Camcorder to computer, video quality is low

Videomaker – Learn video production and editing, camera reviews Forums Technique Editing Camcorder to computer, video quality is low

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    • #41995

      I am not sure where to post this…

      I am currently in the process of converting MiniDVs to computer, then on to DVDs.

      The quality in some of the videos is a bit off; the colour looks strange and pixelated in some of the darker scenes/areas. I actually don’t know if it’s the computer I’m currently using as I didn’t notice any change in quality when converting the videos on a MacBook. I used iMovie (not sure what version it is) and had the video size set to large. My video camera is a Sony DCR-TRV6. How can I fix this?

      Here is a photo showing the problem areas (on my cat’s shoulders, neck and back):

    • #177423

      You mentioned “converting” the videos in iMovie. When working with MiniDV footage, there should be no conversion going on – capture as DV video via 1394, and what is in the computer should be identical to what was on the tape, a 1:1 digital copy.

      Sorry I’m a PC user and can’t offer direction on proper settings in iMovie, but you mention the “large” setting and that tells me that iMovie has some sort of good-better-best conversion options going on, when in reality you want the RAW DV, unchanged. Check those capture settings.

      Of course, when you Export to DVD, that must convert the DV video to MPEG-2, but that should not produce the results your sample clip exhibits. Are you viewing the DVD on a TV, or computer screen?

      Jeff Pulera

      Safe Harbor Computers

    • #177424

      I’m not familiar with iMovie, but here’s a link to capturing properly with iMovie:

    • #177425

      The problem here looks like it originated at the shoot, not in post. The blacks are completely “crushed;” that is, there is virtually no detail in them. It looks like a) the camera was on full auto and b) that it tried to exposed correctly for the highlight on the floor.

      I suspect that there is actually information in the black areas and that, with an editing program a bit more sophisticated then iMovie, it might be possible to adjust levels and retrieve some of this detail. Just upping brightness and contrast or gain probably won’t do it; this will just blow out the floor.

      Situations like this require that you go into manual mode and expose for the subject of the shot. In this case it would have blown out the floor, causing the hot spot and the area around it to lose all detail, but it’s the detail of the cat rather than the floor that you’re interested in. It’s often necessary to resort to this solution when a subject is completely back lit.



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