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!
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.
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.
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
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
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.