Migrating video data from 8mm to DVD: protection problems

I have a large collection of films on 8mm video that I have made over the last 25 years. Since this medium is becoming obsolete, it is time to migrate to something more modern to preserve the collection.

Easy for titles that still are popular films – I just get ahold of a newly released DVD and dump the 8mm. But many tapes are collections that I have made of small, short parts of previously VHS tapes and TV programs. I call them “bits”, and they are often combined on one tape, typically to illustrate one topic. These bits each came from a different source; the source is rarely known or available, and probably never will be. I feel I am well within my rights to copy such under fair use, especially when there is an educational purpose involved.

I never had any problem making 8mm copies of Macrovision-protected VHS tapes; it’s as if 8mm or Hi-8 is immune to the Macrovision degradation. I’ve never had to use a video stabilizer. But when I try to copy the 8mm copy to a DVD, the DVD recorder often prevents me from doing it as it detects what it thinks is an illegal copying procedure.

So how can I get around this? I haven’t tried using a computer capture card for A/V input from the 8mm playback, but would that be a solution? I’ve tried a video stabilizer inbetween the 8mm player and the DVD recorder, with no positive results.

Any ideas?

<bump> No one have any experience with this topic?

I guess I’ll have to use up my bump allowance, but something new just came up that relates to this subject. I had a call from a friend who has a valuable VHS tape that he wants transferred to DVD. The tape has some kind of copy protection on it, but the owner has given full permission to copy and there is no other copy, even an “original”, in existence.

In fact, the owner/creator of the original show would like a copy, too!

So I might be able to get around the copy protection with the video stabilizer, but I won’t know until I try it. I sure would like to find out if there is an alternate way of solving this problem.

So, how about it? Any video gurus out there that can help?

Have you tried a computer-based digitizer? I use a Canopus box, and it seems to ignore Macrovision.

I don’t have a capture card at present (I use firewire to get video from cam to computer, so haven’t needed it yet), but that’s worth a try.

I’ll get the VHS tapes tomorrow and see what happens with the video stabalizer first. If that doesn’t work, I’ll break down and get a capture card. The problem with going thru a computer is the extra step and long time it takes to read, encode then re-encode or re-write back to portable media. Real-time thru standalone players/recorders has been much faster for the applications I have had up to now.

Hmmm… Have you tried running the video through the camera and out FireWire to the computer?

For the 8mm problem, the 8mm cam doesn’t have Firewire out, just analog.

For the VHS original, I don’t have a VHS camera, only a DV, a 8mm cam and a VHS player. Both cams have a common input/output socket; that is, I can’t run a video signal thru in realtime; I’d have to record to a DV tape first, then output thru firewire to a computer on a second pass.

I’ve got 6 hours of VHS tape to convert, so I’d like to avoid extra steps. Still, if it works that way, it’s better than nothing.

Meanwhile, I’ve ordered a cheap video capture card for the PC just in case.

When I copied a few Video8 and Hi8 tapes a while ago I used a Digital8 camera (with Firewire) and it worked without any problems. Even the quality was surprisingly good. Perhaps you can borrow one of those somewhere. However all my tapes were either home-made camcorder footage or copies made by a benevolent professional - nothing where copy protection is a real issue.

Ahh, but you see, my problem IS where copy protection is a real issue. Hence this thread.

Perhaps this site can help, it’s never let me down. They pretty much cover converting anything to anything.