DV V Digi-8
my father just bought a digi-8 camera. what's the difference between that and a digi cam that takes DV tapes? the thing has a firewire (or iLink as sony demands) output. the tapes are apparently the same size as his old 8mm tapes.
as far as I know the tapes are the main difference.
according to the Sony website both miniDV and Digi-8 use the same recording format.
obviously the Digi-8 camcorders are a bit bigger due to the bigger cassettes. but their advantage is that you can play old Hi8 and 8mm tapes in them (not recording though).
in terms of quality there should be no difference, in theory. but I think the miniDV camcorder usually get better optics and higher resolution CCD chips so there might be a difference. but then again the Digi-8 camcorder are less expensive.
since your fathers camera has FireWire (iLink, IEEE1394) output get yourself a FireWire card and a video editing program like adobe premier (you can find "trial" versions on the net if you look around a bit) or Uleads video-studio (easier to use, in a wizard-style fashion). a lot of FireWire cards come bundeld with software.
the thing works in a different way than you think.
you need a DV capable program like Premiere in the first place to get the DV(Digi-8) video from the camcorder via Firewire into the computer.
since the video is already recorded in a digital format there's no digitizing needed as you suggest with using the ANALOG video in of your G400. your G400 is not needed that way.
as far as I know DV comes in two formats DV1 and DV2. not sure about the names but it doesn't really matter since the DV driver is included in win98se and win2k and should automatically install when windows detects and installs the Firewire card. that's what it did on my machine since my Firewire card came w/o any drivers (I really bought it that way. it's not 'fallen of a truck'). anyway.
when using Premiere (or whatever DV software) the program transfers the DV-video to your hard drive. about 1GB for 5min so you better have some big space on your drive. best would be to have a dedicated HD for this task. about 20GB should do it since it gives you space for ca. 100min of video, enough to copy a whole tape completely.
you can cut it then and add effects and titles and so on.
when you've done all this and you're happy with your material the program allows you to export the video to a format of your choice. given that the filters for that format are installed on your system. since .avi is a windows thing there should be a choice of .avi compliant formats. afterwards you can use Vdub to convert it to DivX-Mpeg4 to get it's size down to something nice and small.
there is one really nice feature of sony d-8 camcorders. they have analog in. with a small hack (available on the web) you can enable av-in > dv-out. it means that you capture from vhs or s-vhs source to the hard disk, in dv codec, and use that capture together with dv capture. so the camera is acting as a analog>digital converter, and you should know that proffesional machines for that conversion are about $3000 up.
probably this is your answer.
to do the hack you will need lanc>paralel cable and a small piece of software. the software is usually been used to enable dv-in on european type of cameras that have dv-in disabled by default.
yes, dv and d8 are same format. only diff is media - d8 is using same old hi'8 tapes, but the video recorded on the tape is binary, the same format as dv.
dv cameras sometimes are using better technology (3ccd, good lenses) so it makes them better than d8. for home use this is not relevant because the price diff (3ccd dv vs d8)is very big.
I have a Dig8, over a year now. I use the old video8 tapes for recording. Just a good as those HI8 or Dig8 tapes.
Don't fall into the quality issue with tapes. Digital records use 1's and 0's and have a good error correction. As long as the 1 and 0 are read and it get's decoded you will get the same picture out as with any tape uses. Thus the tape that is 5 bucks more will not give you a better picture. That's the whole advantage of a digital world.
What the heck was that all about!
you can try at http://www.dv-in.com or http://www.smartdv.co.uk
read carefully about the software features, because this software is intentionally made for enabling dv-in, and av-in > dv-out is just an extra.
quality can be significally better. if you use that way to capture analog sources to the hard disk, via dv video editing card (like canopus ezdv in my case) you will capture in dv codec, and it will leave much more place for picture quality improvements. afaik mjpeg can not be better quality. also, this way will lead you towards some bigger achievements in video editing, i'm sure.
One big difference between Digital8 and MiniDV in Sony cameras are the integrated zoom abilities. My TRV Digital8 camera has a 25x optical zoom built in. The Most MiniDV models have only 10x, the top out at 15x.
This is strictly a product marketing issue. However, at the prices, and zoom level, the Digital8 cameras a become pretty irresistable for consumer level users. Especially as replacements to those aging 8mm cameras.
Off hand, Sony makes by far the best consumer oriented cameras available. Aside from the proprietary and slightly more expensive Memory Stick, the cameras offer the best optics and range of features at their price point.
One really neat gem I discovered. All the sony InfoLithium batteries use the same plug. The battery that came with the camcorder plugged neatly into my Sony digital camera, and vice-versa.