Best analog to digital converter (to digitize/preserve/archive 5000 tapes)

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by treehorn, Feb 21, 2011.

  1. treehorn macrumors 6502

    treehorn

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2007
    #1
    My boss, who has been recording broll, shows, events, etc. for 25 years, is wanting to digitize his library of 5000 or so tapes (a combo of VHS, SVHS and DVCAM). Of course I get to be point man for finding the equipment/cost analysis.

    We figure that we will use an old G4 Mac Pro with Final Cut Pro to capture the footage via firewire 400. He recently got a very solid professional SVHS deck with SVHS and composite outputs. While we could run it through a Sony DVCAM deck, experience has proven that while this is good for short clips, it isn't the best for longer clips or for older tapes that would benefit from a bit of boost/help.

    I'm wondering what the best option would be for a analog to digital converter - not caring so much about price, caring more for quality (the ones I see mentioned on the forum usually have the "it is adequate for the job" and I am looking for "the best quality" option)

    Figure we will capture to an internal 1 or 2TB hard drive and then once it is full transfer to an external drive for backup (keeping both and the original tapes)

    Thanks!
     
  2. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #2
    Using such an old machine is pretty limiting. An AJA Io LD is about $1000 but I'm not sure what codecs options you'll have for capture. If you look on eBay you could probably find older capture cards for less but that might be more of a headache than it's worth.

    About how much footage are you looking to capture? DV, which is as low as quality as you want to go, will cost you about 13gig/hr so assuming all those tapes are 60min you are looking at roughly 65TB. Even if each tape only has a few minutes of footage on it you'll need way more than 2TB to hold it all. And if some of the tapes are already pretty degraded this digital copy should probably be considered the new master which means you need a 2nd digital copy and, on top of that, HDDs are not ideal mediums for archiving. Since cost seems to be no object you should really be looking at going LTO instead of HDD.


    Lethal
     
  3. martinX macrumors 6502a

    martinX

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2009
    Location:
    Australia
    #3
    Here endeth the project...
     
  4. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #4
    The idea of digitizing 5000 tapes would've ended the project for me. ;) Again, assuming they are all one hour tapes and you do 7 tapes in an 8hr work day you'll be capturing tapes every day of the year for nearly two years.:eek:

    Oh, I don't know how it slipped my mind but Canopus has some options too like the ADVC300.


    Lethal
     
  5. treehorn thread starter macrumors 6502

    treehorn

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2007
    #5
    Sorry, should have been clearer....

    It's not all going to be put on one (or rather one and a backup) drives, obviously. It's going to be filling up drives as needed until finished (so yes, estimating 65TB is not bad...)

    These are tapes that are in danger of deteriorating and need to be archived (and the footage possibly sold/licensed)
     
  6. treehorn thread starter macrumors 6502

    treehorn

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2007
    #6
    And you said a mouthful (which is why I'm not exactly chomping at the bit for this sucker)

    Thanks for the canopus vote...exactly the product I'm trying to determine optimal version of :)
     
  7. gameface macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2010
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    #7
    If you have the budget, send it off to get transferred. I'd rather pluck my eyes out with a beer cap than capture 5000 hours of tape with an old G4. And I've done it, not that quantity of course, but holy hell man that is a whole lot of footage. And, that is if you DON'T drop frames on captures or have timecode breaks.

    Good luck!
     
  8. ehalevy macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2011
    #8
    We (Crawford Media Services) could probably complete the project in 16 weeks. Trying to do this yourself would take two years if you were actively doing this 8 hours a day, one at a time. I'd be happy to send you my info and give you a quote if you'd like.
     

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