DV capture issues
I'm having some issues capturing video in Final Cut Pro X.
Here is my setup: Sony Hi8 Handycam playing 8mm video, converted into DV format by Sony digital8 Handycam dcr-trv460, then fed into my Mac through firewire. I am not playing the 8mm tapes directly from the digital8 camcorder because it won't play the audio correctly (cuts in and out), and also the colors look better when played by the older Hi8 camcorder.
I have literally 50ish of these 8mm tapes that I want to capture in raw, uncompressed format for archival purposes. They contain all of my family's home movies from when we were kids.
In Final Cut Pro 7 or Final Cut Express I was able to import videos with this setup no problem; I would just put the "easy setup" to video converter and the program would not try and control the camera when importing. In Final Cut Pro X, however, the program will not import video unless it is receiving a time code from the DV camcorder (here there is none because I am just using the AV -> DV passthrough feature). I have tried setting the digital8 camcorder to record the footage on a blank tape during the capture (in order for FCPX to get a time code). This works, but there are two problems. First, digital8 tapes aren’t long enough. My 8mm tapes contain two hours of footage that I am trying to archive as one uninterrupted clip. Because digital8 can only take one hour at a time, this would cause the capture to be interrupted. Second, for some reason I can never even get that far into the capture before FCPX sends a "pause" or "stop" signal to the digital8 camcorder (usually around 34 minutes), thus stopping the import.
I would be okay with doing the capturing in the old Final Cut Pro or Express, but in those programs I encountered a different problem. Toward the middle/end of each two-hour capture, the audio and video always got way out of sync. I tried everything I could think of to fix this, but was not able to figure it out.
I would also be okay with doing the capturing in iMovie, but I have read various things on here about why that's not a good idea. Is it true that iMovie automatically deinterlaces DV video when you import it, or does this only happen when you export it in another format? If I took the raw .dv files that iMovie produces and imported them into Final Cut for editing, would it recompress, transcode, or otherwise affect the quality of the movie? On a side note, I do not experience any audio/video sync issues in iMovie like I get with Final Cut Pro 7 or Express. I have stayed away from iMovie merely because I'm afraid of the .dv format and possibly losing video quality.
If anyone has any better ideas for how I could approach this project, I would love to hear them. Again, I have dozens of old video8 and hi8 tapes that I want to capture for archival purposes. As I mentioned before, my digital8 camcorder can play them, but the audio cuts in and out and the colors look washed out as compared with how the video looks when played through the older hi8 camcorder.
Thanks to all who take the time to read this post and consider my problem!
The new Final Cut Pro X FAQ page offers a workaround solution for digitizing tape:
"In addition, companies like AJA and Blackmagic offer free deck control software that allows you to capture from tape and output to tape."
Use FCP 7 to capture the material.
Import it into a new FCP X project to edit.
Believe me. Everything is a lie.
That method would be fine with me, except for the audio/video sync issues I am experiencing when I import with FCP 7 and Express. The audio and video get out of sync by the middle/end of a 2-hour capture. This didn't used to happen when I started using Final Cut, but I haven't been able to figure it out for months now.
iMovie shouldn't have a problem with standard miniDV, it does have functions where you can compress HD to a smaller file size which has no impact on miniDV. You might be right in that it may throw away half your interlace info on export BUT you can take iMovie projects straight into FCPX so try it and let us know what happens!
Media Trainer - Mac Support - Video Production