Is it possible to convert my Hi8's this way?
May 20, 2013 8:23 PM   Subscribe

So, I have a bunch of old Hi8 tapes that I want to get on my MacBook pro. I have a camcorder that plays Hi8's (but is only analog) and a DVD recorder. Can you help me?

What I had been doing was connecting the camcorder to the DVD recorder, burning DVDs, then ripping those DVD's onto my computer. This has proven time-intensive, and I am looking for a way to condense the process. My idea: connect the camcorder to the recorder, then the recorder to the computer (using it as a analog to digital converter). Is this possible? I should note than the recorder doesn't seem to have a digital visual output (no FireWire/USB, just composite cables, etc.) though it does have a digital audio output (PCM, bitstream).

I'd really like to use the recorder as other options (avdv+FireWire, digital camcorder that plays Hi8's, video capture card, etc.) would be rough on my budget.

Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks!
posted by Sakura3210 to Technology (4 answers total)
If your recorder doesn't have FireWire there is no alternate workflow I can think of that doesn't involve acquiring another device. Simplest thing would be to get an RCA to FireWire converter box and capture now without timecode.

Do you know anyone with a mini-DV camera with RCA in that you can borrow? You could dub your Hi-8 to mini-DV and make new masters, or just run it through the camcorder into FCP and capture without TC.
posted by nathancaswell at 8:57 PM on May 20, 2013

Have any audio/video friends? Photographers, video people? I would ask them if they have anything that can fit your setup. Even just a audio/video accessory for a weekend of recording is not too difficult to negotiate.

With my old miniDVs, luckily we only needed a miniDV supporting camera that output to firewire, as a HP PC we bought years ago had a firewire input to allow recording to the computer. We borrowed it from a photographer friend who had the camera.

It still takes a long~ time though.
posted by Bodrik at 10:04 PM on May 20, 2013

I Googled "hi8 recording with vlc" and got interesting results, that might require a step using a PC but still.
posted by Freedomboy at 11:12 PM on May 20, 2013

It's actually incredible simple.

Just look for a used Sony Digital8 Camcorder. Any model will do equally well.

Then, pop the tape in & connect it to your computer via FireWire (you'll need a 4pin cable for the camcorder end and 6 or 9 for the computer).

Victory! I purchased a used Digital 8 camcorder on ebay a few years ago for $100. Good luck.
posted by mmdei at 6:42 PM on May 21, 2013

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