Weird problem capturing DV from Hi8 tapes...

TeetimeNC wrote on 11/24/2014, 3:35 PM
I have some 10 year old Hi8 DV tapes and the camera they were recorded on. I've decided to list the camera (Sony TRV 120) on ebay and thought I would recapture a few of my tapes before it sells. When I play the tape back in the camera it looks acceptable. When I capture it using Vegas 12 Capture and play it on the Vegas timeline it is playing at approximately double speed. Vegas and Mediainfo both indicate the media is DV 720x480, 29.97fps lower field first. Vegas project properties are set to match the media.

There are other issues that I attribute to the old age of the tapes but I will mention them just in case it is somehow related and offers a clue. The audio, which seems ok in camera, is choppy in the captured video, and there are random flecks in the video - looks kinda like dropout.

Oh, one more thing - these tapes have been stored in a shoe box in my conditioned office for these ten years.

It isn't a big deal if I lose these tapes, but I am curious about what is going on here. A bigger concern: is there something wrong with the camera? I think I will buy a new Hi8 tape, record and capture to verify the camera is working before I list it.

An ideas what may be causing this?

/jerry

Comments

RalphM wrote on 11/24/2014, 4:22 PM
Is Vegas identifying your camera properly and are you selecting DV as the recording format? Recalling that Digital8 got one hour of recording from a standard cassette, and Hi8 got two hours, it seems likely that the problem lies in that difference...
farss wrote on 11/24/2014, 4:36 PM
[I]"I have some 10 year old Hi8 DV tapes and the camera they were recorded on."[/I]

Just to be clear the [I]tapes[/I] are Hi8 but what's recorded on them Digital 8?

If so then Hi8 used MP tape and D8 kind of preferred ME tape.
First thing I would try is a good head clean, we've had several serious head clog problems caused by people playing Video 8 and Hi 8 tapes in our VCR.

Second thing, you are using Vegas's [I]external[/I] capture utility (Vidcap.exe) ?

Bob.
videoITguy wrote on 11/24/2014, 4:36 PM
A digital 8 camera is different than a Hi-8 camera, which are both different than standard 8mm video. Now a Digital-8 camera can do weird things if it is not working properly because it has an auto-detect function between Hi-8/SD 8 and the Digital 8 control track which when properly working is okay. But it is delicate and prone to problems working well in older equipment off the storage shelf.
OldSmoke wrote on 11/24/2014, 4:39 PM
Have you done capturing with the system before? What driver is installed for your firewire port?

Proud owner of Sony Vegas Pro 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 & 13 and now Magix VP15&16.

System Spec.:
Motherboard: ASUS X299 Prime-A

Ram: G.Skill 4x8GB DDR4 2666 XMP

CPU: i7-9800x @ 4.6GHz (custom water cooling system)
GPU: 1x AMD Vega Pro Frontier Edition (water cooled)
Hard drives: System Samsung 970Pro NVME, AV-Projects 1TB (4x Intel P7600 512GB VROC), 4x 2.5" Hotswap bays, 1x 3.5" Hotswap Bay, 1x LG BluRay Burner

PSU: Corsair 1200W
Monitor: 2x Dell Ultrasharp U2713HM (2560x1440)

johnmeyer wrote on 11/24/2014, 8:07 PM
I have some 10 year old Hi8 DV tapes and the camera they were recorded on. I've decided to list the camera (Sony TRV 120) ...OK, that is a Digital8 camera. Since you refer to the tapes as "Hi8 DV tapes," that is a little confusing, but the "DV" part (which doesn't fit with Hi8, 8mm or Digital8") makes me think you are talking about a Digital8 tape.


When I play the tape back in the camera it looks acceptable.OK, that is a key thing that seems to have gotten lost in some of the discussion. If it looks OK on the camera display, then the tape is OK, and the camera playback (heads, etc.) is OK. So, I don't think you have to worry about the tape being bad.


When I capture it using Vegas 12 Capture and play it on the Vegas timeline it is playing at approximately double speed. Vegas and Mediainfo both indicate the media is DV 720x480, 29.97fps lower field first. Can you upload a short clip to Mediainfo, Dropbox, etc.?

My suspicion is that Vegas is not setting the camera's playback speed correctly during the capture operation. It is actually possible to capture a tape while it is in 2x speed mode, or fast forward, etc. The wonderful Sceanlyzer capture application actually used this to capture high-speed, low-res proxies which you could then use to choose which small portions of a 1-hour tape you wanted to capture in full resolution, at normal speed.

I have two suggestions: First, try capturing manually. By this I mean turn off the transport control in Vegas, and manually start the tape. Then start the capture. That way you'll be certain that the camera is playing the tape at normal speed. The other suggestion is to try Scenalyzer. It is now a free application:

Scenalyzer

farss wrote on 11/24/2014, 11:19 PM
[I]" If it looks OK on the camera display, then the tape is OK, and the camera playback (heads, etc.) is OK. So, I don't think you have to worry about the tape being bad. "[/I]

Sorry but not entirely correct, be aware! I've had a couple of cases of tapes appearing fine in the monitor connected to the A/V outputs from the VCR and yet what was on the firewire port was bad. In one instance of this problem the audio was a mess, I posted this issue on another forum and got several replies that others had seen the same problem.

To get around it, while playing the tape I recorded the audio through my audio box from the A/V out on the VCR, synced up the new audio track and all was good. I've never has anyone brave enough to offer an explanation of how this can happen, if anything I'd have expected the opposite to be more plausible. Just to be clear, there was nothing wrong with the VCR, the next tape and many more were fine.


Another thing, not directly related but.....

Some PAL D8 cameras will play NTSC tapes out the A/V outs but you cannot capture over firewire..

Bob.
johnmeyer wrote on 11/25/2014, 1:28 AM
I certainly have seen tapes that play well on one VCR or camera, but not on another. In that sense, I agree that the tape could still be at fault. I have also seen cameras that can play a tape, but cannot transfer the video via Firewire, usually because of a bad connector or cable.

However, a truly rotten tape will not play on anything, and that is not the case here. Therefore, it seems like there is a pretty good chance that the tapes are in good enough shape that eventually a way can be found to transfer them.
TeetimeNC wrote on 11/25/2014, 7:06 AM
Thanks for all the good suggestions which have helped me make some progress. I have resolved the double speed issue. Although I had started Vegas 12 and thought I was capturing with it, the Windows capture app was inserting itself. This was pure user error because it has been so long since I have captured DV I didn't recognize what was happening. And yes John Meyer, I did confuse things by referring to Hi8 tapes - what I am dealing with is DV.

The problem I am having now is the quality of the captured audio and video. As I mentioned before, the video has random flecks that look like some kind of drop out. The audio has a pulsing sound that reminds me of a helicopter scene in a Vietnam movie. When capturing you can hear the good audio coming out of the camera and the pulsing sound coming from the PC's audio. I have tried this on each of my two PC's and I have the same problem on both. Based on online research I reset the Firewire driver to the legacy driver on both but still have the same problem on both PC's.

I am on my way to an appointment but will post a short clip of the captured video when I return so you can examine it.

Cheers,
/jerry
Stringer wrote on 11/25/2014, 7:48 AM
Do you have more than one firewire cable to try?

Plug and unplug ( with everything powered off ) both ends several times to affect a cleaning action for cable & sockets...
johnmeyer wrote on 11/25/2014, 11:04 AM
Something is still not right with your capture. You can capture on any PC and then transfer the AVI file to your editing computer. Therefore, if you still have a PC that uses XP 32-bit, try that. From what I've read here, it seems that many of the newer operating systems didn't spend a lot of time testing the 1394/Firewire drivers, and they don't always work too well. Also, I still recommend that you try downloading and using Scenalyzer. Even back when capturing DV was the main thing we all did, Scenalyzer was more reliable than the capture utility built into Vegas.

TeetimeNC wrote on 11/25/2014, 11:48 AM
John, why after all these years have I not just learned to do exactly as you say ;-) ?

Ok, I downloaded Scenalyzer and the audio now captures correctly. I do still have the random flecks in the video but I suspect that is something else like perhaps old tape. I've uploaded it to dropbox in case anyone wants to take a look.

Thanks much to all who offered their insights!

http://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/2240258/Vegas/scene'20010709%2010.07.53-0001.avi

/jerry
mdindestin wrote on 11/25/2014, 11:49 AM
I've had more flaky firewire cables than any other cable I've ever used.
TeetimeNC wrote on 11/25/2014, 11:51 AM
>Do you have more than one firewire cable to try?

Thanks Stringer. I did try two different firewire cables on two different computers so eliminated that as a possible cause. Thanks again for the suggestion though.

/jerry
TeetimeNC wrote on 11/25/2014, 1:14 PM
Here are a couple of screen grabs to illustrate the artifacts I am getting when I capture the video. I assume these blocks are the compression blocks. Is this what drop out would look like? More importantly, do you think this is in the tape, or introduced during the capture (i.e., firewire problem)?

This is the full image:


This is a zoom into the area behind the child's back:


/jerry
johnmeyer wrote on 11/25/2014, 1:35 PM
Those look like tape dropouts. The good news is that I think you have solved your capture problems. The bad news is that you probably have dirty heads on playback device.

It was good that you uploaded a sample of the video. Your still photo does show some minor dropouts, but doesn't show the the much bigger problem which is the presence of large horizontal bands of slightly offset pixels. This is a classic DV head clog problem.

There are several things you can do to try to get this to go away.

The first thing is to try fast forwarding to the end of the tape, and then rewinding. This sometimes is enough to clear the heads. Second, try popping the tape out, and then inserting it again. Sometimes this causes the tape to wrap around the heads in a slightly different position, and the problem goes away.

Third, try playing the tape, without capturing, and if you see either the "flecks" or the alternating horizontal bands, stop, back up, and try again. Often you can clear the clog doing this. If all of these efforts fail, buy a cleaning tape and run that for 10-15 seconds. Don't run it for too long. Try your capture again after cleaning, and if you still see problems, run the cleaning tape a second time, for about the same duration. Resist the temptation to run the cleaning tape for any longer than 10-15 seconds, and if you don't get improvement after three tries, you will probably need to have the camera heads professionally cleaned.

As I guessed in my first post, your tapes are probably OK.

OldSmoke wrote on 11/25/2014, 1:37 PM
I have those too and yes, they are tape drop outs. Do you have a D8 cleaning tape? It does help if it is a head issue but if the tape has a problem, you might be stuck with it unless someone knows how to clean the tape.

Proud owner of Sony Vegas Pro 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 & 13 and now Magix VP15&16.

System Spec.:
Motherboard: ASUS X299 Prime-A

Ram: G.Skill 4x8GB DDR4 2666 XMP

CPU: i7-9800x @ 4.6GHz (custom water cooling system)
GPU: 1x AMD Vega Pro Frontier Edition (water cooled)
Hard drives: System Samsung 970Pro NVME, AV-Projects 1TB (4x Intel P7600 512GB VROC), 4x 2.5" Hotswap bays, 1x 3.5" Hotswap Bay, 1x LG BluRay Burner

PSU: Corsair 1200W
Monitor: 2x Dell Ultrasharp U2713HM (2560x1440)

TeetimeNC wrote on 11/25/2014, 2:58 PM
Well John, if nothing else this has been a learning experience for me. I'm glad you looked at the video and detected the bigger problem with the horizontal bands. What is interesting to me is this camera hasn't been used by me in about 10 years. I don't recall any of these issues from when I was using it. I did loan the camera to a friend a few years ago so he could capture some tapes he had. Maybe there was something in the quantity or type of tapes he was using that caused the clogs.

I'll follow your suggestion on cleaning the heads, and report back (after the holiday) how that goes.

/jerry
johnmeyer wrote on 11/25/2014, 3:18 PM
What is interesting to me is this camera hasn't been used by me in about 10 years. I don't recall any of these issues from when I was using it. I did loan the camera to a friend a few years ago so he could capture some tapes he had. Maybe there was something in the quantity or type of tapes he was using that caused the clogs.Yes to all of the above: not using it for a long time can result in rubber parts getting stiff, and using different tape formulations apparently can cause head clogs. I am actually not sure whether that second one is urban legend, but for years people talked about problems caused by playing tapes from different manufacturers. The theory was that the different "lubrication' formulation on the tapes somehow didn't mix, and that it caused the oxide to shed -- or something like that.

I'm pretty sure that you'll be able to fix the problem by doing one or more of the things I suggested.
TeetimeNC wrote on 11/29/2014, 1:00 PM
>I'm pretty sure that you'll be able to fix the problem by doing one or more of the things I suggested.

John, I just received my Sony 8mm Head Cleaner. I cleaned the heads according to the instructions and the video now captures without artifacts or distortion. Thanks again for you suggestions. It will be nice to have these old tapes on the computer, and I will be able to list the camera on ebay with confidence it is in good working order.

/jerry
johnmeyer wrote on 11/29/2014, 2:18 PM
Jerry,

Glad it is working and that I was able to help.

Enjoy your nostalgia!
PixelStuff wrote on 11/29/2014, 9:53 PM
I'm curious how you plan to archive the footage. Are you going to store it as is, which with DV is something like 13GB per hour, or transcode it to something smaller?

I have several dozen tapes that I have thought about recapturing a few times but keep putting it off as I can never settle on the best archiving codec (inter-frame or intra-frame) or whether I should de-interlace, etc. Nor do I really want the native files at 13GB x 60 hours sitting on my hard drive just for the novelty of it.

johnmeyer wrote on 11/29/2014, 10:07 PM
Jerry needs to give his answer, but FWIW, I got tired of re-capturing old DV tapes, so about seven years ago, I captured them all to a big removable hard drive. I saw no reason to take extra time to put them in another format.

I made this decision for four reasons:

1. I don't want to degrade the video in any way.

2. DV is a great editing format. Transcoding to any format that takes up less space will require using a codec that is NOT a good format for editing.

3. Transcoding takes a lot of time.

4. Storage has become really, really cheap.
John_Cline wrote on 11/29/2014, 11:44 PM
+1 on John Meyer's four points. Transcoding takes a long time, will degrade the quality of the video and you certainly don't want to deinterlace it. If it's already DV, archive it in DV.
TeetimeNC wrote on 11/30/2014, 8:43 AM
I plan to do as both John 's state. As drives get replaced in my video PC with larger replacements I relegate the older ones to archival use. I plug them into a drive caddie in the video PC, transfer the files, and replace the archive HD with another when it becomes full.

I've just downloaded a trial version of WhereIsIt to see how well it will work for cataloging my archive HD's. Anyone have experience with this, or recommend another option?

/jerry