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Thread: Best Codec for DV capture

  1. #1

    Default Best Codec for DV capture

    First of all, HELLO!

    I am new to this kind o thing even though i already did 2 home-made DVDs, but those DVDs were very basic and simple......

    Now to my question..... I decided to capture all my DV tape to hard disk so i can re use the tapes..... I would like to know the best video codec to use..... I want a codec that keeps quality and at the same time small file sizes....

    Which codec do you recommend to me for capturing DV tapes?
    Your suggestions are always open

    btw I have Sony DCR PC3E, its quite old but still does the job

    Regards and thank you for your replies...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    N. florida


    The cost of miniDV tape has come to a price point that let's me always use new tape. While the camcorder writes to the tape in digital code it is still magnetic tape and it is not very wide and very thin so every time it runs through the rollers and across the heads it deteriorates a bit.

    I can sometimes begin seeing dropout and other errors in stuff we have shot after only a few viewings of a tape. I wouldn't reuse miniDV tapes since new tape is so cheap.

    However, if you decide to archive your images and reuse your tapes I would like for someone smarter and more experienced than I to speak up cause I'd like to know a smaller file type that retains original quality.

    For safe archiving I'd store original raw files on a new HDD and when full safely put it away plus I'd break up the big original files into two or three pieces and the burn them to dvd data discs. Finally, I'd render the original files to mpeg2 and burn those on back up discs. The original tapes I'd put safely away as final backup. That's what we do - digital video is awesome but easy to lose.

    fear loss of files of special video content so when archiving I:
    1. Put the raw and GIANT .avi captured files on a hard drive which when full we store carefully. New HDrives have gotten pretty inexpensive too.

    2. Using editing software I chop those GIANT files into two or three segments and write them to dvd data discs.

    3. Finally, I render the GIANT .avi files as mpeg2 and then write them out to dvd data discs. Did I mention I make back up discs of the data discs and the original tapes safely stored?
    Last edited by imjay; 12-23-2007 at 07:23 PM.

  3. #3



    Thanks for replying!

    I read what you said about the DV tape losing its quality when reused..... no i dont think i'll reuse the tape anymore, thanks for the info! My other concer and the main reason for this question is SPACE. As you said, you capture it into RAW AVI format, i would also do that, but the problem is i dont have big hard disks to fit 10 LP tapes and 8 SP tapes captured into RAW AVI.
    Quote Originally Posted by imjay View Post
    New HDrives have gotten pretty inexpensive too.
    Here where i live, Mozambique, the Hard disks are quite expensive
    -a 160gb SATA I disk costs about $100 here

    So i would like to know a codec that has (no/almost no) quality loss and yet keeps the file siza small... I need suggestions from you experienced people to choose which is the best format to capture to for archiving.

    The video editing software i use is Ulead VideoStudio 11 and Cyberlink PowerDirector.

    Thank for all your replies and suggestions

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Western Europe


    The problem with codecs is that high quality = large files and low quality = small files. You can't have it both ways unfortunately. Files in the Microsoft DV II AVI format are running at 4.3GB for 20 minutes of video, so an hour long tape recorded in SP mode would fill up just under 13GB's of hard disk storage space. Codecs really only come into play at the end of the process when you go to burn your movie onto DVD, then you have to compress it using mpeg. As previously said if you can get by without reusing your tapes and not shooting in LP mode then do that. Problems have been encountered by other forum users who can't get their editing software to work properly with videos shot using these methods.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    N. florida


    Again, I am not the sharp tool in the video editing toolbox but I think you raised a good question - maybe not codec specific but compression specific.

    My sons have brought me CDs (Not DVDs) with a complete commercial movie in a file around 600meg in size.

    The quality is very clear and sharp whether viewed on a pc monitor or output via s-video port to our large flat screen tv.

    So and like original poster I would like to find a compression format that will use its' coder/decoder to retain quality with a much smaller file size. If that's a form of DivX and/or mpeg4 I haven't a clue but it's a good question.

    One would think we could compress and then, when necessary, de-compress or transcode back to full size. It's all just bit manipulation.
    Last edited by imjay; 12-23-2007 at 10:55 PM.

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