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PRESERVATION of old footage

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Curious Editor
PRESERVATION of old footage
on Jul 24, 2007 at 9:41:26 pm

There's no PRESERVATION Forum on creativecow which surprises me.

The problem I'm having is I have 25 VHS tapes and 16 8mm Sony tapes that I want to preserve digitally. I no longer have a 8mm camera or VHS player. What I want to do is transfer all these tapes onto a hard drive, DVD's, Blu-Ray etc. whatever format conserves the original images and does not compress(losing quality). Once this is done I can edit family videos. How should I go about this? What should I buy etc?

I have Final Cut Pro Studio and a MACPRO 2x2.66Ghz


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Evil Ash Editor
Re: PRESERVATION of old footage
on Jul 24, 2007 at 10:16:34 pm

Without the players, there's really nothing you can do by yourself for these videos. Now the issue of working on your videos without compression, that would be an expensive venture especially since your then talking about working on Betacam SP or Digital Betacam. For simplicity's sake, I just going to say the cost of working with these formats, for your purposes, would be very high and you probably wouldn't retain enough quality to feel justified in go that route rather than mini dv. If you still want to go uncompressed, at least for the VHS tapes, you should buy an inexpensive vhs player, and you will need to run it through a timebase corrector to maintain the highest quality as you digitize. You will also need an analog capture card to capture your video uncompressed, AJA and Decklink make some very nice ones. Keep in mind uncompressed 8-bit video comes in about a gig a minute, 10-bit video about 1.25 gigs a minute, and you will need a RAID array to be able to capture that video without dropping frames. I've pulled it off with a two-way stripe, but for best results you really want at least a four way stripe.

As for your 8mm film, you might want to look for a transfer house that can do that for you. There is a device called the DV8 Sniper, check it out at http://www.moviestuff.tv/8mm_telecine.html That is made to transfer your 8mm footage to mini dv. It will probably be your best bet, since I recently was looking to get some old 8mm footage telecined to betacam, and it was actually more expensive than 35mm since it had to be sent out.

To be perfectly honest, you will probably do fine going straight out to mini dv for your vhs tapes, and using the dv8 sniper for the 8mm. Even though mini dv is compressed, for the sake of family videos it will look quite good, and be much easier to work with since the bandwidth requirements are very low. Also, most mini dv cameras that take a line in (I used a Canon ZR-65) have built-in timebase correction and will transfer from the vhs player nicely.


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Evil Ash Editor
Re: PRESERVATION of old footage
on Jul 24, 2007 at 10:18:16 pm

I apologize, you were referring to hi-8 tapes and not 8mm film. In that case, the same rules apply for transferring VHS tapes. Try to find a use hi-8 camera on craigslist or ebay. I recently did this exact project, with VHS and Hi-8 going straight to mini DV, and it went very well.


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Curious Editor
Re: PRESERVATION of old footage
on Jul 24, 2007 at 11:26:11 pm

Hmmm, so basically I should transfer everything to mini DV tapes? So I need a cheap used sony 8mm video camera, a pretty good VHS player and a mini DV/HDV deck?. I was worried using the Red, White and Yellow cables because of the signal.


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Evil Ash Editor
Re: PRESERVATION of old footage
on Jul 24, 2007 at 11:37:15 pm

Yeah, it's a composite cable and while it it's not the greatest option since the color separation isn't great. If you have an s-video out from your camera, you can use that to go directly to the computer, but that would require a timebase corrector. Likewise, if you have a mini DV deck, you can take that s-video signal directly in, which is superior to the composite signal.


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Curious Editor
Re: PRESERVATION of old footage
on Jul 24, 2007 at 11:46:35 pm

I have to now figure out what to buy. hahaha I was hoping to save more space with less tapes. I saw a few VHS/DVD combos with a DV cable, s-video, RGBWYcomponent cable and regular RWY cable.

What do you suggest I get in terms of models? Are there any 8mm cameras with S-video? What's a timebase corrector?(For time code? I usually do 10 batch captures and on VHS I do manual captures in 10 minute batches)


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Evil Ash Editor
Re: PRESERVATION of old footage
on Jul 25, 2007 at 12:19:50 am

I've seen hi-8 cameras with an s-video out, but not all of them have one. Simply put, without timebase correction, if you run your vhs directly in to a capture card, you will likely encounter strange colors, warping, color bleeding and other ugly anomalies. Here's a good article on timebase correction http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timebase_corrector For a Final Cut system, I really like the Decklink capture cards.

As far as simplicity goes though, it would be easiest to just dub them straight over to mini dv. I absolutely admit it won't be the best method to retain the maximum quality, but as far as ratio of ease to quality, and expense to quality, it would be the method that I would choose, especially if it's not going out to broadcast.


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Curious Editor
Re: PRESERVATION of old footage
on Jul 25, 2007 at 12:26:24 am

I hope I can get this done. This is a little depressing haha.

THANK YOU SO MUCH. I'm going to inquire on a DV deck, VHS player and Hi-8 camera(with s-video hopefully).


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Luke Nath
Re: PRESERVATION of old footage
on Jun 10, 2011 at 2:24:21 am

Hi EvilAsh,

I know this is an old thread. But I am hoping
you can shed some light on the problem I am
having saving my old 8mm and digital8mm tapes
to DVD.
I have a collection of analog 8mm and digital8mm
tapes.
I have acquired a used Sony DCR-TRV330 videocam.
It plays digital8, 8mm and Hi8 tapes.

I also have a Samsung DVD/VHS vcr.
The vcr has one external input with 3 RCA jacks:
Yello (video)
White+Red for stereo audio.

So I connect a video cable rca end to the yellow
RAC jack of the vcr, and it;s other end is male s-video, which I connect to the Camera's s-video
port.
The red and white RCA jacks are also connected
to the proper connectors on the vcr - the other end erminates in a 3.5mm stereo plug. I plug that
into the 3.5mm port on the Camera, labeled
audio and video.

I am able to record the tapes to DVD using this
setup.

However, when I playback the DVD, it is in black and white!!!
Does this mean the cabe is bad or the camera is bad or the vcr's AV1 input section is bad?

I get this with every video tape I transfer
to DVD in this manner.

Thanx for any insight into this.

Best Regards,

Luke


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Grady Knight
Re: PRESERVATION of old footage
on Aug 7, 2007 at 9:12:23 pm

Just a note on the 8mm. Take along one of your tapes to try. The new 8mm digital cameras are not all compatible with the old analog tapes. The cheapest camera will not do the job.
I do the VHS and 8mm transfer here, charge $20.00/hour of your video plus the miniDV tapes or external HD.
Cheaper to do it yourself. One problem you will find is that if the video is not steady, breaks in the time code, it will usually stop a computer download. You have to sit and monitor every tape so you can restart the download every time this happens. You will not have this problem if you transfer it player to miniDV camera but then you end up with twice as many tapes as you have now.


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