Looking to import a ton of old 8mm tapes

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by b166er, Oct 8, 2013.

  1. b166er macrumors 68020

    b166er

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    #1
    I have a lot of old 8mm tapes I'm looking to backup digitally, and with some of them I'd like to do some really minor editing. I still have an old Sony 8mm camera that has an "iLink" output / USB output. I have an older macbook that I'm not really looking to upgrade right now.

    Here's my question- is there any simple way to get that video from the original tape into an iPad? I am in the market for a new iPad when they launch, since I can use it for a variety of other things. But I really want to get to work on backing up these old tapes too. Is there a simple solution that is iPad friendly, or am I basically stuck going through a Mac/PC?

    I would like to buy a new Mac, but this one thing aside, I don't really think I would use it that much anymore. My computer needs have become extremely casual the past few years and I think buying a Mac would be kind of a waste. I was looking at some PC's too, and even though they are cheaper I kind of feel the same way. 99% of my needs are met by a nice tablet, hence me wanting to snag a new iPad soon (I sold my old one a few months back).

    Any advice is appreciated, thanks.
     
  2. daybreak macrumors 6502a

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    #2
    Forget the idea of thinking a iPad is going to be the answer to your problem. Just think how much space your video file is going to take up. Get yourself an External Hard drive and download your video material if your old Mac has the software like iMovie and check your camcorder compatibility for your Mac.
    I guess PC would do the job. Never have used PC.
    Also lets have some information about old Mac and what version of iMovie you have.:)
     
  3. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #3
    The iLink is Sony's name for "firewire" but with a very small connector. So buy an iLink to FW cable and using iMovie import all the video to some external disk. Make a few copies of the files and keep some copies off site.

    After the video is edited (With iMovie or whatever you like) you can export them in a format that the iPad can use and move it to your iTune library on the Mac. From there you can watch them on the iPad or iTV or on the computer. So yes you can put this on your iPad but don't expect this much video to fit inside the iPad's internal memory. It will need to be on a big disk on the computer. or some cloud service

    Remember that there is no such think as a permanent backup media. You have to keep rotating the media and re-writing it and testing that you can still read it. Time Machine does this automatically for you so once the videos are inside iTunes then your hourly Time Machine backup will keep a second copy up to data. But you still need those off site backups. Ise either some more disks or some service like Crashplan for your second level backup.
     
  4. ezekielrage_99 macrumors 68040

    ezekielrage_99

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    Oct 12, 2005
    #4
    Answer the first: There's not easy or simple way for getting video into an iPad besides using the camera. The best way would be via computer with a pass-through device such as something from Blackmagic Design.

    I'd suggest going with the BMD Intensity Shuttle or BMD Video Recorder IMHO they are the best quality for the money and allow you to import from multiple different sources .

    My suggestion? Well I was in a similar position a few months back and opted for a Macbook Air with an external HDD, basically you're getting the portability, power, storage and functionality the iPad wont give you.

    I hope this helps.
     
  5. notjustjay macrumors 603

    notjustjay

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    #5
    ChrisA has the right idea.

    Because they're old 8mm tapes, you can probably get away with any one of the numerous USB capture devices that can grab 640x480 resolution and encode them as some sort of MP4 format (h.264 ideally). Not the best format for editing but certainly good enough to capture pretty much all the original detail from the analog tapes. Then once you've got them captured you can sync them onto your iPad, but you will need your computer to do the capturing and encoding.

    Your camera's USB port might also allow a "streaming" mode that would behave, on your Mac, as if you plugged in a webcam.

    For the absolute highest signal quality, especially if you were using miniDV or "Digital8" tapes (which is a miniDV video signal encoded on an 8mm tape), you would want to use the Firewire (Sony calls it i.Link) port and use iMovie to capture the video. Raw DV video is pretty big, clocking in at 13 GB per hour of captured footage, but it is a good format for editing and archival.

    I have a similar project to do "one day", I have dozens of old 8mm, Digital8, and miniDV tapes that I really should capture onto a portable hard drive. The downside to editing these old formats is the capture process is real-time, so to capture one hour of video, you need to press "Record" and wait one hour to capture it. So much footage, so little time...
     
  6. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #6
    Thank you but I misread the question. I assumed he had digital tape. Only some 8mm tape is digital and if it is that would be DV format and all he'd need to capture the video would by the iLink->Firewire cable. The transfoer would be bit-perfect.

    But most 8mm tapes are analog. For that you would need a video capture device. It is worth spending the $$$ on a good one. If you happen you own the next generation cameras after 8mm that would be a miniDV camera. Most of those have a pass though feature. You put video into one jack and the iLink into the computer. The camera makes a ery high quality conversion.

    (But as I said, there were a very few 8mm DV cams, if so then only the cable is needed.)

    Lastly another idea, perhaps the best way to send the job out to a service. The going rate is $20 per tape for transfer to a DVD. They will build a menu and re-color balance the video. Yes 20 tapes would cost $400 it saves about 80 hours of work. Another way to think about it is that you are working for $5/hour if you do this job.
     
  7. nateo200 macrumors 68030

    nateo200

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    #7
    Definitely capture it in good quality either with a capture card like the Black Magic Intensity Shuttle (which unfortuntely needs Thunderbolt for a Mac :/) or other device. The way I look at it is this will be a moderately big project of collecting something that is important to you and you'd hate to look at it years later and wish you captured at better quality. If your camera has iLink/Firewire and your old mac and a firewire port then your all set, get the cable plug it in and open iMovie and capture away! Standard Definition 640x480 or 720x480 should be fine but I 960x720 might give you some more wiggle room resolution wise especially considering aspect ratio and final output. Make sure you have a large external hard drive and set up the iMovie project on that so you don't have to worry about running out of space (this is standard for all levels of video editing and what not). Once its all captured edit it and then you can export it at a much smaller file size that should fit on your iPad depending on the length of the footage, if you split up the footage in multiple files, iPad size, etc. I'd export a large file copy that retains all the quality and a small file that will play smoothly on any device. This way you have a master copy that while large retains all the quality for future use. So overall work flow will be like:

    tldr;

    -Capture footage into iMovie via FireWire as DV codec or AIC/ProRes
    -Edit the video, cut out any uneeded footage, modify the color, fix errors, etc.
    -Export the final video in a high quality format such as ProRes 422 and store it in multiple areas
    -Convert the ProRes 422 master of your footage to Mp4 H.264 with something like Handbrake (free and very versatile..I love it!)
    -Store various copy's of the footage on hard drives, DVD's, Blu-rays, etc. for proper safe keeping.
    -Enjoy!
     
  8. ezekielrage_99 macrumors 68040

    ezekielrage_99

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    Oct 12, 2005
    #8
    There is a USB3 version that does work rather smashingly for SD (and lower) imports via a decent USB2 port. For what the b166er is asking it would be able to import at a decent enough quality from 8mm.

    I'd also go a little further to what you've put though Compressor does an extremely good job at batch imports and for the cost you can get multiple output in the one render (so for your iPhone, TV, H.264, etc...).
     
  9. notjustjay macrumors 603

    notjustjay

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    #9
    Is there really any benefit to using ProRes for old analog footage? It seems like overkill to me. Even DV seems like overkill, but is likely the format I'll use when I do this project for myself.
     
  10. matteusclement macrumors 65816

    matteusclement

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    victoria
    #10
    Pay someone else to do it

    I have done this 8mm stuff a couple times for two uncles.

    It is time consuming (you capture in real time) and it can be porblematic.

    Now i just refer the work to a guy who does it for 10-15 dollars a tape and that includes a DVD of each tape.
     
  11. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #11
    I used the old miniDV camera as a capture device. Yes it is real time but you can continue to work on other things while the tape plays, Do one or two tapes at a time and in a month or so you are done. That is the advantage of not having to work to a deadline. Then you have some rather large DV files but that is a very good editing format, as good a ProRes if you are doing SD.

    But if you have the $$ sending them out to a service is the easy way.
     
  12. b166er thread starter macrumors 68020

    b166er

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    #12
    Thanks for the tips guys.

    I was looking at some third party capture devices but haven't found one for me yet.

    And yeah, I know an iPad has limited space. I'm dealing with roughly 100 hours of film. I was just wondering if it was even possible to get the film from the tape to the iPad directly without using a Mac/PC.
     
  13. daybreak macrumors 6502a

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    #13
    You have had some wonderful advice on here and you come up with a question of 100 hours of video on iPad in a manner of speaking.
    Lets wind back and start from beginning. 100 hours of video needs looking at and editing. So you will need a software and computer which will handle that task.
    Then you may be able to put a certain amount unto your iPad.
    I think you know what you have to do but was hoping some person could give you a easy way of doing it.:)
     
  14. b166er thread starter macrumors 68020

    b166er

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    #14
    More like, I know one way to do it and I'm looking for options/alternatives. I know I can't fit 100 hours of video on an iPad, that's not my question. I asked if there was a way to get video from the tape to the iPad directly, without using a PC in between them. That doesn't mean I'm going to try to load everything on there at the same time.
     
  15. daybreak macrumors 6502a

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    #15
    Sorry but you are talking PC which to me means Window software not MAC.
     
  16. notjustjay macrumors 603

    notjustjay

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    #16
    Well, I think that's being a bit pedantic... technically, a Mac is a type of Personal Computer (PC), PCs can run many other OS's other than Windows (including Linux) and besides which the OP said "Mac/PC".

    But the bottom line is that the iPad doesn't have any kind of video capture interface (or a USB port to plug one in) so a computer is required in the middle.

    By the way, MAC is an acronym for Media Access Control. ;)
     
  17. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #17
    The best and only reasonable way is to import the video to iTunes. It will end up being in a section of your library called Movies->HomeMovies and you will be abl to browse and look at those old tape on any Apple product such as an iPad, iPhone Aple TV and any Mac. The data will stay in the iTunes library unless yo move (sync) it to the iPad.

    OK there is a way to get the video DIRECTLY on the iPad but you do not want to do it, but it does do what you want. Play the old tape on a TV set aim the iPd's camera at the TV scree and record off the screen. The results will be poor but it dos transfer the video direct to the iPad.

    The problem is the iPad is a media-consumer device it is not suitable for those who create media, even a casual content creator like yourself.
     
  18. rjphoto macrumors 6502a

    rjphoto

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    #18
    Have you tried "Sony 8mm camera that has an "iLink" with the old 8mm tapes to see if it will play them.

    Some Sony's would play the analog tapes and convert them to digital and you could capture the tape in iMovie and do some editing.

    An option for "getting" the digital video on the iPad is to use a Seagate GoFlex Satellite Wireless Hard Drive.
    http://www.seagate.com/external-hard-drives/portable-hard-drives/wireless/wireless-plus/

    There may be other options, this is just one I'm familiar with.

    @ChrisA: There is an iPad version of iMovie if some editing needs to be done...
     
  19. daybreak macrumors 6502a

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    #19
    I think we are going around and around with this thread. If a person comes on this forum and mentions PC it does not mean he is working on an MAC computer. MAC, yes can mean many things In England there use to be a MAC food store nation wide.
    I think enough information has been put forward and very useful material.
     
  20. notjustjay macrumors 603

    notjustjay

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    #20
    Understood but the OP mentions in the first post "I have an older macbook". I am not sure where he mentions having to do this on a PC.

    In any case an older MacBook would be plenty powerful enough to capture analog SD resolution video through USB or FireWire. There were ancient PowerPC and G3 iMacs (the CRT colourful kind) that had enough horsepower to do this so a MacBook is no problem as long as it has enough hard drive space.
     
  21. jpine macrumors 6502

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    Jun 15, 2007
    #21
    BMD h264 recorder, an external drive, and a backup system. Oh, and keep your tapes and a way to play them, just in case. You can't be too cautious, especially with family memories.

    ----------

    My first Mac was a Ruby iMac (G4 I think) and it did plenty well at capturing DV. I agree, the OP's MacBook should work just fine.
     
  22. kokako macrumors regular

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    Feb 23, 2011
    #22
    Definitely look at the capture devices from Black Magic or Canopus Grass Valley you'll get something for around $100, I wouldn't pay a company to do this do it yourself, put a tape on each night before you go to bed.

    You want to capture so I'd bypass final cut or any NLE and if your Sony camera has iLink then your camera is digital8 as Hi8 and 8 were analogue only, but because you want to capture download Apples FireWireSDK26 it's available for free on the developer site use your existing Apple account or create one if you don't already have, it has a ton of awesome software I've been using for years, there's a bundle of different apps in it but you want to use AVCVideoCap (DV and MPEG2-TS Capture Application[mindiDV, microMV]) or DVHSCap (this probably the one you and any Tivo users) these will let you capture the raw streams from the digital8, it's real time capture but it's lossless so you'll have a 1:1 copy of your tape - you can use VLC to play these files back, files aren't too massive and external hard drives are cheap - don't pay someone to do this for you for $20 the place your local photo print shop uses sends it too cowboys they'll run your precious tapes through second hand bulk ebay cameras, trust me I've seen these hack shops, a decent post house will do a great job that uses ..... the solution I'm detailing above but they'll charge you $80$100 per tape but they'll convert that transport stream to .MOV or .MP4, all the best.
     
  23. b166er thread starter macrumors 68020

    b166er

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    #23
    They both look like contenders, thank you.

    And sorry, to me, a macbook is a PC. A personal computer. I didn't mean windows. However, it looks likely that a windows 8 PC (probably a HP) will be making its way into the house soon (against my will) so I can look at options for that as well I guess.
     
  24. gobsmacked macrumors member

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    Alberta, Canada
    #24
    This thread has been kicking around for 10 days now and lots of good advice has been put forward. Problem is a lot of it depends on what you've got.
    Were the tapes recorded with the Sony you still have? What model is it?
    A lot of the discussion could have been cut out if that had been supplied.
    Oh, and have you tried playing the tapes? Half of my Hi8 tapes weren't usable due to careless storage.
     
  25. mtngoatjoe macrumors regular

    mtngoatjoe

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    #25
    This could be simple, or it could be hard. Without knowing the exact hardware and software you have, it's hard to say.

    The FIRST thing I would do is connect your camera to your MacBook. Does your MacBook have FireWire? If so, you'll need a FireWire 4 pin to 6 pin cable. You should be able to find one pretty cheap, but I would spend some money and get a good cable that you can return if this process doesn't work.

    Second, connect the camera and see if you can import some video into iMovie. If that works, then check how much hard drive space you have available on the internal drive. I say this because depending on how old you laptop is, capturing video to an external drive can be problematic.

    Remember, you just need enough space on your internal drive to capture one tape. Use Google to see how much space you'll need. After you capture each tape, copy the video to an external drive (remember to do this in iMovie; Google is your friend if you don't know how).

    If you can't import video from your camera, then you still have options:
    - Hire a service to do it.
    - Buy a USB capture device
    - See if you can borrow an old Sony DV camcorder from someone. Use Google to see which models will work. You want one that will convert 8mm tapes to DV. My Sony DV camcorder does this and I used it to convert all my mother's old 8mm analog tapes to DV.

    Now, once you have the tapes downloaded to your computer, you'll be able to go through some process to get them on the iPad. I'm not entirely sure what the process is, but one way would be to export them from iMovie as MP4 files, import them to iTunes, and then copy them from iTunes to the iPad. And here's what I think the neat part is: Once you figure out the process, you should be able to edit the movies using iMovie on your iPad! Do I recommend this? Well, it depends. Some projects work really well on the iPad. Some don't. I just did a project at work where I edited two videos on my iPad using several dozen clips I shot with my dSLR. Editing on the iPad was quick and easy. You'll have to see what works for you.

    NOTE: Exporting your movies in MP4 as mentioned above will work. However, a better solution would be one that allows you to export each individual clip. This would make it much easier to edit on the iPad. If you aren’t interested in doing any editing on the iPad, then disregard this note. But if you do find a solution, please let me know since I have many hours of DV clips that I would be convenient to edit on my iPad.

    Bottom line, I don't think you need a new Mac or a new PC. And honestly, the PC route can involve a world of hurt. You’ll probably need a new hard drive or 2 (because backups are CRITICAL). YMMV.
    -Joe
     

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