How to archive VHS & Hi8 video

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by Flynnstone, Jun 22, 2009.

  1. Flynnstone macrumors 65816

    Flynnstone

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2003
    Location:
    Cold beer land
    #1
    Hi all,

    I have video on Hi8 & VHS. All home movies. I would like to archive to preserve all of it. And create some DVDs.

    I have a Sony MiniDV with passthrough.
    So I can get it into my Mac without too much problem.
    VHS & Hi 8 are analog formats and DV is digital.
    My understanding is that the DV is higher resolution than the source tape.
    So I should be able to compress with minimal loss.

    Anyone have thoughts/preferences/workflows ... that go from VHS/Hi 8 to digital format that saves hard drive space and maintains quality?
    I envision doing some editting to create DVDs at later date. h.264?
     
  2. spice weasel macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2003
    #2
    About a year or so ago I did the same thing as you. I had a bunch of old VHS recordings that I wanted to preserve. My old SD camcorder doesn't do analog to digital conversion, so I started by playing the VHS tapes through a VCR into the camera and capturing it on DV tapes, and then importing to iMovie. This method takes more than double real time (including setup and fiddling around), so I quickly abandoned it for a Canopus ADVC110.

    Since your camera does do analog to digital, all you have to do is connect your VCR deck to your camera and set it to the playback mode, and then use firewire to connect your camera to your computer. Launch iMovie and you should be able to see what's playing in the VCR. Depending on your camera, you may have to have a miniDV tape in it, as some will automatically shut off after a certain amount of time if there is no tape inside.

    As for resolution, you can never get better resolution than the source. The best you can do is perhaps clean up the picture quality a bit through deinterlacing, etc.

    As for storage, I wouldn't compress them until you are absolutely sure you won't be going back to edit them again. You want to keep the number of transcodings to a minimum. If drive space is an issue, then I suggest you play your VHS tapes into your camera and record them to miniDV. Then you can archive these tapes. If and when you decide to edit, you can import them into iMovie.
     
  3. notjustjay macrumors 603

    notjustjay

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2003
    Location:
    Canada, eh?
    #3
    Actually, spice weasel, it's usually the other way around: if you turn the camera on with a tape in it, it will automatically shut off after about 5 minutes of inactivity to reduce wear on the tape heads. If there's no tape, the camera should stay on indefinitely.

    As far as archiving the footage, I agree with the convert-through-DV-camcorder workflow. If you can handle the hard drive space requirements, keeping the raw DV files will probably be the best way to retain the resolution of the captured footage.
     
  4. spice weasel macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2003
    #4
    Thanks for correcting that. I knew it was one or the other, and I had a 50/50 shot at getting it right! On my camera it doesn't matter, but I know that on some it does.
     
  5. misterpasta macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2007
    #5
    Costco for Conversion

    Consider taking some tapes to Costco for conversion to a DVD. Then you can compare their quality to ones you do at home.

    You can use Handbrake and others software to extract the video off the DVD when ready to do some editing. The quality of Costco conversion to be very good and of course big time saver.

    (cost for three, 50 foot 8mm reels is $20 I believe)

    M
     
  6. Flynnstone thread starter macrumors 65816

    Flynnstone

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    Feb 25, 2003
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    Cold beer land
    #6
    I think deinterlacing will do the opposite.
     
  7. Flynnstone thread starter macrumors 65816

    Flynnstone

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2003
    Location:
    Cold beer land
    #7
    Disregarding time, if I was to go to h.264 directly instead of MPEG-2 (DVD), I can edit with that directly and have better quality.

    Interesting price on 8mm. But I'm talking Hi 8 video tape not 8mm film.
     
  8. spice weasel macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2003
    #8
    Depends on how it's done. Tossing out half the fields will cut the resolution in half. Selective blending preserves vertical resolution, but at the cost of some ghosting.
     
  9. ftaok macrumors 601

    ftaok

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2002
    Location:
    East Coast
    #9
    I would just add that if you're going to use a miniDV camcorder, you might as well record on a miniDV tape as your importing to the Mac. Not sure if all miniDV camcorders can do this, but I'm pretty sure that mine can (Canon Elura 100). This way, you have a digital tape as an archive as well as the VHS tapes.

    ft
     
  10. RedTomato macrumors 68040

    RedTomato

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2005
    Location:
    .. London ..
    #10
    Am needing to transfer some VHS tapes myself, and this thread came up in a search.

    I was wondering if the canopus ADVC 110 is still the business or if something newer and better has come out? The ADVC 110 is several years old after all.

    I often use my DV camera to record direct to my laptop HD via firewire for a tape-less workflow, and I have frequent problems with this.

    My camera definitely shuts off after 5 mins with no tape in it. The manual also confirms this. The manual suggest switching the camera to 'demo' mode if I want it to stay on. I've done this, but it still shuts off, and doesn't go into demo mode. Maybe because I rarely film in auto mode - I usually lock down the focus and white-balance cos that's what I need.

    My workaround is to use a spare tape and just record over and over to the same tape while capturing to the laptop.
     
  11. notjustjay macrumors 603

    notjustjay

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2003
    Location:
    Canada, eh?
    #11
    This may be a silly question, but I assume your camera is plugged into the wall outlet? :) Mine will shut off, even with no tape in it, to save battery power. Otherwise, if it's plugged in on AC and no tape is inserted, it will stay on indefinitely. I've definitely used this for providing video feeds of long-duration events where the camera is too exposed for an operator to go out there and change tapes every hour, so I leave it locked down and send a video feed from the camera to the recording deck which is elsewhere.

    My cameras are all Sony brand, perhaps certain brands behave differently.

    And as ftaok suggested, doing this (with a fresh tape each time) will also provide a backup recording of the VHS or Hi8 tape.

    I forgot to mention in my previous post that if you can dig up a "Super VHS" deck, you can provide S-Video inputs to the DV camera (or Canopus box) for better picture quality. I believe this should even help with regular VHS recordings.
     
  12. RedTomato macrumors 68040

    RedTomato

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2005
    Location:
    .. London ..
    #12
    Yes, it's plugged in to the mains :) Canon mvx25i, also known as elura in the states.

    I guess it's a bug, as the manual does state that demo mode should allow the camera to stay on indefinitely. (presumably / hopefully the video output is unchanged while the lcd screen does its fancy tricks.)
     
  13. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #13
    DVD is a very poor archive format. You can't edit DVD without trans-coding it. Also because it uses a key frame and difference all those analog "blips" will create artifacts. Every time you copu DVD you loose quality. For an archine you really do NOT want a format that suffers from generational loss on copy.

    DVD is a distribution format and is good for that purpose.

    DV is the best archive format and will not loose quality. It will preserve even the analog defects, blips and all. With disk space now so cheap there is no need for compressed video formats. I've seen disks selling for les then $100 per terabyte. So that works out to about $1 per hour of DV. Cheap. Make three copies and keep then not all in the same place.
     
  14. ftaok macrumors 601

    ftaok

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    Jan 23, 2002
    Location:
    East Coast
    #14
    Very few miniDV camcorders have s-video inputs. I know that around the time of the Elura100 (at least 3 years ago), the s-video inputs were disappearing. You have to go back at least 4 or 5 years to see s-video inputs on the higher end miniDV camcorders.

    But yeah, the Canopus units should have s-video.
     
  15. notjustjay macrumors 603

    notjustjay

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2003
    Location:
    Canada, eh?
    #15
    Man, way to make me feel old ;)

    I was in the other thread about the new MacBooks and in the midst of an argument about the missing Firewire ports. Someone argued that nobody needed Firewire anymore, and as proof, he pulled up the Best Buy website and counted the number of Firewire hard drives compared to USB ones. I was preparing a rebuttal that was going to say "Oh yeah? Well look how many miniDV camcorders they sell, all of those are going to need Firewire." Then I did the search. Best Buy USA only sells 3 models of miniDV camera, and Best Buy Canada doesn't sell any at all anymore.

    Sigh. I guess I'm being dragged kicking and screaming into the new age of solid state camcorders.

    (I own a Sony Digital8 camera, by the way, as well as a VX2000, and I used to own a TRV25. All of those are from at least 4-5 years ago, and all had S-video ports :) )
     
  16. Mavimao macrumors 6502a

    Mavimao

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    Feb 16, 2005
    Location:
    Lyon, France
    #16
    Unless the video was recorded in the s-VHS format, you won't see much benefit using a SVHS deck with s-video output for your VHS tapes. In fact the VCR would have to ALTER the video to split the chroma and luma signals from the original composite signal.

    Now, Hi8 video is different...you will definitely see a benefit using an s-video output (but not regular 8mm which is still composite). Hope that clears it up!
     
  17. ftaok macrumors 601

    ftaok

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2002
    Location:
    East Coast
    #17
    sorry

    it's a shame because there are so many advantages to using tape. It just has that stigma of being lo-tech among regular people.

    We all are. It's the only way the the electronics manufacturers can continue to make money. They need to move on to the next thing so that they can cash in.

    That's a keeper just for the s-video input alone. I wished I had an s-video port on my Elura. The colors just get so washed out usint composite.
     
  18. rjphoto macrumors 6502a

    rjphoto

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2005
    #18
    I feel your pain.
    I bought a Digital 8 to transfer all of my old Hi8 tapes so I could edit on FCP.
    When it died I bought a Sony TRV-22 mainly because it had a Mic and headphone jack in a small form factor. Now it won't record... I still use both with out tape. Both of them will not cut off if the tape door is open and plugged into power.

    I'm looking at a Canon FS200. It also had Mic & Headphone jacks in a small form factor and records to SDHC cards. It's standard def though. I'm going to run a demo shoot before I buy it to make sure my MacBook will handle the files.

    Oh, and I bought this model MacBook because of the Firewire input...
    Because of the tape problems on both cameras I record to the computer via FW with out tape.
    And I still have several FW drives that I need access to.
     
  19. Flynnstone thread starter macrumors 65816

    Flynnstone

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2003
    Location:
    Cold beer land
    #19
    Ditto ..

    I just bought a FW800 1T drive. Its great. I saw transfer speeds of around 80+ MB per second. Can USB 2 do that.
     

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