Converting Hi8 Tapes

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by IJ Reilly, Feb 14, 2007.

  1. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #1
    I've got a pile of old Hi8 video tapes that I'd like to convert to digital files for use in iMovie and iDVD. I'm aware of the potential hardware solutions, but I have a feeling I'll never get around to buying one and doing the required work. (At least, I haven't yet!) I'm probably better off sending them off to a service. Any suggestions for who to use? What kind of cost should I expect?

    Thanks!
     
  2. gauchogolfer macrumors 603

    gauchogolfer

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    #2
    Hey there IJ. I've not used a service before, but I thought I'd plug the hardware solution for you. I've also got some older tapes laying around, and my DV camcorder made it really easy to import into iMovie. Now, since you're older, you probably have quite a bit more than me. ;)

    It's pretty much 'set it and forget it' Ron Popeil-style nowadays, so it might not be as daunting a task as you think.

    I think most services that I've seen will put them on DVD for you, so you'd still need to go through the ripping process to get them ready for iMovie.

    Edit: google gave me this DVD service, for about $20/hour of video.
     
  3. bujjai2007 macrumors newbie

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    #3
    Get a sony digital 8 camcorder. I think you can still find some of them around. These will encode the original 8mm content to DV. These also have a firewire port and you can then get the data into iMovie. This will also work on both Hi8 as well as old 8mm tape. I converted around 30 8mm tapes and the quality is very nice - definitely inferior to digital8 or miniDV but good enough for preserving the memories.
     
  4. IJ Reilly thread starter macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #4
    Thanks for the answers. The services look quite expensive -- maybe I need to reconsider the hardware route. (Oh, the agony! ;))

    I understand you have to be very careful about buying digital camcorders for this purpose, since they don't all have a pass-through function, and it isn't always clear which ones do. Does anyone know of a list of older camcorders that have it? Also, how does using a digital camcorder compare to the single-purpose Canon box (which sells for around $300, I believe), in terms of convenience and quality?

    Finally, a complication: I don't own a Mac with USB 2.0, so any hardware I buy for this purpose should be Firewire.
     
  5. gauchogolfer macrumors 603

    gauchogolfer

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    #5
    Good morning IJ.

    I'll make up a list of sub-$300 DV cams that have firewire passthrough. I don't know how they compare to a dedicated box, but at least you'd have an actual camcorder to record newfangled digital video if you wanted to.

    Back in a flash.
     
  6. gauchogolfer macrumors 603

    gauchogolfer

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    #6
    All info taken from camcorderinfo.com

    Here are machines currently selling at less than $300, with passthrough capabilities (from what I can tell online):

    Sony
    didn't find any with passthrough in this price range, surprisingly it was A/V out only

    Canon
    ZR700 - $250 at butterfly photo
    Elura 100, also sub-$300.

    Panasonic
    also no passthrough at this price point

    Well, that was a bit surprising. I thought there would be more options here. Lemme go look at JVC...

    hmmm, nothing here either. I'm honestly surprised at the dearth of options. It seems like, if you're buying a camcorder for this (new), that Canon is really your only option. The other of course is to go to a local shop and see if they resell used higher-end models from the other manufacturers, and you could ask directly about passthrough.

    One last option: try going on eBay and looking for people selling broken camcorders, higher-end ones with passthrough. These often go for very little money, and generally the passthrough feature is unaffected.

    Edit: here's a Sony which has passthrough, selling cheap on ebay.
     
  7. IJ Reilly thread starter macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #7
    Thanks.

    Based on my reading, finding a new low-end DV camcorder with video pass-through is becoming more difficult. Finding an older one won't be so easy either, I suspect.

    At this point I'm leaning towards a dedicated box, such as the Canopus ADVC-55, which can be had for around $200. This sounds like a real no-brainer to use, and is Firewire bus powered besides.
     
  8. gauchogolfer macrumors 603

    gauchogolfer

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    #8
    That looks like a pretty good option for you, I agree.
     
  9. kd5hsm macrumors newbie

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    Feb 16, 2007
    #9
    Your best options are one of the following:

    If you have something that can play the Hi-8 tapes:
    Any of the Canon ZR cameras have a nify AV to DV conversion. Basically plug Hi-8 player into canon ZR and firewire the analog video to your comnputer. It works real nifty, and can convert anything that you can get to out to RCA plugs.

    If you don't have a Hi-8 player:
    I've heard that the Sony's digital 8 cameras can play Hi-8 and convert them to DV. My attempt to do this DID NOT WORK, but there could have been something wrong with what I was doing.

    I will also point out that I am very biased against Sony's digital 8 cameras. The film quality is pretty lousy compared to Mini-DV/DVC. If you're getting the camera just to convert Hi-8 to digital, then it may be the way to go. But if your wanting to use the camera for regular camera stuff afterwards, I don't think it's a good choice.

    I don't know the quality difference between the stand alone unit and the cameras, but since a ZR and the Box are about the same price, you'd think there'd be SOME REASON to by the box! So I have to think the box has better heads are something of that sort.

     
  10. tommyhonda92 macrumors newbie

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    Edmonton, Ab
    #10
    I too have some Hi8 tapes(only about 12 tapes) that have older vacation footage on them and have always been wanting to edit the footage to a more visual and time-condensed format(over 7 hours for one trip alone) but never had a capable computer to do the editing until I bought my mini, but now I no longer have a working Hi8 camera to use as the playback machine. I have a Canon ZR400 MiniDV camera that has the firewire pass-through(analog-to-digital converter) so really I just need to have a Hi8 play-back machine so I can capture the footage on my mini. What are my options(or opinions) of what I should do? Buy a cheap USED Hi8 camera(with questionable reliability and possible problems) to minimize the expense, or go with a new Hi8 camera(or Digital8 camera), capture the footage, then sell the camera on ebay or elswhere. I will not have any need for the camera after this footage is captured to my mini, and would not be hanging on to the camera regardless of what option I would choose. And it looks like bringing the tapes to get put onto DVD for me would not be very cost effective either. So what should I do?

    P.s. I have tried to use an older Sony Digital8 camera that I borrowed from a friend to try to send the footage to my mini but I couldn't seem to get it to work, mind you I only had a few hours to play with it and also didn't have any instructions for the camera either. The tape that I was trying to play in the Digital8 camera was a Hi8 tape and according to the owner of the camera, it should have been able to play the tape and send it over the firewire cable, but I didn't have any luck with it. These Sony Digital8 cameras do have this capability to convert any 8mm tape format to firewire don't they? Am I missinformed?
     
  11. pgamet macrumors newbie

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    Feb 22, 2007
    #11
    does your high 8 have a firewire?

    My high 8 has a firewire, I just connect it, download into iMovie, edit and burn in iDVD.
     
  12. IJ Reilly thread starter macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #12
    No, it's a good 10 years old. Just component and S-video outputs.
     
  13. Multimedia macrumors 603

    Multimedia

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    #13
    EyeTV Hybrid Is Also An Analog To Digital Video Converter

    One other option that will also add a lot of value to your computing/video/television/HDTV experience is the EyeTV Hybrid. Not only is it an analog and digital TV tuner, it's also an analog to digital video CONVERTER. It only costs $150 and you get the bonus of being able to turn your Mac into a TIVO and displaying HDTV with this tiny but powerful tool. Caveat is you need a dual core G5 or any Intel Mac for this to work effortlessly. But as long as your Mac is a recent model, you'll be fine doing your Hi8 to DV conversions with this.

    What model Mac and Power will you be using IJ?
     
  14. IJ Reilly thread starter macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #14
    Unless I buy something new soon (a possibility), the most likely candidate is my G4 1.7 Cube.

    I watched a part of a demonstration of EyeTV at MWSF. It looked like they were emphasizing the tuner functions, so I didn't really get that it could also digitize video. Are there any disadvantages to going this route over the Canopus box?
     
  15. weldon macrumors 6502a

    weldon

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    #15
    When I did the same thing, I rented a Sony Digital8 camcorder (that could play Hi8 tapes) for $15 for the day and used the firewire output to go straight into iMovie. I found that a lot more convenient than the other solutions.
     
  16. Multimedia macrumors 603

    Multimedia

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    #16
    EyeTV Needs More Powerful Mac Than a 1.7GHz G4 Cube To Do Conversions

    Too weak. Thought of selling it amd getting a CD mini or MacBook for under $1k? Downside is you need a dual core G5 or Intel Mac cause the transcoding is done with the Mac's processor(s). Canopus box is great and works like butter into anything. I would buy the cheap Canon DV cameras listed above instead though. That way you have a modern camera as well.

     

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