Yes, it is relatively straightforward to move Hi8 tapes onto your computer though some expense is involved. Hi8 is an analog signal so needs to converted to a digital format. There are numerous analog to digital conversion devices on the market. I assue that since you already have Premiere Elements that you have a Firewire connection, and an A/D conversion device that uses Firewire is recommended.
I use an ADS Pyro A/V Link API-557 to convert my Hi8 videos and it has worked great. I picked it up for about $100 used on eBay. Other users here use Canopus devices such as the ADVC110 http://www.grassvalley.com/products/advc110.
These devices will convert your Hi8 tapes to DV-AVI files and will use 13GB of space for each hour of video and with the large number of tapes you have, ensure you have lots of hard drive space. When you do edit the files in Premiere Elements, they will be rendered to the appropriate DVD format when you decide to burn them. Good luck and welcome to the forum.
1 person found this helpful
Another digital-to-analog conversion device is are some plain old Digital 8 camcorders that have that function built-in. For example, I have a Sony Digital 8 camcorder - normally it records a digital signal to the 8mm tapes, but if I pop in an old Hi-8 analog tape, it will play it just fine, and also ouput it to Firewire as DV-AVI. Maybe you, or one of your friends, has one laying around.
Also, just be aware that you don't *have* to use PE to get your tapes to hard drive. There's a freeware utility called WinDV that does one thing, but does it very well, and that's to save (i.e. capture) your camcorder's video to hard drive.
One more thing to consider, and that's that PE or WinDV will create one, huge file for each tape (e.g. 13GB for 1 hour of video). When it comes time to edit, that can be a huge pain.
PE can do "scene analysis", which will look at your file, determine where scene breaks occur, and create clips for each scene. It works pretty well, but you're still working with one huge file. Let's say you have 100 scenes on your tape, PE creates a 13GB file and saves "pointers" to those 100 places within that file.
I, personally, have had performance issues doing it that way. I think it's because PE is still working with a 13GB file, and no matter how you slice it, that's a fairly daunting requirement. Another issue is that scene analysis has to be done for each project. Let's say you start "Project 1", do a scene analysis to get your 100 scenes, and do some editing. If you start "Project 2", and use that same file, you'll have to do the scene analysis *again*. Not only is that time consuming, but each analysis seems to turn up slightly different results.
I would recommend investing in a product called ScenealyzerLive (I think it's around $50). It captures your video and does the scene analysis just like PE, but the big difference is that each scene is saved to a separate file. So instead of 1 hour tape creating a 13GB file, you'd end up with 100 files - one for each scene.
Last time I checked, you could download a trial version - they actually encourage that so you can make sure it works flawlessly on your system.
Yes, I use Canopus to convert to digital, and I've made numerous videos using one Hi-8 tape converted to digital and edited into a final product using PE.
SceneanalyzerLive sounds like something that will get the 100+ Hi-tapes into digital format. (I will download the free version and try it.) Assuming this software accomplishes breaking up the tapes in smaller usable segments, will I be able to use PE to put together selected clips to make a movie?
Thanks for the additional info.
Janice, I am unclear on the question you are asking. You already edit the DV-AVI files from the Canopus device in PRE. Scenalyzer won't digitize your files because that is what the Canopus A/D converter does, but the smaller DV-AVI files should make working with the files in PRE more manageable. Is there something else that you are wanting to do with the files or PRE?
Paul: Janice, I am unclear on the question you are asking.
I think what she's saying is that in the past she's used PRE to edit her digitized videos, but now she's asking how she can simply "transfer" the files from the camcorder to the hard drive without editing. Correct me if I'm wrong, Janice.
SceneanalyzerLive sounds like something that will get the 100+ Hi-tapes into digital format. (I will download the free version and try it.)
Paul is right: ScenealyserLive isn't responsible for converting the Hi-8 analog tapes into digital (that is done by your Canopus device or other hardware), ScenealyserLive just controls the capture of that digital content (i.e. starts the capture, does the scene analysis, saves to AVI files, etc.).
You can use PRE or WinDV or ScenealyserLive to get your videos from the Canopus to the hard drive. The difference is that
- WinDV will just create one big file,
- PRE will also create one big file, but can optionally also create "markers" based on scene content, and
- ScenealyserLive will create many small files based on scene content.
The big advantage of many smaller files, in my experience, is that they are more manageable and just plain work better in PRE.
The only thing to be aware of with the trial version is that I believe it will only convert the first 10 seconds of your video (and may also put a watermark on it). I think their thought is that the trial's purpose is just to make sure it works on your system. Personally, I think putting a watermark and limiting it to 5 minutes would be more useful so you could see the real power of the tool, but I'm not in charge of that!
But to answer your question of
will I be able to use PE to put together selected clips to make a movie?
Yes, absolutely. No matter which method you choose, you'll be able to use PE to make a movie, because all of the methods create a DV-AVI file (which is the preferred format of PE). I personally find the smaller files better, but any of the options will work.
Yes, Ed.Macke, you analyzed my query exactly. I think Sceneanalyzer should help tremendously in this project. Thanks for everyone's comments.