Caputuring HDV from a mini-DV cassette: what are my options?
February 4, 2009 11:08 AM   Subscribe

Caputuring HDV from a mini-DV cassette: what are my options?

I would like to capture HDV, in one or more of the three variants, a source which will be coming in on a mini-DV cassette.

1) What is an inexpensive deck which:

A) can capture DV, HDV 720p, HDV 1080i, and HDV 1080p?
B) can direct the output to a Firewire (or equivalent, see below) card?
C) can step-down video (this is a bonus) from HDV to DV?

2) Do I need a new Firewire/DV card? Is it a hardware difference (I don't imagine it is) or a simply new software which comes with a new card that knows how to handle these new formats? If I do need a new card, what's a good one for Windows XP?
posted by adipocere to Technology (6 answers total)
You almost certainly don't need a new FW card. The FW card knows nothing about the formats, it's just streaming data into (and out of) your computer.

As far as an inexpensive HDV deck goes, I've never seen one. People on tight budgets seem to end up picking up inexpensive FW-enabled HDV cameras (every modern one), or investing in a decent low-budget one like the Canon HV20/30.

As far as down-ressing from HD to SD goes... I think this is best done in software, though someone may correct me.
posted by Magnakai at 11:14 AM on February 4, 2009

That's what I thought about the FireWire, but I wasn't sure.

The down-res in software is not an option for this setup. I know it can be done, but suffice to say, for this scenario (which I could describe in extraordinary length) it's a no-go.

I thought about using a camera, but I wasn't sure about head wear. I suppose, if the price of a camera beat that of a deck, I could live with that, but I was hoping to also take some stepped-down (to NTSC) analog outputs and run them to a small TV.
posted by adipocere at 11:23 AM on February 4, 2009

The HDV format(s) are to a certain extent manufacturer specific, so a tape recorded is a Sony A1U won't necessarily play back in a Canon or JVC deck or camera. If you're shooting with an XLH1 or another canon HDV camera, an HV20 or HV30 is probably the most cost-effective playback/capture device.
posted by kid_dynamite at 11:25 AM on February 4, 2009

The decks do tend to be pricy. Are you going to be doing this often?

If not, consider renting a camera for a weekend, borrowing one, or buying from a place with a liberal return policy.
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:27 AM on February 4, 2009

This is a very often thing, perhaps twenty times a week. Just as a background, I'm adding further automation and capabilities to an already extant process.
posted by adipocere at 11:46 AM on February 4, 2009

I'd recommend the Sony HDR-M15U. It's solid and inexpensive for an HDV deck. However, it can't handle 1080p - only 1080i, 720p or DV.
posted by Izner Myletze at 12:20 PM on February 4, 2009

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