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Digitizing Hi-8 video (1 Viewer)

Peter S

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Is it possible to digitize all 400 vertical scan lines from a Hi-8 camcorder?

I have several tapes, of my kids when they were younger, taken using a Hi-8 camcorder. I am ready to digitize these in to MPEG video. When I tried this a couple of years ago, my computer's video card was only grabbing 200 vertical scan lines. (ATI Xpert 98 with ATI-TV) It was also dropping frames. I thought I would try again after my next computer upgrade.

Well, here I am with a Celeron 1.0 GHz WinXP machine with a funky M/B AGP video card. I am little overwhelmed by the purported number of ways to grab video these days. I suspect that one of these USB devices are going to drop frames, so I am unclear how to proceed. Looking at the ATI Radeon 7500 All-In-Wonder card, which I can only find in AGP (not sure this will work in my machine) the box suggests that it will encode MPEG-2 "up to" 700x480-30/fps. But will it grab/digitize at this rate and resolution?

The only reason I paid extra (at that time) for Hi-8 over standard 8mm camcorder were the extra scan-lines (nearly SVHS, right?) thinking I could benefit from these come digitize time.

I am struggling to take on enough learning to buy the most economical solution of getting my Hi-8 tapes digitized. From there, I'll make some VCDs. When I can afford it (and after I do some editing) I'd like to burn some DVDs.

Any advice would be appreciated.
 

Matt Stryker

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I am struggling to take on enough learning to buy the most economical solution of getting my Hi-8 tapes digitized.
Find someone who has a Digital8 Camcorder; these basically store DV onto a Hi8 cassette. The bonus is that they also allow you to access your old Hi8 tapes via a firewire connection in your computer. Presto! Hi-res digital copies of your old home movies.

And I'd reconsider VCDs. Their compression format (MPEG1) is horrible, with the results looking worse most times than VHS. Use DiVX 5.0 or a similar MPEG-4 codec if you must compress the video you get from the Digital8; they will preserve those precious scan lines.
 

Jeff Kleist

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The next step up is to get a DV Hollywood Bridge and a Firewire card. Probably about a $300 outlay
 

Jeff Kleist

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You CAN use an ATA66 drive as well. I highly suggest you have nothing other than the drive on that channel as well
 

Peter S

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Hmm, all good advice. Thank you.

I've seen the ads for the Pinnacle DV500+, very tempting. The Digital-8 suggestion leaves me wondering if I should just upgrade my camcorder, now, and buy a Digital-8. Some models start just over $450... seems like nearly the same $$$ either way. Although, the Pinnacle bundle comes with the tools... hmm.
 

Scott L

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You may want to check out ADS before you go Pinnacle. I was about to buy the DV200 but read around on the DV forums, most of which recommended ADS over Pinnacle anyday because of their driver support. I instead bought the Pyro Platinum package which has served me very well. Very easy to use and not finnicky in Win2k or XP, no probs at all. Cost about $240 online and comes with Premiere 6.0 full, great deal.
 

Jeff Kleist

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Do not buy the Pyro products. They use Microsoft's baseline DV drivers which are hunks of crap. The Pinnacle codec is fantastic, and the DV 500 is supported well. If you're worried about support, try Canopus DV-Raptor(?). They also have an excellent package

The D8 Camera mus t be able to convert analog to DV to be able to convert Hi8 tapes to digital. All firewire does is pass the digital data stream
 

Peter S

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Good stuff, people. I looked at D8 cameras, today, and I found that none of the 4 models that Best Buy carried would digitize my Hi-8 tapes out the fireware port. This was, of course, according to the sales guy, who sounded pretty competent. He did say that Sony had a model that did this, but was discontinued. He did not know the model #. :frowning: There four cameras ranged from $450 to $800.
My pendulum has swung the other way, now. I am favoring external hardware DV500+ @ $500. Can anyone tell me if the speed of the CPU or hard disks will be a factor when using the DV500+ ?? Will I still lose frames or scan lines if the CPU is too slow? The aforementioned WinXP 1GHz machine runs pretty well, but XP is a dog. My Win2000 (true)Pentium III 500MHz runs faster, at times, than the Celeron 1GHz running Windows XP.
 

Jeff Kleist

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Since the DV500 uses an on-board codec chip, it's hard drive speed that really makes or breaks you

I HIGHLY recommend at least an ATA 66 drive on it's OWN channel. If you have a slave device on there, and since IDE is a FIFO (First in, First out) system, any data requests from that drive can disrupt your stream

I've had fantastic results with a 7200RPM ATA 100 drive using a software codec
 

Jeff Kleist

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Buzz, NTFS will not help your bypass the 2GB problem

The fact is that under FAT32 you can go to 4GB. Pinnacle comes with software which makes this not a problem as well. The 4GB limit is inherent in the structure of the AVI file format
 

Peter S

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Hmm, I seem to recall several 12GB zip files in my archives, somewhere. I can copy these from FAT32 over to the NTFS server without apparent difficulty.
 

Jeff Kleist

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Buzz, because your sound card is on the PCI bus, it puts extra strain on the system which could result in lost frames. No capture card does sound while capturing that I've seen (at least not good ones)
 

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