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Old February 23rd, 2012, 10:28 AM   #1
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Seeking guidance on converting 700+ movies shot on older Sony Hard Drive Cam

Greetings. First time poster here. Non pro, mostly kids and family footage. Moderately skilled amateur digital still photographer. Lightroom fanatic.

I am seeking clarity and guidance with the following issue:

I have 700-800 videos (300 gig) taken on a Sony DCR-DR80 Handycam. This is an older model, 2005, that uses a hard disc rather than a mini DV tape. At the time it seemed like such a great solution over DV tapes (which I also have about 100 not streamed to computer, so I also have that to look forward to doing). Over the years when transferring the files to my desktop for archiving and backup I have noted that there is no sound on any of the movies. After doing a little research I discovered that the format mpeg taken from the Sony camera doesn't play on desktops and that each movie must be further converted to another format so the video and sound will play together. Something about codecs, mpg, which I no nothing about.

So I have found and downloaded a free tool for mac called mpeg streamclip which will convert movies of the kind I have to ones that will actually play with sound. I have converted one video and alas the new version has sound.

Question 1: Is this the best tool to use to convert the mpegs I have from the Sony? If so, what settings are recommended to preserve the highest quality possible? What should the output file type be? AVI, DV, .mov or mpeg?

Space is not an issue with me as I have no problems adding to my bank of external TB hard drives, redundantly backed up nightly and offsite weekly (yes I have experienced minor data loss and have vowed to never trust a single drive again, darn you Lacie). I read this post about Clipwrap possibly being an alternative... Question about quality of file conversion process

Question 2: Will mpeg streamclip or a similar program batch process all these files for me or do I have to go and do one at a time?

Question 3: I am a huge Adobe Lightroom user for all things digital photography. Once I convert all these videos to actually being hearable / usable for further editing, I would like to incorporate a management program. I know Lightroom, and lightroom beta 4, can manage the metadata for videos and I could go through each one and tag with keywords, etc. Lightroom does not edit video in its current version, but it would let me find videos from years back which would be nice. Do many of you use Lightroom for file organization?

Thank you for any help you may be able to provide. All clarifying questions welcomed.
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Old February 23rd, 2012, 07:00 PM   #2
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Re: Seeking guidance on converting 700+ movies shot on older Sony Hard Drive Cam

In MPEG StreamClip, go to the List menu and select "Batch List" (Cmd+B).

Select a few files to start you off, point them to the right area to save them, give them the settings that work (probably h.264 MP4 or MOV), and do a few to test. Once you have settings you like, just add more files to the list and elect to "use previous folder and settings."

Hit "go" and let it ride for however long it takes.
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Old February 23rd, 2012, 08:06 PM   #3
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Re: Seeking guidance on converting 700+ movies shot on older Sony Hard Drive Cam

Those files should be some sort of mpeg2, so they should play on any computer. Any transcoding will result in quality loss! Your problem might be that you're using the free version of Quicktime and that does not have mpeg2 support - you have to buy the pro version to play mpeg2. Or it might be that Sony multiplexes the audio with the video in some strange way not recognized by your Mac.

Try this: open a file in Streamclip and go to File > Save as MPEG. This will not re-encode the video, so there will be no loss in quality.
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Old February 23rd, 2012, 11:15 PM   #4
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Re: Seeking guidance on converting 700+ movies shot on older Sony Hard Drive Cam

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ervin Farkas View Post
Those files should be some sort of mpeg2, so they should play on any computer. Any transcoding will result in quality loss!
Figure out how to play the original files. If you convert your video to a different format every time you get a new computer it will soon lose quality in a noticeable way. Even so called lossless re-wrapping of video from one format to another can affect audio sync as well as discard meta-data such as date, time, aperture and shutter speed that were part of the original file.
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Old March 1st, 2012, 06:49 AM   #5
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Re: Seeking guidance on converting 700+ movies shot on older Sony Hard Drive Cam

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin McRoberts View Post
In MPEG StreamClip, go to the List menu and select "Batch List" (Cmd+B).

Select a few files to start you off, point them to the right area to save them, give them the settings that work (probably h.264 MP4 or MOV), and do a few to test. Once you have settings you like, just add more files to the list and elect to "use previous folder and settings."

Hit "go" and let it ride for however long it takes.
Thank you very much for this tip -
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Old March 1st, 2012, 06:53 AM   #6
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Re: Seeking guidance on converting 700+ movies shot on older Sony Hard Drive Cam

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ervin Farkas View Post
Those files should be some sort of mpeg2, so they should play on any computer. Any transcoding will result in quality loss! Your problem might be that you're using the free version of Quicktime and that does not have mpeg2 support - you have to buy the pro version to play mpeg2. Or it might be that Sony multiplexes the audio with the video in some strange way not recognized by your Mac.

Try this: open a file in Streamclip and go to File > Save as MPEG. This will not re-encode the video, so there will be no loss in quality.
Thank you and you are correct, they are some kind of mpg2, actual file extension is .mpg. I just tried to play a video on a windows PC and same thing, no sound. Will delve into the paid version of quicktime to see if that fixes the problem

I tried what you suggested, opened a file in streamclip, saved as mpeg, still no sound unfortunately.

Will report back findings on what I find.
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Old March 1st, 2012, 12:12 PM   #7
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Re: Seeking guidance on converting 700+ movies shot on older Sony Hard Drive Cam

Also, you might want to see if VLC media player will play it. VideoLAN - VLC: Official site - Free multimedia solutions for all OS! if VLC won't play it, there isn't much out there that will.
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Old March 1st, 2012, 05:50 PM   #8
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Re: Seeking guidance on converting 700+ movies shot on older Sony Hard Drive Cam

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Originally Posted by Samuel Jackson Smith View Post
Also, you might want to see if VLC media player will play it. VideoLAN - VLC: Official site - Free multimedia solutions for all OS! if VLC won't play it, there isn't much out there that will.
Ok, thank you for the idea, getting somewhere, I now have sound when using the VLC player, now what do you suggest for editing? When I open in Final Cut Pro, no audio. When I try to drag into iMovie, it won't let me.

Guess I should choose vlc to be default to open all those type .mpg files?

Thank you,
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Old March 1st, 2012, 08:48 PM   #9
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Re: Seeking guidance on converting 700+ movies shot on older Sony Hard Drive Cam

On a PC you can use MediaInfo to see what's exactly in those files and why the audio would not play.
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Old March 1st, 2012, 08:53 PM   #10
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Re: Seeking guidance on converting 700+ movies shot on older Sony Hard Drive Cam

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ervin Farkas View Post
On a PC you can use MediaInfo to see what's exactly in those files and why the audio would not play.
Mediainfo runs just as well on OS/X and Linux. It would be interesting to see the output for one of your files.
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Old March 6th, 2012, 04:45 PM   #11
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Re: Seeking guidance on converting 700+ movies shot on older Sony Hard Drive Cam

When you play the original video in VLC, please go to Tools > Codec Information and tell us what it says (or post a screenshot).
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Old March 7th, 2012, 07:25 PM   #12
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Re: Seeking guidance on converting 700+ movies shot on older Sony Hard Drive Cam

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Originally Posted by Eric Olson View Post
Mediainfo runs just as well on OS/X and Linux. It would be interesting to see the output for one of your files.
Thank you, here is a screen shot from what mediainfo shows after I drug a .mpg file over on top of it, sorry can't show attachments yet. Here is a link to the screenshot...

2012-03-07_2020 - AllergyKing's library

Thanks again
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Old March 7th, 2012, 09:13 PM   #13
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Re: Seeking guidance on converting 700+ movies shot on older Sony Hard Drive Cam

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jordan Nash View Post
When you play the original video in VLC, please go to Tools > Codec Information and tell us what it says (or post a screenshot).
Thanks, I am unable to find the tools menu in VLC, however I did find this Window > Media Information > Codec Details here...

2012-03-07_2043 - AllergyKing's library
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Old March 7th, 2012, 11:42 PM   #14
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Re: Seeking guidance on converting 700+ movies shot on older Sony Hard Drive Cam

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Originally Posted by Cade McDonald View Post
Thank you, here is a screen shot from what mediainfo shows after I drug a .mpg file over on top of it, sorry can't show attachments yet.
Your camera appears to shoot DVD compliant mpeg2 files. This format is ideal for archiving, so no conversions should be made for archiving. My experience with FCP and iMovie are somewhat limited. If I were having trouble editing these files, I would use MPEG Streamclip to convert them to QuickTime.

Squared 5 - MPEG Streamclip video converter for Mac and Windows
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Old March 11th, 2012, 01:10 PM   #15
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Re: Seeking guidance on converting 700+ movies shot on older Sony Hard Drive Cam

Thanks everyone for helping me figure this out. This format explains the screenshot below perfectly. IMO, this camcorder was designed for a consumer, like I was then and am still now, to burn movies straight to disc with no editing, thus the "DVD Burn" button. Except now I want to do some editing.

2012-03-11_1400 - AllergyKing's library

Thanks again, my plan is to go through the footage, find the stuff I want to use, and funnel that through streamclip.
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