General discussion

Converting camcorder video to digital, I need your guidance

Hi, everyone. Over the years I have shot hundreds of hours of 8mm and Hi8 video, using a Sony Handycam Pro Video Hi8 3ccd, with an Amphibico housing, for the videos taken underwater. Underwater lighting was variable, both with high-intensity underwater lights and ambient light, even at depth. Prior to the Sony Handycam Pro, I was using whichever was the best 8mm video camera on the market at the time. The remaining videos are of extensive world travels. I now want to digitize all the videos and need guidance in choosing among professional services, running the videos through the camera into my computer or buying an A-D digitizer for home use. Will a professional A-D service clean the tapes and give a sharper copy than the other methods? Are there any other advantages of a professional service?

I have a PC running Windows 7 Pro with 16GB of RAM, an average video card that will be upgraded, and solid-state 2TB HDs.
I am also looking into video editors that will not require an outrageous amount of learning curve. Any assistance you can give me will be appreciated. Thank you!

--Submitted by: Mitchell M.

Discussion is locked

Follow
Reply to: Converting camcorder video to digital, I need your guidance
PLEASE NOTE: Do not post advertisements, offensive materials, profanity, or personal attacks. Please remember to be considerate of other members. If you are new to the CNET Forums, please read our CNET Forums FAQ. All submitted content is subject to our Terms of Use.
Reporting: Converting camcorder video to digital, I need your guidance
This post has been flagged and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.
Sorry, there was a problem flagging this post. Please try again now or at a later time.
If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums' Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.
Comments
- Collapse -
Do-it-thyself: Convert camcorder to Digital

Been there; did it myself. Not at all difficult.

I have/had a Sony Hi8; I bought VideoStudio years ago; upgraded recently to the latest, (its now owned by Corel, used to be ULEAD). My PC has USB, FireWire inputs; Win 7 and now Win 10; 8GB Ram, 1TB disk with several USB 3 drives for more permanent storage.

Digitazation is very easy -- the camera plugged into the computer via USB or via FireWire -- my PC motherboard supports both and they both work. VideoStudio gives me controls over the playback. So converting pieces of Hi8 tape to digital files is very easy: cue the tape, set up number of minutes to digitize and go. After this stage, i have sets of video files.

for VHS tapes, alas my old VHS camcorder is no more; I shelled out a few bucks for a new VHS player that includes a DVD writer and it handles the whole job autonomously. So from this I also get digital files of the movies.

First conclusion: getting digital files from your analog tapes is very easy; no learning involved.

Now, if you want to make your movies watchable by splitting into scenes, cleaning noise, balancing color, using zoom techniques into and out of a scene, etc. can be done with VideoStudio -- many, many filters and effects and again pretty easy and straightforward to use. All of it is drag and drop -- no typing commands. You can add music, voice-over, etc. all within VideoStudio. And you can have the output produced in a variety of formats and resolutions for sharing online, on DVD, etc. Again, all drag & drop, menus on-screen.

Second conclusion: You can easily learn how to edit your films and set them up the way you want. Primary issue is simply having the time to view, review, plan, wait for outputs to be generated [reformatting for output, filtering video, etc. occurs in slower than real time.]. Much of the time though you can be busy doing other tasks while the computer is cranking along.

Final conclusion: do not be afraid to try. Besides VideoStudio there are other products {Pinnacle i believe still exists] but i started with VS to i stay with it.

- Collapse -
VHS to Digital Transfer Difficult if Top Quality is Desired.

Digital 8 can be transferred without a loss of quality as long as it can be played back without significant drop outs. 8mm video should be transferred with a time base stabilizer if possible.

VHS is entirely different. Just because a VHS player plays back a tape does not mean the entire quality within the original tape has been captured. There are literally 8 to 12 adjustments that need to be made to optimize VHS if one has the right equipment. Even then it can take quite awhile to learn all of them.

And for those who say that it does not matter what VHS machine is used to transfer VHS, that the real adjusting goes on in the digital real. Less garbage, more quality during the transfer simply means the digital software has more to work with, thus ensuring an even better final product.

I still have an analog videotape studio and I can bet that nobody can do equivalent or better work than I can from VHS or SHVS 2 hour or 6 hour speed. 4 hour speed is dicier but thankfully not that much was done on four hours. The worst tapes are the ones that auto switch to different speeds.

I only do specialized VHS Remastering jobs where the tape is so valuable spending 500 bucks for up to a 3 hour session (yes, client actually sits by side) is no big thing for the client. I have IMDB credits and have won a Los Angeles Emmy for those who are skeptical, all work was done in my analog videotape editing suite. You can find my email address at www.alexlogic.com

Post was last edited on March 29, 2018 1:47 PM PDT

- Collapse -
Please note.
- Collapse -
Thanks for this.

While advertising is not done this way I like how you dropped how much good work costs.

Those 20 buck a tape folk are well, you get 20 bucks or less value.

- Collapse -
Analaog to Digital videos

Hi,

As far as I recall, you will need..

Your Hi8 camera and tapes
The Digital video your upgrading or borrow one
Leads to connect cams and usb on computer
A Computer PC XP to Win 10
Hard Drive Space
An Editing software like PowerDirector. One of the best and cheapest. As simple as they get.

I have transferred hundreds of tapes over to digital from my Hi 8 Canon A1 3ccc.
I connect the Hi 8 to the Digital camera and the digital camera to the PC.
Turn both cams on and play the Hi8
The signal goes from the Hi8 thru the digital cam into the Capture area of the Editing software.

Save it and get next tape. It runs real time so an hour will be an hour etc.
Or get some to do it for you at quite some cost if you have many tapes.

Good luck

- Collapse -
Hi8 to Digital

Hi Ozstar100,

Are you in LA ?
I have a few Hi8 tapes to digitize.
In 1993, I set up my Canon Hi8, with the intervelometer (time lapse),
taping overnight, looking up the coast from Pacific Palisades
as the Malibu Fire marched south, burning hill after hill after hill.

Would you consider doing this ?

Is there a company you would recommend ?
If I go to a consumer service like
www.preservetodvd.com or www.dvdyourmemories.com
is there something I should request,
like "transfer with a time base stabilizer"

Thank You,
Bruce Byall (phone number removed for privacy and spam protection.)
I worked as a Grip in the Motion Picture Industry for 22 years.
6 features with Jim Cameron (from original Terminator thru the Screen Tests for Avatar)

Moderator Note: Please enable the spam proof CNET EMAIL SYSTEM if you need/want other members to contact you.

Post was last edited on November 15, 2018 7:56 AM PST

- Collapse -
FireWire

You will need a IEEE1394 Firewire card for your PC (If you don't already have one (easy to fit but use the legacy driver found in Device Manager) Converting analogue to digital using an external USB device can be fraught with problems i.e. the devices don't work. IMO professional transfer is the best choice but you can get VHS to DVD recorders. (bit of a waste for a one off conversion.) Plus there are camcorders Canon HV20/30 for example that have built in analogue to digital converters that connect into your PC via Firewire.

I would endorse the use of VideoStudio as an easy and very versatile editor. I moved from Pinnacle Studio to VS 7 some years back and am now running VS X10 Ultimate. Go to Corel's web site and watch a few tutorials.

- Collapse -
USB as good as IEEE 1394 ... ? !

I have had fine results from my Sony HDR XR100 transferring widescreen HD video files with a USB 2.0 cable.

- Collapse -
No usb/firewire?

My sony handycam has only output to rca? jacks. No usb output. What's the best way to proceed in this case?
Thanks,

- Collapse -
There are video capture kits..

out there,. that are very economical that not only come with all possible connectors in a pigtail device, but the software to do the video capture with. All of them, I've seen, including mine has RCA plugs included.

- Collapse -
Conversion of Analog Video/Audio to Digital

Mitchell

There is a device I would recommend called 'Ion Video 2 PC' which is $51.00 at Staples or Walmart. Go to the internet and check out their website. There is a YouTube video which is 8 minutes. If your current player has a 'SVHS' output connect, use it as it will give you your best analog quality for you to work with. The Ion Video device also uses Power Director (editing) software you can download to your PC.

I have a suggestion, you should consider upgrading your PC to Microsoft System 10. While it will take a while, Microsoft will not update your System 7. There were several major software problems with 7, 8, and 8.1 so Microsoft bit the bullet and did a major rewrite to integrate the system software better. I upgraded my three computers for free using the Microsoft upgrade path. To see if your system can upgrade please check out the Microsoft website and they will tell you if you can for free (no cost). I recommend you consider this!

Unfortunately it will be difficult to clean your analog footage because of the analog record format of 8 MM and super or Hi 8 MM (different tape formulation for improvement of noise factor). The reason is because of the way the original analog video was format recorded.

The Japanese considered the 8 MM format as a consumer one, so it was designed for shoot and playback one time. The analog NTSC video system was the culprit. Broadcast specs were 4.2 Mhz bandwidth, 42 db signal to noise for professional cameras and a color system that was limited to 3.58 bandwidth interspaced with luminance. This resulted in approximately 330 lines of resolution with a broadcast system.

Compare that to 8MM or high 8, your talking 260 lines of resolution, 800 KHz of chrominance (color) bandwidth (color under system) which was better than VHS. Good enough for birthday parties or other personal events.

The good news is that once the video is digitize you don't have to worry about the dreaded 3 db drop of re-recording your footage into a master tape or other analog recording of your footage.

You could send your 8MM footage to a professional house to get a recorded DVD, but as to get better material (more resolution, better color, greater signal to noise) the old saying 'something from nothing' comes to mind. Unfortunately NTSC was a compromise compressed system to fit color and luminance together for terrestrial TV broadcast. Wish I had better news, but converting the footage yourself is the most cost effective way.

I wish you luck on your conversion. Stay away from enhanced techniques for luminance (causes ringing in the video) or increased Chroma saturation (noisy video) as it will degrade your image.

Regards Joe

- Collapse -
ION Video 2PC

I worry about analogue to USB converters, many don't work! Check all the comments on this unit before buying. The problem is that it may work for you but it may not. If you look on Amazon for example, the 1 and 2 star ratings are 3/4 of the 5 star ratings which, to me, shows a mixed performance. If you are intent on going the analogue to USB route, there are a number of alternatives for example Pinnacle's Dazzle.
The (almost) guaranteed route and the one that the cameras are designed for is the FireWire option. If you have a tower PC it is easy to install a FireWire card and, once you get the right driver, it works well. I had a Canon HV20 for a number of years and the transfers worked OK. A warning:- Make sure your camera is OFF before you plug in a FireWire cable. Only switch ON when the camera is connected.
I had a Sony Hi-8 for many years before going digital and I was wondering what state the tapes are in. If your tapes are degraded then get a professional outfit to look at them first, could save a lot of money.

- Collapse -
Some good information in this post by Joe

In fact, most of the posts I've read have elements of truth...A few years ago, a friend & I came up with this idea to start a tape to DVD duplication business as a way of re-purposing some of our old VHS equipment only to discover that the bulk of the companies already in that space offer up dubs at around $20 per 2hr tape with some places going as low as $10 (with a Groupon or other such discount) Suffice it to say that we abandoned the idea of doing dubs as a business since the only way to make any real money would be to crank out hundreds of tapes a week. So instead, I'm just doing my own stuff & an occasional tape for friends and family. As for you, while you could just Google a place to ship your tapes out to and have someone handle the transfers for you, You could just opt to do it yourself. This of course, is assuming that you still have a machine capable of playing back your original tapes. I also concur that utilizing the fire wire interface is perhaps the easiest and the most direct method of encoding your analog tapes to digital files as you will typically have full machine control of the tape transport (play, pause, FF & rew) This is a time-consuming process and as someone who has transferred more hours of tape than I care to remember, I think you would benefit greatly from doing an assessment of your entire library of tapes and then start with the ones that really mean something to you. I would also suggest that you name your files as you go and get at least one spare player off Ebay or other source (since you have so many tapes & the chances of getting a broken machine repaired would most likely be between zero & none) Judging from your post, "hundreds of hours" of tapes is going to take you a virtual eternity so, set yourself up in an area where you can just pick up where you leave off and have at it. Once you have completed your transfers, the fun begins... Someone suggested editing with Corel video studio which in my opinion is a perfectly suitable all-in-one solution as you can use it for your acquisition, editing and eventual burning to DVD unless you just want to store the MPEG files (edited or raw) an a hard drive. Speaking of which & in case you didn't know, if you are going to store your files on an external hard drive (or flash drive) you will need to make sure that it is formatted as NTFS in order to accommodate files that are larger than about 5gb. Sorry to come off like a "know-it-all" 'just don't know how deep your computer knowledge goes as that's a "trap" many people who are handling large video files for the first time are not aware of. Anyway, I hope my info along with everyone else's helps with your transfer project. Good luck!

Steve

- Collapse -
Good information but...

Could you expand on this idea? Not sure what you mean.
Thanks a bunch

|"Speaking of which & in case you didn't know, if you are going to store your files on an external hard drive (or flash drive) you will need to make sure that it is formatted as NTFS in order to accommodate files that are larger than about 5gb."

- Collapse -
Formatting in smplest terms...

Typically, most external storage devices (flash drives, hard drives, etc) come out of the box pre-formatted as FAT32 which is just fine for most files (Word or Excel documents, mp3 files, JPEGs, or even short video clips you shoot on your cell phone, etc.) The place you would typically run into the file size limitation is when you are storing LARGE video files such as those you would be creating if you transferred a 2 hour VHS or Hi-8 tape to digital. Now keep in mind, that the actual length of the material is not the issue, it's the size of the resulting file (which can vary) depending on the encoding format & the bit rate you are encoding at (to name a few things) These settings might be expressed as MPEG 2, MPEG 4, AVI, H.264, etc and you might see a button to select "quality" rather than a numeric value. Similar to what you might see on a DVD recorder when creating a video DVD. You would be able to fit a longer length program by increasing the compression ratio which, conversely affects the final image quality. So, now getting back to NTFS without getting too far "into the weeds"... it was introduced by Microsoft in 1983 and among other things, enables the storage of larger data files by writing the data packets differently thus, making better use of the available storage space. The simplest and most direct way to re-format a drive from FAT32 to NTFS is to plug it into an available USB port, bring up "computer" (this PC), find and RIGHT click on it and select "FORMAT" from the context list. You will then see three pull down lists. toggle the middle one which is currently displaying FAT32 over to NTFS . The "allocation unit size" can stay at the default (typically 4096 bytes) you can leave the "volume label" box empty & check the "quick format" box if you choose to. ### THIS NEXT PART IS IMPORTANT### EVERYTING CURRENTLY ON THE DRIVE WILL BE WIPED OUT DURING THE FORMATTING PROCESS so make sure you have copied any important files off of the flash drive BEFORE you hit the "start" button. I hope this answers your question adequately, Judache.

Best, Steve

- Collapse -
Hi8 to digital. Easy peasy.

I just converted my Hi8 tapes from 1984 through 2002 from analog to digital. I checked professional places but didn't trust sending babies away so I went to the main library and did it myself. Fabulous results. The central library in Vancouver, BC has a dedicated computer with all the hardware and software. The conversion quality was amazing. I converted over 300 hours. It is approx. a 1:1 conversion. Each hour of tape = 1 hour of conversion. Consequently I almost lived at the library over a 3 month period. The machine was.an Dell desktop, WIn 10, 4 GB of ram. The hardware as a Sony (don't remember the model, Approx. $1,200 new) and the software was Cyberlink Power Director) they provided (for free too). The staff was very helpful and knoiledgable too. After conversion into digitizing (AVI and MPEG) I created new complications using HitFilm4 and Blender. Recommendations: DO IT YOURSELF. If you want more info then send me an email with questions: stanlomas@gmail.com

- Collapse -
Our company uses multiple DVD recorders

Though they are not easy to find, a good DVD recorder (Panasonic/Toshiba/Sony) is by far the easiest way to transfer any format to DVD. The majority have not only analog inputs including svhs, but also firewire (IEEE1394) inputs. By knowing ahead of time how long your source is, you can fit it to a DVD in a proper recording mode (preferably XP or SP). There are still some Toshiba refurbished recorders on some websites that work very well. Using a computer may require adding a firewire card (which our company has done). Normally, a PC does not come with one. For editing, you can still import the files from the finished DVD into an editing program and get very good quality. Recordings on digital tape such as minidvtape in high definition can be more challenging if you want to go to BluRay. That may require (with a PC) installing the firewire card and importing directly into a program that can convert to BluRay and burn to a BluRay disc. I understand that Apple computers may come with firewire input.

- Collapse -
VHS to Digital Video

I converted my VHS video tapes to digital back in 2004 and edited them with a video editor. Originally I they were actually 8 mm film, but I had a professional company convert them to VHS tapes. These movies were taken from about the 1930s to 1950s. The VHS was nice to be able to watch them with, but after digital TV came into effect, VHS became kind fo obsolete for a digital TV. In 2004, I converted the VHS tapes to digital, but can't remember the program that I used, but it took quite a while to complete. Results were well worth it, since in 2017 I can easily watch them on my big screen TV. I think that back in 2004 there were a lot of companies that had tools to accomplish this, but just in the past week, I saw that Costco was offering this service, but since I no longer have any tapes to convert, I did not need the service. However you do it, it will be well worth it to have the videos in a format that will be easy to view for many years into the future. Just do a google search for software that will do this for you. Here are some software and devices that do it for you,

http://www.toptenreviews.com/computers/peripherals/best-vhs-to-dvd-converters/

This is assuming that the video format is actually VHS. They are all priced under $100. Diamond Video is top rated at $36.99.

- Collapse -
Firewire best answer -digital rather than analog

All of my Sony camcorders have Firewire out, which is digital. I have a SonyRDR-VX515 VHS to DVD or Firewire digital in direct to DVD. This is the best answer.

Older Macs all had Firewire input to iMovie fro editing and buying to DVD. Beats USB 2 for speed.

- Collapse -
Recommendation *against* Pinnacle Studio

I'll put in a strong recommendation to avoid any Pinnacle products for capture and editing. I owned several versions of Pinnacle Studio years ago along with an analog capture card that came with the first one. The first versions I owned were very buggy, and every upgrade I ever tried was worse than the previous. The last upgrade I got (I think v11) was completely unusable (didn't get interlaced video capture correct) and cost a pretty penny. Support was non-existent or completely incompetent.

These days I uses Adobe Premier for editing material sourced by a hi-def digital video camcorder after transferring the digital files over USB. I don't have a good capture solution for my 8 and Hi8 material. I had a Hi8 camera with a FireWire link that never worked, and it eventually jammed. A borrowed Hi8 camera with working FireWire did work, but I had to return it to the owner before I had transferred everything.

- Collapse -
Another former Pinnacle user

I tried Pinnacle for a few versions. And a friend of mine had it refuse to render for a couple of the only projects he had with an actual deadline.

I moved on to Cyberlink PowerDirector. My needs are fairly simple, Mostly stitching together amateur sports videos and muting music that triggers YouTube copyright hits. One thing that it doesn't do the way I'd like is multi-camera editing. But, that comes up rarely, for me, and is otherwise stable. Also, it uses the CUDA standard to utilize GPUs to render much faster.

- Collapse -
DIY. Use what you already have unless you want to get more

I skipped your question because I thought my experience might be too out of date to be relevant, but maybe not.
A few years ago, I made videos of our church services and burned them to DVD for church members who were home bound, in nursing homes, etc. I used a Canon Camcorder, HV20 I think, shooting on Mini-DV tape. For a while I was shooting 2 hours of video every Sunday and distributing DVDs on Tuesday or Wednesday. But anyway, I still have the camcorder, and still use it from time even though I have gone through two or three desk side systems and two or three laptops since then. I bought an inexpensive fire wire video capture card for the latest desk side and an inexpensive fire wire to USB adapter for the latest laptop.
I used Windows Live Movie Maker for editing the videos and Windows Live DVD Maker to burn the DVDs, but those are no longer supported. If you Google "best free Video Editors for Windows" you'll get lots of suggestions for Video capture, edit and burn to DVD.
The process is easy but time consuming. Connect the camera, plug in the fire wire cable, and capture the bits. Clean up, edit, add soundtrack, title, credits, and burn. Of course that assumes that you have a fire wire or similar connection on the camera.
If you don't have fire wire, use the highest resolution output you have: component, S-video, or composite and find a video capture device that you can plug into a computer that you have. You might also want to pick up an inexpensive external hard drive to hold the captured video files and a DVD burner to burn the DVDs. You may need to make a small investment in hardware and software, but the big investment is time. Minimum is 2x the number of video hours you have. Capture and burn are roughly 1 to 1. If you're going to do a lot of editing, clean up, titling, credits and such, it's more like 5x to 10x depending on how much of a perfectionist you are.
You might want to consider a DVD recorder, like a VHS recorder, but for DVDs. That gives you a set and forget option that doesn't use up your computer. That's especially nice if you just want to dump your video to DVD without a lot of editing. Carefully check the specs on the DVD recorder for the best kind of blank discs to use. I have a Panasonic DMR-ES15 that works best with DVD+R media.
You might want to get a printer that prints CD/DVDs and printable DVDs, of course, to give a finished look to the to end product. I have an Epson XP-960 for that work.
I've never used a professional service because I have such a high opinion of my own abilities. IMHO, no professional service will be as careful or as exacting as you. If they were, you couldn't afford them.
Having written all this, I think if I were doing it, I would dump all the raw footage to DVD using a DVD recorder. Then, as you watch the DVDs you'll see which ones you really want to invest time in. But that's just me. And I tend to accumulate gear.
Anyway, I hope this is a little bit helpful. It's not hard to do, but it takes soooo much time. And the more capabilities your video editing suite has the more time it takes because of all the cool stuff you want to do.

- Collapse -
Converting video to digital takes a lot of time.

If you want to get your 8, Hi8 and/or Digital 8 converted to DVDs in your first lifetime, I recommend using a commercial converting service. I haven't had any of my own done, but converting my own tapes has to be done in real-time, and I inevitably run out of steam after a couple of days. I'll be watching this thread to see what processors others have had good luck with. Converting video from recent HD camcorders (like from my Sony HDR XR100) is as simple and fast as copying files from one HD to another.

- Collapse -
That is what I did...

My friend gave me the tapes on something that looked like the old DAT tapes, but I suspect they were analog recordings. I sent them to a service to get them digitized and converted to files on a DVD. I now had everything I needed in some digital format or another, and downloaded Microsoft's codecs from their site to convert some of the other digital films to the proper codec to use on Microsoft's built in "movie maker".

I stitched everything together that way, then used Sonic on my laptop to do the burn - it made it possible to create a DVD that could play any where on a PC or anybody's disc player. This was great, but when you view the files they look like two mysterious folders. These are the setups for the different formats you might possibly run into when playing the DVDs in any device in a universal way. It worked like a champ! I might be harder to find the MS codecs now, but there is more than one source for codecs - so a web search should solve that easily.

- Collapse -
It depends...

We had a 1957 piece of Super8 and took it to a professional for conversion to DVD maybe 50 years later. It was a precious family piece; the work was done perfectly. And it was expensive. But it was a one time thing. And the starting point was not digital!

This whole media shift thing is a challenge. If you have only one or two pieces to convert, pay to have somebody do it. Every media transfer I know of requires essentially real time sitting through the whole thing. If you have a lot of old camcorder/digital material to convert your choices are:

(1) spend a lot of money to have a professional do it,

(2) trial and error and do it yourself, or

(3) arrange to have the equipment needed for the effort purchased and donated to your local library as something which can be used by many people over time. A subset consideration here is that people can check the equipment out and do the transfer themselves... or somebody at the library or a library friends group might do the transfer for cheap money which would then be put to good use by the organization.

I will follow this thread to see what equipment and suggestions people may have. My personal experience (with converting vinyl and cassettes to mp3's) is that once you've done it, the equipment just sits there. You don't need it any more and other people do, so... a tax deductible gift to your local library or library friends group is a win-win.

And let's not forget what the IRS learned decades ago... data on tape will bleed over the years. Don't count on your precious camcorder tape being readable after maybe 40 or 50 years, maybe sooner depending on storage conditions. You can help that situation by playing or fast forwarding a tape and then rewinding it, but if you're going to do all that, you might as well transfer to digital. Good luck, all.

- Collapse -
For actual film scanning..

You can scan actual film in 8mm or even 16mm to digital format using various makes of scanner to do the job - quite frankly the cost of the machine is probably cheaper than sending your precious memories to a service - although I have taken that route as well. Here is an example on Amazon:

digital film scanner<br>

Many of the posters here have been talking about tape that records like a VHS or something like DAT, so I've held back commenting until now.

- Collapse -
External DVD recorder

If your player or camcorder have no fire-wire or USB output (and even if it does), I believe you will have a better quality if you use a external DVD recorder with hard drive and digital tv tuner with analog input (or digital input if your player can provide it). There are some with analog input without HDs but with the hard drive you can edit the content before burning the DVD. It may not be a sophisticated editor like premiere or final cut (the ones I would consider using), but you'll probably will be able to cut off the bad scenes, although I would make a raw backup just for safe keeping. It would be necessary to have a good player or camcorder for your tapes and it would be even better if you could get a image enhancer to improve it before it goes into the recorder, these equipments can go from less than a hundred dollars to several thousands each, depending on the level of performance. You also can get a analog to USB adapter for less than fifty but you may find it loses AV sync. Good Luck.

- Collapse -
Hardware Missing!

I had my old Sony Camcorder (which used DigitalCool stolen following a holiday some years ago (and replaced it with a Sony Handycam with a built in hardrive) but as a consiquence have been left with about 20 Digital 8 tapes which have never been able to be played or watched. As they contain holiday footage of my children when they were small (about 5-8 years) I would like to be able to convert them to a useable formatt. So I have no hardware that I can convert them with. Anyone have any advice on this? Should I attempt to buy an old Digital 8 Camcorder and try to convert through my PC (which I did do before the original Camcorder was stolen) or get professional help?

- Collapse -
Many people face a similar dilemma...

As stated in my response to Mitchell M, you might be able to find a suitable playback device on Ebay for just a few dollars as there were lots of them in circulation "back in the day" and nowadays no one really uses them. You may need to use some sort of composite video to USB interface box such as the one someone suggested to Mitchell (if the playback machine or your computer lacks the proper interface ports to facilitate a direct transfer) Otherwise or if you just d

- Collapse -
Sorry, post was cut off...

If you're just not up to the task of doing it yourself, you should be able to find a place to do it for you at a reasonable price on the web. Just Google "tape to DVD transfer"

CNET Forums

Forum Info