Convereting old DV footage to digital


I've been spending the last few days converting some of my old DV footage to digital format. I've got maybe 30 or 40 tapes and I really have no idea what is on any of them are so my hope is I can import the into a digital format and have them actually available in to enjoy and share.

One of the problems is the DV import process in iMovie brings them in as 'DV' files that are *huge* (several hundred MB easily). My 30 odd tapes will end up chewing through a unreasonable fraction of my TB hard drive so I've spent some time looking for how to compress them to more modern formats.

Initially I thought I could use an automated tool like Handbrake of VisualHub to quickly convert them but the results were less than perfect. I finally sat down and did a direct comparison. For Visual Hub and Handbrake I spent some time playing with settings trying to really optimize them, for Quicktime (using Quicktime X) there are no real settings to speak of.

The results (below) speak for themselves. Even when I upped the bit rate to Handbrake or Visual Hub I couldn't get it even close to what Quicktime can do. In terms of speed they all seemed pretty close (I didn't time them but my perception was the speeds of conversation were all about the same).

On the pictures below note especially the horizontal and vertical lines -- What you can't see from these grabs is some of odd interlace problems while watching the movie in everything but Quicktime.




Raw DV Footage
Raw Footage
57Mb/s
Quicktime
Quicktime to H.264
2.6Mb/s
Handbrake (Custom settings)
Handbrake Custom Settings
H.264
2.65Mb/s
Visual Hub
Visual Hub to H.264
3.6Mb/s


One of my initial concerns with using Quicktime was there was no Batch process. I initially loaded the movie into quicktime and used the 'Export' feature. Fortunately I came across a great solution to that: Create a service to do the conversation.

Automator

Now I can just select a bunch of movies, select services->convert to Quicktime and they show up on my Desktop, Nice!


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