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Old December 13th, 2005, 04:09 PM   #1
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I want to backup some old betamax tapes (preserved with care) and digitalize them, so I can keep them save on my harddrive .. I have a panasonic pv-gs400 , it can take an analog signal and convert it to a dv tape, but is that the best way to go?

Or should I convert the signal via an analog2digital-card (?) straight to the pc ..

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Old December 14th, 2005, 12:46 PM   #2
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I searched and I searched but without good results, can anyone give me more info on this subject?
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Old December 14th, 2005, 02:06 PM   #3
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Video files will take a lot of hard drive space if you keep them there and are vulnerable to drive crashes for long term storage. So how to you want to achive these beta tapes - MiniDV, VHS, Video CD, DVD? Whats the best for you for storage and viewing?
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Old December 14th, 2005, 02:08 PM   #4
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You can argue for either method. It really depends on what level you want a backup.

If you use your camcorder your limited to the DV codec which is DCT compressed at 5:1 with a colourspace of 4:1:1. However if you use an analog to digital card, assuming it doesn't force some crazy compression on you then you can capture 4:4:4 or at least 4:2:2 uncompressed. The problem occurs in that you can't backup this footage to miniDV tape without running it through the same compression and reducing the colour space which will leave you with about the same quality as if you went straight to miniDV.

So If you want the utmost quality and are willing to spend money on a tape data drive if you don't already have one then get a good analog capture card and some DLT or LTO tape and drive. This is a very expensive route and since your orginal footage is betamax your not gaining much.

But If your don't have lots of money to spend on this or you have very specific quality requirements then using your camcorder to capture to tape or as an analog to digital pass thru should suffice.
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Old December 14th, 2005, 03:36 PM   #5
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Thanks for clearing those things up ..

How much visible quallity will I lose by compressing to the dv format? The betamax tapes I want to convert are from the first betamax series, so they have mono-sound and 240 lines resolution, so transporting to svcd will do, but I prefer dvd above vcd .. So if you burn an uncompressed avi to dvd, it will be the same qualltiy as when burning a dv avi to dvd right? Or does the dv-video add jpg-like artifacs to the video or does the color quallity degrade badly or something .. 'cause I don't want that ofcoarse ..

And if I burned the videos to dvd, can I then rip the videos later from it and then reburn them to dvd without quallity loss?
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Old December 14th, 2005, 09:08 PM   #6
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Some other options to consider. DVDs will compress your video/audio but if you are at 240 lines of video now, you shouldn't notice much if any signal degradation in any of the proposed formats. On DVDs however, you would no longer have a workable digital signal you could transfer without further loss.

As options, consider going through a post production facility or professional tape duplication company and going to either of the following, in order of preference, digibeta, beta, DVCpro 50, DVCpro 25, DVCam or DV. All of these except standard beta are a form of digital so transfering footage later would be nearly lossless after the initial transfer. Beta, DVCpro and DV should be around for some time yet. DVCpro50 is a smaller tape, like DV, but has twice the data of DV or DVCam.

For decent analog capture cards you might look at Black Magic cards or the analog/digital AV to firewire converters (converts to DV format) from Canopus or Laird piece. I like Laird.

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Old December 15th, 2005, 10:57 AM   #7
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I think I'll skip the "let the professionals do it" method :p

Ok, so these are the steps I gonna take:

- connecting the betamax av-out to the camcorder av-in
- play the betamax video & record it to an empty dv-tape
- capturing the dv-avi with Vegas Movie Studio/AP
- Export it as an uncompresssed avi
- Open it whenever I have time & do some editing
- Export it as an uncompresssed avi
- Open the avi's with nero (or something) & create a dvd-menu
- Burn the dvd

I think I gonna keep the original uncompressed avi's a couple years om my hd, so I can burn it to a bluray disc when consumer bluray writers are available .. :)

Thnx for the help everybody, I have some backup work to do ..
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Old December 29th, 2005, 08:30 PM   #8
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Using AnaDigiConvertion

I am also in process of converting all my Bmax tapes to DVD usiing Firewire interfaces. It worked for me very well. I think the best way to put it on DVd after authoring Bmax content. It's safe than keeping it in yr HDD. If it crashes u will be sorry for ever.

1. Try to connect yr Bmax avOUT to avIN to a Digital camera(which shoud have Firewire OUT). Take the Firewire Out connect to the Firewire card(firewaire cards are cheap these days around A$40 here). Use Pinnacle Studio or Adobe Premiere Pro(I preferrred) to author and transfer to DVD.


2. Buy a Canopus ADVC 300 (AnaDigi Converter) around A$800. Connect the Analog AV out from Bmax to AnallogAV IN of ADVC 300. Connect the ADVC 300 firewire OUT to Firewire INput of the PC or laptop. Use Adobe PrePro for authoring and put it on DVD.

If u have problems let me know. I will try to help u..

pushpa, Brisbane, Australia
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Old January 6th, 2006, 07:21 AM   #9
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I'd convert the Beta tapes to DV and then play them into a DVD recorder. I'd make two or more DVD copies, depending on how important the subject matter is. Keep the DV tapes, as they could last for 15 or 20 years and will always be available to provide a better source for more copies than the more compressed DVDs can do. There is some controversy about how long DVDs will physically survive. They've been touted as "lasting a lifetime", but many of the disks have delaminated after several years and obviously the recordings can't endure if their disks fall apart. Some better quality brands will last longer, but I'm not going to depend on such media for storage of my important video recordings. My 16-year old Hi-8 tapes are still playing perfectly and they use the same type of evaporated metal coating and tape base as the DV format does.
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