Getting old Hi-8 analog tapes onto DVD.
December 12, 2003 12:58 PM   Subscribe

I've got a lot of old Hi-8 analog tapes (about 40 hours worth) that I would like to get onto DVD before they deteriorate too much. Has anybody heard of a "all-in-one" product that makes this easy? Has anybody done this successfully? I'm on a PC running XP. I have no capture card, no DVD burner, and no firewire port (I do have usb 2.0). I'm not so much interested in editing them (for now, anyway) as I am in just getting them on a DVD. Suggestions/experiences appreciated.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders to Technology (10 answers total)
if you don't have the equipment yourself (and don't want to buy it) a Google search truns up a number of services. (The Adword ads look a bit more reliable than the actual results.)
posted by o2b at 1:02 PM on December 12, 2003

I apologize for my previous post, I didn't see your request for an "all-in-one product." (RTFP, I guess.) I have no info on that, but one of the ad links goes to this Film to Video Tutorial, with what looks to be very in-depth information about the procedure.
posted by o2b at 1:09 PM on December 12, 2003

Response by poster: just to clarify, I'm looking to do video to dvd...and "all-in-one" is an ideal rather than a requirement. I guess the more turnkey the better, but if there's an easy way to cobble together the various pieces and do this smoothly, all the better.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 1:14 PM on December 12, 2003

Since this is a one-time conversion and the amount of tape is pretty small, is there a reason you would want to purchase equipment rather than pay a video service bureau to do it for you? That might not only be cheaper but could very well get you better results.
posted by majick at 1:39 PM on December 12, 2003

I agree, you should definitely send it out to a professional shop. It'll look better and be much, much more cost effective.

Plus running video through USB is akin to trying to suck meatloaf through a drinking straw -- you could do it, but it wouldn't be fun.
posted by ScottUltra at 2:00 PM on December 12, 2003

Yeah, I handle digital video pretty regularly in my work, and what you're doing would require *at least* a $200 investment in hardware. Plus software costs - I use Final Cut Pro and Avid on a Mac and PC, respectively...

We just helped a guy here transfer some of his footage from Hi-8 to digital, where he edited it, and then back to VHS. It's a total nightmare.

Plus, you'd need to learn about MPEG-2 compression, as I've found many out-of-the-box compression tools do a terrible job giving you what you want. Video is *not* a one size fits all kind of project.
posted by rocketman at 2:19 PM on December 12, 2003

Here's a link (googled "hi-8" dvd).
posted by timothompson at 2:56 PM on December 12, 2003

At $15 for a 2-hour Hi8->DVD conversion, that's around $300. You can get a standalone DVD recorder for that, these days. And I'm willing to bet that the $15 conversion isn't done using much better equipment. Of course, you aren't able to do any editing, but you're not able to do that with the conversion service either.
posted by hades at 3:25 PM on December 12, 2003

My dad burned some killer DVDs of old home video for my family for Xmas using the Dazzle Digital Video Creator 150. It can capture from just about any video camera or recorder, it runs on USB 2.0, and it's only $149.99 retail, including the software.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:02 PM on December 12, 2003

Considering your volume, standalone dvd recorder is not such a bad idea, rather than capturing to your computer and then encoding/burning to a DVD. 40 hours of video footage is going to be many times the capacity of your PC's hard drive, so get ready to do several dozen batches with whatever capture/encode software/hardware you've got going on. Hooking up the camcorder to a console DVD recorder sounds like a much simpler, set-and-walk-away-for-an-hour approach to me. It will keep your computer freed-up and spare you unforeseen software glitches or system crashes, etc.

And on the upside, you can rip the final DVDs to your comp afterward if you decide you actually want to do some editing.
posted by scarabic at 4:05 PM on December 12, 2003

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