From Digital8 to YouTube.
December 11, 2011 2:03 AM   Subscribe

What resolution is DV in and how do I get DV video from my camcorder to YouTube?

So I have this old Sony camcorder (DCR-TRV730, if anyone cares) that records on Digital8 tapes in DV. I haven't done this before, but my understanding is that when I get the right firewire cable, I can plug it in and use some software to transfer it over and get it into some youtube-ready format like mpeg. But what resolution is best? Also, what software should I use?

Where in the world wide web can I find more information on this sort of thing? I really have no idea what I'm doing and I'm trying to self-educate on what I need to do to make this happen, but resources are slim, especially since YouTube wasn't really around back in the age of Hi8 tapes.
posted by brenton to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
It would help if we knew which OS your computer is using.

On my Mac, I would plug that firewire cable into the camcorder, the other end into my mac, and use iMovie to import the video. Once I'm done with any edits I want to make (again, using iMovie) I export it to a web friendly format and I then upload it to youtube. There are, of course other options for software (instead of iMovie).
posted by tomswift at 2:50 AM on December 11, 2011

Response by poster: I'm using Windows 7, or if it helps, Ubuntu.
posted by brenton at 2:54 AM on December 11, 2011

The raw video will be in a native resolution of 720x576@25 fps interlaced (PAL) or 720x480@29.97 fps interlaced (NTSC), depending on the capture mode. Also, this may represent a standard ratio 4:3 or a wide ratio 16:9. Viewing it once captured should make it clear.

Capturing over FW using a s/w like dvgrab in Ubuntu or Windows Movie Maker should get you the raw DV stream onto the computer. If using WMM, I'd suggest capturing it as DV-AVI. From there, I'd use Avanti/FFMPEG or Avidemux to output to AVI, MPEG or Quicktime as needed. If your video is 4:3, YT likes 640x480; if 16:9, then 640x360. Whatever you do, you will have to deinterlace the video. If you choose to use Avanti, then MeMail me and I'll run you through it.
posted by Gyan at 3:58 AM on December 11, 2011 [2 favorites]

Gyan, I'm interested in the solution to this very same problem. If it's not too much trouble could you post an Avanti guide, here, for everyone?
posted by oddman at 9:07 AM on December 11, 2011

OK, I'll assume the DV from the camera has been captured using WMM and saved as an AVI file. Let's say the video was in PAL format i.e. 720x576x25. Assuming Standard Def 4:3 picture, we want a target resolution of 640x480. The framerate will remain 25. I'll suggest using H.264/AVC as video codec, and MP3 as audio codec.

First, grab and install 7-Zip from here (or you can use any tool which can unpack a .7z archive).
Now, grab the latest version of Avanti from the link here. Unpack this archive using 7-Zip to a folder like C:\Program Files\Avanti.
Finally, grab the latest Static build of ffmpeg from here. Unzip this archive into C:\Program Files\Avanti\ffmpeg (this folder should already exist after the Avanti unpack)
So, just to confirm, now C:\Program Files\Avanti\ffmpeg\bin should contain ffmpeg.exe

Launch Avanti by running C:\Program Files\Avanti\Avanti-GUI.exe. This window should pop up. The status bar at the bottom should say 'System Ready'. If it says "System startup failed", then right-click on the 'Start Process' button above the large blue report window and select 'Use other ffmpeg version'. Browse onto C:\Program Files\Avanti\ffmpeg and locate the ffmpeg.exe.

After you get 'System ready', load the DV AVI into Source 1 at the top. To confirm the video properties, click on Preview on the right and then right-click on the playing video to bring up a menu . Click 'Show video clip properties'. The Storage AR should show as 5:4 (for NTSC, 3:2) and Display AR as 4:3. Close the preview video.

Below the source/destination entries, there should be the settings for Destination audio and Destination video. make sure 'Enable' is checked in both. In audio, I would select Codec as MP3 with bitrate 256 and keep rest as is. In the video section, I'd select codec as H.264, container as mov, Frame size as 640x480, set DAR to 4:3, set bitrate to 1500. Keep 'Force FourCC' to default. Make sure 'Deinterlace' is checked and set to AUTO, although if the resulting video ends up with jitters, try the other two options BFF and TFF in turn. Select 2-pass if you don't mind spending greater time in the encoding process for better quality, but I suggest trying it without, at first. Keep the remaining settings as they are. If the overall quality doesn't seem good, type   -sameq  in the User VIDEO options field above the 'Start process' button. This will override the video bitrate setting and will result in a larger file. If it's convenient to upload, then use this option from the get go.

Now, type in the destination filename alongwith the path in the field below the two source entry fields. Click 'Start Process' and if the button doesn't change to 'In progress', click it once more. If there's some error, post about it here. The resulting video should be ready for upload.
posted by Gyan at 11:54 AM on December 11, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Dangit. Windows 7 will not recognize my camera when plugged in. I've even tried several different drivers.

I'm going to try my fiancees old macbook. What software is available on mac?
posted by brenton at 4:03 PM on December 12, 2011

Can't help you for the capture part on a Mac, but for the encoding step, MPEG Streamclip is good.

Once you load the captured file in MS, go to File -> Export to MPEG-4

In the dialog box that opens, select compression as 'H.264', make sure B-frames is unchecked, you can choose to 'Limit Data rate' to, say, 1500 kbps; for sound, MPEG-4 AAC with stereo/Auto/256kbps is OK, in 'Frame Size' check Other at the bottom, and select 640x480. If Frame Rate is empty (or 25 for PAL, and 29.97 for NTSC), keep as is. Turn on Deinterlace video. For Field dominance, try 'Lower field first' initially for PAL, the opposite for NTSC. You can try checking 'Better downscaling' if you like. Leave the rest as is, and click 'Make MP4'.

Note: I don't have access to a Mac, at present. I'm assuming that the MS interface is the same in its Windows version.
posted by Gyan at 9:34 PM on December 12, 2011

Response by poster: Gyan, you are the most helpful ever. Whenever I finally get this to work, it's going to be really easy because of your help, thanks so much! I think I won't be able to try the macbook untill Wednesday though, but thanks so much.

Most of what you said means nothing to me ("deinterlace"? sounds important!) and I'll have to do some research to learn what all of this means. ;-)
posted by brenton at 12:53 AM on December 13, 2011

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