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Best way to convert analog Hi8 tape to digital

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Best way to convert analog Hi8 tape to digital
on Mar 3, 2005 at 4:56:40 am

Hello all. I am planning to convert my old collection of Hi-8 tapes to digital so that I can edit them on my computer and then save them to DVD. I just bought a new computer, and it is quite fast. My question is should I buy a mini DV camcorder and pass through the anolog signal to be converted to digital or am I better off getting a separate anolog to digital converter? I might get a digital 8 camcorder, but am leaning towards a mini Dv machine).I was thinking of a Canopus ADVC 100 or 300, but am open to suggestions. Is there a difference in the digital quality between these methods? I know the Canopus would probably produce a very high quality output, but couldn't I improve the digital video from the camcorder using a video editing program? I will probably end up getting a digital camcorder soon, but am interested for now in producing the best quality digital video that I can.

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Stuart Pearl
Re: Best way to convert analog Hi8 tape to digital
on Mar 6, 2005 at 6:21:22 pm

Have you considered the Pyro ADS A/V Link? I'm in a similar situation, but also have a number of standard 1/2" VHS home movies going back to 1984.

I too was considering the ADVC 100 - around $279, & the 300 - closer to $500. I quickly encountered analysis paralysis with all my reading and forum research. But after talking to some pro video friends (weddings, advertising) I decided that for my purposes, the ADVC devices would be expensive overkill. I'm still paying for one kid in college.

Canopus makes excellent gear. But would I see significantly better transcoding by paying $100 - 300 more than the Pyro A/V Link? Maybe if I sent it to a test lab, but for my practical purposes of standard TV viewing, probably not. However, if someone out there has had a contradictory experience, I would like to hear about it. There have been complaints about the Pyro A/V Link dropping frames or causing other aggravation, but I believe this was probably due to older or under powered PC's, trying to transcode poor quality tape or media recorded in EP mode. GIGO.

My original source material was all recorded on high quality tape, in standard 2-hour mode, and stored in a dust free climate controlled environment. Hopefully this will result in high quality transcoding, with subsequent MPEG-2 encoding.

I did consider for a short time buying a digital camcorder, but my current Hi8 is still an excellent unit and I really don't want another camera. My preference is to transcode the VHS tapes, dump them onto one of my hard drives in their AVI format, and then do some editing, chaptering, titling and cleanup where images may require it.

Going straight to a digital camcorder is certainly easier and faster. However, I believe you decrease your editing options, or make them a little more difficult. Good luck in your choice - let us know what you decide. - Stu

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on Apr 9, 2005 at 3:56:14 pm

Cal, other than sending the tapes to me Wink , go for the ADVC300. Do not go for anything under it, as they do not have the capabililtes that are in the 300. I presently capture SVHS, VHS, VHS-C, Hi8, 8mm, DV and even betamax through my ADVC300. If you are looking for quality results, spend the extra money on the ADVC300 - it's a Prosumer card. You'll never get the same quality out of a 'consumer' videocard that claims to capture analog footage.

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