Moving Video Tape to Mac

  • Posted: 03 September 2007 05:16 PM

    Hi guys,

    This may not be the best place to post this, but I don’t know where else to put it.

    I am in the process of moving my video tapes (both VHS-C and mini DV) onto my mac.  I already moved my mini DV tapes to my Hard drive with iMovie 08.  I purchased an eyetv 250 plus to move the VHS-C tapes over.

    My problem is - what is the best way to archive them???  The VHS-C is not much of a problem, the file size is only about 1GB for ever 40 min.  The real problem is the mini DV files. I have about 160 GB of files.

    I assume that iMovie 08 just records the files in their raw format and that compression will make the files managable, putting a fair amount of content onto a DVD.  My question is, what is the best way to proceed to do that, both with the iMovie 08 files and with the .eyetv files created by eyetv.  should I just create a movie with imovie 08 and burn it to DVD?  I want to make some shorter, edited movies, but first I want to back up all my origional content without losing to much quality.

    I see that the eyetv files cannot be read by imovie 08, what is the best way to archive them and then to get them into imovie to make and edited dvd?

    Thanks,

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  • Posted: 05 September 2007 11:04 AM #1

    First, you might just want to create a “film log.” Go through all your tapes, VHS and miniDV, and note the content of each. It might look something like this:

    VHS 2002-004 - March/April 2002
    00:00 Badminton in the back yard
    08:27 Joey’s birthday party
    21:30 (not sure, too dark)
    (etc.)

    Label your tapes and store them in a cool, dry place. Then when you’re ready to do that retrospective for Joey’s graduation video, you can easily find all the clips and just pull in what you need for now.

    If you’re set on keeping everything on disk — well, you’ll need a lot of space; but 500GB drives are getting pretty reasonable, price-wise. Consider getting an external drive (preferably with Firewire) and storing all your raw video on that. There’s a program, can’t remember the name but it’s fairly cheap, that will help you catalog everything including creating “thumbnail” clips. iPhoto (06/07) also handles video, but I’m not sure how well it would work for this application.

    As for the EyeTV files, it should give you an option to export to Quicktime. iMovie uses DV format (essentially the same format as miniDV tape, but on disk), but will import just about anything that Quicktime can handle.

    Finally, burning to DVD is going to wreck the quality for later editing (Mrs. does this for a living, and hates getting stuff on DVD because it’s been compressed to #3!! and back). Think of DVD as a roach-hotel format (video goes in but doesn’t come back out) and you’ll be much happier with your efforts.

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  • Posted: 05 September 2007 06:05 PM #2

    As the “Mrs.” does this for a living, I was wondering if you (or her) could tell me what settings to record to HD with for VHS-C tapes.  In EyeTV I have the following options:

    1) Video CD Compatable
    2) Super Video CD

    3) Extended (DVD 240 min)
    4) Long Play (DVD 180 min)
    5) Standard (DVD 120 min)
    6) High (DVD 90 min)

    7) Custom

    Under Custom I can choose
    Compression (MPEG-1 or MPEG-2)
    NTSC Resolution )720x480 D1, 180x480 2/3-D1, 352x480 1/2-D1)
    Bit Rate (Variable or Constant)
    Average Bit Rate (128kbps to 15Mbps)
    Maximum Bit Rate (128kbps to 15Mbps)
    GOP Structure (IBP Frames, IP Frames, or I Frames only)
    Audio Bit Rate (192, 224, 256, 320, 384)
    Audio Sample Rate (32, 44.1 ,48.0 kHz)

    Those are the settings, I looked online to try to find some technical information from Elgato but had no luck.  I know if I use all the highest settings that I will get the most information from my tapes but I think that would be overkill.  Your suggestions would be appreciated.

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    Wow this is so much better then my old Mac Plus!
    Steve

         
  • Posted: 06 September 2007 02:21 PM #3

    Actually, you mentioned you have miniDV tapes too, right? That means you probably have a miniDV camera, and it’s quite likely that you can use that to bring in your VHS tapes instead of the EyeTV. Frankly, I’m not thrilled with the choices you listed—sure, VHS isn’t the greatest format to begin with, but you don’t want to mess it up any further by MPEG’ing it. raspberry

    Find your video cable for your miniDV camcorder and connect it to your VHS deck (or camera). If you have a Sony (DV) camcorder, put it in passthrough mode (see the manual). Canons do this automatically if you don’t put a tape in the camera, or used to, and I’m not sure about the others. Fire up iMovie, start capturing, press Play on the VHS, and here comes your video.

    If that doesn’t work, your best bet is to get EyeTV to do a minimal amount of smooshing. I think VHS is equivalent to MPEG-2, 1/2-D1, somewhere around 4Mbps (less than that if you used LP or SLP). 4Mbps is probably a good average rate, set the max to 8. GOP structure… use IP for now. Audio: 192 bit rate, 44.1 sample rate. iMovie is kind of finicky about what bit rates it likes; I think I got it right.

    You can use a couple of different programs to convert MPEG to something iMovie will work with… VLC is reliable but not exactly pretty.

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  • Posted: 07 September 2007 04:47 AM #4

    What DR said.

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  • Posted: 07 September 2007 07:24 AM #5

    Thanks guys, I will give that a try.

    can you tell me where you learned this stuff, I have tried to find somplace on the net where I could learn abou this but I could not find anyplace good.

    I have an older Panasonic MiniDV player and it does not have a pass through mode from what I can tell.  There is not vidio input on the thing.  So I guess it’s eyetv or nothing.

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    Wow this is so much better then my old Mac Plus!
    Steve

         
  • Posted: 07 September 2007 10:28 AM #6

    I learned a lot of this stuff on my own—reading Apple’s iMovie forum (and a couple of websites by more prominent posters), and mainly by plugging stuff in and seeing how they interact. Some MPEG stuff I learned at work; my trade is technical writing and I did the initial documentation on an MPEG switch, so I had a class or two (but I’d learned the basic stuff on my own).

    You have a miniDV player but no camcorder? Pardon me for saying so, but that’s odd. What model is it?

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  • Posted: 24 September 2007 05:47 AM #7

    No, what I ment to say was I have a miniDV camcorder but it has no analog inputs so I cannot use it as a passthrough digitizer.

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    Wow this is so much better then my old Mac Plus!
    Steve

         
  • Posted: 24 September 2007 02:18 PM #8

    Whoops, sorry about the misunderstanding.

    There’s no AV jack at all? My Canon ZR-80 (RIP) had a phone jack-like AV interface and a special cable that broke out video & two audio connections. I heard something about some camcorders cheaping out on even that, which sux.

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  • Posted: 10 December 2007 05:25 PM #9

    Moving commercial VHS to the Mac

    I have over 70 VHS movies that I have purchased over the years. I would like to digitize them and move them to an iTunes library for easy viewing. Willing to set up multiple 1 terrabyte drives as a raid.

    The problem I am having is that my video camera when set to perform the A/D to transfer, it detects that the material is commercial, so it displays a message and does something that causes my iMovie (6) to stop importing.

    These are my movies, any ideas as to what to do?

    Should I get an eyeTV 250 to get around it?

    Please help, that is a lot of nice old movies, some no longer available.
    Thanks

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  • Posted: 12 December 2007 12:19 AM #10

    I have an EyeTV Hybrid, It has an optional mini-USB port which converts a standard composite video cable, the type that plugs into a VCR’s video-out conenction.

    If I needed to do what you need to do, I’d be plugging my VCR into the EyeTV, using EyeTV to record from the optional input, and then exporting the recordings from EyeTV. Not really the most efficient way to do it, perhaps, but easy. And you then have an excellent TV tuner when you’re finished.

    Be sure to check all of EyeTV’s range. You can pay a little more and get a lot more.

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  • Posted: 12 December 2007 07:38 AM #11

    [quote author=“coaten”]I have an EyeTV Hybrid, It has an optional mini-USB port which converts a standard composite video cable, the type that plugs into a VCR’s video-out conenction.

    If I needed to do what you need to do, I’d be plugging my VCR into the EyeTV, using EyeTV to record from the optional input, and then exporting the recordings from EyeTV. Not really the most efficient way to do it, perhaps, but easy. And you then have an excellent TV tuner when you’re finished.

    Be sure to check all of EyeTV’s range. You can pay a little more and get a lot more.

    I am getting an eyetv 250 for my kid 20” iMac so that the kid can watch TV in the iMac.

    Will that work the same as the Hybrid to do my VCR recording?
    Sorry not familiar with the Hybrid.

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  • Posted: 15 December 2007 02:45 AM #12

    Yep. Study this page.

    http://www.elgato.com/elgato/int/mainmenu/products/tuner/250plus/product2.en.html

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