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Go Back   Blu-ray Forum > Blu-ray > Blu-ray Players and Recorders

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Old 12-01-2005, 09:26 AM   #1
Dr. Jamie Dr. Jamie is offline
New Member
Dec 2005
Kanata, Ontario, Canada
Question Archiving old analogue video tapes

I'm new to this forum. Much of the interest expressed in Blu-ray relates to playing movies; however, I am interested in archiving more than one hundred hours of (for me and my family, priceless) home videos recorded on a Hi-8 camcorder. These tapes are degrading by the year. DVD cannot hack the bandwidth to provide good quality masters. Blu-ray seems to be a great solution.

OK, I need to get a new PC or a Mac with a capture card. Also, my 1990 vintage Sony V-101 has packed it in. Nobody wants to repair it; so, I need a Hi-8 tape player. (Sony left many of us hung out to dry on this issue a few years ago and I cannot get them to talk to me.) Nevertheless, I am working through these issues.

However, a Blu-ray recorder seems to be an ideal solution for handling the bandwidth and storage capacity problem. I could store the whole library in top quality digital format on, say 25 discs for later editing (as distinct from hundreds of DVDs of poor quality). The tapes could continue to degrade and I would worry no more.

My questions are as follows:

1. When these recorders become available for computers, will they be usable as a general purpose storage medium like a hard drive or must they be used for recording videos in a specific format?

2. On a related subject, does anyone know how to get a reliable tape player/recorder like the EVO-9000 series?

3. Finally, if there is a better way to do this, I welcome suggestions.

Dr. Jamie
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Old 12-27-2005, 02:42 PM   #2
GI2K GI2K is offline
Junior Member
Dec 2005

hmm I think the DVD (MPEG2) is more than enough for what you need... just compare the specs of Hi8 with the ones of MPEG2, mpeg2 will win in every aspect more so cause like you said your tapes start to get used.

If I was you (and if I really wanted the best I can get) I would get a good Hi8 player something that can really squeeze everything out of the Hi8 tapes, then a good capture card and a good software mpeg encoder, for the Hi8 players I don’t know but for the rest you should be able to find a lot of reviews out there. Then with all of that I would first capture the Hi8 “movie” in RAW (if possible) to a BIG Hard drive and only after encode it to MPEG 2.

Besides the problem of finding a good Hi8 player everything should be easy to get.
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Old 12-27-2005, 03:26 PM   #3
Blue Blue is offline
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Jan 2005
Melbourne Australia

The Building blocks are already in place. Most of the authoring companies have products in place to author BD (Blu Ray). Panasonic announced a short time ago that they would release Drives to PC makers Dell and HP (if they still want them) starting in Jan. TDK has started making the blanks. The time frame is soon, but after many false starts I don't think anyone on this forum at the moment will give a date - in about a week some brave people will give a few dates.

Just remember BD is not going to change the existing quality of the orriginal - sure they maybe some digitial trickery but the only real advantage BD will offer is capicty. I understand your reluctance to use MPEG2 for archiving as up until now editing with MPEG2 can be problematic, however that is changing fast and will change faster as many of the HD camcorders convert to MPEG2.

As for the Hi8 problem, get a Hi8 VCR or camcorder while they are still around
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Old 12-27-2005, 07:47 PM   #4
AV_Integrated AV_Integrated is offline
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Jan 2005

You also need to realize that DVD uses MPEG2 which has more than enough quality to do honest and very high quality dubs of Hi-8 recordings, but you must set the compression low enough for it to be worthwhile. Perhaps no more than 1 hour of video per disc.

If you have not been happy with the quality you have currently seen, then this is what needs to be discussed and determined in order to find a hardware/software combination that works best for you.

NOTE: Digital 8 camcorders not only play back 8mm and Hi-8 tapes, but some also do an internal Hi-8 to DV conversion which allows you to use firewire recording capabilities for your PC and DVD recorders producing a much higher copy quality.
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Old 01-01-2006, 10:15 AM   #5
Dr. Jamie Dr. Jamie is offline
New Member
Dec 2005
Kanata, Ontario, Canada
Smile Thanks for the help, guys

I bought a Sony TRV-480 Digital8 (D8) camcorder after studying this to death. As AV_Integrated says, the D8 gives digital output (via USB) to the computer and avoids the need for a capture card. The camcorder was a lot less expensive than the D8 tape deck which is also 2-head and appears to be the same drive mechanism. (There isn't much market for the tape decks; so, they cost more than twice as much and offer less). The D8 should provide the full 400 lines of resolution.

Also, I have played back our 1990 first tape on a TV and it looks great. (Those Hi8 tapes have good longevity, stored vertically).

I am currently picking out a PC with dual core processor, 500 MB of hard drive and dual layer DVD (they're cheap) for now. If a blu-ray recorder comes out before I make the purchase (or even before I do the archiving), I'll get one. As Blue says, it could be in a few weeks. A lot of people have become frustrated with the delays but this time I think it's imminent.

Recall that my objective here is to archive all my footage, including the junk as master files for later editing; so, my interest in blu-ray is to keep the number of discs and the processing time manageable not necessarily for play-back to TV.

Thanks again for your help. It's amazing how many people around the world have this type of problem.

Dr. Jamie

Last edited by Dr. Jamie; 01-01-2006 at 10:21 AM.
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Old 01-01-2006, 05:21 PM   #6
AV_Integrated AV_Integrated is offline
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Jan 2005

That's fantastic. I was in your situation a few years back (late 1999 actually)... My Hi-8 camcorder was on the fritz and Sears had had it in for repair for over 2 months. Coming up on Christmas and many phone calls later I told them that they couldn't keep putting the repair off, so they offerred me a full replacement at no charge. I had purchased the extended service plan.

Well, they were temporarily out of Hi-8 cameras, so they said they would loan me the floor model until a new one came in or I could credit the amount of the Hi-8 (like 700 bucks) towards the Digital-8... That was when I learned that D8 plays back all 8mm formats. I jumped on it and got the camera for 300 bucks. It still works awesome to this day and gives more than enough quality for my needs.

Once you start shooting with it you will really understand that your Hi-8 tapes were never really that great of quality. It's just unbelievable the jump that digital 8 will give you.


Oh - and I'm not sure how delayed Blu-Ray is. They had been slated to come out in 2006 for quite a while. HD-DVD on the other hand promised hardware and movies before Christmas 2005. They even had a movie release list! Man, I can't wait to hear what CES has to say about the two formats.
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Old 12-05-2006, 08:26 PM   #7

I've had my Hi8 CCD-TR101 since 1992 and also have over a hundred hours of home movies with my kids and family growing up. I chose the CCD-TR101 because it has RC Timecode. This feature puts the date and time on the tape as it is recording, together with the tape counter, which can then be viewed by pushing the DATA button, or the DATE(+) or TIME(NEXT) buttons on the TV screeen.

A few years ago I realized that it would soon be time to archive all of my Hi8 data to the next generation of media. The upcoming high densities of the new optical formats like Blu-ray looked very appealing. Although there were lots of solutions for the audio and video capture, there was nothing that transfered the dates and times of the scenes as well, which is something that an archivist such as myself didn't want to lose.

In fact, it actually turns out that neither Sony, nor anyone else, had a way to transfer the dates and times, other than viewing each tape and manually writting down the the tape counter and the date and time.

So to answer your 3rd question, Dr. Jamie, "is there a better way to do this", here is an idea. After capturing the A/V, you might consider also "logging" your Hi8 tapes in order to help get them organized chronologically. The web site gives more details on a tool I have recently developed (possibly more for myself than others) and also lists which Sony Hi8 camcorder models have the required RC Timecode feature (if you still have your CCD-TRV101 then you are OK):

"Hi8DateTime will index and log a Hi8 tape by producing a list of scenes, their start and end timecodes (HH:MM:SS), their recording date, and the start and end time of day in under 15 minutes elapsed time ...". It also creates subtitles that you can optionally turn on and off when viewed with Windows Media Player. I know how time consuming video archival projects can be, and hope that this bit of automation may help.

However, I am still waiting for a Blu-ray writer for sale locally in Toronto, and at a reasonable price, before I proceed with archiving the bulk of my Hi8 home movies. Dr. Jamie, what has been your approach so far? Have you put it off, or have you taken an alternative route?

Walter Berndl

Last edited by walterd8; 12-05-2006 at 08:28 PM. Reason: punctuation
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Old 12-09-2006, 12:55 AM   #8
Alex Pallas Alex Pallas is offline
Active Member
Sep 2005
The Belly Of The Beast (USA)

dont know if this helps but vaio's come with RCA inputs so you can hook your analogue equipt up to it, problem is when transferring analogue, you have to do so in realtime, have fun
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Old 03-07-2007, 06:01 PM   #9
john_1958 john_1958 is offline
Power Member
Mar 2005

I'm trying to record with my current DVD+r Recorder and getting little annoyed
with DVD disc error message
just hope Blu-ray console recorders when the do come on to market have eliminated that problem so i can make back up DVDS of my old videos
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