Mini DV, Archiving, and CS4

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    • #45728

      <span class=”postbody”>Hello everyone,

      I have a Sony HDR-HC3 camera (miniDV – shoots SD and HDV) and the tape mechanism is starting to crap out. I have about 120 miniDV tapes with about 40 of them shot in SD from my earlier Sony camera. These tapes cover the birth of my 2 children and about 7 years worth of family video.

      Like many of you, I have been taking snippets here and there to make very short movies but have never really done the full archive (number each tape in date order, describe contents, etc.). I have always been meaning to do it but never got around to it.

      Now, with my tape mechanism going (and likely a several hundred dollar repair bill to fix it upcoming), I’ve started to think about a need to back up these tapes. I assumed it would be easy to find a miniDV deck to play them back into the computer, and then either burn them to CD’s in the highest quality possible (for chopping and editing later), or possibly to Blu-Ray, or possibly to hard drive.

      To my dismay, I learn that the only reasonable product out there would be the Sony GVHD700 video walkman (about $1000 US +). Further, as far as I can see, miniDV for consumer camcorders is a format fast disappearing and I am now recalling how VHS went the way of the dodo bird and what a pain it was to convert my old VHS tapes to DVD a few years back.

      So, in additon to my archive woes, I’ve started looking at newer cameras and learn all about AVCHD and the fact that CS4 can do it … but is it easy?

      I have Windows Vista 64, 8GB ram, an Ndvia 9600 GTX with 768mb and Adobe CS4, firewire inputs, etc.
      So here are my questions (apologies about the length of the preamble):

      1. Are there any cheap decks out there that would allow me to take my MiniDV tapes (including the SD And HDV formats) and begin capturing them into the computer for archiving?

      2. If I upgrade to CS4, what is the best archive workflow to deal with those tapes? I readsomewhere that a good way would be to create a new project for each tape, keep all media, scratch disks, etc., in that folder and then move the folder for each tape to another hard drive. I was thinking of buying 2 x 1.5TB Seagate SATA drives (about $125 each) with an eSATA external enclosure, creating a folder for each tape, and then moving the works to that hard drive. For redundancy, I would then copy the first drive onto the second drive and put the copy in my safety deposit box. Then, once every 2-3 years, I would purchase a new drive (for about $100) and then copy the backup to be safe.

      Or…would putting them onto DVD or Blu-Ray be acceptable (keep in mind that for that, I would have to (a) buy a blu-ray burner, (b) buy a lot of blu-ray disks, and (c) contend with slow blu-ray burn times…?

      3. If I am capturing the tapes, should I capture them as one long file (and what are the best capture settings using CS4 to do this)? Will the resulting file(s) be the highest quality AVI (or other format) that one day I could use on different platforms, NLE’s, etc.? Can I just capture each tape and move on to the next folder or do I have to put the clip(s) in the timeline and then export to a better format?

      4. Are there any batch sequences I should consider?

      5. What is everyone’s opinion about any other archive considerations I should follow?

      Thanks a bunch!</span>

    • #189515

      I still recommend a DV Camcorder over anything with a AVCHD format, personal preference.

      1. It depends on what you consider cheap. The Canon HV40 is about $800 and that is probably your cheapest option.

      2. That would be a good solution and should work well. One of the best options today is using Adobe Bridge to organize your video files, or the Premiere Elements Organizer. Don’t know if CS4 is necessary to do that.

      3. Best to capture and split by timecode breaking them up into usable clips, easy to weed out the ones you don’t need. MiniDV is captured as DV-AVI, a format that is easily imported into any NLE. You only need to capture the tapes and leave them in the native format, if using and Adobe editing product.

      4. Not really

      Premiere Elements can do everything you need to do, no need for the Pro product.

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