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AJA doesn’t make an I/O card for a Macbook Pro. You could get the Matrox MXO2, but I’m not sure if it’s supported by Final Cut EXPRESS.
“A video-capable hard drive with enough capacity for 100 hrs of SD video or 100 hrs of “up-converted” footage (also would love to hear about which codecs would be best for this)”
You’re using Final Cut Express, so your only options are DV or Apple Intermediate Codec. Since you’re tapes are Hi-8, just go with DV.
I’m not sure why you’d be worried about up-converting to HD if you’re going out to DVD. I suppose that would be nice on the web, but it’s not like people will decided not to watch your video just because it’s not HD. If it’s good work, then they’ll watch it.