I want to digitize my old 8mm videotapes. My computer is a new HP 6610 (AMD Athelon II 635 CPU, Windows 7, 64-bit). I have an old Sony 8mm camcorder connected to an ADVC-55 video-capture box via S-video and red/white audio cables. The AVDC-55 connects to the computer via FireWire.
I used Ulead Video Studio 5 DV to capture the first tape, then I tried the HP program that came with the computer. The HP program captured directly to MPG and seemed brighter (I think), but I think I want AVI files so I can edit them. During the transfer, the picture is brighter in the camera eyepiece screen, but the playback of the digital file on my computer is darker.
Could the problem be the capture program, or is it just the hardware? Most of the reviews I've read say that cheap USB video-capture devices don't perform well, so I bought the AVDC-55. However, a friend at work said he had good results with a cheap USB unit. Are the new ones any good?
Can you recommend a free or low-cost capture program that makes brighter AVI files? Making them brighter in the editing program sounds like even more work. Also, what free or low-cost video-editing program do you like? Is the Windows downloadable one any good?
This is outside my area of expertise, so I tried to find someone who knows more about it than I do. TWiT's resident video expert Alex Lindsay of Pixelcorps said the darkness issue might be due to the various devices and programs handling gamma differently, which makes sense, so you might want to play with the gamma settings at the various stages of the signal path. But he hasn't had much experience transferring videotape to a PC, at least not in the last 10 years, so he didn't have much else to say about it.
I have no experience at all with this process, so I'm throwing it open to our readers. Anyone out there have any suggestions for John?
If you have an A/V question, please send it to email@example.com.