of answer, mine are still not quite answered. I have somewhere close to 80 8mm videotapes some as old as 19 years. I would like to save them before they’re all gone. My orginal thought was to transfer them all to DVD and then edit when needed or when time allowed. I’m now uner the impression that getting video from a DVD is difficult and can cause loss of quality.

      I currently own the following equipment:
      A Dell desktop with Pentium 4 and windows XP
      A brand new Dell XPS laptop with DVD burner
      A 350 G external Hard Drive
      A working Sony CCD-V9 camcorder from 1988
      A working Sony TRV9 digital camcorder

      1. What medium should I use to archive the tapes until editing?
      2. Best way to get videos into computer? Through digital camcorder or other device?
      3. Most user friendly editing software for a relative beginner (with kids who are a bit better)
      4. Best software to make quick and effective enhancements to my old video
      5. Best format to save and share the final productions

      Thank you so so much for any light you can shed

  • #170720

    putting the footage on dvd is not advisable until you edit them. mpg2 is a highly compressed stream that is not edit friendly without significant quality loss. You need to first capture the footage to the computer in windows avi format and then edit them and then encode to dvd. If your 8mm camera has video output, then you would need to hook it up to the computer (firewire is best), through a analog to digital converter or if the digital 8 has firewire you can connect straight to the computer. bear in mind that when you start capturing this footage, 1 hour of digital video avi is 13 gigabytes. You should capture this footage to a hard drive that does not contain the operating system, not to a partition, but a different physical drive as to ensure that you don’t have complications from system operations. I would suggest for editing Sony Vegas (studio version is about $100) mainly because Vegas does not need a monster system to run on, or maybe Premier’s "lite version". They should be sufficient for your needs, and then again after you have edited the footage down, then you can burn it to dvd.

    Good Luck.


  • #170721

    Thank you for the advice. I think I’m ready to embark on this project. My digital cam does have firewire so it sounds like all I need to do is purchase the software. One last question though (sorry if it sounds stupid)….What is a windows avi file? I’ve seen the term plenty of times but not sure what it is and how I would do it. Am assuming the a and v stand for audio visual.

    Thanks again,


  • #170722

    Audio Video Interleave – AVI files can contain both audio and video data in a standard container that allows synchronous audio-with-video playback. It was introduced by Microsoft in 1992. It’s a bit dated as a container but get’s the job done real well. It will be pretty much a standard codec that you could use to capture the footage.


  • #170723

    I just obtained the Canopus ADVC300 Analog-Firewire/DV converter. From my experience so far it does a very good job importing NTSC 60i from 8mm/Hi8 tapes from a Sony Handycam camcorder. The ADVC300 has a set of quaint DIP switches on the bottom for standalone configuration.

    Installation was trouble-free, with a bare-bones config app and a rather poorly written Japenglish manual. The default associated XP app on plugging in the Firewire-400 cable is MS Moviemaker, which does fine for AVI capture. Captured video is clean with the usual NTSC field lines visible at the bottom, but even a minimal NLE can crop those out.

    I used the defaults ("weak") for 2D and 3D noise processing; I didn’t wish to overprocess on capture, preferring to let post apps handle those issues.

    I had good results with an S-Video connector. Haven’t tried its composite jack, but the ADVC300 supposedly handles chroma processing better than other converters, avoiding rainbow jaggies and aliasing common to NTSC.

    Good luck — I’m new to the game but have learnt a lot in forums like this one.

  • #170725

    Thank you both for the good info.

    Is there any reason to use a converter like the canopus instead fo going directly from my analog comcorder through my digital camcorder and into the computer. Doesn’t the digital camcorder do essentially the same thing as the stand alone converter?

  • #170724

    Thank you Hank. Sounds good

    I think I’ll go ahead and give the camcorder technique a try since I have all of the equipment at hand anyway.

  • #170726

    I’ll just make the final note that the Canopus 300-series and higher ($$) include superior NTSC sync circuitry that can work better for capturing from marginal or degraded analog tapes.

    Other forums describe case examples of consumer-grade (Pinnacle etc) boxes dropping frames or breaking up. This is why I spent a few extra bucks for a dedicated box to handle my tape collection.

  • #170727

    That’s good to know. I think I’ll try the camera method first and if I’m not satisfied, then look into the canopus. It’s pretty pricey so if I can get what I want from the other, so much the better.

    One thing I’m concerned about is "dropped frames." I don’t know what that means yet because I haven’t experienced it but it appears to be quite common.

    I did look into the Canopus 300 a bit yesterday and saw mixed reviews on satisfaction. Most had to do with the corrections made to the video.

    I’d appreciate if you’d keep me posted on your progress with it and let me know if your opinion changes or is solidified.

    Thanks again

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