I'm trying to convert my 21 yrs worth of pie vids to digital(.mp4). I converted them years ago from hi8 to dvd using a Phillips dvd burner. Now I would like to upload them from dvd to harddrive. I've tried Handbrake and winX dvd ripper and in both cases I get quite a bit of quality loss.I've screwed around with the settings and I don't get any better results. Any ideas?
Handbrake (In the Mac version - think it's same as Windows) try selecting MP4 and check "large file size", select h264 as the video codec. You want the framerate to be "same as source".
Set the average bitrate to 2500 and check the 2-pass encoding checkbox.
That should minimize loss.
I would then just for shits and giggles try it with the bitrate at 3000. You shouldn't need to go higher unless you are playing with high def. Seeing as it's not for the web you can afford to be generous.
2 pass encoding is pretty much always key. It takes twice as long but results are far better.
Hope that helps and not just what you were already doing!
Failing that, see if VideoMonkey is available for Windows, that has become my go to converting application.
Thanks for the reply Noise. I had hoped the 2 pass encoding would fix my problem but no such luck. I think I may have to go back to trying to convert the original Hi8 tapes to digital using a converter. I had bought honestechs converter and wasn't to pleased. I think I'm going to have to go back and give it another shot.
Analog video is noisy and inter-frame compression like MPEG (MP4,H.264,DivX) doesn't work well with noisy video, because it looks for similarity between frames and computes motion vectors. With noisy video, it looks like every frame is completely different from the one before it. I would recommend encoding to Motion JPEG (MJPEG) or DV50 (4:2:2 DV/JPEG compression). Those are going to yield about 15GB/hour of video, but they don't care about noise. They just compress each frame like an image, independent of the other frames.
If you decide you want to upload some of your movies, I'd recommend a noise removal filter, down-scaling to 320x240 and then H.264 encoding with the best, 2 pass encoder you can find. At 320x240, the video will look pretty sharp, you can eliminate interlacing artifacts, and it will encode pretty well.
Oh, and you're going to get a lot better results by encoding the originals. You lost a lot when you converted to MPEG2 for DVD. If you're buying a converter, don't buy one of those USB MP4 converters; you won't be happy. I'm not sure what you can find out there, these days, but something that captures to MJPEG or DV would be much better for analog video.
I just got an idea. If you can't find a converter easily, and you know someone with a DV camcorder, you may be able to use the DV camcorder as a passthru converter to convert to DV25 (4:1:1) @ 13GB/hour. If the camcorder doesn't support passthru, you could record your video onto DV tape and then transfer that to the computer at DV25. A lot of the producers here, who are still shooting standard def are recording in DV25 (25Mbps). It's a pretty good format. You can also buy a miniDV camcorder cheaper than you can a high end converter, I'll bet. Hopefully you can find one with passthru capability (convert through the camera's analog inputs directly to the computer via FireWire/IEEE 1394). That's the catch, you'll need a computer with a FireWire/IEEE 1394 port. There is always a catch!
Digital-8 was pretty much just DV on an 8mm tape and the camcorders actually output normal DV. You can probably find a D-8 camcorder on CraigsList or eBay dirt cheap, attach via firewire, and let it do the conversion internally.
As previously stated, stay away from any capture card or dongle that only provides mpeg output. DV isn't great with analog source, but it still beats the hell out of what any flavor of mpeg will do to it.
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Thanks for the reply's.Looking at my laptop, I don't have a firewire port. I have a fairly expensive sony hd handycam. However,it doesn't seam to have the capability to record from another device. I'm going to go to bestbuy to see if they have an inexpensive dv camera that will record off analog. I had hoped with the amount of 8mm cameras that were sold in the 90's there would be an easier method for this.
I've researched this further. I was able to borrow to different digital cameras but neither had the capability of receiving analog. They would both take dv in and out howvever only analog out. The tapes I have are 8mm and Hi8. I've found that Sony Digital8 cameras have the ability to play 8mm and convert them to digital 1:1. Unfortunately, the cheapest on craigslist are about $200 for used. This whole process has become incredibly frustrating. Since 8mm was the popular camcorder style of the 90's, you would think this would be easier.
If you have the content on DVD and its a plain ordinary home made DVD it will not be copy protected like a shop bought DVD. If that is the case, why convert? You can just copy the content of the DVD onto your computer and they should just play, on Windows just double click on any of the files for which a screen still has been used as an icon.