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Analog to iMac for movie editing and DVD burning

530 Views 8 Replies Latest reply: Jan 29, 2013 8:14 AM by MlchaelLAX RSS
Fisch85 Calculating status...
Currently Being Moderated
Jan 27, 2013 5:35 AM

What is best combination of hardware/software that I should use to convert my Sony camcorder analogy video to my iMac that I can save, edit with iMovie and later create DVDs?

iMac (21.5-inch Mid 2011), OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.2)
  • Klaus1 Level 8 Level 8 (43,470 points)
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    Jan 27, 2013 6:01 AM (in response to Fisch85)

    You need an analogue to digital converter that can connect to the camera via the RCA cables and to your Mac via firewire.


    Best is the Canopus ADVC 110 or better. It may have a different name in your area.

  • Keith Barkley Level 5 Level 5 (5,140 points)
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    Jan 27, 2013 8:40 AM (in response to Fisch85)

    If this is Hi-8 you can get a Digital 8 camcorder that can read them and convert it to FW for the Mac.

  • MlchaelLAX Level 4 Level 4 (1,560 points)

    Some say that the quality of an analog HI-8 tape is degraded when played in a Digital 8 camcorder. Have you ever attempted this yourself, or is it just "off-the-cuff" advice?


    OP: If this is Hi-8, stick with a Hi-8 camcorder for playback and use an analog-to-digital converter, as suggested by those in the know!


    More information from the Sony Community here


    I use a Panasonic VHS-DVD Recorder Combo (connected to a Sony 8mm in my case or use of a VHS-C adapter in the VHS slot) to burn to DVD-RWs and then bring the DVD digital content to my Mac for editing, using MPEG Streamclip.  You would then burn to a DVD-R, but in my situation, I transcode the edited content to MPEG-4 H.264 for inclusion in my library to watch on my AppleTV. 


    I then erase and reuse the DVD-RW.  I do not have any experience with iMovie, though.

  • AppleMan1958 Level 7 Level 7 (27,335 points)
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    Jan 29, 2013 7:38 AM (in response to MlchaelLAX)

    A digital 8 camcorder, or a digital analog converter will give better quality than a method of creating DVDs. The compression in creating a DVD is severe, and you cannot gain it back when you convert it back to an editable format. I would only import from DVD if that were my only option.

  • MlchaelLAX Level 4 Level 4 (1,560 points)

    I edit the MPEG-2 files created on the DVD-RW using MPEG Streamclip (with the optional Quicktime MPEG-2 component from Apple), so there is no step to "convert it back to an editable format."  I see no effects of "severe" compression and the ultimate files in H.264 have, at least, the same visual quality as the original analog tapes (to my eye).


    The OP's eventual media of choice is DVD, so MPEG-2 is unavoidable for him.

  • Bengt Wärleby Level 6 Level 6 (18,950 points)
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    Jan 29, 2013 7:46 AM (in response to Fisch85)



    so there is no step to "convert it back to an editable format."


    No - You need a program that can do this - and in most situations the .mpeg Component from Apple $20


    As Handbrake


    or I use


    Roxio Toast™10 Pro (now version 11) to do this - but it cost's a bit


    And what way used (even with real Pro applications) the quality is far from perfect - so much lost in the .mpeg conversion.


    Yours Bengt W

  • MlchaelLAX Level 4 Level 4 (1,560 points)

    Even though your comment is a "Reply" to the OP, you quote my previous comment, so in response:


    You do NOT need any program to convert it back to an editable format, if, like I, you edit in MPEG-2 (in my case I edit with MPEG Streamclip). 


    I already noted that the Apple MPEG-2 Component is required.


    Handbrake and Toast are not editing programs.  Handbrake will transcode (to, for example, the H.264 format that I use for AppleTV playback) and Toast will burn to DVDs (and Toast can transcode, but is my last choice of a transcoding option).


    When you say: "so much [is] lost in the .mpeg conversion" please elaborate.  Are you suggesting that MPEG-2 conversion from 1980s and 1990's analog camcorder formats will show less visual quality? 


    That has not been my experience.  I am quite pleased with my conversion and editing method.


    Perhaps your analog tapes suffer from "noise" and other analog artifacts that cause problems in the digital conversion.

  • MlchaelLAX Level 4 Level 4 (1,560 points)
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    Jan 29, 2013 8:14 AM (in response to MlchaelLAX)

    Screen Shot 2013-01-29 at 8.10.32 AM.png

                             [click on image to enlarge]


    Example of VHS to digital conversion using the method described above (no editing needed; only trimming of excess at beginning and end).


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