AV vs. DV output from camera to iMovie

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by vjaaan, Nov 2, 2010.

  1. vjaaan macrumors 6502

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    #1
    I captured video from my Sony digital 8 camcorder into iMovie. The quality is not as sharp as it should be. I used a firewire, coming out of the AV slot on the camcorder. If I can find a cable that fits the DV slot on the camcorder, would that produce higher quality video?
    I am capturing to my Iomega external HD and running iMovie 11 on my new Macbook Pro. (15", 4 Gb ram)
    Thank you.
     
  2. spinnerlys Guest

    spinnerlys

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    #2
    Using Firewire will give you better quality, Firewire 4-pin to 6-pin or Firewire 4-pin to 9-pin cables can be had for less than 10 €.

    If you used the AV out on your camcorder, how was Firewire involved in all of this?

    Firewire 4-pin port on cameras with a Firewire port (DV, i.Link, IEEE 1394)
    [​IMG]

    If your Mac has a Firewire 400 port (6-pin), then use the 4-pin to 6-pin cable:
    [​IMG]

    If your Mac has a Firewire 800 port (9-pin), then use the 4-pin to 9-pin cable:
    [​IMG]

    Firewire ports:
    [​IMG]
     
  3. vjaaan thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #3
    Thanks for your reply.

    "If your Mac has a Firewire 800 port (9-pin), then use the 4-pin to 9-pin cable:"

    I did use the 4 pin -- 9 pin firewire cable.
    Firewire is required when capturing from a tape camcorder.

    There is an A/V connector on the camcorder, and a DV connector. This one went into the A/V.
     
  4. spinnerlys Guest

    spinnerlys

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    #4
    I'm still confused. Did you put the 4-pin end of the Firewire cable into the AV-out? Can you post the model of your camera? Or at least a photo of the ports on the camera?

    If you the AV-out is not Firewire and you used a Firewire cable to connect the AV-out with the Firewire port of your Mac, I'm amazed, that this did work, as the AV-out normally is only analog and not digital and Firewire is purely digital. Btw, does the AV-out look exactly like the DV port on the camera?

    And have you tried capturing your tape via simply connecting the Firewire 4-pin port (camera) to the Firewire 9-pin port (Mac) and seen an improvement?
     
  5. notjustjay macrumors 603

    notjustjay

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    #5
    If you were using a 4-pin-to-9-pin cable, and it worked, then you must have been connecting to the Firewire port (note that Sony calls it iLink).

    iMovie HD ('06) works better for DV capture than the "new" iMovie. I haven't tried '11 yet though. I trust that iMovie is keeping the footage as raw DV, and not trying to convert it into AIC, resample the resolution, or some other silliness?

    The analog A/V output from a Sony Digital8 camera resembles a 1/8" headphone jack, and the only way to get a signal from it is to use an A/V cable that looks like this:

    [​IMG]

    (I own a Sony TRV-320, a second-generation Digital8 model.)
     
  6. vjaaan thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #6
    /Users/vicki/Pictures/Photos/DSC03760.JPG
    /Users/vicki/Pictures/Photos/DSC03762.JPG

    The cable is a "4-Pin to 9-Pin Firewire Cable, IEEE 1394

    As I mentioned, the camcorder is a Digital 8. I do not use the 3 color RCA cable.

    I took my camcorder and my MacBook Pro laptop to Radio Shack and showed them what I needed. This was the cable I got.

    It sounds like I should have gotten the cable that fits the smaller DV port on the camera instead of fitting the A/V slot.
     

    Attached Files:

  7. spinnerlys Guest

    spinnerlys

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    #7
    You used the Firewire (DV) port, the designers of that camera did just a crappy job properly aligning the text fro the ports.

    [​IMG]

    As you can see from the below image (already posted in my first reply), this is a 4-pin Firewire port.
    [​IMG]


    From the manual, on page 86
     
  8. vjaaan thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #8
    Thanks for hanging in there with me.
    So, it sounds like I used the right port? Then why is the quality not as good as it should be?
    That bottom port (which I needed a magnifying glass to even read) has a picture of a firewire symbol. But it sounds like that plug only goes to a USB? I have read (and tried) that I cannot capture taped video using a USB connection. So, are there other programs than iMovie that can use that bottom port for capture? And is the quality the same as for the 4-Pin port above it?
    That bottom plug seems to be a 5-Pin port. Are there cables that have those 5 pins on one end and fit into the firewire port on the MacBook Pro? And is there any point in doing that?
    Thanks so much.
     
  9. spinnerlys Guest

    spinnerlys

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    #9
    The bottom port is a miniUSB port, for transferring images off the MemoryStick. It may be used for streaming video, but the quality will be much worse than the middle DV-Out port.

    The DV-Out Firewire port usually delivers the best image quality, as it is purely digital and does not apply further compression. What settings in what iMovie version do you use to capture the video or have applied for the project? You could try QuickTime X (if you have Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard) to capture the video ad se if that looks better, but maybe it is just the preview in iMovie, which looks not as good as the actual footage is. Have you opened the captured footage (inside the Users / YOU / Movies / iMovie folder) with QuickTime and compared the quality? If not, do so and open the Movie Inspector in QuickTime (Command + I) and post the details here (via screenshot perhaps - Command + Shift + 4 > Spacebar).

     
  10. notjustjay macrumors 603

    notjustjay

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    #10
    Yes, you are using the correct cable and the correct port.

    As I said earlier, if you are using a version of iMovie later than iMovie HD (which was '06), I have found in my own experience that the quality of the captured footage isn't as good as the older versions. iMovie '08 and later seem to simply throw away half the fields when it exports the video.

    See these discussions on Apple's Support Forum:

    http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=2601874&tstart=225

    http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=1282332

    You could try using other utilities to capture footage, and see if the results are any better. For example, try FootTrack, or Final Cut Express, etc.

    Personally, I still use iMovie HD. I'm really not a fan of versions '08 and forward.
     
  11. vjaaan thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #11
    It looked no better in Quicktime. What I am finding is, it looks fine in the normal size viewing windows, but when full screen, looks bad. (It seems the same for my original avi files of this movie -- bad in full screen.)

    It says it's 720 x 480 which disappoints me, maybe because of my recent experiences with some HD movies at 1080. Is that as good as I can get with regular digital 8 movies?

    I do appreciate all the help!!
     

    Attached Files:

  12. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    #12
    Yes. You can't get a standard def camera to produce high def images.


    Lethal
     
  13. spinnerlys Guest

    spinnerlys

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    #13
    As LethalWolfe already pointed out, you can't get HD quality of that material, as the camera records in Standard Definition and iMovie captures the footage in its original resolution.
     
  14. vjaaan thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #14
    Yes, I know I can't get HD. But I am just trying to get the max I can out of it.
    Someone mentioned above that my final output might look better than it plays full screen on the computer?
    I'll do a sample video and see how it looks. It does seem that a movie shot in Digital 8 should look decent when shown later on a TV.

    Thanks for all the help!
     
  15. notjustjay macrumors 603

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    #15
    Well, if you burn the footage back to a DVD, or even "print to tape" back from iMovie back out through the DV connection and record it onto your camcorder, you should find that it looks just as good on a regular TV as your original footage did.

    But yes, standard DV resolution is 720x480 and the Digital8 is probably going to resolve somewhat less than that since the optics in those cameras weren't necessarily stellar to begin with. I feel your pain with regards to 1080p video. In addition to the TRV320 Digital8, I also own a Sony VX2000, a 3-CCD DV camcorder which cost about $2500 when I bought it. It took stellar video for its day. But the $400 Canon HF100 that I own now is capable of kicking its pants in many aspects.
     
  16. martinX macrumors 6502a

    martinX

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    #16
    It won't look that great fullscreen on a computer monitor because you are watching SD scaled up to a large screen from about 2 feet away.

    Watch it on your monitor unscaled with a black background if you really need to see the quality right now.

    It should look OK on a TV in a loungeroom, but SD is SD. For me, the difference between SD and HD is as simple as grass. In my family movies (wobbly cam, poorly lit etc), you could see "grass" in standard def movies. In HD, I can see the blades of grass.
     
  17. BigDukeSix macrumors 6502a

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    #17
    Great thread with plenty of helpful info. I have the same camera, but just a MacBook. How can I get the video out of the camera and into my MacBook since I have no fireware? Thanks!!!
     
  18. spinnerlys Guest

    spinnerlys

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    #18
    Either get that AV cable (3.5mm to RCA) and use a USB capture card, which will result in image quality loss, though it might not be that much. Or you could try streaming the video via USB, though that will result in definitely in image quality loss.

    And no, there is NO Firewire to USB converter out there.

    AV cable
    [​IMG]

    Capture card - Elgato
    [​IMG]
     
  19. BigDukeSix macrumors 6502a

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    #19
    Very good. I knew there was no firewire to usb adapters, but did not realize there was an RCA to USB device that will work. Thank you so much!!
     
  20. punkoli macrumors newbie

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    Nov 15, 2010
    #20
    reply to spinnerlys

    can you get a usb capture card or not and will it work with mac because i have a hard dick camcorder that has a different av out to all the pictures of the other ones that everybody else has showed but i have a av out cable with tv connections/red-yellow-white.....so main question is.......if i got a usb capture card...can i use the camcorder on some video editing softwares e.g. imovie,premier pro and even photobooth in the format of webcam e.g. built in isight on my mac
     
  21. spinnerlys Guest

    spinnerlys

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    #21
    What exact camcorder model do you have?

    If it records to an internal HDD or any other digital, non-tape, medium, you most likely don't need to capture the digital via analog cables, as that will reduce quality. Most likely you can just copy the files via USB from your camcorder to your Mac and maybe even iMovie does recognise the camera.

    As for the rest of your post, I', not sure I understand.
     
  22. KeithPratt macrumors 6502a

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    #22
    (Maybe I have the mind of a twelve year old but I laughed at this for several minutes.)
     

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